Be The Best Writer You Can

Brian Eno On Creativity

If you’re interested in creativity, where it comes from, how you manage it, and how you encourage it, you should watch this short interview with Brian Eno:

I discovered it when came on as an advert before a song on Youtube, and it hooked me almost immediately. It’s certainly one of the rare times I’ve watched a Youtube ad all the way through.

Brian Eno started as synth player for Roxy Music in the 70s, then worked with David Bowie on his three Berlin albums, and helped popularise the American band Devo and the punk-influenced “No Wave” genre.

He produced and performed on three albums by Talking Heads, and produced seven albums for U2, including The Joshua Tree.

He has collaborated with David Bowie and David Byrne many times since the 1980s, but has also worked on records by James, Laurie Anderson, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Paul Simon, Grace Jones and Slowdive, among others.

He’s also created and collaborated on many visual art installations, worked in avant-garde music (creating and steering the whole ‘Ambient Music’ movement), and film (among other projects he scored “The Lovely Bones”, directed by Peter Jackson.)

Critic Jason Ankeny at Allmusic argues that Eno “forever altered the ways in which music is approached, composed, performed, and perceived, and everything from punk to techno to new age bears his unmistakable influence.”

He was also hired to create a memorable, inspiring, universal 3 1/4 second piece of music to work as the startup melody for Windows 95.

(Which he wrote using a Mac!).

I know he’s not a screenwriter, but, given a forty year CV like that, I’d say this short interview in which Brian talks about his approach to creativity is well worth five minutes of your time.

CONTEST NEWS

I’m delighted to announce a whole new set of prizes for this year’s script competition. Final Draft have come on board again as a contest sponsor, and they will be kindly giving each of the five finalists a free copy of the Final Draft screenwriting package.

As you may remember we’ve already got some fantastic prizes, including meetings with some top industry execs, but this donation makes the whole thing even MORE more attractive – Final Draft is THE industry standard for screenplay submissions.

Why not enter a script (or two!) this weekend?

More details on the competition here.

THE SPEC SCRIPT MARKET

Here’s a fantastic article on the rise, fall, (and rise again?) of the Spec Script market.

Essential reading for anyone who has heard the stories of the legendary payouts to screenwriters in the 1990s – and wonders where they went – and whether they’re ever coming back.

Apparently, they might be…

(Thanks Brian MacEvilly for pointing this one out)

NEW WRITING JOBS PAGE

I’ve added a new page to the main site.

It’s a round up of some of the screenwriting jobs I could find on the internet. It should update itself constantly, on a daily basis at least, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on to see what pops up.

You can find it here. I hope it’s useful.

(For the technically curious it’s basically an aggregation of various RSS feeds. If you yourself follow any relevant job sites yourself then do let me know and I’ll see if I can add them in. I’d especially like to add details of jobs outside North America.)

I cobbled it together myself, and it still feels a little unsteady on its feet – do let me know if it doesn’t work for you!)

WORTHWHILE MA IN SCREENWRITING?

I’m normally wary of recommending you spend a year of your life and a LOT of money on an MA with rather nebulous benefits, but Paul Ashton, Development Producer at BBC Writersroom (and on the illustrious judging panel for our competition), emailed me yesterday to let me know there is a new MA in Dramatic Writing Central/Saint Martins Drama Centre.

The course is hot off the presses, is just about to be validated and the first year’s intake should kick off in October 2013.

It’s a 2 year MA so you can earn as you learn – and apparently it’s been designed by a team of industry pros (not academics) with a stack of experience between them.

Paul says:

“I’m no expert on MA courses, but I’ve never seen one that spans theatre/film/tv/radio/online the way this one does. And the facilities at the new Central Saint Martins building in Kings Cross are state of the art.

They’re also collaborating with other production courses in the College, so if you (or anyone you know) want your work performed by the next John Simm/Tom Hardy/Anne-Marie Duff/Helen McRory or directed by the next Mike Leigh/Stephen Frears/Joe Wright/Adrian Noble then I reckon this could be the one to do… ”

Now. For me, what really separates this one out of the herd is this key sentence from the Content Page:

“The course has been designed by a team of industry advisors, and students will experience on-going teaching, mentoring and guidance from professional practitioners working at the forefront of the industry from across all media.”

I think the fact you’re getting taught by practitioners rather than academics could make a critical difference. (Of course, who precisely is involved will be key.)

The final teaching panel is still to be announced. but if you want to do an MA, this could be worth keeping your eye on.

Find out more here.

SURPRISE YOUR READER

Speaking of BBC Writersroom, here is a great blog from Sally Stott, one of their readers.

She talks about the lamentable way many writers describe their female characters. It’s an amusing, and thought-provoking, read.

Sally’s opinions are not to be dismissed lightly: last time I asked Paul Ashton he told me the readers in the Writersroom get through 10,000 plus script submissions a year, so they really do have a very good idea of what’s going on out there:

One statistic that leaped out at me was the fact that 2/3 of their submissions are by men.

That matches almost exactly the ratio I noticed in the submissions for the Screenwriting Goldmine contest last year.

So… are you women writers really going to let men take all the seats at the table? Or are you going to get writing..?

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