I'm so excited to finally be talking about the screenwriting side of things. I mean, my website does say Author & Screenwriter.
I've actually written three scripts already, with the fourth one due to be finished next week. So I'm making progress.
I've just never talked about them.
Until now, that is.
I've even started entering the first one I finished into Hollywood competitions… and it's done well in two so far. More on that in a bit…
I've called this post #1 because, as I progress, as I get back more results, enter more competitions, complete more scripts, and, I hope, sell these scripts, I want to be able to come back and update you specifically on this topic. If you are following me, you'll catch every update (why aren't you following? – it's easy, free, and simple to set up. Check out this post), but you'll also be able to filter these posts by the labels I use. I'll add Talking Movies to this one.
What Have I Written So Far?
Here are the titles for the four films/screenplays I've written:
How Far Along Are They?
Salva is the one that's ready for other eyes. It's been entered into several competitions, with two quarter final placements to date. One of these was in the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards, where the quarter final slot represented a top 30% finish of all entries. It also finished as a quarter finalist in the Wiki Screenplay Contest, which they say represents the top 15-17% of entries. I've entered it into two London-based competitions, one result to be announced in January, the other in March 2023. Salva is really a sports drama (the rest are all thrillers) and is about the life of a former footballer rediscovering his passion for the game, learning the truth about his past, set around a small English village team and their adventures in the world's oldest domestic cup competition, the FA Cup. So the London results are something I'm particularly keen to discover as they understand the competition's history. It would make a great movie. I've had written feedback from three competitions which has been very positive and helpful for shaping the story even more.
Depending on what these two London competitions say, I'll have to see what more comes of this script.
What About The Others?
Here are the titles with their log lines:
Blackout: A pleasant birthday is ruined by his family vanishing. Stress is not good for Marcus, the danger of another blackout high. Yet everything he knew has now changed. Were they imagined? Did the life he thought he had even happen? Or is there something bigger happening? Can he convince anyone he's not crazy?
2024: A rock-bottom author can't believe his luck when the new year brings new fortunes – until nothing adds up. Can he trust the sales? He soon learns he isn't the first to experience what he is now going through – all of these others dead within the first six months of the following year.
2025: (Still being written. This one is a sequel to 2024)
Will These Be Books Too?
I'm glad you asked… Yes, they will be. I've written the first three as novels as well. Salva has already come back from my editor. I'll get onto these notes and edits next year. I use the novel process to tighten and improve the screenplay. I write them like this: screenplay first draft, novel first draft (using the screenplay as my base text), screenplay second draft (having fleshed things out in the novel, there are things I want to add/change in the screenplay). I then read and edit the novel, listen to it before it goes to my editor.
I haven't yet decided how/when these books will be released. Either I wait for them with the new publisher (perhaps then in 2024) or I release them myself next year, and let the publisher redo them the following year? Thoughts… (comment below)?
Is Writing A Screenplay The Same Or Different To A Book?
Great question! It's very different. There are lots of rules to a screenplay, which has taken much study and many books to understand (they don't seem to make it easy). They are a lot shorter than a book, less words, far less pages. Things have to happen on certain pages – depending on which expert you follow, some would say exact pages. They follow a three act structure. I don't write my books that clinically (though the novels that came from the screenplay probably now do follow this pattern, naturally).
But it's fun! I use the coolest piece of software that 95% of Hollywood Pros use, so that helps with the writing process.
What's similar to writing a novel, is that there are times you just have to press on with it. Get that next scene down. Think through how to show something (a movie is a story in pictures). Words are not the thing, which is very different to books where that's all they are.
What About Your Existing Stories?
You might be wondering about the other twenty-plus novels I've already written, films you would also love to see. I've not yet done any adaptations (it's a different skill again, one I am very keen to learn) but I do plan to. Which book(s) of mine would you like to see first? Again, please comment below.
Can I Help?
I'm so glad you asked. Short answer… possibly. It does seem potentially easier to get scripts in front of the right people than it is for books. Competitions (and I mean the right ones, ones that I'm fast discovering what they are) get your script in front of the very people who make films, or those who decide what the studio makes. I'm not aware of a book equivalent to this. Studios are always looking for good material, so they run competitions and read screenplays constantly to this very end.
So the opportunity is there, even if it's just for professional feedback. I've paid for that in a few competitions for Salva, as I mentioned above, and the six or so pages of detailed notes, talking about the character, about the story, really show that they not only read the entire thing, they really want to help improve it. They enjoy it. There are two websites that list all the competitions, which my screenplays are shown on. Every result adds to the scripts score. It's all discoverable, so in time, perhaps someone will approach me directly from this.
I expect, realistically, something that needs to happen for each script, is that I will have to enter them multiple times in different competitions, requesting feedback three or four times along the way to get some understanding on how it reads. All this costs. At the moment, I don't have the money to push that.
Perhaps you want to sponsor one of my scripts? I don't know what that really means, or what you would want as a result, but if it is something you would be interested to explore, even for the fun of it, then please reach out to me here, and we can chat about this option.
Any Other Questions?
There is loads that I'm learning about screenwriting the more I do it. If you have a question that I've not covered about my work, or you want to ask something else, feel free to comment below, and I'll get back to you.
I'll update things early next year when I hear back from the London-based competitions. Thanks for reading!