Category Archives: screenwriting

Screenwriting – Why you should take notice of dreams.

script, screenwriting, screenplays, author, writing, kindle, amazon, ebooks, self publishing, top dog, green street,As a writer, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is how I get my ideas.

This is of course, a perfectly reasonable question and my standard answer is always the same. I don’t get ideas for stories, I get ideas for endings. For me, as anyone who has read The Crew or Top Dog will know, it’s all about the last few pages or the last ten minutes and everything else is about getting the reader or viewer to that point.

Recently however, I found myself the recipient of an idea. It came courtesy of my subconscious and was delivered in the form of a dream. Yes, that’s right. I woke up with a fully formed three-act outline in my head.

Now this would be great if I’d gone to bed thinking about the relevant subject matter or had eaten cheese on toast before retiring but this came entirely out of left field. It’s not even in my usual genre, or anywhere close to it. But so vivid was it that I wrote it down and then mailed it to my agent for comment.

His response was almost immediate and the upshot is that I had this dream four weeks ago today and this afternoon, mailed him a first draft of the script. All being well, this will be in front of an eager studio boss ahead of our meeting next week.

Watch this space.

screenplay, independent, film, writer, gangster, murder, As I mentioned the other day, We Still Kill The Old Way is released on December 26th.

This will be my second movie of 2014 which is not to be sniffed at although if all goes to plan, that number will be bettered in 2015. Anyway, if you fancy it -and why wouldn’t you?- you can click here to pre-order.

Finally, the vast majority of my titles are now available in ebook format with the majority either free or just 99p to download. The full listing can be found here.

 

screenwriting, writing, author, indie film, self publishing, green street, top dog, 

 

My name is Dougie Brimson and I’m a Pantser!

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

In essence, pantsing 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, actually written) 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!

It may or may not have escaped your attention that I’ve failed to release a single book this year. Given that I’d planned to publish two including the sequel to Billy’s Log, this is incredibly disappointing.

On the plus side, I have written four very strong screenplays and one of those is within a hairs breath of being green lit (indeed, we may even get the nod this very week) and am two thirds through a script which has taken me into a whole new genre. I’ve also been involved with another project which, if it comes off, will be quite amazing to develop and with any luck, we’ll have a clear path set up by the end of the month.

More news on these will be forthcoming as soon as I’m allowed to make it public but suffice to say, it’s quite an exciting time.

screenplay, independent, film, writer, gangster, murder, One of my other scripts was of course, We Still Kill The Old Way which is released on December 26th. The reviews thus far have been amazing and everyone has high hopes for it. Indeed, I hear a sequel is already in the offing so do yourself a favour and click here to pre-order.

Finally, the vast majority of my titles are now available in ebook format with the majority either free or just 99p to download. The full listing can be found here.

I can also announce that the ebook version of Rebellion: The Growth of football’s protest movement, is on the way!

Things That Annoy Me (Part 6 – Waiting)

waiting, writing, screenwriting, author, ebooks, film I am, by nature, something of a fatalist. To me, everything really does happen for a reason and if something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen no matter what I do.

Now holding such a belief might infer that I am religious but this is far from the case as I’m actually quite anti-religion but that another topic for another time. I am instead someone who prefers to let life unfold as I pass through it whilst at the same time doing my best to make sure that I do my bit to help it along. For that reason, I am also an optimist -I think one has to be if you work in the creative world- although occasionally, that optimism has been tested to its very limit. Yet no matter what knock backs I’ve suffered (and there have been plenty) I’ve always remained convinced that one day, it will all come together. At which point I will almost certainly retire!

Being an optimistic fatalist is, apparently, quite an unusual approach to life and is even considered something of a contradiction in certain circles but I have never really understood why. To me it’s a perfectly natural combination and certainly more preferable than being a pessimistic fatalist! How depressing would that be?

Of course being an OF has both an upside and a downside. The upside is that one never needs to worry about anything. After all, if you genuinely believe that something is going to happen no matter what you do, why worry about it? Instead, just roll with what unfolds. The downside is that for exactly the same reason, one can easily become incredibly lazy. And sadly, in spite of the fact that I have just started a new screenplay based on a fabulous premise, I have begun to feel myself slipping back into that zone.

The reason, I suspect, is that having worked my nuts off in recent months, I have so many projects out and about with different publishers, producers and production companies that it’s begun to dawn on me that when the call comes to green-light something, I’ll be expected to drop everything else and deliver it as soon as is possible.

