As a Devon dweller, I can SO relate to Liam’s points here – but as I always say, you DON’T have to live in London to make a screenwriting career in the UK, so here’s his top 5 tips for the long distance screenwriter! Enjoy …

farm-stay-front_1213797c

I live in a part of rural Ireland where life is less like The Quiet Man and more like Deliverance. Here, writing isn’t a particularly celebrated profession; tell locals you’re a writer and you’re apt to get cock-eyed looks before they resume advising you about how to slope your slurry floor.

Writers breaking in from outside the big centres isn’t unusual, but there’s a section of writers who are so far away from everything that getting breaks is ridiculously difficult: they run farms, hold down multiple jobs or are otherwise unable to get to those hives of writing activity.

Making inroads without actually using roads is tough, but these tips should make it that little bit easier.

1)     ALL Technology Is Your Friend

Technology has connected everybody, but using that for your benefit is tricky.

The temptation is to rely solely on social media. It’s a powerful tool – a web-series I wrote is set to be produced off the back of a connection made via a Facebook appeal – but if it’s all you’re using, you’re missing out.

Never underestimate the value of phone calls and postage. Most places, unless stated otherwise, will respond to written queries purely because they’re tangible; and once someone answers the phone, you’ll have 30 seconds to craft an in with them that you didn’t have before you dialled.

LESSON 1: Working online’s easy, especially when submitting overseas, but networking is about personal connections. That extra effort for the right company could make all the difference. MORE: Using technology to connect and make relationships, plus Chris Jones with Talent Is Great, But It’s Relationships That Get You Hired

2)     Combine Your Apps 

If you’re living in the sticks, chances are your budget’s pretty tight. This tip is vital if you have to work on a shoestring.

Most people have both laptops and smartphones, and getting them working together is a lifesaver. On laptops, combining free screenwriting apps can replicate most of what mainstream software does – for example,Trelby exports multiple file types, while Celtx has better dialogue functions, and both are cross-compatible.

On phones, mobile screenwriting apps and note-taking software like Evernote allow you to construct scenes and even whole scripts on the go. Combine these with your email client and storage apps like Dropbox, and it’s possible to spot a writing job, apply for it, then write and send the script without ever being near your computer. Another handy app is your camera – I recently connected with a producer by snapping an advertisement they’d put up in my local post office.

LESSON 2: If you can’t afford the stuff the pros use, find another way around so you can concentrate on the writing first. MORE: 5 Essential Apps For Writers

3)     Write Faster!

A busy home life in a remote area is always time-consuming, so snatch LITERALLY every minute you can to write.

A scene. A line of dialogue. Getting these down chips away at the overall time finishing your work takes. It’s also way less daunting than blocking five hours out of your day to write, which can descend into an unsatisfying procrastination session.

Think of them like mini-deadlines; you have that long to get your idea across, and no time for dawdling. It strips out all the padding most writers put in during long sessions, making the rewrite much simpler when the time to get to grips with it becomes available.

LESSON 3: Instead of your daily routine being a block to doing your work, use it as a way to prevent you putting it off. MORE: Time Is NOT On Your Side by @LeeZJessup 

4)     Collaborate

This goes hand-in-hand with Tip 1; the more people you connect with, the wider your presence.

On the downside, collaborating means working for free with someone who’s got a totally different style and personality to you, with no certainty of the outcome. On the upside, they’re similarly driven to you and do their thing in an area you otherwise wouldn’t reach. Also, should they gain traction in the industry down the line, then they’re more likely to help you out based on your past relationship.

It’s a crap shoot, but if it goes well, you’ll gain an ally who’s opinion you trust, which is like finding gold in a garden hose.

LESSON 4: Any obstacle is easier to get over with help from a friend. If there’s a gap in your skills or your plan, don’t be afraid to have someone else fill it for you. MORE: All about relationships and teamwork 

5)     Remember, You’re Unique

Most pundits on pitching will tell you that it’s not just your story that industry bods want to hear about; it’s YOUR story – who you are, why you’re interesting.

To mainstream industry workers, where you come from is not unlike being from another planet, and that’s an asset in every room you pitch in. Even if you don’t sell your script, selling yourself makes you more memorable should you ever come back.

Another advantage of living outside the mainstream is that it gives you a unique voice. An off-shoot of writing what you know is letting what you know influence you when writing what you don’t. Your situation and the style you’ve developed from it will set your work apart, which is essential for getting you where you need to go.

LESSON 5: Selling yourself is as important as selling your writing; if your backgrounds different, use that to your advantage during pitching. MORE: “Success is more perspiration than inspiration, but sometimes the inspiration fuels the perspiration” – a great video on the LondonSWF blog

BIO: @liamkavanagh17 is a screenwriter and comic writer. You can view his work HERE and connect with him on FB HERE and via Linkedin, HERE.

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

This is the thing. You’re doing all the classes; you’re reading all the sites and trades; you can even pitch and network like a pro … but there’s one problem:

You’re not thinking like a professional writer.

It's all about differentiation

It’s all about differentiation

That’s the bad news. The good news: you can start, TODAY!!

Here’s what you’ve got to stop doing, NOW:

1) Stop sweating the small stuff

So I’m speaking to a Bang2writer about books or films or TV shows, probably online, and ask: “Have you read/ watched X?” And here’s what I get too often in reply:

“Yes, but it annoyed me because of [REASON THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WRITING]“.

I’m not talking about valid writing-based reasons like, “the copy editing was very poor, which persistently took me out of the story”; or “I felt the character’s motivation was underwritten”; or “the structure seemed very lumpy, so the pace and tone was impacted”. I’m talking about stuff like:

“The main character reminded me of someone I don’t like in real life.”

“I don’t enjoy novels in the present tense.”

“I don’t like the actor cast in the main role, even though I like the story/genre.”

