writer

Career Plan 2017-2018

First off, sorry this is a couple of weeks late. I started a PGCE in September (more on that later), and my coursework has taken priority. Right then, let’s get to it. Last year I congratulated myself on my most productive year to date and predicted big success was just around the corner! Was I right in my assumption? Let’s find out!

The Darning Needle did not achieve the big success I’d hoped it would, failing to be selected for the Wales Drama Award or the Script Room. However, in preparation for selection, I came up with three outlines for Doctor Who episodes that will come in handy if I do ever find myself brought before the BBC bigwigs; I hope to develop them further as well as coming up with a few more. I recently went back to treatment with The Darning Needle, planning a further draft, but it’s taken a back seat to my PGCE. The Darning Needle has been with me three years now, but being the best example of my long-form writing, it’s essential to continually update it until I come up with something new. I’d love to write a new feature, but with the busy year I have ahead, that may have to wait. I also received another rejection from the BBC after submitting two scripts to their Class Dismissed series (my one about Mr Plank the woodwork teacher was quality, the name alone sells it, I don’t know what they were thinking). I won’t be posting these, though, as there may be another opportunity to submit them in the future.

My greatest success this year by far has come with my filmmaking/writing in the short-form. In January, having wrapped up production on Bamboo House, I set my sights on Cardiff Mini Film Festival. Having been nominated the previous year, I was determined that this year I’d come home a winner. I tasked myself to write a number of scripts through January and then select the best for filming and submission. I wrote seven within the month (five in one week), and we managed to film four before the deadline. Three of them were nominated along with Bamboo House, and I did indeed come home a winner as The Prophet was victorious in the One Minute Wonder category! Further success would follow throughout the year, the films gaining multiple competition/festival nominations and selections; Goldfish reaching the finals of the Oniros Film Awards and Bob winning Short Film Sharer! My success led to me making many new connections through networking at these events, increasing my online presence via a Facebook page, creating posters for all my Outré Media productions, editing a slideshow advert and a showreel, and securing my first television interview! However, I did have one negative festival experience, but always striving to take some good from bad experiences, I decided to produce a festival submission guide so that others wouldn’t make the same mistakes I had.

It was also another great year for collaborations and making new connections. How Not To Be Single episode two – this time written entirely by myself – was completed at the start of the year, and it was unanimously agreed that it topped the original! Sadly, the planned third and final episode of the series has yet to surface due to various reasons including actors leaving the country. Studying for my PGCE, I would be unable to take on a large role on the project, but I’ve been encouraging the show’s creator to carry on with myself acting only as script-editor; so fingers-crossed! Speaking of script-editing, I also secured that position on the web series Long Shots. The series is still in post-production and I’m greatly looking forward to its release, it being the most prestigious, high-budget project I’ve worked on. Long Shots was one of two writing jobs I gained this year by passing an application/interview process, which has given me confidence of my high-ranking position in Cardiff’s writing community. The other job was for Stuart Thomas of Stu’s Reviews, who hired me to write a script working from his brief; hopefully you’ll be seeing the finished film later in the year. I also joined a new filmmaking group, Film Focus Wales. Through the group, I’ve redrafted one script, Snow White and the Seven Convictions, that went on to be filmed with me acting as sound recordist, and unofficial advisor due to my vast experience. Again, you’ll hopefully see this later in the year. Due to my PGCE commitments, I won’t be taking on any producing or directing roles within the group, but I’ve offered them a number of scripts I’m happy for them to film. One of which, Marching Orders, is in pre-production. Having not handed over complete control of one of my scripts before, I’m looking forward to the results. My most fruitful collaboration has been with Rachel Pedley-Miller of Avant Cymru. Not only did I produce the trailers for Avant’s Killer Cells, but I was also asked to film and edit Lands of Our Fathers, a half-hour documentary about the Rhondda’s immigrant ancestry. It was quite the experience being the longest single project I’ve ever been involved with and documentary not being my usual field. It’s had one screening so far, and we’re hoping for more this upcoming year. James Humphreys has yet again proved an invaluable contact, asking me to take part in one of his ScriptDawg events, test-running Tell Me About It, Sam on stage before filming. ScriptDawg is a great venture and a lot of fun, but I have no plans to pursue theatre work as it is not my passion or where my talents truly lie. James also encouraged me to take up home tutoring via the Tutora agency. This not only became my main source of income for the year but also a truly rewarding experience as I helped a number of struggling GCSE students achieve passing grades. It also inspired my decision to take a PGCE. My hope when I graduate is to gain a part-time position as a lecturer so I can still carry on my filmmaking/writing career while having the security of a well paid permanent job and hopefully making a difference in people’s lives.

