Monthly Archives: July 2007

My first Q&A

Other blogs seem to have Q&As with professional screenwriters, I thought I’d get in on the act.

Unfortunately I don’t know any pro-writers, at least no interesting ones, but I do know how to get hold of unlisted numbers.

So here’s an interview with John August, writer of ‘Go’, ‘Big Fish’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and some other stuff.

Here’s what he had to say:

————————————————————–

Hi John, I was wondering if I could ask you some questions?

What time is it?

I don’t know, about midday I think.

Fuck, it’s four in the morning!

Uh-huh, so John, I can call you John, yeah?

What? Who is this? How did you get this number?

So how did you get your first break?

Break, what break? What are you talking about?

‘Go’, tell me about ‘Go’. Was that a spec sale or a commission?

It was a … who the fuck is this?

Charlie’s Angels, eh? You proud of that? I haven’t seen it, but some bloke down in the pub said he didn’t like it. How do you deal with that kind of criticism?

I’m hanging up now.

Okay, before you go … John? John?

(redial)

Hey, John, I think we got cut off.

Fuck off, if you call again I’m calling the cops.

(He hangs up. I redial)

Bonjour Monsiuer, j’mappelle Claude. Je voudrais–

I have caller ID, you know?

Can I just say–

No.

(He hangs up and leaves his phone off the hook for the next nine hours.)

————————————————————–

And there you have it, my first celebrity Q&A. Next time I’m going to be bothering William Goldman who is 76 and might die soon.

Particularly if I ring him in the middle of the night.

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Categories: Bored, Random Witterings | 8 Comments

Producery Wednesday

Right, so now the whole laptop saga is out of my system I can start catching up with the other exciting stuff that’s been happening.

Erm …

Okay, so not much really. Well, that’s not true; I had drinks with Abi Titmuss last Wednesday, that was quite cool.

But then again, even that statement isn’t quite true; it was one drink and there were four of us there: me, Mandy (my wife), Jonathan Sothcott and Abi. Abi wants to do a short film I wrote, Jonathan wants to produce it and Mandy just wanted a drink, so everyone walked away happy. Since I have a vested interest in all three things, I walked away the happiest of all.

From there we all went our separate ways, I met up with producer/director Don Allen and we talked over the rewrite for Kapital. We managed to close up the plot holes from the first draft and talked through the character changes needed for the new story – and it all seems to work.

Between these two meetings, I had a phone call from a third producer, Mark Shields. It seems LVJ, the never-ending project, is actually nearing the end of post-production. For reasons I’m not going to go into here (mostly because I don’t really know), LVJ has been in production for a little over seven years. There’s a trailer on the website, if you’ve got the time, it’s worth a watch: http://www.lvjmovie.com/videotrailers.html

 And there’s a production blog here: http://www.lvjmovie.com/blog.html

For the first time there’s a cut everyone seems happy with – it’s not perfect, but it’s watchable and makes sense – am I available to go and watch it and offer my opinion?

Yes, yes I am.

And I did, yesterday; and it’s really good. A lot of the effects are still missing, but the animatics help fill in the blanks, and some of the transitions need smoothing out – but overall it’s watchable, interesting, funny and surprisingly tense towards the end.

Surprising because I wrote it and know what happens – sort of.

The whole process has been unusual and someday I’ll be able to explain it in full, but today is not that day. Suffice it to say the film has been made against overwhelming odds and getting as far as it has is a real testament to the talent and dedication of the guys involved. It’s been a seven year shoot on two continents with more effects shots than ‘Titanic’ and a budget which spiralled from nothing to … well, nothing.

Despite all the problems, the final result looks like it might well have been worth all the effort and that’s good enough for me.

Categories: Kapital, LVJ, Progress | Leave a comment

The laptop saga (Part Three)

“My old laptop had tea poured into it and I got these insurance vouchers and I bought a new laptop from the shop and I got it home and it’s the wrong laptop because the battery life is so bad it means I can’t take it out of the house; the man said it was an ultra mobile laptop but the battery life is only an hour which means I can’t use it on the train or the plane and now I’m stuck with the wrong laptop and I can’t use it for what I want.”

