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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Podcast shortlisted for the 2016 Blog Awards

Good news - The UK Scriptwriters Podcast has been shortlisted in the Podcast / Vlogger category of the 2016 UK Blog Awards.

Which is really just an excuse to listen to some classic podcasts from the past! You know it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Podcast Episode 52: Tony Jordan

In this special podcast Danny Stack and I talk to UK TV writing legend, Tony Jordan. WATCH OUT FOR THE BAD LANGUAGE if that's not your bag as Tony has some strong views on how TV works or rather doesn't always work!

In the podcast we talk about:

  • Being a writer / producer and taking control of your own career
  • The Red Planet prize and why he continues to support it
  • His writing method - which is unusual!
  • Life on Mars, Dickensian and Moving Wallpaper.
There's still time to enter the Red Planet Prize (just about) here -

Tony also wrote the foreword for our book, which is out now via Amazon.

Any issues - click on the pic below to go to the homepage of the podcast.

Tony Jordan Red Planet

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Podcast Episode 51: From fan to writer, Mad Max:Fury Road

In this special podcast Danny Stack and I talk to one of the co-writers of Mad Max: Fury Road - Brendan McCarthy. Brendan is not your typical writer, which is why what he said totally resonated with me. He is an artist and designer too. He tells stories through pictures - which is what films, especially action films, should be. So I would describe him as a 'visual storytelling' expert and advocate.

Do not listen to this podcast if you have not seen the new Mad Max and you intent to soon. Brendan is open about talking about the whole of the story and the process, including the conclusion and third act. 

Here's the trailer to remind you of the film and its powerful imagery:

In the podcast we talk about:

  • How Brendan moved from being a fan of the early Mad Max films into working on the new one
  • Why Fury Road took 17 years to make
  • What happened when Mel Gibson was no longer attached and how that effects the story
  • The 'weight' that actors bring to the story
  • How working on comics and design fed into films
  • How he doesn't fit into a convenient box meaning some people struggle on how to 'sell him'

And we also talked about the role of women in the film, which has caused some discussion on line. Here's a short featurette that explores that more.

If you want to find out more about Brendan then here's his page -
And here's another interview he did recently, text based!

Any issues - click on the pic below to go to the homepage of the podcast.

Monday, January 04, 2016

4K feature film edit workflow - how to edit 4K in Premiere via proxies

Last year I edited a feature film, all shot on BMPC4K, in ProRes HQ. It's called Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? and you can see more, including the trailer, at

So with that set, there was a lot of footage to store. Also, to share the workload and speed things up we had 3 editors. This caused a bit of pondering about how to do it. I talk about our solution here...

This is just our method, based on the experiences of other film makers we know. Would be good if people had other methods they think are better! If so, share in the comments!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Christmas movie 2015 - "7 top tips to getting the present YOU want"

YES! Its time for my Christmas movie. 

This year it is a sneaky and devious one, for kids! “7 TOP TIPS TO GETTING THE PRESENT YOU WANT”

Watch above, or via this link -

This continues my tradition of making a silly little short film every year instead of sending out cards. So I hope you enjoy it. This time I roped in fellow Nelson Nutmeg folks Danny Stack & Shaune Fradley and then we totally trashed the house of Loretta Walsh (who plays Billie in Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg) so apologies to her and her parents.

Some other, lesser, highlights of the year include... 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The 7 Cornerstones to Surviving as a Writer

1 – Be in it for the long term

Writing a feature takes time. Writing a TV episode is a lot of work. Even a good short film isn’t something you can just bang out. It normally takes four or five pieces of work before a writer finds their original voice. Becoming a good writer isn’t a fast process. We’re talking about years, not months. It takes time to build your network, to get experienced at pitching, to weave excellent loglines and outlines. Whichever way you look at it, becoming a good, profitable writer in a short space of time is unlikely.

