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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Christmas Film 2013 - An Actor Prepares



Yes, it is time for the annual Christmas film. Now in its 7th year already! As always, the self-imposed guideline is to shoot and edit within one working day and to pretty much make it up as I go along. I used to do it on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, but then everyone missed them. So now I do it a little bit earlier. You can see my efforts from previous via this YouTube playlist. This year, I present…


An Actor Prepares... for Christmas

Celebrated thespian Mitch Starr gives us a masterclass in yuletide pretence. If you are given a gift that is slightly lacking the mark, how can you 'act' delighted? Mitch shows us simple techniques to master this difficult dramatic problem. A valuable piece of training for the forthcoming days.

Thanks to Chris R Wright for playing the part of Mitch. You can see more from him here. If you don't like this year's film, obviously blame Chris. If you like it, thanks, it was my idea.

See you in 2014 for more films,
whatever their reason to exist!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Podcast Episode 34: Games



To celebrate the recent launch of the PS4 and XBoxOne we did a games special ourselves, over at the podcast. We delve into the world of writing for computer games and interactive entertainment in general.

Alongside Tim, in this Danny-free edition are:
  • Steve Ince (20 years writing games, stretching back to the original Broken Sword and In Cold Blood) 
  • Rudolf Kremers (independent producer at OmniLabs whose EufloriaHD comes out for PSVita tomorrow!)
  • Tony Lee (multi format writer who is best known for comics and books but who worked on games in his early days)

We talk about how to get into the business, how to start, the opportunities out there and how to go it alone and just make stuff.

This was recorded at the London Screenwriters Festival where we tried to find somewhere quiet and all get around the microphone. There was mixed success in this, so excuse the up and down levels.

Not very festive as a podcast, but fun and with wise words. Lastly, here's a trailer for Rudolf's game…

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Personal stories from real people



Earlier in the year I directed this promotional piece for the Money Advice Service - good guys who give free financial advice to folks who need it. So I was pleased to help them.

The idea was to let the people's stories do the work, to focus on them and their words. This was helped by decluttering the frame with this minimal set. Green is their main brand colour by the way and we matched the lighting gel to the colour guidelines.

I was keen to use a real backdrop, rather than using a keying effect. I think, again, to illustrate in a subliminal way that this was all real. On a practical level it also allowed us to build this set in different locations around the UK, yet edit between interviews seamlessly.

I like working in this way - and my only tip around it is to be prepared for a long edit as you are, in effect, writing the script in the edit suite. I know some people try to script what they want people to say. I think you can always tell when that is the case and this can cause more harm than good.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Podcast Episode 33: The Red Planet Prize




Danny is back with the Red Planet Prize, perhaps the best UK writing competition around at the moment. Once more they are seeking 60 minute TV dramas.

But we also talk about the BBC Writers' Room who have an open window right now for submissions, Video On Demand, and why writers could get more out of the London Screenwriters' Festival, something I touched on already in my recent post.

And remember folks; wise up and be normal.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Tim's alternative take on London Screenwriter's Festival, was it too good?

I enjoyed this year's London Screenwriters' Festival. But this post isn't about the great talks I went to or the top, top guests they had - and there were some amazing speakers this year, check out the list.

And, as always, these guests had some amazing and insightful craft advice, but this post isn't about that either.

This post is about the bits in-between the speakers, when the delegates get together. This post is about the empty bar I saw at 6:30. This post is about five trends that I've noticed as someone who has been to all the writer's festivals so far.

One: You probably know enough already
For most of the writers I met, maybe 75%, they know enough already. Of course, yes, we can all improve more or learn new ideas - and we must ensure we do that. But knowledge isn't the thing holding back those 75%. More craft won't unlock their careers in a big way. Why, because these writers know enough already, they just have to put that knowledge into action. If they never went to another talk about 'writing great dialogue' ever again they would be okay if had commissions coming in already. The dialogue in the commissioned scripts would be more than adequate. "Yeah, right", you say, "If I had lots of commissions coming in, I'd agree with you". If that is the case, then even more reason to stop focusing on developing your craft more, and start working on your networking more.

