Tag Archives: writing

The business of writing: finding motivation.

write,writing,screenwriting,screenplay,author,hooligan,football,soccer,independent film,When asked about writing, author Neil Gaiman once famously said, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

He is of course, spot on, well, almost. You see for me the hardest part of the writing process isn’t the actual creativity element, it’s the physical one. Or to be more specific, the act of dragging myself to my desk and actually sitting down at my computer. This is a torture I have to endure on an almost daily basis.

I blame my father, and the military. You see despite his undoubted talent as both a musician and comedian, my dad was staggeringly lazy and this is one of the many bad habits I’ve inherited from him. It began whilst I was in the Royal Air Force when much of my time was spent employing the ‘minimum input, maximum output’ approach to service life and to be fair, I was bloody good at it. Just ask anyone who worked with me.

Inevitably, this lifestyle has also infected my career as a writer although even I know that it’s a luxury I can ill afford. If I don’t write it, it doesn’t get written and if it doesn’t get written, I don’t eat or get to go to *football/stock car racing/cinema/restaurants *delete as appropriate.

As a consequence, most mornings I have to force myself away from the sofa and the delights of whatever movie I recorded the day before and go through what is an increasingly defined ritual to begin my working day. I won’t go into it all as it’s starting to get a bit OCD like, but it is safe to say that both coffee and Solar Radio feature as prominent kick starters in my motivational process!

Occasionally however, I don’t have any trouble getting to my desk. Indeed, sometimes I can’t actually wait to get started and when I hit that point, I know I’m onto something solid. Thankfully, I am there right now. Not once, but twice.

The first project I’m excited about is my next book which will be my first military thriller. It’s actually based on a script I wrote a couple of years ago which is currently in the process of being financed and is a truly cracking story set around the RAF. And that’s all you’re getting for now.

The second project I’m working on is based on another screenplay I wrote a few years ago, this one for a potential TV series. Sadly, despite some initial interest it fell by the wayside as so many projects do. However, one of the things I loved about the script was the central character and so did a producer friend in the US. So when she was recently asked by a Hollywood studio to pitch a new movie project within the same genre as my comatose show, she immediately thought of my creation. One thing led to another and we’re now at the point where the green light is beginning to flicker.

It’s all very exciting and hopefully, I’ll be able to pass on the details soon.

Speaking of likeable characters, you may or may not have noticed that my favourite anti- hero has returned with a vengeance (literally) in the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

To say In The Know has been well received would be an understatement with 5* reviews across the board both on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s also sold out the first print run which is fantastic (new stock is on the way as I type) so can I thank everyone who’s read it so far and taken the trouble to post a review.

Oddly, given that it’s a trilogy and all three books have already been published, I’m already being asked when the next one is coming. I actually have a few ideas for Billy including a prequel, but like all things, it will be wholly dependent on how well this one does sales wise. Mind you, a film adaptation would certainly help and that may well be in the mix already.

Watch this space. And please, stay safe everyone.


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Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes


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I’m a mid-list author and I earn my living by writing books that sell. What’s wrong with that?

money, writing, publishing, brimsonI have an admission to make: my name is Dougie Brimson and I am a professional writer. That isn’t an introduction to some kind of warped author or screenwriters anonymous group, it’s a statement of fact.

I mention it because the other day someone asked me what motivates me to write and having thought about it at length, the one thought that kept entering my head was ‘what a stupid bloody question!’ Let’s get this clear once and for all; I write for two reasons: 1. I’m a lazy bastard who likes sitting down all day and 2. I need to make money to facilitate item 1.

That seems fair enough to me but for some strange reason it doesn’t seem to sit well with the literati. For them, the very idea of a writer admitting to being motivated by income rather than some holier-than-thou desire to ‘create’ is almost akin to admitting a being a Brexiter and admiring Margret Thatcher. Mind you, both of those are true of me too.

