Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Playing Devil's Advocate... and advocating for diversity

Two events this month I'd love to share: 
1. I'm giving a workshop on screenwriting (Devils' Advocate) Westport, Co. Mayo for the wonderful Rolling Sun Book Festival. It's on Saturday the 17th from 11.30 in the Westport Town Hall Theatre. Free to come along but you probably need to book. 

2. I'm thrilled to be a guest speaker in the upcoming Content London Conference in London run by C21Media. It's an amazing distillation of talent and interesting events (four conferences under one umbrella) and as the creator of Punky (2011, 2014), I'll be talking as part of a panel on 'Representing Diversity in Children's TV' at the Kids Content Futures Conference on November 30th from 12.40am. The event will be moderated by Lindsay Watson, animation producer, kids & family, Canuk Productions.

Really excited about taking part in this discussion. Diversity is still under-represented in children’s TV, both on screen and off, but while the situation is improving since I first dreamt up Punky (back in 2008), we need to know that broadcasters are working to improve things even faster. That means including stories from all sections of our community; celebrating difference. It's what TV can do so well, when it puts its mind to it!

As such, this panel has been gathered to answer questions such as how are broadcasters bringing the voices of the differently abled of our society, as well as women, BAME, LGBTQI+ to the industry and what are the barriers to further progress? (And, hopefully, how do we break through those barriers?)

The other panelists are David Levine, VP Programming, production and strategic development, Disney Channels EMEA, Darren Nartey, Programme Acquisitions Exec ITV and Particia Hidalgo, Chief Content Officer, Turner EMEA and International Kids Strategy.
You can find the full agenda for the day here. And if you are there, be sure to say hello!


Sunday, 14 October 2018

House need cleaning? Use it as motivation to write instead!

I have never been good at or a fan of housework – except, in brief spurts, when I’m avoiding work.

My mother worried about this. She thought she’d turn up one day and find me sitting on a chair – with a notebook and pen, admittedly surrounded by my accumulated clutter.

Cobwebs, what cobwebs?
Then she watched a documentary about JK Rowling. “I know now why you’re not good at housework,” she said. Apparently JK had said there were three important tasks she had to fulfil – to mind her child (like me, she was a single mum), to keep the house clean and to write. She only had time to do two of these things well.

Mind you, today my glasses fell on the floor. They fire off at every opportunity. I think they regard the top of my head as a launching pad for inter-stellar adventures, though so far they’ve only fired downwards, most notably into the loo, the bath, the sink and on top of the dog. This time, they went under the heater.

Minutes after I put them back on – after chastising them, swearing a little and nearly toppling my mug of coffee as I bent down – I realised one side needed cleaning; maybe a hair had got caught in the joint – but no, it was a cobweb.
Clean cobwebs or write a play about
cloning a man from a thumb?
Julie Lockey in All Thumbs,
 International Bar Theatre, 2016

A nice fat little cobweb.

For a moment - brief - I thought, I could hoover... 

Or I could get back to my book.

 I’ve given myself a week to finish the last section. (Ambitious because I know it’s flawed. Though the flaws may stretch back deeper into the book, I won’t know until I finish, set it aside and re-read.)

Thing is, I have a really nice few chapters at the end but I’m not sure whether to lead in to leap forward... Whether that should be the ending or it should go on to the next big moment. Whether this is book two of two or of three... Whether the drama leading up to this point is big enough or needs an extra injection of oompf...

So instead of cleaning, I decided to use the cobwebs as motivation to drive me to my notebook, oblivious to the clutter and play with words for the next half hour. 

As someone once said, the house will still be there when you’re gone so what’s the most important thing to do?



Write That Script, The Angelica Touch and Dad’s Red Dress by L.J. Sedgwick are all available from Amazon and on my online store. They are also available from Kenny’s Bookshop, Charlie Byrne’s bookshop (Galway), Books Upstairs, the Winding Stairs bookshop (Dublin) and Hanna’s in Rathmines

Monday, 1 October 2018

Is procrastination really creativity in disguise?

Is procrastination really creativity in disguise? I want to think so. I really want to think so!

How is it that you can plan your entirely productive writing life at 3am in the morning, feel the flow of energy that you will pour into your day and then when the day begins, you stop and do something else.
Anything else.
Chores you hate because you don't really deserve to do something you enjoy until you've got some of the 'real' work done.
Waiting for inspiration to arrive - or the postman?

I think some of it is fear. That you'll start the regime you imagined and it will all dissolve. So you don't start. Or fear that you'll start and get into it, really get work done and be interrupted again and again until it all explodes in frustration.
But I also think some of it is excitement, ironically. Postponing the excitement of getting into your work in case the writing doesn't go well. This is really a rookie one - I'm forever telling students you have to be prepared to write crap too; at least then it's out of your head and might free up better work. But it's not always easy - until you get those fingers writing.
For me, it is all of this and also the muddle and the ambition and the wanting to be at the finish line already and the worrying that I'm wasting time, so much time and have wasted more already.

At the back of my head, I know if I could start and work consistently, I would make progress and I will.

First step: I will put my phone on aeroplane mode and turn off every app on the computer - Facebook, Gmail, Messenger. If I don't need to work on the computer, I'll take my notebook or pages to edit somewhere else.
Second step: I'll pocket my time into small segments with achievable goals and then it will be easier. This, for me, on days when the mojo is hiding under the sofa playing with turnwheels of dust,  is the key: tiny achievable amounts of work, listed on a page broken into segments for each piece of material or area of work I need to progress.
Third step: Start now.