Now, imagine that sentence spoken really fast, in a high pitched voice with a lot of sobbing and sniffling throughout.

Then imagine a long pause before the girl from the PC World helpdesk answered:

“Well sir, an ultra mobile laptop should last longer than that. It sounds like you were mis-sold your laptop, if you take it back to the shop they can organise a refund or an exchange.”

*sniffle* “Really?”

“Yes sir.”

“I love you.”

Yes! I can take the laptop back! Halle-fucking-lujah! I’m not going to be stuck with a ultra mobile laptop which can’t be moved away from the power supply.

Mind you, it is quite sexy. Maybe I can … ?

No, I’m getting shot of it. I’m going to get something else. In fact, I’m going right now before I get too attached.

So I bundle the offending, but sexy, machine back into its box and bomb down the A27 to PC World in Brighton, or maybe Hove – not sure.

The first man I see when I barrel through the door is the manager and I explain the situation. He takes one look at the laptop and says:

“But that’s not an ultra mobile laptop.”

My heart sinks as I remember the laptop wasn’t in the ultra mobile section, it was round the corner. I haven’t been mis-sold it, I just picked the wrong one.

Fuck it, time to do what I do best – lie.

“The man in Crawley said it was.”

“Ah, well the guys in Crawley are what we in the trade call ‘idiots’.”

And just like that, he agreed to exchange or refund the machine.

“Great! What have you got that’s got a 12 inch screen and about four hours of battery life?”

“Just the one, sir:”

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“No. Absolutely fucking not. No pink laptop, not now, not ever. What else have you got?”

Nothing. Not a fucking sausage. Well, they might have had sausages, but they didn’t have any ultra mobile laptops. They’re all on sale because they’re clearing out the stock ready for a new range.

When’s the new range coming in?

No one knows. So we reach a compromise, he might know by Monday (it’s Saturday today) so he’ll ring me. He also asks if I can buy a laptop through a company, if so there’s a greater range on offer through their business centre. I think about this, and I’m fairly positive one of my friends will let me buy it through their company. So I say yes and we part ways.

I even get to keep the laptop I’ve got until a replacement can be found. When I get home, I sit looking at the box and have to force myself to leave it in the box. If I play with it, I’ll fall in love with it and won’t be able to give it up.

So here’s the situation: I had £840 of vouchers. I spent £600 on a laptop an £155 on a printer, keyboard, mouse, webcam and paper. That means I have £85 left, so the new laptop has to cost less than £685 or I have to put in some of my own money. The most I can spare this month would bring me up to £800 but that would be really pushing it.

(As I write this post, I have £1.80 left for the rest of the month, so that figure was woefully optimistic.)

Sunday morning, I get a phone call from the PC World business centre: would I be willing to compromise on screen size or battery length?

No.

“Oh. In that case, sir, the nearest replacement we can offer you is a …”

There were some technical words here, followed by the price £1200.

After some choice words and not a small amount of swearing, I hung up.

 Yes, you read it correctly, I hung up. Apparently, at the business centre, they don’t mind you swearing at them.

What the fuck am I going to do now? I can wait until the new range comes out, but since I got my laptop in the sale, I’m definitely going to have to stump up some extra cash – which I can’t afford to and don’t want to.

A thought hits me, maybe they have the laptop I really want in some remote part of the country? I could drive to Scotland or something and buy it there. I pounce on the Internet and pound away at the keys.

Now, a stupid part of the PC World system is it won’t just tell you if there’s one of these:

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Anywhere in the world. You have to tell the website where you live and it tells you there’s none nearby. So I randomly enter towns across the UK until I confirm my worst fear: there are no more left.

In fact, they have very little stock left at all; except, of course, the fucking pink one.

At least, they have nothing left in store. On the home delivery side of the operation, they have a few of the silver ones left.

Yes!

So I ring PC World again and explain my situation.

“I’m sorry, sir; but the home delivery side is separate to the in store side of the business.”

“Yes, but they’re still the same business, aren’t they?”