I have never really understood this thinking. After all, writing anything  isn’t just bloody hard work it takes an awful lot of time as well of a degree of talent so if you’re going to do it, surely the aim must be to get the final work published or filmed? Yet that will only happen if someone thinks that there is potential to sell copies or put bums on seats and if either of these things happen, you make money. That’s how it works and that’s why they are  called the publishing business and the film business.

Yet for some reason, if you as a writer approach the process by looking at the market and giving it what it actually wants as opposed to what some commissioning editor or producer thinks it should have, you are regarded almost as a traitor to the art form. Believe me, I’ve met people who work in publishing, and film for that matter, who genuinely seem to consider being popular as something to be ashamed of (see my blog: Why are publishers so scared of lad-lit).

Well sod that. I might never win the Booker prize or receive invites to the Hay festival, I might not even be able to persuade independent bookshops to stock my work, but I know my market, I know what it wants and I’m happy to provide it with as much as I can and as often as I can. If the literary world doesn’t get that simple commercial reality then screw them.

The reason why this is so relevant is because as some people are already aware, In The Know, the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy has just been published and whilst I’m looking forward to seeing it on various bookshelves, I’m equally excited about knowing that it’s available to download as an ebook.

There are numerous reasons for this (most of which are quite tedious) but the two main ones have to do with speed and money.

It can take months, sometimes years, for a manuscript to make the journey from laptop to Waterstones and even longer for the meagre percentage of the cover price to reach the authors bank. With less and less independent bookshops stocking books like mine, that means either my publisher selling direct via their website or relying almost entirely on Amazon or online stores. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, far from it. Quite why I’m expected to show loyalty to indie book stores just because I’m an author genuinely escapes me when they do absolutely nothing for me at all.

However, with an ebook, especially a self-published eBook, it can be online, on sale and on Kindles within hours and any royalties in the bank within 3 months. More importantly, even though eBooks are significantly cheaper than paperbacks, that royalty is higher.

As a professional writer, that’s significant because at the end of the day, whilst I’ve sold plenty of books (around 1,000,000 at the last count) I’m not JK Rowling or Jeffrey Archer and I don’t get offered 6 figure advances. My income is generated primarily by sales. Equally, writing for the market I do, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get my books reviewed in the mainstream media nor will I feature in the Sunday supplements spread across a comfy sofa so the chances of crossing over into the mainstream are minimal at best.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate every single email, tweet, letter or comment I receive about my writing and when it comes to motivation, nothing works as effectively as praise from readers. But I also appreciate the income that my work generates if for no other reason than it buys me time, food and motorcycles. So anything I can do to increase that income and the speed with which it arrives, has to be a good thing.

The downside of course, is that by stepping away from the more traditional publishing route I’m actually taking work away from the very people who have for years been in control of my career.

I get no pleasure from that and with my paperbacks now being printed in Poland, I’ll certainly miss the thrill of watching my next book roll off the presses but at the end of the day, whilst my approach might not win me any friends in publishing, no editor would work for nothing and I’ll be buggered if I’m going to either.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, bum,On the subject of ebooks, it continues to astonish me that since it was first released as an ebook in November 2011, The Crew has almost continually held onto one of the top 2 slots on both its Amazon and iTunes chart and continues to receive 5* reviews as recently as yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who has brought copies and rest assured, as long as people keep buying them, I’ll keep writing them because to me, the reader is and always will be the most important person in the whole process. Which is kind of the point.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartDougie Brimson is the author of 16 books as well as the writer of a number of award winning movies including the cult classic, Green Street.

His books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

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Five reasons why writing a novel is better than writing a screenplay.

author,screenwriter,ebook,self publishing,indie filmThe other day, someone pointed out that I am one of a very few writers who have enjoyed a degree of success with both books and screenplays. Not only that, but according to them I also hold the dubious honour of covering a range of genre which very few writers anywhere can match.

