Sunday 5 December 2010

Good things happen..?

Well I had a great time at the London Screenwriters' Festival which I must say despite some minor teething difficulties was the best of the screenwriters festivals I have been to in recent years. London is a much more sensible place to have it - reflected mostly I think by the stellar speaker line-up it attracted. The speakers seemed much more friendly and approachable too - so well done to Chris Jones, David Chamberlain and Lucy Hay and others for putting it together.

I met lots of other screenwriters and made some good connections. I also met some established Facebook friends for the first time though not all unfortunately - I had been looking forward to meeting Elinor Perry-Smith - Mother Superior at the Convent of Eternal Armament in Peckham but somehow we missed each other!

I was also present late on in the bar when myself, Danny Stack, Piers Beckley and others hatched up the St Patrick's Day short film challenge - " It's got to be between 3-5 minutes (not including credits), have no more than 5 actors in it (counted as anyone with a line, on screen or off), and you need to either write or direct the film."  Deadline 17th March 2011. So please join us and have a go!

When I returned from the festival I was fortunate to be able to pitch separate ideas to two different producers - mostly as a result of my relentless networking. A Birmingham set feel-good recessionary fable to some producers here in the UK that have just had a big success with one of their films and also a game/graphic novel/film idea based on an ancient text to someone in the USA. I can't say any more for now but fingers crossed.

Back here in Birmingham I'm very busy writing and producing for one of my low budget feature ideas with my new friends and collaborators Jazz Virk and Stewart Addison. I had met Jazz earlier in the year as he was one of the judging panel on the music video competition my Stickleback Productions team won.

I met Stewart - a long time collaborator with Jazz rather circuitously when I was desperately trying to find a Director of Photography to help me shoot my 1/2 hour wake drama short Trouble At My Door back in late August. That's now hopefully going ahead during the schools 1/2 term in February.

We're now shooting the Finders.Keepers idea over 2 + 2 days from the 13th of December making both a trailer short and a longer B story festival oriented short to help find investors/finance.

Rising Star - Chloe Farnworth
We have some great actors involved such as Chloe Farnworth (Dead Cert), Adam Fray (Hustle),and Joe Egan (Sherlock Holmes I and II) plus some really fab locations so I'm really looking foward to both the shoot and to seeing the finished result. 

I helped out on a Bollywood music video shoot with Stewart and Jazz earlier this week and was really impressed by their technical and creative ability so I'm certain that will also do wonders for the Finders.Keepers trailer and short and hopefully the resulting feature which Jazz is down to direct with me writing and co-producing with Stewart.

DIY all the way I say! Onwards and upwards!


B x

Monday 1 November 2010

LSWF10 and Email Bounce Issue

I had a great London Screenwriters Festival, made some new friends and contacts and will blog about it here soon with all my thoughts.

If you're trying to contact me via email then please use brendan.j.oneill \AT/ as my Stickleback Productions one is bouncing for some reason ;-(.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Bollywood appearance & London Screenwriters Festival 2010 :-)

Well I entered all the competitions I was going to enter. Didn't win any of the ones announced so far though I did score quite highly in my readers assessment for the London Screenwriters Festival Short Script competition which is reassuring. I'm also getting regular likes and nice comments from the material I have put on Circalit which hosted its own LSWF competition.

I think maybe my "teacher goes berserk and everyone ends up deceased" short script Under Siege may have been a bit too strong for some tastes! Will try and do it myself now free from the constraints of only having 5 characters. Just need to find a secondary school that's willing to let me shoot a blood bath!

The very good news is that I am now going to the London Screenwriters Festival courtesy of Screen West Midlands who are sponsoring 10 West Midlands based writers to attend. The line up looks very comprehensive and fab and its a credit to the team behind it. Apparently all the speakers are giving their time for free to make it happen which is most excellent indeed.

In other competition news I have sent 3 out of the 4 genre entries allowed for The Big Idea competition which deadlines this Friday with just my teens Sci-Fi idea kidZ:The Trident Inheritance still to go. This has to to be whittled down from 5k+ words to just 700 before tomorrow when I head down to London.

November is going to be busy with prepping a trailer short for my feature idea Finders.Keepers. with my fantastic new producer/DoP team and also doing another full treatment for another "hot" project i.e. one with a producer already attached.