And whilst that is a great position to be in, given that the OF in me is telling me that that call is coming soon, I am starting to wonder if I really should be pumping any more stuff out which is I know, a ridiculous way to think!

So here’s the deal; I’ll give myself a kick up the arse and get this screenplay finished and if you are the person mulling over a manuscript or screenplay with my name on the front, you get on and make your mind up. Just make the decision a good one.

You could always try following my lead and trusting to fate. It really does work you know.

Note: I also believe that what goes around comes around although I think that’s more of a hope than a belief because if it doesn’t, I’m going to have to start dealing with those on my shit-list personally and quickly.

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Top Dog, green street, audiobook, hooligans, hooliganism, krays, gangs, ganster

I’m delighted to tell you that the audio version of Top Dog is now available to download by clicking on the picture to the left.

It’s been narrated by Karl Jenkinson who has done a brilliant job and joins the film, the paperback and the ebook to give a clean sweep for this title which is something of which I’m justly proud.

In other news, my next movie, We Still Kill The Old Way is heading for release in December and can not be pre-ordered on Amazon. Unfortunately, I still haven’t seen any of it yet but the trailer can be viewed here and that looks great!

top dog, green street, gangs, gangsters, UK film, indie film, hooligans, danny dyer, eastenders, sothcott, martin kemp, spandau ballet, ebooks, amazon, kindle, ibooks 

The Falklands War – My guilty secret.

argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierNormally, at around 4.00 in the afternoon, my writing life will be dominated by one of two things.

If I’m in writing mode, it’ll be the sounds of Bjork in my headphones and if I’m in skiving mode it’ll be some crap TV show like Come Dine With Me or Deal or No Deal as a lounge on the sofa.

Recently however, I have discovered the delights of Simon Mayo on Radio 2 and having been listening to his excellent ‘Confessions’ slot, I have been inspired to confess something of my own. Not because I feel guilty about it and need forgiveness, but because I just feel the time is right to get it off my chest. So here goes…

In 1982, whilst a young, impressionable and innocent Corporal, I was dispatched to Ascension Island as a part of the Royal Air Force detachment involved with the South Atlantic Task Force. For those who do not know, Ascension Island is a volcanic rock in the middle of the South Atlantic. It’s hot, windy and dusty which can make things extremely uncomfortable when you’re living in tents and what with that and the huge amount of aircraft movements taking place, sleep was at a premium during the day.

More importantly, the island is home to a beautiful and very long runway which meant that it provided the perfect operational hub for the men and equipment being put together to repel the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands. As a consequence, by the time I arrived, at around the same time as the first British ships heading for war, it was somewhat busy.

Now, my job will remain secret for reasons which would be obvious if you knew what they were but suffice to say, my shift pattern was 24 on, 24 off. Unfortunately, the ‘on’ portion involved my sergeant and I remaining both awake and alert which whilst fine at first, was not fine after about a week. Zombies comes close.

As a consequence, we began a rota where one would snatch sleep whilst the other remained awake rushing awake doing the work of two men. This worked well for a few days until it all went horribly wrong. Or to be more specific, I cocked it up.

It’s fair to say that being on an active and very busy airfield during time of war is extremely exciting but as you can imagine given our location, the facilities left something to be desired. And by facilities, I mean specifically, toilets.

This was fine for ‘number one’s’ but when the body placed additional demands on you (if you get my drift) you needed an actual toilet. And let’s face it, I wasn’t in the Army, I was in the RAF so our much higher standards meant that we couldn’t just ‘go’ anywhere! 

Unfortunately, the toilets for us lowly airmen were about half a mile away and consisted of what are known universally as ‘long drops’. These being basically long planks of wood with holes cut in them. I will leave you to work out the rest but to say they leave a lot to be desired is an understatement. Especially at 3.00 in the morning when it is pitch black.

war, falklands, ascension, RAF, royal air forceHowever, within one hundred yards of my building on the side of the aircraft pan were four chemical toilets of the sort you see at music festivals and on building sites. The problem for me was that these were specifically for officers, pilots and aircrew and we oikes had been expressly forbidden to use them under pain of disciplinary action. Indeed, so serious was this threat that they were actually surrounded by barbed wire with a small gap providing the only entrance.

As you can imagine, toilet envy became a huge factor in our lives. Something exacerbated by what I can only describe as  the habit of ‘showing off’ by those eligible to use them.