Two: Keep it social
Let's say you are one of those 75% I mentioned above, what does that mean? It means more knowledge of the craft isn't your priority. That isn't what is holding you back. Knowing more people is. Finding more opportunities is. Yet the festival location was dead a lot of the time. There were more writers in attendance than ever before. Normally you can walk around and see them, at any time of the day. Not this time. Why? Everyone was in the sessions. The best successes I've had at the festival have come from talking to people outside of the sessions. That is worth more. A lot more. It can be tempting to say "I've paid £300 and I must get good value". Point one, above, says that the best value you can get from the festival is in meeting the maximum number of people possible. Joe Eszterhas is entertaining, but he isn't going to give you work. The up and coming writer / producer sitting outside could.

Three: Business cards
Get yours made. Hand them out. Collect them from others. Remember to keep in touch with people afterwards. Everyone knows it. Few do it. Less this year than ever!

Four: Writers are better at constructing a pitch
Good news, as I've already observed, most writers know their stuff. So most writers know their craft well enough to be able to pull together a really good short outline of their project (whatever it is) and deliver it well, explaining the characters and structure in a sensible way.

Five: Writers are worse at delivering a pitch
Dudes, be normal. That's it. Just be one dude, telling another dude, about their story. Not, one obsessed writer brain dumping onto a poor frazzled producer who they see as Mr Piggy Bank like they are in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. You know your stuff, just be a normal person saying it.

Conclusion
Another awesome festival. I continue to recommend all writers to go if they can, every year. Here is an analogy; in dialogue, it is the words that are unspoken that can be the most powerful. In the same way, it is gaps between the events at the festival that can deliver the most value. I wonder if this year's sessions and speakers were almost too good!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Free to download - HD Plasma style background, blurred sea waves





This HD backdrop texture can be used as either a background for titles, or as a component to layer over other footage. It is constantly moving and morphing and makes a great alpha channel. Feel free of course to change the hue or gamma to suit. In reality this is a shot of waves breaking, shot at 50% speed.

You can download it in 1080p HD Quicktime format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/a8i7kt1677t2dln/PlasmaSea.mov

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more. If you use them for commercial projects then you should pay also...

Monday, October 07, 2013

Podcast Episode 32: Recently Graduated?




Coming to you 'live' from the middle of the Med, this episode Tim and Danny are joined by 3 people who are all at different stages of graduating and looking for work. Was the degree worth it? What kind of work are they looking for? What plans are they putting into place?

Apologies for the sound this month. This was recorded in a live environment and had to pick up all 5 of us, so a bit tricky.

If you fancy joining Tim in a Peartini, here's the recipe...

Ingredients:
1 ounce grey goose la poire flavored pear vodka
2 teaspoons simple syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup ice cube
2 slices pears (optional) 

Directions:
1 Place all ingredients in a martini shaker. 
2 Shake. 
3 Strain into a chilled martini glass. 
4 Garnish with sliced pears. 

 Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/peartini-213616?oc=linkback

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Kickstarter for my zombie comic - Dead Roots



Earlier in the year I had great fun helping to write a new comic. It's a zombie anthology called "Dead Roots" and I was new to both comic writing and new to zombies! So, I tried to do something a little different with it and I think my part of the collection of stories came out okay. Some of the other stories are far more thrilling and daring and from some serious pros! Check out some of the other writers...

Paul Alexander (Red Dwarf, My Parents are Aliens, Emmerdale), Eric Canete (Iron Man, Luke Cage, Superboy), Andrew Ellard (Red Dwarf, IT Crowd, Miranda), James Henry (Green Wing, Smack the Pony, Campus), James Moran (Doctor Who, Severance, Cockneys VS Zombies), Jason Arnopp (Doctor Who, Friday The 13th, Stormhouse) and Gordon Rennie (Judge Dredd, White Trash, Necronauts).

