Monday, 17 December 2012

FundIt for Salt and 30 others...

The Collaborations 13 festival's Fundit Account has just gone LIVE!

The festival will run from Feb 22nd - March 9th next year (hence the '13' in the title!) and will feature one of my own plays, SALT ON OUR SKIN, my first staged production since the Focus (Trade Me A Dream) in 1997, so it's really exciting.

The target overall is €6000 in six weeks but with the number of people involved and if each of us has a few (maybe 10?) friends - yeah, it can be doubtful! - who donate a fiver, then apparently we will make it.

The festival, which is organised by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company, will feature 31 shows of all sorts, shapes, sizes and moods... There are full length plays but also recurring one hour shows featuring three short plays, one of which will include my own, directed by Antoinette Duffy.

I really REALLY hope you can make it along!

You can read more about the details of the festival on the FundIt site. (

SALT ON OUR SKIN... What it's about...

Eve needs to tell her lover something he really doesn’t want to hear. But how do you make someone understand what it means to be losing your eyesight gradually? To know that soon, even if she still dreams in colour, she will wake up to a black and white world? She decides to take him behind her eyes so that he will understand how it feels and she does this with a lyrical epiphany of a letter – to her lover, to life and to colour. The play was written for, inspired by and is dedicated to a friend, Tanvir Bushe.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

SALT ON OUR SKIN/ Collaborations 13

My play, Salt on Our Skin, will be on as part of the Collaborations 13 Festival organised by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company which will run from Feb 22 - March 9. It's a great festival with 31 shows of all sorts but you can read more about it here at the festival's FundIt site. (

There are full length plays but also recurring one hour shows featuring three (or even more, depending on their length) short plays, one of which will include my own, directed by Antoinette Duffy.

I really REALLY hope you can make it along! It will be nearly 14 years since I last had a play performed!

SALT ON OUR SKIN... What it's about...

Eve needs to tell her lover something he really doesn’t want to hear. But how do you make someone understand what it means to be losing your eyesight gradually? To know that soon, even if she still dreams in colour, she will wake up to a black and white world? She decides to take him behind her eyes so that he will understand how it feels and she does this with a lyrical epiphany of a letter – to her lover, to life and to colour. The play was inspired by and is dedicated to a friend, Tanvir Bushe.

The Festival's Fundit Account has just gone LIVE! The target overall is €6000 in six weeks but with the number of people involved and if each of us has a few friends - yeah, it can be doubtful! - who donate a fiver, then apparently we will make it. Here's the link below;

Friday, 14 December 2012

Tasty Morsels had a tasty reading!

A big THANK YOU to the cast (Gail Brady, Patrick Bridgeman, Diana O'Connor, Noel Aungier, Rob Harrington, John Smyth and Joe McKinney) who put so much effort and talent into bringing my play Tasty Morsels alive at the reading in the Attic Studio last Tuesday night.

It was a great experience and exactly what I needed to work out what was working (the characters, phew) and what didn't and then to have the benefit of all the feedback from cast and audience alike --

I have options now to play with that I might not have thought of on my own, ideas to consider which are already sparking other ideas, a clearer idea of what my brain meant when it told me something wasn't working

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Last CAN event of the year

Another great night last night - the final gathering of the Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) for 2012. I thought numbers would be tiny - so many cancellations and all of them with good cause on the day - but then several arrived that I wasn't expecting so it was another interesting mix of 15 people from all areas of our two spheres.

So five meetings in, we have about 60 on the mailing list and nearly 70 on the LinkedIn group from all over the globe; there have been collaborations and other exciting ones are brewing away. Every one of the gatherings has been stimulating and no two were the same because the mix was always different; the only standard was that everyone had lots of experience in their field and a genuine interesting in collaboration at some stage.

There was mention last night of putting together a list for members of the group of all the websites/ blogs/ facebook pages/ LinkedIn groups that might have news about upcoming shows/ features/ animation projects in which there might be work either for writers or animators...

I thought if everyone could make suggestions I can put it together. All I could think of was Pegbar, the Irish Film Board's announcements of grants to animation, possibly Media's though all of these might be too late for writers. I haven't had time yet to dig around so any suggestions you can make would be fantastic.

Also, if any of you can think of ways to make this network more effective, I'd love to hear your ideas. The Writers Guild (ie the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters' Guild) have offered us their space any evening if we we want to meet in smaller groups - possibly aimed at bringing people together with specific interests in terms of collaborations etc - for example.

Anyway, let me know...

Friday, 7 December 2012

Salt on Our Skin has a director!

Antoinette Duffy has come on board as director of my short play, Salt on Our Skin! Thrilled to be working with her. We're hoping to run auditions for the one-woman show soon, hopefully during the week of 17th December if anyone's interested.

Eve is mid 20s, trying to explain to her lover that she is losing her sight. It's a love letter, evocative, lyrical, very visual... Let me know and I can send you some sample pages to see if it would be something you'd like to do.

