Does Time Fly?

“But I don’t want to read!” She screams as I sit at the dining table waiting for her latest little tantrum to blow over. I watch her stamp her feet and crawl under the table in protest. Great! I think to myself as I munch on the almonds and nuts that were supposed to be a light snack for my little mentalist

Now this gets me thinking, where in gods name has my sweet girl disappeared to? Where is that sweet adoring little toddler that use to hang on my every word?

Well she isn’t that bad, but does tend to have a lot more little tantrums. As she makes herself at home under the table my thoughts turn to her younger years. I still cannot believe my youngest is now going to be turning five and my oldest thirteen! The phrase ‘time flies’ gets thrown around a lot, but for me it’s only at moments like this it really hits home and I begin to realise just how true that is.

My brat storming into his teens, my youngest turning into a little diva (okay, okay she’s not bad) its at this point a question brings itself to the forefront of my mind. A question I really don’t want to pay attention to nor is it something I want to answer, but the question still remains …. ‘Am I getting old?!’

The answer to that question I’m still not ready to answer, I’m sure I’ll have to address the whole age thing one day.. But not today, not this month, Not this year (you get the picture). So as I sit there contemplating my age, she pokes her head out from under the table and with a giggle invites me to her new digs and it’s at that point I realise, i may be getting older but it’s my brat and my mentalist that keep me young…

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet:@quest2publish


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Does Time Fly?

Parents Evening… And Strops

So it’s nearly half term, the mentalist I’d say has pretty much settled into the school routine. Saying that her crankiness levels seem to be hitting new highs, there are a lot of tears and sulking if she doesn’t get her own way. This tends to include the whole falling to her knees and screaming ‘daddddyyyy’! To which I calmly respond with ‘yes dear’ again to which she replies with ‘stop calling me ‘thaaaaa *sob* aaaaaaat!!’

But i think that’s more down to her being tired after a long day at school. I have noticed a few changes in her though, not anything too drastic but she tends to show off her little achievements. Like things she’s drawn or created ( which usually consists of random pieces of paper stuck onto another piece of coloured A4 paper), I often try to instigate conversation with her in order to find out what she did at school on that particular day or ask what she’s eaten. To which 90% of the time I get a smile and a shrug of the shoulders to which I incredulously reply ‘what?! You didn’t eat today?’ To which she giggles and tries to recall what she’s had and what she’s done , which usually results in her stopping mid sentence and running off.

So, the first term of school is over and it’s that time of the year where they call the parents in and give you a view of how your child is doing …. Yes the evening catered to parents, the eve of parents, most of you will also know this eve as the parents evening (*queue dramatic music*). So I stroll in, pleasantly greeted at the door by various teachers, the odd tables littered with drinks and biscuits that people are wary to touch. I tend to go straight for these tables as during most evenings that’s probably the first time I get to eat anything, besides I tend to get there quite early. So after I’ve helped myself to some biscuits and cordial. I look at the time and it’s time to see the teacher, this is aspect of the eve I think is where the nerves start kicking in. Will I get a glowing report? Or will i get the whole, your child is probably one of the most disruptive pupils I have ever encountered in my 39 years in teaching, and let me tell you Mr Jacobs I’ve seen it all!

I sit across from the teacher with bated breath, she smiles and puts me at ease. To my surprise it’s not such a bad evaluation, most of the things she tells me I’m well aware of. Things like her attention span, I know she has a short one and i get told about her addiction to playdoh (which again I am we’ll aware of). Other than that, I get told shes very well behaved and a pleasant member of the class. Which I do hope she is, I do try and instill a sense of being polite and respectful. So I’m glad she’s taken most of it on board.

Coming away from the evening, I do think to myself. Should I be reading so much into this? She’s only 4, she’s still growing, maturing, still trying to understand the big bad world. Personally as important as her development is, I personally feel being the age she is. It’s still a little too early to be worried about things like a short attention span and things. She’s happy, healthy, looks forward to going school, learning and embracing new things.

What more can a proud father ask for?

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet:@quest2publish


Parents Evening… And Strops

Breaking Dad

It’s 7pm, I’m sitting in my man cave the lights are off, I switch the TV on as it starts up I start to reflect on the past, present and future… Of Breaking Bad! How it all started, how it progressed, escalated and most importantly…How’s it all going to end?!? As I start the penultimate episode, and watch eagerly, excited and nervous on what in gods name is going to happen to Walter white (or hank from Malcolm in the middle for those of you familiar with the show, love hank ).

Perviously on breaking bad …Here we go…

As I watch in anticipation, I hear the basement door creak open. I look to the top of the basement stairs and see a mop of hair staring back at me… I hit the pause button and turn my gaze back to the top of the stairs which now seems to be vacant of hair, I move my gaze further down the stairs and see a shuffling mentalist, buttons (her stuffed giraffe) in hand moving down the stairs. I await her arrival, she stands before me holding buttons by his tail, the end of his tail in her mouth.

Me: well hello, aren’t you supposed to be in bed?
Mentalist: what you watching dad?
Me: you know you shouldn’t really answer a question with another question
Mentalist: why?
Me: *sigh*
Mentalist: can I have a piggy back?
Me: nope!
Mentalist: I want to stay with you
Me: you can’t, look how dark it is outside, it’s bedtime !
Mentalist: are you watching Breaking Bad?
Me: I am
Mentalist: me too ( promptly sits herself down beside me )
Me: whoa whoa whoa, bedtime!! C’mon! up!! Besides I don’t really want you to be THAT good at chemistry!
Mentalist: can I have a donkey ride?
Me: nope!
Mentalist: can I dance dad?
Me: ok ok.. 5 minutes
Mentalist: watch me!!
Me: I’m watching
(Queue 5 minutes of slow ballet like movements with a lot of spinning around and falling to the floor)
Me: that was glorious! C’mon! BED!!
Mentalist: Can I have some water dad?
Me: sure there’s some right there
(Now at this point she sits and slowly sips her water, watching me intently as I watch her swirl the water in the glass)
Mentalist: Daaaaad?
Me:(frustration starting to build) Yes…
Mentalist: when I was a little girl…
Me: Never mind that …bed!!
Mentalist: will you pick me up?
Me: Noo my shoulder hurts.. and you weigh a ton!
Mentalist: *giggles*
Me: Right I’m going!
Mentalist: ok.. Can you play breaking bad for me, before you go?
Me: il give you breaking bad.. Grr…
(At this point I pick her up, swing her over my shoulder as she laughs maniacally)

As I walk up two flights of stairs, the mentalist singing some ditty from school, my thoughts return back to Breaking Bad.. My excitement returning, anticipation building…

I plonk her in bed, tuck her in kiss her goodnight and return to the man cave! I settle in, grab the remote, glass of water in hand ready to watch. Before I hit play, i hear the familiar now terrifying sound of the basement door creaking open, the mentalist runs down the stairs…

Mentalist : I forgot baby buttons
Me: well you have him now … Can you please go to bed?
Mentalist: can I have a piggy back?
Me: (holds my head in my hands)

For those of you not in the breaking bad circle as of yet, where have you people been?!? Give it a whirl, I promise you you will not be disappointed.

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet:@quest2publish

Breaking Dad

Managing your expectations..

In an earlier blog, I wrote that I had sent one of my scripts to amazon studios. I received an email from them just the other day advising:

Thank you again for creating your project, at Amazon Studios. The option and evaluation period is now over, and we have chosen not to exercise or extend our option on your project.

Since you submitted your original work privately, you may now either make it public, by clicking “Make project public” on your project page

What?!? You aren’t taking up my script?!? ( he says slamming the laptop shut, pacing up and down as he continues his rant in anger and frustration, much to the amusement of the resident mentalist – my 4 year old)

Now, initially it does feel like rejection.. Hell it is a rejection dang nabit! But hey life goes on, I think the first rejection is the hardest. See at this point your piece of work you’ve slaved tirelessly over morphs into something quite close to your heart. And that piece has just been rejected, cast away, thrown asunder, abandoned, shunned by the very people you had your hopes pinned on.

How am I going to purchase my 24ft yacht now? The image of your 8 bedroom house in the country seems to evaporate and dissolve into disillusion and disappointment. But hey many a great writer have had their work rejected by publishing houses and companies, wasn’t it jk Rowling who was rejected by no less than 12 publishing agencies.

Well maybe you aren’t exactly jk Rowling, but one can hope that one day your works will be published and given the appropriate recognition, so bring back the dreams of the yacht and that house in the country…

For you may have to dream before your dreams can come true.
– A Kalam

Now, I think I have my expectations in check. Well up until the next rejection… I kid, I think there will always be a bit of a sting when you do get turned down. But I do honestly thing that’s a good thing, for this humble blogger it makes me just that little bit eager to get published.

So ladies and gents what have we learnt.. Moral of today’s story? Hmm how about …

It’s not have how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get up
– Albert Einstein

I think that sums it up quite nicely, so until next time my dear bloggers.

This is Mr J signing out.

Tweet: quest2publish

Managing your expectations..

Resources and Revelations

When I first started thinking about penning a script, I found it quite daunting. I mean you see examples of scripts in movies and they always look so polished and bulky, my first thoughts were how are my simplistic ideas going to fill a hundred odd pages?

