Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Archive for the ‘Scripts’ Category

Last weekend I read nearly 300 scripts in two days and I learned…

…Just how important the concept is.
…Over and over again my notes were “needs tightening or cut dialogue”
…The need to get into the story fast. Surprising how I could get bored even after one page.


It was a lovely day, one of those fresh English spring days. The blue sky contrasting with the flaking white paint of Ealing Studios, as I walked in on the Saturday morning.

But enough of the slushy romantic description.

We didn’t get to see much of the sun, as nine of us spent the whole Bank Holiday weekend crammed around a table in the offices of the London Screenwriters Festival, reading hundreds of scripts from thousands entered for the Impact50 competition.

Impact50 is unique amongst script competitions, in that the winners get the opportunity to have their scripts made for the big screen.

I first got involved a few years back with the earlier 50 Kisses competition ..not as a writer, but as a filmmaker. I loved the fact there was a wonderful pool of highly vetted good scripts available for me to film. So I picked a story set on a bus in London ..asked the writer if he minded me filming it on the Underground instead.

….and cutting a long story short, ending up with a 50Kisses award and going to festivals in New York and Rhode Island. It transformed my life as a filmmaker.

So when I was asked to help with the final selection of Impact50, I was pleased to repay the favour. If a little ..a lot ..daunted by the scale of the task.

Nine of us assembled at 10 am on Saturday with 16 hours to select 50 scripts from hundreds of shortlisted scripts.

50 scripts that needed to be high quality, engaging …contrast & compliment each other. ..and filmable.

We were provided with a tempting supply of unhealthy croissants, pastries, plus a supply of coffee and headache pills.


..and a daunting pile of script printouts. These had already been voted on and numerically shortlisted by 7 previous readers.

This was the process. The 9 of us were given 12 scripts to all read, we wrote yes or no on the front page, with reasons if necessary. 20 minutes later the voting was read out, discussed and if successful a relevant post-it note was put on the board. Non successful ones could also be selected as Maybe or a Gem.  


Then we read another 12 scripts  ..and another. Several of us readers had writen scripts for Impact50 and got through to the finals. So if one of ours came up then we just didn't vote or comment. 

Though a script selection process can never be perfect, it is extraordinary that the final scripts were read by over 16 readers!

We read more …and more …and more.   50 ..100  ..200 scripts. Time began to blur.

This continued on into Sunday, with occasional breaks for toilets, food, exercise and an impromptu conga.


I think we were becoming a bit mental by this stage.


Some time on Sunday we had completed the re-reads of the preselected best scripts. We still didn’t have 50, so we dived deep into the remaining scripts, to see if the previous readers had missed any gems.

Finally, we again went through all 60 + scripts on the board, as many were alike.



I was amazed to find so many with very similar storylines and scenarios. I remember two which were effectively identical – the same story just different words. I remember whooping out loud on the final day, when I read a story with an unexpected scenario.

So even with two really great scripts, if they were similar, we then had to select one, because we weren’t just choosing the best. We were creating a feature storyline.

…and then we also had to go through again looking at the writers names, as the rule was that each writer could only have one script in the film. So several great scripts had to go.

Though it was a really hard process with intense concentration over that number of hours, it was unexpectedly fun, working with a bunch of people who were voluntarily giving up their time through a common passion for writing.


So did I get anything from the process?

Apart from a headache?

I found it an intensely educational experience to read so many scripts. I learnt –

  • Just how important the concept is. I was always looking for something different.
  • Over and over again my notes were “needs tightening or cut dialogue”
  • The need to get into the story fast. Surprising how I could get bored even after one page.

I also found it unexpectedly inspiring. So even though exhausted on the long train home afterwards, I started writing a new feature script.

Just heard that I’m through to the Quarter Finals of The Screenwriting Goldmine Competition.
I’ve got through twice before to the quarter finals. But what’s so so much better this year is that I’ve shared this with so many new friends from the London Screenwriter Festival and the LSF Talent Campus. Dee Chilton, KT Parker, Poz Watson, Kristina Day, Kulvinder Gill, Halida Jones & Rachael Howard + I probably missed someone out. It’s really good to know such a lovely …and talented bunch of people.


Update Feb 2016

Posted by Phil On February - 4 - 2016

The edit of our 20 min film “Chasing Fame” shot in Toronto last summer is going well.

We have filming to complete for the UK part of the script. Those scenes will be shot in London and Glasgow.

The full feature screenplay of “Chasing Fame” is on it’s 4th draft and is currently with our wonderful script editor Karol Griffiths. The plan is to promote that in the summer for shooting in 2017

“Late Request” which won the Create50 Gold Award at the 2015 British Screenwriters Awards is scheduled to be shot during March.

The screenplay “Phoebe Langtry” has had wonderful feedback from the BlueCat screenwriting Competition, so I hope that’s going to be successful. Also awaiting results from the Screenwriting Goldmine competition. Previous scripts got through to the Quarter Finals.

My feature screenplay “Jacks Back” is scheduled for re-option for 2016

Phil is giving a presentation at Film Expo South on the 4th Feb. ..and his multi award winning short “LOVE” is also screening there.

The filming of the Xmas Concert at Salisbury City Hall is awaiting the mixed sound track before final completion.

…and we have provisional plans for another feature to be shot Autumn 2015.

The follow up to 50 Kisses goes live.

Posted by Phil On May - 27 - 2015

Vreate50 the impact

Finally it can be revealed. The follow up to the crowdsourced feature film 50 Kisses is officially launched

…and one of my scripts is currently in top position on the most popular list …probably not for long, but hey it looks good for the moment  🙂

There’s a group of us screenwriters from 50 Kisses who’ve been busily beta testing the new Create50 website for four months now.  We’ve been sworn to secrecy until the launch.    So here’s the pitch.

A civilisation-destroying meteor, heading towards earth, is discovered by NASA. It’s terrifying, devastating and inevitable impact is announced from the White House. With only two hours left for humankind, what would happen?

Check it out.   Winners will share a screen credit for screenplay with Joe Eszterhas ( Basic Instinct) who has written the opening two pages.