Whilst I’m not sure about any of that, it is fair to say that in a writing sense I have certainly been about a bit. Mostly, it has to be said, because I get bored easily.

However, whenever the subject of my work comes up it inevitably leads to one particular question and that is ‘which one do you enjoy working on the most?’

Whilst both have their merits, and leaving aside the simple truth that I’ll write anything for anyone who pays me, the answer is always the same. Because if I have a blank page and am left to my own devices, I will start writing a book. All day, every day. And for five very specific reasons.

It’s easier to write – That might shock a few people but the truth is that I can have far more creative fun constructing a 75,000 word novel than I can working on a 110 pages script. And if I’m having fun, I can promise you that the words will be pouring out of me as opposed to having to be dragged out. Something which not only makes it easy for me to write but which will almost certainly make for a better read once it’s finished. 

It’s easier to produce – Working with publishers can be hard work sometimes but if all else fails, I always have the option of self-publishing. It might not see the shelves of Waterstone’s or WH Smiths but let’s face it, it will certainly see Amazon and if it sells and is earning, who cares? Certainly not me.

With a film, the whole process is a nightmare which can fall apart at any moment. That’s if it gets anywhere at all which to be frank, it often doesn’t.

Control – With a book, I have no restrictions on subject matter, genre or even length. Being able to write what I want, when I want and just as importantly, say what I want, is not only liberating, it makes the whole thing both more interesting and enjoyable for me. If you need any more proof of that, have a look at my backlist and you’ll see a book about farting. Case rested. 

With a screenplay, once I hand it over I have no control over anything. At all.

The End Result – A book is mine. All mine. Praise or criticism are therefore personal and either enjoyed or dealt with as appropriate and I’m fine with that. A film however, is only mine if someone slags off the script even though by the time the camera’s roll, my input into the development process will have ended ages ago. 

The people – For an author, publishing is a relatively solitary game and as someone who prefers his own company, that’s exactly how I like it. For a screenwriter, the writing process is part solitude, part collaboration, part chaos. This would be great if it were an industry inhabited solely by nice hard-working honest people but sadly, it isn’t. Instead, amongst the many awesome individuals I’ve worked with are far too many arseholes who, if they aren’t simple crooks, are either bullshitters or incapable of making a decision. Or both.

So there you have it. Five reasons why I’d write a book over a movie any day of the week. And with that in mind, I’m happy if not delighted to announce that work is currently well underway on my 18th book which will be my first military based thriller. However, before that, in little over a month in fact, book number 17 hits the shelves. The third book on the Billy Evans trilogy, it’s entitled In The Know and is, if I say so myself, a cracker.

You can pre-order it, as with all my books, my clicking on the following links. Amazon  iTunes

@dougiebrimson

Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

As I sit here pondering my navel during the madness of this lockdown and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was an old blog I read entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because this last week I’ve received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said original blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at my local Co-Op yesterday (I needed Mozzarella, seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As a writer who is intent on spewing out books and screenplays on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a smug ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being an author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being an independent author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve either court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   True. Despite my success I exist firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my worst insecurities tend to be more about my other writing life. Screenplays are genuinely terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn any kind of award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another West End premier would be nice though, I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, there are occasions when you get to the end and are glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths.

So there you have it.

Finally,  I’m happy, if not delighted to announce that work is currently well underway on my 18th book which will be my first military based thriller. However, before that, in a little over three weeks in fact, book number 17 hits the shelves. The third book on the Billy Evans trilogy, it’s entitled In The Know and is, if I say so myself, a cracker.

 

You can pre-order it, as with all my books, my clicking on the following links. Amazon  iTunes

@dougiebrimson

5 ways to handle bad reviews.

author,writing,review,amazon,ebook,self publishingFor any writer, be it of book, script, article or blog, reviews are not just important, they are vital.

Like it or not, good reviews sell books. 

