Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Reading Screenplays - Lucy Scher’s Brand New Book

Exciting news from The Script Factory…

Back in 1999, Lucy Scher pioneered the first training course for script readers. Since then, The Script Factory has built a worldwide reputation for teaching workshops on how to effectively analyse screenplays.

The teaching has been constantly updated and evolved in line with industry practice over the last ten years and we are delighted to announce that all the research and thinking that Lucy and the rest of the Script Factory's training team have done has now culminated in a book.

Reading Screenplays, published by Kamera Books, offers a practical approach to evaluating scripts and assessing their potential as movie ideas.

With chapters on Storytelling and the Principles of Genre, Script Report Writing, Writing and Assessing Treatments and building a Career in Script Development, the book contains sample synopses and a script report, a useful list of resources and helpful ‘good reader’ tips from producers. It’s a great read and an invaluable companion for anyone involved in the script development process; equally useful as a guide for those who are new to script reading, and as a refresher for more seasoned developers.

Not only did Lucy conceive the UK’s first script reader training course, but she also developed the Script Factory and National Film and Television School’s Diploma in Script Development - the only comprehensive vocational programme in script development in the UK – out of which our group, In Development, was born. Lucy was also instrumental in helping us to launch this year, so we’re thrilled that she will be joining us as a special guest in early 2012. More details coming soon!

You can read more about the book from Lucy, here - and it’s available at a special offer price of £10, here.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Linda Aronson Screenwriting Masterclass Offer!

Thanks to our friends at the London Screenwriters' Festival for another great In Development discount. The course happens this weekend, so snap up your places quickly! Hope to see you there.

Anyone who has heard Linda Aronson speak about screenwriting knows that the insight that she can offer YOU, about YOUR screenplay, is extraordinary. This 2 Day Workshop on advanced screenwriting technique and Parallel Narrative will show you how you can become a 21st Century Storyteller.

Linda Aronson is the world's leading expert in new story techniques and tools such as 
Flashback, Time Jumps, Tandem Narrative, Multiple Protagonists, Double Journeys, Consecutive Stories and Fractured Tandem (used in films like Pulp Fiction, Inception, Atonement and 21 Grams)... She has created robust and powerful frameworks from which you can build those stories you want to tell, stories that feel limited or underdeveloped in a linear three act structure.

'Linda Aronson is one of the great and important voices on screenwriting' Linda Seger Making A Good Script Great

You can get a full break down of the workshop and buy your tickets here… 

The workshop takes place over the weekend of Nov. 12th and 13th at Regents College. It costs £119 but you can get it for £65, nearly half price, as a In Development member – use the code INDEV to get your discount

Saturday, 5 November 2011

October Drinks with Charlie Hanson

Last month we headed to the Soho Theatre bar, for a fun night of drinks and chat with acclaimed producer of comedy and drama, television and film, Charlie Hanson.

Charlie has over twenty years of experience in the industry, producing televison series including Birds of a Feather (BBC), Desmonds (Channel 4), Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (Channel 4), Whites (BBC), Snuff Box (BBC – and just out on DVD in the USA!) and the Golden Globe winning Extras (HBO/BBC) – as well as the BAFTA-winning feature film A Way of Life and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Cemetery Junction (read his full profile here).

He has just produced Life’s Too ShortRicky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s new HBO/BBC comedy series, starring Warwick Davies, which starts Thursday, 10th November, on BBC2 - and he is currently working on a top secret comedy project!

We got to hear all about Charlie’s work as a freelance producer and managing director of his own company, Tantrum Films – and the making of Life’s Too Short. If you missed the night, don’t worry, you can find out more about the show tonight (5th November) at 10.15pm on BBC2 (or catch up on the iPlayer)!

