Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Industrial Scripts newsletter

Here is the latest Industrial Scripts newsletter for my followers to peruse:

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Industrial Scripts is a London-based story analysis & training organization, backed by major companies, delivering a range of analysis, and support services to writers, authors and filmmakers, globally.


With sales of metal polish, shelving units and fireplace mantelpieces reaching their annual peak among the film community, it's finally time to start looking ahead - to the 2016 Awards Contenders!

February Quick Takes...

Industrial Scripts columnist Tom Williams hired on £20m Brit fantasy film THE GIANT UNDER THE SNOW.
Tom Rothman replaces Amy Pascal at Sony after hack scandal.
CAA and ICM celebrate 40th anniversaries and the birth of the modern super-agencies.
Youtube stars signed for movie roles as digital crossover increases.
Odeon cinema chain put on market for £1bn.
Chinese financing boom in Hollywood failing to materialise.

IS Client sells script to Universal

New Picture  21
Congratulations are in order to IS client Jared Cowie, who way back in September 2012 received one of our incredibly rare "Recommend" verdicts for his project BISMARCK, and has recently sold the script to Universal.
We're always thrilled when one of our own breaks through and we're looking forward to tracking the film's progress towards production.


a pilots
The US networks prognosticate on the fall season with their slew of pilot orders. Among the highlights;
Shonda Rhimes - showrunner of GREY'S ANATOMY - adds THE CATCH to her portfolio, a crime thriller about a forensic accountant.
Comedy centred on Johnny Knoxville's early years in EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS vein.
ABC binge-orders 11 pilots in one day.

'London Screenings' Highlights UK Films to International Buyers

film london
Film London's marketplace style offering 'London Screenings' puts British Film on an international platform as sales companies congregate to view the best of UK productions. Applications for the Breakthrough Strand, supporting up-and-coming filmmakers, close March 25th.

'Scope50' VOD Service for Unreleased Films Launched at Berlinale

scope 50
VOD streaming service designed to connect filmmakers directly to sales agents and distributors announced at Berlinale - shifting emphasis from make-or-break festival screenings to long term lobbying with ease of access for buyers.

Netflix Cannibalising Itself?

New research shows massive use of Netflix USA in overseas territories via VPN access. As the industry keenly watches Netflix roll out its offerings to new countries, a major question mark has arisen - will the expansion simply cannibalise current subscribers using VPN? After much investment in original programming, slightly concerning news for Netflix's crucial growth forecasts.

Gender Divide in Hollywood Characters Worsens

New study from San Diego State University shows female roles account for 12% of protagonists in top-grossing films of 2014 - a decrease over the past decade. Situation is grim beyond headline parts - female characters making up 29% of all characters and 30% of all speaking roles.

Industrial Scripts February Articles...

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Tamzin Rafn - Screenwriter of ALBATROSS
"As I have previously mentioned, many times, I love LA and this time was no exception. I ate dinner on a table exactly next to Gwyneth Paltrow (she drank martini and wine, and did not order the ‘steamed vagina’)..." read the full article
Tom Williams, KAJAKI scribe
"This post started as a tweet, developed into a Facebook status and is now finding full expression as a blog post. Recently I finished, in a double-bill, The Newsroom Season 3 (and, by extension, The Newsroom). Some observations..." read the full article.
miranda fleming
Miranda Fleming, Head of UK Film & Creative at Indiegogo
"The Berlin International Film Festival was distinctly different this year... there was something that I can only describe as a digital change in the air. For the first time ever, there were multiple films that were funded by crowdsourcing. By the end of the festival, I couldn’t help but wonder: Are the walls of traditional distribution coming down?... " read the full article.
"A couple of years ago, I got ‘replaced’ on a job. It was a project I dearly loved and had put my heart and soul into and, on top of the rejection of being booted off whilst I was circus performing on that roll, the whole thing wasn’t handled brilliantly either...." read the full article.


A few opportunities for screenwriters to keep their eyes on....
BBC Future Talent - webisodes for UK West Midlands.
Arts Educational - looking for short scripts to develop acting talent.
The Nicholl Fellowships - Academy screenplay contest open.