Well, at some ungodly hour of the morning during one particular shift, I was, to be blunt, caught short. With the airfield reasonably quiet and my sergeant fast asleep under his desk, I took the decision that rather than wake him and endure my long walk to the long drops, I would risk it. My thinking being that not only would I be away from my desk for a shorter period but I would obtain a small victory for junior ranks everywhere by taking a dump in the officers bogs. Such victories are, after all, what the British Forces are based on.

So within minutes, I’d crept out of the building and in full SAS mode, has slunk through the darkness across the extremely crunchy volcanic ash and was sitting comfortably doing what came naturally.

Inevitably, after two or three minutes I heard footsteps approaching and it suddenly struck me that I could soon find myself in serious trouble. I was after all, disobeying a direct order. But just as importantly, so could my sergeant who was at the very moment blissfully unaware that I wasn’t actually there holding what should have been a very secure fort whilst he was fast asleep on active duty. Being one of the most serious offences in the military, had he been caught he would almost certainly have faced a court martial which could well have resulted in a prison sentence and demotion if not even dismissal from the service. We were after all, at war.

As all this ran through my brain, all I could do was sit and hope to goodness that the fast approaching officer would not even try the locked door to my cubicle (something which might well have led to him asking who was in there) but would simply enter one of the three empty cubicles thus allowing me time to escape.

It was at this point that I noticed that I had neglected to lock said door and even as I reached for it, it swung open to reveal a very senior officer silhouetted against the South Atlantic sky.

As he took a step forward, I suddenly realised that it was so dark inside that he hadn’t actually seen me sitting there and so all I could to was shout ‘BOO!’ at which point he let out a high pitched scream, turned and ran back at high speed toward the collection of portacabins which formed the operations centre.

Within seconds I was sprinting after him and made it through the gap in the barbed wire just as an alarm went off and all hell broke loose.

By the time I made it back to the safety of my building, the first of the armed patrols had arrived as rumours spread that the very real fears of an Argentine Special Forces attack on the airfield had been realised.

It was some hours before things calmed down and an investigation began into what had caused such a flap. Of course, being the closest building to said toilets, suspicions that the culprit was close to home soon centred on yours truly but my vehement denials as well as my sergeants assertions that I had not left our office at any time meant that I escaped unpunished.

A few days later, the first shots were fired down South and the incident was forgotten but it has stuck with me ever since and the time has now come to put my hands up.

Not because I almost gave a senior officer a coronary or caused him a degree of embarrassment (after all, he screamed like a little girl and ran away) or because numerous police and soldiers ended up sending hours scouring the locality looking for non existent invaders, but because of my sergeant.

For not only did I almost cost him a twenty year career, his pension and a spell in military prison, but he spent the next five weeks terrified of shutting his eyes whilst we were on duty in case I actually did drop him in it. Mind you, that did mean I got all the sleeping time.

So sorry Tim. I hope you’ll be pleased to know I feel much better for getting that off my chest.

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football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watford

My latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow  is available in ebook and paperback format from either Amazon or iTunes.

The audio version of Top Dog is now available to download via the link and joins the ebook, paperback and movie to make the clean sweep of all platforms! Not too shabby if I say so myself.

And speaking of movies’, my next project will hopefully be announced at some point over the next month. It’s going to be a cracker.

RAF, army, military, forces, hooligan, british film, top dog, green street, self publishing, manchester united, liverpool, sex, maggie thatcher, veteran, UKIP, tory Argentina

The rise of UKIP and the one fact people seem to be avoiding.

219c1-politicalcorrectness1It’s not often I’ll blog on the subject of politics because generally speaking, I’ve no real interest in debating my personal beliefs with other people.

However, as a Falklands veteran I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m a fan of Lady Thatcher nor that I hate the left with a passion. Nor have I hidden the fact that whilst I always voted Tory, that changed the day they took the shameful and ill thought out decision to scrap the Harrier and replace it with… well, nothing yet.

To many of course, my love of Mrs T marks me out as some kind of raving Nazi/homophobe/racist/rapist/child molester/tax evader/bigot* (*delete as appropriate) which is fine. This is after all a democracy despite what many seem to think and so we are all entitled to opinions. However, recently something has happened which has piqued my interest. It involves, not surprisingly, the rise of UKIP as a political force.

Now I’m sure you’ve read the papers and watched the news recently so you won’t need me to tell you what’s been going on and you will also have no doubt seen that the reaction from both left and right has been predictably rabid.