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”

“Why can’t you send the laptop I want from the home delivery side to the store and I’ll buy it from there?”

“Because, the home delivery side–”

“Is separate to the in store side of the business.”

“Oh good, you were listening. Sir, why don’t you refund the laptop and then buy it again from home?”

“Because, I bought it with vouchers and you won’t accept vouchers over the net.”

“That’s right, we don’t. Well, you know what this means, don’t you sir?

“What?”

“You’re fucked. Good day.”

And the bitch hung up.

I sat and sobbed over the box of my useless laptop. So what are the choices?

  1. Keep the useless one, buy four spare batteries and lug my own body weight in electronics around until I can afford a new one.
  2. Wait until the new range comes out and stump up a load of my own money (which I haven’t got) to make up the shortfall.
  3.       
  4. 490394_01_huge.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pink one is £50 less than the one I’ve got. It’s exactly the same as the one I want, but it’s pink. Do I swallow my pride and buy the gay laptop, or punish myself and stick obstinately to some bizarre anti-pink prejudice?

I really am being stupid about this.

With a heavy heart I drive back to PC World. This time I go to the one in Bexhill, which I didn’t even know was there but is much closer. I drag myself up to the first employee I can find, explain the situation and utter the hateful phrase:

“Can I swap it for the Philips x59P, please?”

“x59P, the pink one?”

“Yeah. Do you want to fucking make something of it?”

No, apparently he didn’t. He’s just slightly deaf and wanted to make sure he’d heard right. The exchange is made, the refund is given, a second webcam is bought and I go immediately into a DIY store and buy a roll of black sticky-backed plastic.

And that’s the story. I have a gay laptop, a load of new gear and still have £95 in vouchers left over for ink and paper throughout the year.

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It’s very pink, isn’t it? Luckily, from my point of view, I can’t see the pinkness. I’ve got the black sticky-backed plastic because the first time someone sniggers at my laptop, I’m going to wrap their fucking heads in it.

And we’re done. I have a gay laptop.

**********************ADDENDUM************************

Since that day, I’ve conducted a straw poll and 100% of the gay guys asked* said they wouldn’t buy this laptop. However, one woman did chip in and say she’d probably buy it for her six year old daughter.

That’s right, it’s not a gay laptop, it’s not even a man’s laptop. It’s a little girl’s laptop.

Jesus.

* One. One gay guy, but he was pretty unanimous.

Categories: Random Witterings, Sad Bastard | 34 Comments

The laptop saga (Part Two)

Once again, nothing to do with writing since I can’t write without a laptop. Apologies for the random rants, but I’m still very upset.

So I’m standing in PC World, suffering from jet-lag, sunstroke and clutching £840 worth of vouchers.

Why am I in PC World?

Because I’m trying to buy a new laptop.

Why am I jet-lagged?

Because I’ve just got back from Barbados.

Why am I suffering from sunstroke?

Because I’ve just got back from Barbados, pay attention.

What was I doing in Barbados?

Wishing I had a laptop … and some shade.

This is the laptop I want:

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But they haven’t got it, no one in the country has got it and they aren’t going to have it ever again. The choice, therefore, are these second placers in the pretty laptop competition:

Samsung Q35 – £750 – ugly with a shitty plastic keyboard.

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Philips X200 – £850 – what the fuck is that extendable neck about?

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and the Philips X66 – £800 – ugly, but ever so tiny.

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Oh, and there’s the gay version of the one I actually want:

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But I really, really don’t want a pink laptop.

Normally I’m fairly decisive about these sorts of things. I see what I want I just get it; but not today. I’m exhausted, not having slept since a different time zone, and I’m shivering from the sunstroke. I’m ginger, I burn really bad and right now I look like an embarrassed lobster.

All I really want to do is throw up and go to sleep; but I also have a laptop shaped hole in my life and a pile of vouchers gripped in my sweaty, burnt hand. In my fevered state there is no tomorrow, I need a laptop, I need it now and I’m not leaving this shop until I get one.