Salt on our Skin will be on during the Collaborations 13 Festival in March 25-Feb 9th 2013 in The Boys School, Smock Alley; a festival organised by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Started a writing gig on a lovely new series with Kavaleer, called Wildernuts. Five bucaneers, adventuring through nature, uncovering how magical the natural world really is... Had a fantastic writers' room on Monday last; ideas flying around the room like explosive pretzels...

The start of a new adventure!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tasty Morsels

Really excited/ nervous about the reading of my play Tasty Morsels in The Attic next Tuesday, Dec 11th. Every reading they've done has been so useful; constructive feedback is like gold dust to a writer!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


The date: 10th December, 2012


Time: 7-9pm

Christmas is coming fast n fuzzy-tailed so we just have time for one last CAN event, the last of this network's first year. The event is informal and open to writers and animators genuinely interested in collaborating in the future.

Come along, meet and mingle; you're guaranteed a roomful of interesting people. Collaborations have been happening all year out of these events, connections made that may lead somewhere stimulating/ creative/ interesting/ even lucrative!

All I ask is that you let me know if you want to come so I can keep an eye on numbers for the space (

There's a LinkedIn group for connections to continue and news to spread within the CAN group.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Collaborations Festival 2013

Just heard today that my short play, SALT ON OUR SKIN has been chosen to take part in the 2013 Collaborations Festival next year in Smock Alley Theatre. The Festival is organised by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company and will feature a wonderful melange of new work, short plays and long, all designed to stimulate and entertain, over two weeks.

It's really exciting to be part of it. My first play staged in 15 years!!

It was written for (and dedicated to) the person who inspired it, Tanvir Bushe xxx

The first draft was written for her in 1998! So don't give up hope anyone, Fate and Fortune are mischievous bedmates!

All in all, it is shaping up into a VERY GOOD week!!!

Twitter: @jackburdell
Facebook: /jackburdellexperience

WULFIE and friends are GO!

This month, May 2014, I submitted my series Wulfie to Cartoon Forum under the auspices of my production company, Wulfie Animation, with Monster Entertainment as co-producer. It's a big move and one I was so ready to make.

The Bible is looking fantastic, thanks to everyone at Monster Entertainment. The drawings - backgrounds, characters - are gorgeous so please wish it well as it wings itself off to find funding in Europe.

Wulfie's real name is Mozart Amadeus Rachmaninov the Third, aka the Big bad Wolf and he arrived in my life in 2005.

I created the original stories for my daughter -- in a way because I felt obliged to tell her home-made stories at bed-time.

It's what writers are meant to do! I'd read about it. Every writer worth his or her salt seemed to have a series of books or a film based on something they created for their child/ children.

It was a hard act to follow but finally, after a few false starts, I found Wulfie.

Don't get me wrong, I ADORE writing, creating worlds, stories, characters. I mean, come on, is there a cooler and more fun way to make a living?! (Okay, 'make a living' might be a stretch at the moment but where would I be without a vivid and hopeful imagination?!)

But in terms of structure, pacing and chaotic but happy endings, I learnt on the job. Nothing like a small child in bed to comment on what she feels does and doesn't work! And she was my audience. If she got excited, if she went to sleep with a grin and woke wanting to know more, I knew I was on the right track.

It was a magical experience that lasted for years. Our laundry basket is still named after Wulfie cos Wulfie's foodstuffs-of-choice are dirty socks.

The smellier the better.

And, of course, Wulfie had a best friend who was a little girl and she was named for my daughter, Libby. Then Libby's friend at school was named for my step-daughter which felt really nice to do although a few weeks ago when we decided to make her a boy, to appeal to both genders since they both watch telly and we want this to travel EVERYWHERE!

Guess I'll have to find another series for the original friend!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

RABAH's Story: A Script That Needs to Inspire

I have a week to create the perfect little script, a script that will be shot over four days next month and aired in the first week/ fortnight of December.

The ideal project! How often does a script get turned into a film so quickly?

The goal is to put a human face on the issue of refugees seeking asylum in Ireland. The commission is from the Killarney Asylum Seekers Initiative (KASI) and the company making it is Stormlight, from Cork. The same people who are planning to make my tv series, HUNTER; the director is Donogh MacCarthy-Morrogh.

Only about 10% of those who apply will ever get asylum here - and think about that word.


It's a very precious commodity and something we are very, very fortunate to be able to afford to give. The people who flee here would not come if they were safe in the countries in which they were born; countries they love. We, mostly, can feel safe in ours. This, which we take for granted, is a wonderful thing.

I spent last weekend with several of the men and women seeking asylum status in Ireland. From Ghana, Burundi, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Guinea. Not one of these people is here because they have a choice but all of them are in limbo for as long as seven years - unable to work, living in male or female hostels with other men or women they never met before and not even allowed to cook for themselves or their children.