Yet to me, something fundamental is going on here. For when I watch the news and see members of the public being interviewed about why they have (or intend to) tick the UKIP box on the ballot sheet, they all seem to have one thing in common and it’s a thing no one seems to be noticing; they’re almost universally either middle aged or elderly.

Of course, the lunatic left make the argument that another thing these people have in common is that they’re almost all white and therefore, must be racist. An accusation which is not only laughable, but offensive for fairly obvious reasons. Indeed, some of the things I’ve seen written about the average UKIP voter borders on hysteria. One tweeter even told me in all seriousness that she believed that UKIP was underpinned by members of the EDL, the BNP and Combat 18. Madness.

However, by being so quick to wield the racism card (always their favoured weapon of suppression) against the very people who were building this country in the days when multiculturalism was barely even a word let alone a concept, what the loons fail to realise is that they are actually reinforcing the very reason why so many British citizens are embracing what Farage & Co are saying. And every time they attack those same people for being little Englanders, out of touch, old fashioned, homophobic, Islamophobic or anything else they care to throw out, they simply hammer another nail into their increasingly redundant argument because the simple truth is that the silent majority are sick and tired of being on put on the defensive whilst being forced to listen to lie after lie whilst watching their lifelong efforts being dismissed and their taxes squandered. Just as importantly, they are tired of sitting and watching whilst this once great nations history and traditions are being eroded and our inbred sense of tolerance and fair play abused.

Or to put it another way, UKIP have finally provided the platform for a long suppressed but increasingly discontented middle England to stir and cry enough is enough. And about bloody time too.

I don’t agree with everything UKIP stand for but I make no apology for the fact that I think they are a long overdue breath of fresh air to British politics and if, as seems likely, they’re going to give the established parties a kick up the arse if not a bloody nose, then they’ve got my vote.

Because if the political system in this country has been screaming out for one thing, it’s exactly that. 

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football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpool

My comedy novel, Wings of a Sparrow seems to be creating a bit of a buzz film wise which, given that it started out as a film script, is quite exciting.

Hopefully, I’ll have some news on that very soon as well as of another project which if anything, is even more exciting as it’s very close to being greenlit.

Speaking of which, my next movie is close to being announced and with We Still Kill The Old Way doing well, it certainly is an exciting times!

 

 

ukip, tory, labour, liberal left, politics, conservatives, cameron, millband, farage, EU, europe, football, soccer, hooligan, gang, uk film, britain, england, election

A writers life. The agony of waiting.

writing, screenwriting, author, self publishing, filmThose who know me will be well aware that I am by nature, lazy. To me, all work is hard work and any effort, an effort.

As a consequence, when I see either my work, effort or time being wasted, I find it irritating. When I know from the outset that they are all going to be discarded and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, I find it galling. And by galling, I mean f***ing annoying.

Sadly, that’s bog standard when it comes to screenwriting. I write a script and hand it over to someone else dripping with my sweat and blood and they then tear it apart. This is wrong, that’s wrong, more of this, less of that. It’s too long, it’s too short, we need a stronger character, do we really need a stock car racing scene, we’d never get Jennifer Anniston to do that, etc, etc, etc.

I listen to this, absorb it all, sulk for a while, admit they are right (usually) and so begin rewriting. When that’s done, I hand it over and the cycle is repeated until such time as everyone is happy or I tell them to stick it.

Whilst ultimately I accept that this process is a necessary evil if you want to get the very best you can on screen, the fact remains that for the writer it can be painful and often humiliating. Indeed, as I’ve said many times, if you can’t take criticism, don’t write and that’s never more true than when developing a script.

However, it is not the worst part of life as a screenwriter. Oh no, not by a long chalk. The worst part is the waiting.

You see I can hammer out a first draft in anywhere between three and four weeks and rewrite most things in under two. If the notes are minor, I can have the changes done in as little as an hour but certainly within 24. That’s what I do, it’s how I work.

Now I don’t think it unreasonable to expect that same level of commitment from whoever asks me to do that work but more often than not, I am disappointed. Indeed it’s not unknown for me to have to wait a week for a response to something which was apparently so urgent that I’d been asked if not told to drop everything and do it immediately. In one instance, so apparently desperate was the rewrite that I was made to feel guilty for going to watch Watford (on a Saturday!) rather than do the work although oddly, even after working through the night to deliver it, it took three days for them to get back to me.

