Friday, 20 December 2013

Make Things Happen : 2013, phew, you were good!

Last year I said I wanted to get stuff produced. It was a simple, desperate sort of yearning born from years of frustration. Scripts, as we all know, are no use winking at us from the shelf - they need to be realised, brought to life and that's a collaborative exercise that isn't always without deep, even root-canal-level trauma!

But it worked!

I had two plays staged - SALT ON OUR SKIN in Smock Alley (performed by Aoife Moore, directed by Antoinette Duffy) and BY MR FARQUHAR (performed by Stephen Bradley and Kate O'Rourke, director Caroline Brady) in the enormous Waterside Theatre, Derry - this after a gap of 15 years!

A fellow writer asked me in January what I wished for in 2013 and I said I'd always wanted a theatre commission -- and I got it! I got my first stage commission from the Co. Wexford Youth Theatre. A contemporary, powerful piece for a cast of 24 - the working title is ELEPHANT - , it is now cast and due for production in February next year with Arts Council (Young Ensemble) support.

I have two films under option - the live action one is due to shoot next April, all being well; it has some cast n crew attached; the other is an animated feature with a studio attached and seeking development funding.

I had my first short film made in years - BARZAKH, directed by Donogh MacCarthy Morrogh - and it became my first award-winning short; next stop London Film Festival in January. I saw it in a 300+ seater cinema at the Cork International Film Festival in November which was awesome, especially given the company it was in. It's next up at the London Short Film Festival on Jaunary 18th!

I've also seen the second series of my IFTA-nominated animation series, PUNKY, (Geronimo Animation) go on air and another, WULFIE get Media funding to allow for full development with Monster Entertainment. We've rewritten the bible, they've taken it to Mipcom and now we're working on scripts for the Kidscreen package.

My CREATIVES IN ANIMATITON NETWORK nearly doubled in size though we only managed three meetings - but there are now several active collaborations happening, some of them with funding, which is exciting! It's lovely to be there at the start of something!

Then, out of the blue, I was asked to write scripts for my first app in November - launch should be early next year but it looks amazingly, undeniably sweet and magical and fun. Great animation by Giant Animation/ Dan Spenser and software by Marino Software/ Heidi Egger but I can't say any more for now.

I also started work as a creative consultant on my first kids' game unexpectedly - NewzMonkeys, produced by Carmel Crawford in Dundalk. Pre-launch registration opened in November and feedback from test groups is wonderful.

Out fo the Galway Film Fleadh, I began developing my first comedy drama series. Best thing is that the producer is someone with whom I've always wanted to work. That's a pleasure in itself and lovely to be working with someone fromt he very start whose vision is as ambitious as your own! And in December, a new contact has led me to write my first radio series pitches in years for an independent company who have the energy to make stuff happen.

In the downtime, I finished two children's novels. These are out seeking publishers; others were put on hold because the feature scripts from which they grew have come to life again.

For the first time, I moderated... at SDGI's Digital Biscuit, interviewing the wonderful Chris Nee, creator of Doc McStuffins - I loved it! I also sat on an animation panel in the IFI and I taught two courses in Filmbase with two really good groups of students from whom I expect great things!

And then, to top it all, I got engaged!

(Yeah, I know that has nothing to do with work but then it sort of does because his support and enthusiasm for my work is wonderful and necessary, especially when everything seems to be exploding under your feet into smelly gloop and you need someone to hold you up so you don't sink too far.)

And yet, this is only the stuff that happened.

It's not the other series that were optioned or that I developed for various companies... or the many scripts - shorts and features - that were entered into competitions and sometimes shortlisted (Pigpen: semi-finalist, Screenwriting Goldmine; Salt: shortlisted RTE/ Filmbase)

Neither does the list include all the interesting people I met this year with whom I would love to work in the year(s) ahead -- if we can just find the right project or the right constellation of stars zooms into orbit and whispers 'you have funding' in our ears!!

Before I made this list, I was thinking that I hadn't done much this year at all, wasted tons of time intending to do things... Mastering the Art of Procrastination to award level. Now I think I might take a few days off even though the pre-Christmas hummmmm has quietened! (Unless I decide to reward myself by starting to brainstorm another feature project that might be the first new script of 2013!)

Mind you, I'm waiting feedback on several projects at present so my sense of achievement could yet be nicely rocked into a supreme lack of confidence and panic as soon as various production companies return to work on Jan 6th so I'm just going to enjoy this satisfied 'lull'.

Cos, regardless of what happens to our dreams and projects, we keep doing it, don't we? We keep writing because we make MAGIC! I hope 2014 brings that magic to life for all of you in at least some of the projects you've dreamt up.

Happy New Year !

Monday, 25 November 2013

NewzMonkeys - the first game I've been involved in!

TODAY is the day a new game appears on-line, produced by Carmel Crawford and her team out of Dundalk, called NewzMonkeys. It's set in the adventure-filled fantasy world of Scoopstown and allows you play a range of fun mini-games, write and submit reports on what’s happening in your world and share them with all your friends on NewzMonkeys.

