Christmas Crackers

2015

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So that was 2015.

No flying cars, there were hoverboards … but they didn’t hover, they just set fire to people’s houses.

Behind the scenes I had a thrilling and exciting year … but I can’t really talk about it.

Not yet, anyway … but one day. soon.

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This is what’s immensely frustrating about being a scriptwriter – all the exciting things happen (and often die) out of the spotlight. By the time I’m allowed to talk about things (because contracts have finally been negotiated and signed) it’s old news and any excitement is feigned.

Well, not feigned … diluted. Like having to remember how excited you were about a Christmas present you got last year when it’s since been broken by the kid next door.fake-smile

But hey, it’s been a busy year with lots of stuff going on. On paper, it probably looks like not a lot … but that’s just the nature of the business. I’ve done a few uncredited rewrites, one of which has just been released … which is a yay I can’t publicly acknowledge.

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But never mind. If I was in it for the applause, I wouldn’t be a writer.

The rest of 2015, the bits I did talk about, went something like this:

JANUARY

Apparently all I did in January was talk about 2014, which although it included Ghostbusters and a suspicious looking codpiece …

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… seems a bit of a waste of a bloggy month.

FEBRUARY

Ah, hello groove I was wondering where you’d gone.

February was a proper blogging month full of blogs and … well, just blogs.

First off I tried to get you all to commit acts of phone-related mischief by adding ‘Okay Google’ phrases into scripts which would punish anyone who had their phone on in the cinema.

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Did any of you do it? Please say someone did it.

Then I defended Footloose because … it’s fucking Footloose. Footloose is awesome.

After succcessfully re-educating the world about the joys of ’80s dance, I went on to prove the three act structure is fine – stop trying to reinvent the wheel, it works just fine.

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And then I immediately explained why it doesn’t really work that well for a scriptwriter.

Aren’t you glad you’ve got me around to explain these things to you?

MARCH

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb …

I, on the other hand, came in with a thing about the joy of failing

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… stumbled into a confused ramble about clichés

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… mumbled something I can’t be bothered to reread about page thinking

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… compared Joss Whedon to HTC and rambled about how frustrating it must be to be either of them …

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… and went out with an in-depth discussing about liars and lying for a living.

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APRIL

April is where things got interesting …

Just not at first. First I wondered if maybe you shouldn’t really be able to point to the midpoint in a film.

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Then I used my blog to educate my producer as to why he shouldn’t get his hopes up about the first draft I was just about to deliver …

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Just as it might have got interesting … I got angry about spoilers instead.

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Then it got interesting. I had a phone call

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It was Danny Stack … and he didn’t want anything except a chat.

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Where it got interesting was it kicked off a string of phone calls between me and … well, just people. Nice people. People like Calum Chalmers.

MAY

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And it carried on with more nice people like Robin Bell, Andrew Mullins and Dominic Carver.

In fact, most of May was taken up with phone calls, broken only by me trying to figure out how to write the perfect cameo (it worked! I wish I could tell you how well it worked … but I can’t) and to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary.

Oh and I went on a bit about competition and how much I enjoy it.

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JUNE

June continued the #PhonePhill-ing bringing delightful chats with Dee Chilton, Rosie Claverton and Rebecca Handley.

In fact, June was all phone calls apart from one post about being better and how we should all pursue knowledge as if it were a … thing. I don’t know. Insert your own simile, I’m tired.

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JULY

July brought yet more telephone awesomeness …

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This time in the shape of Mac McSharry, James Moran, Jay Sutherland and Terry Newman.

As well as yakking to people, I also (gasp!) worked over a weekend.

Apparently this is so shocking to me I felt the need to blog about it.

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I also made an uncredited appearance as Iron Man at a little boy’s birthday party in a homemade, cardboard costume:

I enjoyed that.

AUGUST

In August I had a little panic about potentially offending  someone I quite like by giving them script notes. In order to cover my anxiety, I wrote this post about the kind of script notes I get and how upsetting they can be … if you don’t take them in the spirit they’re intended.

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Later on, I followed that post up by giving myself notes on an old script.

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I also pretended a meal/drink with some friends was a sort of #PhonePhill episode … even though it wasn’t.

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But it did lead to this picture, which is my favourite of the year:

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I rounded off August by highlighting my inability to not focus on background detail.

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SEPTEMBER

Man, I did a lot of blogging in 2015. Too much, some might say.

In September I added one more thing to a script and felt the need to tell everyone.

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Then I added a second thing and banged on about that too.

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I did a thing about tokenism and … well, I don’t know what my point was there. Feel free to read it and let me know.

Oh, and then I added some nonsense to Jason Arnopp’s blog post about hands.

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OCTOBER

I kicked off October by contrasting Rose Tyler with Jurassic Park … which, you know, is clearly two different things and needs a blog explaining why.

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And then … the future arrived!

I meant to take a photo of myself with my trousers on inside out … but I didn’t. Possibly because I don’t think I wore any in October.

Instead of wearing trousers, I watched some videos about deleted scenes from all three Star Wars films:

I say three because I’m a prequel denier. At that point I was adamant there were only three Star Wars films. Now, of course, there’s been another half of a Star Wars film.

Hopefully we’ll find out in a couple of years whether or not any of it makes sense.

NOVEMBER

Just when you thought I’d forgotten about it, another #PhonePhill – this time with William Gallagher. He’s written a book, you know. Bits of it are about me.

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Inspired by the resurgence of telephonic communication, I immediately didn’t do it again and instead waffled on about River Theory …

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Expressed my love for the Verity podcast …

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And raved on and on and on about this speech from Doctor Who:

Oh, and I found this photo of a Burt Reynolds crab.

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DECEMBER

Which brings us to now. All I did in December was a handful of short blogs about other people’s stuff. Things like:

Arnopp’s patreon campaign, the UK Scriptwriter’s Handbook and the Heaven Sent/Hell Bent scripts.

There were meant to be more, but there wasn’t.

I didn’t even wish you a merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

There, I did it.

And so, with this year nearly spent, all eyes turn to the next one.

Hopefully it’ll include at least one blog about my new office:

And loads and loads about my next script to be produced:

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Happy New Year, let’s chat soon.

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Categories: #PhonePhill, Bored, Career Path, Christmas Crackers, Industry Musings, My Way, Progress, Publicity, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way, Sparkle, The Ties That Bind, Things I've Learnt Recently, Two steps back, Writing and life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2015 Christmas Cracker #3: Heaven Sent/Hell Bent scripts

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As I may or may not have mentioned elsewhere, I really enjoyed this season of Doctor Who. For me, as a whole, it’s the strongest season since Sylvester McCoy’s final year.

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Battlefield, Ghost Light, The Curse of Fenric, Survival … that was a great year. Ironic really since it was also the year the show died.

This season has been just as enjoyable … or rather, I’ve enjoyed it just as much. I can see there are flaws, there always are, but I’ve immensely enjoyed the season as a whole. To my mind there’s only been one duff episode

Okay, maybe one and a half.

But all in all it’s been great fun. Everyone involved has been at the top of their game and really pulled out all the stops …

And then there was Heaven Sent … which was just sublime.

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Again, to me. You may disagree. Personally I found this to be not just one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever^, but one of the best bits of TV I’ve ever seen.

Maybe I get out too much?

Anyway, Cracker number three is the scripts for Heaven Sent and Hell Bent. Even if you’re not a Doctor Who fan, you should read these scripts because they’re amazing. Well, Heaven Sent is amazing; Hell Bent is merely very, very good. Which in itself is amazing but script writing is hard.

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Anyone who criticises a film or TV show for having a bad script because they don’t like one or two lines of dialogue should read these scripts and hopefully understand that the dialogue is the smallest part of script writing. It’s the last thing, the decoration, not even the icing on the cake but the dusting of icing sugar put on the plate after the ingredients have been farmed, processed, bought, baked decorated, packaged, sliced and arranged neatly on said plate.

Script writing begins with choosing which piece of land would be best to buy in order to grow the wheat to bake the cake. Dialogue … pfft. That’s such an infinitesimally small part of script writing it may as well not exist.

Um … this rant has nothing to do with Doctor Who, just a reaction to reading something which annoyed me on Facebook earlier.

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Never mind, carry on stuffing your faces with mince pies and snuggle up by the fireplace with a cup of tea and these two scripts.

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* Make your own mind up as to which one. We’ll have different opinions … I just thought this one was a real stinker.

^ Which is odd since, depending on your point of view, you could argue it’s not really a Doctor Who episode.

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | Tags: , | 2 Comments

2015 Christmas Cracker #2: UK Scriptwriters Survival Handbook

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Second on the list (but not in my heart … because I haven’t got one) is Tim Clague and Danny Stack‘s UK Scriptwriter’s Survival Handbook which is a huge roller coaster of a novel in 400 sizzling chapters, A searing indictment of domestic servitude in the Twenty-First Century … with some hot gypsies thrown in.

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At least … I think that’s what it’s about. I may be getting it confused with something else. To be honest, I haven’t read it and whereas I normally have a strict rule of not recommending/publicising anything I haven’t directly experienced myself … fuck it, it’s my blog and I like them. And it’s Christmas so what the hell?

Presumably the book’s really about how to survive as a scriptwriter in modern Britain – how to eat grubs and fend off bears and that sort of thing.

Tell you what, why don’t you buy it, read it and tell me what it’s about?

At the very least you should be listening to their excellent podcast. The last one where they interview James Cary is particularly good.

So there you go, cracker #2 – a (presumably) lovely book for your Christmas stocking.

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Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Christmas Cracker #1: Patronising Arnopp

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It’s snowing on my blog, which can only mean one thing – it’s Christmas (or thereabouts).

Or I’ve fiddled with the settings, turned something on by accident and it’s actually July.

Or your screen is broken.

Doesn’t look like July out there and I’m sure you’re far too tech-savvy to have a knackered screen, so let’s go with it’s (nearly) Christmas.

And since it’s probably very nearly Christmas I can forego thinking about things to blog about and, as is traditional (if you count once as traditional) instead just promote people and stuff I kind of like a bit maybe.

First up, this …

Jason Arnopp‘s Patreon video, directed by James Moran.

Watch the video, it’s funny. If you agree, maybe you’d like to slip over to Arnopp’s Patreon Page and give him some money. Alternatively, maybe you think the video is incredibly well directed and feel like popping over to James Moran’s blog and offering him some work. He’s won awards, you know?

Fuck it, it’s Christmas – why not do both?

Patreon is interesting. If you’re not aware of it, it’s a kind of like Kickstarter only you’re paying (mostly) creative people just to carry on being themselves as opposed to promising to maybe fund something in the future if it happens perhaps. It’s kind of like a financial pet on the head, patronising in the older, lesser used sense of the word …

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Just without forcing them to sleep with you in gratitude.

At least I think so. Maybe if you want Arnopp to sleep with you you should try giving him lots of money and see what happens?

Actually, don’t do that.* It now sounds like I’m accusing him of being a prostitute. This was meant to be a nice, festive thing.

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I’m just going to leave it there before I make things any worse.

Christmas Cracker #1 – Jason Arnopp.


 

* Do give him lots of money, don’t expect anything in return. It’s Christmas for fuck’s sake.

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | 1 Comment

2013

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Oh come on! That was never a year!

Really? Did we have all the months? Does everyone remember having all the months? We must have skimped on one of the summer months. July? Anyone remember there being a July in 2013?

The rate time’s passing is getting ridiculous.

On the plus side, if it’s 2014 tomorrow, then it means we only have one more year until hoverboards and flying cars!

And yes, they are both on my future Christmas list.

So how was your 2013? Was it good? Did you enjoy it? All of it? Even the July which I’m sure the Government have covertly pinched?

Mine, since you’re doubtlessly asking, went something like this:

JANUARY

I started the year by getting a bit excited about January. No, I have no idea why either.

Then, inspired by this post by Debbie Moon, I got a bit ranty about jealousy.

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And I finished off the month by rambling on a bit about HMV maybe shutting down.

Which it didn’t.

The essence of my argument was it would be a shame if HMV went bust because the immediate next wave of filmmakers would never know the elation of walking into a shop and buying a copy of your own DVD. HMV is one of the last outlets who stock pretty much any low budget films. If they went, the only shelf space would be in supermarkets and they are a bit funny about what films they’ll sell.

Now, okay, DVDs (or Blu-Rays, if you prefer) will ultimately go away and people will feel giddy and excited about something else.

But a year later, DVDs are still here (as is HMV) and they’re still exciting. I don’t know about you, but I have a hierarchy of film-love. Only my absolute favourites get bought on DVD. Films I really enjoy … I probably won’t bother to buy. I might watch it several times on TV or pay to stream something … but only my absolute bestest films get bought.

Unless I know the writer and want to annoy/promote them.

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Having a film produced is exciting. Attending the première is more exciting. Seeing it in released in the cinemas is even more exciting still. But holding a physical copy in your hand, one you can put on the shelf or lend to people or just look at and smile … that’s the best bit.

For me.

Because that, in a small way, puts the thing I wrote on a similar footing to all the other films I love. Even when I fucking hate the actual film itself.

FEBRUARY

I began February by busting the shit out of the motivation, willpower and confidence conspiracy myth bullshit.

Or possibly by just ranting aimlessly about those imaginary things. One of the two.

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I finished off the month by loving Wreck-It Ralph. A lot.

At least I was right about that.

Was that it? Hmm … didn’t blog much in February, did I? Probably because I gave up chocolate, biscuits, sweets, crisps and cake in a vague effort to stop looking like a fucking hippo. That kind of thing is bound to make someone less bloggy.

MARCH

I began March by explaining, politely, that they don’t fucking love your script in Cannes – no matter what they may have said. If they loved it, they would have bought it. Did they buy it?

No. Then they didn’t love it.

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Yes, you can still pay me to re-write it.

I also blogged about exercise, P90X and biscuits – somehow finding it appropriate to insert myself into Death in Paradise wielding a spoon.

ginge-in-paradiseNo, I have no idea why either.

That was a weird thing to do. Although, the good news is I still have that spoon. In a lovely bit of serendipity, I stole it from the Jamaican hotel which initially inspired Death in Paradise. It’s now my emergency back up spoon.

Then I wrote a blog about Other People’s Ideas and how hard they are to write. For some reason I equated it to making a human being and having too many ears.

Seriously, never give up biscuits. It’s just not worth it.

APRIL

Wait … what the fuck? THERE WAS NO APRIL! I fucking knew we hadn’t had a full year! Here’s the proof …

Or rather, here isn’t the proof because April never fucking existed. It can’t have existed or I would have blogged about it.

You fuckers stole my April!

I’m a bit cross about that.

MAY

All I did in May was give away a really cool book which, despite the cover, has no information in it about how to get laid by writing scripts.

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What a rotten swizz.

JUNE

Apparently, some insanely exciting things were happening in June … but I have no idea what they might have been.

My laptop had a bit of an accident. That was annoying.

laptop-exploding-battery-fireBut I fixed it. Sort of.

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What else happened?

Ooh, I wrote some stuff and edited some stuff and had some meetings and all sort of proper writing stuff. That was exciting.

I then went on to promote a writing development scheme thingy.

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What was exceptionally exciting about that is a writer friend of mine later told me she’d applied and been accepted onto the course – something she never would have known existed if I hadn’t mentioned it.

That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I love being vaguely useful occasionally.

Buoyed on by that, I promoted some free stuff. Which probably isn’t free any more, so … don’t bother clicking that link.

Assuming anyone’s still reading and is even clicking anything. Are you?

Really?

Why? Go do something more fun.

Oh, no, wait! This next post was my most popular post of the year. Still is.

I think.

MAN OF STEEL – 3 THINGS I TRY NOT TO PUT IN A SCRIPT

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JULY

July was simple. All I did in July was reveal the meaning of life and the meaning of illegal.

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I got both of them completely and utterly right too.

Because I’m awesome.

I totally rocked July.

AUGUST

I’m getting bored now. Anyone else getting bored?

August! What did I do in August?

NOTHING!

There was no August either.

Wait a minute … no April? No August? No months beginning with the letter A?

Hmm …

That video would probably be more relevant if it was actually about the letter A.

SEPTEMBER

There was a September! Since September doesn’t begin with the letter A, this completely proves my theory.

It fucking does!

In September I went to see Monsters University.

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Then I gave you writer-based fashion advice.

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And I rounded out the month by getting upset about a wine glass.

fu8bkhJesus.

OCTOBER

In October I had a letter from Linda Aronson, which was far politer than I deserved.

Then I wrote the first two parts of my fantastically successful Notes from the Other Side series; which was about my inept fumblings as a script editor for PERSONA.

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They were called Part One and Part Two. I’m original like that, I am. I was the first person ever to think of calling something part one and part two.

NOVEMBER

I’m really bored with this now. I’ve no idea why I do this every year, I mean what is the fucking point? Does anyone read this far? I will send a five pound note to the first person who quotes these three words in the comments:

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That’s a serious offer. I’ll send you a proper five pound note through the proper mail and everything if you’re the first person to copy and paste those three words into a comment.

And 12p to the first person who can use them in a sentence.

And now that I’ve (hopefully) successfully proved no one’s reading any more … on with November.

First up, Part Three of the Notes from the Other Side trilogy. I broke boundaries here by calling the third part Part Three. I also got a bit ranty about it all.

Sorry.

Especially to the person I referred to as a fucking twat; but to be fair. You were.

Or I was.

One of the two.

Possibly both.

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Then I talked about tailoring. It was in relation to an upcoming meeting … at which everyone behaved in almost exactly the way I hoped they wouldn’t.

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For some reason I then had a pop at actors who don’t afford my scripts the same respect as Shakespeare’s.

No, seriously. I can only assume I was heavily medicated at the time.

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And I finished the month by gushing about my love for a man. Well, eleven men. Twelve, as it turned out. Thirteen now.

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If you’re feeling particularly geeky, you can spot seven differences between this photo and the one uploaded in November. Although, I warn you now imaginary person who’s never going to fucking bother doing this … number four is almost impossible to spot.

DECEMBER

I began December by delivering my verdict of The Day of the Doctor … I fucking loved it. I know I fucking loved it because I wrote “I fucking loved it.”

You can’t argue with that kind of proof.

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Then I decided to tattoo something on my forehead so I wouldn’t forget it. This is the worst possible way of remembering stuff … mainly because it’s really fucking hard to see your own forehead.

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Don’t do this. Seriously, it’s silly.

And I finished off the year with a series of Christmas crackers – little bloglet mentions of things I either think are cool or just felt like mentioning:

  1. The Elephantom
  2. Totally Serialized (there’s a competition on this one – you can win free tickets!)
  3. Dead Elf
  4. Production Hell
  5. Kung Fury

And that was pretty much it in blogging terms.

Behind the scenes, this was an interesting year. It’s the first year for nearly a decade I haven’t had anything produced or released … and yet I probably earnt more this year than any previous year to date.

Apparently a writer can earn more money by not getting films made than by actually getting involved in all that icky and annoying shooting business.

Who knew?

At the beginning of the year, I made a conscious decision to write something for myself. Something I really, really wanted to write which I would then try to sell.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, I worked almost continuously on other people’s ideas with varying degrees of success.

I had some lovely meetings with some lovely people and at least one of them I didn’t completely screw up.

I got paid to write stuff I enjoyed writing for people who actually cared about the script and wanted to get it right … as opposed to caring about the shooting date (tomorrow) and wanting to get it finished … even if ‘finished’ means ‘nobody fucking cares how good it is, we just need some words’.

As an added extra bonus, a producer sent one of my scripts to a director whose work I really, really admire. I’ve no idea if that guy actually liked the script or not. Probably not, but he wanted to read it and therefore at least now knows who I am.

I’m the guy who’s script he (probably) didn’t like.

Unless he hasn’t read it yet. Which is entirely possible and extremely likely.

2014 already has some super cool awesome stuff lined up with a couple of projects lining up on the starting blocks and even a few lumbering asthmatically towards the final set of hurdles.

Beyond which are another set of even higher hurdles, because that’s what the whole writing gig’s about.

So bring it on 2014, do your worst!

Just nicely.

Please?

Categories: BBC, Bored, Career Path, Christmas Crackers, Industry Musings, My Way, Opportunity, Persona, Progress, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way, Strippers vs. Werewolves, Things I've Learnt Recently, Two steps back, Writing and life | 16 Comments

Christmas cracker #5: Kung Fury

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I’m still going. I know! I can’t believe it either, I normally don’t have anything like this level of concentration.

I suppose, technically, this is all just procrastination … which counts as work.

IT DOES!

Anyway, number 5 – KUNG FURY

This one’s a Kickstarter project for a film. I know, I know … one of millions, but this one’s got time travel and uzi-firing Vikings and a renegade kung fu cop riding a dinosaur whilst trying to kill Hitler.

Oscar-bait, if ever I saw it.

And most of it’s already filmed – they just need cash for post-production.

Okay, so it’s just after Christmas and no one has any money. My list of broken-needs-replacing items includes the telly, the shower, the living room carpet, my desktop, my phone … oh, and the oven sounds like the Millennium Falcon starting up (just not in a good way). My next script commission will all be spent on just repairing/replacing stuff to get us back to a  normal (in Western, capitalist, 21st Century, consumerism-driven terms) standard of living.

But hey, if you can’t afford to donate, you can at least enjoy the trailer and spread the word:

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | 1 Comment

Christmas cracker #4: production hell

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Production Hell is a free website for Indie Filmmakers to list their upcoming productions, and for crew and potential investors to see what productions are happening up in their local area.

It’s brand spanking new. So new, in fact, that there’s not a lot there at the moment; but maybe you could change that?

As a writer who has zero interest in making films myself, I’ve no idea if this sort of thing is interesting to other people or not. Is it something you’d find useful? Have you been looking for this sort of thing to help get your project off the ground?

If so, here it is.

You’re very welcome.

For me pointing it out to you. I have nothing to do with the website itself.

Of course, if you already knew about it or even set it up yourself, then I didn’t even point it out to you.

I think I’ll stop now.

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | 1 Comment

Christmas cracker #3: A Dead Elf

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Number three! I really thought I’d get fed up of these long before now, but apparently not!

This one’s an ebook. I haven’t read it myself because … well, it’s an ebook and I just can’t be doing with them.

Partly because I have nothing to read them on (besides a phone, which just isn’t much fun); but mostly because, in certain areas of life I’m a complete Luddite and can’t see what’s wrong with good old-fashioned paper. I stare at a brightly lit screen all day, I don’t want to do it over breakfast or in bed too.

So why is this ebook number three in my festive fun-bag?

Because it’s by Terry Newman and I really like him, that’s why. Plus, it’s my fucking blog, I’ll champion whatever the hell I like.

A DEAD ELF: Comedy fantasy meets detective fantasy in a seedy underworld bar run by a defrocked wizard.

The world turns and changes, as it has an annoying habit of doing, and Midearth changes with it. History becomes tradition, becomes fable and is reborn as the main feature at your local Palantire Picture House. This is the shiny, bright New Age, you see. In modern Midearth they’ve got steam wagons, speech horns and performance art. And in Midearth the various peoples, men, goblins, elves, gnomes and the pix, have to get by as best they can – especially in the seething metropolis that is The Citadel.

Crime is still with us too, but now that goblins carry shooters, down those mean cobbled streets a dwarf must walk tall. Yes, dwarves are still around as well; dwarves like Nicely Strongoak, Master Detective and Shield for Hire, and this is his toughest case.

A dragon’s dunghill may smell bad, but not half as bad as politics. The elves came back you see, bringing with them the democratic process, but it’s funny how they still seem to be running everything; ‘all peoples are created equal’, but some with blue eyes, blond hair and pointy ears are more equal than others. Now a new political party has sprung up amongst the younger elves and men, the Citadel Alliance Party, with smart blue shirts, a fancy logo and some nasty ideas about equality.

Nicely’s search for a lost boyfriend takes him deep into the murky world of Citadel politics, via surfing elves, a race horse called Rosebud, a stolen emerald ring and a pocket dragon. But it’s only when Nicely and an elf called Truetouch have a narcotic-induced crash into the river that the case really heats up. Nobody misses Truetouch and that is not right, because in the Citadel there’s always somebody around who should miss a dead elf.

There, doesn’t that sound lovely?

You can get the book here.

 

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | 2 Comments

Christmas cracker #2: Totally Serialized 3

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From 16 to 19 January 2014, Ciné Lumière will hold the third edition of Totally Serialized, London’s favourite TV series festival. It will showcase the best of new productions from both sides of the Channel as well as European TV series. Audiences can enjoy their favourite shows on the big screen (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The Returned, My Mad Fat Diary) attend premières of tomorrow’s cult series and meet the creators during Q&As and masterclasses.

Totally Serialized is back for it’s third year and this time I’ve got some tickets to give away. Three pairs, to be precise.

You (yes, YOU! And two other people.) could win a pair of tickets to:

Saturday 18th January

14.00 Cult Comedy Marathon
in English, or in French with English subtitles
The Cult Comedy Marathon will feature episodes of French shows Love Bugs (Un gars, une fille) and So (Bref), as well as favourites from the UK.

or a pair of tickets to this double bill:

 Sunday 19th January
The Line / Un village français
2.00pm | UK premiere season 4, episode 1 | cert. 15 | in French with English subtitles
France | 2012 | 52 mins | creators Frédéric Krivine, Philippe Triboit & Emmanuel Daucé; with Robin Renucci, Audrey Fleurot

and

Les Anonymes
3.30pm |  UK premiere single drama | cert. 15 | in French with English subtitles
France | 2012 | 125 mins | dir. Pierre Schoeller; with Olivier Gourmet, Mathieu Amalric, Karole Rocher
Followed by a Q&A with director Pierre Schoeller and James Rampton, arts feature writer at The Independent.

or even a pair of tickets to this double bill:

Sunday 19th January

Salamander
7.30pm |  UK premiere
season 1, episode 1 | cert. 15 | in Flemish and French with English subtitles
Belgium | 2012 | 45 mins | creator Ward Hulselmans; with Filip Peeters

and

The Protectors / Livvagterne
8.30pm |
season 1, episode 1 | cert. 15 | in French with English subtitles
Denmark | 2008 | 45 mins | International Emmy Award

Maybe you’ve been to this the last few years and fancy going again for free? Maybe this isn’t something you’d normally consider but are willing to try something different? Or perhaps you just live nearby and are just looking for something to do?

Whatever the reason, if you want to win tickets then simply tell me how depraved your excesses were whilst watching TV on Christmas Day. Did you eat a whole roast goose stuffed with Quality Street and smothered with pan-fried otters’ bile for breakfast before preparing your main meal? Or perhaps you marinated your own liver with five litres of Baileys, in situ, coughed it up and ate it with lashings of piccalilli before visiting the hospital and lightly dying? Maybe you had half of that second dry cracker, which is more than enough for any God-fearing human?

Invent your tales of excess, leave them in the comments below (or email them, if you must – why do most of you email your comments these days? Are you ashamed to be seen with me? Don’t blame you, I am) and don’t forget to say which of the three pairs of tickets you’d prefer.

Maybe leaving the comment with a valid email address might help too?

The closing date for this will be … I don’t know. New Year’s Day 2014? That sound good?

Off you go then.

Here’s more info about the festival for those of a curious nature:

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The rise of TV shows in the past few years has been meteoric, with clunky acting, minimal plotlines and pre-recorded laughter replaced by multimillion-dollar productions starring A-list actors, with staggering special effects, and the finest writers churning out complex stories and incisive dialogue designed to keep the viewer hooked. An even more recent development in the British TV industry has been the breaking down of frontiers, with international buyers moving away from a remake-centred strategy and now broadcasting the original series with subtitles. French shows such as The Returned, Braquo, Spiral, Hard and Maison Close have benefited from this shift, and have proven to be a success on Channel 4, FX, BBC Four and Sky Arts respectively. One of the aims of this festival is to encourage this trend by showcasing tomorrow’s cult series.

TV professionals will get a chance to participate in an industry event dealing with various aspects of the constantly-evolving field of TV series, including producing, screenwriting, and financing, as well as case study of The Tunnel featuring writer Ben Richards amongst others. There will also be networking opportunities to allow ideas and future collaborations to flourish. The general public can also have a peek at what goes on behind the scenes with our Craft Masterclass on women and TV writing, organised in collaboration with BAFTA, during which leading screenwriters such as Virginie Brac (Spiral), Paula Milne (The Politician’s Husband, White Heat, Small Island) and Emma Reeves (The Dumping Ground, Young Dracula) will examine women’s contributions to screenwriting and the particular obstacles they face.

This masterclass will be a central part of our Leading Ladies strand, which will also include UK premieres of the French hit Mafiosa in the presence of director Pierre Leccia, and of season 2 of My Mad Fat Diary, in the presence of Sharon Rooney and writer Tom Bidwell. Our other highlight will be on political thrillers, with three gripping UK premières on Sunday 19 January: the Belgian Salamander, recently acquired by BBC Four for its Saturday Night Slot; the Danish hit The Protectors, an Emmy Award-winning offering of Nordic noir which is set to delight fans of Borgen and The Killing; and the French Les Anonymes by Pierre Schoeller (The Minister), who will be here for a Q&A.

Following the success of our UK premiere of The Returned in last year’s edition of Totally Serialized, we are pleased to host a marathon of the full first season of the now Emmy-awarded French show as part of our Saturday Fright Night, which will also feature a 10th anniversary screening of all the episodes of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – with a Q&A with Matthew Holness – and a zombie party. For those who prefer laughter to chills, our Cult Comedy Marathon will showcase the best comedies from both sides of the Channel.

www.totallyserialized.co.uk

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Festivals, Someone Else's Way | 1 Comment

Christmas cracker #1: The Elephantom

It’s Christmas! In a general all-the-days-at-the-end-of-December-are-Christmas kind of way.

To celebrate, here are some* cool things (in no particular order) you can check out over the holiday period:

——NUMBER ONE——

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The Elephantom at The Shed is just wonderful. We had a family outing to go and see it yesterday and it was well worth braving the howling winds and torrential rain for.

The Elephantom

Adapted from the book by Ross Collins it’s the story of a little girl who’s haunted by a ghost elephant. At first, it’s fun …

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… but quickly becomes annoying when the elephantom’s friends start to turn up.

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The set design is wonderful, the cast are hilarious, the music is enchanting and the puppetry is fantastic. It’s a truly magical show, if you’ve got kids and you live somewhere nearby (or are visiting London over the next couple of weeks) then you really should take them along.

If you don’t have kids, then you should go anyway because it’s fucking brilliant.

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* I have no idea how many cool things there will be because this is the first one and I haven’t got bored yet. Rest assured, I will fairly soon.

Categories: Christmas Crackers, Someone Else's Way | 1 Comment

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