The bad news is that due to actor availability becoming something of a kitten herding exercise my 30 minute short Trouble At My Door has been pushed back to the New Year - hopefully February half-term. Congratulations though to precociously talented cast member Kia Pegg who has landed the part of Vicious Vicky in the 3D feature Horrid Henry.

I also need to decide if its worth having a bash at the Terry Pratchett prize for an 80 -150k novel that is set in any time but now and is physics-ly possible i.e. no ray guns etc. That deadlines 31/12 and has a publishing deal attached.

So busy, busy, busy and thats even before I've gone and networked like a mad thing at LSWF 2010. It'll be great to meet some of my Facebook writer friends for the first time.

Finally I had the chance to appear as an extra last weekend in Bollywood film Tezz which is shooting around Birmingham and stars Slumdog Millionaire's Anil Kapoor. Its an Indian version of Speed apparently.

It was really interesting to see a big production shooting on 35mm in operation. There was loads of preparation for lighting and rehearsals but few takes. Think I prefer shooting on HD/DV as you can get as many takes as you want without worrying about the cost of processing etc. It definitely gives you more scope to do a number of takes thus giving more for the editor to play with.

Big ups to Sindy Campbell the Filming Liaison Coordinator from Film Birmingham who was really busy and doing a great job making everything run smoothly for this really big (70 crew!) shoot.

Would like to see more big productions like this coming to Birmingham as its A GREAT PLACE to shoot films.

I'm in a few crowd scenes and am quite close to Anil Kapoor at times so it will be interesting to see if I make it to the big screen.

Anyway onwards and upwards!


Monday 11 October 2010

Busy October!

I'm really busy this month with various competition entries that will also be dual purposed for other things.

Firstly I'm entering the various competitions that are being run to help launch the inaugural London Screenwriters Festival. One already packed and sent was for their short script competition which had to be set in a school/college with 2 adults and 3 students as characters. My entry Under Seige is a rather bleak but powerful drama about a teacher who finally snaps as a result of pupil bullying with tragic consequences.

The other official competition for this is the Inspired by Science award which is worth 5k to the winner. I'm dusting off my Fairyland project for this as its a perfect fit. They're asking for a 750 word treatment with a biomedical science theme so this Bhopal disaster related corporate wrongdoing story gives me perfect scope.

Over on free to join I've also posted an excerpt from Unix O'Mooney my novel about a young alien stranded in Ireland in 1969 which is gettting some good feedback from people. That's for another competition which gets ones novel "fast tracked into the hands of agents and publishers" and wins a professional novel manuscript assessment.

Circalit are also running an LSF related competition where you win a free consultation with a leading London literary agent and a free ticket to the festival so I'm tidying up Scampenstein for entering into that.

I'm also going to send the treatment for Scampenstein in as one of 4 genre entries for The Big Idea competition run by Shine Pictures which  deadlines at the end of the month and is worth a whopping 25k development deal to the winner so well worth a shot. You can enter one each of Romantic Comedies, Action Adventures, Sci-Fi or Fantasy or Family Comedies.

The Panther's Lair?

I'm also writing up a treatment for a producer I have done some work with in the past and also sending him the treatment for my geek serial killer/kidnapper nano budget feature idea Panther that I'm looking to self shoot over the winter/spring period. I already have a new team for this and a great location already sorted as the Panther's Lair.

So busy, busy, busy and that's just this month!

Thursday 2 September 2010

Postponed - Aaaaargh

I had to postpone the Trouble At My Door shoot due to some crewing difficulties which was a shame because the volunteer cast of 18 were rock solid and ready to go.

Fortunately the householder is happy for us to reschedule for mid November and I have now found a Director of Photography who wants to do not just this project but others too.

In other news my Panther project seems to be gaining some momentum so it looks like this is the one that is going to become my first feature.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Script Locked!

I have just locked the script and am only expecting very minor revisions from now on in. I'll be scheduling and creating a shot list over the coming days ready to start shooting on Saturday week.

We have finished all the casting now and I think its a pretty strong ensemble which includes up and coming actress and model Chloe Farnworth who plays the part of Michelle, local lass Leila Antony who plays for fab local Birmingham band The Gundogs and even a brief appearance by Sky Sports and BBC boxing commentator and ex WBC super middleweight champion Richie Woodhall as a detective.

