• Script Frenzy 2011

    Fancy a challenge for the month of April? The annual Script Frenzy kicks off on the 1st of April (it’s no joke!), and the aim is to write 100 pages of original scripted material during the 30 days of April. (Screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, and graphic novels are all considered.) Writers can join the web site, find other writers who are striving toward the same goal and thus encourage one other. Script Frenzy is a donation-funded non-profit and doesn’t charge a fee for participation. There are also no valuable prizes awarded or “best” scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages gains the…

  • An old ploy from a new trick

    Last week a new film development process called Amazon Studios was announced, which Amazon is touting as the cool, modern way to make movies: Movies have been developed pretty much the same way since talkies were considered cutting-edge. But here at Amazon Studios, we believe 21st-century technology creates opportunities to make and share movies and scripts more easily than ever. We invite you to: Win money. Amazon Studios will award a combined $2.7 million in our first year’s worth of monthly and annual contests for the best scripts and movies. There is no charge to participate. Learn more. Get noticed. Your work will be shared with a global community of…

  • brains on your tie

    I’ve been a fan of Fringe since season 1. It had a shaky start, but I gave it leeway because there is nothing I like better than a television program showcasing capable women, mad scientists and weird events. From the beginning it was clear the show rotated around the character of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), and what I liked most about her was her drive, ambition and her ability to emphatise with those who have been preyed upon by stronger forces. This is a woman with a mission to save people, and women in particular. She also had her heart broken quite badly in the first season, with a long…

  • Golden Blasters 2010

    Golden Blasters

    The Irish national science fiction convention, Octocon (October 16-17), has issued a call for scripts for its inaugural short script competition. It’s looking for fantasy, science fiction or horror short scripts, less than twenty pages, and in the usual format. The fees for the competition are on a sliding scale depending on when the script is submitted: May 31, 2010Earlybird Deadline €10.00 July 31, 2010Regular Deadline €15.00 August 31, 2010Late Deadline €20.00 It has also issued a call for submissions for fantasy, science fiction and horror short films (under 15 minutes) for its second Short Film Competition. The films that are short-listed will be screened at this year’s convention, and…

  • dear Alexandra

    This blog post began as a reply to a comment made by horror writer and screenwriter, Alexandra Sokoloff, on my last blog entry, but got too long. It’s probably best if you read that first before continuing with this entry. I’ll wait. Back? Great. Here’s what my couple of lines morphed into: Dear Alexandra, Thank you for your note, and I appreciate your kind comments. I’m currently reading your novel The Price, as I’m engaged in a drive to read as much horror by women as possible before World Horror Convention. That means getting books from a lot of different sources, especially since women’s horror isn’t easy to come by…

  • die die die die die die

    Continuing the topic of Women in Horror Recognition Month, I want to pivot the lens towards a fantastic little animated short film called “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”, which was written by Kathleen O’Rourke and directed by Nicky Phelan. O’Rourke also provides the voice acting for Granny O’Grimm herself. The piece is delightfully animated, switching from 3D to 2D as Granny narrates her version of the opening of Sleeping Beauty as a bedtime story for her less-than-enthusiastic granddaughter. Initially I thought the ending rather abrupt, until I listened properly to the words of Granny’s lullaby, which accompany the finishing credits. What I like most about this little piece is that it…

  • monstrous women are rarely rewarded

    I’ve been meaning to write something for Women in Horror Recognition Month, which is a campaign to promote women who work within the horror genre during the month of February. I’m going to look at two films that I think deserve some attention and discussion: Ginger Snaps (2000) and Jennifer’s Body (2009). These two films serve as a useful balance, since the first is smart and thought-provoking, while the second is interesting but muddled. Ginger Snaps is based on a story by Karen Walton and John Fawcett, the screenplay was written by Walton, and directed by Fawcett. It’s a film about two sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigette (Emily Perkins),…

  • death and taxes

    It’s been a strange week. There have been two deaths, and I’ve attended one funeral (neither of the deceased were close to me, so don’t proffer sympathies), and a major row erupted in the Irish sf scene that involved a lot of people I know. My mother had been away on holiday, and she called me on Tuesday evening and asked if I wanted to go see a film. I couldn’t really spare the time. Not only did I have a funeral that was going to take up most of the following day, I was really late on sorting out my taxes. I’d been brooding on the Internet fracas going…

  • on set

    Wednesday’s shoot of my script “Hotel Training” went well. This is one of the longer scripts that will be part of the Hotel Darklight anthology film (there will be eleven short films in total). It’s ten and a half pages long, which will probably translate into 10 – 11 minutes, although a number of factors can affect the final running time. It was a demanding task for the director, Conor McMahon, to shoot all the scenes in one day. He, and his crew, began quickly and locked down the exterior shots. The protagonist of “Hotel Training” is called Glenn, and actor Chris Gallagher played the role. Chris was in almost…

  • a sale, and a shoot

    Chris Fletcher, editor of M-Brane SF, informed me yesterday that he wanted to buy my near-future sf short story “The Secret Names of Buildings”. So I said yes! It will appear in issue 12, which is being guest edited by Rick Novy. Again, this is a story I wrote at Clarion West. It was during week six, my last week at the workshop, and we were being mentored by sf legend Vernor Vinge. Vernor is a hard sf writer, so I wrote something I thought might benefit from his expertise. Vernor, by the way, was very generous with his time, and enjoyed geeking out with us – all his conferences…