But they are all grateful for being safe. One of the women said that if she wasn't here, she would probably be dead. What mother sends her son into the unknown at 14 years of age unless she believes it is the only way to keep him safe?

So they are wait on decisions. On envelopes that will decide their fate.

For up to seven years!

And in all that time, they get bed and board from the State - although they have no choice where they live and could be moved at any time to another part of the country - but they can't work, which means they can't support themselves or make a home and leave a legacy for themselves and their children.

Limbo. It's a far less pleasant word that asylum. A frustrating and powerless place to be.

And the people I met all want to be useful.
They want to give something back.
They want to re-start their lives before their best years are spent.
They have talents and skills and expertise and enthusiasm and a drive to make a better life for themselves, all of which is being wasted while they, and we, wait for those envelopes.

Many that I met in Killarney work as volunteers, doing whatever work they can to support the community within which they find themselves. Some work in the KASI garden, growing vegetables. All those I met credit the centre as essential for their sanity - a place they can meet and cook, talk, learn new skills, learn English, feel less alone and less desperate while they try to keep mind and body active and alert.

Otherwise, as one man said, "you go crazy".

So the thing with this project - an eight minute script - is that there is far too much to fit in, so much that I want to say or feel should be said... but I can only tell one story. Find one universal story that will reflect all their stories...

And put a human face on refugees seeking asylum in Ireland

Saturday, 6 October 2012


PUNKY, THE PHENOMENON OF...: PUNKY Soaks Up The Sun!: PUNKY is in Cannes, soaking up the atmosphere, the sunshine and, hopefully, international deals! She's at MipCom , with Andrew Fitzpatrick...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Monkey Puzzle Tree is a quarter-finalist

Just heard that Monkey Puzzle Tree made it onto the quarter finals list of the inaugural Screenwriting Goldmine Competition in the UK!

Always feel like a proud parent when one of my scripts gets into the running!

Now I get to be nervous for a few more weeks to see if it makes it into the next stage!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Let's get this network growing and rustling in the wind:

The Creatives in Animation Network is open to writers and animators interested in collaborating.

There are currently about 60 members. We've just had our 4th meeting and the purpose of the meetings is to meet n greet informally and make contact. Pitching comes later in the conversation, the point is to get talking but the germs may be planted!

If you attend a meeting and have no objection, your name is added to the group email and you are welcome along to any further meeting. There's is also a LinkedIn Group (Creatives In Animation Network) that anyone can join if they match the above criteria.

The idea of both groups is that members can contact each other independently to arrange to meet for coffee with other members and see if they might work together either on a specific project or maybe to create something new out of the ether. Or they can post up information of jobs, invite members to look at a project idea and get in touch if it interest. It's up to you.

And the more we have in the group, the more interesting it gets.

Just to give you a taste, so far we have animation producers and directors, storyboard artists, animators working in 2D, 3D, 3.5D, games, cross-platform and traditional media and illustrators, established animation writers and creators of animation series, award winning screenwriters, writers of children's books, tv series and theatre. All wanting to create.

The next meeting of the group should be around the time of Cartoon Finance (Nov 12-14).

NB The Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) was founded in January 2012. It is an independent group that welcomes writers and animators interested in collaborating. At some stage. Even if not now!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Lindsay Jane Sedgwick; writer, script ed, tutor: Pitching projects into development....

Lindsay Jane Sedgwick; writer, script ed, tutor: Pitching projects into development....: Trying to get numerous projects into development is like treading through very thick treacle on an escalator going backwards that keeps turn...

Pitching projects into development....

Trying to get numerous projects into development is like treading through very thick treacle on an escalator going backwards that keeps turning into a downwards escalator with broken suspension...

I may lose a lot of shoes, heaps of sleep/ dignity/ sanity but if any of them get into production - isn't that the ultimate goal? or, better still, get produced WONDERFULLY WELL TO INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM! - , it'll be well worthwhile!

(And yes, I AM lousy at writing subject headings for blogs!)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

4th CAN event is only days away

The fourth Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) event takes place on Monday evening in Temple Bar.

Can't wait.

From the line up of people who have said they're coming along, it should be another interesting evening. There are still a couple of places left if anyone still wants to come. Just leave a comment here or email me. (

Monday, 27 August 2012

CAN Calls Animators and Writers Together Again

I’m organising the 4th Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) event on Monday, September 24th. This network is a wholly independent group, not allied to any of the related Guilds.

There's a change of venue. This one takes place in Roasted Brown, the cafe on the first floor of FilmBase, Curved Street, Temple Bar at 7pm. (PS: Very many thanks to the Screen Directors' Guild of Ireland who lent us their wonderful Screening Room for the first three events.)

Collaborations have happened and are brewing within CAN so it seemed time to bring everyone together again. The other three events were such interesting evenings!