Proper writing peeps.

The final work has had a digital release and did look amazing on the iPad. But sometimes you just can't beat the proper, in-your-hands book. That's what this Kickstarter is about. It's probably less of a full on kickstarter and more of a pre-sale really as pledging only £20 gets you the book!

Check it out if you fancy it!

 

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Lego Trailer takes off!



Just been told by Amuzo that my Brain Attack trailer has been seen over 875,000 times. Which is great!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Real lens flare wipe - free HD download





A real light edge wipe, made by passing light through inch-thick glass. You can use it by compositing over your own wipes / transitions. There are several wipes in this one clip. Some go from white to white, some from black to white - this gives you the maximum flexibility in terms of using it with alpha effects. For even more options you can flip it, reverse it, mirror it etc.

You can download it in 1080p HD Quicktime format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/ala06q0vkx24edz/Light_Edge_Wipe.mov

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more. If you use them for commercial projects then you should pay also...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Classic 'film style' corner light leak





Light leak with a difference. These have a corner effect to help use as a wipe. maxing out to white - so ideal for compositions. They are in the style what you used to get on an old super 8 mm cine camera or 16mm film. With rotation / mirroring it can be any corner of course. Mixed with a lens flare on that corner, even better.

Created with a low level sun, near the Arctic Circle where you get the best light for these kind of effects.

You can download it in 1080p HD Quicktime format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/ozh9o5s5h92nnyc/film_style_corner_leaks.mov

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more. If you use them for commercial projects then you should pay also...

They read it, so you don't have to


If you haven't already checked it out, you may like to visit - www.readthrough.com

You upload your script and the site reads it out. Sure, Final Draft can kind of do that too but this site has more voices and some neat options such as turning off the action descriptions.

Even better, they can read out the script for you, using actors. ALL FREE. Fantastic.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Podcast Episode 31: A Book Special



This episode of the podcast myself and Danny Stack have a special guest; Mary Evans. Mary is a scriptwriter, but also has done a lot of research into self publishing books AND is also a writer for the TV Times.

It is in two halves really.
1 - How does writing prose and articles slot into the scriptwriting life?
2 - How can you self publish your own work?

Authors, Share Your Book with Millions of Readers
Some useful links...
Mary's advice page
Amazon's self publishing site (CreateSpace)
Smashwords - DIY publishing portal
Bookbaby - who can do it for you
Lulu - who can do it for you
Goodreads - for reviews

Monday, August 12, 2013

Arctic glass abstract backdrop - a tripping curving light leak - to download




The first two of these was very popular so here is a third kind - not for wipes, but to use as a backdrop. As before 3 things made up this light leak to create something so intricate.

1 - the sun from the Arctic Circle
2 - a copper parabolic dish
3 - handmade glass shape over the front of the camera, no lens.

The result - a dancing spiral light leak. It has a look of sub-atomic particle trails or plasma. Ideal as a background / backdrop / composite over titles or footage OR speed up for a crazy wipe!

You can download it in 1080p HD Quicktime format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/yb7a2yt245shgzb/ArcticGlass3.mov

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more. If you use them for commercial projects then you should pay also...

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

More "Arctic Glass" plasma-style curving line light leaks - with free download link




The last one of these was very popular so here is a second variation. As before 3 things made up this light leak to make it so intricate.

1 - the sun from the Arctic Circle
2 - a copper parabolic dish
3 - handmade glass shape over the front of the camera, no lens.

As before there are 4 different in this 1 clip. Each has a different hue and maxes out to white so you can use these as wipes / dissolves by compositing over your transitions.

You can download it in 1080p HD Quicktime format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/j44609bbfv9b330/ArcticGlass2.mov

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more. If you use them for commercial projects then you should pay also...

Monday, July 29, 2013

The greatest light leak so far - free HD download



Yes, its the start of a whole new set of light leaks. I'm calling these, unofficially, the Arctic leaks as they were created on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

3 things made up this light leak and made it so intricate.