“I didn’t like the costuming”

“All the characters are too good/bland-looking”

As writers ourselves, we have to look BEYOND the surface decisions other writers, filmmakers and producers make in getting those stories to an audience. Instead, we have to ASSESS those stories and figure out how SUCCESSFUL those stories are in reaching that particular audience. That means going BEYOND our personal dis/likes and thinking about what that audience might want and whether they get it from that story. Sound hard? Yep. Sound even a bit of a paradox? Absolutely. But it’s 100% necessary if you want to start thinking like a professional writer! MORE: 4 Reasons That Moment You Don’t Like Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina (with a nod to @ellardent)

2) Stop thinking there are rules to break

There are no rules to break, only risks to take. Just don’t be boring and don’t be precious about your work or an asshole and you WILL advance in your career. I can’t stress this enough. MORE: How To Make Your Own Team

3) Stop standing in your own way

Whatever you want, it’s up to you to and go get it. We all know this, yet I see waaaay too many writers self sabotage. It’s like they’re AFRAID to take massive action and get those massive results. So they don’t. Instead, they’ll rewrite and never finish; or they’ll isolate their peers with bad behaviour; or they’ll complain on message boards, be weird or generally just shoot themselves in the foot somehow.

So don’t do this. Be methodical. I know it’s difficult when you’re creative, but if you don’t say, “I want THIS to happen by X time” and measure your progress and evaluate that progress, you might as well not bother. Go and be a hobby writer. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a hobby writer, either; it gives pleasure to lots of people worldwide. But if you want to be a professional? You simply MUST have a strategy. MORE: 5 Career Strategies for Screenwriters and Authors, plus 7 Ways YOU’RE Screwing Up

4) Stop thinking there’s  “The Industry” and you’re on the outside

The Industry is not this mythical place where professional writers are awarded cake and balloons and yet the door is slammed resolutely in your face. **The Industry** is just a handy catch-all word for all those people who band together with their friends and colleagues because they so happen to share the same ideals, remits, desires for *whatever reason*. These include agents and clients; publishers and authors; filmmakers and screenwriters, script editors and whatevers. So go out there and make some friends. Help people. Do stuff. And then one day you will wake up in someone’s CIRCLE and be part of **The Industry**. MORE:  I’ve Written A Script, Now What? and for authors: I’ve Written A Book, Now What?

5) Stop thinking it’s all about luck or money

No industry pro is simply lucky. Anything you see on book shelves (virtual or not), in the cinema, at the theatre, on television, on the internet is not only the product of hundreds of hours of work, but multiple sacrifices: personal, financial, you name it. Yes, even the shit ones you don’t like. Most of us are not in it for the money, either: for every JK Rowling or Steven Spielberg, there are countless other writers and filmmakers simply scraping by, because even when you DO make money, you make so little the rest of the time it has to sustain you until the next time (if there is one). People bring others entertainment for the LOVE of it and yes there are charlatans and wankers, but most of the time, writers and makers want to create good work for their chosen audience and make people HAPPY. So before you slag off a work, writer or maker, just think about that. MORE: It’s Not About Luck & It Totally Is

6) Stop thinking it’s about “Making It”

I think it amuses every professional writer when others tell them they’ve “made it” because no professional I know believes they have. Why? Because every professional writer has the same issues they’ve always had, no matter how exciting their workload or what they’ve done/doing: they’ve still got rent, mortgages and childcare payments; they’ve still got worries about commissions (is this the last one??); they’ve still not got enough time to do everything they WANT to do; and they’re still that NEW WRITER they’ve always been, even if only in their heads. To illustrate, I got a message the other day from a Hollywood screenwriter congratulating me on my new book. My first reaction was not, “Thanks!” but “YOU WROTE [AMAZING FILM], WTF!!” So don’t worry about making it: it’s not the destination, it’s the journey and all that guff. Besides, even when someone TELLS YOU you’ve “made it”, you won’t believe them anyway! MORE: Connecting With Other Writers, Filmmakers & Agents Online

But MOST of all:

It's still about differentiating ...

It’s still about differentiating …

7) Stop getting angry

You’ve been writing a while, so you don’t jealous of your peers anymore. You see others doing well and whilst it might make you wistful that it’s not you, you figure you’ve gotta keep on keeping on – by the law of averages, it’s gotta be your time SOON, right? You’re right.

But bad industry stuff still makes you angry. You see or read a book with a shitty theme you reckon’s irresponsible / a  film that’s really just a video game of 2D characters/ endless fighting (Transformers 3, anyone?) / an industry pro saying something stupid and it gives you RAGE. WTF?

But, relaaaaaaax. These are the facts:

i) Bad stuff is always a matter of opinion – even if it falls down on some craft level, that’s not always the reason people read or watch it … And you can’t see the world through those other people’s eyes, so chill the f*** out!

ii) Even if that work IS terrible, it still has an audience – it won’t have sold otherwise. (And no, audiences are NOT stupid: see above).

iii) Professional writers and makers are human. Sure, they might have written and/or made some of your favourite work, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be assholes like the rest of us.

Concluding:

Ignoring the siren call of anger, resentment and slagging off can be difficult, granted … But when it comes to be professional, that’s what it takes to separate the wo/men from the boys & girls. It’s how the rest of the professionals will pick you out from the deluge of others! When differentiation is the key to getting noticed, can you afford to just think about “liking” stuff (or not) any longer?

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

A great post from Rob at Eastleigh Film Festival today, reminding us there are plenty of traps your short films can fall into and how to avoid them … As a script reader, I read A LOT of short film screenplays for both contests and individuals and can relate to every single one of the points he raises! SERIOUSLY. So don’t drop these clangers in your next short script writers and makers – also, make sure you check out EFF’s Industry Day, happening Sept 25th (you don’t have to live in Eastleigh to go, I’m told!). Over to you, Rob … Enjoy!

eastleigh-film-festival-logo-v1-1-When the Powers-That-Be are passing judgement on short film competition entries, often wading through hundreds of entries, the tiniest turn-off can be the difference between ending up in the ‘deleted’ folder instead of the shortlist.