Leila Antony of The Gundogs

Yesterday evening we visited the nice ladies in the wonderful costume department at the Crescent Theatre to get Leila  - who is playing the part of the wayward daughter Annie - fitted with a pregnancy bump. We also sorted out some of the woman police officer uniform that will be needed by lovely Walsall based actress Stacey Alpine. All names to watch!

Thats all for now but more as it happens until I switch over to a volunteer friend who is going to blog, Facebook, podcast, tweet and generally publicise the shoot live and in real time.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Good progress!

Pre-production on Trouble is going quite well. We're halfway through the auditions process and still have a number of people to see this week. Its been the first time I have done casting properly so something of a learning process in terms of experience and organisation but no major mishaps so far and we'll do it much better next time!

I am also pleased that we have added significantly to the crew. Experienced local photographer and film-maker Chris Keenan is on board as Director of Photography ably assisted by Sarah Jones as 1st Assistant Camera. We have also secured a Best Boy, a script supervisor and are considering a number of runner/production assistant applications.

I'm rewriting this week. Hoping to freeze the script Friday and then we start scheduling, storyboarding and so forth ready for the shoot.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Meetings, meetings, meetings!

Following a long meeting yesterday afternoon I'm pleased to welcome Seeyam Brijmohun on board as production manager/co-producer.

Seeyam has a strong background in film and theatre plus a background in that most useful of skills fundraising!. I will be handing over most of the production function to him over the next few days which will allow me to concentrate on the creative side like developing the script, casting, storyboarding etc.

Prior to that meeting we met with David Moore at Boxxed who has generously donated some time and space for auditions and rehearsals. A shining example of  how we all have to stand together to help grow the arts in this city especially in these straitened times. After all "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" which is a Friedrich Nietzsche quote apparently. Bit early to be quoting Nietzsche I know!

Later in the evening we were both on the ground at the location in Moseley where we met our keen, young production design team of Samantha Cliff and Lisa Williams who will be covering the set design and costume briefs respectively. Also on hand was Joseph Harper who will be the man with the boom at the very least though everyone will be expected to multi-task.


Sunday 1 August 2010

"Trouble" progress :-) and other news.

I'm pretty pleased with the progress on getting cast and crew for Trouble At My Door. Lots of quality applications in both departments. I now have two keen production designers/art directors that are going to help me which will be a big help.

The musical side of things is also sorted. Philip Mountford - my long time composer collaborator friend has kindly agreed to do the score. He will be working with talented Bulgarian actress, singer and composer Zory Burner who has offered to help with songs and vocals.

I will be reviewing all applications midweek and then letting people know by Friday-ish.

In other news I've entered 3 animation ideas for the Tokyo based Marza Story Circus competition including my beloved Scampenstein project.

I've also sent in two entries for Tony Jordans's Red Planet competition. A single entry called Scarlett - a story about a tough black Birmingham detective on the trail of a serial killer/kidnapper and my joint entry with fellow Villa fan Dominic Carver - The Roaring Forties - a series idea about the trials and tribulations in the lives of members of a 40 something Sunday league team.

Fingers crossed!


B x

Stickleback Productions

Monday 26 July 2010

Trouble At My Door shoot 28th/29th/39th August

I'm planning to shoot Trouble At My Door - a 30 minute family wake drama over the Bank Holiday Weekend at a single location I have secured in Moseley, Birmingham. There will be a cast of about 17 including child actors.

I'm looking for experienced volunteer cast and crew as at present due to funding difficulties its a no budget, un-expensed shoot though I am hoping to feed everybody.

Roles needed


Gaffer (I have lights and autopoles)
1st AD / Production Manager

plus  if possible

Production Designer
Script Supervisor


Editor/Grader/Post production sound

Please let me now if you can help or know of anyone for the above roles plus actors who might be interested in auditioning mid-August.

A draft of the script can be downloaded here.

I'm aiming to get it into the Rotterdam Film Festival which deadlines 1st October for films made after 1st July. Will be shooting in HD and hope to be able to make you look good.

Please get in touch if you're interested in helping out.