1 - the sun from the Arctic Circle (I kid you not, its the best light for this kind of thing)
2 - a copper parabolic dish
3 - handmade glass shape over the front of the camera, no lens.

It gives it a very fluid, flowing style. Almost like vapor trails or like sub-atomic particle trails from an accelerator. Great for using as transitions in your edits, speed it up for a crazy effect! There are 4 different in this 1 clip.

You can download it in 1080p HD Quicktime format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/jddm3l3lkh4caif/ArcticGlass1.mov

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more. If you use them for commercial projects then you should pay also...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ultimate Sleeper Teaser

It has been a trend for films, games and TV series to give fans a chance to be full-on nerdy by hiding clues on line. Hey, without it, what else would fill up all those forums? They probably have a 'proper' name. I call them sleeper teasers. Embedded goodies to find, like sleeper agents sent into foreign countries to start a whole new life. Deep, deep, deep undercover.

Most of them pass me by. I get the intrigue of course but perhaps not enough to actually engage fully.
This one caught my eye. It is on the YouTube channel Pronunciation Book. This has been going since 2010 and has had 26m views. Why? Because it is a handy place that shows you how to say things that you're not sure of. Good Service. Here is a relevant example...


And here is another for you film and TV fans.


 And then one day it said this...

And then this...


3 years in the making? Or are YouTube on board with fake figures? As with all these things, the excitement can be undone in one swift move if the 'thing' in question is revealed to be dull.

Current web jibba jabba thinks it may be Half Life 3. Which is a bit exciting, but a sequel, so not that exciting.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Podcast Episode 30: A TV writing special



Danny just got back from the BBC Writers Room TV Drama Festival. He spoke to writers there for the podcast and we've included some of their thoughts in this episode. The topic is, of course, TV writing. Based on what he saw I asked Danny - is this a golden age for TV writers?

Note: we recorded this episode outside, apologies for the windy audio experience!

Monday, June 03, 2013

How to get your film funded in the UK

Film funding UK - a booklet on where to get script and film funds

As mentioned in the last podcast Danny has pulled together a list of film funders for the UK and I've tarted it up a bit! So here it is, the UK Scriptwriters guide to Funding in the UK.

Download it and use it and hopefully you can get your project off the ground one way or another.

If you can chip in a quid, dollar or euro - all the better. Our bandwidth costs for the podcast keep going up as it is becoming more popular with all you dedicated fellow scripters out there. Donate via this little button...

You can download the PDF here.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BBC Interactive Radio - new formats with new writing challenges

retro radio
New media writers may be interested in some of the new work being done by the BBC. Here is a short extract from the full article...


A radio that is able to change a broadcast depending on where you are and what you are doing has been demonstrated by the BBC. 
The Perceptive Radio, produced by the corporation's Future Media North Lab, is thought to be a world first. 
The team produced a computer-generated radio drama where the script altered depending on factors such as weather.

You can experience an online version of the techniques at - http://futurebroadcasts.com. But I found it only worked in Chrome.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Podcast Episode 29: Freelancing & Funding



A business focus to this episode of the podcast. In it, myself and Danny Stack talk about when and how (and if) to go full-time freelance and then about the different ways to get funding for your film project.

You can of course listen to the podcast via the player above. But if you want to make sure you don't miss an episode there are some easy ways to follow us.

Firstly, you can find us on iTunes and subscribe there.
Or follow us on Twitter
Or keep in touch via our Facebook page.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Miyazaki on why 'Hero and Villain' is not the only story dynamic

In the short comic below Ashley Allis has captured the philosophy of Hayao Miyazaki (writer / animator of My Neighbour Totoro etc) and adapted it in a short series of images.

It is a challenge to the hero / villain dynamic of writing. Instead challenging us to focus not on winning and losing or black and white, but instead on balance.