Two hours later I’m still bouncing from point to point of my triangle of laptops. I just can’t make up my mind. I kind of like them, but they all have something wrong with them. I have to snap out of this, I’m getting odd looks from the staff and customers alike as I wander aimlessly from one laptop to the next, cherry red and shivering like a junkie.

Fuck it, decision time.

The X200 only is the prettiest and has a built in webcam, but it’s the most expensive and has this weird Rubik’s neck thing which makes it impossible to open and close. The thing is, I won’t be able to afford any of the other little bits I thought I could buy: a new printer, a couple of webcams, a new PC keyboard. Oh, and it’s only got 3 hours of battery life – that’s a deal breaker. If it says 3 hours, it will only give 2 and a half, which isn’t enough to get up to London and back. I need an actual battery life of 3 hours for it to be of any use. Anything less is a waste of money.

Ha! Down to a choice of two and it’s only taken me two hours!

The Philips x66 is ugly, but very tiny and … hmm – solo core thing. The others have duo core things. I have no idea what this means, but I’m not going to ask one of the hordes of employees who hide in the nearby aisles, mouths watering as they eye up my vouchers. I know from previous experience these guys tend to know less than me but will bullshit for England if it bags them a sale. My general rule of thumb is to go with the opposite of any recommendation they make.

I seem to remember someone banging on about Duo core stuff and how it’s going to be necessary in the future. That means the X66 is already on its way to being obsolete or something. Fuck it, I’m not having that one.

Which leaves the Samsung Q35, the one the insurance company wanted me to buy in the first place. The one I really, really hate the look of; but it’s the only one left …

Maybe I should look at the others again?

This goes on for another hour before I finally snap. I have this panic ordering system in restaurants. I like to glance at the menu and then put it to one side, when the waiter appears I snatch it up and order the first thing I see.

I’m going to do that. I’m going to find an employee and follow him back to the laptops, whichever one we stumble on first, that’s the one I’m going to buy.

I turn the corner and … THERE IT IS!

The perfect laptop, gleaming in its own shaft of light, surrounded by topless beauties who entice me to try out its slinky beauty whilst waving mint choc chip cornettos in my general direction.

I did mention I had sunstroke, yeah? That and the jet-lag have joined forces and I’ve just hit the hallucination stage.

Except, no. Wait a minute, the laptop is real. Holy shit! The laptop is real!

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The Packard Bell BU45 – £600 and absolutely lovely. It’s light, it’s tiny it’s got a built in webcam and … oh my god, the words choke in my throat as a single tear trickles down my sunburnt cheek … it’s got a fingerprint scanner! A fucking fingerprint scanner!

I don’t have a fingerprint scanner, I don’t need a fingerprint scanner and I have no idea what use a fingerprint scanner is; but right now, what I want most in the world (apart from a bed and a family-sized tub of aftersun) is a fingerprint scanner. Specifically the one attached to the Packard Bell BU45.

I’VE FOUND IT!

PEOPLE ARE STARING AT ME!

I’M TALKING OUT LOUD, AND PROBABLY HAVE BEEN FOR SEVERAL HOURS!

At £600 I can get the laptop and the printer and the keyboard and the webcams … no, I only need one webcam … and some paper and … STILL have money left over for ink and paper throughout the rest of the year! Life is good!

I grab a salesman, shove my voucher in his hand and drag him around the store filling up a trolley.

“This, and this, and this and … ooh, this, I must have this!”

“That’s my shoe, sir.”

“Fuck you, I want it! I have a voucher!”

I left the shop half an hour later with a car boot full of electronic equipment.

Now, you shouldn’t drive when you’re tired. Driving while jet-lagged and delusional from sunstroke is really bad. Luckily I had Elvis and Pope John Paul II to keep me awake all the way home. In fact, Elvis did most of the driving.

I get home and all thought of bed is forgotten. A quick vomit and I’m tearing into the boxes, setting them up like a demonic … erm, demon who sets up electronic things.

The laptop is as beautiful as I’d hoped and it takes me the rest of the day to set it up. I get my files on board, my music, get all the settings the way I like them, just generally tinkering with it for the next seven hours or so.