There's an entire chapter in my screenwriting book, Write That Script, on productivity tips, which are really anti-procrastination tools. I did this because of the number of days and weeks when I can feel I am making no progress with any of my works-in-hand, be it writing or attempting to market myself or my books.
The longer these spells continue, the harder it is to break the spell. I don't see it as writer's block so much as writer's mud mixed with sinking sand, some heavy squalls of rain and wind and a muddled, distracted, increasingly frustrated and blue mind and mood.

But it can be moved on from, one tiny step at a time.
Tiny pieces of work. Achievable. Ten minutes at a time.
One word following the next.

#writethatscript #theangelicatouch #dadsreddress #lindsayjsedgwick

Monday, 10 September 2018

Free screenwriting workshops in Fingal and Carlow

Totally chuffed to have been invited to run screenwriting workshops in two writing festivals this month!
First up is The Write Time in Fingal: I’ll be in Swords Library on Saturday Sept 15th from 10.30-12.30 and Howth Library on the 19th from 5.45 to 7.45. 
Then there's the Pen Fest in Carlow Library on Tullow Street on Sept 21st from 11-1.30 
But if you're in Galway, that's where I'm heading next to be part of Culture Night that evening in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop (time to be confirmed). How lucky am 
(PS: all my books are available here: https://amzn.to/2LYZC50)

Friday, 6 July 2018

Off to The Fleadh in Galway

They say the Galway Film Fleadh (July 10-15th) is unique among film festivals worldwide as one of the friendliest, the most informal and just the right size so you can meet anyone you want to meet. There is such a wide range of films and it's impossible to see them all so sometimes, it's enough to pick one or two screenings a day and spent the rest chatting to other attendees. 

The Fleadh has also been really good to me - most times I've ended up signing film or TV option agreement(s) within months of meetings I had at the event.

This year is a bit different for me. I'm bringing down my book, Write That Script. So apart from socialising, watching films or at events, I'll be at the merchandise stall in the Galmont Hotel from 2.30-4.30 on Weds 11th to Friday 13th. Please come over and say hello!

This is what I love about the Galway Film Fleadh. You can just hang out at the festival or go to the various open events and film screenings and talk to whoever happens to be nearby. This almost always leads to all sorts of interesting conversations.

These might even lead to sales or collaborations or just that nice warm feeling that comes from talking about what you love to do with someone who loves what they do too. Or if you have some film projects up your sleeve, you can do the market (the Film Fair) and pitch your wares to international buyers/ producers/ media managers. 
No two pitching sessions are alike and if you do eight of them over two days, not to mention pitching to anyone who foolishly asks you what you're working on - don't worry, you can repay the favour and the feedback can be mutually beneficial - you will come away more able to do it in the future and with a rake of stories to tell about the encounters, good and bad.
These anecdotes lead to conversations in the Fleadh HQ and beyond, making networking that bit easier and more fun. Hope to see you there!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Three Writers @ 3pm in the Books Upstairs cafe

This Sunday at 3pm, myself and Caroline Farrell and Carolann Copland will be sharing the cafe and our books with all the book-lovers who can make their way into Books Upstairs to hear us read and talk about writing, life, characters, procrastination, the insanity and glory of being a writer... and much more. I'll be reading from my last novel The Angelica Touch; always fun to revert to being one of my favourite characters! 

It's a free event and open to all so come and get your seat and your flat white and let us entertain you! 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Write That Script - is in the IFI!

With the sad demise of Filmbase, my physical launch of the book has been postponed so I decided to launch it on social media while I finalise a new venue. It is available on Amazon, on my online store and, from today (April 11th),in the IFI Film Shop on Eustace Street, Dublin 2.

IFTN did a lovely news piece today about the book you can read here.

So what's the book about? It's about getting that idea out of your head and onto the page. After teaching screenwriting for over two decades while working as a professional screenwriter for nearly as long (or longer, if you consider some freelance work in 1990-3 with Fair City and Scratch Saturday), this is me trying to put it all in one place and give you the tools to get the script written. Now. Not tomorrow or next year or when you have more time, but now. You'll feel so much better, honestly!

These are some of the endorsements that are coming in:

"A practical inspiration for getting that script out of your head and on to the page/screen from someone who has done just that and done it brilliantly." – Paul Donovan, Producer, Deadpan Pictures

"Written with great passion for and insight into the craft of screenwriting, 'Write that Script! And write it now', is an inspirational, practical and detailed manual on how to write your first screenplay - but also one that will help you write any screenplay. Reading it gave me a strong urge to apply everything that is recommended in the book to the next screenplay I write. Lindsay's guidance is clear, helpful and fun and it's backed up by numerous filmic references which she analyses expertly. Her writing exercises will build confidence and craft. Lindsay was my first screenwriting teacher way back in 1996 and set me on my way to becoming a professional screenwriter. It is a delight to see all her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm distilled into a book that will add richly to the education of screenwriters everywhere." - Christian O’Reilly, screenwriter. 

"What Lindsay has done wonderfully well in this book is to give screenwriters a helpful and practical guide to fire imaginations and to get words flowing onto the page. It’s full of advice, filled with insightful examples and bursting with practical exercises that will have you finishing your screenplays with confidence and creativity. It’s the how-to book that inspires as much as it teaches and enlightens. She has distilled the essence of screenplay craft and technique and turned it into a practical guidebook that’ll motivate you to overcome the screenwriter’s hardest obstacle – the first draft."– Alan Fitzpatrick, MD Filmbase.

"What I love about this book is that it's all practical and actionable advice, with effective exercises and brainstorming tips. Great for those starting out and getting more familiar with the challenges of screenwriting, as well as those want to develop their craft in a committed and professional way." - Danny Stack, writer director