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I’m still here!

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Still writing and still busy with Good As Gold. Here’s what I’m up to at the moment, and why this blog is so neglected: http://mariekreft.co.uk/2014/04/21/resolutions-update/. x

Summer 2013, Vincent and Marie

Baby on board

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Marie has added a new blog post on her Indelible Journeys site, about her plans to travel with her baby son Vincent.

Vincent

Marie learns the secrets of Hollywood screenwriting

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
From left to right: Rebecca Sloan, Ned Dowd and me, Marie Kreft

From left to right: Rebecca Sloan, Ned Dowd and me, Marie Kreft

My colleague and friend Rebecca Sloan and I have been learning the art of screenwriting alongside Hollywood producers, after attending an EU-funded course in Germany.

We were among fewer than 30 German, Danish and UK delegates in Bremen in northwest Germany for a weekend of intensive seminars hosted by North Sea Screen Partners Nordmedia and FilmFyn.

The study weekend, which took place from 3-5 June 2011 and was strictly for working media professionals, included sessions on pitching to film studios, preparing manuscripts, and adapting novels for the screen. It was headed up by award-winning film producer Lars Hermann and facilitated by bestselling author and feature film director Brendan Foley.

We were also treated to first-hand insight into the movie world from top Hollywood producer Ned Dowd. His film credits include The Last of the Mohicans, Grosse Pointe Blank, Apocalypto, The Count of Monte Cristo, King Arthur, Shanghai Noon and The Three Musketeers.

Rebecca is a Birmingham-based videographer who has just incorporated her first company, Glacier Films, for the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries. She said the course has given her tools to integrate real-life subject matter with screenplays to create cinematic films.

“A film’s success is determined by its ability to connect with viewers and invoke an emotional response. Applying the techniques utilised in big-screen productions will enable us to create videos that make a lasting impact.”

For me, the weekend opened up an exciting new world of potential work. Although it covered the tough realities of the business, it also showed how good ideas conveyed through well-written scripts have a fighting chance at success. I finished the course with a sense that anything is possible.

Course tutor Brendan Foley, who has worked with actors as diverse as Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi and Vinnie Jones said: “It is great to see new film talent such as Marie and Rebecca emerging in the Midlands. I hope it will not be too long before we see some of their work on the big screen.”

As well as continuing with our individual projects, Rebecca and I are writing our first short film, to be shot this summer in Birmingham. Watch this space!

>>Our coverage in the Birmingham Post [opens in a new window].

Can you spare £5?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

A personal one, this. My brave/mad/masochistic husband Steve is running the London Marathon this Sunday, for Edward’s Trust.

The moment Steve’s confirmation letter from the race organisers plopped onto our doormat, he was determined to run for a smaller charity; one which doesn’t have the resources to buy up places in big events such as the London Marathon.

Having recently met Peter Dent, the father of a boy named Edward who died aged just seven years, Steve quickly decided on Edward’s Trust. Peter and his wife Hilary founded the Birmingham-based charity in 1989 to help other families deal with the pain of losing a child.

Today they support bereaved families and those affected by serious illness, as well as providing training services for teachers, parents and other adults who are working with bereaved children. You can read more about the charity at www.edwardstrust.org.uk.

The kite logo for Edward’s Trust was taken from one of Edward’s pictures, which he drew on pink copy paper. The charity has been kind enough to send Steve a white vest to run in on Sunday, as well as a T-shirt in ‘Edward’s Trust pink’ which Steve has worn for training every week.

It’s no small undertaking, a marathon, and the past few weeks have seen Steve nursing creaky knees, sore feet, grazed nipples (yep!) and various other chafed bits. He’s also diligently climbed into ice-cold baths after three-hour training sessions and abstained from curries and beers. No easy task, trust me …

Of course all these endeavours will be worthwhile when Steve crosses the finishing line on Sunday, having raised hundreds of pounds to help Peter, Hilary and their team keep up their excellent work in Edward’s memory. 

Thanks to the generosity of our families and friends, Steve’s not far off the £1000 mark. Can you throw in a fiver and help him get there?

You can donate quickly and easily online at https://www.justgiving.com/stevelondonmarathon2011/. If you pay UK tax, you can also apply Gift Aid and boost your donation, at no extra cost to you.

Thank you for your kindness. I will keep you posted on how Steve does!