Annoying… oh yes. Will I ever get used to it? Never. Will I end up killing? Possibly.

Recently however, even the agony of waiting for notes or feedback has lessened. Primarily because it has been replaced by the agony of waiting for something else. Decisions.

Now you would think after 18 years as a writer I’d be used to waiting for a yes or no on a project and having been along Commissioning Street many times, I thought I was. But this time it’s different. This time it’s not only big deal, but big league. And it’s not just one decision, it’s two, possibly even three. And it’s so close I can smell it.

So now, waiting isn’t about wasted time or effort and knowing I’ve got work coming back to me, it’s about potentially life changing phone calls or the abject desolation of rejection.

And if you want to know how that feels, just imagine checking your lottery numbers, realising you’ve got all of them and then not being able to find the ticket… the day before you have your driving test and just after your 16 year old daughter has told you she’s been knocked up by the local scumbag. That’s pretty close to how I’ve been feeling for the last two weeks. 

To compound things, the pressure of waiting means I can’t concentrate on anything else so days which should be productive are instead wasted trawling the internet searching for obscure motorcycles, watching video’s of morons who are seemingly intent on killing themselves or pissing about on Twitter. Things which more often than not, result in my getting told off for prevaricating or feeling guilty for not actually filling any pages with text.

It’s as vicious a circle as you’d ever want to endure.

Waiting. Yes, it’s an absolute bloody delight.

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Top Dog, green street, audiobook, hooligans, hooliganism, krays, gangs, ganster

I’m delighted to tell you that the audio version of Top Dog is now available to download by clicking on the picture to the left.

It’s been narrated by Karl Jenkinson who has done a brilliant job and joins the film, the paperback and the ebook to give a clean sweep for this title which is something of which I’m justly proud.

In other news, my next movie, We Still Kill The Old Way was shown to a selected group last week and was apparently well received. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of it yet so I can’t really comment but I’m sure, given the quality of the cast involved, that it’ll be awesome.

More information on that can be found by clicking right here.

top dog, green street, gangs, gangsters, UK film, indie film, hooligans, danny dyer, eastenders, sothcott, martin kemp, spandau ballet, ebooks, amazon, kindle, ibooks 

From novel to screen – The joy of adaptation.

manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordWith Top Dog heading for release on Monday, the PR machine has been running at full speed and one question which has repeatedly cropped up is how I found the process of adapting my own novel for the screen.

Rather than go into it all here, I’ll point you in the direction of an article I wrote for PureMovies.com which not only goes into it in some depth, but also talks about how the movie actually came about.

Thankfully, the screenings thus far have gone really well and everyone seems more than happy which is all I could hope for. But now comes the really important bit and that’s the public reaction so if you fancy a look and haven’t ordered a copy, you can do so via Amazon. Either that or simply head down to your local DVD/Blu-ray retailer early next week.

All being well, the reissued paperback will be not far behind as copies have already rolled off the presses. That can also be ordered online via Amazon or if you can’t wait and fancy the eBook version, that can be downloaded right here right now for the princely sum of £1.99p! It’s also available via iBooks of course.

kill, indie, british film, hooligans, krays, violence, gangsAway from Top Dog, work on We Still Kill The Old Way is almost complete with the final scenes being shot in Spain early next week. I visited the set a couple of times and have to say that there was a real buzz amongst everyone that something really special is coming together.

It’s a great script, the crew are fabulous and it’s being helmed by an excellent director in Sacha Bennett but the really exciting thing about this project is the amazing cast we have working on it. A cast which includes legendary names such as Ian Ogilvy, James Cosmo, Chris Ellison, Steven Berkoff and Lysette Anthony as well as a raft of brilliant young actors led by Danny-Boy Hatchard and Danni Dyer.

If that lot doesn’t get your juices flowing, nothing will. You’re going to have to wait for a few months yet but believe me, it will be worth it.

Exciting times.

 

 green street, top dog, martin kemp, elijah wood, hooligans, gangs, violence, crime writing, indie film, writing, screenwriting, leo gregory, brimson, 

The Folly of David Moyes.

manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordIt cannot possibly have escaped your attention that Manchester United sacked their manager David Moyes this week. Similarly, it cannot have escaped your attention that he has been replaced by Ryan Giggs.

I say it cannot have escaped your attention because it has quite simply dominated the news all week. Never mind events in the middle east, sinking ferries, missing aircraft, the forthcoming European elections, the launch of the Top Dog trailer, etc, etc, etc, the dismissal of a football manager from his multi-million pound job has been the main talking point on TV and in print. God only knows what it’s been like on TalkSport!