One thing I’ve neglected this year is film/TV analyses/reviews. I had plans for a few but my filming/scriptwriting has taken priority, which is definitely for the best as that’s what I want to make my career from. Nevertheless, analysing and reviewing other people’s work is vital for inspiration, keeping one’s screen language skills sharp, and it’s a lot of fun, so it’s still my aim to publish my thoughts on some films and Doctor Who episodes in future. I’ve been aching to do The Seeds of Doom for ages, so hopefully that’ll be on this year’s list. First and foremost to this year’s plan is passing my PGCE, though. This will mean I’ll have less time for writing/filmmaking, at least until June – I’ve already had to turn down the opportunity to write/direct for Emojis of Horror, which would’ve been a cool project – but as well as Film Focus and Stuart Thomas, I’m on the lookout for other filmmakers to produce my work. Getting something produced on a big budget by a professional crew would be ideal. For this reason, along with the great opportunity it’d bring, I’m determined to be selected for It’s My Shout 2018, so will be producing a number of tailored scripts, much as I did for Cardiff Mini Film Festival. On top of all this, I’ll be continuing to submit my films produced this year to competitions/festivals, and I’m confident they’ll be more selections, nominations and winners ahead, and I’ll make many more connections.

So, do I feel I’ve achieved big success this year? Sure. I’ve topped last year for productivity and recognition, and my ability continues to develop rapidly. But am I satisfied? No, I want more! And I’m confident I’m going to get it. I’m certain I’ll build on what I’ve achieved and see similar success this forthcoming year. I feel I can accomplish anything if I set my mind to it, and with effort and perseverance, all my goals will be achieved.

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Career Plan 2016-2017

At the beginning of the year, I found myself in a much securer position than at the beginning of the previous year and with a clear objective for the year to come of prioritising the development of my own work over critiquing other people’s.

My main focus has been The Darning Needle, a 3x45min drama that I’ve submitted to the Wales Drama Award. It’s my best and most substantial work to date and the first full-length piece I’ve been satisfied with (although a writer is never truly satisfied and I’ll go back to it if required). I’m eagerly awaiting the results of the Wales Drama Award, and preparing other work to present to the judges if I’m successful, including an outline for another full-length piece and a Doctor Who episode! At some point after the results, I should be able to share some extracts from The Darning Needle and these other pieces. I’m hopeful for success, but failing any, I’ll have another chance to submit The Darning Needle to the BBC via their Script Room in December.

I’ve also been seeking success with writing in the short form. Last September, I set myself the target of writing three short films by January with an eye to film the most suitable as an eligible contender for competitions and festivals throughout the year. The first I finished was Nice Guy. I felt this was least suitable as it wasn’t up to the standard of the other two and its critique of internet culture would require the potentially long and costly development of a fake social network to avoid copyright. The second, Total Investigation Television, was the script I chose to film. It still provided a critique of internet culture but was far more easily realised; being shot in the style of the social experiment films it satirised. I was happy with its realisation, its production led to connections with some brilliant actors and organisations that I hope to work with again, and it’s also received some recognition! It’s due to be shown at Made in Roath Arts Festival on October 15th, and was nominated for Best Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2016, but failed to win. The final script I wrote, and possibly the best of the three, was A Love Story at Lin’s Kitchen. I decided not to film it immediately as I wanted to submit it to a couple of competitions that offered the prize of having it produced by professionals. Sadly, like Total Investigation Television, it was not successful. I feel on all these occasions, I missed out due to my entries incompatibility with the criteria, so next year I’ll be preparing more suitable applicants.

