Google+ Followers

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Brittany Murphy - and her performance in 'Spun'

Brittany Murphy really stood out for me in 'Spun' - a film I saw on a whim one night with two of my friends. I remember us getting to the cinema, having no idea what to see, and settling on Spun, knowing nothing about it. I also remember that we were alone in the cinema - and guess where we sat? You guessed it, in the front row. In fact, we sat on the floor - leaning back on the front row seats, and staring up at the screen. Murphy's performance really got me.


Murphy is great in it because she gets to be funny, attractive, unattractive, insane, silly, weird. She gets to be many things. The film was full of over-acting, but within the context of the film, it worked. Murphy was the best of the bunch (along with Mickey Rourke, one of my favourite roles of his).

I also found Brittany extremely sexy, despite her being completely fucked out of her head on drugs and looking completely rough for most of the movie. She pulled it off. Or maybe I just like them battered, rough, and high as a kite.


And it's a shame, because she never captured me in the same way again, acting-wise or sexy-wise.. and I don't really know where she's been the last few years. Whenever I did see her she looked pretty thin, unhealthily so - and I've not seen her on the screen in quite a while.

RIP Brittany Murphy.

Care to share?

Friday, 18 December 2009

I Guess It's Christmas Coming Down

I'm signing off - have a bitchin' Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll be back in 2010. I need a break from the filmmaking malarkey, film blogging malarkey, and other things, malarkey-wise.

It's been great. Last Christmas, the Kid In The Front Row didn't exist. I mean, I did exist, I don't mean I'm less than a year old. But my blog is. Yet, here you all are, readers, bloggers, filmmakers, lurkers, stalkers. Thanks for sticking around. It makes me feel loved and wanted, which is why I'm abandoning you all for the Holidays. I'm cold like that.




Have a Jimmy Stewart kind of Christmas (I don't mean suicidal, jumping off a bridge, I mean everything else.)

Care to share?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Screenwriting Festival Winner!


The Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Festival 2009

BEST SCREENPLAY

Patrick O'Riley
'Hypo-Whatever'

Thank you to all who submitted. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of entries - each script had original ideas and distinct voices of the writers. It fills me with joy to know there is talent out there capable of doing such exciting work under such strict conditions! You should all be very proud.

Patrick's script, 'Hypo-Whatever' showed some real imagination and originality - where the idea came from, I have no idea. With his permission, I'll be posting the screenplay very soon.

Also, when I get a chance - I will talk more about the other entrants and dish out a few awards - but right now, let's all congratulate Patrick on a well-paced, funny and dramatic script.

Care to share?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

My Views On Life Expressed Through Movies #1

Scarlett Johannson - On How It Really Doesn't Matter.


JOHN
Would you-- Would you
please stop smoking?

CHARLOTTE
I like to.
I don't really smoke that much.

JOHN
It's just so bad for you,
though.

CHARLOTTE
Well, I'll stop later.

Care to share?

The Rough Edit.

So, you show the rough edit to a few choice people to get some feedback. You show it to your friend who's an actor, you show it to a composer, you show it to your family, you show it to some dude on Facebook who keeps saying 'I wanna make films!' and you show it to your best friend.


Your friend who's an actor tells you everything is great, brilliant, apart from the acting, which is really bad and "by the way, I played a drug dealer once and you should have cast me as the drug dealer." You remind them the drug dealer in this film is 9, with a moustache, which is different to the actor giving you feedback who is a 24 year old model. But they say "I can play a drug dealer." So anyways, you say thanks and off they go and you begin to cry because your film has really bad actors.

And then your friend, the composer, says everything is great, especially the acting, although the music is really bad and drowns out all the action, and then the composer reminds you they won 'Best Music In A Short Film 2008' as well as 'Most Likely To Be Good At Composing, East Frimley School Contest 1986'.
So you consider cutting the actors and keeping the music, or maybe cutting the music and keeping the actors. You settle on cutting the actors and cutting the music, and suddenly your film is only eight seconds long.

So you find alternate takes and alternate music and put them all in. And then you show it to your best friend, who politely says "What the fuck? Aren't you famous yet? Hasn't Spielberg phoned? After all these years nobody has really cared about what you do so isn't it time you got real and did something productive with your life?" You take their feedback constructively, and fill out a McDonalds recruitment form.
And then you show your family the film and they say "This is amazing! You're our little star. It's wonderful. You're special!" - so you immediately feel confident and loved again, and ignore the fact that anything less than special that you do from now on will make you feel inferior and a failure to your family for the rest of your life.

So now you're rolling again and ready to release your mini masterpiece. And then you show it to the dude on Facebook who wants to make a movie, and he says "I really liked it. I especially like your liberal use of film language, and the way you playfully made things nonsensical and abstract, I especially liked your use of bad wind/microphone noises and I loved the way you wrote really bad dialogue and were okay with that." You say, defensively, "when did you ever make a film?" - And he says "Shut the fuck up, it's been four weeks and McDonalds still haven't got back to you."

And suddenly you realise that nobody knows anything. Especially you. And that actor you love, it turns out they may be really fucking awful. And that actress who couldn't act, turns out maybe she's the most realistic one in the film.

Nobody knows anything. If you show the film to thirty people, there'll be thirty people to tell you what's wrong with your film, and thirty people to like things about it that you didn't even think of. Aside from 'The Godfather' and 'Shawshank Redemption' - it's been the same for every film in history. So all you can do is take one final look at it and then declare it as the final cut.

Then it's time to get those pennies you earned at McDonalds; get some envelopes and stamps, and enter some film festivals. And then, eventually - something good might come of all this.

Care to share?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A Trip To The Shopping Centre - A Short Story About English Malls.

A Short Account Of Shopping By Lenny S. Hipton.

I didn't have any interest in paint-balling until the man came up to me and asked if I had any interest in paint-balling. I still didn't but he gave me a piece of paper and said that me and eight friends could go paint-balling for only £200. I told him I only had a twenty and that was to be used to buy Caroline a very small bottle of perfume. He reminded me that paint-balling is only £200 and that the booking line is open 24 hours a day, except for weekends and when trying to get a refund. I refused to budge, which is probably why he kept talking to me, so I swiftly moved on and crashed into a girl who was selling pictures of people I didn't know in wooden frames for only £24.99.

As I began walking I saw an interesting clothing store wedged between two Starbucks', which were themselves lodged between another two Starbucks. I began pondering why there were so many Starbucks but soon grew tired and needed a coffee. I asked the man inside if I could use the coffee beans I bought at the store, a whole giant bag for £3.95. He said no so I bought a cup of coffee from Starbucks for £3.95.

After I left I again noticed the interesting looking clothing store which promised that all items were 50% off. I didn't know what this 50% was off of but I knew it'd be 50% cheaper than when it was more expensive.

I was greeted by a beautiful girl who was missing at least 70% of her clothing. She told me that there was 50% off all items that used to be 150% but all other items remained at 100%, unless there were no labels in which case you'd be charged 200% but only find out after you've left the store.

