Thursday, 27 September 2012

Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenplay Competition.

I'm very happy to say I have been listed as a finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Competition for my screenplay 'One Good Day'.

Unfortunately I had to withdraw from the PAGE awards after my screenplay 'Inner City' was listed as a semi finalist because I hadn't realised I shouldn't have entered a screenplay if I'd earned over $25,000 writing scripts for TV. That was embarrassing, but the Page organisers were very good about it and, I think, happy I owned up when I did in case I'd gone further.

So this time I am very pleased to say I've re-read the rules and I am pretty sure I am eligible. Whew!

Big Break Finalists announced

Of course for those of you who have been paying attention you'll know Scott Norton is the name I use to write my novels and this blog and Scott Taylor is the name I write TV and Film under. My full name being Scott Norton Taylor.

Here's an earlier post that explains why.
What's In a Non De Plume

Hopefully, just being a finalist will lead to something happening and even if it doesn't, you know what they say about getting straight back up when you get thrown off.....


Quite a few beers helps as well - at least it did that night!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Go On - The best new sitcom in ages!


Go on is the story of a high profile sports journalist with his own radio show who is trying to get over the sudden death of his wife.

He's forced into therapy with a loss group who gather to share their pain and work through their grief.

Who was the executive who saw through that pitch and let this one get to second base, let alone all the way home? Whoever you are - we thank you.


The thing I like most about GO ON is that I don't know what to expect. There's a thing called inevitable forseeablility that most shows, especially comedies, trade on. It's where the audience can see where a story is headed, or an outcome that is promised by a setup and they watch with delight for what they expected to be paid off. If it's not paid off it needs to be topped or an audience will actually turn away and feel let down.

Go On has no inevitable forseeability because it has placed brackets around a moment in a man's life and told us - "We're staying here until this problem gets fixed and we don't know how long that's going to be."

This is unusual and fresh - especially for a sitcom. What's the arc in these characters lives that we settle down to enjoy - who knows? Until they successfully complete therapy they have no life. Life is being run as a subplot and is on autopilot until this priority issue is solved. These characters have grief to work through and if they can they'll resume a life we're not really focussing on at the moment. Wow! Talk about leaving yourself room to move.


But here's what I find most interesting. Go On works because of the writing and the characters. It is a similar in set up to Seinfield except, instead of the central characters being hardened by life and oblivious to the double standards they're leading, these people are broken by life and seem to be on a journey to relearn what it means to feel hope, joy and contentment with what they have. It's a feel good sitcom. It's Modern Family without the cynical dig at the modern middle class.


Go On bucks the trend of the harsh misanthrope who has their friends and their life but won't open themselves to life any further - Larry David, Ron Swanson and many others. Ryan King could so easily be another, instead he's full of life, charm, heart and hope as he tries to overcome the loss of the one person he loved in his life - his wife.

This is a bold concept that plays out in clear and simple lines. I have to mention Mathew Perry who is wonderful and amplifies what we all already knew - that he is a great comedic actor. He played a young lawyer in The West Wing in the later seasons and while he was good, there was always a cheeky intelligence about him. He has something in him that makes you search every line he delivers to make sure his very dry humour and delivery hasn't woven in an unnoticed zinger.

In Go On he made me laugh out loud more than once. This was the first time in a long time a show had done this and each time it came from a Ryan King/Mathew Perry reaction. That's not to say the writing isn't funny in itself - it is, but the subtleties of Go On delivered by an odd assortment of broken characters is what will give this multiple seasons.


If you like great characters and you like shows that just make you feel good, then join the Go On fan base. I suspect it's going to be a big one.

Out of 5 - Go On gets a solid 4.5 and joins my 'not to be missed list.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Child's Nativity Play - Hollywood Script Notes


                                                                                       Kenneth James
                                                                                       Network Script Executive
                                                                                       Malapert Entertainment
                                                                                                           
Mrs Jean Barber,
Director of Activities
Argyle Street Kindergarten
14 Argyle Street

Dear Jean,

            Recently I attended your Nativity play, entitled ‘Argyle Kinder’s Nativity Play’. My four year old son, Dalton, played Wise Man # 2 or Frankincence Man. I thought as a professional courtesy I’d send along my thoughts.
                                   
Firstly your title needs work and I feel this may be the cause of the empty seat situation. Something with ‘Quest’ in the title may be the answer or even ‘Star of the Night’ to tap into the popularity of the Idol/Got Talent phenom. People always like the ‘hero emerging’ tale which is why they go for these shows, but in storytelling terms we're in the realm of the Matrix or Harry Potter.