However, as much as we’d like every review to be a glowing endorsement of our creativity, the reality is that if someone buys a book they also purchase the absolute right not to enjoy it. And alongside that comes the option to hit the internet and slaughter both the work and the author if they feel disappointed or worse, cheated.

This is obviously great when it happens to a rival but when it happens to you, and it will, it hurts. Bad. After all, if you’ve put your heart and soul into writing a book, having the former ripped from your chest and publicly stamped on is not exactly a barrel of laughs.

review,author,selfpublishing,amazon,writing,ebook
Just one of many I’ve had over the years.

Yet the sad fact is that no matter how good a writer you are, bad reviews are an inevitability and dealing with them goes with the territory. 

So how do you do it?

  1. Accept them for what they are: an individual opinion. Yes, they’re tough to accept and trust me when I tell you that a bad review can eat away at you forever. However, if you’re happy to wallow in the affirmation of a 5* review, you’re got to learn to take the 1* criticism.
  2. Never respond. Whilst it’s always tempting to rip into a bad reviewer like a rabid dog, leaving aside the fact that it’s bad manners, it’s also inviting trouble. Trolls love a good author spat and if they get hold of you they can do more damage to both your book and your career than you can ever imagine. Don’t give them that opportunity.
  3. Develop a thick skin, and fast. The more books you produce, the more negative reviews you’re going to get. Conversely, you’re also going to get more positive reviews so keep re-reading those to balance things out.
  4. Be honest. Reviews aren’t just feedback, they’re market research. If you’re getting more bad than good, it might well be that there is actually some truth in what’s being said. Good reviews will always tell you what works, bad ones will often tell you the rest so utilise both as learning tools and use that information to help you make your next book better.
  5. Enjoy them. Even a bad review means that someone has read your book, YOUR book! Be proud of that and remember, not only does each and every review push your book up the amazon rankings, it also means income. Why do you think authors are so desperate for them? Even bad ones.

writing, hooligans, author, footballOn the subject of books, I’m delighted to announce that the third book in The Crew/Top Dog trilogy will be published by Caffeine Nights in May 2020.

I’m not going to give too much away about the plot other than to say that the central character gets involved in even more dubious activity than previously. And if you’ve read the first two books, you’ll know that bar is set pretty high!

I can also announce that I’m currently working on a project for Netflix, but that’s all you’re getting!

Exciting times.

@dougiebrimson

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

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How to write (real) violence.

Green Street screenwritingI’m not usually one for taking part in online debates about writing, mostly because I’m not that clever and have an adversity to making myself look stupid.

There’s also the risk that people will discover that I’ve been winging it for over 25 years which wouldn’t do my publishers heart rate any good.

However, I recently became involved in a fascinating discussion with a group of writers on the use of gratuitous violence  or, to be more specific, the duty of the writer in the way they portray it.

I won’t go too deeply into the way the debate unfolded other than to say it veered from one extreme to the other and back again more than once. But whilst it was extremely interesting to learn how others perceive their creative responsibilities, little or nothing was said which made me change the way I think about mine. And mine, as I see them, are relatively simple. Indeed, they can be encapsulated in one single sentence. For when it comes to anything fictional, my job is to tell a decent story as honesty and realistically as I can.

This is underpinned by something I have said many times and that is my belief that the most important person in the writing process is the person at the end of the creative chain, the consumer. And when you write the kind of things I do for the kind of people I primarily write them for (lads), then my sole duty is to give them something that they can not only recognise but hopefully, put themselves into the centre of without any difficulty.

In the case of a subject like hooliganism, that means street fighting and anyone who has ever been involved in a row at football knows that it isn’t Queensbury Rules Boxing or Tae Kwon Do, it’s short periods of scruffy, disjointed mayhem. It’s still violence, but it’s real violence as opposed to the stylised fighting we see in too many films and computer games. For some it can be little short of a  terrifying experience, for others it will often border on hilarity.

That’s how I have to write it because that’s how it is. Anything else would be a betrayal and if I did that, I’d lose not only my self-respect but my readers (and viewers).