I decided to buy the black polo shirt which is a lot like the one my Grandmother wears except it had a little bird label on it so the beautiful girl said it cost 300%. I asked if there were cheaper ones without a small yellow label and she said "Do you want to look like your Grandmother?" - the girl then turned to a group of teenage men who were trying to get with the girls who were in the make-up store. The woman said they should cover themselves up in polo shirts with yellow labels or the ones with green labels as green labels will be 'in' from January.

The boys all bought polo shirts with green labels, and went to look for the girls they were trying to get with. The girls were also trying to get with the boys so they asked the lady in the make-up shop what they should spend their money on. The lady in the shop said they should cover themselves in make-up and tanning lotion that will make them look a slight shade of orange. The girls decided to become orange as they trusted the girl working there who was the first white woman ever to be also completely classified as 'an orange person' on her drivers license, passport, and Facebook. The girls admired this and immediately reapplied for passports.

After this the teenage girls and boys went back to the food court where they originally agreed to meet up. Despite all waiting by the pizza place and intermingling, they failed to recognize each other and instantly hit the Gap store for some retail therapy.

I walked up and down for many hours, stopping to pick up various bits of clothing, and things that make me smell different, and ornaments to put by the lamp in the bathroom. I began buying ornaments to go near the lamp in the bathroom after I realised everyone else was doing it. Everyone seems to be buying them because their wives say "Honey, don't you think that would look good by the lamp in the bathroom?" I don't have a lamp in my bathroom so every time I buy an ornament I have to find someone who has a lamp in their bathroom.

After buying the polo shirts with labels and pleasant ornaments I realised I needed to buy some stuff to make Caroline smell a bit different, because that's what she wanted, for her birthday. She said that if I couldn't find her the one she wanted I should just get her a voucher so she can come to the mall to buy clothing with labels and ornaments and coffees from Starbucks or Starbucks. This makes her happy.

Eventually Caroline and I got married and had a kid. We had a kid so we could come to the mall with a kid because when you bring a kid you can shop in the stores that sell toys and barriers to stop them getting to their toys, and barriers that stop them getting to the barriers that stop them getting to their toys.

I love my life.

Care to share?

Friday, 11 December 2009

Mugabe and the White African - An Oscar Worthy Documentary - and something everyone should watch.

'Mugabe and the White African' is a documentary that everyone should watch. You might, like me, not have put much thought into Zimbabwe. You may, like me, have found yourself skimming over articles about Mugabe in the papers as you flick to the pages where some blonde girl is getting her breasts out or some golfer is fucking cocktail waitresses. But sometimes something comes along that really hits you in the gut, in the head, in the heart and in the mind. If any film is going to do that, it's going to be this one. I can't remember the last time I felt so aware of my privileges. Namely, the privilege of being in England, of being white, of having the rule of law, of having freedom. And yes, I know, you all know of a million reasons why we don't have actual freedom, but when you look closely at a place like Zimbabwe, you realize we're doing pretty well.


This is a very personal story. It's the story of Mike Campbell, a white South African, and his family. They purchased a farm in Zimbabwe after independence, when Mugabe and the government had little use for it, and then in the proceeding years the government wanted it back - and went to disturbing means to do so.

I absolutely stink at summarizing films, that's not what I do, so here's a word from Variety.

"Mugabe and the White African" compellingly documents the struggles of Mike Campbell and his brood to hang on to their Zimbabwe farm in the face of President Mugabe's "land reform," which apparently consists of kicking out whites and redistributing their property to his ministers, cronies and relatives. Braving intimidation and beatings, Campbell and his son-in-law, Ben Freeth, take their case to the international African court, charging racism and violation of human rights. Potent mix of suspense, pathos and indignation"

From the minute this film starts; you realize how at risk everyone is. Mainly, of course, the family who the doc focuses on are majorly at risk-- they're wanted out of their country. White farmers had been fleeing or forced out of their farms all around the region - the intimidation and threats being far too much for them to handle. How Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth managed to stay for so long, and remain so level-headed about what they were doing, and the reasons why, is truly remarkable. It's even more tense when you realize the black farmers they employ, are even more at risk - which is why you see so little of them in the documentary. To be giving information to the outside world would get them beaten or murdered -- in fact, one of the black farmers featured in the documentary has since been killed.

It's also incredible how brave the directors are (Andrew Jackson and Lucy Bailey). When you meet Lucy Bailey, she's a small, energetic and delightful woman who you wouldn't imagine being someone who would film without permission or safety in a country where all international media is banned. If that seems like an assumption or sexism on my part -- I guess it is -- but my point being, she's got more balls than I will ever have. It's inspiring and incredible what her team has achieved.

A criticism that this film will get is that it is not level handed. It does very little to provide general audiences with a wide understanding of the historical background to this conflict. And the film has a tendency to make you feel that Whites in the region are being oppressed by black people for completely wrong reasons. This is true, but-- at the same time, there is a lot of history and a lot of feelings, and at the very-base of what's going on, there are very legitimate regions why poor black people in the region feel oppressed and angry, and more could have been explored as to why people were acting the way they were to Campbell and his family.

But this film isn't a historical document, nor should it be- it's a startling, thought-provoking and important documentary about what is happening right now. And if the Academy recognizes what a huge achievement this film is - it could propel it internationally in a way that NEEDS to be done.

It's time to take down the curtains covering Zimbabwe. The film has the potential to have a huge impact on the country, and it is something that the World would no longer be able to ignore if this reaches the audiences it deserves, and NEEDS. Zimbabwe is a place without democracy, and more importantly - without the rule of law. As someone in the film mentions (I think Ben Freeth) - Zimbabwe is like a football or rugby match without a referee. It's a free for all, and innocent South Africans, of all colours, are in a game with no rules, except- it's not a game at all. There is violence, corruption and death in a way that myself and most of the people reading this could never imagine. We all have a duty, I feel, to be more aware of what is happening. We have the privilege of sitting here with a nice cup of tea and a sandwich, whereas the people portrayed in 'Mugabe and the White African' don't have that privilege - and I feel, at the very least, we should all watch this stirring, emotional and heartbreaking documentary - I have never been this moved by a documentary, nor more sickened.


Let's hope it gets the Academy Award Nomination it deserves. And let's hope it has the impact on the World that it is aiming for.

Care to share?

Screenplay Comp - Delayed.

I've been very busy and have been unable to get round to reading all of the screenwriting festival entries. So please bare with me - I'll post the winners some time in the next week.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

RIP - Jim Rohn

Nothing to do with film at all, really - but his wisdom is something that has had a big effect on me. Rohn was an author, entrepeuneur and motivational speaker. What I liked about his wisdom is that it was usually quite simple -- but 100% true. He passed away on December 5th. I just wanted to give him a shout out here in the hope that some of you may go and watch his stuff on YouTube, or buy some of his books.


