Blog Archives


Dear parent: why your dyslexic child struggles with reading | Education |

Presentation session

We were in Plymouth at a session led by Natasha Buckley. Well, I was an hour late because I had a blow out, but by the time I arrived Rich (who is replacing Keith due to other commitments) had already fitted himself in wonderfully. In fact, he was introduced to me by a few other members of the group…

The session was using a few acting exercises to examine confidence and creativity – the old chestnuts of teamwork (build the highest tower of paper) as well as some interesting exercises – linking arms to prevent others from joining, unless they ask nicely.

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Screenwriters Toolkit

Good blog for scriptwriting…

screenwriters toolkit » Rewriting/Editing

The first time I had my screenplay read out loud, I immediately knew
many of the things that had to change. Try it! Your Task: Get hold of a
finished screenplay. Get a group of people (at least 2 others). Assign
parts to each person and read the screenplay out loud. Finished? Now,
have each person do a 10-minute freewrite answering the following
questions: What are my impressions of this work? What do I wish was in
it? What am I glad that was included? Share.

Script Editing

Pete Snelling came in and had a look at the two scripts. He spent the morning looking at Sam’s. He really liked the story, saying it was solid. It just needed to be dirtied up, made a bit more life like: The writing equivalent of the uncanny valley.

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Diploma: How blair is still messing it up.

All politicians talk of action, yet none will actually take it. Has politics become such a popularity test that we just follow what the mob want?

The Tomlinson report was very specific: GCSE’s and A Levels do not give our children what they need. The Diplomas are designed to do that. Why are we still implementing all the stuff that doesn’t work? That means teachers will be even more overworked than before and lead to the whole thing failing – again.

Bid for respect could kill off diplomas | Mortarboard | Guardian Unlimited

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Spoilt children are unpleasant shock

The latest exhaustive research has shown that if parents spoil their children at home, it leads to disruptive behaviour in school.

“Some children are spoiled and it is not their fault, it is their parents.” Said the lead Researcher, Roald Dahl. “It was very clear in one case where the father, Mr Salt was so keen for a quiet life he would use money to placate his daughter, Veruca. This led to a poor emotional development and the use of manipulative behaviour in other situations.”

The full report is available on demand from Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith and all good shops as Book or audio Recording. It is also available in two alternate renditions on DVD or VHS.

BBC NEWS | Education | Spoilt children ‘disrupt schools’

Scriptwriting Session

Kate Leys has worked on ‘4 Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘The Full Monty’ and more. She describes her job as a scriptwriter as being to ask those stupid questions other people thing are just too stupid to ask… ‘But why are they doing that?’

She talked for about six hours (without hesitation, deviation or repetition). Every second was gold. We analysed ‘Shrek’ and I saw it was about Johari Window – and actually, most stories are – the main character always discovers something about themselves they didn’t know. It’s the point.

The main thing to remember is that we need to tell a story. And any story, to be interesting, needs a beginning, a middle and an end. And it needs to be big. It needs to come from somewhere, and go somewhere.

The example was given of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. What does Indianna want? The ark. Why can’t he have it? It’s lost. What is stopping him? Nazis. What does he need? The love of a good woman. He is useless throughout the film: The opening sequence sets that up – he sets off the traps, gets chased by the bad guys, and loses the thing he was trying to get. Things only go well when he has a woman’s help.

However, the biggest lesson was at the start: no one knows what makes a good screenplay. It just reads well. There is no formula, there is only that little voice in your ear that says “hold on… I’m lost. What was the point again?”

Listen to it. If the script reads well, it should work. If the script doesn’t read well, it will be crap. You cannot polish a turd.

Media confusion over how to discuss education

BBC NEWS | Education | Heads’ tough warning on Diploma

You will notive by the history that it seems to be alternate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ stories about the diploma. If there is low uptake, then it is becuase parents don’t know what it is. Maybe then, the media might be a good place to help people understand what the diplomas are…

Just a thought. I mean, not like it’s a big thing or anything. Or maybe reporters don’t know what it is?

Web Filtering Issue

It is not often that I agree with Microsoft. But this to me is the same as censoring TV programmes because ‘children may be watching’. The best option is to educate children.

What happens is that all shows get dumbed down, but stay just as violent. This would happen on the internet to. Would it be the accidental blockees that would break through (I was once blocked in a school for searching ‘Play’ and ‘Tents’ while doing a tent construction project).

No. Porn will always find a way through. As will anything that someone wants to block. There are hundreds of ways through, so stop treating the symptom and look for the cause.

Microsoft exec tells MPs pre-installed security filters would mark a return to the ‘dark ages’ | Media |

Setting [filtering controls] at a high level is the equivalent to blocking the internet … it would be living in the dark ages in my view.”

Lambert was responding to a suggestion made by another witness before the culture select committee today, who had said filtering software should be pre-installed at a high security setting.

Britiain to be 'Creative Hub'

We need to give our creative industries a powerful global presence and the opportunity to compare themselves with the very best in the world,” the government said. “We hope [it] will become the equivalent of Davos [World Economic Forum] for the creative industries.”

I do have an issue here – Britain cannot be the creative hub without investment, so the same government who have removed the Tax incentives and screwed over HE by removing funding want us all to be creative.

Then Invest. The new diplomas look like a good start, but I am waiting for those to be mucked about with too.

I also worry about the London centric attitude of the piece – although the BBC will soon be abandoning London, and Aardman are here in the South West, I just know the money will stay in the South East.

Although, I may be wrong. Here at Bridgwater, as a recognized excellent college, we should be at the centre.

So, where’s the funding?

Mark Sweney,, Friday February 22 2008