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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The next Prequel to Cannes independent Film Networking event

A date for your diary... It's back... The Prequel to Cannes 2012 Independent film networking event, is bigger and better, now over two days, it promises to be action packed with activities for Writers, Actors, Film Folk, Film Crew as well as coming face to face with Corporate clients who use Film folk.

The Next Prequel to Cannes film, television and theatre networking event is on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th February 2012 at Lighthouse Poole, Dorset. Tickets go on sale through Lighthouse Box Office 0844 406 8666 just in time for some last minute Christmas or New Year presents.

The main networking event starts on Wednesday 8th February at 6.15pm in the Cinema Bar before moving into the cinema to hear from speakers, watch films, meet with consultants and organisers of local film events, with opportunities to network there will be something for everyone associated with making independent film, television or producing theatre.

Follow us on Twitter @prequel2cannes for the latest updates and breaking news.

This is an established and successful top notch event with professional support from industry led consultants, accredited film folk, creative agencies, organisations and guilds. A must for all those who need to talk about or secure collaboration, knowledge or interest, funding or advice about their film, television or theatre projects.

An action packed two day line-up, kicking off with 'Pitch Factor' a Masterclass with Lucy V from Bang2write. Then there is a great opportunity to put into practice your knowledge and 'Pitch to the Panel' for the 'Pitch Pot Prize fund' with a guaranteed minimum amount of £50 to the victor.

There will be two other Masterclasses about writing and directing for film and television, with jobbing writer and organiser of Tony Jordan's Red Planet Prize, Danny Stack; one thing you can be sure about is that Danny will tell it as it is, as well as bring structure to your writing career and give you hope that true writing talent coupled with hard work will always shine through.

Prequel to Cannes has teamed up with Dramatic Productions to be able to offer semi-professional or professional actors the opportunity to be 'spotted' during the photo shoots or screen tests, and actors who show great promise or charisma will be invited back on Thursday for a free audition. (Please note that it is not a pre-requisite to have any of the photographic services on offer to be considered for Agency representation; the low cost service is being provided for actors in an attempt to aid their careers).

At a very reasonable cost, Prequel to Cannes has teamed up with London Fashion photographer Ben Trill and Esther Yarnold of Interim, to provide an opportunity to have Black and White head and shoulder photographs taken, that will be suitable for Spotlight. In addition, actors who do not already have a screen test reel (this is not a show reel but a rehearsed piece to camera), will be able to perform a screen test and keep this record for their existing portfolios. The successful visual artist and stylist Hazel Evans, will be on hand to give last minute advice and hints on styling for photographs.

Dramatic Productions will open their Agency books, in an active search to represent new acting talent for film, theatre and corporate work. Prequel to Cannes is delighted to support Dramatic Productions as they launch their new Actors' Agency during the gala packed evening on Wednesday 8th February 2012. Meet the actors, talk to Sasha about her Agency plans and projects and learn how she can help to support your film or business projects.

In honour of the prolific and successful television, film and theatre writer Jeremy Paul, Creative Thoughts Productions is delighted to launch the Jeremy Paul Award for Theatre Writing. Full details will be available on the night of Wednesday 8th February 2012.

A whole host of fantastic activities will take place in and around the Cinema, with the Cinema Bar being at the centre of the networking hub. The cinema will be the focus for some exceptional sessions you will not want to miss.

If you have ever asked yourself one or more of these four questions then this session will be for you: 1) Why should I go to Cannes festival? 2) Do I need accreditation? 3) What do I need to take with me? 4) How much is it likely to cost? You will be able to discover the real facts about getting to Cannes from three Festival veterans, who between them have a string of nominations and awards.

Meet A. D. Cooper the 2009 winner of the Prequel to Cannes short film script competition, Alice has directed her winning script and her film 'The view from the window' currently in post-production. London based Alice, has already received international recognition in New York and Cannes, for her other short film called 'Feet'.

A showreel will showcase some of the leading film talent from across the South and Suzy Wheeler, sister of the uber cool from Strawberry Fields represents, will be on hand to tell you about an exciting new film venture happening in Bournemouth in 2012. White Lantern Film will also be available to talk about their monthly B-Reel film events held at the Dance Pavilion in Bournemouth.

It promises to be one heck of a two day feast... Join us even if it is at our Thursday Mafia style Meltdown networking meal...

The full 2 day programme will be available to download soon... please note this is an over 18's film industry event.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Previous Winners of the Prequel to Cannes script competition

Previous Winners:

The PTC script competition team are delighted with the progress, success and recognition that previous winners are receiving.