The Logline on your flier really needs work; ‘The Birth of Jesus’. There’s no real hook here, so what? When my son arrived, the build-up admittedly was extraordinary, then he just lay there for months, couldn’t even lift his head. I question if Jesus is your protagonist? Try: A working class family struggle to make ends meet until they discover their newborn son is the answer to their prayers. Now I’m interested – what are they going to do with him? How does he answer their prayers? Maybe they enter him in a ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ type show? The point is I want to find out.

Now to the play itself – I didn’t feel the characters of Mary or Joseph are fully fleshed out. You say Joseph is a carpenter but we never really see this. Surely, given his wife is pregnant he could fashion some kind of cart for her to ride in behind the donkey?

Also, Mary really just sits passively and allows things to happen to her. She needs to be pro-active. Possibly when she’s denied a room in the hotel she can purposefully choose the stable as a protest. On the doorstep of the hotel, bedding down in squalor she could actively demonstrate the hotel’s heartlessness. I could see a whole Norma Rae sequence here that would open this up to a much wider female demographic. A quick note of warning on this, her demands need to be reasonable – we don’t want Mary coming off as a strong armed feminist.

The setup of the first act seems rushed. We’re given a large amount of information about a census in a quick narrative. Of course rule number one is show, don’t tell, so I would suggest we see the family at home, Joseph at work, Mary in the kitchen and they’re complaining about the bills, the neighbours, Joseph’s a little stressed by his work – maybe a dovetail joint that's just not coming together.

There’s an opportunity for some humour with heavily pregnant Mary, perhaps a sudden craving for an egg and bacon roll. How would Joseph react to this and in his very orthodox neighbourhood mayhem ensues as he tries to fill Mary’s request. We want people relating to these two as real people, so when the demand comes to travel to Bethlehem for the census we know how inconvenient this is for them.

The transition into the second act seems arbitrary. Where are the hurdles of the decision? Where are their alternative choices? Do they go to be counted or blow the Romans off and at what risk if they do? I would go with Joseph fashioning a cart, perhaps he could tie the whole trip into a work opportunity to expand his business into carts, giving us more inroads into the aspirational middle class demographic. Has he considered being a new cart dealer? There’s always good mileage in the banter of an unscrupulous salesman.

And have you missed a moment at the birth? Joseph's elation as he declares, "He has my eyes!" And a knowing look from Mary. I wouldn't overplay this, but let the observant in on the joke.

The conflict over the hotel room is well handled, except you miss a perfect opportunity for Mary and Joseph to seed a payback moment with the manager, ala ‘Pretty Women’. Imagine Mary with the glowing newborn in her arms striding back to the manager in his lobby – “Your hotel could have had free advertising for the rest of time, but you turned me away. Big mistake. Huge!” This could well become the most quoted moment if handled correctly.

The three wise men seem to be lost in a field, making me wonder whether you’re being ironic with their titles. They follow a bright star to the manger and hand over expensive gifts. I understand what you’re going for here, but it stretches believability that anyone can pinpoint a single dwelling from the rays of an orb millions of light years away. Why not a flaming meteorite? Doesn’t have to be large and it could literally explode into the manger and set the place on fire. This would appeal to action fans and serve as a metaphor regarding the role of Jesus to come – a hint towards a sequel.

Your final act, while well intentioned – savior of the world, leader of mankind, here to guide and redeem us, blah blah blah, worries me because of the passivity of the characters. You’ve told us Jesus is the chosen one so let’s see some of that in him. Dare I say – “Look who’s talking”. I really think there's a possibility of eight or nine passes with this as a franchise if played right – “The Diary of a Whimpy Jew”. The sky’s the limit if you’re willing to consider what I think is no more than a tweak towards your next draft.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Best,

              Ken.  

Scott Norton Taylor - Inner City - Ebook for Kindle, Epub Sony, Palm or online!

Reviews: From Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read May 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book was so intriguing I hardly put it down. Wonderfully written it does not linger on any 
one event nor does it speed through scenes making it a poor read. The characters were well 
thought out and the inner turmoils they all face are far from dull.

5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular April 5, 2013
By Jack
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The book was simply amazing it had action romance and just enough drama to make me happy 
one of the best books I have ever read

From Barnes and Noble - Nook Books:

Posted December 1, 2012

 Great read.

A story filled with with love, hate, violence, peace and so much more. 538 pages of wondering what will happen 
next. A FULL story from start to finish. Thanks to the author for sharing a great work with the readers.