Stickleback Productions - Winner of 2 Weeks 2 Make It 2010 for TV Dinner Lady.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Thursday 24 June 2010

Dead Harvey Horror Blog Interview

I've just been interviewed by a horror blog in America about the Stickleback Productions 2 Weeks 2 Make It win. You can read the piece here

[caption id="attachment_417" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Dead Harvey Horror Blog"]Dead Harvey Horror Blog[/caption]

Wednesday 16 June 2010

2W2 Win!!!

I am pleased to announce that Stickleback Productions and Wise Blood are the winners of the inaugural Birmingham version of the 2 Weeks 2 Make It music promo competition.

Up against some stiff opposition from other established filmmakers we won the day -  at the same time earning some great praise from the 3 competition judges for our efforts.

Well done everybody. Here's the winning video

Wise Blood "TV Dinner Lady" by Stickleback Productions from Brendan O'Neill on Vimeo.


Tuesday 15 June 2010

Event:Indie Movie Doubleheader: 2 feature films plus Q & A

Indie Movie Doubleheader: 2 feature films plus Q & A with the West Midlands based filmmakers who made them happen!


Huw Bowen and Chris Pinches: Triple Hit

Lee Murphy: Money Kills

Saturday 24th July at Friction Arts 79-81, Cheapside, Digbeth, 14.00 - 18.00

More details on Facebook page.

This is a fund raising event for Swings and Roundabouts - a feature being made by Stickleback Productions in August.

£10 per ticket for 2 films, chat with filmmakers, speed networking & buffet. Pay bar.

[caption id="attachment_394" align="aligncenter" width="481" caption="Triple Hit"]Triple Hit[/caption]

Tuesday 8 June 2010

A Bloody Business!

I'm going to do a full blog on the Wise Blood TV dinner lady shoot ASAP but for now just to say it went really well, we all worked together to overcome the many obstacles in our path and cast, crew and band should all be proud of the result which is getting some excellent feedback from other filmmakers who've had a sneak peek.

The video itself will be available here straight after the awards ceremony on the 15th June 2010.

[caption id="attachment_381" align="alignnone" width="565" caption="Wise Blood "TV Dinner Lady" shoot. Day 2.Stickleback Productions"]Wise Blood "TV Dinner Lady" shoot. Day 2.Stickleback Productions[/caption]

More soon.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

2weeks2makeit in Brum

I'm mad busy producing my first music video as part of the 2weeks2makeit competition sponsored by Screen West Midlands. Following an excellent series of speakers on Friday afternoon in a workshop session at Fazeley Studios - 12 local bands were paired off with 12 local film crews and given 2 weeks to make a great promo.

I was quite anxious about what sort of band the Stickleback Productions team would get paired with but am delighted to have been paired with Wise Blood who are a great band and a nice, helpful bunch of guys.

I'm now busy arranging cast, locations and resources for a shoot on Friday and Saturday for their track TV Dinner Lady which is a very dark and gory urban tale!

I'm also delighted to be doing my first promo with the help of Director of Photography James Stoneley who made Seconds Out the last film I wrote and produced look so good.

I think we have a great track, a great crew and with the help of some great actors and helpful local businesses such as Bar Bluu will end up turning out a great video.

Watch this space!

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Merry Month of May

Seems to be a lot happening in the month of May. Hopefully the good weather we've been having will continue.

April was quite busy with a number of courses and events. The Producers Forum event featuring writer and now producer Tony Jordan (Eastenders, Life on Mars, Hustle) was excellent. Tony is a very funny switched on guy and a pleasure to listen to.

Other highlights for me were the two Script sponsored workshops I attended. The first one was  on Sci-Fi and Fantasy and was given by producer Claire Ingam as part of a series of workshops on various genres.

The second was another great workshop by Professor Paul Wells called Devizing Animated Narratives which has given me some impetus to go back to my Scampenstein idea.

I think I'm going to finish the script for that and then find a collaborator to create a graphic novel of the story which can also be shipped to other platforms like Iphone and Android. Thinking 360°!

Hopefully take up of the graphic novel and platform based content will help popularize the story and find me a producer.

I'm still working on my play for the Royal Court Theatre's Critical Mass scheme but will also be jumping onto some other things with deadlines.

