Indie Psychological Thriller “Old Bill” to Film in London

What if that kindly old man down the road was really a barely reformed sociopath on the verge of relapsing from his decades long “thou shalt not kill” pledge? Falling off that wagon is tough, especially when there’s no 12-step program for serial killers.

oldbill

I recently joined the team of writer/director Peter Stylianou, producer Tony Currier, and executive producer Nik stylianou (a team whose previous film “Who Needs Enemies” was theatrically released in the UK and is available on DVD worldwide) to produce their newest project, “Old Bill.”

Old Bill is a bloody psychological thriller with a fascinating and troubled senior citizen protagonist with a brutal past, paired with an unlikely counterpart, a young French woman with a penchant for shoplifting and a wild streak a mile wide.

Old Bill will be shot in London later this year and promises to be a wild ride, one I’m thrilled to be a part of.

        Old Bill’s Slated.Com Page       

Follow the Old Bill Twitter feed for updates.

Screenwriting: When Less is More

Brevity.  Clarity.  Subtext.

In reading the work of some of the more influential screenwriters of the last few decades, one thing (with a few exceptions) holds true across the board. These top-tier writers are both thrifty with their use of words, yet also able to convey so much more than most with the words they commit to the page. Sure, every writer knows about subtext, yet some are true experts at crafting dialogue and descriptives that can fill a reader’s mind with a full-frame of information from just a few brief lines.

The Script Lab

Be Clear. Be Concise. Be Creative.

The Script Lab recommends “The Three C’s” as a simple guideline to keep in mind. Now if you’ve read my previous posts, you know I’m not a believer in following cut & dry methods (and don’t get me started on Save the Cat), but I do believe “The Three C’s” is actually a useful and easy to remember tool when you find yourself questioning if something is perhaps too wordy, too vague, or too bland.

For an example, let’s turn to arguably the most well known script from the legendary William Goldman. I’ll link the shooting script (there’s a bit more included in shooting scripts, such as direction for camera and whatnot, but you’ll get the idea). Look at the economy of words, the quality of words chosen, and the mental picture painted with them.

Goldman’s writing is a classic example of The Three C’s well before that was even a thing. His writing is Clear and Concise with not a wasted sentence as he crafts the world, the scene, and the dialogue, yet even his shortest of lines has that Goldman Creativity. The man had a way with words, on that we can all agree. If anyone says otherwise, I have but one word for them…

Inconceivable!

For further insight into screenwriting, as well as occasional amusing nuggets, The Bitter Script Reader Twitter feed can provide an enjoyable barrage of quips and commentary that are often surprisingly on-point.

He’s been an industry script reader for a decade and his exchanges with fellow readers can be downright hilarious. You’ll likely notice that followers of the “more is more” and “fill the page, let the reader figure it out” school of writing tend to be pet peeves of the pro-reader crowd. In other words, the pros tend to agree, Less is More more often than not.

Tax Benefits Shooting Film in the UK

Everyone is looking for a deal, an incentive, a tax credit, something to help them get their project made, be it in the swamps of Louisiana or the wilderness of New Zealand. For those filming in the UK, the incentives currently available there seem quite attractive.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, aka SEIS

The SEIS is designed to help small production investors realize tax savings. £100k or less in shares can have 50% deducted. Additionally if you hold the shares for 3 or more years and have made a profit, that profit will be free from Capital Gains tax. It’s a fantastic way to fund a project and immediately cut your risk in half.

Enterprise Investment Scheme, aka EIS

The EIS is the big brother of the SEIS, and investors can realize tax savings of 30% on amounts up to £1,000,000 in shares. As with the SEIS, if Capital Gains are realized after a minimum of 3 years, they will be tax free. While tax savings are 30% rather than 50%, you can invest up to 10x the amount as SEIS and still receive a tax write-off.

UK Cultural Tax Rebates

For culturally UK films a tax rebate is available for up to 25% of the production budget, up to £20 million, to qualifying production companies. What this means is when the production company files its tax return, it can claim a cash refund of up to 25% of qualifying expenditures (such as pre-production, principal photography, and post-production). Development and marketing are not included as qualifying expenses.

With incentives like these, the UK saw a 35% increase in overall film/tv spending in 2014.

Obviously there is a tremendous amount of information not covered here, and this is not intended as legal or tax advice. Seek out investment counsel or tax professionals before making any financial decisions.