Friday, October 29, 2004

UK comedy writing workshop

Comedyworks is run by a number of professional TV writers with credits on BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5. One-day intensive workshops are held in Highgate, London N8. There are currently places available on a number of courses including Comedy Writing for Television, Writing Television Sitcom and Writing & Performing Stand-Up Comedy.

To view full details of all the workshops, visit Comedyworks.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

BAFTA Scotland includes screenwriters in nominations

European cinema is basically a collection of regional cinemas. So to continue throwing light on local talent, Bafta Scotland has just announced its nominees for the New Talent Award at a press conference attended by "Lord of the Rings" star Billy Boyd (photo). "Following our last Awards in 2002, these nominations reflect the emergence of some particularly strong and important work across all of the genres over the past two years in Scotland," according to their website. Talent in the running include Ewan McGregor, the film "American Cousins" and its director Don Coutts. Nominated for Best New Screenplay are "Wise Guys" by Simon Stephenson and "The Tree Officer" by Neil Jack.

The event will be hosted at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Glasgow on November 14. For full details, check the Bafta Scotland site.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Box office correction: Italy!

OK, I can take a correction. As was pointed out to me, my vision of the box office being totally dominated by US studios across Europe was too pessimistic. The Italian box office has a healthy selection of home-grown movies. Check out the latest Italian box office here. The Top 10 has two Italian movies ("Ovunque Sei" and "Se devo essere sincera"), as well as Spain's "Mala Educacion". Germany's "Gegen Die Wand", which is doing very well across Europe, creeps in at n° 11.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cleopatra lives again!

Just following on a previous post about last year's hits, "Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra" showed on French TV recently. Audience: 12.4 million viewers for a film that ran up 14 million upon release. Not bad. The screenwriters listed are René Goscinny (author of the original comic strip character) and French comedian/actor/producer Alain Chabat. Cleopatra on Amazon France.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Irish screenwriters nominated at home

It's been a very good year for Irish cinema. From "Cowboys & Angels" to "Adam and Paul", "Man About Dog" (number one at the Irish box-office when it opened!) to "Freeze Frame" and "Inside I’m Dancing", there is "a noticeable bounce in the step of an industry on a roll" acording to the Irish Film Board's website.

To add a little glamour, Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film board and the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission have just announced the Best New Talent award at The Irish Film and Television Awards 2004.

The nominees include:

* John Simpson, (writer/director) "Freeze Frame"
* Pearse Elliot, (writer) "Man About Dog"

This sponsorship reflects both bodies' commitment to new Irish talent, in a year that has seen the release of an unprecedented number of films from young Irish creative teams.

Richard Williams, CEO of the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission gave a nice quote: “All our futures in this industry depend on emerging talent so it is very pleasing to see that talent is really beginning to blossom in Northern Ireland."

Check the Irish Film Board here.

What's showing in Europe?

I've just added a sidebar with the Top 20 films currently showing. However, it's a bit of a misnomer. It's actually the Belgian Top 20. I chose that one as it is pretty indicative of what is happening across the continent (that includes the UK, by the way). Looking at the figures, you have over 80% of the material coming from US major studios. Add some indies, about 13% French films and the other occasional foreign hit and there you have it. Local production accounts for under 1%.

Figures were up in Belgium last year, and if you must know, the top three movies were "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets" with euros 7.8m, "Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers" euros 6.3m, and the latest instalment of French hit franchise "Asterix & Obelisk, Mission Cleopatre" with euros 4.3m. So if you're really intent on making some money with your script, you should perhaps be thinking family entertainment rather than Dogma.

Exceptions? Yes, there are a few. Both Denmark and Sweden have local hits in their top five, which is encouraging.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

CinEuropa: Great when it's running

One of the biggest hurdles to making a script sales is finding out who is who. This is particularly true in Europe, which does not have a centralised movie industry. If you're checking likely candidates for a pitch and they happen to be in Germany or Italy, how do you find them? For once, Google is only of limited help as many producers are still not very web-friendly. CinEuropa was started a few years ago as a European film database. Although it is not currently being updated, it is still a pretty good resource for finding addresses and telephone numbers. Unfortunately, it seems to be running on shaky servers as it has been down a few times in the past two weeks. But I do recommend trying it out.

To find addresses, click on "Industry".

Incidentally, CinEuropa also has a forum which could be really interesting given the range of people that visit it. But again, it's kinda quiet.

Anyway, give it a shot: CinEuropa.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Man acquitted of film-inspired rape charges

What can I say? According to a report in Reuters, an Italian man has been awarded a whopping €75,000 after spending 18 months in jail. The court ruled that the charges brought by his daughter were inspired by the script of "Disclosure", starring Demi Moore (script by Paul Attanasio from the Michael Crichton novel).

What is the spookiest part of this? That someone could wallow in jail for 18 months, or that the charges came from his daughter?

New French collection to publish scripts

According to my friends in France, there is a shortage of printed scripts available. So the new collection from Hors Ecran sounds interesting. Over the coming months, they will be publishing scripts from a series of movies. What's interesting is that these are the pre-shoot and pre-edit scripts. So in theory, this is what got the production company and/or director interested.

The series kicks off with Julie Bertucelli's 2003 award-winning "Depuis qu'Otar est parti" (Since Otar Left). I haven't read the copy, but apparently there is also an interview with the director. Hors Ecran is also going to publish some un-filmed scripts.

There's an item (in French) on the Hors Commerce website. To buy a copy on Amazon France, click here.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Script Factory events during London fest

London's Script factory has an interesting line-up of events to coincide with the The Times London BFI festival. Screenings, meetings with directors and writers, master-classes; the programme is probably one of the best for the season. Names include Mike Leigh, Joshua Marston, Zach Braff and Annette K. Olseon. It's all happening in Soho between Oct. 27-31.

Check the details here.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Go away, the Internet is full

No, hang on. Don't go yet. You've just turned up a little early. I'll be running this thing at walking pace for a few days (if you'll excuse the pun). When it does actually pick up speed I'll be providing links to bits and pieces to do with script- and screenwriting.

And wronging.

So bookmark me, and drop by in a day or two.