"My mentor taught me that success is a numbers game and very early he started asking me my numbers. He asked, "How many books have you read in the last ninety days?" I said, "Zero"; he said, "Not a good number." He said, "How many classes have you attended in the last six months to improve your skills?" And I said, "Zero." He said, "Not a good number." Then he said, "In the last six years that you've been working, how much money have you saved and invested?" I said, "Zero" and he said, "Not a good number." Then here's what he said, "Mr. Rohn, if these numbers don't change your life won't change. But" he said, "If you'll start improving these numbers then perhaps you'll start to see everything change for you." "
-Jim Rohn



Care to share?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Fuck Your Christmas.

My favourite Christmas song is by Counting Crows. It doesn't officially have a name, as far as I know, and it's never been recorded. You're only likely to know the song if you are one of about nine people who collect Counting Crows bootlegs, or if you've ever been lucky enough to hear this at a show.

The Crows have a song called 'Goodnight Elizabeth' - a beautifully poetic and painful song -- when they play it at live shows; it morphs into these eleven minute versions where anything can happen in the middle. The song used to be played in a pretty standard way from 1993 through to 2000, and then it began growing into the thing it is today; a versatile song that can offer up a million different things, it just depends what mood you catch Adam Duritz in when he hits the stage. There are many incredible versions of the song; with him singing all sorts of things in the middle. Versions that come to mind have him singing Van Morrison's 'Sweet Thing' in the middle, or 'California Dreamin'' by the Mamas and Papa's (you can hear this on Youtube, if you look up 'Goodnight Elizabeth Pinkpop').

But it's not those versions that I'm talking about. It's the Christmas version which often comes up in concerts as the year is heading to a close and, I guess, the lead singer is beginning to reminisce of love gone by and the Holiday season approaching.

The beautiful piano work of Charlie Gillingham breaks down the middle of the song as the guitars take a back seat... and up steps Adam to begin telling his tale of woe about Christmas. Sometimes the song is angry, sometimes it's mournful, sometimes it's plain poetic. Sometimes you just can't tell. The good thing is, whenever he does dive into 'Fuck Your Christmas' - he really means it. I don't think he could fake it if he tried.

He talks a lot before and during the song at live shows about how the song (Goodnight Elizabeth) is about a girl he knew back when the band were first getting big-- they dated, it was a big deal - and as he began touring, they began hitting problems, and she was gone by Thanksgiving.

And the song (Fuck Your Christmas, in the middle part of 'Goodnight Elizabeth'), as you'll hear quite plainly from the lyrics, is about him struggling to come to terms with things at Christmas. And the painful truth of the song is that he knows he's not going to be with the girl he loves, but at the same time, he doesn't want to be alone, he's not going to be alone, he can't be alone. It's pretty painful. Luckily, this isn't the most painful version - in fact, he doesn't even say fuck in this clip.

I guess it's Christmas coming down,
I don't wanna go back home,
If I'm not gonna be with you,
I don't wanna be alone.

I guess it's Christmas coming down,
I don't wanna go back home,
If I'm not gonna be with you,
Then I don't wanna be alone.

Screw your Christmas coming down,
I ain't gonna go back home,
I don't wanna be with you,
And I'm not gonna sleep alone.

I don't wanna-- I don't wanna sleep alone.
I don't wanna go home.
I don't wanna go home.

What's amazing is how he takes this already perfect song, 'Goodnight Elizabeth' and adds a whole new level of meaning to it. So, yeah. This is my favourite Christmas song. Other than this, it's 'River' - but I'm feeling less like 'River' this year, which is a good thing, surely.


Care to share?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Jimmy Stewart & Jean Arthur in Frank Capra's 'You Can't Take It With You'

I was about to upload this scene to YouTube but luckily it was already there. Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur in one of my favourite films, 'You Can't Take It With You,' from way back in 1938.

Look at how natural they both are. What's remarkable is that it is all one single take - no cuts, no funny stuff -- just movie magic. Capra magic. In just four and a half minutes- we see the romance between the two of them, we see the idealism and imagination of Jimmy Stewart-- and the heartbreaking talk about fearmongering and personal courage - which is as relevant now as it ever was.



It's December. And in December, I watch Jimmy Stewart films. So expect some more on Mr. Stewart from me.

Care to share?

The Old Negro Space Program

I found this completely by accident today - and thought it was hilarious! It's 'The Old Negro Space Program' - the story of the 'Blackstronauts' and their forgotten accomplishments. Very funny!!

Care to share?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Polarity Of Pretentiousness - Talking With People In The Film Industry.

What's meant to happen is that the Filmy Person says "Have you seen [amazing old French movie] and you reply with "Um, ehhh, I'm not sure-- I think, maybe.." and then that person feels temporarily wonderful that they love more films than you, whereas you feel inadequate, pathetic, and useless. However, with me, I always forget to play the victim and instead the conversation is a bit bizarre.

FILMY PERSON
Have you seen 'Où Se Trouvent
Le Jambon Et La Yaourt?'

KID
No.

FILMY PERSON
Really? You must have! It's
directed By Jean-Luke La Mer.

KID
Is it the one with the Jamaicans
and the bobsleigh?

FILMY PERSON
Um, no - it's the one shot in
1934 in France, it stars Mary
Une Trousse. How can you not
have seen it?

KID
I've never been able to
see films before I've watched them.

FILMY PERSON
You call yourself a film director
but you haven't seen it?. TELL ME
you've seen 'Une Bouteille D'eau Du Pain?"

KID
No.

FILMY PERSON
Then how can you call yourself a
film director, when you're watching
films about Jamaicans who bobsleigh?

KID
Because I watched the film about
Jamaicans who bobsleigh and I still
managed to direct a film.

FILMY PERSON
Yeah but how can you call
yourself a director?

KID
Because I directed a film.

FILMY PERSON
Yeah but you've never seen 'Où Se
Trouvent Le Jambon Et La Yaourt'

KID
You've never seen the one about
the Jamaicans and the bobsleigh.

FILMY PERSON
Why would I want to?

KID
I don't know, I thought we were
naming films we haven't seen.

FILMY PERSON
No I'm saying you can't call
yourself a director if you haven't
seen 'Où Se Trouvent 'Le Jambon
Et La Yaourt'

KID
But I didn't direct that one.

FILMY PERSON
I'm saying, look-- I-I I'm saying
that you can't call yourself a
director if you haven't seen 'Où Se
Trouvent Le Jambon Et La Yaourt.'

KID
But I directed a film, in fact many films,
and I've never seen that film.


The Filmy Person begins shaking, and looking completely lost. He has no idea how to feel good about himself, he's only able to do it when putting others down.

It's like that famous quote, 'No one can make you feel inferior without your consent' - by Eleanor Roosevelt. It really takes two to tango with these conversations. Being CONFIDENT with the fact that you think GHOST or JERSEY GIRL are the greatest films ever is far more impressive and amazing to me than someone who oppresses others through judgement and pretentiousness. I have more to write on this topic, and will, tomorrow. But right now I need to go and watch WILD WILD WEST and SHE'S ALL THAT.

Care to share?

One More Night At The Movies.