The idea, for those who don't know, is to bring together animators and writers. We meet n greet n talk. We don't pitch, we just get to know each other and then we can follow up with specific projects later.

Numbers are less limited because of space this time but I still need to keep a balance between writers and animators so please let me know if you can make it and spread the word.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

HUNTER.... the story begins

HUNTER, a female-driven detective series... Strong characters, full of dark arcs, unexpected twists and turns (if I do my job right)... A series set in Cork and Belfast but definitely with an international feel, given my favourite series recently was The Bridge... and influences would include The Wire, Sopranos, Cracker...

This is shaping into a really, REALLY interesting series.

The teaser is here on YouTube:

Have a look and see what you think...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Galway Film Fleadh

Gearing up for the Fleadh next week and bringing three projects to the two day Fair.

Meeting n greeting n selling n hawking n finding out n learning n whiskey-ing n talking until my throat hurts....

Can't wait.

If you're going to be there, let me know!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Punky is off to Cork Conference...

We're off to talk about Punky in Cork!

Specifically, Gerard O'Rourke, producer, Monster Animation, Aimee Richardson, who brought Punky to life, and myself have been invited to take part in an “Arts for Living” Conference will take place in CIT's Cork School of Music (Curtis Auditorium) on Wednesday 27th June 2012.

The Conference runs from between 9am and 5pm and looks like a really interesting day. We three will take to the stage for half an hour to talk about how Punky came into being, why it had to and what impact it has had internationally, locally and personally.

The focus of the Conference is to explore how national and international arts projects are being developed by and with persons with a disability. Really looking forward to being there and it's a thrill to be asked to speak!

Have a look at the site in case you have a chance of attending:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How to Write & Sell A Feature in 6 Months...

Interesting article, if a little heavy on the 'you have six months to live' aspect that I'd be too superstitious to use in case I made it come true. And if I had only six months, my bucket list would be other stuff... but...

Basically, Carson Reeves says that if you can convince yourself that you have only six months left, you can write a commercial script that you feel passionate about and that you will sell... Mind you, not living in LA might be a disadvantage when it comes to making all the phone calls he suggests (around 200) but still, the principle and the meat of the article are stimulating...

Let me know what you think!

Do you have other methods to achieve the same goal?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Blue Skies ... Too Distracting?

Not sure.

Once I'm deeply involved in a piece of work, I don't even notice the sun is shining. Then I look up and feel guilty that I'm wasting it and, as we all know, we can't afford to waste good weather in Ireland.

Certainly not good, warm, sun killing-grass sort of weather.

But then deadlines guilt hits in, even if they are my own deadlines and not being able to tell if I've made any progress - which is often the way when you're in the middle of a project. When you can't see the wood for the squirrels and bison nibbling on the top branches and pooping all over the keyboard.

Vivid imaginations may be more of a distraction than sunshine.

I can write any number of doggerel rhymes about poker-playing flies and and tap-dancing snails when I'm meant to be writing something else that needs to make some sort of sense.

Thought of tying myself to the seat but then decided to make a coffee instead.

Then lunch.

Then had to hang washing out to catch the sun. Clothes just smell better when they've been dried outside. Memories of living in Australia flood back so I have another coffee to help me focus. And chocolate. Lots of guilty chocolate.

Then I want to sleep so I sit outside and read the newspaper.

And all the while the guilt builds up.... And up.... And THEN the work gets done. Heaps of it. All in a flurry and anyone who distracts me then has to step into the unfocussed lens of my fictional world to get attention. I could be in the middle of some tumultuous storm and I wouldn't know unless the computer died. (Though I would probably have to turn the light on in my shed).

So, on the whole, sunny days aren't the distraction at all.

Life is.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Six years after inception, WULFIE is ready to go.

Out into the world, to find a creative and talented publisher who will bring him to the World of Kids With Imagination who like fun stories...

It's just under 28,000 words long, in 25 chapters; aimed at children from six to nine, but also younger kids because it should be a fun story for the parents to read aloud.

Wulfie started life as stories I made up for my daughter when she was this age... Our laundry basket is even named after him although it is neither purple nor a wolf and is, unfortunately, unable to change shape despite the effort of people to stuff more clothes into it.

I would love to get feedback if anyone out there would like a book to read to their kids... Or to read to your inner kid! Feedback from an earlier draft included the comment that the language reminded them of Roald Dahl -- yep, I am HOLDING onto that bit, nursing it so it grows in strength and verity...

Roald Dahl gave tips to children's writers once that I wrote on a scrap of paper and pinned to the wall. I have no idea where the list is but it did mention to make the adults meaner than mean and to ensure every story featured chocolate.

My story features chocolate. Lots of chocolate cake!

Which reminds me, there's a cappuccino chocolate Swiss roll sitting in the fridge that I promised myself and my daughter a slab of as soon as I finished. She has been waiting patiently, albeit with little visits to my shed to remind me that it exists and is VERY, very tempting.