Surely one idea can’t spawn a literary revolution… Well maybe in Shakespeare’s day… But alas maybe those days are well and truly gone? Maybe we’re just waiting for one of you…

Initially my thoughts were to write a screenplay, writing a novel is on my agenda but il save that for another blog.

Anyway, scouring the net I found many a page detailing the layouts of screenplays the what to dos’ and what to avoid. As with everything on the net the do’s and don’t’s seem to vary vastly. So I stuck closely to the most common do’s… have I got it right? Maybe, I think I haven’t wandered too far outside the rules of writing a screenplay. I do think I tend to approach it a little too much like a novel than a screen play.. But I think I get my message across.

There are a whole host of sites out there ready to help you and give you examples of screenplays, for me one of the sites that helped me enormously was a site sitting with the bbc known as the writers room. It’s full of helpful hints and tips and also allows you to download scripts of dramas and soaps currently being aired on the BBC. I’ve included the link below.. Do go check it out.

Once you do get your head around the different aspects of a screenplay, it does start falling into place. I do think as with anything the more you write the more it all comes together.

Anyhow, as I sit on my commute to work on a packed train. Sitting opposite a lady who seems to have taken up 3 seats with her coat, bag and shopping. Daring someone to ask her to move them so she can give the old eye roll and annoyed sigh of ‘ you’ve got to be kidding me’ . I think back to what I’ve been watching lately. A new comedy drama on Netflix called ‘Orange is the new black’ (here’s the synopsis from good old imdb)

The story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to 15 months in prison after she is convicted of a decade old crime of transporting money for her drug dealing girlfriend (Laura Prepon). — IMDb Plot: Orange Is the New Black (2013)

You know I didn’t think I would enjoy this, being an avid fan of prison dramas like OZ. I did think ‘ha.. Prison drama? That age old formula! It’s been done!’ But thought hey it’s raining, the brats are in their rooms watching a collection of peppa pig and top gear… Why not?

So I started watching.. Willing myself not to like it. To expect to sit there and mutter to myself ‘ hmph! It’s been done..’ But to my surprise I actually enjoyed it. So much so I watched two in a row, well one and a half .. It was at that point the mentalist made her grand entrance demanding I watch Hotel Transylvania with her for the billionth time. ( which I have to admit, despite the poor box office sales is quite a good watch)

So yes… Orange is the new black .. Brilliantly cast and quite funny. It does put a good spin on the whole prison drama scene, piper our protagonist hands herself in. Immediately she’s thrown into the world of prison, and it’s not at all what she was expecting to her surprise the books she read regarding the subject don’t seem to be as accurate. Then we have the usual eclectic collection of inmates and the different groups and cliques that you would expect. I won’t delve into it too much as I’m only a couple of episodes in, but still worth the watch.

Oh and before I leave you to collect your thoughts and finally put you to sleep after droning on and on. A piece of software I used in order to write my screenplay (and let me tell you there are thousands out there) is called Celtx. A free piece of software which actually manages to format your script for you, so your not endlessly messing around with the margins. The only drawback I would say, to this piece of software would be the lack of a training guide or Instruction set.

Stay tuned for more updates…

This is Mr J signing out

Links and all that jazz:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts

http://www.screenwriting.info
Free Software : Celtx

Tweet: quest2publish

Resources and Revelations

The waiting game …

Here I sit, script in hand eager to hand it off to a studio. They in turn will tell me how amazing it is, how I’ve single handedly saved the film industry from falling In to further decline. They will present me with a large cheque, taking care of all my bills, worries and woes…

Ah if only, but one can dream… Or write a screen play about it !

Truth of the matter is, I am probably a needle in an ever growing haystack. Lets be honest, there are hundreds if not thousands of scripts out there that are amazing. But mine are not being picked up.. Why? I hear you cry out in outrage and suspicion..

Because my dear blogger no matter how good you are at writing there is always some one better. Maybe someone more deserving. Maybe your big break will come, maybe it won’t? Maybe what you have is gold but is not right for the studio at the time … Well that is this humble bloggers opinion …

What I’m trying to say is .. Don’t give up, if you believe In your work, in your script, in your novel. Then stick to it.. Keep handing it out. It may just be a matter of time. And hey if you don’t hear back from studios, companies, publishers… You can hold fast and tight in the belief that yes I tried, I may have fallen but I tried.. What’ve you done today?

Besides you can always look back at your script and think yes, I did that.. I created this. Maybe bind it and stick it in your office, give it pride of place.

So back to my dilemma.. I have a script, What do I do now..?