Update

Sunday was a day we’ll never forget. Less suited to running than to cheering from the sidelines with an icecream, I stood with Steve’s family and mine, marvelling at the supportive, festival atmosphere that pervaded the city. Meanwhile, Steve battled heat, blisters and bruised toes to complete the course in 4h 29m 27s, raising more than £1200 for Edward’s Trust. Well done, that man.

Steve completes the London Marathon

Marie in the Independent on Sunday

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

If you find yourself flicking through the Independent on Sunday this weekend (10 April 2011), take a peek at my article in the travel section.

It’s about Malta and Gozo’s megalithic temples and is being published to launch the next Bradt / Independent on Sunday travel-writing competition, which I won (to my great disbelief) in 2010.

Although I haven’t travelled as much as usual lately, the competition has given me a kick up the bum to pursue my writing dreams a little harder.

I’ve started a blog (the currently sparse www.mariekreft.co.uk) and finished editing my first book, The Birdwoman of Bangkok and Other Tales. In October I won the Telegraph’s Just Back travel-writing competition.

I’m also very busy with Good As Gold - something I’ll always be grateful for. 

I’ll post a link to the article on Sunday. Good luck to everyone who enters the Bradt competition this summer - it’s a great springboard for your travel writing and the people behind it are supportive and lovely.

Update

It’s here: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/a-prizewinners-tale-about-the-giants-of-malta-2265636.html. It’s changed in places from the article I submitted, which is entirely understandable: sub-editors know far better than I do about how to present a final piece. But so you can see it, I’ve published the original version on my blog: http://mariekreft.co.uk/2011/04/10/under-the-canopies-a-new-view-of-malta/.

 

Introducing … Spotlight

Monday, February 14th, 2011

I’m delighted to be collaborating with two brilliant businesses - Adapt Productions and AMCH Photography - to offer promo packages to West Midlands musicians.

Spotlight logo

Nitesh Patel at Adapt Productions is a talented videographer and Andrea is a creative, experienced photographer with a specialism in band portraiture. We’ve combined our skills and lowered our individual rates to create the following deals …

Spotlight 1 

* Four hours’ filming of your music video (one location)
* Studio edit and creation of final digital version
* Two-hour band photoshoot
* Colour correction and full edit of images
* Twenty final images on disc
* Band biography.    
£585 

Spotlight 2                

* Four hours’ filming of your music video (two locations)
* Studio edit and creation of final digital version
* Special FX options
* Four-hour band photoshoot
* Colour correction and full edit of images
* Forty final images on disc
* Portrait shoot for frontman/woman (ten final images)
* Photographic effects (monochrome, filters etc)
* Band biography with photo inserts
* Three cover letter templates: for venues, labels and journalists.
£785

Spotlight 3:

* Eight hours’ filming of your music video (two locations)
* Studio edit and creation of final digital version
* Special FX options
* Backstage footage and band interviews
* Six-hour band photoshoot
* Individual shoot with each band member (five final images each)
* Full photography coverage of a gig of your choice
* Colour correction and full edit of images
* Photographic effects (monochrome, filters etc)
* Band biography with photo inserts
* Three cover letter/email templates for approaching venues, labels and journalists
* Band interview with portrait inserts
* Press release (to be used whenever you’re ready).
£1,250.

Terms and conditions apply. To register your interest before our official launch, email spotlight@adaptproductions.co.uk and say hello to Nitesh or call him on 07970 507384.

AMCH Photography 

Adapt Productions

The Armani of copywriting?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

I’ve just been told by a new client that the person who referred them to me (also a client) calls Good As Gold as ‘the Armani of copywriting’.

So for haute-couture nouns and luxe leather adverbs … step this way.  

Seriously, that’s embarrassing! I’m a little bashful about talking up my skills, as I realised almost painfully yesterday when I attended the NUJ course ‘Writing your first book’ in London. It was a hard-headed and useful day which focused not on high-flown dreams of writing beautiful prose, but the nitty-gritty reality of getting a book finished and sold to a publisher. A much-needed kick up the bum for me.

Course tutor Brendan Foley (author of the bestselling Under the Wire) encouraged me and three other fledgling authors to position our books, writing and ideas alongside other successful publications, authors or gripping stories, stating where they cross and how they differ. (I can’t wait to read the book by my coursemate whose novel will be a Murakami-esque magical realism mystery crossed with a Christmassy The Wicker Man.)