Dodgy dialogue, shambolic cinematography and poor plotting are amongst the common flaws shoddy short films share, but here’s a quick list of avoidable mistakes…

1) Read the rules

This one probably sounds like plain old common sense… “Doesn’t everyone read the rules?” I hear you cry – Well, surprisingly, no. From this guest-writer’s experience, a huge chunk of entrants neglect to even skim-read the basic stipulations of the competition they’re entering.

In our case, we were looking specifically for sub-six-minute shorts from the UK and France, making it very clear on the main online call-out that submissions from other nations, or longer than the allotted running time, were not eligible this time around.

However, that didn’t stop all manner of international filmmakers having a pop. A fair few of them entered films which lasted well over six minutes, too.

While using online services that mass-apply to festivals for you is a handy short-cut, filmmakers who take the time to personally read call-outs, and tailor their applications as such, are bound to have a better success rate.

Make sure to check the Terms & Conditions too, lest you accidentally sign your film away. While dodgy Ts & Cs are very rare, it’s always wise to check. MORE: 6 Things You Need To Know As A Screenwriter If You Want Your Films Made

2) Don’t overindulge on credits and logos

Now, the next hurdle you have to avoiding stumbling at is your film’s opening. One of the most instantly disappointing filmmaking decisions we encountered in our recent shortlisting meetings was aspiring filmmakers who had clearly put lots of effort into designing an elaborate animated production company logo, and less effort on the opening shot of the film itself.

Likewise, in sub-six-minute movies, opening titles which last over a minute (we received many of these) often seem self-indulgent and can distract away from the film that follows. Generally, judges want to see your filmmaking talent, not how well you or a friend can design a logo or title sequence.

In our case, which admittedly might not be the only school of thought on the matter, we found a striking opening image far more effective than any logo or title. Establishing the scene and the tone, as well as possibly a character or a key plot point, is arguably a far more effective an opening gambit than a lavish logo.

An opening shot can tell you so much about a film. Think about the opening to Star Wars: A New A Hope, which established a whole galaxy-sprawling narrative without even showing a single character. By showing a dog fight between a huge mperial Star Destroyer and a tiny rebel cruiser, and having them crawl into view smallest-ship-first, George Lucas told us the score immediately.

While we’re not expecting you to make Star Wars in six minutes, the example shows how much you can convey in a single shot. This is even more imperative in a short film, where you only have a few minutes to make an impression. Don’t over-indulge on credits and logos – get straight to the point.

What are your film’s themes? Who are your characters? What’s so important about the setting you’ve chosen? You can show us any of these things in one shot – heck, you could show us all of them in one shot if you’re really talented – so don’t miss the opportunity. MORE: 7 Steps To Better Shorts by Christine Morrow

Shooting short film

3) Be very careful with dialogue

So, you’ve opened your film in a neat way – great stuff. What next? Dialogue is probably the next most likely filmmaking element to land you in the ‘no’ pile. This is understandable, seeing as the films we’re all used to seeing at the cinema and on TV are almost always written by experts with years of experience – yet you’re expected to write engaging dialogue straight off the bat.

Unfortunately, the judging process is never very forgiving. No matter how difficult we all know scripting is, bad dialogue is still a major warning sign for judges. Drafting and redrafting is important, but above all it seems like it’s most important to be confident in the characters you’ve created and what they would really say.

This links up to casting too. If the only actors you have to work with are likeable university types, like many of the films we received, don’t try to force them into gritty or evil characters through over-the-top hammy dialogue. We won’t believe your charming best mate as an on-screen drug dealer just because a script forces him to talk like Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg. Casting against type often works in feature films, where characters have 90 minutes or more to grow and develop, but it’s harder in six minutes.

Think about who you could ask to help with your script, too. If you’re at school, college or university and hanging around in the Media Department a lot, chances are you can find some Drama types to turn to for script support – tightening up jokes, adding some realism where need and spotting duff sentences will be the type of thing local drama companies have practiced for years. Failing that, reading through your script with friends will help you spot missteps. MORE: Why you should leave dialogue ’til LAST in the drafting process! (Really)

4) Have fun in your chosen genre, don’t forget a unique story!

This is the most difficult section to put into words. However, it is probably the most vital short film top tip on this list – finding a balance between important genre touchstones and your own unique voice and story.

Each genre comes with its own rules, and it’s important to stick to them to a degree. If you’re aiming to revitalise the zombie genre (as many are), don’t forget the importance of building tension. Other examples of important touchstones include the action movie chase scene, the final fight in a martial arts movie, the big emotional gesture in the rom-com. The list of vital genre-defining moments could stretch on indefinitely.

It’s important to remember to include some recognisable tropes in your films. It shows your knowledge of your chosen genre and displays an understanding of how the filmmaking world works. However, your personal touch is what will make the film really fly, so don’t be afraid of it.

Put simply: genre touchstones will help a judge relate to and understand your film, and your subversion or elaboration on these familiar plot-points will be what makes your movie stand out.

Don’t make a horror film if you loathe scary movies – use a genre you’re familiar with, respect it’s tropes and shake up the formula in your own unique way. The films we liked best were subversions of familiar themes, styles and ideas which found the perfect balance between cinematic knowledge and creative invention. MORE: 7 Ways Of Showcasing Your Writer’s Voice

Good luck!

—————————————–

BIO: Rob Leane is a member of the press team for Eastleigh Film Festival, and was part of the committee who decided the shortlist for their national short film competition. Eastleigh Film Festival’s Industry Day on 25 September is an ideal opportunity to learn more about the film industry, with workshops in concept development, film directing and more.