Michael Field tells us about working in a movie theater and how it changes your movie-going experience, and then gets more specific with memories from being in New York. You can read his story over on Out Of Left Field


And lastly, here is something a little bit special. Symphonic Discord is a wonderful blog, co-authored by various Muslim Girls who offer their interesting perspectives on the world. As their blog title explains, "These are the voices of different Muslim girls. We disagree, we argue, and each of us is unique with different opinions. In the hopes of teaching you something and making the world a little bit more open minded, we present to you our Symphonic Discord."

Anyways, the girls got together to collectively write about the stories of One Night At The Movies Long Ago. Read their great stories HERE.

Care to share?

Friday, 4 December 2009

A Collaborative Blogging Project - One Night At The Movies Long Ago

This has been an amazing experience. Please find some spare time over the next day or two to work your way through these posts.

We begin with Nurse Julianne's beautiful story of seeing 'Titanic' with her family. And I have a feeling, after you all read her story, she'll be having a lot more than two blog followers.


"Coincidently my life hit an iceberg at soon after this night at the movies. Metaphorically, the catastrophe played out in the final scenes of the ships sinking was adjacent to my own life over them next few years. Bill and Dad died. Mum has severe dementia. Matt and I are no longer together.

But that night at the movies with my family taught me to grab life, hold it tight, cherish it, and hold on to the bitter end. To keep on playing like the band, to hold out my hands like the priest, giving all i have to offer. To carry on making every day count even when loved ones pass away."

-Nurse Julianne




But if you're looking for the most memorable of movie going experiences. A first kiss story would be pretty hard to beat.

"I wonder just how many films go "unwatched" in theatres all over the world because of first dates?"
-Michelle Goode over at Solfluid


Around the time of your first kiss, you were probably also sneaking into movies you weren't allowed to see. Oliver J. Hunt remembers it vividly.

"What if they look at my boyish charm and rat me out? Do I run? Or keep my dignity as I stroll out without a care (even if I HAD to see this film)?"
New Film Blog.


Enough of this polite, charming stuff. We can rely on Alyson to take us on a different journey.

"The ride back was all cigarettes, rap music, and complaints again. When we pulled in my driveway he parked and looked at me expectantly. I’m not sure what he was expecting exactly...a blow job, a thank you, high praise for his cocksmanship. But what he got was:

“You ruined the movie!"

-Other Worldly One


To wrap things up - a few of the bloggers were unsure of what to write, or struggling for memories - but managed to write fascinating articles anyway. Vanessa Weinart, of TheMovieNess shares the buzz of being at the Cannes Film Festival, "It is a very strange feeling standing in a sort of cage next to the red carpet while Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and George Clooney walk past you, followed by a herd of extremely well dressed photographers"

CrazyCris is literally Here And There Any Everywhere with his post, with two many memories to choose from. "Halfway through the movie I realised my brain was automatically replaying all the original dialogue in my head and I wasn't really hearing the dubbed dialogue at all! Nope I was hearing the real voices of Luke, Leia and Han!"

Similarly, Greg at Cinema Styles have plenty of different memories - "Or spending most of Top Gun smoking in the lobby (you could do that back then) and then returning to my seat to have my friend Jake lean over and start to explain what happened while I was out only to be abruptly cut off by me announcing, "I don't care.""

And finally, Kate Gabrielle over at Silents And Talkies admits that she's more of a DVD girl, "I've always been underwhelmed with the theater-going experience, but maybe that's just because I don't usually go with anyone who is as excited about the films as I am. Or maybe it's because I am more self conscious about crying or laughing aloud than I am in my own home, watching the films on television."

I think that's everyone. If anyone is moved to continue on this theme, please email me a link to your blog and I'll get the word out here. Also, in case you missed it, here is my original - about Henrietta choosing trainers over 'The Apartment.'

Care to share?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

One Night At The Movies Long Ago

Today, on December 3rd, many of my favourite bloggers will be writing on the same topic as me, 'One Night At The Movies Long Ago.' My vision is that we all share a memory from a memorable time we had at the movies, from some time in our past. Below is my story - and tomorrow, I will share links to all the others, so be sure to pop back.

Note For Americans: In the UK we don't say 'sneakers' we say 'trainers'.



One Night At The Movies Long Ago

It was my birthday, and I was meant to go for a meal with the family. But The Apartment was screening in London, and my family didn't want to go see The Apartment in London. Maybe they did, but I didn't. I mean, I didn't want to go with them. It's not that I didn't love them it's just that I didn't want to go and see The Apartment with them so I rearranged my birthday for another night. I didn't rearrange my whole birthday, just the part where the family sits in a restaurant and eats together. To change my whole birthday would take a lot of forms and I'd probably need a lawyer. At the very least, I'd need a brand new birth certificate, which is much harder to find as you get older.



So I moved my family back a day, or forward a day, I can't remember which -- and I decided for my birthday to go and see The Apartment. I didn't want to go alone, I wanted to go with Henrietta. Just because her name was beautiful and she was too. For that reason, I knew she wouldn't come. But I asked her, anyway, because there's nothing better than being rejected on your birthday. I decided to play it cool and ask in a really smooth way, not in the way I normally would - you know, in which I get all weird about my love for black and white movies, thinking girls will think I'm a nerd with no life. So I said to her, "I don't want you to think I'm a nerd with no life or anything, and I don't want you to think I like you, or anything, but I'm wondering, do you want to come and see an old movie with me tonight? Um, you don't have to, but you can do, if-- like, I don't know. Um, so- yeah. An old movie. Me and you. On my birthday."

She looked at me like I was a nerd with no life. I expected a verbal response but she just held the look.
"Do you think I'm a nerd with no life?" I asked her. She said, "You want to go and see an old movie on your birthday?"
And I said "Yes."
And she said, "okay."
And I said "Okay, you think I'm a nerd?"
And she said "I think you're a nerd and I will come and see the movie."
And I said "That's great, but can we stop putting 'And I said' at the beginning because it's getting repetitive now?"
And she said, "It's not us that's doing that, it's a blogger a few years from now."
And I said, "Let's go see the movie."

So we went to see the movie. But not straight away, because I asked her three days before the screening was due to start and I doubt they'd have just played it when we got there.

I should explain to you that 'The Apartment' is my second favourite film. In fact, it's possibly my first, depending on my mood. In this mood, it's my second favourite, in my other mood, it's my favourite. That's the best I can explain it. The crazy thing is that I'd never seen it on the big screen before. I was desperate to! It's my second favourite, sometimes first favourite film-- so I had to see it on the big screen.

It suddenly dawned on me that life was awesome. I was about to have a birthday, and I was about the see The Apartment on the big screen and this beautiful, wonderful girl, Henrietta, was coming with me, despite her thinking I was a nerd with no life.

The day finally arrived and with a burst of energy I jumped out of bed. It was still about twelve hours until the screening so immediately after the burst of energy and jump out of bed I simply made a cup of tea and switched on the TV. Eventually, the evening came-- my second favourite film, FINALLY, on the big screen - with a girl who I liked more than I had liked anyone in weeks. Perfection.