Having had 13 years experience as a freelance journo (writing under three different names!) before becoming a full-time writer of slightly stranger stuff, it has been great fun being a consultant on the creative content.

The full launch will be early next year but registration opens tomorrow and for kids who register now, as part of the First Generation Team, they will have access to the new information website, where they can keep informed about Newzmonkeys – The Game, its development and ultimately its launch. They will be the first to know when they can access Newzmonkeys for real - they might even get to pre-test the game before the launch.

In addition...

• New members will be emailed a special Christmas edition of the Treetop Times . Packed with puzzles, games, updates on Newzmonkeys and much more.

• They can become featured reporters by sending in articles. Their reviews and news could be used in January's Treetop Times.

• They may get to visit the Design Studio to meet the games development team and see how the game is created and developed.

Oh and by the way, it costs nothing to register! It's a great game for children who love words or want to write - and for those you'd like to perhaps encourage to write or play with words a bit more! Feedback from test groups has been very positive already.

Friday, 22 November 2013

PUNKY Series 2 starts Monday on RTE2

PUNKY Series 2 starts on Monday (25th November) at 9am on RTE2, with the repeat starting at 2pm on the same channel from Dec 2nd.

Produced by Geronimo Animation (Formerly Monster Animation) and directed by Simon Crane.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Another great night

For what was meant to be the final Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) event of 2013, funny how it ended with talk of another gathering before Christmas, although this one possibly in the Palace Bar!

It was a great night. Largest group yet. Loads of newcomers. Again, the only thing you can be sure of with these gatherings is that you will be in a room full of interesting, talented people all keen to create animation and last night was no exception.

Some of the feedback from newcomers to the network:-
"I am only happy to tell that it was inspirational to meet and talk to so many creative people last night at the CAN..."

"Great CAN event last night, very inspiring conversations ..."

"Please keep me on your CAN list as I do feel that networks like this are very useful and great for meeting potential new colleagues and friends..."

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Punky heads into the Middle East...

Latest news from Mipcom is that Al Jazera have bought Punky. Also, a bit belatedly, here's a lovely recent article about the star of the show, Aimee Richardson, who plays Punky, and her Dad;

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Next date for the diary: 8th CAN Event on October 21st

Roasted Brown are allowing us to use their great space again so the next gathering of the Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) is on Monday 21st October.

Venue: First Floor, Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 in the Roasted Brown cafe space.

TIME: 7 - 9pm

Writers and animators with experience who are interested in collaborating. See the dedicated page on this blog for more information on our goals. Collaborations have already happened at all levels, from features to shorts....

We have writers of animation for children and adults, of comic books and feature scripts, of shorts dark and witty or simply strange - we have animators - 3d, 2d, 2.5d, working in flash, mya, stop motion, animation directors, vfx specialists, illustrators, artists.... It's not possible to list everyone's skillset but the link is that we all love being creative and we all want to make animation.

There'll be a 2 euro cover charge to cover the space and tea/coffee.

Spread the word but let me know if you're coming along so I can keep an eye on numbers. The Galway gathering was a bit lopsided because of the demands on people by the Fleadh and I want to make sure the balance is better this time.

Email me at if you've any questions.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

WULFIE is in Cannes...

The series that began as a series of bedtime stories for my daughter is off to the big league....

With wonderful new drawings by Aaron Blecha, ( under the watchful eye of Andrew Fitzpatrick and Deirdre Barry of Monster Entertainment and with former SpongeBob head writer/ story editor on board, Wulfie is at MipCom, out to win hearts and minds.

Odd to remember back to the creation of these characters, on chilly winter nights. At that stage, Wulfie lived almost entirely on a diet of dirty socks - my way of explaining to myself how there are always 17 - yes, 17 - odd socks in our house. Our laundry basket has been called Wulfie ever since.

This is also why the lead character has my daughter's name. When I ran out of steam, I'd ask her to throw me words - a location, an object, a sound - and then, armed with this outside stimulus, I'd weave it in and find my feet again as a storyteller.

So, as a series, as characters, as a world, Wulfie is part of our lives and very, very special. I believe it has become special also to Monster Entertainment and the creative team behind the Mipcom pitch... Now it's time for Wulfie to spread his magic in Cannes.....

Thursday, 3 October 2013

PIGPEN made it into the semi-finals!

Just heard today that PIGPEN made it into the semi-finals of the Screenwriting Goldmine Awards!

I've only ever once had another feature in the semi-finals - PIA, in the Bluecat Screenplay Competition 2011 - but now I remember why, sometimes, it's good to enter competitions... but mostly, I love having (i.e. really, really NEED) a deadline and try not to hope for too much after that!

Mind you, for every script/ novel/ play that makes it onto any short-list, I can guarantee you that there are ten that haven't so I shall have myself a little glass of wine tonight and hoot quietly and happily to myself like a little owl.

Congrats too to everyone else on the list and to all those who were in the quarter finals with me.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


BARZAKH has been selected for the 7th Waterford Film Festival ( for the 58th Cork International Film Festival, both in November... It's FESTIVAL TIME!