Miyazaki story


Good versus evil

good v evil

story structure of good and evil

Monday, May 20, 2013

Podcast Episode 28: the Tim free zone


Cool. A new podcast. This one is even better as I'm not in it. Actually it was a great experience to listen to the podcast as an outsider. I enjoyed it. I think it could be one of the best episodes so far as the discussion with Jo Ho ranges across writing skills, career advice and classic question of 'breaking in'. A return to flippant ramblings next time I'm sure.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Harry Potter and the Structure of Details


On this blog I often say that planning is as important as writing. Not more important - but as important.

Above is another example of that, this time from JK Rowling. The image (click it to enlarge) speaks for itself really. Planning doesn't need to be neat, it doesn't need to be fixed in stone, it doesn't need to be something you share with others. It's job is to keep you on the right track and to free your mind from plotting when you are doing the detailed writing.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Yoda Chronicles Trailer



Just a quick post. Here is a trailer I edited together for a new Lego game made by my chums down at 4T2. Good fun to edit because as soon as you lay out the music everything seems cool from then on!

This is my own upload as the official Lego version can't be embedded.

It's free to play the game and its out now:
If you fancy it play online here - http://starwars.lego.com/en-us/Games/theyodachronicles/Default.aspx
Or download for iOS here - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/lego-star-wars-yoda-chronicles/id639519301?mt=8

Monday, April 29, 2013

The quest for knowledge


I've been working with Linda Aronson recently on a non-linear project and also using her book to help with a separate group-narrative feature script.

Her book features many examples and explanations of differing structures - moving beyond the hero's journey / lone protagonist structure.

I wonder though if there isn't another style of movie besides these. Or perhaps this idea is better described as being another way of looking at the same movie experience. I'm still trying to articulate it to myself but the best I can come with so far is "The Quest For Knowledge".

Examples would be the above-pictured 2001 and Citizen Kane. The film isn't so much about the emotional side of life, but rather more of the scientific process to discover something, to unravel it. Mystery films obviously have big elements of it (Sherlock etc) and so do films that slowly edge towards discovery like the Andromeda Strain. The intellectual exercise is part of the fun. The Matrix may also be a candidate.

It is an odd style of film. Traditionally as writers we get feedback that is often along the lines of 'make us care' but with this kind of film the feedback must be more 'make us think'.

I believe it can be as powerful as the emotional journey. Just as the emotional roller coaster draws the audience into the film and makes them feel the way the hero does - this style forces the audience to think through the clues just as the detective does. Or indeed to sit above the characters in the film and piece together disparate clues that they could never do.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Selling your script


No, this isn't another tired old blog post on how to sell your script to Hollywood and all that guff.

This is a bit more practical about how to present your script for sale, to anyone, today, right now. It is a couple of ideas I picked up from our writing-cousins, the copywriters. Distant relations for sure, living over the mountain away from our script farmstead. And we're not quite sure what they get up to over there, but it seems mighty different.

Of course, as with all these kinds of things, its not that different at all. We can look at each others work and learn a lot.

I was giving a talk on 'writing for video' at their conference covering different ideas, chatting about where, as copywriters, they can make a difference and also how to lay out an AV script.

And okay, my cousins are a bit odd in their own way. They all let out an audible gasp when someone showed a slide of an advert that said "it's" instead of "its".

But these dudes are a master of writing things clearly and expressing ideas in a short manner. Right now you should be saying "hey, you mean like in a pitch or treatment" - and I do. Here's three things that they said, that we know already, but I'll tell you anyway as its worth a refresher I'm sure.

One: Headline
It really is worth the effort to be bold and get that headline right. What is the one thing about your story or project? What really sums it up? What captures the imagination? What acts as a hook and is memorable?*

Two: Ain't nobody got time for a dance
Get on with it. Get the meat of it right at the start. I'm guilty of enjoying weaving a nice web and laying down some groundwork first and explaining a bunch of stuff. Screw that. Let's jump right in and hook people.