It was time to meet - I don't remember what time it was but I remember Henrietta getting things slightly wrong and being slightly late. Anyways, we jumped on a train a bit like how I jumped out of bed earlier except we didn't make a cup of tea and switch on the TV after. We were on our way to the cinema to see THE APARTMENT on the BIG SCREEN. What could be better than that?

I was feeling pretty confident by that point. I remember thinking, "Hey, maybe beautiful girls do like old movies."
And she said, "Are you talking to me?"
I decided to play it cool, to be like one of those super confident guys who knows exactly what to say to women.
I said, "Um, so like - do---do you think I'm a bit of a nerd with no life for going to see an old film on my birthday?"
She said, "I think you're a nerd for going to see an old movie but it make no difference if you go on your birthday."
I thought she was being playful and enjoying my self-deprecating, self-hating nature.

So we got to London. I suddenly realised that time was flying by. I looked at my watch, obviously. I mean, how else would I have realised time was flying by. The film was due to start in fifteen minutes time and it was at least a ten minute walk, eleven with the shoes she was wearing. But I had comfy trainers so I set us the task of making it in nine.

"I just want to buy some shoes," she said.
"What?" I said.
"White things. Leather. Laces."
"I want to go see the film." I responded.
"But I want to get some trainers quickly, there's a Fred Perry shop over there."
"But I want to see the film."
"I'll be quick." She said.

I tried my best to say No, we MUST see this film, but she was really pretty and there was no way she'd listen to anything I had to say. So I said.. actually, I didn't say anything, I just had this sunken look. So she went to buy her shoes and I went to sulk next a guy who was playing Cat Stevens songs on his guitar. Well, I assume it was his guitar. It's not the sort of thing you bring up in the middle of 'Sad Lisa.'

Henrietta reappeared like seven minutes later and I was livid. Well, not really livid, because I was young and she was pretty, so I couldn't really show my disdain. So instead, she said, "you okay?" and I just nodded and felt sunken.

So we ran to the cinema. Well that was the plan but she wasn't wearing her new trainers because she didn't want to get them dirty, so I kind of walked with reasonably fast-pacing whilst she scuttled along in her shoes that added an extra two minutes to our journey.

Finally, WE ARRIVED! But the film had started twelve minutes ago. Henrietta said something about how the trailers would be showing now. I said there wouldn't be trailers because it's an old film and she said maybe we should go see something else. I stood there feeling sunken whilst she stood there feeling happy that she'd bought new shoes. We walked up to the box office just to check if the film had, luckily, not started.

We did, luckily, get to the box office when there was no line or anything. But then, unluckily, we were informed that yes, the film had started. Fourteen minutes of my second favourite movie had gone by.

"Let's go in." said Henrietta. I looked at her, and she looked a little different. Not quite as beautiful as she did before.

We went back to Covent Garden. We drank some tea. We chatted, we laughed, the night was not all lost. But I couldn't help but feel a little sunken. It was my birthday, and I never got to see The Apartment.


Come back tomorrow to find many more 'One Night At The Movies Long Ago' stories from some of the best writers on the internet. If you are a blogger and want to write on this same theme, please email me your blog address and details -- and I'll feature your story tomorrow.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Competition closes TODAY.

For those of you entering the screenplay competition, today - the 2nd, is the final day for entries. Thanks for all of you who have entered... I will be posting the winners on December 10th.


Care to share?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Buzzing With Creativity.

I am buzzing with creativity at the moment. I haven't slept earlier than 5am all week because my mind is absolutely racing. This is what my mind is like on any given morning at 4.32am..

"I want it to be morning! I want to be awake and I want to get back to editing. Wow the actors are so good. Oh! I should email Sally with those ideas for the things she's designing for me. Ooooh, meeting with John and Abby tomorrow, I must tell them about that book. Short story idea!... Must write a story about two camels who fight for the right to buy lottery tickets. Do I write it now or after I wake up or in my sleep? I want tea! I want to keep editing! I want to write a long long email to Sally, but she must think I'm insane because last night I wrote her four paragraphs on why Bob Dylan is similar to a good coffee. Ooooh, idea for my feature script. Must have scene where Hank accidently gets breast implants. Hmm, i must comment on Alyson's blog soon. Ooooh blogging idea, I should arrange for all my blogger friends to write a one sentence story about Tiger Woods, using only letters from the first half of the alphabet."

With this in my mind, how can I sleep? I realize it may not seem like creativity, more like insanity. But whatever it is I'm not sure where it's come from. Maybe from Spain, flights from there are cheap right now.

I recently wrote and directed a short film which I am now editing. It absolutely blows my mind how amazing the actors are. There's one particular actress whose scenes are so gripping and emotional that they make me want to cry like the little girl in the shop yesterday after I told her the cast of Twilight New Moon had been killed in a giant car accident.

Another thing that's helped is having positive people around me. I don't befriend negative/destructive people anymore. Whenever I come across these things, I get right to the issues, I tear the walls down. If someone questions or judges me-- I delve right into it, get right to the heart of matters right there with them. That way I don't need to sulk and moan and complain and judge for weeks after, it gets resolved in the moment. I have also recently, after many years of battles and sleeping with each others girlfriends, become friends with my inner critic. I no longer allow the fat chump in my head to make me feel inferior. He has no authority, he's been demoted.

So all that negative, angry, judging horse poop that used to come from my critic, is now positive energy. Or just energy. Crazy energy. I realize now that my critic probably helped me sleep. Either that or he just didn't want me awake.

I want, I want, I want.

I am now poised for a full on journey of screenwriting and directing for the rest of my life -creating films that matter. That make people laugh, think, blog and snog. That's the ball game. People keep telling me the stats, you know the type of thing, "writing is tough. A million scripts are written every year, only three and a half get made and two of them are Twilight movies." I don't care, I didn't get into this work because of my interest in stats. My interest is in Marylin Monroe, and Charlie Chaplin and Tom Hanks and Jimmy Stewart and Otis Preminger and Cameron Crowe and Gordon Willis and Dianne Wiest and Aaron Sorkin and Natalie Portman and Peter MacNicol and Walter Matthau and in telling great stories. My interest is not in statistics or in being polarized or ruled or dictated to by anyone who thinks they have any kind of say over what I can or can't achieve. You may say I'm a dreamer. I have reason to believe, I'm not the only one.

This week: The Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Competion winners, the big giant blogtastic bloggety blogthing bloggerology blogness, when a HEAP of my favourite bloggers will all be blogging on the same title and theme as me, that'll be on the 3rd December. If you want to be a part of this, please email me. If you do email me, please include a subject and content in the email, as I am not a mind-reader. If you are a mind-reader, you already knew I was going to write that, which fascinates me. Maybe you've already explained this to me telepathically, but I'm not aware of it.

It's 2.54am in the UK. When I post this it'll probably say it's 10pm the day before as I think this runs on USA time, or Peru time, or something. Anyways, that's all, this-time.

Care to share?