Members who came along included actor, Ronan Vibert, recently seen in Sky Atlantic’s The Borgias, and currently filming Hatfields & McCoys for the History Channel (and who worked with Charlie on Birds of a Feather); script reader and production coordinator, Laura Park, who has just finished work on the brand new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous; writers' agents, Simon Williamson and Janice Daydevelopment producers May Gibson, Adam Polonsky and Avon Harpley; script editor Lauren Cushman; screenwriter and script consultant, Ellin Stein; comedy writer and performer, Nathaniel Tapley; writer and creator of BBC One drama Land Girls, Roland Moore (don't miss the third series, showing this week!) and writer/broadcaster (and former Karl Pilkington stand-in on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s show, during her XFM days), Claire Sturgess. Thanks to Claire for whipping out her phone and taking photos on the night, as Jeremiah was unable to make it.

A huge thank you to everybody who came along, Soho Theatre for looking after us so well, and to Charlie, for being incredibly generous with his time, during a particularly busy period, and answering all of our questions!

Invites for this month's drinks - and our Christmas party! - will be in your inbox soon. If you're not on our mailing list and would like to join us, please get in touch.

Best wishes,

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Projects of Passion: September Event - 'The Strange Death of Harry Stanley' Premiere

By Sarah Olley

If there’s one thing I’ve been discussing a lot recently then its passion projects. For some there are stories that just have to be told because they mean so much. Whether it’s a campaigning film, a world you want to reveal, a moment in time you’re driven to recreate, or a book that’s stayed with you that you must get to the screen - I’ve been very lucky recently to be working and meeting with people about their feature film projects of passion.

In this blisteringly competitive business, where most stories never see the light of day, passion is, of course, a vital commodity. You’re going to be slaving for a very long time to get your project to the screen, so you’d better really love it. People can see it in your eyes, it’s infectious and a driving passion can be the power that turns one project into a living breathing reality while another one languishes and dies. For emerging writers it’s all about finding the stories they’re most passionate to tell and the same should be true for us developers and producers.

Often this type of film is driven by a need to bring to light something that has been forgotten or passed over, something that people need and want to know about. The Strange Death of Harry Stanley is one such short film and its premiere was the subject of our drinks in September. We headed to The Roxy cinema on Borough High Street to see the film by writer/director Jeremiah Quinn – longstanding In Development member.

On 22nd September 1999, Harry Stanley, 46, walked into a Hackney pub with a table leg he'd taken to his brother’s house to repair. The people in the pub thought the table leg was a sawn-off shotgun. They rang the police who came and shot Harry in the back. The two policemen were acquitted and claimed that Harry had turned and raised the table leg as if to take aim at them.

This story stuck with Jeremiah, enough for him to seek out Irene Stanley, (Harry’s widow), years later and gain her approval of the project. It may have stuck with you too, simply with the question; how the hell did this happen? Jeremiah’s film is not a reconstruction, but an imagining of Harry’s last day, his thoughts and feelings at a time when he was recovering from a serious illness and particularly savouring life. Its intention is to play with the idea of how the truth can be twisted and confused.

After the screening there was a panel discussion featuring Irene Stanley, Jeremiah and Helen Shaw (director of Inquest). They answered audience questions on the events after Harry’s death and the progress of the campaign to bring the truth to light. Harry was an ordinary man, he wasn’t acting in a threatening or disturbed manner, his accent was Scottish, not Irish, as was reported by the person calling the police. There are still plenty of justifiably angry people who would, at the very least, like an apology for this awful, life shattering mistake. They would also like to see changes in the system which still allows police officers to pool their recollections before reporting their actions. These campaigners include Terry Stewart from Justice for Harry Stanley who added his input on the mic.

That evening we retired to the Kings Head for post screening drinks and the next morning Jeremiah and Irene Stanley appeared on the Sky morning news to talk about the film and try to throw some more of the public spotlight on Harry Stanley’s unresolved story. It was because Harry's story had disappeared in the news that Jeremiah was first driven to bring it to the screen. There are hopes that this short film can do something to support the Harry Stanley campaign, so we watch this space. For now you can read more about the campaign here and view the film trailer here.