Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stephen Fry: UK TV writers "treated like dirt"

Celebrated British actor and writer Stephen Fry has spoken out against the British TV production system, claiming the writers are "treated like dirt". He particularly points to the fact that writers are generally dispossessed of their work when production starts. In a report in The Stage, he is quoted as saying, “Occasionally, if there’s a good relationship, a writer can come and visit the set, but their job - if they know anything about the etiquette of a set - is to sit very quietly in a corner and is certainly not to talk to an actor about anything but gossip and it is certainly not to talk about the part [they have written], because that undermines the relationship of the actor and director,” he said.

In addition to his high-profile acting, Fry has written for TV and is the writer of "Bright Young Things". For the full story, visit The Stage.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Screenwriting conference in Dublin in June

The Jameson Dublin Film Festival is organising a major scriptwriting conference in June, that will bring together four very different writers: Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Shane Meadows and Paul Fraser (A Room for Romeo Brass, SomersTown), Eran Kolirin (The Band's Visit) and Conor McPherson (The Eclipse). Other guests are planned. Dates June 4 & 5. "Give Me Direction" will be an opportunity to champion great and original writing for the screen and to deepen the Irish Film Board’s engagement in addressing industry concerns. The conference will follow an informal, mixed format of sessions and interviews: plus a rehearsed read-through and a preview screening.

For more details, visit the JDIFF.

La Palme dort!

Brilliant headline from France's "Scénaristes" magazine: "La palme dort". Translated, it means "The Palm is sleeping". Sub-headline: "The world's biggest film festival continues to marginalise scriptwriters. How about a change?"

An example? It's probably worth remembering that last year the scriptwriters of France's biggest hit (by far), "Bienvenu chez les Ch'tis/Welcome to the Sticks", were not invited to attend the screening at Cannes. No room on the list, apparently. Cannes is basically a celebration of the cult of the director-as-author, to the point where the actual writers drop off the map. I'm not sure if Scénaristes can change that. But the French writers' union UGS that publish the magazine are very active at Cannes, organising a script market tied with breakfast meetings with producers and directors, as well as a "white night" - definitely worth checking at Cannes. Check here for details. Way to go.