And then it’s done. It’s perfect. I’ve even managed to secure all my files with the fingerprint security system.

I can’t remember which finger I used, but it can only be one of ten – won’t take me too long to work it out.

The webcams are set up, I’ve tested them by running up and down the stairs between the laptop and the PC and I’m fairly certain I managed to see myself at least once. I’m a happy, happy man. Finally, it’s time for bed.

At this point, I did something rather strange. Something I’m a little ashamed of and not really sure what I was thinking.

I unplugged the laptop with the intention of taking it to bed.

I was jet-lagged, honest. This is not normal behaviour on my part. I’m happily married with no desire to cheat on my wife with electronic equipment. Except that one time with the microwave, but that was different.

I unplug the laptop and it switches to battery power. The battery’s full and has been charging all day. This is as good as it is ever going to get:

BATTERY LIFE REMAINING: 1 HOUR 30

WHAT!? No, it can’t be. 1 hour 30?

I sit and stare at the monitor as it counts down. Without even touching the keyboard, the battery dies in exactly one hour.

ONE HOUR! Without use! That equates to about forty minutes of typing. That means I can’t even get halfway to London without the fucking thing dying on me. It’s no use, none of it is, not even the fingerprint scanner. It may be pretty, but it won’t actually do what I bought it to do.

I thought I’d bought a sexy laptop, I haven’t. I’ve bought a very expensive paper weight.

( … to be concluded … )

Categories: Random Witterings | 19 Comments

The laptop saga (Part One)

The last three days have seen the conclusion to my ongoing laptop misery. I think the battle’s over, and all that remains is to count the casualties:

Two.

Two casualties: my old laptop and my sanity.

This is going to be a long post. I’d advise you to go and make yourself a cup of tea, or just keep on browsing. There’s no writing info in it and quite a bit of swearing. Read on at your own peril.

For anyone who missed it, the downfall of my laptop is recorded here.

I find my final comment particularly amusing. Specifically the line:

“I’ll be able to fix it without too much fuss”

Guess what?

I couldn’t.

I managed to free most of the keys by running it under the hot tap, but the last four just wouldn’t budge. I even tried removing the keyboard and soaking it in a pan of boiling water, but no dice. The S, E, R and F just wouldn’t work. Which I find quite ironic, a serf who won’t work is worthless.

You may be thinking any man who runs his laptop under the hot tap is not quite right in the head, but I’d rather think of myself as innovative.

About a week after the incident, I had to face facts: the only person benefiting from my attempts to fix the keyboard was the water board. Damn that water meter.

So repair isn’t working: phase two – replacement.

I phoned Philips, asked them for a new keyboard, the ‘customer service’ guy denied they sold laptops.

Weird.

I tried to explain I was looking at one, but he didn’t believe me. I offered to drive round to his place of work and show it to him, but he still didn’t believe me. I offered to drive round to his house and shove it up his fucking arse, and he hung up.

Bastard.

I tried parts companies, repair companies, PC World who originally sold it to me – nothing. They all admitted the laptop existed, but none of them could supply a new keyboard. The last guy I spoke to told me they wouldn’t even take the laptop in for repair because they had so much trouble getting the parts.

Which left me no option, I had to claim on the house insurance.

Again.

You see, the laptop was only six months old, the result of another insurance claim when I dropped my last one. I was very happy with the new laptop, so I sent it off for repairs. At least my £60 excess will probably be less than shipping a new keyboard from halfway around the world – if I could find one at all.

I had to wait a week before they got back to me and offered me a replacement.

“Eh? What? You want to replace the laptop? You want to replace an £800 laptop rather than install an £80 keyboard?”

“Yes sir, it’s cheaper.”

“In what fucking universe? How much do you fucking clowns charge per hour? There’s one fucking screw holding the fucking keyboard on you useless fucking phone monkey.”

Surprisingly, he hung up.

When I managed to get back through the torturous phone tree, they offered me a new laptop – the Samsung Q35:

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The one in the shop has nasty plastic, silver keys. It’s slightly better than my laptop, but it’s just not quite as pretty. I tried to explain this to the tech guy, but he didn’t really get it.

