Sunday 5 December 2010

Screenplay Competition WINNER


"28 Slides Later" by CAROLINE COXON
"Ahimsa" by C E STEWART
"Equal Wrongs" By PATRICK O'RILEY (2009's Winner)
"Health Concerns" By Z. Z. FRANKEL
"Triple Standards" By MICHELLE GOODE



On Friday night, the competition judge JOE LEONARD (Editor, "GLEE," Writer/Director, "HOW I GOT LOST") said to me "I'll read them over the weekend," but then two hours later he had been inspired to read them all and get back to me. That's the type of guy Joe is. We consulted a bit on the different screenplays -- and it's important to say, he liked them all. He said "All of the screenplays really were impressive given the limitations, and I had a great time reading them and a difficult time figuring out which one I liked best!"
So we spent a day looking at the scripts again, and figuring out which ones we liked the most. In the end, for Joe, it was "AHIMSA" by C E Stewart. He said ""Ahimsa" created the most colorful world given the chinese-finger trap restrictions of your contest. It is also a slightly insane script that still managed to convince me of its reality"

In the new year I will be looking at doing a Film Directing Competition, based on 'Ahimsa' -- more details soon. If you would like to see the winning screenplay, please email me and I will forward it onto you. 

Care to share?

Saturday 4 December 2010

A Week In The Front Row

I held auditions which didn't go too well, I finished the edit of a one hour documentary, I found my "MISERY" DVD three years after it escaped, I saw "DUE DATE," I finished Season 6 of "THE WEST WING," (not for the first time) and am now starting Season 7, I watched Ricky Gervais' stand up DVD "FAME" and thought it was decent but nothing special, I got a lovely email from an actress friend in New York who said she got a role because the director loved her work in one of my films, which was nice to hear, and I also got up at 7am on either Wednesday or Thursday (can't remember which) and watched "THE ODD COUPLE" and wished Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon were still alive, I met up with my friend Jen just outside of Victoria Station and we talked about the year just gone and the year to come, and she got a little bit closer to feeling good about acting again rather than feeling the pressure of the industry and her family and all those things that make us forget how much we love doing what we do, I got to see a cut of a film that I had written, which was directed by someone else, and had mixed feelings about the whole thing but found it a welcome break from shouldering the directorial responsibility. And right now I'm sitting in front of my DVDs with the evening ahead of me and a decision to make.

How was your film-related week?

Care to share?

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Branding & Marketing: Knowing Your Demographic

You can brand yourself a certain way. You can market yourself to the right people. You can focus on the right demographic. You can change things and make them more commercial. You can manipulate people and get their money. You can work out a strategy for the marketplace.

But please don't ever think any of those things are what it's really all about. They might get a kid to buy a ticket and stuff popcorn down his face, but it won't make him a Kid In The Front Row

A Kid In The Front Row is looking for a Jack Lemmon chuckle, or Buzz Lightyear Spanish dancing, or Jimmy Stewart throwing his hands up and promising to see the world, or Julia Roberts standing in front of a boy, or Paulie Bleeker laying on the hospital bed with Juno, or The Tramp smiling, or Red grinning in Shawshank. This stuff is of the heart. It's life! It's love! It's THE MOVIES! That's what inspires people! You got into this to inspire people!

You can try and brand yourself and market things correctly and sure, you might hit a cash jackpot. But it means nothing and it's temporary, it's last year's reality TV shows. Instead you can get into people's hearts one Kid In The Front Row at a time. It might just be your Aunt Martha and your friend Jack who find your work meaningful, but that means more to them than a well-marketed franchise is going to mean to anyone two years from now. That's what it's about: inspiring people. It's about building a career so that one day you can write something as simple as "Run Forrest, Run," or you can deliver a performance as iconic as when Samuel L. Jackson ate a tasty burger, or you can direct a scene as sweet as when Maguire had her at hello.

We gotta keep a hold of this drive. This essence. This is why we got up on stages when we were twelve, or hid in our rooms writing stories when everyone else was out socializing, it wasn't for no reason, and it sure as fuck wasn't so that we could pander to demographics and corporate branding.

Don't forget who you are, and what this means to you.

Care to share?


Date: Tuesday 30th December 2010
Operation name: DUE DATE
Task: Get into seat, in cinema, before movie begins.
Cinema: Cineworld Shaftsbury Avenue (near Picadilly Circus Station)
Film start time: 2:00pm (advertised) 2.20pm (when it really starts)

Incident Report:

14.10pm: KITFR (Kid In The Front Row) arrives on tube train at HOLBORN station, using the Central Line. Considers changing onto the Picadilly Line and going directing to Picadilly Circus Station. However, the train changing time and possible delays leads KITFR, who has much experience in film-start-time-based-train-changing, decides to stay on Central Line until the next stop TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD.

