Saturday, March 31, 2007


If you want something fixed in a hurry - blog about it!

It may be entirely unconnected but - the Telkom technical people came round first thing this morning and replaced the burnt cable. Wooeee!
Telkom may be the most expensive telephone service in the world but their customer care is second to none.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Spoilers: rant ahead

When I rant - it's usually about some impediment to my online activity.

Tried to open my inbox the other morning to find this message displayed 'Sorry but you have reached the limit of your broadband cap for this month - so yaa boo and sucks. However there are certain ways you can continue with your online activity - namely:

1) Blah (expensive)
2) Blah blah (more expensive)
3) Blah blah (astronomical)

For months I jaunted through the www without a thought about my cap. When the man came and fitted up the broadband many moons ago - he did discuss options. A monthly package of 2 Gigs per month for 24 hour access (download/surf-ability) seemed more than generous. That is supposed to allow for 33,000 web page views per month. I mean who on earth does that much browsing?
I even asked whether it was likely that the 2 Gig cap could be breached in a month. The man scoffed, 'No Aunty! You'd have to watch a whole feature film online to use up that cap.' Hmm sounded perfectly reasonable at the time - but I've since realised that's the equivalent of watching ONE measly 3 minute Youtube video online per day! (agghhhh)

And since the cap counters seem to have become more zealous, I avoid youtubes like the plague. If I so much as glimpse a moving image, I navigate away.

So here I am either offline or sneaking in posts on dial up until the end of the month. Unless maybe I increase my cap....


(If this was in a script, it would probably result a note - 'stretches the bounds of possibility'...)
Anyway attempted to burn garden refuse this morning and the flames leapt so high that they burned through the telephone cables. So now no telephone access whatsoever - dial-up or otherwise.
Zippo, zilch oeuf.

Until those tardy Telkom men arrive - probably in around 10 days time.

Boo hoo

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Tomorrow I'll be one year older, again.
My present to myself; Half a Yellow Sun.


Sunday, March 25, 2007


Last couple of days been getting loads of hits from people searching for info on the forthcoming No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency movie (which I mentioned last year). Several hits from Botswana - possibly from disgruntled 'large sized' Motswana women who apparently aren't 'experienced' enough for the role of Mma Ramotswe - see this article here

Final update - Jill Scott to play Mma Ramotswe

Anyhow whattagoarrnhereso?

Finished the all-important 1 page outline (after first thrashing out a detailed treatment). Feedback is very positive - and after I've made further tweaks to the page (I seem to have short-changed POV for chronology just now) Mr friend-in-scripts has offered to put it forward. How's that for jumping on the bandwagon? There's also a couple of avenues I'll pursue direct.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Another day, another way to procrastinate. Here you can create a scriptcloud (for no obvious reason - and that's good enough for me.) Have a look at potdoll's. Below is one of mine - not naughty at all is it?

arms belongings bends biscuits buses canteen caravan colour countryside daughters depot doorway draws drives falls foreman furiously gathers gazes glances greet grey grins horn hush kisses laughs leaps love mum nasty nods pauses peers photographs picks playground pretend pulls quiff reads registrar roadside satchel scowls shakes shocked shouts shuts sits slams smiles sob squeal stare stops strides sucks tea teacher throws thumb tries whispers


Been emailing thoughts about the new project with 'friend-in-scripts' who, having read everything I've ever written, possesses an unerring ability to 'distil inner coherence'. (Ha!)

And so yesterday I was all fired up to hit the keyboard at 8a.m. Except that it was a public holiday here - Human Rights Day and my daughter was at home all day. Plus it was Wednesday which means my mum came round at 10.30am to watch the programme on schools TV - episode 9. Then hub wanted to see some 'Duggin-Cronin and Madela' photo exhibition in the Castle. So off we went. Then on to drink strawberry juice and eat chips at News Cafe - and so I endured the prolonged lull from writing by pitching the new idea to my mum.
"Fantastic" was her verdict. "But be careful."

And she rubbed her nose mysteriously.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Inspired* by a UK-friend-in-scripts' broadcast commission to write a film treatment, I thought I too would take a foray into a genre that up till now I had never even considered.

And weirder still, when I did consider it - hey - there was a story already there - complete, intact and waiting patiently to be told.

Of course now (understandably) during the telling, the story is becoming a little anxious, prodding me in the elbow at regular intervals and proving quite a tough write. Plus this is the first time I've ever had to consider 'chronology' quite so punctiliously...

* 'propelled out of one's comfort zone by the desire for similar achievement'


Friday, March 16, 2007

In between

Yeah well for a little while longer we're still between eclipses and no doubt everything will calm down and go back to normal after Sunday's (which is about beginnings). The last one March 3rd was about endings - resoundingly so (work-wise) for me it turned out - doors slamming shut.. But scriptwriters are the authors of our own fate are we not?

Spent much of today hiding from the phone. Avoidance. I'm really not that interested in burns or God. Sorry..

Then the lady next door (aged 82) came round this afternoon to yak mainly about the woman opposite and how she's coping after burying her husband on Tuesday and how it'll all hit her hard in a week or two and how - isn't it odd that - all of a sudden - only one of the two creeping purple blooms in her front garden is flowering now?

I look across and it's true.

So yes I suppose it is.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chit chat

I came across an intriguing article here all about trends in cell phone (mobile) use across Africa - where often one phone is shared (and passed around) by a whole family - and usually carried by the person expecting an 'important' call.

Here in SA there is widespread use of a 'please call me' free text system (a bit like reverse charge calls). The caller sends a free SMS request to be called back - I'm sure there's probably an equivalent in the UK or elsewhere..

Apparently in Mozambique, phone customers have been taking full advantage of free 2 second calls (available with one particular cell operator) and developed a way of communicating in 2 second bursts of chat, then hanging up and calling back.

Sounds a bit mad but then again, I bet it cuts out waffle. I'm sure most messages could be conveyed in 2 seconds...


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Opportunities round-up

A mixed bag this latest round-up - with opportunities gleaned mainly from other blogs & padded out with whatever arrived in my inbox since last time. There don't seem to be any new, local scriptwriting initiatives at present - but come back soon for updates. There's still plenty of time to prepare proposals for many of the local broadcaster's drama commissioning briefs which can be downloaded from the website here.

I'm highlighting one FREE scriptwriting competition. (There is a comprehensive list of fee-charging script contests at Kaos films in the UK are running an international short film scriptwriting contest for which there is a fee. However they also advertise an open call for ideas for hi-concept feature scripts. For those with their eyes on Hollywood, the rules are available
here - read them carefully as they are very specific about the information they want to see.

And for those who have a killer pitch for the next blockbuster why not try the professional Hollywood 'pitchmeister'
here? The website makes interesting reading - even if you haven't got round to writing the script just yet - hey maybe you can go and sell the idea first? On closer inspection, it seems that you have to purchase a 'how to' CD rom for $20 before you can pitch - maybe not so good after all.

For independent filmmakers and scriptwriters with less mainstream, more arthouse scripts, it is worthwhile considering the
Mannheim Meetings. The submission deadline is somewhere around the end of July for meetings in Germany in October. The Mannheim Meetings can provide an invaluable opportunity to further projects at all stages of development - attract producers and even development/production finance. Pre-selected projects are published in a catalogue circulated to all the industry attendees. Further information is available on their website here.

Another avenue for scripts/projects (that have already reached a certain stage of development) is the World Cinema Fund. Information is available
here - applicants do need a German partner but the WCF co-ordinators can help - if they are attracted to a particular script. Worth visiting the site just to download their rather lush brochure.

A similar fund targeted at filmmakers in 'developing countries' is attached to the Goteburg Film Festival. Information is available
here. Small amounts of seed finance for development are available. The next deadline is October 1st 2007.

The wonderful Lianne over at Light and Shade has just alerted me to the upcoming Africa in Motion film festival in Edinburgh. There is a call for 'emerging African filmmakers' to submit short fiction films or documentaries. Deadline is 31st May 2007. Keep an eye on their website!


This year's All Roads Film Festival have just put out a call specifically for African films. "As the May 15th submissions deadline approaches, we are stepping-up our outreach to filmmakers, distributors and producers." For further information click on the link here: All Roads Film Festival

Finally for playwrights, iceandfire and Amnesty International UK announce the first ‘Protect the Human’ playwriting competition "exploring individual stories of displacement and conflict." The deadline is May 14th 2007 and it does appear to be open to international applicants. The information is available here - read it carefully since they are quite specific about what they want and how to apply.

That's it for now. To catch up on previous updates, click on the 'opportunities' label in the sidebar. Anything I may have missed, email me at the address in my profile and I'll add it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

24 little hours

Strange day today. Mid morning I'm on my way to the pool to have a swim - but it turns out there's this school swimming gala on and the pool is closed until 2 o' clock so have to go back and wait.

On the way back, there's a small boy carrying a packet of biscuits walking just ahead with a man who is lurching all over the pavement. Then the man crumples up on the ground - blood streaming from his head. The boy sobs. I run over. So do guys from the pool. It turns out the 'man' is actually the boy's mum - very drunk. The 4 year old is the chaperone. The swimming pool guys pull the mum under the shade of a tree, plonk her teary-eyed son next to her and try to sober her up by throwing water all over her.
I'm tempted to take the boy home.

Back home, there's lots of cars parked outside. My neighbour (right side) comes to tell me that the man (opposite) died all of a sudden this morning. Yesterday he was out there gardening with his wife. They have all kinds of plants and mysterious aloes and what have you - he didn't seem ill at all.
Just before Christmas, a pipe burst in our roof and water started coming through the ceiling. At 9 o clock on a Sunday night, when not even the emergency plumber would come, he came across and told us exactly what to do to avoid disaster. Nice bloke - would have been married 50 years next January..

So went back to swim at 2 o clock in a free for all - widthers battling it out against lengthers. Snicker snack.

As you can tell - not much paperwork done today - am starting to think 'what the heck'. Life is too short.

Maybe I'll phone the accountant.


Thursday, March 08, 2007


Paper, paper everywhere - receipts, bills, invoices. But where are the paperclips? I've lost the paperclips..

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Ooooooo nooooooooooooooooo a deadline I've been avoiding - accounts. Time to sit down and actually do them. I can't stand it. I hate numbers. And it's not just for the tax office - those online returns are a piece of cake - just click 'zero' in all the boxes and press 'send' and say a quick prayer ('next time.....')

No these accounts are for the 'powers that be' and they have their own specially designed, remote-controlled, index-linked, cross-referenced, tabulated accounting 'recon' forms. Is there anything worse in life than customised excel spread sheets with columns that add themselves up at the bottom when you don't even want them to? Why is it that each time a row of figures is added up, it gives a different answer?

And why are numbers so different from words huh? Why can't you corral numbers into interesting groups like words into sentences? Why can't they be handpicked just for the way they sound? Why must they add up?

And before you ask - yes I do have an accountant, but at the moment I'd have to pay him with cardigan buttons and I don't think he'd be too pleased. Went over budget (on re-editing) last year so have to step into his shoes - for now.

And I hate it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


In case anyone is interested - scenes from Disgrace are being shot just down the road from where I live . Don't quite know where but notices have gone up on all the lamp posts. Peered out of the front window to see a man on a walkie talkie reversing a big rain machine cylinder on a truck...

Anyway still catching up on films - enjoyed Helen Mirren's sterling performance in The Queen - but did wonder if a screenplay, strung together by telephone calls would have worked quite so well, were it about lesser mortals.

BTW - latest round up of local and international film/script opportunities - coming soon.


Sunday, March 04, 2007


Even after last week's films - the image that stayed in my head was of a Nigerian 'birdman' on West African Idols (currently showing on Mnet here) He wore a customised sombrero with the brim cut into two large wing flaps pulled down low over his ears and a real life bird's head glued on to the front. The outfit was finished off with a black and white chequered cape. His song - (you've guessed) 'I believe I can fly'.

Anyway back to the writing grindstone this week. One application already checked and ready for the off.


Friday, March 02, 2007


Yes finally saw LMS today. Very enjoyable. Kind of reminded me of Sweetie - a bit.

Very sunny and hot today.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Five things..

Ok taking a cue from this guy - here's five things you didn't know about me - only one is false - but which one?
I'm narrowing it down to places I've lived..

1. I once lived in a council house and went to a private [fee-paying] school at the same time.
2. I once lived in a squat that was a former embassy.
3. I once lived in a house with servants.
4. I once lived in a house where you couldn't go into the front room because the floor had
caved in.
5. I once lived in a caravan and didn't go to school because it was too far.

March already

Dreamgirls this morning. Daydreamed through the first third until Jennifer Hudson's electric 'scorned woman' song performance made me sit up.

Still dealing with the fallout from my decision yesterday - calls, pleads and now threats. 'This industry is small - it will have repercussions'.

Let's see...

At least I found out where that rat was.