A further unexpected achievement came through our nomination at Cardiff Mini Film Festival. During the networking after-party, I introduced myself to the award hosts, Boyd Clack and Kirsten Jones, and asked them if they’d be interested in starring in A Love Story at Lin’s Kitchen; now retitled, Bamboo House. They loved the script and agreed. Shooting commenced yesterday, and you can keep up to date by watching our video diary. Being my first film to feature professional actors, Bamboo House provides me with a great opportunity, as this will not only enhance the production but potentially draw greater attention to my work than ever before. It will be made public on YouTube in November and submitted to competitions and festivals thereafter; including those we missed deadlines for last year – Cardiff Independent Film Festival – and others that Total Investigation Television was not suitable for due to its limited visual scope. With professional actors onboard, impressive locations secured, and greater opportunity for sophisticated cinematography, Bamboo House should be my greatest production yet!

As well as instigating my own projects, I’ve played significant roles in other people’s. I helped out first-year film students at Cardiff and the Vale College, acting in one of their shorts. I also helped third year scriptwriting students at the University of South Wales, assisting at script development classes. It was here I met James Humphreys, a fruitful connection as I went on to perform in a live reading of his script, Ringland, and was later asked to act at and script edit his first ScriptDawg event, and time permitting I’ll be taking part in all future events. I’ve also been told by senior scriptwriting lecturer, Sian Summers, that she’ll inform me of any further opportunities to assist at the university, which I’m very hopeful to do as I feel my tutoring/script editing ability has been put to good use. Another project where these skills have been utilised is YouTube sitcom series, How Not To Be Single, created by James Musgrove. I helped James develop the script for episode one, taking an advisory position, and then went on to co-direct and film it. Episode two I wrote myself, working from a brief from James, and again I’ve been co-directing and filming. It will be released later this month, and we’re confident it will top episode one! With this huge increase in filming, I hope to produce a showreel very soon or even multiple ones, focusing individually on my acting, camerawork, and writing!

Despite all my filming and scriptwriting work, I’ve still found time for reviews and analyses of film and television. These include E.T., the Star Wars saga, all the X-Men universe films, Ghostbusters 2016, and the classic Doctor Who serial, The Ark. I was particularly proud of my X-Men and Doctor Who posts. The X-Men posts perfected the more light-hearted yet informative blogging style I’ve been trying to move towards after writing formal university essays for years. Next year sees the release of Spiderman: Homecoming, and I’d like to review the Spiderman franchise in a similar style, as well as the new Wolverine film so I can maintain my complete record. I was pleased to be able to debunk the negative and unfair fan opinion of The Ark, and I’m still hoping to produce many more Doctor Who posts in future. Critiquing at least one story from each Doctor is my next target, as well as an overview of all the Dalek stories with an accompanying video ranking my best to worst! I also plan to post about Star Wars: Rogue One this Christmas and Trainspotting and its sequel upon its release.

I’ve exceeded my objective as this has been by far my most productive year. I’ve produced my best work, made great connections and received recognition for my efforts. I feel my ability is still progressing at a rapid pace and I’m more focused and confident than ever. I’ve achieved more than I could’ve hoped for, but I feel now that I’m in such a strong position, next year will reap even greater rewards. Big success is just around the corner!

Career Plan 2015-2016

Creatively speaking, it was a slow start to the year, as after completing my Scriptwriting MA, I found myself between homes and between jobs. The latter half of the year proved far more advantageous, and I have now set up my own freelance film company, Outré Media, and I’m saving to buy my own house. Through the company, I have managed to secure a long-term contract with Vegalive Wheatgrass as their Media-Specialist. I will be documenting the progression of Vegalive, as well as producing regular video adverts, and getting paid!