Quite rightly too.

thriller, screenwriting, film, writingThe next few months will hopefully see a couple of announcements on the movie front but in the meantime, I’m delighted to announce that In The Know, the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy, will be published in paperback and ebook format in May 2020.

I won’t say too much about the actual plot for obvious reasons but I actually think that this will prove to be the best of the three.

I can also announce that amongst other projects, I’ve started work on a new novel, Three Greens. This will be my first book with a military theme and is based on the script I wrote for the forthcoming movie (more news of that soon).

Exciting times!

My numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Five reasons why I love writing for older actors.

older actors, acting, film, screenwritingAs my latest comedy script, The Gentle Sex, begins the difficult journey from keyboard to (hopefully) production, I thought it worthwhile to reboot this blog which focusses on an element of the creative process that I am quite passionate about. Age.

I shall, from the outset, put my cards on the table and say that I am, at least numerically speaking, old. 

I don’t feel it mind (and I certainly don’t act it) but it is fair to say that having crossed the 60th threshold, I’m much closer to my closing scene than I am to the opening act.

The reason I mention this is because for fairly obvious reasons, my age impacts on my writing output. Rule number three in Doug’s Guide To Writing is ‘write what you know’ and since I know more about being a male over 60 in 2019 than I do about being a teenage lad in 2019, my central characters tend to be older and I hope, more realistic. There will after all, be a part of me in all of them.

Thankfully, this is working to my advantage. For example when I  worked on We Still Kill The Old Way it received a great deal of positive press because of the age of the main cast, most of whom were actually older than I was. This leads me nicely into the central reason for this blog because generally speaking, when I start thinking about a project, be it book or film, one of the first things I consider is who is going to read or watch it. But recently, when it comes to screenplays, I’ve also started to think about potential cast and with that in mind, what follows are 5 reasons why these days I tend to favour writing for actors who have actually been around for a while.

Choice – We have a huge untapped source of talent in this country and it isn’t lurking in acting classes or talent schools, it’s working in small theatres or sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Sad for them but great for writers like me because when you’re working on something and putting together a dream cast you know that there’s a greater chance of actually getting them.

Gratitude – The main reason why they’re sitting at home is because the phone rarely rings. And it rarely rings because there are so few decent roles being written for people over 60 (let alone 70!). As a consequence, if you create these age specific roles and cast accordingly, not only are the actors grateful, but they give you everything from vast experience to PR gold!

Talent – To me, it’s criminal that all this amazing acting talent is being allowed to go to waste. Aside from the ones I’ve already worked with, I can think of ten amazing actors and actresses I’d crawl over broken glass to hear reading my words yet I doubt one has had a decent film or TV role in ten years. That’s tragic, not least because, as has been proven time and time again, the public genuinely want to see these great actors on screen.

Fun – If you don’t think working with legends of the movie world is fun, you really shouldn’t be writing screenplays.

Inspiration – When an actor you’ve watched for years and who you have nothing but respect for comes up and not only praises your script but thanks you for the opportunity you’ve given them, it’s both humbling and gratifying. But equally, such praise drives you on to create more of the same which is exactly why I currently have two film projects in development that feature ensemble casts of actors over 60. And d’you know what? I can’t wait to get them moving primarily because they’re going to be great fun to work on which is kind of why I started doing this in the first place.

The problem of course, is that the production process isn’t down to the writers or the actors, it’s down to those mythical beasts called producers. So what’s really needed are more of those to step up and start taking the odd chance or two.

The talent is there, the ideas are there and as movies such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (1&2), The Book Club, Best Foot Forward and the recently released and quite brilliant The Good Liar have proved, the audience is certainly there, so how about it?

You could certainly do worse than drop me a line and ask to have a look at The Gentle Sex (a fabulous comedy co-written with Gary Lawrence who also worked with me on We Still Kill The Old Way) or even ask to meet up for a chat.  You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.