There's also a lovely article in Film Ireland about the film:

November should be a fun month!

for more info on the film iteslf and the people around it, there's a dedicated page and here's the link:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

By Mr Farquhar: Curtains Down - For Now!

FARQUHAR: FAST AND FURIOUS: Curtains Down - For Now!:

A huge thank you to the cast and crew for bringing my play to life so powerfully. To Stephen Bradley and Kate McSwiney O'Rourke, the a...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Registering Copyright - do you need to?

Interesting article about registering copyrightat

It's written for the US market really but I did register several script years ago with the WGA - before I entered competitions - and it's still possibly the cheapest way to do it officially.

I know you can post yourself the script by registered mail but every time I've done that, I've then forgotten by the time it arrived and got so excited about getting a parcel that I've ripped it open.

Yep. It's sort of a 'D'oh' moment but usually with more swearing.

As far as I know, copyright exists the minute you write an idea up so the more you have written about a series or feature you're developing, the stronger your claim to copyright. And if you can manage not to rip open the parcel when it arrives, registered mail is still a good way to prove you were the author of that idea on that day.

Also, if you sit down at a meeting with a producer/ director/ possible collaborator, you can (respectfully, and not appearing to be paranoid or they won't talk to you anyway) say that the idea(s) you're discussing are between you both and that you'd like him/ her to tell you if they want to discuss it with a third person. I think this binds them to respect your copyright... But if you talk about an idea in a bar, you can't complain because anyone could have heard it...

Have to say, though, that it felt pretty cool to have the WGA certificate saying that on that particular day, I had created it and it was official!

I had a great time about 15 years ago when my apple computer started saving everything in 1935. I daydreamed about the scripts I could download and claim were mine, even as I feared my computer had been eaten up by a long toothed genie from the inside. Then I found out it was a battery that had gone.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Women in Animation UK is Live

Last Tuesday saw the launch of a UK (and Ireland) branch of Women in Animation at Mind Candy studios in London. The network has been launched by Lindsay Watson of Canuk Productions, pictured left with Kate O'Connor, Deputy CEO/ Executive Director of Creative Skillset UK.

Great night, wonderful people; everyone has been invited to feed their ideas into the group so that it can be designed to provide exactly what individual members think is important - such as mentoring, networking, advice.

I'll keep you posted but if anyone wants to contact the network directly, you can contact Lindsay Watson at

Friday, 13 September 2013

By Mr Farquhar - Change of venue and dates

The dates and venue have been changed for the Derry play. It's now on in the wonderful Waterside Theatre on Tuesday 24th, Weds 25th, Thurs 26th, Friday 27th and Sunday 29th September at 8pm. No Saturday night.... Here's a taster of what to expect...

For the publicity machine, Barbara Henkes took a series of pics on the roof of Filmbase in Dublin with me clutching a copy of George Farquhar's comedy, The Beaux Stratagem. This is the one she took when she told me to wave my arms around and shake my head and then said, 'Stop!' --- so I did!

Friday, 6 September 2013

My feature script, PIGPEN makes Goldmine Quarter Finals

PIGPEN just made it into the quarter finals of the Screenwriting Goldmine Awards in the UK. (

I haven't entered a competition in ages so I'd forgotten how wonderful it feels to see your name on the list! It's my only blockbuster feature too - a nasty, violent prison-breakout movie script... Those of you who have known me for a long time will remember when it began. It has a long history, this particular script.

Meanwhile, signed the option and am working on a rewrite of another feature we're hoping to make next Spring - really exciting but I don't want to say much until the funding's in place... Only that it's lovely to rewrite a script not because someone thinks it should go in a different direction but because someone who is raising money and determined to make it wants to make it easier to film in a practical way. I'm actually enjoying the process, having not looked at the script for a year.

Also, development on my next animation series, WULFIE continues apace with Mipcom looming. The artist Aaron Blecha ( is doing the concepts which are really lovely and Sponge Bob headwriter Steven Banks has joined the creative team. I'm developing the series with Monster Entertainment.

And my next stage play, BY MR FARQUHAR, opens in less than three weeks in Derry. ( They're shooting a trailer/ teaser on Monday - excited to see it and it will be great to have something tangible to share.

Turning into an interesting year!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

By Mr Farquhar has a poster!

FARQUHAR: FAST AND FURIOUS: My play, BY MR FARQUHAR, is now deep into rehearsa...:

The play is really, really happening. We have a poster! There's a fantastic creative team all trying to bring my words to life in the sexiest way possible!! The play opens on Weds 25th October in the Foyle Theatre, Derry and for a week until, and including, Tues 1st October ... Anyone fancy a weekend in a beautiful and historic walled city with an evening of theatre in the middle?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Barzakh is now an award-winner!

Barzakh has been awarded co-first prize for the local category in the recent Underground Short Film Festival in Cork. Congrats to all involved -- and to co-winners, "The Handsome Shadows"!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Odd but surprisingly loyal bedmates: Despair and the Writer

You know when you have a project and you think it's there.

You think it works and you feel happy, relieved, pleased with what you have achieved. Then along comes someone wanting to work on the project, to actually make it happen, and the feedback you get - and need to act upon if you want this collaboration to work - leads you to eviscerate your play, book, script.