“It’s exactly the same specs, but with a bigger hard drive.”

“Yes, but it’s not as pretty.”

There was quite a long pause at this point, before the reply:

“It’s got a bigger hard drive.”

More ranting, more being hung up on, more phone tree negotiation and I asked if I could have this one instead, the Philips x59:

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This one really is exactly the same as my Philips x53, but with a slightly bigger hard drive. It’s cheaper too. That’s right, I’m trying to save the insurance company some money. That’s how nice a guy I am.

But they won’t have it. I have to speak to someone else, who isn’t in. He’ll ring me back, but when he does, my phone is off. He leaves a message, I ring back, I get through to reception again. He’s busy, he’ll ring me back. He rings me when my phone’s off, leaves a number, I ring him back, it’s reception again.

“Just give me his fucking phone number.”

And they hung up on me, again.

All this time I’m popping into PC World and mooning over the laptop which is exactly the same as my recently departed one, but with a slightly bigger hard drive. A thing of beauty.

Unlike the one next to it, which is exactly the same, but is inexplicably pink:

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A pink laptop, Why? There’s pretty and there’s gay and that’s crossing the line.

Eventually we reach an agreement: They’ll give me vouchers for PC World and I can buy whichever fucking laptop I like.

And this is the good bit: they’re going to give me vouchers to the value of the one they’ve offered me, which is £150 more than the one I want. I can get the laptop I want and keep myself in ink and paper for a year! Hooray!

Except, no. They think the Samsung costs £840! I’m going to end up with an extra £240 worth of vouchers. Happy days! I can get a new printer, a couple of webcams, a new keyboard for my desktop and still have money left over for ink and paper for months!

It was all I could do not to laugh at them and call them names.

So I marched down to PC World: grinning like an idiot and clutching a fist full of vouchers.

“A Philips x59, please my good man.”

“Sorry mate, we’ve sold out.”

Bastards.

( … to be continued … )

Categories: Random Witterings | 11 Comments

My favourite word

There are a couple of new projects on the horizon, some of them are exciting, some of them are very exciting. They may happen, they may not; but just thinking about them makes me go all tingly.

I received an email today, a forwarded email, originally sent to a producer and then passed on to me, concerning one of these projects. A while back I wrote a treatment for a proposed feature film remake, several people have to approve the new version and the affirmation came in today: they all like the story.

The email also contains one of my favourite words in the English language:

“Would he do a first screenplay for the money?”

Yes, yes he would.

Categories: Progress | 5 Comments

Kapital – first draft verdict

Yesterday I trundled up to London to find out what Don Allen thought of the first draft of the script he commissioned me to write:

“What a load of shit. I can’t believe I actually paid you to do this, you incompetent, incoherent, cretinous nutsack. You have no right calling yourself a writer. Who are you trying to fool? You couldn’t write my arse.”

I could write it, I just couldn’t spell it.

Those aren’t his words, by the way. That’s the sanitised version.

Actually, that’s what I was imagining he’d say as I was on the train from Eastbourne, vaguely wondering where the conductor had got to. I’d had three hours sleep, been up since 04.00 and was feeling a little jinky around the edges. I’d nearly missed the train and had only just managed to dive on before it left.

What I really needed was a good cup of tea; but I’d settle for whatever that brown sludgy shit is they serve on the train.

But no, not only was there no conductor from whom to buy a ticket, but there was no buffet trolley guy running down the aisle with his head down so he won’t accidentally make eye contact and be inconvenienced by having to make a sale.

At Victoria, I found the first official looking person I could find and tried to buy a ticket. Only to have him make sucking noises and shake his head. Apparently it’s an offence to try and buy a ticket on the train, a fact all of the conductors have failed to mention once a week for the last few months.

I argued it would be helpful if someone bothered telling the passengers.

He directed my attention to the large poster right in front of us which says:

IT IS AN OFFENCE TO BOARD A TRAIN WITHOUT A TICKET.

In nice big red letters.

I did the only thing I could. I pretended I couldn’t read.

So he looks up the penalty fare – twice the standard single fare.

