tips

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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Guest blog: Food Photography Tips

Have you ever cooked something rather wonderful – want to share the recipe with others – but found that when you took a photo, your glorious dish looked, well, underwhelming?

Professional photographer and food blogger “Cooking without Limits” has got it sorted out – I picked up some excellent tips from her blog – and she’s kindly agreed that I can share them.  Here’s how to deal with the nightmare of taking photos in poor light…..

Shooting in low-light is a challenge for all photographers. Late afternoons, rainy days, evenings or winter days are just a few situations when natural light is low. You could invest in artificial lights or flashes to deal with all this problems, but not all of us have money to spend on lighting studios. I have […]

via Tips for shooting low light food photography — Cooking Without Limits

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
typewriter, poem

Getting poetry published (3) in Poetry Magazines

Some excellent advice for new poets here, from Claire Askew, in the Scottish Poetry book trust post here.

1. Write lots of poems – Claire chose 41 poems to put in a book from an original pile of 150 poems.  That improves the quality of the chosen ones.  Also, when submitting to a journal, and waiting to hear back, you can’t send those same poems somewhere else so…. you need a lot of poems ready to send.

2. Best piece of writing advice she was given – “You can only have a first book, once”. There are literary prizes for a first poetry collection – so you want to wait until you’ve got a really strong first book put together.  Don’t rush into publishing too early!  Some famous writers have spent their lives trying to buy up all copies of their first book, to destroy because the style is so unlike their true voice (Norman MacCaig did this).

3. Get into the poetry community.  Claire got early opportunities because she met people in a writing group or someone heard her performing her poetry.  Join a good workshop group, go to open mic nights and perform, and hear about other opportunities through getting to know other writers.

Here’s one of Claire’s poems, set to video (the first 41 seconds are scenesetting, unsettling experiemental noises – you can skip ahead to the poem if you prefer).

 

 

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.

 

 

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 02.33.25

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)