Got to go eat cake!

Monday, 21 May 2012

For kids with imagination: WULFIE, the first book

“Once upon a time there was a little girl called Libby. Her family didn’t like her very much. She tried to be nice to everyone but it wasn’t much use.”
“You’re not telling it right.”
“Am too…”
“Are not! Should be ‘Once upon a time there was a Big Bad Wolf...’ Every good story has a scary start. You should start with Rex being eaten.”
“Once upon a time, a little girl called Libby bopped The Big Bad Wolf on the head with her notebook and told him to mind his own toenails.”
“If you’re going to be like that.”
“Like what?”
“All huffy and snooty and GIRLY.”
“This is my story Wulfie… You’re just in it.”
“Oh,” said Wulfie and shrank a bit. He did this when he was upset. Or sad. Or feeling unloved. It’s much easier to feel unloved if you can curl into a ball and fall asleep in someone’s pocket.

Despite stated intentions to work on a stage play - which sits in pieces on my kitchen table, promising to be funny - I have found myself drawn back into the world of WULFIE and his pal Libby, aged 8. It's a book for 5-8 year-olds, based on an animation series I developed, which was based on stories I made up for my own daughter when she was about 7.

I had already honed the first three chapters so that they were ready to go out but then I asked my sister and niece to try them out on my little great nephew. It is such a fantastic help if you can get people to read your work before you send it out. But based on initial comments (there was mention of a similarity in the writing to that of Roald Dahl to which I am clinging with glee), I decided, just in case he likes the first three chapters, I need to have the rest of it polished up too.

The next reader is in Canberra. Apparently, so long as it doesn't mention the slaughter of cows, it has to be an improvement on the last books he got!

Polishing, in the case of WULFIE means reading it aloud, pretending to be anywhere between the ages of five and eight. But that's not too hard. As plenty of my friends will attest, I haven't really ever grown up, not fully.

It also means having fun with language and image and rhythm, making sure it all fires along at a good pace and is playful to read. Not talking down to kids but making sure the story will carry them along and keep them turning pages.

I'm not sure of the beginning yet. I'm not even 100% sure I'm starting this series with the right story. But I am certain that it will be worth sending out when I'm done.

I hope!

Friday, 18 May 2012

I have finally finished rewriting my comedy with romantic aspirations, The Perfect Man....

Feels very strange not to have her sitting on my shoulder whispering strange and fearsome mutterings!

I'm wondering if, by including the word 'Perfect' in the title, I have added an unfortunate jinx to the script. Something to live up to that most of us can't.

I know that the rewrite was not going well at all while it's working title on my computer screen was 'Perfect'. I tore it apart, tore it apart some more, took all the characters out into their own individual files and tried to put it back together again. And again. And again. It was a case of five steps forward, then a pummel to the stomach and I was ten steps off to one side clutching a hairy monster of a sequence that wouldn't work. And feeling as if I was underwater. I could see how I wanted it to be.... I just couldn't work out the steps to get there.

Then I reverted to its original title, 'Sleep Tight Snow White' for the duration of the rewrite. On the computer screen, it was saved as simply 'Snow' and it became do-able again.

Now she has gone out to readers, who will hopefully have time to read and love it (yup, I'm not looking for much) and then I'll know how to make it better.

But for now, she's off my shoulders, I am trying not to think of her- it's hard, she's been trailing me for months, if not years - and I am feeling physically taller. It's odd. And it won't last. It'll only last till I get bogged down in the next rewrite of another script that is glaring at me from the shelf. Or I get feedback and try to make sense of it so I can work out how to make it better. Sob.

Which is why I'm turning my attention not to another script, not for a week or so, but back to my pre-teen book about my lovely little and occasionally huge-as-a-house purple wolf.

Happy scribblings.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

What Broadcasters (DON'T) Want... # 3

Since we all know the joys of getting notes we don't want on scripts that we want to be perfect, here - again from Alix Wiseman, Head of Sales and Acquisitions, Aardmann Animation who spoke at the Media Focus in Animation seminar last month - are the 'dislikes' she has come across.

1. Too many songs - they're expensive to dub.

2. Narrators - apparently French broadcasters hate narrators in animation

3. Fantasy-based shows. They want the shows to be "relatable".

This may be why a storyline I wrote for a series that was produced was rejected as being too culturally biased. I had been given the title of the episode which involved "... and the North Pole". I wrote a piece with Santa in it, only he'd moved to the South Pole because no-one loved him. When the central character finds him and tries to make things right, all her magic backfires because she's at the wrong pole. Magnetically.

So all her spells have the opposite (devastating/ comic/ chaotic) effect. But it wouldn't be acceptable in Asia or something; too culturally-specific.

