About Julian Williams

Writers’ Guild of Great Britain candidate member, currently working on the upgrade.

Les a step nearer stage

A while back I wrote a theatre version of Les The Punter and sent it to Manchester ADP who promised a script appraisal – and that is what popped up in my inbox today.

Here it is:

Synopsis
A few pub friends mourn the loss of Les a fellow pub punter and as a tribute bet on a horse that ends up winning. Only it’s not them who claim the winnings, but Les himself, risen from the dead.

Appraisal
I really liked this piece. At first I didn’t but the dialogue and general weirdness of it won me over.

The characters are funny, although I do feel there may be one too many. However, they’re memorable and the language is fun and has a lot of wit at times. It’s not always witty and there are a few times it feels stilted, so take another proof of it to sharpen it up.

I predicted the twist of the horse winning as will the audience, but I think we’re meant to as it means we don’t predict the final strange twist, which is a really imaginative ending.

I think the audience will really enjoy this. What is also nice is that it’s not a scene from a piece to be extended that’s masquerading as a short play. It works at the length it is and is memorable.

Well done, I look forward to seeing it staged.

Should the script be put forward for a reading at this time? Yes.

I’m super-excited.

Next step? I’m going to give their suggestions a go and see how the script reads then but importantly, Les is now on file and awaiting a possible read through.

And potentially a rehearsal and performance?!

About Manchester ADP.
Rather than me paraphrase, find out full details, first hand, here: www.manchesteradp.com

The journey…continues

It’s so easy for us to let our online life become diffracted and I’m no exception. As a point of reference rather than a typical blog post, here’s how I’m getting things simplified:

jpwscreenwriter is now jpwriter.co.uk which in turn will soon be the home of julian-williams.co.uk – in short, everything in one place.

Not subscribed? It would be great to have you hop on board – there’s an email link to the right on the home page if you fancy it.

And if you do…the warmest of welcomes!

 

Two times interesting

The first link is to a blog post by Erik Bork (Flying Wrestler) entitled “Hollywood Will Find You”. Basically, if your idea and script craft is good enough then the right people will find you. Whilst it doesn’t make the task of writing any easy (potentially harder, in fact), I think this is an absolute truth. The link is:

https://www.flyingwrestler.com/2018/06/hollywood-will-find-you/

The second link is to a podcast, written and presented by Paul Bassett Davies – The Writer Type. So much fun and so many truths unveiled. Here’s the link, for your listening pleasure:

http://www.thewritertype.com/podcast.html

 

The Rose, JB Shorts and Les

Earlier this year I visited The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster, to see an illuminating performance in its Studio. Shortly after, I attended JB Shorts in Manchester with writer friend Pete Spencer; an evening of six short theatre plays which were equally as fascinating.

What caught my imagination was how few props are required to paint a scene, that theatre is an excellent platform because of it and, the light bulb moment, Les The Punter could actually transfer well from screen to stage.

So that’s what I’ve done.

I originally wrote Les The Punter as a poem, which was recorded. I turned the poem into a short screenplay and it was received very well.

Now, having turned it into a theatre play, I feel the story has found its spiritual home.

I’m hoping that the play can get a read through – am beginning to send it off.

Exciting.

Les The Punter places 2nd

I entered Les The Punter in a Hammond House screenplay competition a few months back and it has placed second – a good result.

The prize is to have a trailer made for the film. It will be fascinating to see someone else’s interpretation of the story.

The trailer is due to be shown at an awards ceremony, December 11th.

Until then…

Action lines – back to basics.

Reading a short screenplay I wrote a few years ago, what’s holding it back is the way I’ve written its action lines. So, back to basics – an action line check list.

Part one, the English lesson:

  • Screenplays are written in present tense.
  • Try not to use as, while, are, then or is.
  • Avoid verbs ending in “ing“.
  • Use adverbs sparingly.

Part two, the content lesson:

  • Only write what you can see or hear.
  • Never give camera directions or write “we see…”.

Part three, the specific lesson:

  • Each action paragraph should be 3 lines or less.
  • Make each action line a single visual direction.

Any thoughts on part one and two or additions to part three, please pass them on!

Scrivener – a shout out for outlining

I’ve found a great piece of inexpensive software that has revolutionised the way I outline my writings. It’s called Scrivener and if you haven’t heard of it before read on…

Scrivener is designed for all kinds of writers who write all kinds of things. The one thing it’s great at enabling is the simple and efficient organisation of longer, more complex writing works.

You can download a demo here and there are plenty of online tutorials including YouTube ones which I found far more useful than books or even the introductory tutorial. That is, once I’d defined exactly what I wanted out of the software.

I use Fade In to actually write scripts. It’s amazing, dedicated and easy to use – and above all, I find, perfect for the actual act of putting scenes, action lines and dialogue down on a page.

Where I was struggling was in the process that generally comes before script writing – outlining. In fact, outlining for me has always been a nightmare. At best I’d be surrounded by a mess of paper and notes. At worst I’d just try and write a script straight out.

Both methods resulted in a pickle because, to be honest, my head is not particularly organised at the best of times.

Scrivener has a system of files and folders plus a corkboard feature that once mastered makes the outlining process a breeze. More importantly, having put several of my longer scripts through it, it shows up plot and character weaknesses and easily enables elements of a story to be moved, interchanged and added to or subtracted from.

It’s changed the way I write for the better and, if you give it a go, you may find the same thing too.

Oh, and a tip of sorts. I don’t bother with the templates Scrivener offers, I just use a blank document and build up the outline from there. And, I’ve found, there’s no need to learn everything about Scrivener. Just focus on the bits you need and the learning curve won’t feel like climbing Everest.

Scrivener for outlining, Fade In for writing. A perfect combination. Could it work for you?