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

Alas, the one of Kondor depart today –  Luke has written some GREAT copy for B2W on transmedia, marketing and indie storytelling and really shown us all what’s-what in the opportunities at our fingertips this summer, catch up on all his articles HERE. Please wish him the very best of luck in his new endeavours, Bang2writers! Best of luck Luke in your fab new job in London!Print

Click the pic to follow Luke on Twitter, beyond the realms of B2W!

I’m done. I’m out. I’m finished.

I’ve been here for a short while, but boy I learned a lot.

When I first e-mailed Lucy to apply for the internship, I never thought she’d pick me. I was just some face in a sea of folk more talented than myself. So when I got the e-mail saying I’d got the job, I had a bit of a crisis of confidence.

‘But I don’t know anything,’ I thought to myself.

But when I got down to it I just focused on what I knew, what I was passionate about and what I wanted to share with the amazing Bang2writers out there.

The major boon of interning at Bang2Write, for me, has been one of confidence. I can do this and I will!

Before I left, I wanted to quickly talk to you about the four big things I noticed whilst working here:

1) There’s Too Much Info Out There

Every man and his dog and his dog’s dog has a blog nowadays. It’s easy to get lost out there in the cyber-storm of info so you need a guiding light. You need someone to lead you to the right info – to the good stuff. The Bang2Writers Facebook group is great example of this. It trims out the internet fat to deliver you tasty and healthy meaty information treats.

2) There’s More Info Than Willpower

We have it so easy these days. The information is right at our fingertips and yet we’re not all superstars. What’s happening? There’s thousands of pencils out there but how many great illustrators are there?

The tools are within arm’s reach, but you’re the one (yes you) who are going to have to get out of bed and use the darn things. Your Success Is Your Own Responsibility.

3) Bang2Writers Are Awesome (and could possibly one day take over the world!)

I’ve noticed that the people who come to Bang2Write are the top – the creamy top – of the upcoming writers. From where I’m looking you’re hard-working, forward-thinking, entrepreneurial, badasses, and it won’t be long till we see more of you suddenly take off and explode like the fireworks you are.

4) Lucy V Hay Cares For You

Something that became apparent early on in my internship was just how much Lucy cares for you guys. She honestly wants to help you guys take it to the next level. She’s as authentic as they come and she deserves one helluva round of applause.

So thanks again Lucy from me as an intern, but also from me as a reader – a Bang2Writer. Here’s a list of all my articles for B2W again, HERE.

If you guys would like to follow me in my exploits, then you can keep in touch with me over at LukeofKondor where I podcast, blog, make films, and write books.

Thanks again,

Luke

BIO: Luke Kondor writes stories and make films and stuff. Underdog style. When he’s not interviewing storytellers on his podcast, he’s working on his book of short stories. He blogs. He tumbles. He tweets at @lukeofkondor. Join his super special mailing list and he will consider you a true friend for the rest of time.

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

A fantastic post from KT Parker again, this time about top screenwriter Olivia Hetreed. B2W was privileged to do a script report on Olivia’s screenplay for WUTHERING HEIGHTS many moons ago (find out what other produced films I have done coverage for or consulted on, HERE). Olivia is a writer who really knows what she’s talking about craft-wise, but she also has some particularly good advice on go-getting for female writers too. Enjoy …

486526_10151199577837306_1570079290_n

For most of us, Olivia Hetreed will have first come onto our radar when she was BAFTA-nominated for her screenplay of Tracy Chevalier’s best-selling “Girl With A Pearl Earring”. She’s adapted authors as diverse as Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Brontë and Caroline Lawrence. Her latest script, ALTAMIRA, produced by Morena films, is about to begin shooting in Spain, helmed by veteran director Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire). For the past year Olivia has also served as the President of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB). When she speaks, I listen. And you know what? You should too. Here are her top tips for newbie writers:

1. Be Bold

First off, Olivia emphasises the importance of having a plan: “Think about what it is you want to achieve. Write what you want, but don’t do it blindly.”

Once you’ve worked out your plan, be proactive. “We writers tend to think we need to wait for permission to do something,” Olivia says.

We don’t. Be bold and get on with it: go and make that film! “Getting something made can be extremely painful, but it’s a great learning experience.” MORE: 5 Things I Learned In A 10 Minute Q & A With Luc Besson by KT Parker

2. Keep Studying

Learn from the best. Read hundreds of scripts. Deconstruct them. Put them back together again. Then spend some time in an editing suite. The most important thing editing teaches a writer is what you don’t need. Typically, this boils down to dialogue. Much of it ends up on the cutting room floor.

“There is so much an actor can do with just a look,” she says. “Of course, that’s hard to write. You have to learn to write for the page, knowing that a lot of what you write will not make it into the final cut, but is useful for conveying intention.”

You will be amazed by what issues have to be solved in the cutting room. “We can’t use that scene because… the actor didn’t nail it/ the location was ugly/ rain ruined the sound/ *delete as applicable.” MORE: 6 Reasons Dialogue Is Your Enemy

3. Practice Your Art

Write all the time, but don’t waste energy worrying about not writing. Even if you only have a small window of time in which to write, use it. Don’t get too precious about what you write too soon – just get it down on the page. Never let negative inhibitions get in the way. It’s far better to write ten bad pages, that you can rewrite later, than one good paragraph.

“More than any other form of writing, screenwriting is re-writing,” Olivia reminds us. “If you find re-writing tedious, then screenwriting is not for you.” MORE: All About Rewriting & Dealing With Feedback

4. Ask For Help

Ladies, this one is especially for you. Recently Olivia mentored a class of six students of equal potential, three male and three female, and came across typical gender specific behaviours that make all the difference to success or failure in the film industry. At the completion of the course, the females all emailed Olivia to thank her. The males all emailed Olivia to thank her AND ask her to introduce them to this or that person. Olivia then emailed the female students to explain what the males had done and how this had helped them get ahead.