“You said you came from Eastbourne, yeah?”

“No. East Croydon.”

He didn’t believe me. Twice the single fare: £12.90.

For fuck’s sake.

After a bit more swearing, I paid the fine, then attempted to buy a return ticket and a tube ticket.

“Single to Eastbourne, that’s £18.90. Plus a travelcard will be–”

“You fucking what? How can a single from Eastbourne to Victoria be six  pounds less than the same ticket going the other way? A return from Eastbourne to Victoria is only 20p more. No wonder everyone in London looks so pissed off; they can’t afford to leave. Do you want a kidney as well? How about I just hack out a kidney and give it to you? Will that make you happy?”

Here’s a handy hint when you’re running a little late: don’t waste twenty minutes swearing at people who work for train companies.

Especially, don’t do it when the station is full of twitchy-fingered armed police in the aftermath of a weekend of terrorist activity.

Thoroughly pissed off and feeling a little light in the wallet, I hauled my tired arse up to Don’s office to receive his verdict on the first draft of ‘Kapital’. I was feeling an intriguing mixture of fury and trepidation. I wanted to punch someone and run and hide at the same time.

I settled myself down and let him lay his opinion on me. I don’t know why I get so uptight about this, no one has ever actually turned round and said they hate my work; I guess there’s always a first time.

But not this time. He really likes it.

And relax.

So we go for dinner. I tell the tale of the armed police guy putting his knee across my throat and we all have a laugh.

The script is only a first draft, but it’s a good solid base to go on with. Funnily enough, you can actually see where I finished writing each night. Particularly on the last few nights when I was writing 30 pages a day and working from 08.00 until 0.300. For example: the last scene I wrote on one of these nights involved two of the underworld’s most fearsome criminals getting into lion costumes and prancing around.

Not sure what I was thinking, but apparently too much tea makes me go a bit funny.

So there we go, another satisfied customer – still a way to go yet, but we’re off to a good start. I’ve got a load of notes for the next draft. Most of them are to do with character development and clearing up a couple of muddy plot points; but writ large among them, in big black pen is this:

NO FUCKING LIONS.

Categories: Kapital, Progress, Rants | 1 Comment

The Summoning – the first segment

The first segment of ‘The Summoning’ was shot over the weekend: Martin Kemp directed, with Gary Kemp and Adele Silva as the leads. Here was my view of the filming:

Roof

If you look really closely at the left hand side, through that wall and then about 540 miles due south you might just be able to see it.

If you’re lucky.

Okay, I admit it. I wasn’t there. This was for two reasons:

  1. Being on set is quite dull. Being on location is even worse because there’s nowhere to sit down.
  2. They, rather selfishly I thought, scheduled it on a day when I already had other plans.

For me, being present at the filming breaks down into three phases, probably best characterised as Wow! Oh. and Hang on! Let me give you an example, from one of the first shoots I attended:

  • Phase 1: Wow! People are saying my lines!
  • Phase 2: Oh. People are saying my lines wrong.
  • Phase 3: Hang on! These aren’t my lines, some bastard has re-written them.

Or even worse, people start improvising. Don’t do that, please don’t do that. When actors start improvising, what they’re in effect saying is: ‘I can think up a better line off the top of my head than you can if you spend several months thinking about it.’

The defence is: some of the best lines in movie history were improvised.

This is true, but so were most of the worst ones.

Honestly, I did want to go and see at least one little bit of the shoot; but it just didn’t fit in with my schedule. It’s not a major worry, I’m sure I’ll be able to see one of the other segments. And even if that’s not possible, I’m not going to get upset about it.

I am itching to find out how it went though. The sketchy reports I’ve had say it went really well. I’ve been sent a load of stills which look fantastic, but I’m not allowed to show them to anyone yet.

So don’t even ask.

Regardless, the film is off the ground. It’s officially moved from pre-production into production, and that can only be a good thing. There were a couple of the obligatory last-minute disasters to do with personnel and locations, but apart from that it apparently all went very smoothly.

One down, five to go.

Categories: Progress, The Summoning | 4 Comments

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