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Monday, October 31, 2005

Mostly MirrorMask

Maddy, currently a demon-child in a red dress, red make-up and some nifty red horns I was given while on tour, will not be trick-or-treating tonight in a gesture of solidarity with her best friends who have just got braces on their teeth and thus cannot eat sweet sticky things. I suspect this means she is a Good Person. At that age I would have sympathised, but been pleased that there was more for me. (Except this was in England, where nobody gave you sweets on Hallowe'en when I was a lad. Mostly, as I remember, they just locked themselves indoors and shivered.)

...

My friend Lena St George-Sweet MBE writes from the British Council in Singapore to say:

Could you possibly tell your readers that �MirrorMask� will be shown commercially at two GV cinemas from 8 December; and if they log on to our site, they stand a chance to win tickets to our gala on 7 December.

http://www.britishcouncil.org.sg/whatson/event_details.asp?EvID=436
http://www.gv.com.sg/Booking/promotions.htm

So consider yourselves told. If you're in Singapore, go and win tickets.

There's a thoughtful review of MirrorMask at Emerald City, at http://www.emcit.com/emcit122.php#Mirrors and at http://www.empireonline.co.uk/redcarpet/ you can currently read small interviews with Jason Barry (who has from the interview, I suspect, not quite forgiven Dave McKean for putting him into a mask) and Stephanie Leonidas.


You say in the MirrorMask script book that Dave McKean wrote some of the scenes in the film. Why doewsn't he have his name on the script? It is story by him and you but script by you. Peace. Jackie.

Because the Writers' Guild, who hand out the credits, have a much higher standard for directors and producers who write bits of script than they do for writers -- mostly to stop a director or a producer (for example) going through a script and changing the characters' names, or inventing a bit of business or a scene on the set and then asking for a writing credit, or things like that. As I understand it, if you're a director you have to have written a substantial proportion of the actual script, and have done a lot of the heavy lifting to get your name on as a writer.

And as the WGAe site explains, Credits are the one area in which the writer cannot negotiate. The determination as to what a writer's credit will be rests entirely with the Guild.

(As another example, the shooting script of Beowulf was actually written by Robert Zemeckis, but solidly based on the previous scripts that Roger Avary and I had written -- as director he would have had to a lot to it to get a credit, which he didn't do, so the film when it gets released will be in just our names.)

In addition to the WGAe credits link, there's an excellent article over at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screenwriting_credit which explains many of the secrets of screenwriting (why the Story By credit on MirrorMask is "Dave McKean & Neil Gaiman" rather than "Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman", for example -- and that was after several phone calls with the lady from the WGA, showing her the original emails and so on, to convince her that Dave had to get story credit and stop it being just "By Neil Gaiman" which was what the WGA would have preferred. And once that "story by" credit was agreed, that meant we then couldn't describe MirrorMask as "Written by Neil Gaiman", under a different WGA rule...)
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