Posted July 8, 2012
 Couldn't put it down...
For this to have been a free book, it was wonderful. The author keeps you on the edge of your seat. I couldn't 
put this down. I think this would make a great movie!

Posted April 20, 2012

 Amazing

Perfectly written with great detail it was thought provoking and asked the fundemental question of would you 
stick up for what you believed was right even if you would be killed for doing so.

Posted April 5, 2012

 This book is AWESOME! it keeps you wanting to read the entire ti

This book is AWESOME! it keeps you wanting to read the entire time. It tells of 2 worlds, and both are 
extremely unique. One of the best books I've ever read!


Amazing Photos

These are all worth reposting... They all make me smile.





























Thursday, 20 September 2012

World War Three

China understands what's going on, most of South East Asia and Eastern Europe does as well. We've been at war for decades and the war's been fought and won. There's only some mopping up left to do.

The wealthy won, by the way. They don't like to crow so you may not have heard, but the 1% gained total victory and they never had to fire a shot.


Some countries who came in late or who had strong government protection in place, through a fortunate twist of world economic history, found themselves able to regulate and control the invaders and protect their state and preserve themselves as a player. Other countries - especially America and Japan - have been left with their pants down. And the saddest part is their pants have been lowered by their own citizens working to gain personal power with a total disregard for the welfare of their people or their country.

The war is economic. It's a corporate war. Corporations versus everyone else; countries, people, resources - everything and everyone that can be mined for a profit has been. There is no patriotism left outside the quest for a dollar.


Right now in India a battle is being fought between the local people and their own government that sums this war up perfectly.

In India, tens of millions of people run small stores. Many are in markets on the side of the road or in an open area, where they throw up tarpaulins, tents, umbrellas - whatever they can find to give cover to the goods they source fresh and sell everyday to those who know the market and come to get what they need at the lowest haggled price.


The politicians have tried and failed on more than one occasion to allow the foreign behemoth companies, the world's largest in retail, to be given free entry to India's markets. The people protested on these occasions and won. Now the politicians are trying again. They are clearly going against the will of the majority. They are likely to rename the bill, to re-brand the legislation - maybe it will be called the 'good for everyone' bill out of pure desperation to get what they want against the wishes of their own people. The legislation is designed to allow open competition and development in what is a move that is clearly not wanted by the majority of the populous. Here is the crucial moment that every country and every person has or will face in their entry into this economic war - trusting that the powers that be are not working to vested interests.


Those with power want the corporations to be allowed to expand without government restrictions because it's good for them. The money coming in will go to the powerful. Many will end up working for or consulting to these companies and walking away with a share of the prize on offer. Many will become franchise owners or share holders in the companies. They understand just how much wealth these huge companies create and they are in the perfect position to make sure their snout is in the trough when the money starts flowing. The legislation will directly or indirectly make the rich and powerful more so.

The average citizen will be hurt by such monopolies being allowed to enter and instantly become 80% of the local market. Entrepreneurship will be reduced to new products, new markets or trying to compete directly against the juggernaut companies.

We have yet to find a solution to this. The Russian's came close. When their economy converted from state owned to capitalist they disallowed foreign investment. This meant any Russian citizen with cash could buy shares in companies or buy entire companies for kopeks on the rouble. This was inventive and incredibly smart in that it ensured Russia would stay in Russian hands. What they didn't foresee was the vast fortunes some would make and effectively thrust Russia and it's federated states and satellite states into the hands of a few oligarchs who now effectively rule as a government by proxy.  

If India allows Carafour, Tescos, Walmart and others to enter their market, their huge warehouse styled supermarket multi stores and sourced goods from anywhere in the world at the very cheapest prices will kill the livelihood of the emerging classes and confine them to the lowest hourly wage possible.


When this happens the politicians and companies will sight the thousands of newly employed by these stores as proof of new jobs being created. They tout the goods being sold as meeting higher standards of production and quality and the companies set about making even more money for the shareholders of their companies as the ridiculous amounts of profit being made get funnelled back to glorify the company accounts as increased profit.

There is no mention of the millions of people who had been sharing in the profit before, as small businesses selling goods. They don't mention the huge buying power allows the companies to 'negotiate' down the lowest prices with suppliers.


In India and many other emerging economic countries many of these suppliers are going to be little more than share croppers working a small piece of land for their own survival. These farmers will now be held ransom by the large company who will quickly become their only buyer.