There can be few feelings related to work that are more debilitating. You pull your project apart, and then some, because you believe deep down you can make it better. You try to change the structure, the characters, the tone... and there's that awful moment when you find you have nothing left.

Nothing works.

Not the characters or the structure or the tone.

You doubt that you can write at all. You doubt you can do this project, that you can achieve anything worthwhile or of which you can be proud .

But the thing is, it worked before.

You know this.

The journey you are on now is meant to make it EVEN better. That's why it's so painful. That's why you can't tell if it's working or not. Why you don't know if what you are doing is not only failing to make it better but is actually making it worse...

Until you've put the hours in, taken the risks and made the mistakes and finally, finally, it comes together. Maybe bit by bit, maybe in one of those wonderful creative bursts.

And then, when you relax and realise you can do this and it will be better, then it's all worthwhile.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

On the festival circuit... Barzakh gets Cork airing!

News just in: the short film I wrote, BARZAKH, has been selected for the "UnderGround Short Film Festival 2013". Screening at 8pm August 10th in the Kino, Cork.!underground-13/c1x9v

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's Official - the Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) is still growing!

Lovely piece in the Irish Film & Television Network (IFTN) e-newspaper:

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Only a Few days to the Creatives in Animation Network's First Galway Event!!

Galway is hotting up in honour of our next network event! Okay, so the sun just happened to come out this week, but maybe it's an omen of wonderfully creative collaborative partnerships to come from this latest CAN gathering!

So I'm seriously looking forward to hosting this first CAN event in the West. If you're in the city and you want to find like-minded people who want to create animation, come along at 11.30 to the Joyce Suite, First Floor, Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday 12th at 11.30 - 1.30.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Making Your Wickdly Fertile Imagination Work

Definition of Bully: The Dingo
Blu bra - i.e. I fancy you
Tiger - tossing - i.e. his brother
Stars and atoms - make them listen
M - It wasn't your fault.

Every so often when I'm in the middle of a project - in this case a play - I find scraps of notes I've made for myself that make - or made - sense to me then but now, if I were to take each separately and without context, I could probably create a wholly new piece of work.

Possibly surreal, if you look at the list above.

But it makes me feel so fortunate that I am in a job that needs imagination, lateral thinking, a slight "madness of the heart and soul and tiptoe crazy on the moon" (to quote one of my characters, Eve from Salt on Our Skin).

Even so, making yourself do the work that will birth the characters, language, dialogue, visuals, relationships, stories can be hard, can be frustrating. Not least when you do get down to it and hate yourself for having wasted so much time to get there.

But is there such a thing as wasted time - are our brains ticking over, working it out, storing something magical there to reward us with? I hope so because sometimes I find myself circling the work like a nervous crow, picking it up, putting it down, doing anything else, faffing as if it were a new and lucrative art form...

Two bits of advice that have kept me sane:
1. Don't expect everything you write to be good. You have to get the abysmal stuff out of you too! If you expect to write something magnificent every time, fear will stop you from writing, allow you to procrastinate into a state of utter frustration and dislike, and the disappointment of the bad stuff you do write might discourage you from ever finishing a piece of work. Just get the words down - nobody else can.

2. Do up a schedule of small tasks, single steps that will allow you to do the writing work you want to do and keep to it (more or less) religiously, unless you get so into the writing that you get carried away, which is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.

These tasks could be to brainstorm a character, a scene, an element of the narrative; to list out the chapters and see what happens in each; to pick up something that is bothering you about the project and see where it goes; to edit one chapter, one scene, the first ten minutes of a script - or the last; anything that allows you to build up the project and prevents you from being daunted by its sheer size...

They say you can only truly enjoy freedom when it's scheduled in - which seems bizarre but think of how good that walk/ chocolate/ next chapter of the book you're dying to read will feel if you've actually made some headway into your current writing project? How good you will feel about yourself.

In other words, reward your fertile imagination by giving it space in which to grow.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

IFTN Welcomes Creatives in Animation Network to the Fleadh!

Lovely article in IFTN about the event...

Monday, 1 July 2013

CAN Goes to the Fleadh!

The second Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) event of 2013 is confirmed for the Galway Film Fleadh. This, the first time the network has met outside of Dublin, will take place in the Joyce Suite, First Floor, Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday 12th July, from 11.30-1.30.

These are informal gatherings open to anyone genuinely interested in collaborating professionally and creatively within the animation industry - writers, animators, producers, directors, scribblers and illustrators. We meet and mingle, making contact with a view to following up later if we meet someone with whom we feel they might like to work.

If you want to come, please let me know at

For more information check out the dedicated Creatives in Animation Network page on this blog.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Elephant in the Room

Just heard that CWYT, Co. Wexford Youth Theatre, is to receive a Young Ensembles Award from the Arts Council for the fourth time. The project is pretty wonderful and necessary and provoking and a force for good/ change/ a wake up call and I am fortunate enough - and excited to be - the playwright they've invited to devise and create the script.