FINAL CALL - Get 50% off our Script Reading Course

effective script reading
Our “Effective Script Reading for TV & Film” 1-day course has been running on a monthly basis for 4 years, to largely five-star reviews.
The course is on a short-term Creative Skillset list of industry training that will fund 50% of training costs for film employees. If an individual/freelancer wants to do the training they need to have a company to be eligible. The fund will cover the course dates that complete by the end of March 2015 - Saturday 21st March 2015 our remaining class.
The course is ideal for all employees, assistants and interns who assess scripts in any capacity, and helps improve script analysis skills, coverage-writing and project assessment. The course also contains a post-course exercise in which attendees write a test report which is then marked by Industrial Scripts staff.
Eligible course dates:
Saturday 21st March 2015
Click here for the full course breakdown:

The "Testimonial" Is Dead...

Verified Authentic Cusomer Reviews Data
Long live the age of hard data...
We formed Industrial Scripts to provide producers, writers and directors in the independent TV and film sector with high-quality, industry-standard script development services not usually available to them.
We take what we do deadly seriously. Industrial Scripts is the 1st – and only – story analysis organisation in the world to sign up to independent, impartial, specialist reviews websites in order to allow its clients to publicly reveal what they think of the company’s products and services. We are unique in that we rely on “verified” reviews rather than testimonials from friends and colleagues which, as most people realise, are ultimately meaningless in a crowded, competitive marketplace.
Our consultants all have considerable experience working for and with the very best companies, and are currently very active in development (we don't believe in trading on past glories). We offer 20 different types of script development service, some are listed below, but you can visit our website to view them all...
If you're developing scripts, in any capacity, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more transparent service than ours. Just sayin...
review banner wide
Talk is Cheap. We're all about the hard data. Click to read verified customer reviews about us.
"Which Logline?" Service - £40
"Should I spend 6...12...18...months of my life developing this project?" is a question that haunts many writers, who have more ideas than time. Here writers submit 10 loglines, and we put them in order of excellence, advising writers to channel their efforts into promising ideas rather than wasting time and energy writing developing dud projects.
Film Coverage Report - £135 * eligible for TALENT CONNECTOR
This report on feature-length scripts consists of 4+ pages of notes and feedback to help the writer move on to his or her next draft.
Film Forensic Notes - £300.00 * eligible for TALENT CONNECTOR
Our Detailed Development Notes service delivers an extremely detailed analysis of your feature script, together with lengthy suggestions on how to move forward to the next draft. These reports run to 14+ pages, and offer a truly forensic analysis of your script.
Script Doctoring - Fees Vary * eligible for TALENT CONNECTOR
Through our resident Script Doctors we offer writers, producers and directors the opportunity to have their project re-written, doctored, polished, re-structured and significantly improved according to their requirements.

View all 20 Script Development Services HERE.

Read 490+ verified customer reviews about us HERE


Who's Hot & Who's Not - February

hot not
Who had a month to remember? Who’s waiting for the spring thaw to revive their career?
Here’s our run down of how industry figures fared in February.
1) Tom Williams
Industrial Scripts' columnist - writer of CHALET GIRL and KAJAKI - attached to write £20m fantasy flick THE GIANT UNDER THE SNOW.
2) Rob Schrab
COMMUNITY director hired as helmer for LEGO MOVIE 2.
3) Lauren Oliver
Novelist hired by Universal to adapt her own work for silver-screen - read on for this month's opinion piece for 50 SHADES cautionary tale...
4) Neill Blomkamp
With CHAPPIE impending, and news that Blomkamp will helm new ALIEN film, it's been a great February for the South African director.
5) Ewan McGregor
Actor to make directorial debut with Philip Roth adaptation AMERICAN PASTORAL.
1) Sergei Bodrov
Director's tentpole flick SEVENTH SON tanks at US box office - will talented Russian director get another shot at Hollywood?
2) John Travolta
Trying to repair damage from last year's Oscars performance, actor digs even deeper hole with various female touching antics.
3) Neil Patrick Harris
Despite great opening number, reviews for new Oscars host generally lacklustre.
4) Dreamworks Animation
PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR flop and restructuring sees massive quarter-of-a-billion loss for studio.
5) J.C. Chandor
Director replaced by Peter Berg on Deepwater Horizon oil spill project.

