17 December, 2018: New courses for 2019
Where did this year go?
Starting on Jan 20th, I’ll be running a new screenwriting course up in the Irish Writer’s centre on Parnell Square. It runs for eight weeks and will give you everything you need to know about how to transform your idea into a screenplay – and it helps if you have a wicked and visual imagination! Might be just what you need to get your year off to a creative start! You can find out all you need to know here (though I’m not sure why my face is green!)
There will be another one day workshop for Animation Skilnet in Jan or Feb – date to be confirmed yet – on writing a bible for animation and TV series.
Meanwhile – happy almost-Christmas!
4th Dec, 2018: Make Diversity the New ‘Normal’
Last Friday, I spoke to a packed King’s Hall in central London during the Kinds Content Futures conference run by C21Media, about the experience of creating my series, PUNKY. About why I had created it, about my goals for the series and about the impact it has had worldwide on individuals and, hopefully, on society as a whole.
I said we were a small production, (Gernomino Productions made both series) with strong support from a small broadcaster (RTE). Not only does the central character have special needs (Down’s syndrome) but we dealt with split parenting, bullying and many other issues that children of her age (she’s six) deal with on a daily basis. It was a mainstream series that fits anywhere in the programme and that was the goal – that we would help children to learn (or maintain) acceptance of difference; celebration of how much more interesting it makes life.
My fellow panellists all worked for large broadcasters with the clout and the finance to do better that we did. The trick was not to let it all get watered down – as ideas tend to be when they go through many layers of bureaucracy and decision-making; as they often are when broadcasters or producers flinch at the idea of offending their ‘selective’ audience. All they had to be clear about was to create characters that were unique and compelling that happened to have special needs, neuro-diverse challenges, physical or mental health-based challenges but that these ‘issues’ should not be the reason they are in the series. Story is king and story relies on compelling characters; use the ‘issues’ to tick boxes and get funding but don’t make them the reason for the show. No more than they are the ‘reason’ any individual is interesting in real life. Yes they will affect storylines but organically, naturally, as part of daily life.
The other speakers spoke then about their individual broadcasters’ attempts to add diversity to kid’s television content. From Patricia Hidalgo, Chief Content Officer, Turner EMEA and International Kids Strategy, we had Stephen Universe and other series that do actually – albeit in animated form – try to push the gender and ethnic barriers. From ITV’s Darren Nartey, Programme Acquisitions Exec ITV, we had what felt like a very genuine intent to be more inclusive. From Disney’s David Levine, VP Programming, production and strategic development, Disney Channels EMEA, we had the party line about how well they were doing and had done to include diverse ethnic and gender characters; but he also mentioned a new series that has a boy in a wheelchair. As if this is something that should even be worthy of news now.
What was very clear was that while ethnic and gender diversity are being included a little more within stories, it’s still in a small enough scope to legitimise the need for these panels. As for any of these large players including characters that happen to have special needs, are neuro-diverse or differently able-d, there was nothing I heard to suggest anyone was leaning in that direction.
As I mentioned in my speech talking about selling Punky, there’s a resistance. As one major broadcaster once notably said when Punky was pitched to him, his broadcaster doesn’t “‘do‘ sickness”. How revealing is that about how broadcasters feel about a huge segment of our community?
28th Nov, 2018
Off tomorrow to London as a guest speaker of C21Media at their Content Conference in Kings Cross on Friday at 12.30. Speaking on the subject of diversity, my series PUNKY being the case history that is not only most relevant but also the first and only one of its kind, a mainstream cartoon series whose main character happens to have special needs (Down’s syndrome) that is in over 100 countries worldwide, has +5 million hits on YouTube and has been dubbed into Icelandic, Arabic and Spanish. You can find my event here.
The panel, moderated by Lindsay Watson, an animation producer (Canuk), also features The other panelists are David Levine, VP Programming, production and strategic development, Disney Channels EMEA, Darren Nartey, Programme Acquisitions Exec ITV and Particial Hidalgo, Chief Content Officer, Turner EMEA and International Kids Strategy.
