Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Plus my first rejection of the  year, Top Gun: Maverick script, going to film school in your 40s, and writing good villains.

Hi there,

Lots of things to share this week, so let’s crack on with it!

Suw’s news: Tag speedbump

I’ve had my first rejection of the year, from the All3Media New Writers Collective 2023. As I said in January, I’m aiming for 100 rejections this year, and each one I get will be met with a small celebration because every rejection means I was brave enough to submit in the first place. So yay! Go me!

You might remember that last week I was smugly talking about what great progress I was making with Tag, so in order to keep me humble my subconscious decided that it had nothing at all to say about how to fill the plot holes in Ep5. Not even a whisper. So I decided to go back to first principles and work on character instead.

But now I’ve got to pause that and go back to the pilot because there’s another opportunity to submit a script (more below) and having had a really helpful script report back from one of my editors, there are things I need to fix beforehand.

There’s a nice symmetry to this, as rejection is met by a new submission.

Opportunity: LA Productions script submission window open

Liverpool Academy (LA) Productions, which produces “cutting edge, award-winning drama featuring stellar talent including Sean Bean, Sheridan Smith, Alison Steadman [and] Tim Roth” has opened its script submission window. Writers can submit one script for television only – so no outlines, treatments or pitch decks and no radio plays, stageplays, or features. The deadline is 6 April 2023, so you have a few weeks to get your words in the right order.

Watch this: Charlie Kaufman defends value of writers

Charlie Kaufman was awarded the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement at this year’s Writer’s Guild Awards, and took the opportunity to blast the way that the Hollywood machine treats writers as the people of least value.

“We writers are trained by the business,” Kaufman said. “We are trained to believe what we do is secondary to what they do. We are trained to do the bidding of people who are motivated not by curiosity but by protecting their jobs. […] They’ve tricked us into thinking we can’t do it without them. The truth is they can’t do anything of value without us.”

The most important thing here is that writers must not internalise this idea that we’re at the bottom of the heap. We have enough of our own insecurities to be dealing with, we don’t need to add artificial negativity from film execs as well!

Tweet of the week: Max Edwards on non-fiction agenting

Max Edwards, who is a literary agent for Aevitas Creative Management UK, wrote a thread about how he views agenting and the importance of selling the “promise” of a non-fiction book based on four factors:

  • The quality of the writing
  • The idea
  • The author’s insight
  • The author’s influence

It’s a fascinating thread, so give it a read!

Read this: Top Gun: Maverick script

Much to my surprise, I absolutely loved Top Gun: Maverick. I’ve seen it three times already and wrote about why it was such a huge hit back in December. You can now download the script over on ScriptSlug, which means it must be time to line up a fourth watch, so that I can compare what’s on screen to what’s on the page.

Read this, two: Going to film school in one’s 40s

I always love seeing people blossom in middle age. The world has changed so much over even just the last ten years that things are possible now that weren’t possible when I was younger. So I loved this piece by Dan McGrath about how he sold his house and went to film school in his 40s, how much richer his writing voice is after all that he’s experienced in his life, and how he feels closer to his dream of becoming a screenwriter now than ever before.

If you’re staring down the barrel of middle age, never, ever believe that you are too old to change careers and pursue your dreams!

Stop, look, listen: Scriptnotes, Ep 590 – Anti-villains

John August and Craig Mazin talk about what makes a villain villainous, and why some characters channel trauma into villainy and some into heroics. I love Scriptnotes’ craft-focused episodes, and this one has plenty to make you rethink your heroes and villains!

Mewton with curled paws.Obligatory cat picture

The late Sir Izacat Mewton puts on his most adorable face and curls his paws cutely. He was a big lad and often took up much of the sofa, generally where I was wanting to sit, but he was also one of the cuddliest, most affection cats I’ve ever owned and would be on your lap before you’d even had a chance to settle.

Right, that’s it for this week!

All the best,


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