There’s no such thing as “luck”. We all engineer our own luck by taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves. This can be particularly difficult for those of us who have been socialised to keep our heads down, work hard and wait for good things to happen. Here’s the shocker: if you wait for things to happen, life will pass you by. You’ve got to actively make things happen.

So ladies, don’t be shy about asking for help or for a favour. People want to help you! But be specific about what it is you’re requesting, and don’t waste their time. MORE: Making It As A Writer – 25 Reasons You Haven’t Yet

5. Be Professional

Good behaviour is really important if you want to forge and sustain a career in this business. Find out what the producer wants of you.

“Even if you are friends, have a contract,” Olivia warns. “Make sure you both understand what you are undertaking. Deliver. If you can’t deliver – for whatever reason – own up to it. Don’t run away.

“Always be clear where the creative rights lie, what you have sold and for how long. There is almost never any money in filmmaking in the UK, but when there is, insanity erupts. Even the fondest friends can fall out over money.” MORE: What Is A Screenplay Option & How Does It Work?, plus What Is The Difference Between An NDA & A Release Form?

6. Leave Your Bedroom

Get out and meet people. “Form alliances with directors and producers,” Olivia urges. The ability to network with people and verbally articulate the central story in your script is as important as the technical ability to write it in the first place.

The WGGB is a good place to start. For new writers without representation it offers social events, seminars, minimum rates, pro-forma contracts and even legal advice, while for successful writers it provides a community in what can sometimes be a solitary profession and a chance to show solidarity with those writers less fortunate. The WGGB is tireless in its struggle to protect the rights of writers. Together, writers have a stronger voice. Join here.

Then there’s an annual gathering of screenwriters and other film industry professionals you may have heard about – the London Screenwriters’ Festival – this year, bigger and better than ever and now, 83% SOLD OUT! Buy your ticket here. MORE: 6 Ways You’re Stopping Your OWN Writing Success

What are you waiting for?

BIO: KT Parker is an emerging screenwriter and producer. You can meet her at this year’s London Screenwriters’ Festival, but if you can’t wait that long, you can connect with her via social media right now, via her website HERE, on Twitter as @lunaperla or connect with her via About.Me.

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

Lots of Bang2writers are interested in Transmedia, but have no clue where to start – so here’s Luke with a short but sweet “step by step” guide to getting started. Thanks Luke! So, no excuses people … what are you waiting for?!

transmedia-storytelling

There’s so much information out there on the internet, it’s hard to know what’s relevant and what isn’t. Particularly with Transmedia. It’s such a broad term that it invites chaos when trying to find out how to start in Transmedia yourself. So I wanted to create a small list of resources – inspiration, tools, books, blogs, etc, to help get you started in Transmedia.

You may want to purely write for Transmedia projects, which is okay, but I wanted to give you an insight into the making of Transmedia.

First and foremost, here’s the key takeaway.

It’s Only As Complicated As You Want To Be

That’s the secret. You could create something as complex and as code heavy as CLOUDS, or you could start with something simple, like an interactive short film. It’s up to you. You don’t need to be a computer genius to make Transmedia (but if you do need one, find one to collaborate with!).

Inspiration

If you were to ask what was possible with Transmedia, I’d tell you the world is possible,  then you’d cry and shout ‘What do you mean?’ and break down into a puddle on the floor. So instead, let’s have a look at what some other people are creating:

i) PHRENIC – Mike Vogel wanted to create a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book” for the mobile phone generation, so he created Phrenic. It combines the use of an interactive video narrative, games and interactive literature. You can experience the story on your desktop, but he’s also packaged it all into a cool little app.

ii) LOVES OF A CYCLOPS – We’ve featured Nathan Punwar’s immersive short film on Bang2Write before (ICYMI, catch up HERE). He embellished his short film project with a slew of archive material that will keep you reading, listening, and watching for hours.

iii) CLOUDS – This is on the heavier side of it Transmedia. CLOUDS is an interactive documentary. The team created a whole new cinema format called RGBD and used it to capture interviews with various curators, designers, and critics, to create this documentary. I’m not saying that this is what you should be trying to do in your back garden, but I just want to demonstrate how wide the term Transmedia truly is.

Remember – ‘USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO FURTHER THE STORY’!!

On that note … here’s some:

Tools

iv) Youtube – Here’s a lesson on how to make an interactive YouTube video.

v) Free Interactive Video Tools:

Treehouse
Adventr
Hapyak

vi) Not sure what a “Shared Story World” is? Click HERE.

Advanced:

Conductrr
Memoways

vii) Finally, if you’re looking to outsource any techie jobs that you just don’t want to do yourself, try these websites:

Elance
Odesk

MORE LINKS TO HELP:

5 Ways Transmedia Can Help Scriptwriters By Nuno Bernardo

5 Transmedia Lessons Learned from “Loves Of A Cyclops” by Luke Kondor

5 Reasons Writers Should Consider A Transmedia Project by Dylan Spicer

Story2OH by Jill Golick

Starting out in transmedia – 5 points of advice

Here Are the 5 Things That Make a Good Transmedia Project 

5 Steps For Successful Transmedia Storytelling

Top Ten Choose Your Own Adventure Style Youtube Videos

BOOKS

The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories

The Producer’s Guide to Transmedia: How to Develop, Fund, Produce and Distribute Compelling Stories Across Multiple Platforms

A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences across Multiple Platforms

————————————————

BIO: Luke Kondor writes stories and make films and stuff. Underdog style. When he’s not interviewing storytellers on his podcast, he’s working on his book of short stories. He blogs. He tumbles. He tweets at @lukeofkondor. Join his super special mailing list and he will consider you a true friend for the rest of time.