4. Excessive violence in boy-skewed shows.

5. Anthropomorphic vehicle shows. Apparently there's a fatigue in the market.

6. Inappropriate content.

Here we come to p.c. gone mad. I developed something once where I was advised that poison could not be put out for a mouse in case some child watching tried to eat mouse poison. Or climb in a window. Or climb a tree. If you think about it in a positive or whiskey-fuelled mood, you could say it forces us to come up with something more brilliant/ creative/ inspired. But there are many other moods to have in between...

And here's the truly mad one:

7. Poo.

The American broadcasters will not accept the depiction of poo in an animated series. It cost Aardmann thousands to digitally remove every poo in their first series of Shaun The Sheep. (

The poo, she was told, was a deal breaker. Series 2, apparently, has no poo.

Not one.

Not even the whiff of a poo hiding behind a burlap sack.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What Broadcasters Want... part 2

Continuing the series of What Broadcasters Want...

...based on the presumption that if we know and if that knowledge is filed away like a freshly laundered sheet - the sort you only ever get in hotels - at the back of our effervescent and teeming brains, then maybe, just maybe, the next idea we come up with for a children's animation series will actually fit ALL the criteria and get onto the screen.

These gems are also from Alix Wiseman, Head of Sales and Acquisitions, Aardman Animation, talking at Media's event, Focus on Animation, on April 30th: -

What a broadcaster likes:
1. Publishing-based properties
2. Funny stuff
3. Gender neutral
4. Well-fleshed out characters
5. No dialogue (because dubbing is costly)
6. Strong home-market TV platform
7. Good home and international ratings
8. Compelling on-line strategy. (Ie kids will ow where to find it.)
9. Dubbed-episode/ pilot.

Who said it was difficult?

It's funny but I have a feeling that if I focussed too hard on these specific requirements, I might never come up with another idea. I think the best approach is to find that gem, play with it until it is a fully formed and wickedly imaginative idea, then hone it down a little into something that won't scare people off -- my original treatment for Punky back in 2007, for example, was deemed to have "too much going on" and therefore wasn't saleable/ appealing to animation producers/ commercial; it was a hard lesson -- and then believe in it until lots of other people do.

Yup. Easy!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

What are broadcasters looking for?

Attended a fantastic day in The Lighthouse, organised by Media last Monday (30th) called Focus on Animation.

Among the many gems - and I'll try to share more as the week goes on - was this, from the presentation by Alix Wiseman, Head of Sales & Acquisitions, Aardman Animation.

She asked the question, what are broadcasters looking for?

The answer:

"We’d like a vertically integrated 360 transmedia bluesky fish-out-of-water tentpole comedy show with a popping takeaway please..."

Hmm. Yup, we can all do that. Sure we can. It's just a matter of coming up with a brilliant idea and squeezing it though all the hoops and whining gurneys until it ticks all the boxes and dances on its two left feet. Probably to the Merengue. And makes us all millionaires.

Fortunately, she explained that all they really want is that they want is something that is :

"...Funny, commercial, unique, original and audiences should get the warm tingly feeling of viewer satisfaction at the end of every episode."

Same thing really, possibly without the Merengue. Probably with animals, ideally non-gender specific so the merchandise can fill the pink aisle and the blue aisle at the same time and make us multi-millionaires. Maybe adding in some catchy tunes - without words cos dubbing costs but more on that next time.

Coming up next:

The likes and dislikes of broadcasters considering your animation series... Again, according to Alix Wiseman. And other wise words!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Punky heads to Finland!

PUNKY, THE PHENOMENON OF...: Punky heads to Finland!: Finland, the fifth largest country in Western Europe, has become the latest territory to embrace PUNKY. . "Matkusta hyvin pikkuinen"... wh...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Monday next, the 30th of April is the third get together between animation directors, animators and writers. The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland is allowing us to use their lovely Screening Room in Temple Bar again so if you would like to go, please let me know asap. It runs from 7-9, pretty informal, an excuse to meet and mingle between the species!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Derry here we come

PUNKY is among four nominees in the Celtic Media Festival's Children's TV awards section alongside two from BBC Alba(Scotland) and one from Wales so I'm hotfooting it to the lovely city of Derry this evening.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow aft, it's a great upbeat excuse to return to the city. But then you don't need much of an excuse to visit Derry... except the five hour EACH WAY by train. Which is why I'm breaking records to try and get as much material to the stage of printing so that I have plenty of work to entertain me en route!

In case you haven't heard and are interested in attending, I'm organising a third networking event for animators, animation directors and writers on April 30th. Same place, same time, but it's filling fast so let me know if you want to come! The group is now officially called the Creatives in Animation Network.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Zebbies are coming up

...The awards night organised by the Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild to celebrate Irish writers is on May 10th in The Sugar Club and the more of us can make it, the better the night will be.

