Pitching it right

Last week I went to London and walked around Broadwick Street for a while, looking for Cascade’s offices. I thought I knew Broadwick Street; I worked in Kingly Street about a hundred years ago. An office that used to be run mainly on lager and cocaine has now become a Fitness First gym and I’m still not sure whether or not that’s an improvement. Anyone working there back then would have assumed you were already out of it if you’d told them that’s what was going to be built there.

Anyway, I’d submitted my 10 pages and mine, along with not many others out of the 150 that came in was judged good enough to pitch, which is why I was there. It was my first filmscript and my first pitch, so I felt about as confident as a kitten in a dog shelter.

It went ok. But they didn’t buy it. They want to see some more of mine, hampered only by the fact I haven’t got another one ready, but I will have. Today I had three ideas for doctoring the script of Not Your Heart Away to make a more obvious transition from the middle to the end, which I’d thought was so screamingly obvious that it didn’t need saying. Apparently it did and if I had they might have optioned it. They had a copy of the book, so I hope that next weekend someone is sitting in their chair saying ‘do you think it’s too late to change our minds about this?’

So we’ll see next time. Now all I have to do is write it again.

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The word on the street

martinNYHAAnother happy reader. That could be the beer though.

Word seems to be getting round at last and sales are picking up. Not Your Heart Away is getting some lovely reviews and the huge compliment of being invited to pitch to turn it into a full-length feature film by Cascade, this coming Thursday. If you haven’t got your copy yet you can buy it here on Amazon.

So far, fingers crossed, not a single negative review, apart from one person who has un-liked me and the book on Facebook and refused to talk to me since she read it. It’s fiction, for heaven’s sake. It can’t be that bad, surely?

And another sale today. It seems to be going down well despite being set firmly in a blurry late 1970s- mid-1980s timeframe. I was worried this would limit the audience a bit so I checked with the Office for National Statistics. These are the figures the government uses. Quite interesting stuff, especially useful for defeating pub bores talking about immigration, but that’s another story.

People aged between 40 and 65 amount to one in three of the UK population. 15 to 30s are just one in five people in the UK. So much for teens being the only market. My generation are the majority. And we can remember this stuff…..

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Checking out the movies

Unbelievable but true, I’ve just been invited to pitch Not Your Heart Away as a film. It’s taken over three solid weeks to convert the script from book to film format, but it’s ready for Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me at noon, would you?

Now all I have to do is learn how to pitch. And decide whether to change the ending. Have I got time? Not really. But the new ending’s a lot better, like a very, very dark Richard Curtis Four Weddings.

I think I’ve got to, really.

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Another lovely Amazon Review of Not Your Heart Away

Whenever I get a nice review  on Amazon I post it up. Because I love sharing so much.

4.0 out of 5 stars NYHA, 18 April 2013
By
Sergio Andrade (Porto, PORTUGAL) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Not Your Heart Away (Paperback)

As we live and grow older, we cross several turning points, several junctions of existence.
Those “pit stops” of life, made up of Time and Space and desire and fear and hope and places and faces and people. People you used to know, people you used to be.
And sometimes, you just can’t help it but stop, turn around and look back into that specific point in your life, growing smaller and smaller in the horizon, and ponder on how things turned out for you and wonder how things might have been different.
“Not your heart away” is a book about that. It’s a book WITH teenagers, but I wouldn’t recommend it TO teenagers. Sure, it can be read by teenagers, and the brightest ones amongst them will even understand it; perhaps some will even relate it to some events in their lives. But I wouldn’t recommend it…it presents too much spoilers on life and the passing of time.
It is better meant for those of life who can and will look back…those who know the longing for the unreachable days of blue and golden youth…and ideal that crosses the boundaries of when and where.
NYHA has its centre in a specific time period, a specific place. Being a teen in England in the 1970s. But, relevant as those characteristics are, they do not close themselves from other times, other spaces, other lives. Its specificities can be blood-linked to anywhere, any when, any who.
Fiction as it is, you can sense the writer has poured out a lot of his soul on this book, this simple yet beautifully written little gem, poetical at times, with extra bonus references to paranormal (or metaphorical!?) entities, UFOs, and local folklore.
The greatest magic, however, is the way it sparks in each reader his/her personal memories and the way they can be related to the narrative, regardless of its time and space. And magic is real, just so long as you believe…

 

 

Call me vain, but I don’t have an agent so I have to do my own marketing and PR. Unless of course, you’d like to be my agent. If you want to talk about that, let’s do lunch, baby!

Call me. Laters….

 

 

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Checking out the movies

For the past few weeks I’ve been working against the clock to get a film script finished. The race was my own fault. I used to check the BBC Writers Room website religiously, to see what competitions were on, how to submit scripts and so on, the way you do. With the whole frenzy of publishing, editing, re-editeing, re-proofing, railing against my own stupidity and re-editing and proofing again, as Clint used to say, I kinda lost track of it in all the excitement here.