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

transmedia2I gotta say, these days I’m more impressed with the Indie Storyteller. The writers with the entrepreneurial edge. The filmmakers who are bypassing the gatekeepers. I feel like we’re living in uncharted territory and the Indie Storytellers are out there, discovering new lands, planting flags, and claiming audiences for their own.

What Is An Indie Storyteller?

I define an Indie Storyteller as someone who takes their art into their own hands. They’re not willing to accept that gatekeepers are on the pulse of what the audience truly wants, and are willing to use the tools provided to bypass them and to reach their audience directly.

Here’s five Indie Storytellers who I believe are doing it right:

1) Chris Jones – 50 Kisses

50 Kisses was a huge project where 50 scripts were chosen from thousands of new writers. Those scripts were then filmed by hundreds of new filmmakers. The best of the best of these films were then pieced together into one great feature length film which is being played across theatres now. What an awesome way to give new filmmakers a way of getting their first feature film credit.

LESSON LEARNED – You can crowd source content, as well as financing.

2) Hugh Howey – Wool

Deciding that the best way to promote one eBook was by writing another eBook, Hugh has built up a huge catalogue of work on his Amazon page. All it took was one of those books to take off, for Hugh to be thrown into the authorial limelight.

His seminal work Wool, has since been optioned by Ridley Scott’s production company.

LESSON LEARNED – Focus on quality content first and foremost … and lots of it.

3) Sterling And Stone – Yesterday’s Gone, Dream Engine, SPP

Talk about prolific, the speed at which this writing trio publish their work will make you feel like plant-life. When they’re not releasing a new episode of the Self-Publishing Podcast, they’re probably working on the next episode of Yesterday’s Gone, or White Space, or Unicorn Western, or The Beam, or whatever other ongoing titles they’ve got going. They use modern marketing methods such as funnelling and list building to build their audience and to sell their works.

Deciding that they are going to be the HBO of eBook publishing, these guys are on a mission.

LESSON LEARNED – Be prolific and utilise modern marketing tactics to your advantage.

4.) Chuck Wendig – The Atlanta Burns Series

Personally, I came across Chuck’s works through his blog, where he offers educational, albeit unsanitary advice to traditional and Indie writers. Over the years he’s built up an army of fans who will truly follow him and his voice into the darkest depths of the horror and thriller genres.

He utilised this army of blog readers to help crowdfund a series of novels. Once he’d passed the financial threshold for one book. He said, if you keep funding me, I’ll keep making them, and they did.

LESSON LEARNED - Building an audience takes time … but’s definitely worth it.

5) BlinkWorks – Indie Game: The Movie

I love BlinkWorks’s model for their film. They’ve pretty much summed up their filmmaking model in this graphic:

Indie_Game_The_Movie_Lisanne_Pajot_James_Swirsky_Technology_Process_2

That right there is all you need to make a film.

I know a lot of filmmakers who are trying to use this method. Crowdfund the initial money, produce the work, and then distribute online, however BlinkWorks really nailed it they tapped into a subculture which was predominantly already on the web.

LESSON LEARNED – Find an existing audience and go where they are.

I think it’s important to learn the lessons of successful Indie Storytellers, but it’s also important to recognise the thing they have in common is the willingness to push forward, to lean into the dip, and to tell their stories no matter what.

—————————————————-

BIO: Luke Kondor writes stories and make films and stuff. Underdog style. When he’s not interviewing storytellers on his podcast, he’s working on his book of short stories. He blogs. He tumbles. He tweets at @lukeofkondor. Join his super special mailing list and he will consider you a true friend for the rest of time.

 

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

WriteHard

In many ways I feel like writing has saved my life. Maybe it has yours too? I don’t mean it swooped in and saved you from a burning building. I mean perhaps it’s helped to give some purpose to your life, or maybe it’s helped you work through some issues you’ve had buried deep inside.

Whatever it may be, I think it’s important to look after that side of ourselves. The side that’s able to escape the worries of the world and put the pen to paper.

1) 750 Words

This web application has helped me work on my craft, develop ideas, and even work through some personal issues of my own.

Inspired by the idea of morning pages in the book The Artist’s Way, Buster Benson created a space for you to freewrite 750 words every single day. All of the writing is completely private, so you can really let loose on there.

For every day you complete you get a cross marked on that day. The idea is not to break the chain and to keep getting your crosses every single day, and by building up your streak.

My personal record is 551 days in a row. I broke the streak when I got drunk and forgot about it. I wasn’t angry or anything, because by that time, I’d learned to appreciate the value of writing those words for their own sake.

If you take one thing away from this article, please make sure it’s 750 Words. Get it HERE.

2) Hemmingwayapp 

I love the idea behind this app. You feed in your words, and it tells you where your writing sucks. Easy. It tells you which sentances were difficult to read. How many adverbs you’ve crammed in there. How many spelling mistakes, etc.

A note of caution: it’s really handy when you want to get some quick feedback on your words, but be sure to take the app in moderation. Remember it is a robot. It’s not a replacement for a good human copy editor. Get it HERE.

3) Freedom

I love writing on a computer. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve handwritten anything that I’m not even sure I know how to any more. The pen nib touches the what? The paper? … that doesn’t sound right.

But where a computer gives you freedom of information and the amazing ability to spellcheck, it also gives you the ultimate distraction machine. I can’t write 200 words without flicking over to my web browser to check Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ too – god forbid I end up on YouTube. There’s so much fun happening just outside your bedroom window, and you’ve been told you’ve got homework to do. It’s impossible.

Enter Freedom. It cuts you away from the internet for a set amount of time. Type in how long you want to be free for, and click go. Now it’s just you and your work. The only way to turn the internet back on is by restarting your computer … and how much of a pain is that?