2 – It’s a small industry

The industry’s huge, right? Impenetrable and overwhelming, yes? After all, there are thousands of people constantly trying to get their break, not to mention thousands already working within the system.
In terms of finding the right people to work with, the industry thrives on referrals and recommendations. For the new writer, this means it’s important to make a good impression, no matter whom you meet or where and when you meet them. This is actually a small industry. Reputations count. 

3 – There is no “inside”

The “big break” mentality is a fallacy. It can force you to think of the industry as a ring-fenced citadel with you on the outside and “them” on the inside. They’ve got everything and you’ve got nothing – and if only they recognised your talent, they would invite you in, too.
The industry is just a collection of people trying to get by, just like you. They don’t have secret meetings about keeping people out. If you focus on individuals within the system rather than imagining a big industry citadel with a single key, you’ll be better off.

4 – Do it your way, today

Don’t spend too long comparing yourself to others. Their path to success won’t be the same as yours. Sure, pick up some tips and inspiration, but everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s motivations come from a different heart. Everyone has their own voice.
Don’t think: “Well, Richard Curtis built his career by steps 1, 2, 3 – I will do the same.” His career grew out of his life; it was built up from his contacts, and the people he worked with strengthened it. Your life, contacts and colleagues are, and will be, different. Use what you have.

5 – Don’t wait to be invited

Too many writers wait to be invited. They seek permission to be a writer. They ask agents to let them be writers. They enter competitions to win the right to be seen as a writer. They beg producers: “Please let me write something that you can then own.”
Instead, what if all that effort was used to actually make something: to do your own work, to produce your own short film, to write something that doesn’t need a lot of money to make, to team up with other people at your level? 

6 – Life is not a meritocracy

The best people don’t always rise to the top. The best scripts don’t always win competitions. The best writer doesn’t always get the gig. Who decides what “best” means anyway? And are they the best person to do it? And on it goes.
When things go right, it’s often because of hard work and talent. But luck plays a part, too. Don’t forget that. You can learn to work harder, improve your skills, and develop new techniques. Luck is just luck, there’s not much you can do about that. It’s important to put things in perspective and stick to what matters most: your writing and your career.

7 – Think about things from the other side

Producers, execs and script editors are busy people, with constant demands on their time. If you contact them hoping to solicit a script request or get some work, then put yourself in their shoes and try to examine your approach from their point of view.
Do you have a script that’s relevant to the type of film or show they like to make? Have you researched their credits and background? Are you making a generic cold call just looking for a break? Why should the producer/exec/script editor care? What’s different about you? Why should they reply to your email or take your call? Think about what they want, and how you can respond to their needs and routine.

BONUS – The good news

Writing stories for any medium is the best job in the world. Before a writer comes along, there’s nothing. There’s a blank sheet of paper or, at best, some scrappy notes. When you hand over a script, there’s a world inhabited by original characters involved in dramatic and funny situations. It’s very, very cool, and it’s all thanks to the writer.


This is an extract from the recent book, UK Scriptwriters Survival Handbook which was co-authored by Danny Stack and I. These 7 cornerstones are our favourite part of the first chapter, which is why we are sharing it here.

Short cut link to Amazon =

Thursday, November 19, 2015

4K Light Leak Wipes - free to download

Here is my latest 4K light leak - or actually a set of 4 in one download!! As ever, available for free (and also you can watch it it in 4K / UHD on YouTube) via Creative Commons, details below.

I collect all my light leaks on a special page where there are MORE FREE DOWNLOADS, so bookmark it. So far, as I upload this, they have been downloaded well over 333,000 times! And used in TV shows on NatGeo, Discovery and BBC1.

This new one has is a set of four light leak wipes. All different in style, but all max out at pure white allowing for a transition or cut to occur underneath.

You can choose different speeds and reverse them to create different looks too.

Download here (166MB) -

If you are using these clips for a commercial project with a budget then get in touch. I make the leaks free for non-commercial use (short films etc). Creative Commons details on the main page.

If HD leaks are of interest to you (under the same conditions) then I have loads here.

If you want to do me a favour because of all this cool stuff - that would be great too. Cheers. A few suggestions...

If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount via the button below...