@dougiebrimson

romance, life, love, beer, sexAs some of you may be aware, I’ve been beavering away on a couple of sequels for a while now and can finally announce that In The Know, the third book in the Billy Evans gangland trilogy is now complete and will be published by Caffeine Nights in May 2020. I’ve also been working on my first military based thriller and developing an environmental project for Netflix which is proving challenging but great fun.

Alongside that, I still occasionally dive back into the sequel to Billy’s Log and have published a few extracts of ‘Billy’s Blog’ online to hopefully whet the appetite.

Please click here to visit and if you enjoy it, feel free to spread the word!

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

Gender, gender neutral, beer, lads, women, men, relationships, sex, love, romance, author, screenwriting, ebooks, self publishing, indie film, football

ogilvy, ellison, we still kill the old way, top dog, green street, indie film, hooligans, krays, gangster, kemp, 

The reality of Hollywood accounting laid bare (and why back end payments are generally worthless).

Green Street screenwriting
This article was first published on Linkedin two years ago. Sadly, it’s as relevant now as it ever was which if nothing else, is a pretty good indication of how the film business works.
 A few weeks ago I was involved in a conversation with a number of screenwriters about the issue of back end payments and how worthless they are. A fact both experience and my lovely agent have proven beyond doubt many times.

Ironically, as if to underline this point in thick black ink, last night I received the latest participation statement from the producers of Green Street. A movie I wrote back in 2004 and which starred Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam.

For those who don’t know, this movie was quite popular and indeed, still plays regularly on TV here in the UK where it is something of a cult hit (I hesitate to use the word classic, but others do). Given that it spawned two sequels (neither of which I was involved with), it’s also fairly reasonable to expect that it was pretty successful financially and that all those involved made a packet.

Reasonable, but wrong. Very wrong.

You see despite the fact that Green Street was made on a fairly small budget of around $6 million, it is still apparently some $1.8 million from breaking even let alone going into the black. But rather than expand on that, here’s the proof.

 

To put it in layman’s terms, all those people who worked on Green Street who took points in lieu of wages have lost out because not one of them has seen a penny of the profits generated and nor will they. Ever.

Sadly, this kind of thing is not unusual. In fact some would actually argue that it’s the norm and that what has become known as creative accounting is employed on pretty much every film made purely to maximise profits for the producers and avoid having to pay out to the ‘little people’.

Whatever the reality, if ever anyone working in the film industry needed conclusive proof that the only money they can count on from working on a movie is what they can get upfront in cold hard cash, this should hopefully provide it.

If it doesn’t, then you only have yourself to blame.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpool I am delighted to announce that the sequel to Top Dog is with the publishers and all being well, I’ll be able to pass on details of publication dates, etc, fairly soon.

I’m also happy to announce that I’ve started work on another novel, this one the first I’ve ever written with a military theme.

In the meantime, you can buy all my existing books, including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog from either Amazon or iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 
author, writing, writer, screenwriting, screenwriter, publishing, indiefilm, low-budget, self-publishing, brimson, hooligan ,veteran

Why no writer should ever fear a blank page.

writer, writing, author, screenwriting, film, movie, hollywood, football, soccer
Ever since I’ve been writing, two things have regularly been thrown in my direction.

The first is that at some point all writers experience writers block, the second is that the blank page is a terrifying thing.

I’ve written about writer’s block numerous times before so I won’t go over that again (however, to paraphrase it for any newbies, in essence I believe it’s a myth designed to excuse one of any number of basic failings) but the issue of the blank page is something I’ve rarely discussed. As I sit here facing a new one today, now seems as good a time as any to tackle it because the explanation is relatively simple.

You see loathe was we are to admit it, all writers believe that somewhere deep inside us is the ability to pen a booker prize-winning novel, a ‘Harry Potter’ style literary phenomenon or an Oscar-winning screenplay.