When I looked at it recently it was as if Christmas had come again and I was six. A film company, a real one, with offices with chairs and everything, was asking for film scripts with one proviso, which was interesting in itself. Not that they were being picky or anything, but they insisted the scripts had to actually exist before people sent the first ten pages in.

It reminded me of the old Californian joke: Dude 1: Like, I’m writing a screenplay? Dude 2: Awesome! Neither am I!

But I was. There was a strict 9am deadline on it for yesterday, 15th April, so I turned Not Your Heart Away into a screenplay. I hope I did, anyway. The first ten minutes has a shipwreck, Ben the narrator’s recurring nightmare;  a UFO as he lives near Salisbury Plain and a ghostly Spitfire, because of an old factory he drives past, because he’s English, because the film is about England and because. What more do you want while you’re still opening the Kia-Ora?

So we’ll see. I still have to finish the screenplay formatting, which is a time-consuming pain as I didn’t have time to learn any of the script-writing software packages and ended-up doing it in Word, the old-fashioned way. Still. It’s done. I was typing until half past one some nights and trapped a nerve in my leg from sitting still too long, but it’s done.

I also found a line that makes the final scene about a billion percent happier, sadder and just generally rounder, a real snappy ending. The storm that brings harm also makes fertile. I’ve got to get back to formatting. My eyes have gone a bit leaky now.

If you can’t wait for the film to come out, you can buy the book here.

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On a clear day you can smell forever

It’s a late Spring, the same sort of weather as the time Not Your Heart Away was set. The sky is grey but the birds are singing. And just as then a cold Spring that combined light evenings with chilled hands, a time someone recalled as one of country pubs, cold girls and warm cars. It’s odd remembering that as I’m trying to work against the clock trying to get the book turned into a film script for Monday.

It’s going well but I just don’t know if I’ve got enough time. Bolstered though by a rather lovely email I got today from the lady who runs the Suffolk Arts Club.

 

PS  Have read the last section of your book, excellent.  Have now lent it to Elaine who was here when you came last Saturday

Caroline Wiseman

Caroline Wiseman Modern and Contemporary

The Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and The Art House

 

I think I’ve found some new energy, after that. I know this: that I’ve never done anything better or more worthwhile than writing this book and this script, now. Wish me luck.

 

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Claire

The character Claire in Not Your Heart Away is fictitious. So it was a bit of a shock to find her picture on my laptop, or at least, how I imagined her to be. I was just tidying up, getting rid of some stuff, putting files in folders when I found her.

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I have no idea who took this picture or when. Sadly, it wasn’t me. But it’s definitely Claire. The big but not luxurious house in the English countryside late one summer afternoon. The coltishness. The waiting. The cigarette. I couldn’t have made this up if I’d tried.

But I still don’t know who owns the rights to this picture and I’d like to use it for the cover of the book. So if it’s your picture, please let me know. If you think you know whose it is, get in touch.

There is a reward, a free paperback copy of Not Your Heart Away. And yes, to save you the bother, I’ve already looked on TinEye. It’s not there.

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Turned out nice after all

Not Your Heart Away is getting some really lovely reviews. I haven’t done what some people have recommended, paid for them, not after I found someone in India advertising his services on Linkedin. Apparently you can just pay someone to ‘review’ your book. If you haven’t got any customers and you write crap you probably need to. If you can live with yourself afterwards is another matter.

But anyway, I didn’t pay. I can’t believe anyone would, but they obviously do.

You can find the latest five-star Amazon review I haven’t paid for here. I have not spoken to this person in the flesh for over 25 years, so I was quite touched to read this.

 

 

 

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Temporary Glitch

Well, sorry about this. The Kindle version of Not Your Heart Away is fine, no interruptions there, but the paperback version has a 48 hour hold on printing. It should be available again on Monday at the latest, so please check back. Just one of those printing things – I made a change to one word on the cover and had to start the review process over again!

Sorry. The best things are worth waiting for.

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The Treatment

Just checked into the BBC Writer’s Room after months not doing that, and paying the price for it. There’s a film script submissions ad. Yes, a real production company actually WANT people to send them film scripts.

The only snag is they want a full script by the 15th, 13 days time.

So I’d better get on with it. Another idea, “Dukey & Tamara” is going to have to wait until the film script is done. First I need to find some software I can understand. So far I’ve looked at Celtx and the Adobe one. Can’t quite get to grips with either of them, but I’d better try.

After all, I’ve got the MS done and the opening has a shipwreck then a UFO then a car crash. Some sex, some drugs, some actual tenderness, a big fast car then an inter-generational surprise. What more do they want?

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