Dean M Drinkel on writing and editing horror
“I’ve seen horrors, horrors that you’ve seen..it’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror, horror has a face and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies!” – Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now
My love of horror began at an early age. My dad loved thrillers and westerns, my mother loved Stephen King – I was into the old gothic stuff (Poe, Shelley, Walpole, Le Fanu to name but a few) and as I grew older I floundered a bit until I came across Clive Barker and his film Hellraiser. I didn’t realise he was a writer as well as a director, it was only as I’d watched the end-credits and I read ‘based on the book by’ that I sat up and thought hello, that could be interesting.
The next day I visited the local bookshop where I lived in Kent and began devouring Barker’s work as greedily as I could get my hands on it: The Books Of Blood, The Damnation Game, The Great & Secret Show, Weaveworld etc etc, until eventually I was able to find The Hellbound Heart which Hellraiser was based upon. (As a side note, I recently read the French version - confusingly called Hellraiser - which was like discovering the story all over again!) From those first words I read of Clive’s I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Whilst at University, I wrote for the college magazine and by the time I graduated I had enough stories for a collection, which was subsequently published by a small press (the book was called The Burial, and will be re-released later in 2014 as a redux edition). Once the book had been released, I sat in my hallway waiting for both the phone to ring and for the door to knock in the firm belief that either a major publisher or film producer would get in touch wanting to publish everything that I would ever write or make films of them.
Successful entries selected for Writers' Guild's new development scheme
Having received 213 submissions of plays, from across the whole of the UK, the Playwrights’ Progress team is delighted to announce who the eight successful writers are.
The Plays for Workshop:
- The Ostrich by Kate Davidson
- Stage Irish by John McCarthy
- Chickens Don’t Fly by Rachael McGill
- Westernization by Imran Yusuf
The Plays of Promise:
- Junk by Susan Avery & Sally Grey
- Guilt by Julie Bainbridge
- The Room Inside by Jimmy Osborne
- Ninety Days by Ashok Patel
The overall standard was exceptionally high which is why we would like to recognise the other shortlisted candidates: Hassan Abdulrazzak, Nicola Baldwin, Alison Carr, Neil Edwards, Jason Hall, Danusia Iwaszco, Dan Murphy, Rob Johnston, Neasa O’Callahan, William Stanton, Roberto Trippini, Brian Woolland & Tobias Wright.
The partnership - Writers’ Guild, Royal Central School Of Speech & Drama (RCSSD) and Leicester Square Theatre - will concentrate on the script development side of the process, looking forward to the read-throughs in the week beginning 3 March and the workshops on the 1, 2 & 3 April.
Finally we’d like to put out an invitation for Guild members, to come to the showcase event, which will take place at 2pm on 9 May, Leicester Square Theatre. This exciting culmination to the project will be a reading of the best play or plays to emerge from the workshops - performed by actors of the highest calibre, primarily drawn from Central’s alumni – and it is open to the public and the tickets are free and are available from Leicester Square Theatre, book early to avoid disappointment.
Playwrights' Progress is funded by Arts Council England and the Writers' Foundation (UK), with further financial support from RCSSD & Leicester Square Theatre.
Open letter calls for recognition for writers
Writers' Guild President Olivia Hetreed has written an open letter to the Guardian calling on it to recognise the work of writers in their new film awards. The letter, also signed by Andrea Gibb amd Line Langebek (Co-Chairs of the WGGB Film Committee), comes after Guild member Lisa Holdsworth identified the omission earlier this week.
The letter is reproduced below:
The Writers’ Guild was delighted to read that the Guardian had decided to launch its own film awards, particularly as they seem to be offered in a spirit of fun and celebration, aimed at engaging readers with film. However, we are dismayed at the decision to leave out the names of the screenwriters who actually wrote the material in the Best Scene and Best Line Of Dialogue categories. It seems perverse to recognise and applaud screenwriting yet ignore writers.
We've been in touch with one of your reviewers, who explained that the writers’ names 'just didn’t seem like crucial information at the longlist or blog stage.' The reviewer also pointed out that the Guardian has not credited the nominated marketing teams either. This seems a somewhat bizarre justification: does she really mean to equate the marketing campaign and the film script?
We appreciate that this is an attempt to engage your readers but fail to understand how adding the names of the writers would prevent this process. Guardian readers seem highly knowledgeable about film and deserve better information than being given an actor's name alongside a line of dialogue. Film is a supremely collaborative medium and while it may not suit the word count of film reviewers to acknowledge this, there seems no reason for the Guardian Awards to compound their error.
It is hardly difficult to find the names of the short-listed writers. They are as follows:
BEST SCENE: Peter Baynam, Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Armando Ianucci; Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron; Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello; John Ridley; Woody Allen; Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke; Carlos Reygadas; Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix; Terence Winter.
BEST LINE OF DIALOGUE: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; Bob Nelson; Eric Warren Singer, David O.Russell; John Ridley; Woody Allen; Bob Nelson; Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan; Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello; Christopher Ford; Spike Jonze.
The most disheartening thing about this omission and your reviewer’s response to our query is that it is part of a much larger problem, whereby the media consistently and carelessly attribute the work of writers to directors and actors, thereby misinforming their audience. What a shame that the Guardian’s attempt to do something “new and innovative” should fall prey to such old fashioned, lazy or ignorant thinking.
