In Britain we like our television scriptwriters to be lovably eccentric - think the anarchic Paul Abbott, the flamboyant Russell T Davies or the wonderfully indiscreet Andrew Davies.
In the US, TV dramatists are a more serious breed altogether.
The new Tax Relief system for British films offers producers up to 20% of their budget in cash. The system replaces Section 42 and 48 which offered a tax break of up to 40% and also introduces a host of quite complex new clauses to limit and define which films are eligible for relief. Love it or hate it, it is a piece of legislation which will effect not just which films get made in the UK in the coming years, but exactly how those films are packaged and produced to ensure they can make the most of the possible benefits.
The new Finance Act runs to several hundred pages, which Adam P Davies, co-author of Netribution's Film Finance Handbook, has sifted through to write a comprehensive and detailed 5 page guide to the new tax relief and system in the UK - with glossary and worked examples. We can't promise we've interpreted it all correctly, but it has been looked over by the UK Treasury.
A record number of films are getting release in British cinemas without any cuts being needed to get approval. Figures released by the British Board of Film Classification show that during the past decade less than three percent of the 4,951 films released into cinemas had to have cuts in order to achieve the classification they wanted.
Bader Ben Hirsi could make quite a screenplay out of his experience directing the first feature film ever made in Yemen, the ancient land at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. His results though, have impressed the Arab world, who are bound to be his sternest critics. Ben Hirsi's film has just scooped the Grand Prize at the Cairo Film Festival. James MacGregor, who has spent many years in the Middle East has been following Bader Ben Hirsi's story and the making of A New Day in Old Sana'a.
How much do movie stars contribute to box office success? Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse researched the notion of "star power" to better understand how A-list players contribute to Hollywood's bottom line.
Owen Thomas the producer (and now distributor) of the UK's first DV feature, the acclaimed One Life Stand, directed by May Miles Thomas, offers advice from his foray into DVD distribution on How To Sell Your Film (Not Your Soul)
Arun Kumar takes us on the road with his Truck of Dreams.
Your film is almost done. All you need is that scene in the pyramids. Or on a submarine. Or in space. A seat on NASA's next shuttle is out of the budget, though. What's a desperate director to do? Build your own virtual set, of course...
and writer Julian Richards wanted to make a documentary film and had a
rare opportunity to study and film Tuareg nomads of Mali in
Saharan Africa. He readliy agreed to share some of his experience with
us. With The Nomads is an intimate, unromantic portrait of the Tuareg
herders of the Sahara Desert and asks: Can they survive the 21st
Hollywood producer Alan Haft, former Vice President of Breakheart Films, gives the low down on what Tinsel Town taught him about how to succeed in the business of making movies. In the early 90's, Haft, with veteran actor James Woods, formed Breakheart Films. While serving as Vice President of Breakheart, Haft was involved with numerous feature films and television projects such as Killer (with Oliver Stone as Executive Producer) and served as Associate Producer for HBO’s Best Picture Emmy Award winning Citizen Cohn.
In the rush and work pressures surrounding filmmaking, it's all too easy to overlook some essentials, but these are often the factors that can lift a film from the mundane level to the exceptional. James MacGregor's notes reveal some of the secrets of real film craft.....