This was a difficult exercise for me, as I always wanted to hedge my bets: “Well it aims to have the literary quality of Paul Theroux combined with the humour and accessibility of Bill Bryson, but really it needs better words and more jokes”.

Hmmm!

Anyway, I just wondered where you position your business or, if you’re a writer, your work?

Bradt travel-writing competition 2010

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

After making the long-shortlist (or short-longlist?) last year, and being commended in the past, I’m delighted to be a finalist in this year’s Bradt / Independent on Sunday travel-writing competition for a piece I wrote about visiting my great-grandmother’s grave in Rumia, north Poland. You can read my entry here.

I’m going to a prizegiving evening at Stanfords bookshop in Covent Garden tonight (Wednesday 21 July 2010), where journalist Matthew Parris will announce the winner. Absolutely certain it won’t be me (the other four finalists’ entries are breathtaking), but it feels great to have got this far.

Will tell you all about the evening soon!

UPDATE ON 22/07/10: Gulp … I won! Can’t believe it. Thank you to Debbie from Bradt for the picture below, which shows (from left to right) Catriona Rainsford (the winner of the ‘unpublished’ category); Hilary Bradt; me (Marie Kreft) and Matthew Parris.

Bradt travel-writing competition 2010

I’ve won a five-star holiday to Malta and Gozo, and a commission with the Independent on Sunday. It really hasn’t sunk in yet! The other finalists - Lucy Clark, Elizabeth Gowing, Michelle Wu and Catriona - wrote beautiful pieces, and any one of them would have been a deserving winner.

Brit Writers’ Awards Unpublished 2010: the ceremony

Friday, July 16th, 2010

I am delighted to have been involved with the very first year of the Brit Writers’ Awards Unpublished, writing articles for the BWA website,  devising  creative-writing resources for schools and - in one of the hairiest, scariest weeks of my career - writing and editing the 68-page Write Now! event magazine in just five days.

(Thank you to the team at The Other Design Agency in Derby, who let me decamp to their office for a week and plague them with my obsessive attention to apostrophes!)

The inaugural awards ceremony took place on Thursday 15 July 2010 at Indig02 (The 02, London) and was hosted by the lovely Charlie Jordan and Tre Azam, who breathed life and sparkle into the script we’d drafted for them. Literary stars of the evening included Sir Terry Pratchett (pictured below, delivering his acceptance speech for the Published Writer of the Year award), while sponsors included The Reading Agency, Arts Council England and Faber Music.

This was all amazing. BWA was set up last year on a shoestring budget with the aim of shaking up the publishing industry (which can feel very inaccessible to outsiders), encouraging and inspiring people who might not normally have considered penning a story, poem or song. While there were many hurdles along the way (not least the 21,000 entries to read), the team did an amazing job in pulling together the glittering evening … and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes when overall winner Catherine Cooper heard that BWA had published her book (The Golden Acorn) in time for UK distribution this week!

I had a great time at the ceremony - and enjoyed the lovely company on my table, which included short story finalist Steven Tromans, Witchfinder author William Hussey and the team from the children’s division of Oxford University Press.

Now I’m happy to have got my BWA 2011 work well underway!

You can read more about the evening here.  

Sir Terry Pratchett, BWA 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Image of Sir Terry Pratchett included with permission from Brit Writers.]

Another trophy for Sandwell’s cabinet

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I’m very pleased to have written another prize-winning entry for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, this time helping them secure a prestigious LGC award for best practice in procurement.

You can download the winning bid from the finditinsandwell website.

While I’m delighted to have put their achievements into words that managed to win over the judges, true credit must go to the team at finditinsandwell - my colleagues and clients Steve Massey, Maria Kyriacou and Nathan Boyce. Well done, guys!

Read about finditinsandwell’s 2009 APSE award.

Please note that Good As Gold only writes award bids for projects and clients we know inside out; that’s the only way we can feel confident of your success. If you’re not yet a Good As Gold client but you’re in a hurry to go for your next gong, have a look at www.awardsintelligence.co.uk.

The free email service keeps you up to date with dozens of national and international award schemes - and Awards Intelligence even offers a ‘no win, no fee’ service for compiling bids for awards in which they believe you have a high chance of success.

And I can always help you next year - give me a call on 0121 236 7066.

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