In addition to the generous prize money and publicity also comes a stream of success...

As a result of winning the first short script competition in 2009, A. D. Cooper and her winning script 'The View from the Window' is now in post production and receiving its final polish before being launched on the festival circuit. Alice has already received accolades for a previous script which was also made into a film called 'Feet'.

Today I learned that talented writer Lisa Barrass, who came second in the Feature film script competition 2011 has been long listed for her script 'Since You've Been Gone' in this year's BAFTA Rocliffe new writers forum.

Huge congratulations to both and I look forward to seeing many more names from the Prequel to Cannes winners gallery, go on to receive even more recognition of their unique writing talent.

The new 2012 Prequel to Cannes writing competition will be open at the end of November 2011... check out to see the excellent cash prizes on offer. New categories will also be available with exciting prizes.

Prequel to Cannes feature script competition - runner up

Great news... October 2011:

Lisa Barrass and her award winning script 'Since You've Been Gone', has been long listed in the top 25, of this year's BAFTA Rocliffe new writers forum prize.

Well done to Lisa, proving that great writing will always shine through...

From Rosie and all the judges and admin staff, a very deserved Congratulations.

The 2012 competition is due to launch in November... watch this space...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Prequel and Sequel to Cannes Feature Script Competition

A well fought nail-biting dual over the £600 prize money; went to

'Faith' by Dom Carver 1st Prize £500
'Since you've been gone' by Lisa Barrass 2nd prize £100

A special mention goes out to 'Head Girl world' by Joel Smith and 'Joshua's Tree' by Norrin Radd.

Huge Congratulations from the judges and team at HQ....
The 2011/12 Competition for a short and a feature film script is now open... Get writing folks...

Friday, 1 July 2011

Prequel to Cannes

Competition 2011/12 launches:
The shortlist for the 2010/11 feature film script have been narrowed down to just four contenders which has made the decision making for selecting the final two winning scripts challenging, to say the least. So we've taken an extra week to make sure the correct decision is reached. What is heartwarming is the quality of the script entries; they certainly prove the writers can write and tell a good yarn.

The positive feedback from entrants on the value of the script report proves beyond doubt, that writers are hungry for support to help them discover and learn where or how they can improve upon their script and take it to the next level.

In order to try and separate the scripts, therefore creating a little more distinction between them, we will now take into account the treatment, synopsis and script presentation (or format), in the hope that it will be easier to put a few shades of shadow line between them.

Nail biting and teeth gnashing will take place this week, but the total cash prize fund of £600 will hopefully make the extra wait worthwhile...

The announcements will now take place on Friday, 8th July 2011...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

2011/2012 Short Film Script Competition

The countdown begins for this years launch of the successful Prequel and Sequel to Cannes Short or Feature film script competition. Full details will appear on the website so keep your eyes peeled during June when full T & C's along with the entry form will be available.

The prestigious panel of judges will also be announced. Good luck, crazy writing...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Am I cramming or in flow?

There is nothing like a deadline to get a writer into gear. Focus not Phaff (or Faff if you prefer) is the mission statement this week. I seem to have a million and one things to do before I go to Padstow, one of which is writing a couple of pieces to read out over a glass or two, we all contribute.

Let me tell you a story... Back in 2008 I decided my narrative driven cookery book which is highly stylised and has been in creation since 2005, wasn't really growing or going anywhere, after initial publisher interest the trail went cold.

Maybe it is because I did everything the wrong way around as I thought I would have to submit three chapters for the publishers to gain an overview of what it was about. I wrote the intro to the book, I had more than a few recipes mapped out, I knew what it should look like, I had done the photo shoot for the characters, I knew who my main players were, I had run the premise past a few trusted bookish folk, I knew who my audience was but I felt the actual writing content around food writing didn't quite hit the mark. Cookery writing is very different, the approach, the technique, words to avoid, writing descriptive prose needs to tease and tantalise the taste buds, yet like any good prose writing you need to breathe fire into your story and make it live.

So with the support of Creative Dorset and a mini-bursary from the Arts Council and Arvon, I went on the 'Writing for food' residential course at Totleigh run by the Arvon foundation. If you have never been on a writing course, it is worth considering one of their many programmes around the country; a four/five day residential course. I guarantee you won't regret it, I believe it is tax deductible against your CPD, they do assist with bursaries, it is industry recognised as being THE foundation to run well delivered programmes and it is great fun, you never know who'll you'll meet. Personally, I struggle to write anything mildly interesting or satisfying whilst I am there but when I come away, it is like I have been given an enema, writerly stuff pours out of me for months.