Now, the fact that this story is deemed of such importance that it demanded six whole minutes as the lead story on the BBC TV evening news feeds into all kinds of debates, many of which may or may not have occurred to you.

For example, the mere mention of a bankers bonus sends the nation into a rage yet the fact that a football manager who has been sacked from his job is handed a reported £7,000,000 payoff (which equates to over £137,000 for each of the games played during his short tenure. And that’s on top of what he’s already been paid) seemingly passes by without a murmur. Why? Is there really any difference between the two? After all, the money ultimately comes from exactly the same place. 

However, this blanket news coverage also brings back into focus an issue which has long been a source of some irritation to me. It’s this inference that we care. And by we, I mean those of us who don’t follow Manchester United. 

The media of course, think we do. They think that following football means that we must, simply must have all eyes firmly fixed on the top end of the professional game and that because as both a club and a global brand, Manchester United are so immense, events at Old Trafford must have us all on the edge of our seats. But they are wrong, very wrong. Because the truth is that other than a passing interest (accompanied by the odd wry smile) the vast majority of us don’t give a shit.

But worse than that, by bombarding us with blanket news of one club, they are being disrespectful because they infer that the achievements of Burnley, Brentford, Wolves, Everton and even Liverpool, or the fears of clubs such as Norwich, Yeovil, Millwall or Torquay are the less important. And they are not. To the people who follow those clubs, they are all they care about.

Yes, Manchester United are a great club and obviously they are news. But that’s all they are to me, news. Because my club are Watford and I care more about the construction of our new stand, the issue of Troy Deeney and the identity of the nutter who inhabits the Harry The Hornet costume than I do about what goes on in M16.

And the truth is, I always will. 

manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordAs the release of Top Dog approaches, I’m being bombarded with requests for news of premiers, screenings, Q&A sessions and all sorts of other stuff.

Without wishing to be evasive, the truth is that I can’t answer any of those questions at the moment because I don’t actually know anything. What I can tell you is that the Universal PR machine is hard at work and as soon as things are confirmed, then they will be revealed. Therefore the best thing I can suggest is that you follow the movie on either Facebook or Twitter.

And on the subject of Top Dog, if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, please click right here!

Finally, filming We Still Kill The Old Way is due to start on May 5th. Casting is still underway and it’s fair to say that we have some cracking names in the major roles.

News of those should be confirmed this coming week so please keep an eye on Twitter for details.

Oh, and if you want to buy the odd book, that would be nice! I’ve written a few you know and there’s more coming!

Exciting times!

manchester united, david moyes, ryann giggs, top dog, green street, british film, hooligan, krays, gangster, football, soccer, UKIP, Farage, sex, fetish, social media, twitter, facebook, 

Are you an author, a screenwriter or simply a writer?

writing, author, screenwriter, british film, football, hooligan, soccerYesterday, I made a comment that the difference between being an author and being a screenwriter is the same as the difference between an immaculate conception and an egg donation.

Now as someone who writes both novels and scripts, this is a fairly obvious and totally accurate statement yet for some reason it seemed to cause confusion in certain writing circles and it struck me that it might be worthwhile expanding on it a bit. So what follows is a slightly tongue-in-cheek guide to the essential difference between the creative processes involved with the two very different disciplines. 

As an author, when you write a novel, it is your baby. You sit, plot, write, edit, rewrite, edit again and then when you’re happy, you send it off to a publisher who more often than not, will be the first person to read it.

They will then come back with some comments to which your response will be to either reluctantly agree or to tell them to get stuffed. You then do a bit of polishing, send it off to a proper editor who, amongst other things, will fix your appalling grammar and then when everyone is happy, it heads off to print. 

Yet from concept to shelf or kindle, as the writer you retain pretty much total creative control and as such, the finished article remains in essence, all your own work. From that point on, it’s all about you. Have you ever seen a book publicised as ‘edited by….’? Of course not. 

It’s you who do the PR and you who get the accolades or the grief. Hence the immaculate conception. 

