Monthly Archives: October 2006

Cheap as Chips

While you Americans deal with petty economic issues like high oil prices, we here in Britain have to worry about something real:

Fish-and-chip prices are about to skyrocket. They are expected to even surpassing the £5 mark at takeaway chip shops in south-east England.

Who is to blame, and what will the consequences be? It depends on who you believe. The right-wing populist Evening Standard blames those pesky environmentalists who want a fishing ban on the endangered North Sea Cod.The left-wing Guardian blames weather damage to potato crops (and perhaps, by extension, global warming.) The Telegraph–which likes to brag of its wealthy, health-conscious readership– says the mania for Omega 3 fatty acids has driven up the price of fish. Scotland’s Herald frets that competition from McDonald’s is forcing Glasgow chippies to keep their prices low in the face of rising costs, potentially driving them out of business.

The Hated Redcoat

As an American screenwriter living in the UK, the most common question I get asked is: “Why are the bad guys in American films always British?”

Simply put, to an American, British accents sound smart and sophisticated. You want your villain to be smart and sophisticated, because that makes it all the harder for the hero to triumph. And giving him an English accent is a fast and easy way to do that.

Hard at Work

As I like to remind Lauren, there are certain advantages to being married to a full-time writer. She never has to be the one to stay at home and wait for a delivery, and most nights, I’ve got dinner waiting for her when she steps through the door.

But there are certain disadvantages as well. One of them, no doubt, is that sometimes your husband calls you at 5PM on a Wednesday to tell you he’s just walked out of the first free movie screening of his afternoon, and he’s on his way to his second.

Should I go to film school?

When I got my Master’s from USC, the digital revolution hadn’t quite kicked in. But now that it has, I usually tell people not to bother with film school. DVGuru offers 10 reasons why–8 of them very good. I disagree with #8 (“You can’t teach art. Can you?”) and #10 (“You either have it or you don’t.”)

I believe that everybody has an intrinsic maximum potential in any field–artistic or otherwise–and that education is the way to maximize that potential. But I agree with DVGuru that, nowadays, the best way to educate yourself is to beg, borrow, or buy a DV camera and a computer, and start shooting and editing movies. And that goes for writers who just want to write–even if you ultimately want somebody else to direct your work, you ought to direct a few of your own short scripts, just for the learning experience.