Sunday, 28 February 2010

An Inspiring Quote

Sometimes, a good quote can help nudge you out of a writer's procrastination - the sort that threatens to become a block and all through which you actually know that you really, truly want to write but just can't seem to do it. Yet.

Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who calls today his own,
He who, secure within, can say
Tomorrow do thay worst,
For I have lived today.
- John Drydon

Please add your own; like a miniature writing exercise!

Animation scripts in search of a home

Out of a ream of animation scripts I've written, there are two that are free ans demanding to be aired.

It may be that they would make lovely animated children's books if anyone is interested?


Five minute animation about skydiving octogenarians.

When a new doctor advises an elderly patient to try bungee jumping for her arthritis, he begins a new phase in the life of a run down, grey town.

His elderly patients are soon sky jumping, paragliding, gliding, bungee jumping from the town bridge. It becomes contagious. What have they got to lose? When injured, his patients find friends and lovers; young people are forced to return to the town to care for their parents and breathe new life onto the streets and the town comes alive again.


Three minute animation about life inside a beard.

A new girlfriend is keen for the beard's owner to be cleanshaven, forcing two arch enemies have to combine their skills and their loot to convince their hirsute and vain owner that his girlfriend is wrong

My Working Life, part 2: Stage and Radio

There is nothing like the energy you feel when a play you've written, characters you have created, comes alive on stage. Sometimes you can feel the electricity and when the audience explodes to its feet, there is no feeling on earth quite as satisfying and exciting!

But the production won't always encapsulate exactly what you hoped for. The actors might not look the way you expect or may even misinterpret the tone you thought was obvious and to you, as the writer, it feels like a travesty but most of the time, no-one else will notice and only your writer friends will understand!

Here then are some of the pieces I've had produced on stage. What I am working on now is a newfull length play provisionally called 'A Fresh Gale and Cold Chicken' about George Farquhar, the best loved restoration playwright who hailed from Derry. We start preparing for a rehearsed reading (April, Smock Alley Theatre) this week. At first draft stage, hovering in the wings, are a first draft rom-com called 'PO Box 123' and a one-act called 'Salt on Our Skin' which I wrote for a fantastic and gifted producer and writer friend called Tanvir Bushe. (See her very humorous and vivid blog at

I'll be putting up sample pages of all the plays in th near future.


'Tasty Morsels'
Afternoon Play, BBC4. Broadcast 21.12.01.

'Salt on our Skin'
Rehearsed Reading, London; currently looking at Dublin production.

'Fur Doesn’t Hurt'.
1. Still Players, Cork and south-west tour, 1997; Cork Arts Theatre.
“Brilliantly written play...Fascinating… language which is rich and full of powerful imagery.” (The Examiner, 2.10.97)

2. “Magnetic...a masterpiece of unusual, highly dramatic yet entertaining theatre that will live long in our memories.” (East Cork newspaper, 27.11.97)

3. Winner of Best Writer and Best Production awards, Cork Arts Theatre National Competition, 1997

4. Rehearsed Reading with Andrew Bennett, Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
“While I found the material extremely uncomfortable, to the point where the audience may be cast as voyeur, I also found a serious, committed and original style and voice at work.” - Judy Friel, Literary Manager, Abbey Theatre.

'Trade Me A Dream'.
Focus Theatre, Dublin, 1997.
“Gripping psychological drama… a startlingly good piece of writing.” (Sun. Independent)

1997 'On Your Behalf'.
Rehearsed Reading, Bradford Theatre on the Mill.

1996 'Trade Me A Dream'.
Winner of Best Writer and Best Production awards in Cork Art’s Theatre’s national competition. First time in 10 years that one play won both top awards. - “A terrifying piece of theatre which deserves to be done again and again.” (Competition Judge Don McMullin)

Honourable Mention, Society of Irish Playwrights/ PEN Play Competition

Pre 1990
'House of the Rising Sun'
FTC Theatre Company, International Bar, Dublin 2 (1989)

'Remember Me'
FTC Theatre Company, International Bar, Dublin 2 (1989)

'Go In Peace'
Writer/ Director –, Dublin City University (1986).

'The Jewel Thief', play commissioned by Betty Anne Norton for Summer Drama School (1985);

'Wine, Women and Song', local radio broadcast out of DCU 1986.

My Screenwriting Life, so far; a brief CV

Monkey Puzzle Tree, coming of age feature.
Sleep Tight Snow White, romantic comedy adapting for TV.
Punky, animation series with Monster Animation, supported by IFB and BCI;
Wulfie, children’s animation series, with A Man and Ink Productions, Galway.

