Monthly Archives: May 2007

Grasshoppering

I love deadlines in the same way I love standing on the edge of tall buildings – how close can I get? I love that knot I get in my stomach as I have to write slightly faster than I can think in order to get the job done.

The best way to get optimum performance out of me is to think of the shortest possible time it takes to do something and then half it. The worst is to tell me it doesn’t matter when, take your time.

A deadline on the horizon is something to be ignored. “Next month? That’s years away. What’s on the telly?” A deadline in the next few hours is a foe to be respected and met head on. I don’t know where this masochistic need for pressure has come from, or why I’m generally incapable of living beyond the immediate moment, but it frequently comes back to bite me.

Take Cannes, for example. I’m sure the more sensible among the intended attendees have booked their hotels months ago. They’ve probably got nice little rooms in the centre of town, minutes from the Palais des Festivals and the Croisette.

Me? I started looking yesterday.

Apart from the odd £2000 a night rooms, the nearest affordable hotel I could find is practically in Belgium. I’ve no idea how long it will take to get into Cannes, no idea if there’s any trains or buses, in fact I don’t even really know where it is. I’m just assuming there’ll be probably be a big sign pointing directly to my hotel.

Maybe I should practice my French? And by French, I of course mean shouting loudly and slowly at Jean-ny Foreigner in English.

But that’s all done now – hotel and … shit. Hang on.

****light music****

I’m back. That’s all done now – hotel and FLIGHTS booked.

Jesus.

It looks like I’m going to be quite busy in Cannes. Marion Pritchett, the producer of ‘The Seventh Sword of Bathrick’, has been in touch. She’s organising meetings with people.

Who and what about, I’ve no idea. I don’t even really know if I’m invited. I hope so, I’m sure she said I was. I also hope I’m going to meet the director and apparently she’s got a line producer onboard now, he’s worked on a lot of good films – very exciting. Hopefully after Cannes I’ll be able to give you all more details.

I’ve arranged to meet up with a half-dozen or so people I’m working with on various projects; some of whom are so elusive this is practically the only chance I have each year of getting to see them.

Listen to me, “each year”. This will be my second time – hardly a seasoned Cannes pro.

Still, I’m looking forward to it. Even if it will probably just involve me sitting quietly in the corner, nursing a diet coke and being too shy to talk to anyone. Hopefully this year I’ll be too shy to talk to some really important people. You know, like hotel receptionists, McDonalds cashiers, street sweepers – the next tier up from the people I normally associate with.

Categories: Festivals, My Way, Random Witterings, Sad Bastard | Leave a comment

Blurb

The Treason Show are rejigging their website and they want the writers to come up with a 50 word description of themselves. Reasoning this is a comedy show, I thought it should be something vaguely funny and sat down to scribble out my 50 words.

The problem is, it’s really hard. Not sticking to the limit or thinking of what to say, but limiting myself to one idea. This is a problem I always have when I do something, there’s just too many options.

So I sent them all in.

I’ve no idea if this is the sort of thing they’re looking for, but I thought I’d post them here to see what you thought.

Phillip Barron is the funniest man in the world. At least, that’s what his mum says and she was right about not running with scissors, so it must be true. Occasionally he visits reality and writes for whoever will pay him; a kind of comedy-whore. If you really want to know, the details are here: www.phillipbarron.co.uk.

 

Or

 

Phillip Barron was born ginger and has always regretted it. Luckily he’s plummeting towards a mixture of grey hair and baldness, so it’ll all be over soon. Perhaps this explains why he spends most of his time locked in his room writing about his imaginary friends? You can read all about them here: www.phillipbarron.co.uk.

 

Or

 

People often ask how a so obviously aggressive man as Phillip Barron manages to write such beautifully crafted sketches? He usually replies by hitting them with half a brick in a sock. That’ll teach ‘em. Most of his writing is done whilst serving time for GBH. Read some of it here: www.phillipbarron.co.uk, or else.

 

Or

 

Phillip Barron writes primarily in crayon. The nurses won’t let him have anything sharp and even crayons are a bit of a risk. When he’s not writing, he sits in the corner and plays with himself – luckily he’s quite prolific or he’d have pulled it off by now. There are some samples of his random gibberish here: www.phillipbarron.co.uk.

 

Or

 

Feature Films, Short Films even a tiny bit of Telly; Phillip Barron doesn’t need to write for this show, you know? He’s a comedy God, a giant in the business. Why he wastes his time writing for The Treason Show is a mystery, he doesn’t even need the money. It’s quite good fun though.

 

Or

 

Phillip Barron has a lot of anger to work through and slagging off celebrities for The Treason Show is the best method he’s managed to come up with. This probably says more about his mentality than his talent. He written some other stuff, it’s all here: www.phillipbarron.co.uk.

 

I think I might have got carried away with the fifth one. Anyone got any favourites?

Categories: Random Witterings, Sad Bastard | 7 Comments

Working hard

I love it. I really do, there’s nothing like a sense of purpose and a deadline to bring out the best in me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing spec scripts, something personal, a story I want to tell; but I find it so much more enjoyable when I know there’s someone on the other end of an email waiting to read it.

Being paid helps too.

So here I am, swamped with work and loving it. The K-Films gig is being constructed as a trilogy. Each film will stand on its own, but there’s going to be an overall arc which ties them all in together. This means I have to plot out all three films before I can even begin writing the first one – I don’t have to have every detail fixed; but enough so I can begin seeding the third film in the first one. If you think it’s tricky holding all the story strands from one film in your head, try doing it with three simultaneously. Tricky, but challenging; and I do love a challenge.

Yesterday I wrote a synopsis and logline for each film, an interesting process because each subsequent film involves tweaking the synopsis of the one(s) before it – a truly organic process where everything is fluid.