Screen West Midlands revised Investment Fund is open again so I will be resubmitting Finders.Keepers. based on the feedback received from last time. I will also be submitting a couple of other feature ideas as new projects.

The UKFC have cut funding to the regional agencies so competition is going to be even fiercer usual. That said there is nothing to stop people getting some actors and a crew together and just going for it themselves. No interference that way too though obviously you still have to consider due process for script development etc!

I'm fortunate to be able to get an opinion from my own talented script editor but for those writers who don't then I highly recommend that you get opinion/feedback from a professional such as Hayley McKenzie at Script Angel.

Still waiting on feedback from a producer who is looking at my teen Sci-Fi idea kidZ.

Finally I'm planning to take part in the 2weeks2makeit pop promo competition where film makers are paired with up and coming bands to create a promo. I've fancies doing a promo for ages so hopefully this is my chance to shine.

More as it happens.

B x

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Haiti Benefit Result!

The final take from my Haiti benefit short film event was £198 which I am very pleased about.

£180 on the night

£13 change after paying for venue and wholesale price of booze consumed!

£5 pounds from the lovely Suzanne

DEC Haiti Appeal Receipt here.

B x

Wednesday 31 March 2010

The Lurgi!

[caption id="attachment_339" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="UNCLE HANS-PETER PARTY at FLATPACK 24.03.10"]UNCLE HANS-PETER PARTY at FLATPACK 24.03.10[/caption]

Into my second week of horrible phasey 'flu that just comes and goes and seems particularly virulent at present. Its really impacting on making much progress with the play I'm supposed to have ready for 20th April for the Royal Court's Critical Mass scheme.

I had a very busy week last week as I attended the Engine Room Pitch documentary workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday which was excellent followed by 3 nights Front of House volunteering for the Flatpack Festival. Tuesday was also the last taught bit of the Royal Court's Critical Mass playwriting scheme I have been doing since January

The Doc workshop was given by Christine Burnett, Charlie Phillips and the wonderfully named Floury Crum from the Sheffield International Documentary Festival. It was really informative and useful and has encouraged me to think about making my own documentary.

Flatpack was its usual eclectic brilliance and I made some new friends. The highlight for me was the Uncle Hans Peter party event which is one of the strangest arts experiences I have ever had!

Finally last night there was an excellent debate on the future of  television drama in the region which I feel will hopefully lead to some cages being rattled at the BBC and other places.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Film Dash Result :-(

We came joint 3rd out of 24 entries which was disappointing but I'm probably not as disappointed as Robert Williams and his team who made a great film and didn't even place!

This is the winning entry.

This came second

and we were joint 3rd with the Junction Zero team who made a nice film.

This is what the judges said about Seconds Out.

Kate Leys said this: "Ambitious, and a great central idea, but with an ambitious story you do need a really strong ending.  Stories are all about their endings, and this one just wasn't very clear.  Very good central performance."

Catherine Bray said this: "For my third choice I would pick Seconds Out for setting out to tell a straightforward little narrative in a limited time and having done a bit of script work."

C'est la vie.

Positives to draw from the experience were working with actors Elexi Walker and Elli Middleton who I and a lot of other people thought were great. Real champion boxer Bertrand and sparring partner Hatim who were real sports and without whose help and first time acting we couldn't have made the film plus the ever reliable Steve Rylands who has the dubious distinction of being in very film I've ever made. Thanks to all the other folk who helped in some way too.

Last but not least it was nice to work with collaborator John Hill-Daniel again and also for the first time with DoP James Stoneley and Russell Hill whose technical skills and equipment bought so much to the overall quality of  the film - all underpinned by Matthew Cotterill's great score.

In other news my Haiti Fundraiser on Saturday went very well from an entertainment point of view but could have done with more customers though the door! The Flickr stream is here and a big thanks to all the film makers who let me show their films, Sandra and Lee at Friction for the venue and my small army of volunteers - Martina, Dominika, Joe, Ifti and Andy without whose help I couldn't have made it happen.

A busy past two weeks. Just have to write my play for the Royal Court theatre scheme now and I'm done for a bit!!!