Well here’s what I did I googled my rear end off trying to find out the options I have …

So far here is what I’ve found.. We can either email agents who in turn will email the studios on your behalf. But now that all depends on If the agent is willing to take on your work, that is another mountain to climb altogether. I have yet to try this approach.. But wi will keep you updated..

Alternatively we have people like amazon studios, from what I’ve read a fairly new venture. Accepting scripts for movies and potential soaps and series. They take your details, you get to upload your material and you go through a 45 day evaluation and option period, where you basically give your consent to this studio to market it to their people (studios and such). During this 45 day period, amazon own the rights to your script. Once the option period is over and they don’t take it on board. The rights to your script belong to you again. There are some further terms and conditions thrown in there but that’s the gist of it.

Now, where am I with all this I hear you ask? I’ve submitted a script to amazon. Just to try my luck, I actually did this awhile ago.

I shall keep you posted on what the outcome is I should be hearing any day now …

Amazon in turn have commissioned a few tv series and cartoons, do go check it out

Well I think I’ve waffled enough for today. Stay tuned for more updates

This is Mr J signing out

Links and all that jazz:
studios.amazon.com/

Tweet: quest2publish

The waiting game …

So it begins…

Well… that is a little bit of a lie, I began some time ago… writing that is. We’re not talking decades or years, just a few months ago. Thinking back, I do wish I had started years ago, now I’ve started writing I can’t stop, much to the annoyance of my family and friends…

So where did it all begin I hear you cry out? Well sit down, grab a brew, and get yourself comfortable… actually it’s not that long of a story so remain standing if you wish, maybe grab a glass of water? Have you had your 8 pints a day (he says smugly, taking a sip out his ice cold glass of H2O)?

So… where did it all begin… there are a whole host of reasons as to why I started writing. Some I will share, some I think I’ll leave for another day. The main reason to start writing was the fact that I love movies, and I always think and wonder in amazement how mere words on a page or book are translated on to the big screen. I mean how do they do that… okay so in some instances it hasn’t been as successful *Cough* Lovely Bones *Cough*. But let’s be honest book to movie adaptations are difficult, you can’t please everyone or in some instances anyone!

Anyway… I digress… why I started writing… I’ve always wanted to pen a script. For the last 5 years I’ve been writing one, but I’ve been writing it in my head. On the long commutes to work, I use to sit and think about the plot, the scenes, and the characters. I always said… I WILL WRITE THIS DOWN. And that was a promise made to myself probably more than 5 years ago. And a lot has happened since those lazy days on the train, life moves on carries you forward. Throws a whole number of obstacles in your path as well as a few bundles of joy.

So what kick started me into writing? An injury… a football injury. Which caused me to be house bound for a while. I couldn’t drive or work so thought… hey! Why not catch up on some of the great soaps out there, so as I sat there arm in sling. Watching the Forbrydelsen the original Danish version of The Killing, a brilliant show with a brilliant cast. Now don’t get me wrong am not going to turn around and bore you with how remakes should be banned and never be attempted… im actually enjoying the American version. Loving the little twists they’ve added to keep it their own. Anyway do check out the original… you won’t be disappointed

So where was I again? Ah yes… watching Forbrydelsen. It kind of bought my plans to write a script to the surface, so there I sat thinking over the various scenes again. And I started making notes, on my 4 year old daughter’s (known only as the mentalist) Hello Kitty pad. Which she wasn’t too happy about, so it started there.

It then moved onto the next stage… typing it up… (Ill cover tools and resources in another post, I won’t bore you too much on my first post). So I started typing, and honestly… it turned into a little bit of an obsession. I had so many ideas, so many scenes… I wanted them out of my head and onto the script before they vanished. And lo and behold, after many tears of blood and frustration. I finished! My first ever script! Done! Dusted! Finito!

But is it any good? Ah! The age old question…? Are you a good writer? Can you capture peoples imagination from the word go? Will they carry on reading after the first 10 pages?

I certainly think so! After all… I wrote the damn thing… I birthed the idea. I pain stakingly raised it from a few ideas on a page to a full grown heaping pile of pages, each containing gold!! But… but… will it be any good? Will people enjoy it? What if they don’t like it? Am I a failure..?

The questions and emotions above are what I went through, how did I overcome this? I got a few avid readers. friends and family to give it a read. And let me tell you… you better prepare to become a little thick skinned. The feedback I got was a mixed bag… some liked it. Some gave up reading it…

What does this mean? Am I a failure..? For me… personally it was a chance to polish what little skill I have, going back to the drawing board. Changing some scenes, changing some dialogue… I suppose it comes down to how bad do you want it? How bad do you want to be published?

So I did just that, draft after draft I changed things… until finally I was happy with it…

So I have a finished script… now what?

Well… stay tuned… More in the next post…

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet: quest2publish

So it begins…