This past year saw me concentrate far more on critiquing other people’s work than developing my own. This is something I will be rectifying in the following year by dedicating three weeks out of each month to my own work and one to other posts. Although I feel I perhaps should’ve concentrated far more on my own work, I’m very proud of the posts I have written on other people’s and believe I learnt a lot from dissecting their themes; insights that will help me develop my own work. As a dedicated fan, it has been hugely satisfying to put into words some longstanding thoughts on Doctor Who serials; expect many more Doctor Who posts in future. I have critiqued all Neill Blomkamp‘s films, including Elysium (dir. Blomkamp, 2013), for which I used a more comical style. This was part of an endeavour to move away from the more formal style of university essays to a more fun and accessible blogging style; this has provided my posts with variety and popular appeal. In terms of popularity, my most successful series of posts were on the Mad Max franchise. Again, it was satisfying to put into words my thoughts on the inner complexities of these films, as I’ve always felt it is a franchise that’s subtext and depth has been ignored in favour of its action movie exterior. My Mad Max posts have generated consistent views; with my viewing figures and visitors multiplying exponentially. This success is not just down to the quality of the posts but to my use of Tumblr (on which I’ve generated many followers) as a less serious and more commercial platform for my work, and my timing the posts to coincide with the release of the franchise’s latest instalment, Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. Miller, 2015). This is a tactic I intend to use again, so expect Star Wars, Quentin Tarantino, X-Men, and Ghostbusters posts in the year to come. Also, expect some vlogging, as in December I will be moving to a new home, with room for a professional looking studio setup, and I feel vlogging will further widen the appeal of the website.

The Darning Needle was the primary focus of my scriptwriting this year. I totally rewrote the treatment and have completed multiple drafts of the script. The treatment will be updated again shortly, and I’m continuing with further drafts of the script. I may also film a short segment – depending on feasibility and budgetary constraints – to act as a promotion for the script. I’m very happy with its progress; it is by far my best work, and I feel my scriptwriting ability is developing at a rapid pace. I have refined the premises of Panda Girl and The Outsider and written notes to aid in the rewriting of their treatments and development of their scripts. I have premises for other feature films, but before developing them, I wish to focus on developing some audio plays, short films, and treatments for Doctor Who episodes. As well as my audio play Bottle, I have premises for other audio plays and short films that I plan to develop, film and record. It has been two years since I filmed or recorded one of my scripts, and as my writing has developed considerably in that time, I feel new audio and visual examples of my work are needed. Doctor Who remains my obsession, and my dream is to write for the show, so I feel it’s about time I started developing some ideas.

Now I’ve found myself in a much securer position than at the beginning of last year, I’m sure this year will be even more productive and I can continue producing popular posts – allowing the site to grow in popularity – and carry on with my main objective of building and perfecting my slate.

Career Plan 2014-2015

This will likely be my last post before my Scriptwriting MA ends, so I’ve chosen to consider my plans for the future. My first step is going to be building an impressive slate, with a wide selection of scripts for each medium, focusing on commercial appeal while still maintaining my integrity.

I currently have two completed feature film scripts; The Outsider, which I wrote in the final year of my degree, and Panda Girl, which I wrote for my MA. I believe The Outsider has a very commercial concept, featuring a protagonist who’s governed by the morals of his favourite TV hero, but it requires major rewrites, which I will be working on. I’m pleased with the way Panda Girl has developed, and believe it has commercial appeal as a coming of age drama; a popular genre within British film that has seen success with the likes of This is England (dir. Meadows, 2006), Son of Rambo (dir. Jennings, 2007), and Submarine (dir, Ayoade, 2010). I have a couple of other ‘coming of age’ dramas in development, including my treatment for The Darning Needle. I believe The Darning Needle could find commercial appeal as part of a season of TV adaptations of fairy tales set in the modern day, in a similar vein to ITV’s series of Shakespeare adaptations, and I’ll be promoting it as such. I also have premises for a film that subverts the vampire genre, and a high concept slasher film, both popular genres at present. I also intend to produce a ten-minute short film using the slasher film concept, as a promotion for the feature film script. All these film ideas I believe could also be sold as TV dramas.