The subject, chosen by the young actors in the company, is one they feel needs to be addressed and urgently, that of teen suicide. Working title is The Elephant in the Room. The statistics are scary; the truth behind each death is scarier still. The young people in this company (aged 13-16) know there has to be a way to convince their peers that suicide and self harm is NOT the solution.

That things can get better.

That there are other options.

Options that leave you alive to enjoy your future.

The ideas are flooding out. Lines are coming from out of the blue; powerful scenarios and theatrical distillations, characters and voices that want to be heard.

This is the chance to create a powerful, memorable piece of theatre that really has something to say and, though it sounds corny, I have been gifted a chance to try to make a difference.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Go Barzakh!

BARZAKH has been officially selected for the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival in Schull (May 22-26th)!

Sixth CAN Gathering ... and the network grows!

Another great gathering of creative people last night -- members new and old -- that's the sixth gathering of the Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) now and through LinkedIn, Facebook and the meetings, we have about 140 members...

Next one will be during the Fleadh in Galway (first week of July)...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Monday's CAN event...

Looking forward to the next Creatives in Animation Network (CAN) get together tomorrow --If anyone is hoping to come that hasn't contacted me, can you let me know because numbers are higher this time round and the space will only hold so many before we use up all the oxygen!

Friday, 10 May 2013



I've uploaded a general information sheet on everything you need to know about the network - goals, history, criteria for joining, focus for the events etc...- onto my google drive so you can download it from this link.

Pass it on to anyone you think might be curious!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Barzakh - the first review!

Great review from the Cork Screen Commission

Thursday, 2 May 2013

CAN and Wulfie make it into IFTN news!

PUNKY turns two today!

PUNKY, THE PHENOMENON OF...: Punky's Second Anniversary...: Two years ago today, Punky hit our screens, on May 3rd 2011... This was how IFTN announced the birth...

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

And WULFIE begins!

Just heard from Deirdre Barry of Monster Entertainment that my series WULFIE - the cute little Big Bad (and purple) Wolf called Wolfgang Amadeus Rachmaninov III and his best friend Libby - got funding as part of their Media Slate application.

I am over the moon, as any of you who know me can imagine.

WULFIE began with bedtime stories I made up for my daughter in 2005... when she was all of six. She's now 14. We are both eeping at each other with delight, punching the air and grinning insanely.

To everyone who is a writer with ideas that haven't yet been recognised.... take this as hope!

(Concept designs by Mark Flood.)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Creatives in Animation Network gathering - change of date

Greetings everyone.

I've had to change the date for the next meeting to MONDAY 13TH.

I couldn't get the venue for the 6th as it's a bank holiday and also many people were going to be away.

Really sorry for the change of date but hope as many of you as can will be able to make it along. It has been too long since we all met!

So the date is Monday 13th of May
The venue is Roasted Brown Cafe space, First Floor, Filmbase, Curved Street, Dublin 2
The time is 7-9pm;

Spread the word and let me know if you or anyone else would like to come along.

All the best,

Monday, 22 April 2013

Can a script device make me write more?

Why are some days productive and others not?

It doesn't seem to matter how much work there is to do, some days everything other than actual original writing (and it's attendant evils of chasing, hounding, cajoaling, begging, asking nicely, asking less nicely, waiting, filling in applications for competitions, for funding, writing synopses and treatment and short pitches, long pitches, pitches that will blow everyone's socks off and give them webbed feet...) becomes so much easier to do.

Like making another cafetiere of strong coffee or walking the dog again. Even though it's raining. Days when the washing up and sometimes - but only on those really bad days - even the hoovering gets done.


And all the while you feel worse and worse because you know you should be writing.

If I think back to the days when I was a single Mum with a small baby, I seemed to get so much writing done. It was focussed, by default and necessity, into those hours, moments, slivers of time when she slept during the day and - until she grew wise to me - in the hour I wrote before she woke up. That hour was jettisoned when she developed the uncannily accurate knack of waking up minutes after I'd sneaked out of bed. I was just ending up more tired and less able to write when slots did appear.

So maybe it's to do with the time we allow ourselves to write?

In scriptwriting, there's a device called Creating False Situations of Scarcity -- where you limit the options available to your character(s) in order to force something to work out differently to the way they intend the scene to go. They head in to propose and the scene ends with a massive row; they want to avoid saying something and end up blurting it out. So you stick them in a lift, you let the time literally run out, you put them in the worst possible place for what they want to happen.

Maybe it works for writing too.

By limiting the time I allow myself to write, might I be more productive because I have to be and because those hours become a reward I anticipate?

And then the procrastination - ie life - when it gets in the way, becomes the motivation that will focus my creative energy.

Or drive me to it.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Creating - a Madly Glorious Activity

Somehow this week I have put myself in a position where I am writing two new shorts (animated - one about a fly, sort of, the other about cosmic but physically-produced 'wind'), adapting another (animated) and re-imagining a stage play into a live action short. All original and all utterly different in tone and style.

For example, in terms of styles I'm writing non-narratively but lyrically on one, telling a modern fable in another, diving into the depths of 80s films about martial arts and, finally, returning either to the world inside a beard or a commune of sky-diving octogenarians.