It's always a good night, a chance to catch up with fellow writers and dress up just a little... (The dress code is Writers' Chic... You can see what this is in photos from last year on the Guild website. I MUST learn not to kick my leg up and across photos. It just doesn't look as smooth as it feels at that late stage of the night when photos seem to be taken!) )

Anyway, tickets are 15 euro for members and 25 for those who haven't yet paid subs this year...More details are at

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Second Success for the Animation Networking Group

March 12th, an empty room in Temple Bar fills with the hum of conversation and networking at its finest -- good conversation, interesting people, nobody actually selling anything but enjoying each other's company and making connections.

We had another great group -- some managed to make it back from the first but, as usual, we all ran out of time and I'm not sure we all managed to talk to everyone but that's why the network is growing.

All being well, I'm planning another for April 30th. Which seems miles away but dates can creep up on padded toes in a very underhand way when life is busy! So, if you want to come, let me know and I'll put your name down. It is a fantastic way to make connections. If the energy in the room and the sheer heat of the space was anything to go by during the first two, something good will come from it.

And a huge big thank you again to the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, to Birch and Angie who came along on the night, for the wonderful space.

Friday, 16 March 2012

SMOCK ALLEY... a preview

Still trying to pull all the pieces together to ensure that my play about George Farquhar, bawdy n bold as it is, gets on to the stage in Smock Alley next year.

The idea is that it will rehearse in Dublin, most likely, with Stephen Bradley in the lead - he was born to play this part. It will premiere in Derry in September 2013 as part of their UK City of Culture, as the lead play of a second Farquhar Festival produced by Jonathon Burgess. Then, the idea is for it to come to Dublin for a month to Smock.

After all, it's the theatre that gave George his best anecdote - and possibly his most embarrassing and traumatic story, one I don't believe he would ever have revelled in telling. It's the 'ghost in the machine' if you like and the reason he became a writer.

This was the occasion when, while acting on the Smock Alley stage at the tail end of the 17th century, he accidentally stabbed a fellow actor with a sword having forgotten to switch it for a foil. The actor, price, did survive and acted again but, fortunately for everyone who likes George Farquhar's work, it was, essentially, the end of his career as an actor.

Friday, 2 March 2012


MONKEY PUZZLE TREE has been named as a finalist in the Codelia Award of the Hollywood-based BlueCat Screenplay competition for UK/ International scripts and a semi-finalist in the overall BlueCat competition 2012!

Only heard last night and I have whooped several times to myself already this morning!

For the Cordelia Award - UK and Ireland - there are six finalists out of 493 scripts, but overall there were 2,754 scripts submitted.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

New nomination for Punky

PUNKY has been shortlisted in the Celtic Media Festival! Even better, CMF is being held in Derry, one of my favourite cities, on 18 - 20 April!

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Next Animation Networking Event for writers and animation directors...

Yup, it's a snappy title. I can't help them - they just flood from the keyboard!

Anyway, following on the success and popularity of the first networking event, I'm organising another one to take place on March 12th in Temple Bar.

The purpose of these events is to bring writers and animation directors together and see if we can't start collaborating with each other on various projects from shorts to features to series to, even, books. Who knows? There was so much creativity in the SDGI Screening Room the last time that if I hadn't called it to a close, I suspect we might still be there now! (Okay, slight exaggeration.)

There will be another event six weeks later on April 23rd and I'm hoping that we can get a Facebook Page up for on-line networking after the next one. There is a waiting list from the last event on Jan 31st but if you want to be part of the momentum, let me know.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

PUNKY Dresses Up For The IFTA Awards Night....

Gearing up for a big day on Saturday 11th.

With PUNKY up for two IFTA nominations... with floor length gown and tux specified for entry along the red carpet into the new Conference Centre for the award ceremony... this could be one of the biggest nights for PUNKY!

The nominations are for Childrens/ Young People's Programme and for Sound Design. To everyone who voted for us, a heartfelt thanks.

But then it has already been a big nine months for PUNKY between the launch at the end of April, multiple screenings on RTEjr since May 3rd, to the overwhemingly positive response internationally - virally via the web, DVD's being sent overseas and word of mouth - to Gerard O'Rourke winning European Producer of the Year at Cartoon Forum last September and Target Entertainment coming on as distributor to launch the series internationally at MIPCom last October...

So Saturday already feels like a real celebration of all that has been achieved -- and very far from the scribblings of an idea that I had back in 2007!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

BLUECAT Quarter Finalist: Monkey Puzzle Tree

My second newest script, MONKEY PUZZLE TREE, just got into the quarter finals of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition 2012 out of over 2700 scripts.

It's a nice little nudge of, well, niceness/ nice news/ commendation on a freezing cold morning in a wooden shed looking at wallflowers!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Animation Networking Event is now officially and enthusiastically ALIVE!

The inaugural meeting last night of the Animation Networking Event - yes, we are on the hunt for a title for the group, all suggestions welcome - was a fantastic night. So many talented and enthusiastic people in one room, all with the desire to collaborate. Writers came from every field from theatre, animation and soap with a desire to work on ideas from horror shorts to pre-school TV, from post watershed TV series to features and competition shorts. The animators came from backgrounds in modelling, 2D, stop motion, 2.5 D, flash, concept design, games...