Corporations become so big they control governments and the people through ways that range from incredibly subtle to incredibly obvious. There is no giant conspiracy. There are no clandestine meetings keeping the agenda on track, it is the market forces at work and the theories of Milton Friedman that have sadly trounced the checks and balances provided under a Keynesian economic policy and allows the wealthy to grow their personal fortunes and undermine their own country and their fellow citizens in the ultimate demonstration of man's one true great failing - Greed.


Greed brought down every great empire in the past and it will do it again. Maybe not for another thousand years but eventually someone is going to lose their head because the majority of the population, who dutifully play their roles as consumers and are rewarded with just enough wealth to keep them wanting and buying, but never enough to be free of economics pressures, will finally snap and demand a bigger slice of the very rich pie.


It's also fascinating that the people who shout the loudest about being patriots are the same ones who allow their country to bear the economic debt by manipulating and demanding ever more favourable conditions to make higher and higher personal profits. Their insistence that they are vital players in the provision of welfare due to the trickle down economic theory, that if they are allowed to be become billionaires there will be money spilling down to those below them, is one of three things -

1/ Dishonest - in that they know they are at the top of the pyramid scheme and willing to say and do anything in order to stay there. It is true that money will trickle down from them as they spend and enjoy life, but it is certainly never going to trickle down far enough to help those who genuinely need assistance.

2/ Blindly Ignorant - Once again arguing that all a person needs to do is work hard to achieve success and financial freedom. This argument makes a person at best economically autistic in that they cannot empathise or understand the subtleties of what it means to be a coherent, caring society. A family who has a special needs child, an elderly person needing care or someone hurt in an accident, along with literally a million other cases where a person, family or community cannot cope without assistance, all call out for the need to tax everyone equally and redistribute the wealth both personally and towards community infrastructure to make lives not simply better, but in many cases manageable.

The fact that someone earning one million dollars a year can argue they pay more than their share of tax when they only pay ten percent is ludicrous. Yes, $100,000 is a lot to pay in tax - but if everyone pays 30% then you're $200,000 short on what you owe. Screaming that you already paid $100,000 is a smokescreen to hide the fact you're stealing $200,000 from the mouth of a citizen who needs support. You need to make a decision to live in the community you earn a profit from or declare your hand and live off the community you earn a living from. You cannot have it both ways.

3/ Stupid. You do not have to have a high IQ to make it in business these days. In fact, in many ways, having a little stupidity about you will make some of the tough decisions that hurt others less difficult because being stupid will mean a person genuinely cannot see how their decisions hurt or disadvantage others. This is why political leaders should be vetted. Not because we want to know if they believe in God or if they once inhaled at a college party - but because we need to know a person once elected won't press the red button thinking it's a doorbell to the world of Narnia.

I can't see any way to end this economic war  apart from total surrender. The corporations are already too big and too powerful to be stopped. In America and almost every other modern democracy they have already shown they are willing to cripple a country financially, to force legislation that hurts many but benefits them, to fight judicially to absolve themselves of responsibility for land abuse, people's health and a general disregard for communities in their quest for profits.


They spend trillions on lobbyist to fight for them and gain an unfair advantage, against not just the average person seeking justice, but also governments and they spend money to cynically spruik how much good they do, making them sound like all their infrastructure and hard work is undertaken for altruistic purposes and not at all for profit. It took these international conglomerates forty years to gain the power they now have and they did it with a smile and a lot of money spent to convince us along the way they were our best friends and only doing what they do to help us and make our lives better.

Anyone still believe their existence is making our lives better? No - but you can but a plastic container for $1. That's got to count for something? It may only last a short time - but who cares - you can buy another one for just $1. Ka-ching!

It's fascinating to do a search for world debt and discover almost all figures are expressed as a percentage of GDP (The total worth of all goods and services produced in a country over a year). This percentage ratio makes it clear that a country's wealth is dependant on tax being paid on money earned from goods and services - and yet, the undermining of countries is coming from those determined to escape paying their fair tax on money earned, making this ratio yet another falsehood of statistics thrown up by the wealthy to stop the general public realising the problem until its irrecoverable.

 
The sad truth is the Global Financial crisis was the best opportunity for countries to take back the ownership of their country for their people. The huge trillion dollar bailouts that occurred all over the world suddenly argued for tax payers dollars to be handed over to big businesses, banks, insurance companies and industry, to insure the financial system and its institutions didn't collapse. The argument being that if they did collapse, again via trickle down economic fantasies, if the big businesses collapsed everyone below them would be hit even harder.