This was not the first course I attended and God willing, it certainly will not be the last. The course was run by Orlando Murrin and Tamasin Day-Lewis with guest speaker being Simon Parkes of 'The Calcutta Kitchen' fame.

Orlando and his partner Peter Steggall, have recently moved their HQ from France and after much searching found a beautiful property which they have stamped their own mark on and opened their wonderful boutique hotel in Langford Fivehead, a pile that dates back to 1453. It's hallmark carries all the grace and elegance of Orlando himself.

What I hadn't reckoned on was the bunch of foodie folk that I would meet and bond with on the week ahead. Fifteen of us, with diverse backgrounds and an age range spanning some forty years from 21 through to 65, yet we all got on like the proverbial house on fire. Our common interest was food, drink, writing and travel... so a match made in heaven was cemented and we all vowed to reunite every year at the first May BH to share our love of all things cookery, writerly and travely and we call ourselves Gathering Nuts in May. We each take it in turn to organise the long weekend and the organiser gets the Diva's bedroom, then Susan (food technologist who has seem many of your M & S delicacies through their conception to inception) and I, stay on to take advantage of the whole week. Having stayed near Ludlow 2009, Rye 2010 and this year our Sam (test kitchen chef) has booked us a pile near Padstow.

To get back to my original point of this post, as D-Day looms imminent, there is nothing like a deadline to channel your focus. At home before I leave, lists of numbers if things go right, lists of numbers if things go wrong, my annual accounts, bills, blogging, wedding outfit, shopping for the Duchess, beauty treatments and shopping for Padstow need to be done over the next four days... Oh and the piece or two I need to write for our reading night.

I am trying to utilise my time wisely, yet still managing to work on the writing of the book adaptation, plus continuing to promote the Prequel and Sequel to Cannes Feature film script through its final week of submission before it closes off on 30th April, but the housework has been pushed into the background and now resembles Munster Lodge as whispers of cobwebs coat every available surface. Oh well something has to give.

I cannot say that my time has been idle before, but I do seem to think a lot these days before writing. Previously I just had to get on and write, but now... reflection first, actual writing second.

Glorious day again, bright, bright sunshine, blue, blue skies so the garden and laptop call my office for the day.

Peace be with you and joyous writing. xxx Foxi fox...

Novel writing vs scriptwriting

Before you even embark on writing anything for publication or production, there is a plethora of publications to plough through and distract you from actually writing.

I can spend hours dipping in and out of books with tantalising titles that promise to deliver the world if you follow the rules, principles, pathways or patterns of narrative. I have however, found that great storytellers are just that, great... they carry a natural in-built sat-nav that steers their story in the correct direction; that is of course, if they only allow themselves to get on and actually write. If not, it is a bit like an untrained athlete, reward will be evasive and you can blame it on a whole load of subjugated junk, but the reality probably boils down to the basic fact that in trying to learn to master the art, you forgot to write...

There are schools of thought that say you can make any story fit any form and I guess in the bigger picture there is more than a kernel of truth in this, but there are some stories that just lend themselves more naturally to one form or another. Even though I am trained in and practice screenwriting, there are certain narratives that I just 'feel' are more suited to prose on the page. This might be the starting point but that doesn't mean to say that it will be the finishing point. I have one story that swings like a pendulum between novel > film > < film < novel; I have a love > hate relationship with it and my latest solution is it needs to be written in portmanteau style, which as a novel is absolutely fine, but as a film creates different challenges to overcome and master.

I have a fragmented mind, which probably means I'm mad or have some undiagnosed syndrome and I'm sharing this potentially with the open world who might mock or scorn me and confirm I am clearly mad, but I feel naturally more suited to fragmented thought. I like to think it is because I should have been a genius scientist or I am so intelligent that my thoughts exceed my brain capacity... actually I fear it means I do have some undiagnosed syndrome, I am ditsy and dizzy and I don't have the intellect to continue with, or carry one single thought stream without encountering interruptions from the voices in my head...

What I genuinely do believe is that any writer should not limit themselves to one form or another; for me it would be like saying a runner should only practice running and not focus on developing muscle strength, stretching exercises, developing stamina, meditating or keeping a peripheral eye on the competition.

Changing your usual form can only be healthy, add to mini-mind gym, stretch your writing thought process, help you to rip the poetry up from the hidden depths within before returning to your preferred form.