Touch & Go, thriller for Abú Media.
ONE, sci-fi feature for One Productions.

Angelica Touch, romantic comedy; a teenager decides to fix her mother’s love life by creating a dating website.

Kristina, love story, one hour feature filmed in the Philippines; Best Film Award at Swansea-on-Sea International Film Festival, 2008.

Fancy That, quirky family feature about a father and his daughter. Optioned Gemini Productions, Germany.
Lilly the Witch, storyline, Magma, Galway.
Archangel, detective series, short-listed in Tony Doyle Writer’s Award, BBC NI.
Script Reader BBC Belfast (1999-04).
Script Consultant, Chasing Dragons, Praxis Pictures.

2003 Pigpen. Two-part TV thriller short-listed Tony Doyle Writers Award. (Series originally optioned 2000, Talisman, London) Graduate, Writing Animation Course/ Screen Training Ireland.

Moonstone Screenwriters Labs, Wales, November 2002 with Jessie Jones is Nearly 10, a comedy drama feature.
Script Consultant,‘Chasing Dragons’. Praxis Pictures.
Storyline writer, Foreign Exchange. (MAGMA, Galway).

East Wall: treatment for late night comedy series, also set in Dublin. Optioned by Talisman, 2001. Also Pigpen, two part Tv thriller and Archangel (see above)

Pre 2000
Forever. Supernatural psychological thriller.(1999)
A is for Angela. 10-min drama about a child who sees blue-rinse granny angels. (1999) Casanova. (Award winner, Kodak Commercial Film Competition, London, 1998).
Touched. Short film. Premiered Leeds International Film Festival, October 1998. Internship as Assistant Script Editor, Granada Television, Children’s Drama Department (Oct/ Nov 1998).
PA various short films, Yorkshire. 1997/9.
Cross Your Heart and Hope To Die. Hammer Horror feature, Midnight Movies. (1997)
Toni C. 30-min pilot for teenage television series. (1997)

Fair City: Writer, 4th series, 1991-2; Storyline researcher 5th series,1992; Updated Bible 6th series, 1993;
Scratch Saturday: Tall Tales (RTE).Writer: 5 x 15 min films transmitted 1991/2.

Freelance script analyst and story consultant for independent producers. I’ve also run drama workshops, directed and acted in amateur productions.

A poem to inspire

When life, and writing, love and and chocolate get you down, this is a lovely poem to consider. But you HAVE to read it aloud. Trust me!. It's Leisure by WH Davies, not Auden. (Thanks to Freddie the Amazing Anthromorphic Dog for the correction!)

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Friday, 26 February 2010

First blog ever: all about me

Having threatened to set up a blog for so long, now I'm really not sure where to start. I want to put up advice on writing - hell, I've been writing all my life and in most mediums - but also just to talk about what it's like to live as a writer .

Before I became a full time screenwriter, I was a freelance journalsit for ten years. I've had nine stage plays produced, garnering four (and a half!) awards. I've had a radio play on BBC4, after developing a score that never got that far. I've written ten features, most of which have been optioned or been in development at some stage. (Yes, it's a heartbreaking business - you need a big and confident heart, capable of putting the disappointments aside and fighting on! But Jameson helps too.)

I've written TV series that were cossetted for different periods of time by C4, 5 and ITV.

Currently I have two animation series in development, the first of which should go into production in the next few months. Thrillers, family films, animation, sci-fi rom com, comedy drama, rom com; I have written in every genre, much to the concern of my agent who doesn't always know how to market me. I've written high concept and low budget and written for hire (storylines, scripts and series development and bibles). I've had two short films made and another two are due to be produced before Summer with some really interesting people attached.

I've also written two books of fiction, one of which is still out and about hunting for a happy home, while a new ones is at first draft stage. One book of non fiction was commissioned about the history of the Olympia Theatre but the publishers went bankrupt the day after delivered it!

As a script editor I've worked on some great projects for various companies around Ireland north and south. One interesting project is due to go into production the tail end of this Summer but, since my work hasn't really begun on it yet, I won't name it yet!

I also teach one day seminars, two day sessions and evening courses on the craft of screenwriting. Over the years I've taught in South Africa, at arts festivals around Ireland and
in UCD, People's College, FilmBase and Liberties College in Dublin.

Okay, that's probably enough for the first one!