Best of all, everyone was of the opinion that the bringing together of our two species - animators and writers - should have happened a long time ago, can only lead to good things - maybe in two days, two months, two years... and that the group was overwhelmingly worth developing into a viable and long-term critical mass...


Wednesday, 25 January 2012



Next Monday 30th at 7pm, the first networking event to bring together a group of writers and animators takes place in Temple Bar. Limited by space, there are three spaces remaining for animators.

The initiative will, hopefully, become a monthly event – there is great interest on both sides and a waiting list of writers and animators for the next event – but we do need to make sure there is an even mix of writers and animators for the idea to work. Hence we need three more animators for this event so we can get this series off the ground.

My hope is that these evenings will bean opportunity for animators and animation directors and writers interested in or already writing in animation to meet in comfort, with a cup in their hand and get to know each other. The meetings will last about two hours and there is no cost involved. The hope is that various collaborations and partnerships may form that might lead to new, creative and wonderful work in animation. We have great writers lined up for this one and a waiting list of writers and animators for the ones to follow. But we need three more animators to come on next Monday .

The initiative is supported by The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild (IPSG) and SDGI.

All animation directors and writers working or interested in working in animation are welcome; if you can’t make this one, let me know you’re interested and I’ll put your name down for the next one.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


... The Attic Studio have confirmed that they will do a reading of my romcom on Jan 31st. Having seen the calibre of the acting overall during just two visits to its below ground basement home in Filmbase, I'm getting pretty excited.

I've learnt in the past six months how much, as a writer, I can get from a reading of any of my work but especially something that doesn't quite work. With this script, feedback on the first draft was very positive by three of the four readers, but what was interesting was that there was little agreement about what was wrong. What one reader loved, another hated... Which is why this reading is so important to me.

I need to hear it to know for myself what works. To garner feedback from actors, other writers, directors that I can spin around in my head and use to figure out what I need to change or work on or maybe even, if I'm lucky, how to make it great!

And I have 24 hours to complete the rewrite. Why am I blogging? To spur myself on!

To all who are currently in the midst of a rewrite, GOOD LUCK and COURAGE!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Should have mentioned that you need to let me know if you want to come along. The Screening Room isn't huge and we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to mingle and talk. Email me or let me know via this blog/ Facebook/LinkedIn if you want to attend, Lindsay

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Animators need writers and writers who like to write animation scripts need someone to bring them alive.

Here’s an opportunity to informally meet your counterpart and, hopefully, strike up relationships that might lead to new, creative and wonderful work in animation

On Monday 30th at 7pm in the Screen Directors’ Guild Screening Room in Temple Bar, The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) and The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild (IPSG) are inviting writers and animation directors to the first ANIMATION NETWORKING EVENT.

The idea is that animation directors and writers interested in or already writing in animation can meet in comfort, with a cup in their hand and get to know each other. The hope is that various collaborations and partnerships may form that will lead to interesting work in the field. It came about from a Screen Training Ireland gig when I broached the subject of where, as a writer, I could submit animation scripts. There didn’t really seem to be anywhere. Most companies create in-house and if you can’t draw, it can be hard to get a writing paw in the door.

And we need each other. Take PUNKY. I could have rattled around with that idea for years. As I have done with lots of other animation ideas and scripts. But for Monster Animation deciding to put their creative juices into it, it would still be an idea on a page. This, as a writer is frustrating. (Okay, basically, I wish I could draw!) To date, it’s turning into a very successful series that is on the verge of selling internationally in five countries that I know of, won the Producer of the Year Award for Gerard O’Rourke and has been nominated for two IFTAs.

But it seems to be crucial to develop ideas with the animation directors of companies, for the simple reason that if they are employed by a company, they need to be involved in most ideas produced by that company. Bringing a written idea from outside is difficult.

Surely for animators who need new ideas, who haven’t studied screenwriting or find it less interesting than drawing, it must be equally frustrating.

So this new group will meet on a regular basis. All animation directors and writers working or interested in working in animation are welcome; if you can’t make this one, let me know you’re interested and I’ll put your name down for the next one.

Could be fun!! Could be an interesting way to meet fellow writers and animators!! Could be the start of something amazing!!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

ARCHANGEL in Dublin for one night only

A fantastic cast is gathering tonight in The Lab, Foley Street to do a rehearsed reading of the pilot script for my tv series, ARCHANGEL. Can't wait!

Last night's read-through was great fun; even some faces in the cast that I hadn't met for over 20 years. Same happened at the new York reading in September. Small world full of talent.

Tonight's event is organised by Anna Olson Nugent and Paul Nugent, as was the reading in the New York Rep... Here's hoping this is a further step towards the series getting made!