Then before you feel ready to give birth and let go, invest some time to hear it from the professionals. There is a great literary agent in the states called Janet Reid, who runs an excellent blog and actually give hints and advice around submitting your work to agents... she actually invests in writers with the most valuable commodity... her time, for free, for anyone who is serious about writing. What she blogs about is not only taken from the agents' viewpoint, but is also filled with a body of constructive discussion. Check out her blog, you won't regret it.

Right, I'm off to smell the freshly mown grass, drink in the sunshine and write my adaptation in the garden today and maybe a piece or two to read at the reunion in Padstow which is looming.

Happy Days...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Constructive suport on your script

The Less is more diet...
If your script is sagging in the middle or in danger of losing focus, it might just be that in between giving birth to your idea and feeding it, it has been either overfed in the middle or put on a starvation diet and therefore lost its shape... as in life...

If Subway can call their staff 'sandwich artists', then it seems to me that the boring old title of script-reader (which does their skill no justice in the name), needs to carry a title that reflects what they actually do... I prefer to call them Script Nutritionalists as opposed to plain old script-reader, as it denotes that more than a modicum of skill is required when executing their analysis. Having used the services of Lucy V to provide feedback reports for the Prequel and Sequel to Cannes film script competitions, I know from the feedback I receive from entrants, just how invaluable this guide map can be.

Short of going on a strict script diet when you try to restore the main spine of your story and being at risk from throwing out too much meat and not enough of the fat, you might need to recruit the help of said script nutritionalist...

If you are currently sagging in the middle or spewing out the guts of your story in the final five pages, you might like to consider recruiting the help of one of these excellent script nutritionalists:

They all vary in price and service, but if you have come to a standstill in the foodfest of words that is the writers' staple diet, then this may be the answer to all your narrative ills.

Happy dieting...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A New Day Dawns...

Blessed, blessed, blessed is how I see my life. With all the talk and doom and gloom surrounding the retirement age and the fact that we'll all have to work until we are at least 80 years of age, I raise the question, Why would you ever want to stop working? Can we all work smarter not harder?

For most we are all retiring from the minute we start work, when the honeymoon period finishes and the fascination for discovery is overtaken by the drudgery of day-to-day routine, we are all looking at the hour-glass. It is said that around 30% of the working population are happy in their current jobs, so what are the other 70% dreaming of doing with their lives as they gaze out of windows, or become lost in thought during meetings as HOD's drone on about fluff and stuff.

If you have good health and all your faculties, then why would you want to sit in an armchair waiting for the end, or faff around dwindling the precious hours that fate has banked for you. There are so many opportunities to combine and create new paths that may lead you to realise your dreams if not your aspirations. If your dreams involve Ferraris, Villas, Jimmy Choo or expensive bling, then perhaps it's not your dreams that need review, but your aspirations.

Surely dreams should be about lifestyle, quality of life, surroundings, achievements, creation, motivation... not about 'stuff'... something that will help you leave a positive footprint on the map of society, add value to your purpose on earth, release the pent up creativity that has for so long been locked away while you've toiled to earn a crust, maybe in a job that you've tolerated or a place you've had to live in, because the need has had to overcome the desire in order to meet the bills.

I am living proof that it can be done, reversing the trend, taking the leap of faith, switching the balance between desire and needs. There will come a time when the hamster will have to take the leap of faith and jump out of the clutches of the spinning wheel that threatens to chew him up and spew him out.

During my discussions and interviews with other creatives, I notice a common thread, the need to have the courage, not only to recognise the calling when it comes, but bow to her wisdom and take up the challenge and release the creative within.

For me I knew I had to write; regardless of quality, good or bad, like OCD I am compelled to write, ignore it at my peril. I have always written, considered myself a writer, been driven to write. Sometimes captured in fragments, sometimes in prose, sometimes in poetry and if I'm lucky these all come together in the visual tapestry of a script; those are the good days, filled with light and gossamer. All creatives appreciate that from time-to-time they need outlets, catalysts, space to think, places to dream and opportunities to breathe from the soul. When the brain is in danger of crushing the spirit, you need to talk with the gaoler to set it free. We are our own gaolers.

So it is with pleasure I bring to you two new ventures that can help you release the prisoner within.

Firstly, Laura Cousins and Brian Jenner have teamed up to bring you Bournemouth Creative Breaks check it out here at the Arlington Hotel, Bournemouth. A variety of creative programmes through music or the written word.

The second is around writing breaks and our own Bournemouth Queen of the Pen herself, Tricia Walker, who penned the novel Benedict's Brother, now undergoing transformation and serious film development. Tricia is writer in residence at the Queen's Hotel in Bournemouth and is running a series of writing workshops throughout the year.