Monday, 30 November 2009

Thought Of The Day.

nobody will believe in your work if you don't.

Care to share?

5 Page Screenwriting Competition - Only A Few Days Left!

"I am a writer," he said, and the girl got impressed. "But I couldn't do the competition because I had to work and then I had to clean the cat and then I had to log onto Facebook."

Don't be one of them people. Be the writer you know you are, or be the writer you want to be, or --- if you've never written before...... find that creative soul that's hiding deep within you and let it out, be a part of our competition.

There are THREE PRIZES: Best Screenplay, Funniest Screenplay and Most Original Screenplay. I will also give a few gifts to the winners, namely a few books and DVD's.

Here are the rules.
  • Your script must be no more than 5 pages long (6 including the cover page)
  • The entire film is set in one place - the kitchen.
  • You must use industry standard formatting.
  • There are three characters: Anna, Mike and Hank.
  • Anna wants something from Mike, but there's no way Mike is giving it away.

That's your brief. You can only use those three characters - and at some point, Anna is going to need something from Mike that he won't be giving (it could be sex, a monkey, a wedding ring, who knows, it's up to you!)

Be creative, be imaginative, be daring, and get your script in by December 2nd 2009.

By submitting you agree for your screenplay to be shared with readers of the KITFW blog. I will read every script sent to me.


Care to share?

Saturday, 28 November 2009

ideaaaaaas whereeee are youuuuuu, come backkkkk!

What is creativity? where is it? Who is it? How can I sit there some nights writing away like a maniac and other nights I sit there with pure blankness. I'm not talking about those nights when my ideas are bad or my inner-critic is telling me I'm useless, I'm just talking about those days when it just isn't there.

How can this be? How can the material not be there? It's like working in a shoe factory but being told there's no laces to finish the job. It makes no real sense. One night I can be laying there and BOOM, a genius idea for a story or a script. But on another night.. It's blank. A blankness that is impossible to describe, but I'll try. It's like you're looking down a blank road, waiting for a car to come out of the mist. But you keep searching and searching but it won't arrive.

I'm not annoyed or anything. It's not a problem, an idea doesn't have to come TODAY. It just seems crazy that it can't. If I have a genius idea tomorrow about a disabled camel that runs for President, why can't I get it today instead?

It's like a few months back when I wrote my tea addiction story and the one about dreams - they appeared from nowhere, for no reason. Why? How? Where from? And if I have the talent to write humour like that why can't I do it all the time? Why can't I write one about coffee right now?

I don't need answers, but it just fascinates me. I kinda like it - to be honest, it feels a bit magical. Where in my brain is it coming from? Or does it come from God? And if it does come from God, will he take a commission from my work?

It's a bit like that Elizabeth Gilbert video I posted a while back. She talks about the cosmic creative forces that swirl down from the ether and give you the genius for a moment at a time. And besides, she was talking about Tom Waits and great novellists, not about anonymous bloggers who miraculously have decreasing numbers of google followers.

So, yeah-- I don't really want actual answers. If you said "well, Kid, your creativity is stored in your elbow and only gets released when it hits certain temperatures," I would feel disappointed, because I like the magic and I also like to keep my elbow slightly below room temperature.

It's 4am. I am shooting a scene at 10am. Awake is not what I should be right now. If you see an anonymous blogger filming a scene tomorrow in Central London be sure to leave him a comment.

Care to share?

It's My Life. It's Now. Or Never.

And I had this thought HIT me, that we could be ANYTHING. It was this little wave of a thought, a feeling - that we could achieve EVERYTHING.
"There are no films I can be cast in right now." - 30,000 films are made a year. Yes you can get cast.

"I want to write a script but can't right now." - You have a laptop? Or a pen? Yes, you can.

"I need funding for my film but no-one will give me money." - There are fifteen billion people on the planet. There are sixty trillion dollars on the planet, and I have a few coins stashed in my room. So, yes - you can have funding.

"I can't find anyone trustworthy." - Are you trustworthy? Yes. Are you the most extra-special person in the world? No. Therefore, there are others like you. Go find them.

"I don't know how to do it." - Ask for help. You need help blogging, or writing, or directing, or making tea? Email me. You need help doing other things? Google people, find them, and ask.

"I wish I could just ask Spielberg a question." - Have you tried?

I'm going to go and achieve EVERYTHING I ever wanted. Let's all do it.

"This train
Carries saints and sinners
This train
Carries losers and winners
This Train
Carries whores and gamblers
This Train
Carries lost souls
This Train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This Train
Faith will be rewarded"

-Springsteen

Care to share?

Friday, 27 November 2009

It's A Kind Of Magic - Why We MUST Keep Creating Work Again And Again And AGAIN.

This is something I've always kind of known but last night it really hit me with clarity after speaking with my friend Steve. Although, this is an anonymous blog, so let's call my friend George. So me and George were talking-- we were talking about our careers, he's an actor, I'm not an actor, I'm a Writer and Director. George is not a Writer or a Director, but an actor. Anyways, we were talking (this is the same conversation as I just mentioned, I don't want you to think this is a new discussion) and we were talking specifically about my films, and specifically about my new one but also the older ones, so I guess specifically those too.

Anyhow, he asked me if I was happy with my new film. And I said I was, although I said it in the present tense, it was more like "I am." But he could tell from my reaction that I wasn't a hundred percent. This surprised me, as I was actually trying to pull a face like Al Pacino at the time, just for fun. Anyways-- don't get me wrong, I love my new film. It's great, the actors are superb, the production value is high and there are some genuine laughs in it. But I have this feeling that it's not my best. And it's not that there's anything wrong with it, it just doesn't have that little bit of magic. I've made like ten short films in the past, and two of them have the magic. Everyone who sees them just falls in love with them. And if they don't fall in love, they at least have self-pleasure for five minutes. But regardless, there is something about them. And my friend Steve, I mean-- sorry, George.. he told me how his girlfriend and her friend act out part of my film whenever they're on a night out (don't worry, it's not a film about rape and murder, just laughs) and I took that as a huge compliment. It's hard to say how huge, but probably around the size of a medium steak.

The conversation stopped abruptly whilst I sipped on some tea. This only lasted for about four seconds, and then we carried on. I started rambling about 'magic' in movies. About how, you never really know. You could write a script that's the best script ever written, but it won't necessarily transpire as magic on the screen. There's something else that needs to happen. When Eric Roth wrote 'Forrest Gump' he didn't know that the line about chocolates would become one of the most famous lines of all time. You just never quite know what you're gonna get. For example, Cameron Crowe created movie magic with the 'Tiny Dancer' scene in 'Almost Famous' (the cast are together on a tour bus, singing the Elton John classic...) -- for whatever reason, it's just the most perfect scene you could ever imagine. Everyone who sees that movie remembers that scene. It's golden, it's magic. But then, fast-forward a few years (or just walk there slowly) and there's Crowe's film 'Elizabethtown.' I remember reading the script and absolutely loving the scene where Dunst's character and Bloom's character talk on the phone to each other - it's about fifteen pages long and it's funny, moving, compelling. I remember Crowe talking about the scene during production, talking about how amazing it would be. I guess the plan was that it would be another Tiny Dancer moment. It wasn't. It was pretty average, in fact - the whole of 'Elizabethtown' was pretty average. The point of the story is not that you need Elton John to make a scene work (although this idea could be explored) but that - films are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.