Being a huge Doctor Who fan, I will be working on developing script premises with the intention of submitting them to the TV show, and radio scripts for the Big Finish produced audio-dramas. Bottle is my only completed radio script, but I’m working on developing two more premises that could only be told through the medium of radio. I will be submitting my scripts to the BBC Writersroom, and searching for competitions and other submission opportunities via the Internet.

I have, as yet, never written for theatre, but plan on rectifying this immediately. I have been inspired by my classmate, Kayleigh Edwards, to put on my own theatre production, after witnessing the success of her play, Kill ’em in the Brain. I see this as a relatively cheap way to get my work noticed. I have also joined two theatre groups, with the intention of learning more about the medium.

I will be continuing with my blog, keeping people up to date with how my plans are developing.

CV and Contact Information

JOHN REES

Mob: Available Upon Request

E-mail: jrees256@gmail.com

Personal Statement

I am highly driven, with an insatiable desire for work and creativity that has produced a wealth of essays, films, scripts, and other creative projects. I take constant inspiration from life and possess a strong determination to produce truly inspiring, original work of the highest quality, with the aim of provoking thought and discussion on social issues.

Work Experience

I have a huge amount of film production and writing experience. I specialise in directing, producing, and scriptwriting, having taken on these duties for the majority of all my university and independent projects. Through this, I have gained considerable organisational and managerial skills and developed a strong initiative. I’m constantly seeking to better myself, regularly posting on my website and always working on my next project.

My company Outré Media has brought me work as a document editor, proofreader, scriptwriter, and videographer. I’m employed as a tutor, teaching English, Film Studies, and Scriptwriting. I’m the script-editor for the web series Long Shots. And from 2010-2013, I was a trusted employee at Innovate Trust, assisting in the running of a cafe and training individuals with learning difficulties to operate successfully in the work environment.

Key Skills   

I possess a diverse range of skills, used in my employment and on varied projects such as documentaries, theatrical events, and films and radio dramas of varying genres.

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Document editing/proofreading/writing
  • Event hosting and organising
  • Extensive use of Adobe Premiere Pro editing software
  • Extensive use of Canon DSLR cameras
  • Film and script analysis, blogging, and reviewing
  • Producing
  • Scriptwriting, adaptation, and script-editing
  • Tutoring

Education

  • 2009-2010 Coleg Glan Hafren, Cardiff. A-Level Film Studies – Grade ‘A’
  • 2010-2013 University of Glamorgan. Film & Video Degree – Grade ‘First Class’
  • 2013-2014 University of Glamorgan. Scriptwriting MA – Grade ‘Merit’

Filmography [Selected Credits – Writer & Director of All] – Viewable on My Website

Unproduced Scripts [Selected Credits] – Available on My Website or Upon Request

  • Bottle (Radio Short)
  • Nice Guy (Short Film)
  • Toast (Short Film)
  • The Darning Needle (both TV – 3×45 Min Episodes – and Feature Length versions)

Website

My website offers a unique insight into my creative process, with a focus on my career ambitions and work ethic. It contains a number of my essays, films and scripts.

References on Request

Download CV

About

I work as an English, Film Studies and Scriptwriting tutor, and a videographer, but I chiefly consider myself a writer. I specialise in screenwriting, having written numerous films, many of which I’ve also directed and produced. I’m a constant worker, always progressing with new films, scripts and other creative projects, regularly posting on my website and taking submission opportunities. I’ve had some success, my films being nominated in and winning competitions and festivals, but I’m hoping my hard work will bring more in future, drawing attention to my talent and helping me achieve my ambition of becoming a professional screenwriter for film and television. For more information, see my CV and explore the rest of my website.