A screenplay is totally different because in terms of the creative process, you as the writer have very little power over what finally ends up on screen. Yes, you might well come up with the initial concept and you will certainly put the initial layer of flesh on the bones but generally speaking, your place is and always will be on the bottom rung of a very long development ladder. Indeed, a script will go through so many rewrites it might as well be written in pencil and it’s certainly safe to say that by the time it gets to the point when a director calls ‘action’, the shooting script will be very different from your initial draft

There are of course, very specific reasons for this be they creative improvements the director has made or something as mundane as location, cast or budget. Yet however much it might irritate you as the writer, everything is underpinned by one very simple fact and that is that everyone involved in the process wants to get the best thing on screen that they possibly can. 

And that is the key difference. For unlike a novel, a script is a true collaboration and your pages are usually the starting point. Or to use my original statement, the egg.

You see, simple. 

This is of course, totally different if you write a novel and then adapt it for the screen as I have just done with Top Dog. But that’s an entirely different subject which I will no doubt end up talking about in therapy one day!

writing, author, screenwriter, british film, football, hooligan, soccerMention of Top Dog leads me nicely into the latest news and that is that the release date for the DVD is 26th May. I’m also hoping that the novel will be reissued in print about the same time and that can be pre-ordered from Amazon but if you’re desperate, you can download it by clicking here.

There has been talk of a London premiere as well as some screenings and news of those will be posted on Twitter and Facebook as soon as the details are released.

Casting is currently underway on We Still Kill The Old Way with shooting due to start on May 5th. I’ve seen a provisional list and if even half of it comes off, it’ll be amazing!

Again, keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for details. 

Happy days indeed. 

 

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Author 1, Trolls 0.

I don't have one internet troll, I have loads! And did they pick on the wrong person!A little under 18 months ago, I wrote a blog about my experiences with some trolls on the Amazon forums. I won’t go into too many details (if you want to read the original post, it can by found here) but suffice to say, I was attacked by an organised  group and as is my way, I took them on.

Now this battle went on for some considerable time and dragged in all kinds of people including authors and websites the majority of whom were based in the US. However, central to it all and the person who became my nemesis, was a troll who hid behind the moniker of Anna Karenina.

Anna, like most trolls, was an attention and power seeker. Using multiple identities on all kinds of sites relating to both reading and self-publishing, she built up a powerful network of equally disturbed people whose sole remit was to destroy the confidence (and sales) of authors through the simple tactic of posting poisonous and even fake reviews of their work then slaughtering them if they responded. And by slaughtering, I mean abusing to the extent where some actually became suicidal.

How do I know that? Well not because they had any impact on me because I have a thick skin and besides, my market is the UK, not the US, but because I stood up to them. And by doing so I encouraged others to do likewise, albeit less vocally than I.

Together, a group of us went on the offensive and over a period of months, by putting together all kinds of seemingly unrelated snippets of information we eventually discovered Anna’s true identity as well as her place of work.   Yes, our Anna is a middle aged single woman who teaches second grade at a school in San Francisco. Yes, a teacher. And astonishingly, we also discovered that she carried out much of her trolling from the school whilst she was actually supposed to be teaching!

Now, at this point I stepped away from the fight primarily because the amount of time it was consuming was impacting on work. However, yesterday I took a fresh look to catch up on the latest news and lo and behold, it appears that queen troll has got her comeuppance. Not only have some of her victims and a number of high profile anti-troll campaigners been in direct contact with the school authorities complaining about her but a number of parents at the school have been made aware of events and are far from happy at the idea of their offspring being taught by such an obviously disturbed woman. Indeed, as far as I can tell, she is close to losing her job for contravening the schools policy regarding IT use. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her personal details have been spread all over the web which can’t be much fun.

Sympathy however, is in short supply from me. I’ve seen the kind of misery this woman created for people and if you believe in karma as I do, the worm turning on our ‘Anna’ is the very least she deserves.

.

Top Dog Film Poster 72In other news, as you may have seen if you are following things on either Facebook or Twitter, Top Dog will be released in DVD format on May 28th. You can pre order it by clicking here.

A number of people have asked me about cinema screenings as well as possible events surrounding the release and whilst I can confirm that there will indeed be some, I can’t as yet give you any details. Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter and all will be revealed!

Ahead of that, the end of April will see filming commence on the urban revenge thriller We Still Kill The Old Way which will again be produced by Jonathan Sothcott (Top Dog, Vendetta) and will be directed by Sacha Bennett who many people will know from the movie, Bonded by Blood.

I’ll post more about that over the next couple of weeks but if all goes to plan, it’s going to be an amazing experience and tremendous fun to work on!

These next few months are going to be quite something. Happy days indeed!

 

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