And that's why we have to keep making them. That's why, when you show everyone that short film you did and the reaction of everybody is 'oh, that's cool' -- this isn't a sign that you can't captivate and excite them. It's a sign that, you didn't on this occasion. But there'll be others, you just have to keep searching for them. You have to keep writing. Keep creating things. This happens on a small level when you make a short film in your house with your cat and your parents, (it's called 'Kitty, I killed The Parents' - out soon on Blu-Ray) -- right up to when you're Kevin Smith and telling everyone 'Jersey Girl' is going to be the best thing you've ever done. You just never know.

"Uh well, I'll tell ya, I remember this one time - I'm in a Banshee at night in combat conditions, so there's no running lights on the carrier. It was the Shrangri-La, and we were in the Sea of Japan and my radar had jammed, and my homing signal was gone... because somebody in Japan was actually using the same frequency. And so it was - it was leading me away from where I was supposed to be. And I'm lookin' down at a big, black ocean, so I flip on my map light, and then suddenly: zap. Everything shorts out right there in my cockpit. All my instruments are gone. My lights are gone. And I can't even tell now what my altitude is. I know I'm running out of fuel, so I'm thinking about ditching in the ocean. And I, I look down there, and then in the darkness there's this uh, there's this green trail. It's like a long carpet that's just laid out right beneath me. And it was the algae, right? It was that phosphorescent stuff that gets churned up in the wake of a big ship. And it was - it was - it was leading me home. You know? If my cockpit lights hadn't shorted out, there's no way I'd ever been able to see that. So uh, you, uh, never know... what... what events are to transpire to get you home."

-Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) in APOLLO 13

So what I am realizing more and more is that there is just this kind of magic thing out there in the atmosphere, or in your work, or maybe it's in Cardiff, Wales. Wherever it's located - it's out there, and nobody quite has their finger on it.. and this is the great consolation for when you cry yourself to sleep at night thinking "I am not as talented as Tarantino." Maybe you're not as talented as Tarantino -- but that's not the point. Because you could both write a screenplay tonight. His could be incredible - his usual hilarious, crazy madness. And yours could be a little bit confused and awkward. BUT, that magic essence; who knows, it could end up in your work. This is WHY we all have secret favourite movies (like 'You've Got Mail' or 'Duets' for me) - there's just something in there that grabs you, that speaks to you - and you can't plan for that. We don't know what it is. We just know we found it in books when we were children and we find it in people we meet on our way through life.

It's a spark, it's a thing -- it's real but we can't feel it. We just know it when we see it. We know it when we see it. So if you've written nineteen scripts and no-one cared about them, don't give in. Number twenty could have the magic in it, you'll have captured something real and put it out there for people to feel.

"But when the night is falling
you cannot find the light
If you feel your dreams are dying
Hold tight...

You've got the music in you
Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget
We only get what we give"

-New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"

Steve Martin was a stand-up comedian for ten years. For eight of those, nobody really 'got' him. Nothing was happening. The only constant thing is that he was still working, still going to clubs when, sometimes, there'd be literally three people in the audience. I guess the magic wasn't with him yet. And then one day, breakthrough--- almost overnight he was playing to full houses of 40,000 people. You just need to keep doing what you're doing, keep creating the work - stay true to yourself and show your work to as many people as you can, because one day, not too far from now - the magic is going to be there between the lines and you're going to capture the world.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

I wish there were more films like The Apartment

There is nothing more wonderful than watching The Apartment. I watched this with someone recently and was completely jealous that she got to see it for the first time. I want that experience again. I wonder if there'll ever be another film as perfect as this, it's hard to imagine.

Care to share?

I wish Jimmy Stewart was still making movies.


"I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long... "
-George Bailey

Care to share?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Something That All Young Actresses Should Be Aware Of

There are a lot of pretty women in the world, and there are lots of guys who are terrible at interacting with them. This is obvious, of course. Years of loneliness and bitterness and other factors can lead a man to go a bit odd. A bit desperate. You know how it goes. I mean, you girls reading this probably think it describes 300 of your Facebook friends. Luckily, women can spot a weirdo a mile off. Except for in one situation - where various factors come into play.

There is one magic way to meet women. And not just any women, but the most beautiful women you could find. It's a very simple sentence, "I'm casting a movie." This weird piece of phenomena hit me the very first time I cast a film - and it seemed crazy to me. Here is a guy who rarely gets to speak to those wonderous beautiful ones - and suddenly, I can meet ten of them in a day, and they are all desperate for work.

The worrying thing is that many guys reading this are probably thinking "cool idea!" but herein lies the problem - nearly every actress I know has a story about a 'Director' who met them about a project, didn't have a script, and had some little project with 'artistic nudity' - and for me, and luckily most men in this business, we can see it for what it is. I guess we can recognize it in ourselves in some ways - how easy it is to interact with the beautiful people by making a movie.

So here's the thing - when you're a 22 year old actress with limited film credits and you meet some man who says he "worked with Altman in the 80's," your hope begins to grow that this project will help you in some way. You justify it by thinking that there's nothing wrong with nudity if it's artistic, and when the filmmaker keeps delaying the script you tell yourself it's okay, it's an experimental movie.

I'm a Writer/Director. When I cast a project I give all actors the script. They can Google me and see my work, articles about me, if they really want they can add me on Facebook, the work I do is completely justified. I've never shot nudity - but if I did, I'd tell the actors who's shooting it, where, I'd give them freedom to do whatever it takes to make the experience a comfortable one - it would be completely transparent, like everything I do in filmmaking.

Yet these filmmakers who are doing Arthouse films with 'brief nudity' tend to be elusive, mysterious figures, who never quite have a script ready-- and often want to meet up with the actress to discuss the project. Alarm bells for all of us, I'm sure-- but for an actor in the moment, it's easy to get caught up in thinking there's a good experience to be had.

Just the other day I was talking to an actress about this, an actress who is one of the most beautiful people I know - and I'm fully aware that, if I was an accountant, I'd never really interact with someone who looks like her. That feels creepy to even say, but it's the strange thing about this industry. Luckily, I'm a good guy, and her looks aren't an important part of our friendship, but I'm aware of it. And I'm aware that men are men. All the perversion and weird thoughts are going to be in the film industry as much as in the streets, or on Craigslist.

And I just want to bring awareness to this issue. And I want young actresses to know they are talented, beautiful people who should be doing exciting short films, immersing themselves in plays and meeting directors and producers who inspire them. If you meet a Director who gives you the ick, don't work for them. Whatever opportunity they offer can be found elsewhere in a less creepy way. And here's another common one - the innapropriate comment on the first meeting. If some 'Director' makes a comment about your breasts that makes you uncomfortable, get out of there, you don't need this experience. If the director had made that comment about an actors penis, they'd get thumped in the head.