I'm sure this week wasn't meant to be this interesting or this varied -- I am actually trying to finish a final edit of a book for young teens - but how wonderful and exhausting that it is!

And thank god/ the universe/ cosmic powers and maybe the training I got as a freelance journo for 13 years, I can write fast. (I can also procrastinate at fiendishly sophisticated levels of slothfulness but maybe that's my evil twin in productivity terms?)

Today was a '3' day - if you're into numerology, that basically means a very creative day - so I dived in. And I think it works, most of it.

Now to work out how to raise money to put on a play next October - any ideas?!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

An Invitation: Why do we write?

"I write to give myself strength -- I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of...." - Joss Whedon, writer of Buffy, Angel, Roseanne...

So... I'd like to invite all the writers I know to come up with a quote that explains to them why they write! Maybe afavourite quote that motivates them or reminds them why they keep doing something that is quite possibly insane!

To get rid of the constant question of what his work was about, Harold Pinter once said it was 'the weasel under the cocktail cabinet' -- and then found himself plagued by analyses of what this actually meant and questions asking him to explain... when it meant nothing at all.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Here is the Barzakh page, please 'like'!

Two days till the official launch in Killarney, where the story originated last October, Barzakh is galloping homewards... Amazing troupe of talent covering every aspect of the small movie with an enormous heart!

The story of one refugee to Ireland, an Afghan boy, called Rabah.... Please like the page if you can!

Directed by Donogh MacCarthy-Morrogh and produced by Odette Norman, we were determined from the start that Barzakh would stand on its own as a film. That way, it can achieve far more than any promotional video telling us what's wrong with the system in place for those seeking asylum in our country.

No refugee would leave the country he or she loves to travel here unless he or she had very genuine reason... Every day they wait for a decision to be made is a day wasted when they could be starting their lives here and their children's lives and becoming whole.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Barzakh, the movie...

Some of you might remember when I wrote about a commission last year to write a short film about refugees in Ireland. (

Well, this is the result, produced by Stormlight Productions, Cork, directed by Donogh MacCarthy-Morrogh and starring Moncef Mansur, Marcus Bale & Hamza Fidrous. It's being launched by Jimmy Deenihan in Killarney on Thursday 7th at 7pm.

Barzakh... it's an Arabic and Persian word to encapsulate the idea of a sort of purgatory between worlds, the "isthmus" between this world and the next, and since this is a film about a refugee's journey to Ireland, from a war zone to peace - no mean feat - and then being in the limbo that is refugee life while awaiting decision on status... it fits.

It also means 'obstacle", "hindrance", "separation" or "barrier". Again, it's fitting. Sadly.

Since I can't make it down, I am looking forward to a sneak preview on Wednesday at Screen Scene on Wednesday when Final Post is complete! Can not wait to see my script realised!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Character Design and Development - 9th March - IFI/ISA

I've been asked to join the panel at this Character Design and Development event in the IFI on March 9th - looks like an interesting day....

The event is tying in with the release of Sam Raimi's Oz The Great and the Powerful, and is being run in conjunction with the Irish School of Animation. It will be looking at character design and development in live action, animations, hybrid features and TV shows.

First up is a masterclass with Troy Saliba (Anastasia, Titan A.E., Oz The Great and the Powerful), with a panel discussion after lunch comprising representatives from animation, filmmaking and screenwriting will consider characters they have created/designed and/or developed from idea through to realisation. Panellists will include Jason Tammemagi (Geronimo Productions), Bronagh OHanlon (Brown Bag), Nicky Gogan (Still Films), Paul Bolger (Pillarstone Productions), Lindsay Jane Sedgwick (writer and tutor), Ciaran Foy (Citadel) and Gareth Lee (Irish School of Animation).

PS: The IFI are giving away FREE 'plus one' tickets to the screening of Oz The Great and the Powerful to the first 40 people who book the event!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Salt on Our Skin opens at Smock!

Fantastic performance by Aoife Moore as Eve in Salt on Our Skin for the opening night last night! "Mesmerising" was one comment I overheard! (Yeah, I was seriously chuffed!) Only two performance left - Thursday 26th and Sat 2nd of March @6pm in Smock Alley Theatre.

A brilliant show by Sarah Kinlen - Portrait of the Artist as a Youngish Woman - is the second work of theatre in the hour of theatre with Salt and absolutely worth seeing!

Some feeddback for Salt and Aoife:

"Wonderful" - ES, Terenure.

"I went last night really good play and acting, truly moving and puts a unique perspective on vision, love and how we relate and communicate difficult issues. Moving theatre it works really well in the space" – DC, Clontarf

Monday, 25 February 2013

Salt on Our Skin -- one day to go!

One day to go and Salt will have its world debut in Smock Alley Theatre-The Boys' School at 6pm (Tuesday 26th Feb) Can't wait to see it now in front of a live audience and it's such a lovely venue - for those of you who haven't yet been in 'The Boys' School' space. Really atmospheric. (It's also on Thurs 28th Feb and Sat 2nd, also @ 6pm)

We had tech runs at the weekend and I took some pics but great as my little I-phone is, these are definitely 'atmospheric' pics only!