I've never heard a reasonable explanation as to why the government's money, our money as taxpayers, why that wasn't spent to simply buy the companies involved. Almost everyone was given enough in 'free' money to exact a far purchase price at the time. If not buy outright, then they should have negotiated to buy 75% or 50% and then, when those big businesses came good because of the large injection of cash, the government and we the people, would then own a large percentage of the profitable business and we could recoup the money or continue to reap the profits as the company grew. But somehow the big business financiers and lobbyists convinced the leaders, who had themselves been the previous leaders of these big companies, just to hand over the money with no strings attached.

The result as everyone now knows is that the financial sector is back on its feet. In fact the DOW is currently back to levels that make the GFC seem all but forgotten, while the rest of us in the larger economy wonder why there's no one spending and no investment in jobs or infrastructure. Well played again big business - you even managed to label the 99% protesters as lefty crackpots intent on harming economic recovery.

Here's to the executives who lunch--
Everybody laugh.
Lounging in their pinstripes
And planning a brunch
On their own behalf.
Off to the gym,
Then to a fitting,
Claiming they're fat.
And looking grim,
'Cause they've been sitting
Choosing a hat.
Does anyone still wear a hat?
I'll drink to that.

So here's to the CEO on the go--
Everybody tries.
Look into their eyes,
And you'll see what they know:
A company never dies.
A toast to that invincible bunch,
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch.
Let's hear it for the fat cats who lunch--
Everybody rise!
Rise!
Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise!
Rise!



Reviews: From Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read May 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book was so intriguing I hardly put it down. Wonderfully written it does not linger on any 
one event nor does it speed through scenes making it a poor read. The characters were well 
thought out and the inner turmoils they all face are far from dull.

5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular April 5, 2013
By Jack
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The book was simply amazing it had action romance and just enough drama to make me happy 
one of the best books I have ever read

From Barnes and Noble - Nook Books:

Posted December 1, 2012

 Great read.

A story filled with with love, hate, violence, peace and so much more. 538 pages of wondering what will happen 
next. A FULL story from start to finish. Thanks to the author for sharing a great work with the readers.

Posted July 8, 2012
 Couldn't put it down...
For this to have been a free book, it was wonderful. The author keeps you on the edge of your seat. I couldn't 
put this down. I think this would make a great movie!

Posted April 20, 2012

 Amazing

Perfectly written with great detail it was thought provoking and asked the fundemental question of would you 
stick up for what you believed was right even if you would be killed for doing so.

Posted April 5, 2012

 This book is AWESOME! it keeps you wanting to read the entire ti

This book is AWESOME! it keeps you wanting to read the entire time. It tells of 2 worlds, and both are 
extremely unique. One of the best books I've ever read!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Ridiculously Photogenic

I think Zeddie Little stumbled onto internet fame because of someone's clever label. A mid marathon snap catching a good looking runner smiling like he's on a photo shoot, coupled with a label of 'Ridiculously Photogenic Guy' and you have an instant viral sensation.


That's why I love the internet. Because so many people out there are extraordinary and talented and funny to the point they should be given their 15 minutes and more.

Of course there's still a lot of luck needed - here's some Ridiculously Photogenic snaps that didn't get Zeddie's fame. Go figure.
































Scott Norton Taylor - Inner City - Ebook for Kindle, Epub Sony, Palm or online!

Reviews: From Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read May 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book was so intriguing I hardly put it down. Wonderfully written it does not linger on any 
one event nor does it speed through scenes making it a poor read. The characters were well 
thought out and the inner turmoils they all face are far from dull.

5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular April 5, 2013
By Jack
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The book was simply amazing it had action romance and just enough drama to make me happy 
one of the best books I have ever read

From Barnes and Noble - Nook Books:

Posted December 1, 2012

 Great read.

A story filled with with love, hate, violence, peace and so much more. 538 pages of wondering what will happen 
next. A FULL story from start to finish. Thanks to the author for sharing a great work with the readers.

Posted July 8, 2012
 Couldn't put it down...
For this to have been a free book, it was wonderful. The author keeps you on the edge of your seat. I couldn't 
put this down. I think this would make a great movie!

Posted April 20, 2012

 Amazing

Perfectly written with great detail it was thought provoking and asked the fundemental question of would you 
stick up for what you believed was right even if you would be killed for doing so.

Posted April 5, 2012

 This book is AWESOME! it keeps you wanting to read the entire ti

This book is AWESOME! it keeps you wanting to read the entire time. It tells of 2 worlds, and both are 
extremely unique. One of the best books I've ever read!