If you come to a point where you NEED to jump on the web to check a reference or a spelling or something, simply write the word TK (To Kome) into your document. Once you’ve finished, search your document for all the TK’s and fill in the missing pieces. We use TK because they’re two letters which rarely appear together in the English language. Get Freedom HERE.

4) TeuxDeux

Finding a decent To-Do list app has plagued me for a long time. The reminders app that’s built into the iOS devices just isn’t up to the job. Here’s what I believe is required of a good to-do list application for a writer:

  1. The ability to create repeatable tasks. This is key for building habits. It’s all about not breaking the chain.
  2. The ability to have Someday tasks – stuff that you plan to do someday, but you’re just not gonna get around to anytime soon. A place to put your longterm goals for the year, or even your lifetime. Crossing these off the list should be causes for celebrations.
  3. Cross-compatibility. The ability to have easy access to my list on my home computer, work computer, phone, tablet, etc.

Luckily, TeuxDeux has all these capabilities! Get it HERE.

I’m a huge fan of cool little gadgets, as long as they serve the purpose they were intended for. I’d love to know what you guys use and can’t live without. Do you have a journalling app, a note-taking app, or do you think it’s all nonsense and you just want to go back to your quill?

Need even MORE? Then check out 5 Essential Apps For Writers By Patricia Shuler

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

I’ve been a huge fan of Luc Besson since I was a teenager in the 90s and THE FIFTH ELEMENT came out (“I am Corbin Dallas!”) so I was delighted to receive KT Parker’s guest post on LUCY, which obviously Luc named after **me**! Thanks KT and enjoy, everybody …

Lucy_Banner

LUCY hit the screens in Paris last week and Luc Besson, who both wrote and directed it, was doing no less than 6 “avant-premières” all over town. Those of you who don’t live in France may be wondering, what on earth is an avant-première? Well, it’s like a première minus the glitz of the red carpet and the flashbulbs of the paparazzi, but with the added bonus that the director often stays to chat with the audience after the screening.

Yours truly was very fortunate in that I got to walk in with Mr. Besson himself . I joked with him that I was LOVING the headlines in American publications saying “Hercules is getting beaten up by a girl!” That made him laugh. He said it was probably because Lucy had a nicer dress than Hercules…

1) LESSON N°1: The Judicious Use of Humour

So right off the bat I learned that Luc Besson is a funny guy. He knows how to use humour. At times the Q&A was like a stand-up-comedy routine. He made us laugh and had us hanging on his every word.

Likewise, in the film, here and there a note of humour is injected when you least expect it. Then, in the very next moment, the tension is ratcheted up, and you gasp all the more because the humour made you drop your guard. As writers, we are responsible for designing the emotional ride the audience will go on. No matter what your genre, use a dab of humour now and then as a counterpoint to the primary emotion you’re eliciting. (Or pathos if you’re writing a comedy.) MORE: All About Genre & Craft

2) LESSON N°2: Be Open

LUCY is the story of a young woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, who is kidnapped by Korean gangsters and forced to act as a mule for a new super drug. The sachet containing the drug bursts inside her and unlocks her full potential, so that she can control first her own body, then those of others, then all matter and finally time itself.

The genesis of the idea occurred about twenty years ago. Mr. Besson, invited to dinner by the mayor of a small town, was seated next to a young woman. Our favourite French filmmaker was immediately wary. He often finds himself sitting next to the daughter or the niece of the host of a dinner party, and by coincidence she just happens to be an actress who would love a part in his next film… Nevertheless, Mr. Besson was very gallant and engaged his dinner companion in conversation.

“What do you do?” he asked.

 “I work in cancer research,” she replied.

He wasn’t expecting that. There then followed a three-hour conversation about cells and neurones and the brain. She was the one who told him the line that Morgan Freeman delivers in the film: cells select one of two strategies, immortality or reproduction, depending on the harshness of the environment they find themselves in.

The lesson here is openness. Mr. Besson could have closed himself off and avoided an encounter he assumed was going to be banal, even boring. Instead he chose to be open and GENEROUS with himself, and he was rewarded with the gift of a great idea. MORE: Connecting With Writers, Filmmakers & Producers Online, plus 10 Ways To Kill Your Writing Career Dead by Linda Aronson

Scarlett_as_Lucy

3) LESSON N°3: Do Your Research

After meeting the young scientist, Mr. Besson sought out other scientists and gradually built up his knowledge. He set to writing the screenplay of LUCY NINE YEARS ago. This was a passion project and he wanted to craft the screenplay so that the science and the philosophy it contains would be presented in a way that was fun and entertaining.

Research then, is essential to create a sense of authenticity and emotional truth in a screenplay. But note, this is not necessarily the same as factual truth! MORE: The Importance Of Research

4) LESSON N°4: Make Your Story Accessible

Some American critics have beaten up on Luc Besson because one of the central ideas behind the film – that we only use 10% of our brain capacity – simply isn’t true. Mr. Besson KNOWS this. He’s done the research. Two decades of it. He even helped found the ICM, an international research institute focusing on the brain and spine.

What is true is that we only use 15% of our neurones at any given time. Mr. Besson worried audiences might not be familiar with the workings of neurones, whereas just about everybody knows what a brain is. So, to make the story accessible to the widest possible public, he made a CHOICE to use the brain as a metaphor… In the film it works beautifully.

The “truth” in your script can be anything you want it to be, as long as you CLEARLY set up the rules of the world of your story, and you do it in a way that is comprehensible for the audience. MORE: Sacrificing Facts For Drama

5) LESSON N°5: Challenge Yourself

There is an extraordinary car chase in LUCY. I guarantee there are shots and angles you’ve never seen before, even if you’ve watched every one of the dozens of car chases that have been shot on the streets of Paris over the years.

Mr. Besson asked himself, “what would be the most DIFFICULT circumstances for a car chase in Paris?”

