Fela’s Wives Project & TWP

February 25, 2009

Theatre Writing Partnership have a new Artistic Director and CEO Kate Chapman

I have some concerns about the Fela project. As the commissioners of the project they have made a financial investment in the project but Artistic Directors’ really drive theatre companies typically, so my stageplay The Wive’s (Many) of Fela Anikulapo Kuti may not be a project the new Artistic Director is interested in pursuing. A great deal of money-raising will be required for the full production imagined for September 2010 and a number of partnerships have to be built to make the project really viable. The commitment of the Artistic Director is crucial. The contract means I get the full fee regardless of any commission but I have wriitten the project to see it so that woudl be a disappointment.

The good news about an appointment is the energy that Kate Chapman will bring no doubt. It has felt a bit ‘drifty’ to me so hoping that will change.

August Wilson-Century Cycle- radio golf

February 23, 2009

On the last of the Century Cycle plays, radio golf. I have read them in a very intermittent fashion, over a long period of time. When I bought them I was hoping that I would be able to see how the plays worked together but not been able to do so due I think to the way I have read them. My immediate thoughts are that when reading each piece I very rarely get a sense of the decade that play is supposed to be set in. The language seems very similar. My instinct is that this isn’t a good thing but on the other hand I think it allows for each play to sit outside of time.  For example I would imagine that King Hedley 2nd would speak very different to his dad yet each character seems to have very similar speech patterns in a way I am struggling to believe. I understand the geographical and cultural reasons for why this might be the case but for this to happen over decades and decades is currently proving to be a bit of a reach for me. Perhaps my recollection of the plays is off, or perhaps Wilson’s distinctive style is throwing me. I believe there should be broader generational differences as well as the differences across the decades.

well written films

February 20, 2009

Saw Venus and Tsotsi recently after missing them originally. Thought they were written extemely well by Hanif Kureshi and Gavin Hood respectively. The Venus script allowed the main principals to really create distinctive characters. The main thing in common with Tsotsi was how the main character elicited sympathy when their actions would ordinarily evoke pretty much the opposite. Very skillfully handled by cast and crew.

check them out if you haven’t seen them.

Kubrick Archive Visit

February 19, 2009

On my way back from a visit to the Kubrick Archives. The archive is kept at University of the Arts, London College of Communications site (formerly London College of Printing) Elephant & Castle, London.
It’s an absolutely fantastic place. We were toured around by an archivist and an assistant archivist. Pre-booking is the norm and when booking I had asked for some examples of pre-production work and editing admin to be pulled out from the archive to be selected.
The sheer amount of material is amazing, we saw pre-production research, scripts, visualisations, production props (masks from Eyes Wide Shut, costumes from Barry Lyndon and The Shining (including Jack Nicholson’s pants), newspaper props from A Clockwork Orange and fantastically the book prop Nicholson’s character is “writing” in The Shining-“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
Also saw post-production edit scripts, various release/marketing material and a whole lot more.
The tour is supposed to be an hour long but they kindly allowed us to be there for nearly two hours. They took us to the stock room where access isn’t normally allowed where we saw the racks and racks of material and shot material from Dr Strangelove and 2001: A Space Oddessy.
Amazing to think this resource is open to the public. If you are into film, or fashion, photography, writing, production design, editing, anything film then you really ought to try and get along. We, 3 students and myself were accompanied by two people from Aberdeen who had come down to london to visit the archive.
Although Kubrick retained all of this material it wasn’t collected with archiving in mind so it’s a fantastic demonstration of his working process and the process of his collaborators throughout his career.
Excellent. Really, really enjoyed it. And I’m not even a fanboy but this was history in my hnads man.

Celtx Pre-production software

February 12, 2009

I’ve posted about Celtx the free open-source pre-preproduction sofware availlable to download from http://www.celtx.com.
I’d only had a cursory look at it before but had a proper look at it yesterday and I’m really impressed at how good it is. It has a number of script formatting options that can be dynamically switched at the click of a button, so a screenplay can become a comicbook, or a stageplay or an AV documentary script on one click. What stuck out for me as a really useful pre-production documentation tool was the tagging feature. It allows you to tag items in the script by highlighting them, details of that item can then be filled out on what it called a master breakdown sheet. By then using its  ‘reports’ feature lists of the occurence of that tagged item can be generated. The software allows dynamic updating. So the flexibility of the sytem really jumped out at me. Most of this stuff can be done by other software packages so the Entertainment Partners scheduling software, Movie Magic, Final Draft etc but celtx is free!!!! Free I say. I think it is a fantastic example of the open-source movement.
Check it out, free to use, available on Mac, PC, linux and asus eee netbooks.

24 Degrees readings announced

February 6, 2009

The six projects due to be read at the Royal Court as a culmination of the 24 Degrees projects were announced yesterday.

They are

  • Rosemary Jenkinson Basra Boy (stage)
  • Geraint Jones Cocks and Robbers (TV)
  • Laura Lomas Ashes (stage)
  • Emily Steel Boom Boom (radio)
  • Tom Wells God and that (stage)
  • Chris Wilson Playing the Game (Radio)
  • Looking forward to hearing them on March 6th. Laura Lomas is a nottingham writer. She has a play going into rehearsal, literally first day today.  Wasteland is a new perspectives production.

    Disappointed that Carcass wasnt selected and will now send it off to Film Council for their first feature fund script development initiative. Waiting for the feedback on the script first though. I think it’s an incredibly strong project so am going to persevere with it. A reading would have been a good opportunity to raise interest and invite useful possible partcipants.

    Rural Touring Project- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    February 2, 2009

    On Saturday as part of my ‘going to see work now i’m writing a rural touring play’ I went to see Sir Gawain and The Green Knight at the Lakeside Theatre. Sir Gawain is a New Perspectives production. Enjoyed it. The poet Simon Armitage adapted the play with Daniel Buckroyd directing. It was super simple production design wise with Juliet Shillingford designing and Mark Dymock  Lighting Design.

    Whilst watching I was imagining it in a village hall. This aspect is really important  as the show which I am now thinking of calling ‘messing about on the river’ and not ‘leisure traffic’ has to work in this type of venue and not simply the traditional studio theatre lakeside-type venue. I had a read through of the eleven pages of notes i’d been collecting for the last few years since I originated the project and most of what I’d written will still work. Because of the subject matter it was always conceived as a rural touring project so I have had to look at the language more than the characters, narrative, or story. The likely omission of the parents caused some editing but not as much as I might have felt.

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