Dec 1st & 2nd, Studio 10 gallery, 10 Wicklow St, Dublin 2: I’m taking part in my first art exhibition, ‘My Favourite Things’ with 22 other illustrators from the Drawin’ Together Collective. Have a look at my art and illustration place if you’d like to see the material I produce!
15th June, 2018
Latest news on Write That Script is that it will be officially launched nationwide at the Galway Film Fleadh (July 10-15th). You can hear more about it here on The Green Room where Orla Barry quizzed me on the book, on the craft, on the life of a screenwriter!
I’m also in discussions regarding a few exciting writing gigs and trying to finish a first draft of the sequel to Dad’s Red Dress. I’ve now learnt the hard way that it is FAR better to plan your series out when you begin – not launch into book one with an idea for how book two will end! Yep, it’s really not enough. I should have know this from screenwriting but then the publishing lark was new to me.
Trouble was, 2017 was a busy year so all I could do was brainstorm stories that the different characters might have, issues, events, how Jessie’s father would handle HRT etc. By the time I had a bit of space to write, there were just too many interesting stories and I can’t fit them all in!
Advice from Angelica, aged 14: If your hair is naturally curly and you want it straight, “simply picture little Brad Pits stomping on the tangles until they behave”.
On February 8th, my new book. The Angelica Touch, will be officially launched in Galway at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in the city centre. 6.30 pm. Come along and hear a little about the origins of the book – which is about a teenager setting up a dating website to matchmake her single mum, written when I was one of those! – and hear from Angelica herself, hopefully leaping off the page (so long as I don’t get too nervous and talk as quick as I normally do!)
The Angelica Touch is also available on Amazon: https://buff.ly/2iSWGu6
20 Jan 2018
Dad’s Red Dress is now available around the world from Kenny’s Bookshop! Twelve American libraries have taken it, including the Library of Congress, Harvard University, Notre Dame University, Boston College and the New York Public Libraries amongst others.
That feels seriously deserving of a small bit of whooping and dancing in my office – which might help to warm me up anyway!
06 December: Christmas sale!
For one week only, to make sure the book reaches you in time for Christmas, signed copies of Dad’s Red Dress are on sale for 8 euro (33% discount) plus P&P. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get the name to dedicate the book to and payment then is by paypal. Unless you live in Dublin and I can meet you in the city centre to pass the book over!
The Angelica Touch is now available as a print book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AM3pgk
Just in time for Christmas!
27 Nov. First review in for The Angelica Touch: from the wonderful actress, Maria MacDermottroe.
Some of my latest interviews, in case you’re interested:
On Authors Interviews with Fiona McVie: https://wp.me/p3uv2y-6Wk
In The Gloss Magazine with Sophie Grenham: http://thegloss.ie/writers-block-with-lindsay-j-sedgwick/
And on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/LindsayJS
This was a radio one I did with Helen Dwyer on Rhyme and Reason, talking about and reading from Dad’s Red Dress: http://thegloss.ie/writers-block-with-lindsay-j-sedgwick/
Spotted from the 123 bus last night on my way into town: Dad’s Red Dress in its first shop window, in the estimable company ofAdrian Mole and Harry Potter, alongside Anton Chekhov, Colm Toibín, Kazuo Ishiguro, Angela Carter and José Saramago. Happy days!
Now’s the time to pick up a copy for your loved ones; it’s the ideal stocking filler for the teens in your life that you want to get reading more and the adults who are still young at heart; perfect for curling up around on a long winter night. Available through Amazon and Smashwords. (see the BUY page for ease of access)
Why is it that no matter how many times you read through your book, forwards and backwards, in pieces and parts and then the whole all over again, when you get your proofs back, there are always typos that slipped through?
My favourite pet hate is the long sentences in which I’ve used the same word twice. You can spot it in Dad’s Red Dress because I only noticed it – despite editors and readers as well as my own eagle eye going over the manuscript time and again – when I stood up for the first time to read from it in front of an audience.
Really excited to get The Angelica Touch out there. It ‘s full of heart and it’s fun; I still enjoy reading it, even now so I really hope you will to. I have it up for pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords