Archive for March, 2020

SCRIPTORIUM: LINDSAY J SEDGWICK

26th March 2020 by admin

An award-winning screenwriter working in film, TV and games, Lindsay created the ground-breaking animation series PUNKY and published Ireland’s first comprehensive guide to screenwriting, WRITE THAT SCRIPT in 2018. www.lindsayjsedgwick.com

Clíona Ruiséil: How are you managing during this crisis?

Lindsay J Sedgwick: It’s very strange. Although I mostly write on my own, I do like taking scenes or sequences or chapters to coffee shops for a change of scene and having the hum of people around me! I’m trying to see it as an opportunity to get less distracted and focus on pushing a few projects through.

CR: What are you working on at the moment?

LS: A couple of projects. One is the script for an information video, another is helping a director develop an idea into a treatment, but I’m also adapting my first novel DAD’S RED DRESS into a ten x 30 min TV series for Lunar Pictures. It’s the first of a trilogy so the series will have legs.

I also have a couple of books at different stages, including the second of a series (WULFIE) that will be launched at the end of the year by Little Island. It is based on an animation series that was optioned but never got made.

CR: Tell me about DAD’S RED DRESS – what inspired you to write the novel and how did the adaptation come about?

LS: When I was about 13, (the age Jessie is in the book and the series) the son of my father’s boss transitioned. I was aware of snippets of conversations I wasn’t meant to hear and there was one double spread I remember seeing in an evening paper. It was whipped away but not before I’d read enough to intrigue me. This was the 80s, it wasn’t that progressive a time but I can clearly remember that, despite what I was hearing, I knew transitioning was not a choice. It’s something you have to do and it’s difficult on so many levels, for everyone involved. But what really fascinated me about the whole story was that she stayed with her wife and young children. I wondered how those children coped.

So that was the germ of it.

The adaptation came about because the daughter of the producer, (Niamh Holmes), read the book and loved it. Niamh and I had been trying to find a project on which to work together for years and it just hadn’t happened. At the time the book came out, we were both busy but when I sent her daughter a proof of the sequel to read, she asked me if I was interested in developing it with her. We sat down and it was clear she wanted what I wanted from the adaptation and it has proven to be a great, positive experience.

CR: In practical terms, how did you approach the adaptation? What steps did you take to get to a first draft of the script?

LS: Because the book already existed, the overall structure of the narrative was there; the central characters’ arcs were clear. I sat down and listed what I remembered were the main events, rather than rely on the prose narrative. I needed to see what were the key events that moved the central story along, to make sure the momentum would work on screen.
I did this for each of the characters, so I could make sure that all the stories developed.

Once I’d pulled these points into episode outlines, I fleshed them out, dipping in and out of the book. Initially it was going to be a six-parter, then eight and we finally settled on ten.

We sat down and went through the outlines line by line, with Niamh feeding back regarding the development of the story, whether some characters needed to be brought out more than in the book etc. I love constructive feedback. It pushes you to be creative and sometimes that’s all you need – to know that something isn’t strong enough or that there’s a jump in the timeline (emotional or physical) and you brainstorm and find something far stronger.

To make sure each episode moves the story on, I did a logline highlighting what would happen in each episode.

I was writing the first script in tandem with this process. The first script flowed out; pure joy. She was there, waiting to be brought to life! We changed certain things. It’s contemporary, while the book is set in 2008; it’s in Galway, not Dublin; they come from Canada not LA. And it opens quite differently. I had certain scenes and beats I needed to hit. I find it’s easier to have a rough script to rewrite than to agonise over decisions mid-script.

Jessie’s voice is very strong, so we decided to use voiceover. I haven’t used that in a script since 1998! It was only when I had the first script that we could read it through and work out what we wanted the voiceover to achieve. That’s the thing with developing a series, you need to establish the ‘dead body paradigm’, the rules that will hold throughout the series. When and why and how voiceover would be used. That episodes would go from home to school but end up home again, possibly in Jessie’s room. That all central characters will have stories in each episode. That it has to keep the heart-warming, funny and truthful tone of the original book.

Dad’s Red Dress is easier than other projects because I know the characters so well. The difficulty with that is that I assume other people know them that well too and that’s where Niamh comes in!

CR: What advice could you give other writers in terms of how to handle the business (contract, money, etc.) aspects of their work?

On contracts, on fee, look for an ‘or % of the above the line budget, whichever is the highest’ clause and turnaround. From script meetings, email the points you agreed back to the producer so there is no ambiguity re what they’ve asked you or you’ve agreed to do.

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Scriptorium means a place for writing – so this is a place for you to discuss your work, your views on writing in general, your thoughts on the industry and anything else you’d like to mention. You can focus on a script that you’ve written which was produced during the last year, or one you’re currently writing. We hope you enjoy this series and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We welcome in particular writers who may have an unusual or atypical experience of scriptwriting in Ireland in terms of their ethnicity, gender, age, physical ability, socio-economic background or other life experience.

Bheadh áthas orainn freisin a chloisteáil ó scríbhneoirí le Gaeilge gur mhaith leo an agallamh a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge.

If you’d like to participate simply email: info@script.ie.

2020 ZeBBie Awards Postponed

20th March 2020 by admin

The Guild have taken the decision to postpone the 2020 ZeBBie Awards until autumn.

We very much look forward to seeing you all there and will include ZeBBie-related news in the newsletter a little later in the year.

Some Useful Advice for Members

18th March 2020 by admin

1. Stay safe – if you feel unwell or have symptoms you suspect may be Covid-19, avoid all contact with others except where absolutely essential and follow the HSE guidelines on what action to take. If you are feeling well, limit contact as much as you can to keep yourself and others safe.

2. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.

3. Don’t stockpile food and other items as that may prevent other people getting access to necessary items, but ensure you have sufficient supplies at home for yourself and others you cohabit with.

4. Listen and follow the guidelines and advice of the HSE, the government, trusted media and other experts. Avoid social media rumours.

5. Keep yourself and others around you calm. Worry is understandable but panic will achieve nothing. Find things to do at home to keep yourself busy and entertained. Spend time writing and on other creative or artistic work, reading, watching films, hobbies, playing games, exercising.

6. Talking is important. Social media is useful but studies have shown that talking is better for your mental health. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed try abdominal breathing or gentle exercise like yoga or tai chi. Call someone you know; tell them how you’re feeling.

7. Offer to help people but do so in a way which limits the risk to everyone’s health as much as possible.

Useful information re Covid-19 and available supports:

www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html#Protect-yourself

www.gov.ie/en/news/67e0b4-customer-notices

www.gov.ie/en/service/be74d3-covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment

www.citizensinformation.ie/en/social_welfare/covid19_and_social_welfare

www.artscouncil.ie/News/COVID-19-Update

www.civictheatre.ie/blog/civic-news/artist-emergency-relief-fund/

www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0316/1123492-mental-health-tips-coronavirus-lockdown/

Neasa Hourigan TD is encouraging people to share their concerns in relation to their work:

@neasa_neasa “People in precarious work situations have really varied concerns during this crisis. If you would be willing to share your specific questions in a reply tweet I will compile them into a dossier for submission to the relevant minister. Please share. #Covid_19 Thanks @DavidsonJenn.”

Message from WGI Chair

18th March 2020 by admin

Dear Guild Members,

We find ourselves in a uniquely challenging time where we have to worry not only about our livelihoods but the health of our family, friends and ourselves. Following HSE guidelines, the Guild Offices will remain closed until 29th March and if necessary beyond that. Both Clíona and Hugh will be working from home during that period and will be happy to answer any queries you may have (info@script.ie) and support you as much as possible.

We understand that you may be concerned about the impact on your health and your work and income and have listed some useful links to relevant information below. We will provide additional info on social media as we get it, and encourage you to get in touch if you have any concerns or queries.

The newsletter will continue to go out each fortnight during this period albeit with whatever news there is to print.

We encourage you to stay safe, stay positive and maybe turn this challenging time into an opportunity to write.

With best wishes from Thomas McLaughlin, Chair, WGI

Office Closed

16th March 2020 by admin

Our offices are closed in line with HSE guidelines but you can reach us at info@script.ie.

The newsletter will be sent to members on Wednesday, 18th March. Stay well. Stay creative.