Andrea Gibb & Line Langebek
Co-Chairs, WGGB Film Committee
The Performers' Alliance All-Party Parliamentary Group will today host the launch of expert consultation on ways to protect risk-taking on new work in British theatre
The authors of the influential In Battalions report, examining how government cuts to the Arts Council are affecting new play development in England, have secured a launch event in the Houses of Parliament for their follow-up study, on ways to protect risk-taking on new work for the stage, despite austerity.
The original In Battalions report was published in February 2013 after one its authors, playwright Fin Kennedy, had a chance encounter with UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey in which Mr Vaizey said that Arts Council cuts were having "no effect". Kennedy's response, a research-led report co-authored with Oxford University doctoral student Helen Campbell Pickford, found theatres across the country cancelling new plays, commissioning fewer writers, and curtailing a whole host of creative research and development such as young writers' groups and education work. It has been downloaded over 24,000 times and had questions tabled in Parliament.
Their follow-up Delphi study, a form of expert consultation, can now be downloaded for free, and will be launched at a meeting in the House of Commons of the Performers' Alliance All-Party Parliamentary Group on 29 January, sponsored by the Group's chair Kerry McCarthy MP. The event will be attended by around 70 theatremakers and politicians, including playwrights David Edgar and Dennis Kelly, artistic directors Giles Croft, Kerry Michael and Ramin Gray, the Principal of RADA Edward Kemp, Ben Bradshaw MP – a member of the Culture Select Committee - and Shadow Culture Minister Helen Goodman MP.
The invitation to launch the study in Parliament comes after Culture Minister Ed Vaizey acknowledged in a speech last month that the first report had been an influence on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement. It contained a pledge to hold a consultation on a tax breaks for new plays and regional touring.
The winners of the BBC Audio Drama Awards were announced last night in London
The Tinniswood Award
The Tinniswood Award 2013 is presented to the best original radio drama script by any writer broadcast in the UK over 1 July 2012-31 October 2013. The Award is jointly administered by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors with the prize of £1,500 sponsored by the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society.
Winner: Marathon Tales by Colin Teevan and Hannah Silva (pictured, above, with Fiona Shaw)
Imison Award 2013
The Imison Award honours the best original script by a writer new to radio broadcast in the UK over 1 July 2012-31 October 2013. The Award is administered by the Society of Authors, and judged by members of its’ Broadcasting Committee. The prize of £1,500 donated by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation. The following writers have been shortlisted:
Winner: The Loving Ballad of Captain Bateman by Joseph Wilde with Tim van Eyken.
Best original audio drama (single play): Billions by Ed Harris, produced by Jonquil Panting, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4
Best audio drama (series or serial): An Angel at My Table, written by Janet Frame, adapted by Anita Sullivan, produced by Karen Rose, Sweet Talk for Radio 4
Best audio drama (adaptation): Sword of Honour by Evelyn Waugh and dramatised by Jeremy Front, produced by Sally Avens, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4
Best scripted comedy drama: Love and Sweets 3: Grand Canyon by Richard Marsh, produced by Ben Worsfield, Lucky Giant for Radio 4
Best scripted comedy (studio audience): Sketchorama: Absolutely Special, written by Pete Baikie, Morwenna Banks, Moray Hunter, Gordon Kennedy and John Sparkes, produced by Gus Beattie, Comedy Unit for BBC Radio 4
Best online or non-broadcast audio drama: Doctor Who: Dark Eyes, written by Nicholas Briggs, produced by David Richardson for Big Finish
Writers owed £250,000 for series screened in Europe
The Writers’ Guild has accused two European broadcasters of 'effectively rewarding criminal behaviour' after they screened a major children’s TV drama series for which the writers are still owed £250,000.
The writers, who are all Guild members, claim the move sets a 'bizarre precedent' that could have wider ramifications for creatives across the entertainment industry.
The five UK-based writers of the 26-part series Which is Witch (dubbed into French and broadcast under the title Sorcières Mais Pas Trop!) say producer Phil Ox, of company I Love Television, owes them £250,000 collectively, despite the fact the scripts were completed around a year ago and the series is now being broadcast in France and Belgium.
The writers have spent the last year requesting the money owed to them, and had hoped broadcasters Radio Television Belge Francophone (RTBF) in Belgium and Canal J in France would agree not to broadcast the series until they had been paid for their work. The writers believe they were duped into signing contracts based on Ox’s promises that all the finance for the series was in place.
However, both broadcasters have started showing the drama, with the writers claiming this sets an unwelcome precedent that could see other TV channels follow the broadcasters’ example.
The Writers’ Guild has made a formal protest to both broadcasters, but despite this the drama is still being screened. Requests for the broadcasters’ assistance in obtaining payment from the producer have also been ignored. The broadcasters claim that the producer has supplied them with all the necessary paperwork to enable them to have the legal right to broadcast the show, regarding the situation as a dispute among 'suppliers' and not their concern.
The Guild’s lawyer said: 'Both broadcasters are content to exploit the writers work in full knowledge that they have not been paid while washing their hands of any responsibility. From the writers’ point of view it is little better than theft'.