He came up with rue de Rivoli, at noon – equivalent to Oxford Street in London or Fifth Avenue in New York. The scene was shot over the long weekend of August 15, which is when Paris is at its emptiest. It covers the distance of approximately one kilometre and lasts only a few minutes of screen time, but it took four days to film and for safety reasons 25% of the cars are CGI. The result is breath-taking.

In your screenplay, don’t take the easy way out – ever. Challenge yourself to put your protagonist in the most difficult situation possible. That’s where you’ll find the drama or comedy or thrill or chill with the most impact. MORE: Writing, Selling & MAKING Thriller Screenplays with @jkamalou

It’s amazing what you can learn in ten minutes, isn’t it?

BIO: KT Parker is an emerging screenwriter and producer. She likes to travel, both in the real world and through fiction, and when she’s not busy working on a writing project, she has been known to sneak a peek at cute pictures of cats on the Internet. Follow her on Twitter HERE and see her on About.me HERE.

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!

Following the runaway success of the rebooted “I’ve Written A Screenplay, Now What?” page, lots of Bang2writers requested a similar one for book writing. So here’s Luke with a short and sweet rundown for you novelists and bookists out there, with plenty of great linkage too! Thanks Luke :D Enjoy everyone …

ebooks

So, you’ve written a book.

Congrats! Go out and celebrate. Pat yourself on the back. Pat yourself all over. Eat a cake. Eat two. Writing a book is hard, so you should celebrate it.

However, writing is only the first step in publishing a book, because that’s the ultimate goal right? To spread your message and your ideas across the world and to touch people’s hearts and maybe … just maybe, make someone cry. You get bonus points for making people cry.

As it stands, you’ve got two options:

TRADITIONAL or INDIE PUBLISHING

Each option has its merits but whichever you take, here’s what to do next:

1) Get Some Feedback

Beta-Readers: Friends, family, acquaintances. Find anyone who will read your book and give you their honest feedback. It’s important to know how your work is being received. Try to ask what they liked about the work, what they didn’t. If all of your beta-readers are mentioning the second paragraph of chapter 2 … then maybe it’s time to reconsider the second paragraph of chapter 2. MORE: How To Find Beta Readers, plus 5 Ways To Use Feedback Effectively 

2) Get It Edited

Editing Services: Don’t kill your babies … Hire someone else to do it! As James Altucher said, after fifteen drafts, his editor turned his book from chicken sh*t to chicken salad. There are editing services out there who will help you to structurally edit the story, such as Command + Z. Once your story is in the proper shape, you can use Copy Editors to help you weed out the grammar and the punctuation errors.

Price wise, editing can be super cheap or super expensive. As with anything, go with the best you can afford. Here are some links for services previous Bang2writers have recommended to Lucy:

Ebook Editing Pro 

Bubblecow

WriteSoFluid

Elinor Perry-Smith

Anne Hudson Editorial

3) Build Your Platform

Regardless of whether or not you self-publish, you really want to start building your audience right away. The last thing you want to do is release your book to crickets. Plus, nowadays, most publishers will expect you to do the majority of the marketing anyway.

Seth Godin says you should start promoting a book three years before your release it. Maybe that’s an overstatement, but it sure couldn’t hurt.

There’s a million ways to build an audience. It’s going to be down to who you are, what you do, and what you’ve written. Important metrics to consider could be subscribers, email lists, facebook likes, twitter followers. Also, don’t forget Good Reads! MORE: Making connections online by Lucy; 6 Marketing Tactics You SHOULD Be Doing by Luke; plus audience-building tips for writers from Jon Morrow, @FrancesCaballo and Bestseller Labs

4) Choose Your Route

Indie. If you decide to self publish your book, then you’re already most of the way there. Your next steps are going to be cover design, ePub formatting, and if you really want to push the boat out, Audiobook production. I’d recommend reading James Altucher’s Publishing 3.0 article on how he self-published his Wall Street Journal Besteller.

You will also NEED an excellent front cover; do not skimp on this, because readers DO judge a book by its cover. The covers for THE DECISION: LIZZIE’S STORY and THE DECISION: JASMINE’S STORY were done by the brilliant Peter at Bespoke Book Covers. But there are plenty more, such as 99 Designs. Check out the B2W Novel Writing and Publishing Pinterest board for more.

Traditional. If you decide to go the traditional route, then your’re going to need to start looking for an agent – somebody to help you sell the book. One way to find a suitable agent is to work backwards. Which are your favourite books? Who wrote that book? Who represents that author? Boom. You’re onto a winner.

Alternatively, you should grab a copy of the Writers & Artists Yearbook and make a list of the agents you’d like to query from there. Make sure you don’t drop any obvious submissions clangers, though – like sending science fiction to agents who only represent authors who write historical fiction. Sounds obvious, but it happens. Daily!!

From there, you want to be getting yourself solicited by sending over that perfect cover letter.

So what do you think, guys? Are you planning to go down the traditional route or are you considering indie publishing? Let us know here in the comments, or via the B2W Facebook page or the Linkedin group!

Further Reading:

12 Things To Think About Before Rushing Into Self Publishing by Jan Caston 

3 Ways to Transform From Self Publisher To Indie Author by Mary Evans

Self Publishing eBooks by Lucy V Morgan: Part One and Part Two

5 Careers Strategies For Writers

Can I Use My Self Published Book To Hook An Agent?

10 Tips For Authors Promoting Their Books Online

29 Ways NOT To Submit To An Agent By @caroleagent from @BFLAgency

29 Ways To Find an Agent by Harry Bingham

Don’t forget there’s LOADS more about indie publishing, finding agents, submissions and promoting yourself and your work online on the B2W Resources page. Good luck!

Please press the buttons at the bottom to share the page on your social media profiles and/or check out my books. Thanks!