14.13pm: Train in tunnel, somewhere between HOLBORN and TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD.

14.16pm: Train not moving. Driver announces something to the passengers. KITFR removes headphones and asks lady next to him "What did he say?" She responds with "Yes." KITFR says "No, the driver." The lady says "okay."

14.17pm: The train moves.

14.17pm: The Train stops.

14.18pm: The train moves.

14.19pm: The Train arrives at TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD station. KITFR predicts that the film DUE DATE will be starting in One Minute. KITFR almost flips out and goes insane at idea of missing beginning of movie, but becomes suddenly inspired when his iPhone's music shuffle brings on Bob Dylan's SHELTER FROM THE STORM.

14.20pm: KITFR moves swiftly out of station, realizing it takes about ten minutes to walk from TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD to the CINEWORLD SHAFTSBURY AVENUE.

14.21pm: KITFR is running. He is abruptly brought to a stop by a large swarm of protesters and police, who are argiung or doing something. KITFR barges his way through, refusing to be a part of the bullshit. It's difficult to get through. In a moment of pure anger and madness, without realizing he did it, KITFR pushes a police officer aside in an aggressive manner and says "fucking hell" under his breath. The policeman looks at him, surprised.

14.21pm: KITFR happens to notice the policeman's badge, which says "Community Support Officer", which is code for "No Authority." KITFR continues on his way.

14.22pm: KITFR sprints across Leicester Square, determined to make the film on time. Unfortunately the London snow has turned to ice. This means slippery conditions but fortunately KITFR has vast experience with threatening weather circumstances so is able to deal with it appropriately.

14.23pm: KITFR is helped up from the ground by a small seven year old whose Mother watches on proudly. She condescendingly says "Awww, did you hurt yourself sweetie?" KITFR can't believe he's being talked to like that by a seven year old.

14.25pm: KITFR arrives at the cinema. There's a line. There's seven people in the line. They're all Norwegian. They're all one family. They don't know what they're doing. But they're smiling, which makes KITFR consider violence.

14.26pm: KITFR arrives at front of line. Beautiful Norwegian girl turns back as she leaves and asks the cashier something dumb. KITFR considers smashing up a cardboard cut out of Harry Potter's pathetic face.

14.27pm: KITFR says to the Cashier Girl "Have I missed any of DUE DATE?" The Cashier fiddles with a bar of chocolate that sits next to her computer mouse.

14.28pm: She eats the chocolate. Then she says "It's just starting, it's okay." KITFR is relieved. Life is finally okay! The Cashier girl says "It's in screen 4. On the top floor." KITFR snatches the ticket out of her hand and sends her negative vibes.

14.29pm: KITFR realizes he needs to pee. KITFR pees. Due to extreme circumstances, he decides on a no-wash.

14.30pm: KITFR arrives in the cinema. A lady who is the opposite of underweight glances at him like he's evil for walking in after the start. KITFR agrees. He takes a seat near the front.

14.30pm: Robert Downey Jr is on the screen, sitting in an airplane. It's apparent that the film has begun. KITFR considers going ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, but suddenly gets caught up in Robert Downey Jr's hilariousness and Lawrence Sher's beautiful photography.

Conclusion: DUE DATE is great fun, very easy to watch, very funny, and beautifully shot. If anyone sees the KITFR, the Community Support Police Service would like a brief word.

Care to share?

KITFR Online Screenwriting Competition Finalists 2010

Way back in October, I started the Kid In The Front Row Online Screenwriting Competition.

The rules were:
  • Your script must be no longer than FIVE pages (six including a cover page)
  • You must write in industry-standard format.
  • The DEADLINE for the competition is THURSDAY 21st OCTOBER 2010. No exceptions.
Those are the technical rules, here are the STORY RULES.
  • You must have these THREE characters: Margaret, Abdul and Regina.These are the ONLY characters you can have.
  • Your story takes place at the Headquarters of: 'The Equal Rights Committee.' The only locations (within the headquarters) are: Meeting Room, Kitchen, Secret Shelter.
  • You must include this line of dialogue somewhere in the script: "Who the hell is Mark Flamstein?"

There were 25 entries --- and it was amazing how great the screenplays were; given the restraints in terms of deadline, characters and locations, and of course; the page count limitation.


"28 Slides Later" by CAROLINE COXON
"Ahimsa" by C E STEWART
"Equal Wrongs" By PATRICK O'RILEY (2009's Winner)
"Health Concerns" By Z. Z. FRANKEL
"Triple Standards" By MICHELLE GOODE

The FIVE finalist screenplays have been sent to JOE LEONARD ("GLEE" Editor, "HOW I GOT LOST" Writer/Director") who will be judging the competition. The KITFR Online Screenwriting Competition Winner will be announced before the end of the year.

Care to share?