This is just a nano print of activity that bubbles away in a Southern corner of this rich island I am blessed to call home.

Listen to your creative Siren, set it free, only you are the Gaoler...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Hot foot from the Southern Script Festival

Dan Pringle from White Circle, the corporate sector of White Lantern Film

Last weekend I could be found mingling with and tingling from all the exciting events that took place at Bournemouth University, at the inaugural Southern Script Festival. It was streamlined to suit and appeal to writers in particular, but also to producers and film folk; it did not disappoint.

It was peppered with an amazing line up of workshops and speakers across all genres of film and television. It was a heady fest of knowledge sharing and everyone left full to the brim with inspiration. My company Creative Thoughts Productions and the Prequel to Cannes networking arm was delighted to support it and the goodwill and generosity of those who have carved out a career in the biz, was just mind blowing.

Highlights for me were definitely Jonathan Harvey, Faye Gosling and Jeremy Paul a doyen of all things televisual since the 60's.

You might have missed it this year, but next year be sure to get along and enter any competitions going. You can see from the link just what was on offer. A & C Black donated no less than five Writers' and Artists' Yearbooks, Helen Jacey donated two signed copies of her book about female heroes and White Lantern Film sponsored the top script prize with a host of exceptional goodies, read about it here:

I'm still inspired and reeling from the networking introductions and being in such a positive vibe for a whole two days talking about films and writing and writing opportunities.

Script Competitions

Film Script Competitions:

Fancy £500?
Prequel the Sequel! Uh?

Explained... Prequel to Cannes is all about networking and Sequel to Cannes is all about the film script competitions. Short film and Features. Both are endorsed by the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and full details can be found on the Prequel to Cannes website

Currently running: the 2010/11 Feature film script prize, closing date April 30th 2011... winners announced on 30th June 2011 - just in time for your summer holiday...

What do you get?
  1. three pages of feedback on the merits and opportunities of your script as analysed by professional film industry script reader Lucy Vee from Bang2write (Blog: write here, write now)
  2. The chance to win 1st Prize £500 or 2nd Prize £100
  3. your script will receive the chance to be read by Level Films of Bristol, who are actively looking for new projects - in the event of any interest they work with the writer
  4. publicity via the blog and the website
Judges: Patron - John Foster,
Jeremy Paul, Danny Stack, Tim Clague, Christine Aziz
Founder: Creative Thoughts Productions

Blog from a hot tin roof


Welcome one and all...

The film business is a funny old game.

Nothing new you might say, but so many talented writers and film folk struggle to be seen amidst the throng, struggle to see their babies grow up, struggle to find the men in suits or struggle to raise the money to bring their film projects onto the big or small screen. Do you see a bit of a theme going on here? Yep, you've got it, the common denominator... struggle.

That doesn't mean to say that 'it' whatever 'it' is cannot be done, it just means that you have to be more proactive, forward thinking, inventive, cheeky or just downright fecking fearless when looking for ways to see your project through.

Finding out about how you can put your work in front of decision makers or people who hold the power in terms of helping you make things happen is, contrary to popular myth not an impossibility. It is all about connectivity, as a friend has recently found out when a book that was published back in 2006, has just been picked up an optioned with money attached to the film rights; this came about through a conversation over a breakfast networking event. You see, you never know who is queuing up next to you for their bacon and eggs..

In 2006 I was writing a series of articles for an arts magazine about the real independent filmmakers living along the South coast, people who spend every waking breath either living, eating, talking about or dying film and everything in-between. I was astonished to find so many talented folk living in my own backyard and I thought 'Wouldn't it be great if I could bring all these people together and provide agencies, funders and organisations who could help them to see their projects come to life'; you will note I often talk to myself.

With a bit of ignorance and a lot of gaul, I set about securing support and raising the all important jamoola and put on a film networking event and have done so every year since 2007. They have been a huge success and many projects have seen the light of day or fit into the work in progress category.

Some of the organisations who have supported the event are South West Screen, The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, UK Trade and Investment, Creative Dorset, UnLtd, Poole Arts Development, Lighthouse (Poole Centre for the Arts), HSBC, Southbank publishing, A & C Black, The Enterprise Pavilion, White Lantern Film and ArtsMatrix.

I would strongly urge any writer to break free from the confines of their room and their mind and get along to any film or writerly networking events that encourage collaborative interaction.

I hope you will join me and come along for the ride and I promise to post and share opportunities that may just help film folk put a bit of flesh on the bones of their ideas...