The blank page signifies the opportunity to commence the creation of that particular creative journey and like any opportunity, there are two ways of looking at it. You can either be pessimistic or optimistic. Which one you choose, or rather which one chooses you, is wholly dependent on the type of person you are.

The pessimist will type those first few words already believing that this new project won’t be the big break they have been dreaming of and instead, even as they sit there hammering away, they will fairly quickly be enveloped by that awful sense of hope evaporating.

And as that hope rolls away, it will be replaced by the standard writers fears of exposure, of failure, of making yourself look stupid and possibly worst of all, of being boring. Who on earth would want to risk any of that let alone willingly put themselves through it?

Yes, all of that and more lurks on that single A4 page or blank screen filled with nothing but white. Having written 16 books and numerous screenplays, I can state that with some authority.

Thankfully, having been writing for some considerable time now I tend to be far more optimistic and far from fearing the blank page, I love it! For one very specific reason: it signifies power. Power to create anything I want to create be it non-fiction, fiction, thriller, comedy, male, female, sex, crime, football… anything.

A blank page gives me freedom to develop characters and make them do whatever I want them to do be it good, bad or even evil. I can make them love, hate or even kill them off, horribly if I want. And all of that comes from nothing other than my imagination. How can anyone not find that exciting?

That, in essence, is exactly what I’m facing at the moment. For having just completed work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy, today I start work on a new novel.

It’s a thriller I’ve been planning for a while and having read over the numerous notes I’ve made over the last few years, it’s going to be great fun to work on.

Blank page… don’t be frightened of it, love it. It’s everything any writer could ever want.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, burlesque

Despite being over 18 years old, The Crew and Top Dog continue to sell well with the former continuing to inhabit the #1 slot on its Amazon chart. Indeed the new book will bring the character of Billy Evans right up to date and if I say so myself (although I don’t because my beta readers have told me) it’s a cracker. I’ll have news of publication dates as soon as my publisher lets me know!

Finally, thanks to everyone who continues to contact me about Wings of a Sparrow which also continues to do well in both paperback and eBook formats. Having recently sold the film rights, I’m seriously hoping that we’ll soon see it make the leap to the big screen.

screenwriter, screenwriting, author, self-publishing, green street, top dog, british film, gangsters, the krays, hooligans, collymore, troll, trolling

 

Why writing your endings first can solve your plotting problems.

panster, writing, screenplay, authorThe other day, I mentioned the subject of pantsting and have had a number of mails asking me what it’s all about.

In essence, pantsting is a method of writing where you put together the very basics of a plot and then just run at it. Or to put it another way, you write by the seat of your pants.

This is generally the method I use for all my projects be they book or script because as I have previously mentioned, the majority of them are sparked off by ideas I’ve had for endings. As a consequence, everything else is about getting the characters to a point I already have firmly fixed in my mind (or indeed, will almost certainly have developed and written to the point where it will remain pretty much untouched right through to the end of the process) and so I can make their journey as simple or as complicated as I want.

Of course, as the journey unfolds and my characters begin to take on lives and personalities of their own, I will invariably get to the point where I’ll have to go back to the beginning and start again but this isn’t as bad as it sounds. For by the time I’ve finished what would be classed as a first draft, I’ve probably rewritten most of it at least three or four times and have characters which are reasonably well formed.

That usually means it’ll be good enough to send to an independent reader for some feedback and for someone like me who hates rewriting scripts without notes, that really is a god send!

But, as mentioned previously, no matter how many rewrites I go through, the ending will always remain pretty damn close to the one that originally sparked off the idea. For as anyone with any sense knows, when it comes to thrillers, endings are always the most important part of all!

My next book will be the third book in The Crew/Top Dog trilogy and  should hit the shelves later this year.

It’s a hairs breath from being finished and is a cracker, even if I say so myself (which I don’t, because a few people have already read through the opening chapters and they’re saying that as well!)

 

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolIn the meantime, my numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

@dougiebrimson