I find it very hard to comprehend why a filmmaker's first short film would require nudity, there are so many other things to explore. Keep your clothes on, save the nudity for your boyfriend, or for the Hollywood film that pays you $10million.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Story - Written In Five Minutes By Two People With Writers Block

Here's a bit of fun. Tonight I was working on a feature film screenplay but had hit a bit of a wall - and my friend Anna was writing an essay for her class about an artist, and was similarly struggling for words. So, we put down our laptops and reached for some paper. My idea was that we write a sentence each, and the other one has to follow it - and so on-- and the story could only be a page long.

And we weren't allowed to spend time thinking, it literally had to flow immediately. So here it is. I began with the first sentence, in blue. Everything in red is Anna.

Once upon a time just south of New York, Mike was planning a party.
The Party was to be a costume party, and he had put months into his own outfit. "I look nothing like Batman" cried his friend, Jed. "I don't know why I thought this full body spandex was a good idea!" he said.

Three hours passed, and Mike wondered where all the girls were. Then he realized that the strange group of bearded dwarves in the corner were actually his good friends Jess, Tina, Barbara and Kim. Suddenly, Jed remembered that he had to get to church. He wouldn't have time to change out of the spandex, but he did happen to have a bible with him. Mike again reminded Jed that there is no God, and no church as it burned down during the great fire of 1973, in which 47 funeral attendees caught on fire.

"I am tired of all your random history facts Mike," Jess said. "Fuck you," replied Jed, who then reminded everybody that World War 2 was won by the Jamaicans. "You have no fucking idea what you're talking about man, and for that you are the one who is going to Church now" said Barbara, "the rest of us are going skinny dipping."

Unfortunately, since the fire, local safety regulations had been tightened - and dwarves were not entitled to go near the water. Good thing they were only dwarf costumes, and they went skinny dipping.

Care to share?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Kid In The Front Row Online Screenwriting Festival 2009

Welcome to the FIRST Annual Kid In The Front Row Online Screenwriting Festival.

It's only small, but it's a great chance to pit your skills against other exciting, upcoming screenwriters - and you have the chance of winning THREE different awards. The rules of this are probably a little bit different to what you've experienced before. But it's a way of keeping it fun, challenging, and unique.

This year's challenge:

  • Your script must be no more than 5 pages long (6 including the cover page)
  • The entire film is set in one place - the kitchen.
  • You must use industry standard formatting.
  • There are three characters: Anna, Mike and Hank.
  • Anna wants something from Mike, but there's no way Mike is giving it away.

That's your brief. You can only use those three characters - and at some point, Anna is going to need something from Mike that he won't be giving (it could be sex, a monkey, a wedding ring, who knows, it's up to you!)

Be creative, be imaginative, be daring, and get your script in by December 2nd 2009.

By submitting you agree for your screenplay to be shared with readers of the KITFW blog. I will read every script sent to me.

There will be three awards:

Best Screenplay
Funniest Screenplay
Most Original Screenplay

(note: Just because their is a 'funniest' category, the script doesn't have to be comedy)

Entry is free, although you are welcome to make a donation via the PayPal on the left hand side of this blog -- that way I could treat myself to an ice cream whilst reading through all the scripts, and maybe get a nice award for the Best Screenplay winner.

Please share the competition around. The more people who enter, the more prestigious it is. Would you rather be the best out of 3 scripts or out of 30?

Any questions, please contact me via email, or pop a question in the comments.

(if you have never written a screenplay before - this is a great opportunity to try)

Care to share?

Friday, 13 November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Privilege - Stop moaning and accept your privileges.

I have an idea, let's waste all our energy moaning that "The only reason that dude makes movies is because his Brother's friends Aunt knows Spielberg." You could be right, I'm not sure. But even if you are - you're spending your days moaning and crying, and the dude is out making movies. So pretty soon, you realize that moaning about these things is entirely pointless.

And the important thing is there's nothing wrong with privilege. Say I am Spielberg's very own son, and I desperately want to make films. Is it wrong for me to say "Hey Dad, could I borrow a camera and Tom Hanks and go shoot something?" Should I feel guilty about that? When you were young, and your Dad said, "Let's go to the park.." did you say "Dad, please don't drive me, I'd rather walk there with the homeless guys..." of course you didn't.

So, yeah- don't be a moany little bitch when it comes to "everyone in the industry knows someone other than me." YOU HAVE PRIVILEGES TOO. If you live in a democracy, you have a privilege that thousands of filmmakers don't. If you have a job, or you have a white skin, or you have a family, or you have a camera; whatever it is, you have privileges too. So shut up, and get on with it.

And the important thing is that you should stand up for your privileges. When someone says, "Lucy, it's really great that you got that role. Your Dad knows the Producer doesn't he?" - you can respond in one of two ways---

1. "Yeah, um - my Dad is kinda friends with that Bruckheimer guy. But not really, I mean - like, I still auditioned, he didn't.. y'know, I mean.. like..."

OR, you can say.

2. "Yeah, my Dad is best friends with Jerry Bruckheimer. He helped me get the role, I really appreciate that - I'm lucky."

With response one, the person asking you makes you feel really inadequate and stupid. With answer two, there's no comeback. "Oh, er.. so you do know Jerry. Cool. Yeah."

And then life is SO MUCH EASIER.

Just to clarify, I don't know any big producers. But I can remember when I began making films and I was flitting between many jobs and not getting paid too much. And certain people would say "You're so lucky you get to follow your dreams, that your parents support you.."

And I used to flip out and get really offended. It was like "how dare you say I'm lucky, I work really hard! I work at my films every day!" This was, of course, completely true - but at the same time, I was ignoring the fact I do have this WONDERFUL privilege, I have parents that support me and believe in me. So I started agreeing with people. "Yeah, my parents are amazing. I'm very lucky. I love my life." And then, again, there's no comeback.

Often these people have the same privileges too. And you wanna dive in and say "Hold on, you're 42 and live with your parents.. and... and..." But then, there's really no need to justify yourself. They'll say "yeah but I have car payments to make, and don't forget, I have a girlfriend." Of course, the thing to realize is that the car was a choice, and the girlfriend was a choice. Instead, you made the choice to pay a crew to shoot your movie, but they don't see it like that.

But it doesn't matter -- you don't need to justify yourself. Do yourself a giant favour and ACCEPT YOUR PRIVILEGES. It's something we NEVER DO, but when you do it - you are ACCEPTING A HUGE PART OF YOUR LIFE that you often don't identify with.

YES, I have a wonderful family!

YES, I have a camera!

YES, I had dinner today!

YES, I am alive at this time in the world's history!

YES, I have freedom of movement!

YES, My legs both work!

YES, My Uncle is George Lucas!*


It'd be really great if we could all share our privileges in the comments... and share a bit about why we're lucky and how they help us with our careers.


*My Uncle Is Not George Lucas.


Care to share?