Tuesday 9 March 2010

"Seconds Out" Film Dash 2010

The latest film by Stickleback Productions is Seconds Out made for Film Dash 2010. I produced and wrote it but it was John Hill-Daniel's turn in the Director's chair ably assisted by James Stoneley (DoP) and Russell Smith (Sound).

Thanks to all the cast and other helpers but especially to Jon Pegg for helping us get the boxing sequences.

Fingers crossed for the moment of truth at the Electric on Thursday@7pm when the winner will be announced.

I'll also be showing the film and hopefully some other Film Dash films at my shorts night to raise money for Haiti on Saturday. There is a really strong line up plus Ken Loach has kindly donated an autographed copy of his classic film Kes as top prize in the raffle!

Fill your indie boots and then dance the night away 8 - late!!!!

Monday 1 March 2010

Film Dash 2010

The frantic sleep depriving madness that is Film Dash is upon us again after a brief hiatus in 2009.

I have the nuts and bolts of a crew and some actors already but would be happy to hear from more actors and also people who know of good locations where we can shoot this Saturday 6th March i.e. Your Dad's office, your cousins launderette, the nice woman who owns a shop/store, hospital ward. Anything that adds visually to the story possibilities I could have in mind when I start responding to the 7pm Friday Film Dash brief.

So PLEASE if you know of anywhere then get in touch. I always give people a credit if they help the film and we'll try to squeeze them into the film as an extra or passer by if possible.

Thanks if you can help



info AT

Friday 12 February 2010

Eat My Shorts: Haiti Fundraiser Saturday 13th March

I've formed a West Midlands Film Makers for Haiti Facebook group and put together a fund raising event for the 13th March.

The event will take place at Friction Arts - The Edge venue on Saturday 13th March from 8pm.

The plan is to have two hours of all sorts of shorts followed by a disco. The space and technical set-up and support has been kindly donated by Sandra Hall and Lee Griffiths of Friction Arts.

The Edge. 79 – 81 Cheapside, Digbeth, Birmingham, B12 0QH.  Map

£5 on door. £4 concessions. All proceeds to DEC Haiti appeal.

Cheap bar at venue. Each guest is also encouraged to bring Cake and/or Nibbles preferably Home-Made to share with fellow attendees.

If you want your short film, animation, pop promo, art film, feature trailer or excerpt to be shown then please get in touch.

Acoustic performers and comedians who want to do a turn are welcome too!

Highlights so far include

Momster - an excellent animated short by award winning director/animator Steven Spencer

A series of pop promos by the band Jackdaw with Crowbar

plus others to be confirmed.

info AT / 0798 565 9997.



Sunday 31 January 2010

If you enlist then you must soldier!

Well I didn't get any further with my Screen West Midlands bid for Finders. Keepers. but have been encouraged to re-apply in the next round based on feedback.

Didn't get any of my 3 ideas shortlisted for the ifeatures scheme either but the odds were pretty high. At least I know now and can concentrate on other things.

The one good thing I'm doing at the moment is taking part in the Critical Mass playwriting scheme run by the Royal Court theatre. Its a regional scheme with groups based at the Belgrade theatre in Coventry and at the Drum here in Birmingham.

We have a really good tutor and its a great group with some really interesting and funny people so I'm very pleased about that. The course included going to see plays here and there so there's a social dimension too. The tough bit is coming up with a 1st draft of a play by week 8 of the course so that's going to be an ask but as my Pa is very fond of saying "if you enlist then you must soldier".

I'm going to rewrite Skunk in February and also do a treatment/1st draft of my Panther feature idea with a view to making it later in the year - nano budget of course which is in line with my Pragma 2010 Manifesto.

I was a bit surprised that more people haven't taken an interest in the Pragma idea. I suspect that the requirement to use open source software has freaked those people who feel they have to have expensive software and equipment in order to feel like they're really filmmakers!

Well the idea behind Pragma is that you dont so I'm just going to have to prove them wrong. I'm happy to say that I have an editor/co-producer volunteer so I'm hoping to shoot some scenes at Easter and slowly chip away at it over the year.

Still trying to get hold of a decent retro but pro camcorder to shoot on but have been offered a PD170 during the Easter and summer holidays so its very likely I'll be shooting at those times.

Thats all for now. Roll on Spring!