Amusing Snippet of the Month



oscar ballot
Ever wonder why the Oscars are such a maddening experience? Wonder no more as The Hollywood Reporter delivers a startling, unsettling and ultimately hilarious insight into the psychology of Academy Voters.
Conducting brutally honest interviews with a wide diversity of actual academy voters, THR uncovered such gems as;
On Best Picture
"Whiplash is offensive — it’s a film about abuse and I don’t find that entertaining at all. My kid would have told me if he had an abusive teacher. I would have sat in on the class, talked to other kids in the class and then said, “This asshole has to go.”
On Best Supporting Actress
"I'm voting for Arquette. She gets points for working on a film for 12 years and bonus points for having no work done during the 12 years. If she had had work done during the 12 years, she would not be collecting these statues. It's a bravery reward. It says, "You're braver than me. You didn't touch your face for 12 years. Way to freakin' go!"
On Best Sound Editing;
"Birdman had a tremendous variety of sounds — the beating of the wings and a lot of other things."
On Best Picture
"I felt Birdman was a masterful work of filmmaking. The problem with it is that its central character, played by Michael Keaton, is tormented and unlikable, which is the same problem that sunk The Social Network."

Opinion: 50 SHADES OF GREY and Respecting Talent

As 50 SHADES OF GREY opens to huge box office, massive week 2 drop-offs, mixed reviews, and talk of desertion from key talent, Industrial Scripts looks at EL. James' role in proceedings.
50 shades
50 SHADES OF GREY followed in AMERICAN SNIPER's path as an R-rated box office behemoth - over $400m at last count, though longevity doesn't appear to be its strong point as 2nd and 3rd week figures tumble. Great news for Universal's coffers, but dissent amongst the back-room staff abounds with rumour that director Sam Taylor Johnson is unlikely to return following spats with EL James, Mr. Grey himself Jamie Dornan is getting cold feet over a sequel, and screenwriter Kelly Marcel is seemingly going to be usurped by EL James herself.
Wanting to maintain control over one's own creation is understandable, though not necessarily advisable - especially when considering the role in the creative process. Brit-rock band Kasabian recently touted boy-band One Direction as "five no-ones who won the lottery" - a fair statement regarding the casting call nature of their audition genesis. No one member is bigger than the band, and the band are only as big as the opportunities afforded them by TV exposure and creative management.
50 shades premiere
Unhappy Family....
So what does this have to do with 50 SHADES? EL James is the writer who won the lottery - leveraging the popularity of TWILIGHT for fan-fiction, and being lucky enough to hit the marketplace just as anonymous e-readers made pseudo-porn like 50 SHADES more easily digestible, online shopping reduced the embarassing over-the-counter transaction, and SEX AND THE CITY left the throne for popular culture on female sexuality open. Right place, right time, with very little distinguishing the books from the mountains of competing romance / mommy-porn / erotica / chick-lit (delete as applicable).
The obvious difference comes in the financial leverage EL James commands - dangling a cash-cow in front of hungry studios. Usually we'd decry a vulturous studio ripping apart intellectual property for a few shekels and defend the original writer - but in this instance, EL James appears to be getting in the way of her offspring's success. Sam Taylor Johnson and Kelly Marcel perhaps know considerably more than EL James on the film-making front - it's not the novel writing, but the branding and timing which contributed chiefly to 50 SHADES' success. With curiosity satiated for many with the first instalment, and little in the way of gripping storyline to attract cinema punters back for 2nd and 3rd editions, any sequel has an uphill task - but to throw yourself into the ring as a rookie screenwriter is ill-advised (F Scott Fitzgerald among those who know just how tough the transition can be). Control? Yes. Quality? Unlikely. If anything, the projects could even benefit from a 'spec' approach - re-imagining the storyline from parts 2 and 3 to create a new and unique vision and give audiences a reason to make the trip. Another uninspired re-tread of ropey novels is hardly going to excite the rubberneckers to re-attend.
What's the take-away for writers? Know your place - okay, that's a little harsh - but know your current place given your experience, skillset and credits. Taking concepts to big production companies, without much of a portfolio, is likely to see you re-written as investors protect their project. It's tough to work with A list talent when you're the D list weak connection. Yes, we all punch above our weight at sometime to climb the ladder, but try to climb that ladder one step at a time - shorts, micro budget, indies, features. Even those with a multi-million cash cow are likely to come unstuck. And remember that JK Rowling sat out the first 8 Harry Potter films, before making her screenwriting debut with the spin-off films.. Perhaps an example for EL James to examine closely...

