beginning

writing notebooks

Never too old to begin writing career

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Josephine Corcoran

Read this and share it with anyone who thinks they’ve left it too late to be a published writer.  It’s not!  Never!  Write what is in you to write.

Click on link below to read an entire article by Josephine Corcoran, bursting with stories of writers who began a serious career later, mostly in their 50s – and who are still writing and developing further as writers, today.  There’s a sense of beginning, not ending.

via My started late, stop-start writing “career”

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Simon Armitage, poetry, writing, inspiration, tips

Getting Started Writing Poetry as a Career – Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage, a living writing poet, talks about his writing in 2010, and gives practical tips for writing poetry.

“I’ve always been interested in poetry because it’s so powerful: so few words, space on the page, and all around it.  So there’s an intensity there that I admire.”

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Collage 101

If you’ve ever tried making collage but it disappointed you – looked jumbled, clumsy and like a 4 year old efforts – then this brief video shows you the beginning steps to more polished work.

Creative Takeaways

  • Collage is a great way to free up creativity when you’re feeling stuck – it brings in readymade elements so you don’t have to create everything from scratch.  The materials are cheap and ready to hand.
  • Make something for fun – a letter for a friend, a postcard, a gift card – and before you know it, you’ll have begun making associations, connections – and you can give it to someone to maintain real life connections, friendships
creative pledge

Screenwriting Masterclass: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, screenwriters or producers on such diverse projects as “The Lego Movie”, “21 Jump Street”, “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs”, TV’s “How I met your Mother” (3 episodes), “The Lego Batman movie“…. give a masterclass on screenwriting and producing.  They break it up really well.  So although they speak for 53 minutes, they’re worth hearing.

They have a relaxed way of presenting together, bring in some crazy fun but over and over again repeat that they’re obsessive about making every tiny part of their projects absolutely brilliant – refusing to settle for merely excellent.  As the presentation continues, and this is repeated, you realise that they are speaking truly.

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 02.26.15They speak for under an hour – and then there is a further 30 minutes of questions and answers – which are good – so worth setting aside the full one hour and a half to watch in its entirety.  They are amusing, honest about early failures and difficulties and how they won through was – no surprise, folks – lots of hard work.  They write and rewrite and rewrite and tweak and rewrite, show to friends, rewrite.

 

 

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One tip which came across clearly was to show your script to other people – no matter who they are in the studio pecking order or whether they’re friends/family – they’re a person with an honest opinion – and as writer you should listen up, because you are too close to the project to see its flaws.  It’s humility – but it’s also good sense.

The two voices give variety to what is said, and there are plenty of illustrations and clips from their projects:

Along the way, they present their maths of working as a partnership:

half the money, twice the effort, twice the time = an output which is 1.3 times better!

They also lead the audience in a pledge to make work, and are adamant that all humans are creative, anyone can do the work they do but it is hard work, done repetitively.

What they’ve also learned along the way are, like all important learning, found through failure and near failure.  One vital lesson was learning to listen to other people’s feedback and recognise that making a film is a hugely collaborative venture.  Also, to recognise that even at the end, the film is actually ‘made’ in the imagination of the viewers.  And this is one reason given for really listening to someone/anyone who has an opinion on the work – because if they don’t get the story clearly, then likely the final paying punters will find it puzzling in the same way.

A film is about RELATIONSHIP not just CHARACTER.

This is a great insight – at one point, “Cloudy with Meatballs” was about a main character and a situation – it was funny but there wasn’t a real sense of involvement, until they made one of the characters the father of the hero – and the hero wanted to get his taciturn father’s approval.

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 03.31.32If you want to be a screen writer, then watching this interview is a good thing to do – yes, it is long, but that gives enough time to talk pleasantly and with humour through the whole career process.

In fact, the whole series of “Genius” strand of masterclasses by BAFTA looks worth a checkout.  See them here.

BAFTA Guru screenwriting

Screenwriting Tips from the professionals

Ever wondered how other people write the scripts for films and TV? Here’s a 7 minute video of interviews with a range of awardwinning screenwriters, put together by BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and without further ado, here it is….

Topics covered

  • What is your writing practice?
  • What do you do in a writing day?
  • Should you write about areas you know about from personal experience?
  • What happens during adapting a book for screen?
  • When do you let other people see what you’re writing?
  • Do you need any script when you’re improvising?
  • Advice for new writers?  (Keep going!  Watch films/tv which has writing you admire)

 

Writers Interviewed

John Morton (Twenty Twelve, W1A, People like Us)

David Magee (Life of Pi, Finding Neverland)

Joanna Scanlon (Getting On)

Ol Parker (The Best Marigold Hotel)

 

Starting points: Creative Prompts…..

If you’re anything like me, then a warmup exercise helps encourage making.  If you’re stuck looking at a blank mind/screen/easel/page, if you look online, you will find  websites offering free daily prompts (many of them designed for writers).  A prompt is a word or phrase which you use as a starting point – what does it make you think of?  Then go and make something with that thought.  It may, of course, lead to further ideas and end up totally unrecognisable from the beginning prompt.

Sketchbook Skool deliver online course and provide very good, free prompts.  They are given for inspiring a daily drawing. But of course you can use the same word to generate a beginning idea for a poem, a short story, an animation, a new font, a sketch, a print, a song, an album cover, a film script, a doodle, a dress, a stage set, a collage, an embroidery…. whatever floats your boat.  In fact, if you like doodling boat designs – use the word for that!

What can I do with just one word?

Let’s work through an example.  Today’s sketchbook skool example is “turn”…..

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