Make It Happen

Film Producing in Wales

Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Five Completely Unrelated Pieces of Information

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I haven’t had time to update this week, and as of tomorrow I’ll be offline for a while, so here’s a short post to keep the blog awake.

  • Screenwriters take note – if you have a feature screenplay, you’ve got a few days before the deadline of Final Draft’s Big Break contest, and if you have a TV script, then there’s a few weeks to polish it before the Peter Ustinov deadline.
  • Hollywood is awash with superhero films at the moment, but here‘s a trailer for one you won’t be seeing in cinemas, or anywhere else for that matter.  Digital is making anything possible.
  • From Hollywood to Wales, for Shannen Doherty at least.  Good luck to the Welsh filmmakers behind this – this project has been around for a while and it looks like it’s getting off the ground.
  • The Film Agency for Wales is still looking for applications to co-finance a short film scheme in Wales.  They have £50k on offer – I don’t know if they’ve had (m)any tenders, but let’s hope so, as Wales needs more than just It’s My Shout for short film directors to find their voice.

I’ll be back next week.

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The Pilot Could Take Us Anywhere We Want

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Thanks to those of you who have said nice things to me regarding my acting. Shooting it wasn’t actually as much fun as I expected it to be – the people who do this sort of thing for real certainly have a unique talent, it’s really hard work. For our parody, the director Paul would give me a word, e.g. ‘holistic’, or a direction, like telling the director/vision mixer (I don’t know how they crew these things) that we’re going to change camera, and then I would just have to make up the words as we went along. I think I’ll try and stay off screen in the future, and leave the idea of a web series based on the character in a locked drawer.

Speaking of web series, the internet is now being used to pilot ideas cheaply, and it’s worth looking into if you’ve got ideas that you can shoot yourself. Before many television drama and comedy series are commissioned, a pilot will be shot and often broadcast in order to gauge if the series will work, and if it has an audience. It’s quite a different process in the UK compared with the USA, where Pilot Season is an annual event – this article is old, but it explains how it works over there. Now though, shooting digitally and broadcasting online, a low-budget web series is a great way to pilot an idea off your own back. An example is Svengali, written by Dean Cavanagh and starring Welsh actor Jonathan Lewis Owen. Have a look at the episodes – the format is very simple and easily shot on a microbudget. The writing and the performances have to sell the idea – there’s no production value (aside from celebrity cameos) to hide behind here.

If you’re interested in what makes a good pilot, it’s worth starting by looking at the script. Thanks to a link found on John August’s blog (coincidentally, check out John’s web series pilot The Remants), you can find a huge library of scripts for US pilots (some successful, and some not) by clicking here. There’s pilots for The Wire, Alias, and also the Heroes pilot, directed by David Semel.

Derek is definitely not going to end up in a pilot. Honest.