Three: Variety of words
Let's not get all NLP about it - but different people have different words and phrases that appeal to them. So mix up your words a little bit. Things "look fantastical", "feel exciting", "sound deep". Just the variety spices up your treatment.

Cheers Cuz.


*Extra bonus note on headlines. One of the fave ways to do this in the ad biz is to slightly alter words and grammar. So it is still easy to understand the language and the meaning, yet is quirky and memorable. Whether that's "It's frothy man", "wasssuup" or Alexander Meerkat with "simples". Hat tip to Roger Horberry for that one.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Special podcast: Nil by Budget (episode 27a)



This edition of the podcast is a slightly different one. Myself and Danny were invited to speak at a great event local to us called Nil By Budget.

It was about every aspect of getting a micro budget feature film off the ground and we were covering the writing aspect of that in a 40 minute lecture.

Here's what we said!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Fast lens flare - free HD download




These fast sweeps are a variation on a previous clip. The faster speed is useful to act as a wipe.

You can download it in 1080p HD format (ProRes codec) from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?exbu16t5y8cwhv0

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these - or use them for commercial projects - then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shut up about your idea... for your own good.


An interesting article from Peter Shallard went online recently. In it he makes the case that talking about a project too much can actually take away your desire to do it! The excitement that you should be getting once you have completed the project comes early. Talking about it is as exciting as doing it.

We often write scripts or make films because we want to say something and share our love of an idea. Sharing that with too many people before completion may mean we feel it is mission accomplished and we take our foot off the pedal.

Same can go for crowd funding too. The energy that goes into getting the funding and the excitement of reaching the target can in fact steal some of the dedication needed for the film itself.

No easy answers here - but as with all difficult issues, an understanding of it can help avoid it.

Photo from www.istockphoto.com

Monday, March 25, 2013

Podcast Episode 27: 10 questions



Yes, its that time again. As in, way past when it should be. That can only mean, its finally time for the UK Scriptwriters Podcast.

This episode, myself and Danny Stack answer 10 common questions from Thomas Winward, he from screen watch.com and welovemoviesmorethanyou.com

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Angular light leak




This is a slightly different kind of light leak. It's angular in nature due to the glass prism used in place of a lens during the filming.

I was finding that I was often using the light leaks as an alpha channel to add moving interest to a backdrop - or as a wipe. Yet I was missing something with lines and angle, hence this clip.

You can download it in 1080p HD format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?wl612s7ho9lxgcu

I had to use h264 (but with the best quality it can go to) in order to make it less than 200MB.

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these - or use them for commercial projects - then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -

Friday, March 01, 2013

End of the spec month - what's the result?



February was my personal project month as I wrote about at the start of the month. I think it went quite well and I really made a dent in the projects. I didn't quite get as far as I hoped, for example, I only got to page 40 on my spec TV script, but have planned out a short series.

The thing that really worked was the 2 hour chunks method. I recommend this to anyone.

March looks busy now, but I'll be aiming to return to this focus-month approach soon.

Photo from www.istockphoto.com



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pulsing Lens Flare




This is a twitching lens flare, a compliment clip to the multi-element flare. Sometimes, for example, compositing over titles, you don't want a moving flare. You want a static one. A totally static image can be got via a freeze-frame - but that's the same. A little movement is good. Hence this clip.

You can download it in 1080p HD format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?d22l7b0glm9p4gc

I had to use h264 (but with the best quality it goes) to make it less than 200MB.

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these - or use them for commercial projects - then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Classic lens flare sweep as HD download




This is a classic lens flare sweep, using a standard glass lens. As with a lot of my light leaks, they work better when sped up, but I present them at the original slow speed to give you the most options. The clip ends with a nice rainbow pattern that I captured as a bit of a bonus.

You can download it in 1080p HD, in Quicktime ProRes format from here:
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?ub3u52v6qpsf4os

Or go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to plan an interactive story


I love a story chart. Let's admit that first. It was, in fact, the topic of my first ever blog post. Currently I'm developing a new interactive story so its time to start a new one! By interactive story I mean a prose project for android / ipad / iphone etc. Lots of people are using these devices to read stories now, but few stories actually use the new opportunities they present.