Unheralded Scene o' the Month: WEST OF MEMPHIS (2012)

In our "Unheralded Scene of the Month" section, our consultants nominate a classic film or TV scene, which in their view hasn't received the admiration it deserves.
It might be a scene from a classic movie, which has been crowded out by other, more "showy" scenes and set-pieces. It might be a deleted scene which is outstanding in its own right but wasn't quite in-sync or critical to the final cut of the film. Warning: MAJOR plot spoilers below.
west of memphis
The film: Another change of pace for Unheralded Scene after last month's examination of TV's TOGETHERNESS, as we look at the world of documentaries - which yes, have scripts, outlines and deep editing to present a story. WEST OF MEMPHIS tells the tale of three wrongly imprisoned teens, accused of a Satanic triple murder, and the 20 year fight for justice. You can see a trailer for the film here.
The plot: 1994 -Three Arkansas teens are hounded by a blinded and incompetent police investigation which asserts that the triple homicide of three eight year old boys was ritualistic in nature. Despite flimsy evidence and a confession from a mentally challenged defendant, the trio are imprisoned, with their 'leader' sentenced to death. HBO Films pick up the scent in 1996 with their investigative documentary PARADISE LOST, raising interest from Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson who co-produced WEST OF MEMPHIS - and suspicions fall on step-dad to one of the victims, JOHN BYERS. Could he have murdered his own step-son?
The scene: The documentary does a wonderful job in recreating the chain of events for those who kept up to date with the case as it progressed - accusations against the three teens, before suspicion falls on step-dad JOHN BYERS - but the film has skilfully avoided shining the spotlight on another step-dad to one of the victims, TERRY HOBBS. Midway through the film, a stunning reveal is made - a hair from the crime-scene, a new lead - and a new suspect.
west memp2
Why it's unheralded: Documentaries tend to receive little credit as being 'written', but Amy Berg and Billy McMillin's narrative is expertly crafted to create a tragic, gripping whodunit.
Why it's great:

The culmination of the first half of the film, which has set up the state's flimsy case against the teens, and then knocked it down one piece at a time. Whilst this destruction takes place, the script skilfully manoeuvres John Byers as a suspect - a great red herring to keep the audience's suspicions satiated - before delivering a powerful twist to reshape the tone and direction of the remaining material, which focusses largely on Terry Hobbs, with film-making acting as criminal investigation. Proof that great scenes are rarely isolated events, but often the culmination of significant narrative threads. This brilliant mid-point scene concisely concludes one major narrative direction, before launching another.

Spec-Spotter - Development Intel

Information is power in the film & TV industries, so here is our vital burst of screenwriting-related intel for your mainframes!
Spec Screenwriter Makes First Deal - Option to Universal
London based screenwriter Jared Cowie sells BISMARCK World War II actioner.
Tyrese Gibson spec with Universal
FAST AND FURIOUS star options action script co-written with Mike Le.
WHITE BOY RICK for Studio 8
True life tale of informant turned drug dealer who has been behind bars for 30 odd years, with script written by Logan and Noah Miller - project in competition with Universal's take on the subject. Another CAPOTE vs INFAMOUS style rumble?
Jenji Kohan sells to HBO - Gus Van Sant to direct
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK creator sells historical pilot to HBO.
Driver-less cars at Sony Pictures
Steve Conrad pitch utilises hot-topic science as driver-less cars compete in race - Gore Verbinski attached to direct.
REMEMBER THE TITANS scribe Gregory Allen Howard sells actioner surrounding female president shot down in Amazon.
Brad Ingelsby packaging at Scott Free with Anne Hathaway
Writer of current release RUN ALL NIGHT packages another film with Scott Free after previously selling A BETTER PLACE.
BOUNTY sells for a bounty
Sascha Penn sells script to Paramount, with Will Smith set to star, as convicted killer who breaks out of prison to prove his innocence - but comes up against widow of victim who offers $10m reward for capture.
Carter Blanchard ghost story
INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 writer sells ghost pitch to Dreamworks.
Halle Berry actioner at Universal
Pitch for MOTHER brought up by studio.
Cat Vosko's trapeze flick circled by Warner Brothers.
Anyway that's about all from us for another month, but just scroll down for details of our script development services and upcoming training courses, not to mention our exclusive Insider Interviews series.
The Industrial Scripts Team