Apart from actor Aoife Moore who carries this one-woman play...

... the pics feature my oldest chair - lovingly re-homed after the old house was sold, despite siblings saying it wasn't worth keeping!...

... and a wonderful quilt that my sister Karen made for me that has been hanging on my bedroom wall for years.

Salt On Our Skin will be followed by Portrait of the Artist as a Youngish Woman by Sarah Kinlen. Both are part of the Collaborations Festival which began on Friday and runs till the 9th Feb. 28 shows, getting an average of three nights apiece... Not a lot of time to see heaps of wonderful shows but definitely worth making the effort!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Salt on Our Skin - less than a week to go!

Saw the first full run through on Sunday and now I can truly say, COME TO THIS SHOW!! It is worth seeing, hearing, feeling!

Three nights only @ 6pm
Tuesday 26th Feb
Thursday 28th Feb
Saturday 2nd March

Where is it on?
In the wonderful, newest-yet-oldest theatre in town....

SMOCK ALLEY THEATRE - The Boys' School, 7 Lower Exchange Street, Temple Bar
(Directions here:

Salt on Our Skin is part of the Collaborations Festival run by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company - 28 shows over two weeks; tons of other wonderful shows to see...

Tickets are available from these sites:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Creatives in Animation Network - First 2013 Meeting

Hoping to set up another get together for the Creatives in Animation Network in March - the first two months have just been too hectic - but in a good way...

1. Stage: SALT ON OUR SKIN, Smock Alley Theatre Feb 26th, 28th and March 2nd as part of the Collaborations Festival organised by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company; A second play is also on line for later in the year for Derry, Dublin and the world!

2. Film: BARZAKH, a live action short film, is in post production in Cork - director Donogh MacCarthy Morrogh, Stormlight Productions. To be launched early March;

3. TV Series: Promising tremors are indicating that a tv series I created may genuinely and realistically go into production later this year... Fingers valiantly crossed! Toes too!

4. Animation: Script gig on a new animation series. Also the series I created PUNKY goes into its second series...

5. Creatives in Animation Network: Apart from organising the next meeting of the Network I'm looking to pull together a special meeting looking at games/ cross platform writing. Something you'd be interested in?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Salt on Our Skin...a tiny taster


I wear colourful clothes now. I splash the rainbow in my hair and on my hands and when I dream, I dip my fingers in the sky and they come out blue.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Salt on Our Skin - three performances only!

I've set up a Facebook page to make it easier to check the dates, details for booking etc. The Boy's School space in Smock Alley Theatre is a really interesting one but with limited seating.

The work being done in rehearsals is pretty stimulating and fun - though I think the word "challenging" was used by our actress, Aoife Moore! It's not an easy script to learn - but hopefully a great one to witness coming alive on stage.

We're all half in love with the play so we'd love you to come and see it if you can!

This is the facebook events page:

You can also find it by putting Salt on Our Skin into the search engine. Hope to see some of you there!! Make sure you say hello afterwards.

ANYWAY, the details....

EVENT: Salt on Our Skin - a new play by me is on in Smock Alley Theatre - The Boy's School @6pm on 26th and 28th Feb and March 2nd. Salt will be followed by another new show - 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Youngish Woman' by Sarah Kinlen. The one hour compilation is part of Collaborations 13.

Collaborations 13 is the exciting, innovating and hyperactive brainchild of the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company.

The festival runs in Smock from Feb 22nd - March 9th and is showcasing nearly 30 new shows of every sort.....

...Linked by the desire to create magical theatrical experiences!

DATES FOR SALT ON OUR SKIN: Feb 26 & 28 + Mar 2nd @ 6pm in Smock Alley Theatre - The Boy's School, 7 Lower Exchange Street, Temple Bar, D8.

BOOKING: is via
2. - look up Collaborations and the booking page will pop up (

Hope to see you there!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Barzakh filming is underway

Great news!

Director Donogh MacCarthy- Morrogh started shooting a short film I wrote last November in Cork at the weekend. Called Barzakh, it was commissioned by the Killarney Asylum Seekers Initiative and the difficulty inherent in the project was to find a way to tell just one of hundreds of human stories that would highlight even some of the issues refugees to Ireland face, in a way that was visually, dramatically, emotionally moving -- but that absolutely stood on its own as a memorable dramatic short.

The photos of last weekend's shoot look great -- especially fascinating as the film starts in Afghanistan! It's a tight schedule - the rest should be shot at the end of this week/ through the weekend but it's looking good.

Exciting! It's 14 years since I witnessed a short film of mine come to life!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Salt on Our Skin -- some pics

The script, from whence these things start... The reason I love writing for theatre because words can mean soooo much and be so powerful!

Our star, Aoife Moore, though not as you'd know her...

And then comes colour... We used early rehearsals to play with colour, light, movement, sensation, memory and touch...

Salt on Our Skin/ as part of the Collaborations 13 Festival organised by Jack Burdell Experience Theatre Company. Salt will be followed by two two other shows (High Five, Danny O'C from Risky Proximity Players and A Portrait of the Artist as a Younger Woman by Sarah Kinlan) as part of the package.
Total running time : 1 hour.
Drinkies afterwards might run longer!

