Monthly Archives: December 2007

2007

So, how did 2007 go for you?

Mine went something like this:

JANUARY

Decided to stop fannying around and use two contacts I have at two production companies to submit ideas for TV series.

As of yet, I still haven’t managed this.

In a similar vein, I vowed to devote myself to writing at least one spec script in the coming year.

Failed there too.

I entered the Gumball 3000 script competition.

Didn’t win.

I thought the competition had disappeared up its own arse, until I found this. Hmm, did Mike Figgis really enter this competition?

I received the following notes about a feature film which was due for imminent production:

“We want the two Cuba Gooding Jnrs to be African tribesmen, one a medicine man and one a chief, who Tom Jones promised jobs as Traffic Wardens.”

“there is a mine of comedy related to having a dragon spunk bomb explode up your ass and the consequences thereof. I would encourage you to pursue that line of thought”

 “I’ve got this animatronic stag’s head…”

and my favourite:

“Tom Jones should be more like Idi Amin.”

The film still hasn’t been made.

All in all, January was a bit of a failure. The only really positive bit was buying a board to cover with brightly coloured index cards.

I quite enjoyed that bit.

FEBRUARY

Feb kicked off with the Gothenburg Film Festival where, against all odds, The Evolved was being screened. It went down really well and even sold out; I fucked up my first Q&A and still got asked for an autograph by a deranged Japanese fan.

Upon my return, I decided to be more proactive and use one of my cinema contacts to arrange a screening of the film in the UK.

Still haven’t done that.

I somehow got bombarded with scripts from people who wanted feedback. Why did they choose me? Who knows. I tried to oblige for a while, but it was getting on my nerves and taking up far too much time – so I said no and it all stopped.

Christ, all this seemed much more exciting at the time.

MARCH

I lost £90,000 of money I hadn’t even received when a potential feature film budget got cut in half.

Bollocks.

On the plus side, the feature still hasn’t been produced so I haven’t actually lost any of the money I haven’t received.

Not much consolation.

I spent four hours watching someone light a bottle of whiskey and wrote an advert for scented hemorrhoid cream.

And got paid for both of them.

I decided to stop telling lies and remove all the bullshit from my CV.

Chameleon, a martial arts feature film, disappeared up its own arse. No one told me, I found out by accident.

I fought a man whilst dressed as a granny. To be fair, he was dressed as a granny too.

He won.

I decided, rather randomly I thought, to send a script into the BBC Writersroom.

They didn’t like it.

And that was pretty much all I did in March.

Depressing, isn’t it?

APRIL

Ah, right. April must be where it started to get better …

No.

Someone described The Evolved as a “new low for the British Empire”.

I’m quite proud of that.

One of my sketches featured in a ‘Best of …’ thing, despite me not having entered the competition.

That was quite special.

I offered a brief rant about bloggers cloaking themselves in anonymity whilst simultaneously trying to promote their writing … and the next day hordes of people (very small hordes, possibly just two people) revealed their real names.

I’d like to take credit for that, but I suspect it was just a coincidence.

I had a meeting with Don Allen about writing a film for him. I was on top form in that meeting … I babbled incoherently about random things until we ran out of time; and … HOLY SHIT! I got that job.

Cool.

A week later I met Jonathan Sothcott about him using one of my short scripts in a horror anthology – five shorts in one feature. He had my script, one other and needed three more. I pitched six ideas, he loved five of them enough to not even bother contacting the other writer and upped the film to six shorts in one feature.

He turned out to be Martin Kemp‘s business partner and between them they knew enough people to pack the film full of celebs.

DOUBLE HOLY SHIT WITH CHOCOLATE MONKEYS ON TOP!

I was right, things did get better in April.

MAY

May kicked off with a bout off contract signing.

Cool.

The BBC Writersroom included me on their blogroll. I was one of nine links then, there’s only ten now – so I’m quite chuffed by that.

Thank you Mr … am I allowed to mention your name? Or will that provoke howls of jealousy from other non-linked-to writers?

I’ll just leave it, you know who you are.

I wrote all six segments of the horror anthology which became known as ‘The Summoning’.

I went to Cannes: crashed a car; crashed some parties, got some expensive dinners bought for me; nearly spent 23,000 Euro on a poker table (not gambling, I nearly bought it in a charity auction); got harrangued by a producer who kept asking innane questions; met some nice people; saw one shit film and spent an obscene amount of money.

Was it worth it?

No.

JUNE

Swore a lot.

Met Martin Kemp.

Walked into a lamp post.

None of these things are connected.

Poured Diet Coke into my laptop.

Optioned another feature film.

Got upset about stamps.

Killed a character because his name started with the wrong letter.

Got my phone bill from Cannes.

Cried about my phone bill from Cannes.

Briefly believed a Welsh woman was an Indian man in a kilt …

AND THEN SOME FUCKING CUNT POURED TEA INTO MY LAPTOP.

Okay, so I poured a teensy, tiny bit of Diet Coke into it a few days earlier; but this guy poured a whole cup tea in and then fucking denied it.

Son of a bitch.

Bastard fucking son of a bitch.

Bastard fucking whore-mongering, cock sucking, son of a bitch.

Oh, and I submitted some sketches to the BBC on a friend’s recommendation.

JULY

Karma Magnet was filmed, starring Gary Kemp and Adele Silva; and directed by Martin Kemp.

I wasn’t there.

The whole laptop saga kicked off. Read all about it here, here and here.

The result?

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A gay laptop.

Great.

Almost immediately afterwards I met Abi Titmuss.

She was very polite and didn’t laugh at my girlie pink laptop at all.

At least, not to my face.

Oh, and I lied about talking to John August.

A month of highs and lows.

AUGUST 

Fucked about a bit.

Slagged off creative people.

Mentioned to the world about how nice my wife’s breasts were.

Met a load of the fellow bloggers for the first time, most of whom didn’t believe I exist.

And … um … that’s all I did in August.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

SEPTEMBER

A new first for me, I turned down some paid work.

And then obsessed about it for months weeks … a bit.

Had a request for more sketches from the BBC and bought a toasted sandwich maker to celebrate.

Was sick from eating too many toasted sandwiches.

Slagged off writers in general, for no good reason.

Hit myself in the face with a big bastard sword.

And then fell asleep in a meeting at the BBC.

A particularly good month, I thought.

OCTOBER

Got a bit upset about mobile phones in movies.

Found out the BBC meeting didn’t go quite as badly as I thought.

Wrote a feature film in five days.

Swore never, ever to do it again.

Shouted at the BBC producer for not using script writing software – haven’t spoken to him since.

Met Gary Kemp.

One of the potential feature films got cancelled … and became something a lot, lot cooler which I still can’t talk about.

Wet myself with excitement.

And finally reached saturation point with projects and had to start turning down work in earnest. I turned down a lot of work in October – if you’re one of the rejected: sorry.

NOVEMBER

Wrote a factually, morally and in every other way just plain wrong rant about the term ‘Continuing Drama’.

Sorry.

Admitted to having a Batman costume.

Met Lee Otway.

Got asked to write a treatment for a feature which included the words nudity, vampire, caribbean and Nazis.

That was fun.

Had a cup of tea ruined by an explosion in an airport.

That wasn’t so fun.

And found out the BBC sketch show is using some of my stuff and wants to cast someone really, really exciting in my sketches … but not from the producer who still hasn’t been in touch.

DECEMBER

Got asked to write three more treatments for three more feature films.

Wrote them.

Met Terry Stone.

Slagged off producers.

Slagged off writers, again.

Got a free T-shirt.

And finished off the year by discovering a guy offered to completely fund one of the potential feature films.

 

So, where does this leave me? What conclusions can I draw from this year?

Um … I should learn to keep my fool mouth shut?

Probably.

What does 2008 hold?

Well, so far I’ve got one feature shooting in January, one in February and another ten in development which could spring into production at any moment.

But they probably won’t.

I’ve got a TV series being prepped to do the rounds, with three others hovering in the wings of potentiality and a BBC sketch show hurtling through production as we speak.

Or as I speak.

Or type.

And this morning, I managed to negotiate myself a bacon sandwich.

With HP sauce.

All in all, 2008 is going to be a great year.

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Categories: BBC, BBC Sketch Show, Career Path, Festivals, My Way, Progress, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Two steps back, Writing and life | 7 Comments

Merry Christmas

Erm, that’s it really – enjoy yourselves.

Categories: Random Witterings | 5 Comments

Co-inky-dink

I need a certain amount of money before a certain date or something unpleasant is going to happen.

I’m not talking ‘pliers and toenails’ kind of unpleasant, just something I’d rather not have to do.

I don’t normally worry about money. Generally, money is just something which drops through the letterbox whenever I need it – it’s a convenient arrangement which suits me nicely; but with baby on the way I have to be a bit more realistic. Mandy and I had a long chat, weighed up the options and realised there weren’t any – I had to be a man about it.

So I hid in the toilet and cried myself to sleep.

The decision was made, I girded my loins (which was fun) and reached for the phone … and it bleeped.

An email.

From the producer of one of the five new feature projects I’ve acquired over the last month or so. A chance encounter has brought him face to face with a man who fancies investing in a feature film. The producer mentioned the film we were planning and the guy’s interested – he’d like to invest.

How much?

All of it.

The whole budget, one investor, there’s the money – go and make a movie.*

Holy shit.

My fee?

Somewhere around the exact amount of money I need to avoid any unpleasantness.

Did I say holy shit?

What about holy fuck?

Fuck me ragged?

Now, I don’t know about you; but if I saw my life in a movie I wouldn’t believe it. You couldn’t write a scene where two people are discussing the need for x amount of money and then have someone else ring up and offer it to them.

Life isn’t supposed to work like that, it really isn’t.

Luckily, life (or at least my life) doesn’t seem to know that.

Which set off a bit of random paranoia. How come the universe seems to be operating in my favour? How come when I need something it just turns up? It’s almost as if, somehow, the universe is looking out for me. As if the whole of creation is bending to my will, for my benefit.

Or at least the section of it which deals with money and writers.

Maybe I am the centre of the universe and all of you are here purely for my amusement?

Nah.

It’s an easy thought process to get swept up in though. The human mind is not designed to deal with coincidences. We build things, therefore anything which seems constructed must have been built by someone else.

Which is the central theme of ‘Karma Magnet‘, a man who gets carried away with this idea of the universe working for him.

It’s a behaviour I see all the time in other people, particularly the devoutly religious and spiritually inclined– an inability to recognise a coincidence as a coincidence and an ego big enough to assume the vastness of infinity actually cares whether or not you bump into someone from school in Marbella.

It doesn’t, but it’s a hard thought to shift.

Regardless, one of the five has gone from a possible project to a very probable project and I’ve gone from excited to very excited to being a little scared.

I’ve also found out when they need the script by and how much time I’ve got between now and then.

HOLY FUCKING MONKEY SHIT!

Enjoy your Christmas, I don’t know if I will.

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* It’s not quite this simple, there’s a load of paperwork to be sorted through first – but assuming nothing goes wrong, it’s going to happen very fast.
Nutters.
New age nutters.
Categories: My Way, Progress, Writing and life | 5 Comments

Presents

I got two things today: stabbed in the face and a T-shirt. The T-shirt came through the letterbox, the stab in the face didn’t.

The T-shirt is from Mick Fowler, it’s a promotional T-shirt for the short film I wrote with him – ‘Quid Pro Quo … and all that’.

This is the front:

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17122007107.jpg

And this is the back:

17122007108.jpg

17122007109.jpg

I’ve never had a T-shirt with my name on before, let alone one from the production of a script I wrote (or at least co-wrote).

I was quite impressed; and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that it’s better than being stabbed in the face with a rubber knife.

Categories: Random Witterings, Sad Bastard | 6 Comments

Potential

A week or so ago I mentioned I was working on treatments for four new feature projects. Well, they’re all done now, they’ve been sent off and they’ve been reasonably well received.

Now I’m into phase two of re-writing and expanding them to either longer treatments or from outlines to treatments depending on which terminology you want to use.

So far so good and I haven’t been thrown off any of them yet, but it’s still early days with lots of potential for me to upset the people involved.

With K due to start shooting in January, another six features already in development* and four more on the way; that makes a total of one definite# and ten potential movies for next year.

That’s pretty good odds for getting some decent career movement next year.

I hope.

On top of all that, another project suddenly resurfaced from the murky depths of the middle of the year. A remake of the 70s horror ‘House on Straw Hill’ starring some people and directed by someone else – yet another project thrown my way by Jonathan Sothcott who is fast becoming my pimp.

So that whacks the total up to five new features. One definitely shooting, with eleven more in development. On top of that, there’s a secret TV series lurking in the wings of potentiality and the BBC 3 sketch show which I believe is shooting at the moment.

I feel like I’m in a very strong position, like 2008 is going to be MY year; but it’s all smoke, mirrors and promises. Until the first day of principle photography … the last day of … the film is finishedthe film has been sold … the film is in shops or cinemas it’s all just a big load of potential disappointment.

But eleven features, come on! Surely something’s got to come of that?

Hasn’t it?

Please?

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*Although 2 of them are complete no hopers (not yours, obviously – you’re a dynamic and virile film maker. It’s one of the other losers who’s got no hope)

# Or as definite as it ever gets.

Called ‘Expose’ over here for some reason.

Categories: BBC Sketch Show, K, Progress | 6 Comments

Strike FAQs

Like many of you, I was firmly behind the WGA and their strike-ness. Like you, I believed what they’re asking for is right and fair.

Then I had my eyes opened.

Please, I implore you, read the AMPTP’s reasons for their incomprehensible actions before you pass judgement on those poor producers.

Everything you need to know is here:

http://www.amptp.com/faq.html

Categories: Random Witterings | 5 Comments

The best thing I ever wrote

A couple of times recently people have pointed to a specific script or treatment as being the ‘best thing I’ve ever written’; which is either a compliment or an insult, depending on your point of view.

I don’t know about best, but I have a favourite – a short script I wrote a few years back in a bored couple of hours. I love it, and so do a lot of people who’ve read it.*

It’s had the odd flurry of interest and has even earned me an option fee – an option I’ve just discovered ran out in March.

I really should pay more attention to these things.

I love the script and I love the idea; unfortunately no one in their right mind would sink the kind of money needed into a short like this. It’s a script I don’t think will ever see the light of day.

Oh well, it was fun to write and (rightly or wrongly) I’m still quite proud of it.

Since it’s no longer under option, I thought I’d post it here on the off chance anyone with more money than sense reads my blog.

This is the synopsis:

 1939 – 1945 pm.

 

The entire history of the second World War in fifteen minutes from a cul-de-sac.

 

A funny and inventive view of WWII from beginning to end, set in a cul-de-sac where all the nations are represented by neighbouring families. It contains all (or at least all I could fit in fifteen minutes) of the major historical events and characters of this period.

And this is the script: 1939-1945pm

Now I’ve just got to get round to taking it off my CV.

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*Or at least they say they love it. People lie a lot.

That explains the apologetic phone call from the director, I had wondered what that was about.

Categories: Random Witterings, Two steps back | 5 Comments

Writer speak

I got no less than three angry phone calls about yesterday’s post. Three angry producers who all thought it was based on them.

It’s not, I keep telling you it’s not.*

Here, to even the score, is a translation of writer speak for anyone who isn’t in the know. I apologise now to all the other writers out there, I know I’m giving away trade secrets here and will probably get thrown out of the club … but I’ve never been much of a team player anyway.

Writer: I’ll have it done by the 10th.

Translation: I’ll start it on the 10th.

It’ll be done by Friday.

I didn’t specify which Friday.

It’s still at the conceptual stage.

Leave me alone, I’m watching The Simpsons.

I’m not quite sure how it all fits together yet, but I’m working on it.

I haven’t even looked at anything you sent me yet.

I’m nearly done.

Ooh, a Stargate marathon.

I’m working on it right now.

I’m browsing the net for porn.

I’m doing the research as we speak.

I’m browsing the net for porn.

I’m want to get the characters right before I write anything down.

I’m browsing the net for porn.

And, finally:

I think the theme of this movie needs to be tied more closely to the protagonist’s inner goal whilst complimenting his outer desire.

That’s right mother fucker, I’m reading the same book as you … whilst browsing the net for porn with the other hand.

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* Of course it’s you, who else would it fucking be?

Only kidding.

A bit.

No, I am, it’s not based on you – it’s not based on anyone.

If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

No, I’m just fucking with your head – sorry.

Hee hee.

Categories: Random Witterings | Leave a comment

Producer speak

I thought I’d spare some time to translate phrases from that marvellous language ‘producer speak’ for your delight and education.

A producer* accidentally copied me into a whole conversation between himself and the rest of the creative team, allowing me this fascinating insight into the workings of the minds behind the movie industry.

This isn’t a definitive guide, but just some of the choicer comments I’ve been able to translate:

Producer: I love the script.

Translation: I haven’t read it.

The director loves it.

He hasn’t read it either.

There are a few problems …

Even though I haven’t read it, I know it’s shit.

But we can sort them out easily enough.

You’re fired.

I’m just structuring the financing as we speak.

I haven’t got the money.

It’s a difficult project to pitch.

I don’t think I can get the money.

I’ve arranged a meeting with the film council next week.

I haven’t got a hope in hell of getting the money.

I wonder, could you create a part for xxxxx?

I’m trying to sleep with xxxxx.

Maybe the female protagonist should be younger?

I’ve already slept with xxxxx, and now I’m interested in her daughter.

I’d rather keep this project under wraps for now.

I haven’t managed to sleep with xxxxx yet, and she thinks I’m working on her vanity project.

You should meet xxxxx, you’d like her.

She still won’t give it up, but maybe if I introduce her to a writer she’ll think I’m actually interested in making that terrible idea of hers.

The director’s being difficult.

I’ve slept with his wife and he’s found out.

Don’t mention xxxxx to the director.

We’re both sleeping with xxxxx, but he doesn’t know it.

I’m going to have to cancel that meeting.

xxxxx’s husband is away that day.

And finally:

I’m concerned about the theme of the movie, does the protagonist’s inner goal compliment his outer desire?

I’m reading this from a book and have no idea what it means.

And that’s about it really. I’ll update this invaluable resource as and when I manage to translate more.

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* It wasn’t you, you’re my favourite producer and never ever speak like this. It was some other producer from some other project. Honest.

It is you.

Categories: Random Witterings | 8 Comments

Four

That’s how many treatments/outlines I’m working on at the moment, all for feature films.

There’s this vampire/Nazi thing which became a witch/Nazi thing which has become a creature midway between the two, but is still sexy.#

A sequel to an already produced horror film.

A slacker comedy thing set in a record shop.

And yesterday, to top it off, I met Terry Stone to talk about adapting his book ‘King of Clubs’. It was just a short meeting over lunch, but one of the most fun I’ve had.*

Not that the others aren’t/weren’t fun, but Terry’s a really funny guy and is very adept at telling a good story. He’s an interesting guy and his book’s a good read – I’m hoping I can do it justice by making it a good script.

Of these four treatments, all four have a reasonable chance of getting made. All four people/companies have a track record of getting things done, all of them are easy to get on with, all of them just want to make films without fannying around.

Well, without much fannying around. There’s always going to be a little bit or it wouldn’t be the film industry. There are several other projects I’m not including in this list, because most of the people involved are more interested in arranging lunches than making films.

Okay, so none of these projects might happen (or, if I can’t deliver the goods, they may happen without me); but they’re all exciting and things I think could really work.

Looks like the next few months are going to be very busy, and life doesn’t get any better than that.

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 # A wimpire? Vamtch?

* Okay, Jonathan Sothcott was there and he’s fun too. He gets upset if I don’t mention him.

If you’re reading this, it’s not you. I’m talking about someone else.

Actually, life is much better than that; but that’s got nothing to do with writing and doesn’t belong here.

Categories: Progress | 1 Comment

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