All posts by Stephan Burn

Twenty Other Great Teen Movies

The BFI listed Ten Great Teen Films, supplemented by ten further submissions from the general public. Needless to say I, and many others, were dissatisfied with their list. So, a few frantic minutes of crowdsourcing later, here are our own submissions, in no particular order:

  1. Juno
  2. Easy A
  3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  4. Mean Girls
  5. Brick
  6. Donnie Darko
  7. Pump Up The Volume
  8. Pretty in Pink
  9. Ten Things I Hate About You
  10. Boyz ‘n the Hood
  11. Kidulthood
  12. Empire Records
  13. Perks of Being a Wallflower
  14. Fish Tank
  15. Party Girl
  16. American Pie
  17. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  18. The Lost Boys
  19. St Elmo’s Fire
  20. Quadrophenia

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Link: Why Producers Will Not Read Your Script

Icon-Writing-150Writers would prefer a world with fewer gatekeepers, where publishers and producers could be approached with a promising pitch, without having to build relationships with agents etc. first. Well, opportunities like that did, and do, exist but there’s always someone poisoning the well, making things a little worse for everyone else. Some entitled writer who thinks way too highly of themselves. Behold, one such example, a screenwriter who single-handedly ensured that at least one producer will never read an unsolicited script ever again.

Why producers WILL NOT READ YOUR SCRIPT – shocking case study from one exec

Addendum: Half the writers on the internet have commented on this story, but I’d like to point you to the response of The Bitter Script Reader, who not only comments on the writer’s approach, but also give some practical advice on how to make a good impression with your query.

The Bitter Script Reader’s thoughts on “Why Producers Will Not Read Your Script”

Twenty Dollars Worth of Comics

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

To commemorate the recommencement of work on Broken Gears, it’s time to do a list for comics, similar to my £50 Worth of Movies. Perfect for those in possession of a shiny tablet, a ComiXology account, a desire to get back into comics and 20 digital dollars burning a hole in their Paypal account.

Just like the movie list, where TV show box sets were prohibitively priced for the restriction, graphic novels and collected editions aren’t going to be able to make the cut here. So I’m going to focus on individual issues that I think are good samplers or otherwise worthy of note.

And the final caveat: This list is going to be contentious, but it’s my wholly unsophisticated and personal opinion. There’s not a person in the world who would agree with every single option on this list. I hope the list is at least interesting, even if it’s not good.

Saga #1  $-  Image Possibly one of the best new comics in the last years; inventive, touching and exciting, a space opera with a difference
Young Avengers Volume 2 #1  $1.99  Marvel What happens when YA doesn’t mean toned down, but turned up? Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie at the height of their powers.
Phonogram  Volume 2 #1  $-  Image By the same team as Young Avengers, these series is wonderful, unless you hate music and comics.
Hellblazer #143  $1.99  DC A one-shot my Warren Ellis and a decent introduction to the character of John Constantine.
All Star Superman #1  $1.99  DC In my view, All Star Superman is the only Superman comic anyone needs to read.
The Sandman #1  $1.99  DC Launching the career of a young Neil Gaiman, this masterpiece is required reading
The Mire   $0.99  Indie A beautiful and heartbreaking indie comic.
Detective Comics #871  $1.99  DC The start of the Batman: Black Mirror storyline
The Walking Dead #1  $-  Image Thanks to the TV show, The Walking Dead now has worldwide renown. It started here.
Planetary #1  $-  DC Warren Ellis again, this time a high-octane meta-comic, unearthing the archaeology of comics while mocking the Fantastic Four.
Sex Criminals #1  $-  Image Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky is a strangely sweet tale, and my current favourite comic.
Mouse Guard: Fall #1  $-  Archaia Bravery! Adventure! Tiny Mouse Warriors! Written and laboriously illustrated by the talented David Petersen.
Civil War #1  $1.99  Marvel I think they wimped out at the end of the series, but Civil War is important in Marvel comics lore.
Immortal Iron Fist #1  $1.99  Marvel A sideline character, barely worthy of note. But nobody told Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, who spun an epic tale.
American Vampire #1  $0.99  Image Gunslingers and vampires and lots and lots of blood!
30 Days of Night #1  $-  IDW Source material for the film, this showcases Ben Templesmith’s beautiful art.
Nightly News #1  $-  Image Can you trust what you read? What you hear? It’s time to take the messengers to account
Fables #1  $1.99  DC Fairy tale characters escape to New York, to flee a war that has robbed them of their homelands.
Nextwave #1  $1.99  Marvel Warren Ellis yet again, who somehow convinced Marvel to let him spend a comic mocking The Avengers and all things Marvel.
Chew #1  $-  Image A Cibopath can take a bite from anything and get a  sensation of what has happened to that object. Which can get gross if you’re a detective.
The Invisibles #1  $0.99  DC Magic and rebellion, this is Grant Morrison’s magnum opus and grimoire.

Short: Cinco de Mayo

Similar to SoulMatrix, Cinco de Mayo, written by  Simon Uttley, was recommended to me by a fellow writer, clearly the best way to find new films to watch. Cinco de Mayo was one of the first UK crowdfunded movies, just getting in ahead of Nick Love’s Outlaw, and managing to gather buzz ahead of the social media revolution. You can watch the result on Amazon.

Between the excellent script, director Giles Greenwood, wonderful cinematography and great cast, the end result is a very professional little film. It starts with a simple narration: ‘I promise this is not what it looks like’. And yet despite that, the film surprises all the way through, continually twisting expectations. It starts powerfully and draws you in immediately; and even when we think we know where it’s going to go, there are still more surprises to come.

(I’m purposefully not revealing to turns of this one, as I feel it really deserves experiencing)

In my view, this is a perfect example of a ‘calling card film’, showcasing talent and providing a career launch.

Constantine TV Pilot Looking Good

My love for the character of John Constantine is well documented, but I was still cautious about the new TV pilot being commissioned by NBC. However, two things have shifted me from ‘cautious’ to ‘cautiously optimistic’. The first is that Neil Marshall, the director of Dog Soldiers, Doomsday and The Descent, will be directing the pilot. And the second? Constantine, as performed by Matt Ryan (voice of Kenway in Assassin’s Creed 4), looks spot on.