I won't go into the technical details here of how it will all work - that's for a future post. In a way that part of the project seems to be the (comparatively) simple element. The much harder part is planning out the story and characters AND adding the interactive elements to that story.

Work has started, as you can see in the photo, in trying to map it out. The hard part is in bringing the emotional together with the intellectual. What I mean by that is that you have two forces battling for control of the plot.
1 - the interactive decisions. There needs to be points where different things can happen, they need to make sense and they need to balance. Plus, certain exposition points need communicating.
2 - the emotional heart. You have to care about the characters and what actually happens and all that usual good stuff.

Either of these on their own is a challenge. Together, much harder. I'm working with a local student, Yogesh, on this. We decided that the heart should come first. If you don't care about the characters then all the fancy interactive gubbins can't save it.

As a project, its shaping up well so far. Its called "Uncertain" and help is on its way from some great colleagues. Games producer and writer Rudolf Kremers, interactive story doctor (and I mean he actually has a PhD in it, take note other story 'doctors') Jim Pope and hopefully astrophysics expert and writer Andy James Carter.

Its the writers equivalent of the Avengers!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

How to get emotion into a scene

Here is an interesting diagram, called the Plutchik Wheel - or the wheel of emotions.

Robert Plutchik was a psychologist who was attempting to measure and map emotions, this diagram is one such attempt.

Although I've only just come across it, I have already found it useful in ensuring a wide variety of emotions are spread out across a TV series. So, perhaps, not something to use as a formula, but a handy tool to have to help prompt ideas.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Spec project month, the two hour time method


February is my spec project month - aka, a self sabbatical. There are a number of interesting projects that I'm pushing forward on but a constant stream of work has prevented me from exploring them fully. Work's vital of course, but then so is self development. It harks back to the balance of the scriptwriters life diagram. So I've had to turn some work down to move these forward, people are waiting to hear more on several of them too, so they can't be put off forever!

A month probably isn't enough, but it is a really good start. I'm aiming to move forward on...

  • Friend Request - promoting the short POV film and then working on a poster and director's notes.
  • An interactive novel - an ibook / kindle project - part novel / part game
  • New spec TV show - mapping out the first episode and a few others. Hope to be getting into the first episode script by the end of the month for sure.

I know a lot of people struggle with putting aside time and getting things done. That is why there is always a talk or seminar on this topic at most screenwriting events.

I've gone for something simple, as simple ideas are more likely to work. Two hours on each, every day. That keeps things moving - and stops boredom. Sometimes I feel I could do more on a certain project, but I don't. That means next day I'm up for diving back in.

6 hours a day is a good target too, it still leaves times for emails and other bits of fluff.

Photo from www.istockphoto.com

Monday, February 04, 2013

Podcast episode 26: Characters and VHSs



Myself and Danny consider the demise of retail stores such as HMV, chat about characters and how to make them interesting and deliver some interesting news for writers around new opportunities.

As I mention in the podcast, February is my self-sabbatical month. More on that in the next blog post.

Links to what we ramble about - Anna Karenina, Zero Dark Thirty, The Imposter, The Hunt, Utopia, Ripper Street

How to get in touch (Facebook, Twitter, email (ukscriptwriters@hotmail.com).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Free lens flare transitions, HD




Next in the free download set...

This multi-element flare was made for when you need colour, detail, range and an organic / analogue feel to a lens flare. Great for compositing over shots and transitions you can speed it up for another great look. I've used the slowest original speed here so you can ramp up the speeds and do what you like. Another tip is to recolour them, to blue for example. There are 3 in this set. They were filmed with a plastic lens, hence the very grungy feel to them.

Free HD download herehttp://www.mediafire.com/download.php?um2drzbmtlrg9ka

Or go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -