Friday, June 27, 2008


offline soon for a while now. Even though ipass (or something) is now installed on the mac for travel - don't know whether it will work - so blogging and online activity will probably be minimal until end of July...

In the meantime - feel free to leave rude comments.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Africa First

Focus Features is pleased to announce a Call for Applications for the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program. Applications will be open starting May 12th, 2008. The postmark deadline for applications is July 15th, 2008.
For complete details of this program, please refer to the website - click here.

Focus Features is committed to bringing moviegoers' original stories from the worlds most innovative filmmakers. With this in mind, the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program was created to foster and develop long-term relationships with some of the most promising up-and-coming filmmakers from continental Africa. Through the financial support of the fund and the mentorship support provided by the Focus Features Africa First Advisory Board, we aim to bring filmmakers into an environment that will allow them to grow as filmmakers with an international audience.


Here's another opportunity from Botsotso - this time for African women short story writers based in Southern Africa.

Call for Short Story Submissions

Modjaji Books, the exciting new publisher for women in Southern Africa, is inviting submissions for its upcoming short story anthology. We want innovative stories that define the world from a woman’s perspective.

The topic for the anthology is “BED”. What does it mean to you? Memories of cosy bedtime stories, sterile beds in hospitals, or that sexy bed where a lover waits…

You tell us! We’re waiting to hear from you!

Send us your best, unpublished story before 31st July, 2008 to modjaj 'at'
For full details and rules visit Botsotso by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Sometimes you just want to post utter carp full of typos because life's too short for spellcheck.
So then the dentist. This new one is a fan of the '45 degree reverse upturn' - where patients lie down, get tilted horizontal on the chair, then swivelled feet upwards so all the blood rushes to the head. Maybe it's good feng shui to lie like that - during consultation - but certainly doesn't feel like it. I was windmilled for a whole hour for 2 fillings. 1 miscellaneous root extraction + polish.

Was going to post something about the latest goings on with local broadcaster SABC but things seem to be such a right hayms I can't keep up. Let's hope it all settles down soon..

Current mood: say cheese. Page count: zippo

Friday, June 20, 2008

why film matters

Mark Cousins "Movies made me"

'when it sticks close to questions of self, confidence and eros, of who rather than how, when it’s about medium-sized things like aloneness and fear, when it doesn’t bite off more than it can chew—when it does these things, film matters.

Read this great article in full here.

roly poly

All go round here, all of a sudden. Jazz book is now rolling out which means funds which means research which means travel which means I'll see (some of) y'all soon yeehaa! Now I'm just trying to book into the SWF by any means necessary. So a whole load of admin things consume me. Jeepers, 7 years in Cape Town. it'll be like coming out of rehab (I imagine)...but anyway...

In script news: The producers seem (guardedly) pleased with the draft + missing page - which is now with their script editor. Reading between the lines, I can see I'll be committed to tweaking it for the next while - they do so like to get their money's worth. It is real tear-jerk stuff. Now have to re-jig the treatment before month end..

I also need to do another pass on the UK/SA (previous) script - sparkle the VO, tease out more tragic-comedy. The moral dilemma of the main character has been likened to that of POH (*of course this story is nothing like POH, but there are parallels ;-)). So I've been hunting down a POH script pdf - high and low - to actually see the VO on the page. Not the same as watching it. Need to see the layering and texture, the saccharine and the salt. So if anyone knows where to find a pdf let me know. Ta. (Can buy it from scriptfly - but takes forever to get to SA - so far only found it in Japanese)

What else? - titbits really. The letter and pencil sketch mentioned a while back is going to auction on July 10th. Might even go. You can see and read all about it here. So anyone who wants to buy a piece of living history that will only ever increase exponentially in value as time goes by, go bid. You read it here. Ha!

And now I need to go to the dentist.

BTW does anyone else have the Swiss federal government visit their blog? Give up politics & start scriptwriting, I say. Storytellers have the real power (and more fun)

edited to counteract karmic kickback ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008


Moving on now - here's a playwriting opportunity that Robin pointed up on his calendar (which is worth keeping your eye on).

I try and post script competitions open to the southern hemisphere. This is the International Playwriting Festival contest and has a deadline on 30th June.

Full info is available here.

Other stuff bubbling - maybe see you soon. Hope so.

Just now been off to the Book fair with mum, daughter and hub in tow. Something for everyone this year - talks, sushi & wine - not bad at all. There was even a giant size Miffy strolling round. I almost fell in love - I do so like a kindly, mild mannered, well turned out rabbit.


Sunday, June 15, 2008


OK so have been tagged by Lianne and Robin for 7 songs that are shaping my spring - actually its winter here now - so the vibe is probably a bit different - ha!
This week, the house is full of SA jazz mainly because of the imminent book rollout - so I'm listening to (but not necessarily playing) Abdullah Ibrahim and also The Blue Notes. That's two down.
Then Freshly Ground's 'Doo Be Doo' from last year - all light and a bit bubbly. Then there's iconic Brenda Fassie - something haunting like 'Istraight Lendaba' (or 'Yizo Yizo') Plus lately, I've been getting nostalgic - thinking of summers walking though Lewisham market with Alton Ellis' ska number 'You make me so very, very happy' pounding out of some tinny system - now there's a sound from my Leeds days. Then for some reason - there's also Jimmy Cliff's 'The Harder They Come' (ha ha ha ha!) running around my brain. And to round off - something I can't find anywhere on the net - but which I'd love to use in my film (the one written before this) Freddie Gwala's 'Ngiboshiwe' for an upbeat township vibe
Is that 7? Hope so.
So I'm an old person now innit...

Friday, June 13, 2008

SA script orgs in funding crisis

The South African Script Writers’ Union (SASWU) and its training arm; The Scriptwriting Institute have called a public meeting on 21June in Johannesburg to address their current funding crisis.

Full story read on here in Screen Africa.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The missing page..

Funny how you can knock out 24 pages all in one day and then spend a whole week toiling over just one.

This particular scene takes place against the backdrop of the referendum result broadcast here on March 17th 1992 - an historical turning point in SA. Then there wasn't any of this 360 degree media delivery, or digital frenzy. Anyway it needs to play out all kind of light and bubbly, frivolous and frothy - like a game of ping pong or even badminton would do it for visuals (except of course neither fit the circumstances of the script) So anyway that's what I'm struggling with now.

It'll come...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I don't often write about psychic stuff on the blog because it's easy to dismiss as bonkers and even when you know it isn't - it's probably best to tow the line and present a fairly sane face to the world at large. But we are all writers here aren't we..?

But the other morning something strange happened.

First an aside. One time we had this cleaner and I was walking towards her when she was polishing the front stoep, and she kind of buckled forwards. In that moment everything turned monochrome - all colour just bleached away. Then she regained her composure and stood up and it was back to full colour again. I remembered this clearly because 3 weeks later she died suddenly - and only then I realised what I'd seen.

So the other morning, I was outside, walking towards the mountain when everything in the world just 'shook'. Not an earthquake or anything but a kind of psychic rumble as I walked along. So I kind of made a little bow toward the mountain to accept this piece of information and carried on walking feeling a bit panicky and thinking - 'this is about massive, unsettling change' but what the hell does it mean? No one ever wants things to stay the same all the time do they? Hell no! But change is scary too...

I once went to a fortune teller in Convent Garden and I think I was wearing a black velour sweater and so she asked if I had been to a funeral recently, and I had so I said 'Yes' and she asked 'How was it?' And I told her that actually it was the best funeral I'd ever been to - everyone thought so - a send off for a brilliant artist - whose influence continues to be felt - even now. There were daffodils in all the windowsills of the church and sunlight flooded in and he was laid out up at the front in his coffin. I didn't go up to look at him again - but you could. Black funerals are always 'in your face' kind of affairs the world over...

So - even though this ramble has brought me to death - it's not a physical death that is making its presence felt now. But an ending of sorts.

A chapter closing...

Please send page 30

Ha! Delivered the script on Friday and that's what their email said today. I kind of half hoped they might not notice that I'd left out this smallish chunk. Instead, I'd inserted a note. Now they want the missing page. Hmm - better hand it over.

Other than that, there's tightening up to be done, but they seem pleased. Result.

Mood: smiley. Page count: Finished (- 1)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The end

I'm all written out. Want to stop for a while. Pause. Breathe. Have fun.

But first I've to deliver this script by the end of the week. Still have to hack, shape and prune it ruthlessly. If a scene doesn't multi-task - it's out.

The ending packs a real emotional punch. A real heartbreaker. Sob sob. When I script, I tend not to worry about the end - I travel hopefully. Some say that if you don't know the ending, when you start, then the script won't work. This time I did, so maybe they're right…


Software may identify blockbuster scripts

Now a team at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, has developed an algorithm to keep scriptwriters ahead of the game. The algorithm assesses how good a script is as it is being bashed out on the keyboard (F. Murtagh, A. Ganz & S. McKie Pattern Recognit. ; in the press). Computer scientists Fionn Murtagh and Stewart McKie teamed up with screenwriter Adam Ganz to find an objective way to compare new scripts with successful ones in their genre. They analysed a selection of scripts from films deemed successful by critics to find common patterns.

“On the crudest level, we could distinguish action films, such as Die Hard , from a drama such as Casablanca just on the frequency of verbs compared with character names,” says Ganz. “We wanted to see if we could find a more sophisticated way to uncover deeper structural patterns.

For full article (including a fab quote from me!) read on here