THE DATES: Feb 26th and Feb 28th and March 2nd


THE VENUE: Smock Alley Theatre, The Boy's School, a gorgeous and unusual venue...
Tickets from

Monday, 21 January 2013

Roll up, Roll up! Tickets on sale!!

We have the dates for my new one-act play, SALT ON OUR SKIN - Feb 26th, Feb 28th and March 2nd at 6pm. Hope some of you can make it along!

Tickets are 12/10 euro and for that you get Salt and two other shows - High Five, Danny O'C from Risky Proximity Players and A Portrait of the Artist as a Younger Woman by Sarah Kinlan.

An hour of entertainment and talent and all of it new!

The venue is Smock Alley, The Boy's School- a really interesting space for any of you who haven't been there yet - and is part of the Collaborations 13 Festival run by the Jack Burdell Experience theatre company.

Rehearsals are underway in various venues around Dublin, with Aoife Moore diving into the role and director Antoinette Duffy exploring the text with her. I think interesting things are happening... Magic, maybe?!

Booking can be made through the Smock Alley box office at 01 6770014 or at their website Just scan down to the date on which you want to come along and see Salt and the play will be waiting for you, with baited breath, trying not to get too excited until she knows you can come along!

And let's go for drinkies afterwards!

Friday, 11 January 2013

In Conversation with Chris Nee on 25th

I've been asked to moderate an interview with the creator/ writer/ producer Chris Nee on the 25th at the Digital Biscuit conference. It's on at 4.30 and I'm really excited!

Nee's most recent credit is as creator of the animated series, Doc McStuffins, the show for 2-7 year-olds that's getting huge acclaim and that was made here by Brown Bag.

Can't wait to meet her.

This is a woman who created a tv show to demystify doctors and medicine for kids because her son, Theo suffered very badly from asthma - I'm over-simpifying, of course. I created Punky to make demystify special needs - again, a massive over-simplification - because of my step-son Darragh whose autistic, among other reasons.

Mind you, she also produced docs such as Deadliest Catch for Discovery (while writing Wonder pets for Nick) and has a fantastic CV going back to Sesame Street (associate producer) which is pretty awesome, while the longest production I've managed so far was a one-act stage play...

So I know she will be a really interesting person to interview. My only worry now is that there won't be enough time to find out everything she no doubt has to say!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

To all in the Creatives in Animation Network...

Happy new year, Creatives.

Let's hope this is a fantastic one for animation and that we are all involved! That whatever traumas happened to us in the writing/ animation fields last year become a funny anecdote in the light of new projects, new opportunities and fantastic new collaborations!

The Process Begins...

We start rehearsals on Saturday for Salt on Our Skin with the fabulous Aoife Moore as Eve. The auditions were humbling - a great group of brilliant and gifted actors who gave their time, talent and energy to us for a whole afternoon.

I'd like to thank them all sincerely - if only there had been six parts!

But now the process begins.... It's so exciting to finally begin to get this play ready for production, with a great director - Antoinette Duffy - and now Aoife. We don't have dates yet for the nights Salt will be on over the Collaborations 13 Festival but you have to come and see the result!!!

If you want more info on the Festival - 31 shows over two weeks - , try either (It's a FundIt scheme for the festival but also has all the background info) or (That's the inspiring theatre company who created the Festival.)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Get that story down!

Write the cliche first, then recognize you just wrote a cliche and rewrite it.” - Pete Docter.

What a fantastic quote for the start of the new year!

How many times have you sat down to write or ached to create something brilliant but the thought that it might be rubbish, that you weren't feeling very creative or that you wouldn't be able to realise something brilliant enough allowed you to procrastinate?

And then you felt even worse and more frustrated -- and angry at yourself for wasting real writing time.

So there's Pete Doctor of Pixar, the man behind so many great films, saying it's okay to write rubbish first.

Once it's on paper, you can make it better. While it's in your head, unrealised, chased into corners by your own internal critic - and let's face it, that guy is usually the worst - there is nothing to work from and rewrite into something brilliant.

I was told at 16, when I said I wanted to write for the stage, that it was impossible to write the second play until you wrote the first.

So I lay on my belly in my front garden and wrote my first play. The subject was the bitchiness of an all girl convent school. It had a cast of 40, vivid and detailed character biographies such as, "Clare, a bitch" and it runs for about 15 minutes though at the time I thought it was an hour long!

Fortunately, my writing started to get better about four plays later!

Another piece of advice I received not long after -- and try to drum into students -- is that you have to FINISH a script/ story/ book/ screenplay. Even if it is all cliche's.

Abandon it half way and you might never find the confidence to start another one.

Mind you, planning the story out in a rough outline first at least will give you the confidence that it's a story you want to write. But sometimes, if you write fast, the excitement will carry you through to the end while outlining it in too much detail can leave the idea feeling stale.

What I have learnt is that if you get stuck, summarise those scenes and move on. You can go back to those sections once you've finished but the main thing is to get to the end!.

It's a good feeling and one you will want to experience again and again!

Happy New year!