Industry Training Courses



At Industrial Scripts we run premium, high-quality training courses which deliver serious value to participants. Our courses are tailored to suit the requirements of the industry, and are led by professionals with proven track records of success in their own individual area of the business.
For 4 years we've been running training courses in script reading, low-budget filmmaking and screenwriting. We currently run 2 courses:
HOW TO WRITE A SCRIPT - SCREENWRITING FOR BEGINNERS is our first screenwriting course and has been designed for creative individuals who possess great ideas for films or TV shows, but don’t know where to begin. It delivers a huge amount of information, condensed into one intense day, to participants new to screenwriting, new to writing, or both. Focussing on both the writing process, and the industry writers find work in, the course aims to heavily de-mystify the process by which people become professional screenwriters, and help new writers navigate the sometimes precarious early years of the screenwriter.
Next course date: Saturday 7th March 2015
Our EFFECTIVE SCRIPT READING 1-day training seminar continues to go from strength to strength, winning consistently stellar feedback from participants...:

effective script reading
The course includes comprehensive contacts documents detailing all the paid script reading outlets in film and TV in the UK, and also offers attendees indefinite, ongoing email and phone support once the course is over. We can't turn you into a great script analyst overnight, but we can speed you up and save you a lot of time and effort in the process. Click here to book.
Next course date: Saturday 21st March 2015

The Insider Interviews



Industrial Scripts brings you The Insider Interviews - exclusive FREE content from leading industry professionals that you can't access, anywhere else. Click here to listen to these free interviews:
STORY Guru Robert Mckee
"Charlie Kaufman...what an as*...he's Mr. Theory! He's not an anti-theorist!"
Listen to the podcast...
Screenwriter Kevin Lehane (GRABBERS)
"I think the horror-comedy is a really tough genre...I wanted to write a monster movie, like TREMORS, or GREMLINS".
Listen to the podcast...
Head of Development Sophie Meyer (Ealing Studios)
"If I had to boil it down to one thing it would be "does it make you care?"
Listen to the podcast...
Writer-Director Ben Wheatley (KILL LIST, DOWN TERRACE)
"Short films are a waste of time...I thought if I was going to put in that much effort, I may as well try and make something I can sell..."
Listen to the podcast...
"I wrote 12 plays before I had anything produced..."
Listen to the podcast...
“I thought to myself "this is filmmaking: doing something you don't want to do and for which you will probably be punished by God!””
Film Journalist Nev Pierce (Editor-at-Large, Empire magazine)
"Interviewing directors is my favourite thing...it can be thrilling if you're meeting someone you admire...to sit down for 2 hours with David Fincher...I feel incredibly blessed to have that kind of opportunity".
Listen to the podcast...
Producer Gareth Unwin (THE KING'S SPEECH, EXAM)
"I'd done something a bit daft just through eagerness and I said to someone within The Weinstein Co. - "I hear I'm not in Harvey's good books anymore" and she said "Harvey doesn't have good books, there's just people he hates less that week!"
Listen to the podcast...
"(when the THOR call) came in I was just about ready to sing and dance...it was the longest audition process I've ever been through...".
Listen to the podcast...
Literary agent Rob Kraitt (Casarotto Ramsay)
'I once sold a book to Tom Cruise - it was before he and Michael Mann made COLLATERAL. It was a big six-figure deal and doesn't happen very often.'
[at the time of recording Rob Kraitt worked for AP Watt]
Listen to the podcast...
Literary agent Nick Marston (Curtis Brown Group)
'There are these moments in agencies when one generation wants to leave and the other generation has to somehow find the money to take over... and in our case that came from the 'honey pot' of the Winnie the Pooh estate.'
Listen to the podcast...
Ex Studio Executive Alexei Boltho (Paramount Pictures)
'A typical working day for me? Smoking cigars, that's about it really!'
Screenwriter Stuart Hazeldine (EXAM, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, KNOWING)
'I had to keep the faith, and finally the phone rang and it was a big agent from ICM in LA saying he had read my two scripts and wanted to take me on...'
Screenwriter David Scinto (44 INCH CHEST, SEXY BEAST)
'GANGSTER NO.1 is one of the best scripts we ever wrote, sadly in other hands it was ruined. Bastardised. Mutated. Amateur.'

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