After that, I wrote a promotional synopsis for one of the shorts in the horror anthology,  provisionally entitled: Future Tense. Of the six short films (yes, it’s gone up – six short films in one feature now. I’m not having any more bright ideas), I’ve written detailed synopses for five of them, the sixth being the script I’ve already written which got me the job. A synopsis of that one was needed to add to the synopsis of the overall film: it’s quite weird working backwards like this – from final draft to what’s basically a prose step-outline.

From there I wrote one of the other shorts: that’s two down, four to go. Assuming anyone likes the draft I submitted.

Today I’ve done character outlines for the first of the K-Films: K-Past. It’s given me the opportunity to think about the characters in more detail and put down a provisional back story for each of them. The difficult part being, I have to consider how much information to include about their past, some of which will impact on the third film. These outlines will be used to secure actors and I don’t want too much information floating around the public domain; but at the same time, they have to be intriguing enough to attract the people we want.

Tomorrow I’ll start pinning down the scenes in the K-Past, with a view to writing up a three or four page synopsis for the investors. It doesn’t have to be horrendously detailed, but I still have to keep in mind the other two movies. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Categories: Progress | Leave a comment

K

Another meeting in London today about the feature film. It hasn’t really got a name yet, just a working title which is about to change.

It’s an action/thriller, the first of a trilogy, hopefully shooting in November this year. The director/producer is Don Allen of All Enquiries Productions and it will be (co-?) produced by Emma Dobinson.

Don Allen produced and directed Three Minute Moments: a feature film which stars, amongst others, Gillian MacGregor; whom I met on Wednesday night about the horror anthology.

I’m not sure if my world’s getting bigger or smaller.

To make it even more convoluted, one of the actors who’s doing the horror anthology is first choice for one of the main roles in this feature. It’s all very incestuous.

Suffice it to say, I’ve successfully landed myself a massive pile of work which should keep me occupied for the next few months. The feature is provisionally titled K-Past. I’m fairly certain that’s about to change; but it’ll probably still have a K somewhere in the title, since that’s the cryptic name of the main character.

For now, this is the holding page for the movie website: watch either that or this space for more information.

Categories: Progress | 6 Comments

Is it sleep time yet?

It must be, surely? I’ve had a busy few days with more yet to come.

On Tuesday I found out I got the feature film gig, the one I mentioned here and here. Good news, not sure what I can say about it yet. Suffice it to say, I’m looking forward to writing it and was a happy boy for the rest of the night.

Not so happy yesterday morning when I got up at 04.45 and flew to Naples and back. I got straight onto a train to London (the wrong train, but going in the right direction; or maybe I just bought the wrong ticket – it’s hard to tell). On the train I bashed out some ideas for the feature film, to be discussed at a meeting on Friday. Owing to getting on the wrong, faster train, I didn’t have enough time to finish the notes and then couldn’t find a wireless connection to send them anyway.

One short argument with the conductor later (he won) and I’m in Victoria; inexplicably later than I would have been if I’d got the slower train.

From Victoria to Soho and a meeting about the untitled horror anthology (previously mentioned here). I met the producer, the same guy as last time, and Gillian MacGregor, who’s as lovely in the flesh as she looks in her photos. As with the last meeting, it was more of a social than a business thing, although we did manage to talk about the film a little bit. The original idea was a feature with five short stories by five writers.

That’s all changed a bit.

Now it’s five shorts by one writer. Me.

Obviously, that was my evil plan all along, but it’s worked a hell of a lot better and faster than I expected. My goal is usually the same, get a foot in the door and then prove myself indispensable. I feel like I’ve knocked on the door and they’ve just thrown it open: “Hi, come in!”

I’m surprised, delighted, smug and a little scared. They love all my ideas (except one; which, to be fair, was a lot on the shit side) and want them to make up the film. We discussed a sixth idea and that seems to have gone down well too.

Now all I’ve got to do is live up to my own hype.

Bugger.

Train back to Gatwick (finishing off the feature ideas on the way), collect the car, drive back to Eastbourne, bed by midnight.

Bliss.

Back up this morning at 04.45 (not bliss) and off to Thessaloniki (even less bliss), scribbling down the sixth idea on the way.

And then back.

At rush hour, which means the drive home is two hours instead of just one. Pass me the matchsticks.

Rushing in, I had an inspiration for a sketch, dashed it off and sent it in.

It must be sleep time now, right?

I was supposed to be going back to London tonight for Piers Beckley’s Writer’s Beer and Catchup – but I just can’t face another late night (sorry guys). Plus my sister in law and her family are coming down tomorrow evening, so the only night I can see The Treason Show is tonight. I’m off out in a few minutes – Mandy’s driving.

Tomorrow I’m back up to London for the first of many creative meetings for the feature project. I’ll find out then what I can and can’t say about it; but until then: all of you out on the lash with Piers – enjoy; all of you at The Treason Show, laugh at my sketches or I’ll cry (or, more likely, pass out); and all of you sitting at home preparing for an early night:

I really, really envy you.

Categories: Progress, Sad Bastard | 3 Comments

How to write songs (Part 2)

Thanks to everyone who sent in songs in answer to the last post; they were all pretty cool. I’ve posted these three for your general delight:

Rummy Rummy Rummy by Gordon Robertson

Send in the Browns by Piers Beckley and Christine Patton

Cash by Piers Beckley and Christine Patton

I’d love to write a blow by blow account of why they’re good, but I honestly don’t know – or I’d be writing songs like these myself. I guess they fulfill all the criteria mentioned in Mark Brailsford’s tips yesterday.

If anyone, including the authors, wants to deconstruct them and explain where they’ve gone right, please be my guest.

Categories: Someone Else's Way | Leave a comment

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