A sticky situation

I’m busy at the moment, very busy. Work is piling up, which is great, and I keep looking for (which is sensible) and accepting (which is very stupid) more.

Does that sentence make sense?

It does to me, but then I’ve been up since bastard early yesterday morning.

I had a lot planned for today, I’ve got a load of odds and ends to tie up before I start work on ‘Kapital‘, which is the new working title for the action/thriller feature ‘K-Past’.

I started off by writing up a report on a feature script I read last night. One of the questions the producer asked was: What could I do to make it better?

The answer is simple: I could burn the screenplay, that would improve it 150%.

To be fair, it wasn’t that bad and there were a number of things (apart from a good fire) which could improve it immeasurably.

Like wiping my arse on it.

No, it wasn’t that bad – it’s all fixable. Honest. Pay me enough and I can fix anything.

Next up was writing the elusive sixth segment of ‘The Summoning’. Producer Jonathan Sothcott and I came up with the idea at our last meeting on Tuesday. It’s a voodoo tale, so the first half of the morning was research; then it was down to work.

I tend to start with a two page outline, nailing down the salient points of the plot and odd bits of dialogue. I was about halfway through when I poured a can of Diet Coke into the keyboard of my spanky new(ish) laptop.

Funnily enough, my dad always warned me about the dangers of having a drink next to the computer; but I never believed him.

He was right. Sorry, dad.

After feverishly mopping things up with handfuls of wadded toilet paper, I was able to assess the damage.

It’s still working. Hasn’t gone ‘bang’ or ‘fizz’ or anything. I suppose I should have unplugged it and let it dry out, but I haven’t got time. Onwards!

Now, I have a complicated system of typing where I press twice as many keys and then delete the ones which aren’t needed.

Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.

The backspace key is the most used key on both my computers, I hit it almost every other keystroke. Which is a shame, because that’s exactly where I poured the Diet Coke. Two letters in, I hit backspace and watch in horror as it deletes the last letter and just keeps on going.

All the way back, to the top of the page.

Meanwhile I’m shouting NO! a lot and trying to find a spoon to prise the key up.

Why a spoon? No idea, what can I say, I’m complicated. Suffice it to say, there was no spoon in the vicinity of my laptop and I lost all of the text.

All of it, every single last paragraph, sentence, word and character.

I think ‘deeply miffed’ covers how I felt.

But wait! The ‘redo’ button! That beautiful little right facing arrow of joy.

Nope. Doesn’t do fuck all.

Start again.

Oh, and I’ve just realised I’ve got a spoon in my back pocket which has been there since breakfast. Joy beyond measure.

I prise the button up, hoping it won’t break. Clean it all out, then panic because I can’t get it back in. It’s an incredibly complicated affair with springs and clips and little plastic things which fly out when you look at them.

But I persevere and I prevail. Oh yes, no computer will ever best me.

Except now it’s shut down.

Why has it shut down? Shit! Is it death by Diet Coke?

Nope, there’s a power cut and has been for hours –  the batteries have died.

I’m going to have to do this the old fashioned way – pen and paper at the ready. Can I even remember how to use a pen? It’s been a while.

Fortunately, the power came back on and stayed back on; and apart from one little backspace mishap (two lines!) I was able to finish the outline without incident.

Next comes the script which flows out beautifully – even if it is a little on the long side – 19 pages as opposed to an average of 14 for the other 5 shorts.

A little trimming is probably in order; but after a read through, I decide against it.  I think it reads well, but I’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the official verdict.

I’ve even managed to invent a new language for the ‘voodoo curses’. It’s got a solid grammar, logical rules and is almost pronounceable. I just hope no one works out what it says – it’s not very voodoo.

I’d arranged to meet people for dinner, and I finished the script at four minutes to. How’s that for timing?

If anyone cares, dinner was Thai and it was very nice.

Oh, and I almost forgot – it looks like I’ve had another screenplay optioned. The contract has been agreed; I haven’t signed it yet, but since the details have appeared on the company website, I guess I can mention it. It’s a twenty-something comedy called ‘Geeked’, optioned by Black and Blue Entertainment.

That means I’ve got seven features in development now.


That’s one for every dwarf!

I’m a little worried that having one of my scripts in development is becoming a fashion accessory, are people even reading these things? Will I fall out of fashion next month? Who knows? I don’t, but it’s going to be fun finding out.

Categories: Geeked, K-Past, Kapital, Progress, Sad Bastard, The Summoning | 12 Comments

A lovely day

Another day in London yesterday for meetings about ‘The Summoning’ and ‘K-Past’, which is definitely going to be called something else any day now.

I got a new phone the other day …

Bear with me, this is relevant.

Sort of. 

… it’s a Nokia N95, which has built in sat-nav. This plays on two of my greatest weaknesses: a love of gadgets and an awful sense of direction.

The prospect of fiddling with a gadget which actually leads me to where I want to go is very exciting. That the place I want to go is to a meeting with people who want to make one of my scripts is even better. That I get on with, and actually like, two out of the three people I’m meeting is about as good as it gets.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I don’t like the third person; but that’s not true – I just hadn’t met him before and was therefore unable to say either way.

The meeting was with producers Jonathan Sothcott and Gillian MacGregor, both of whom are lovely (Jonathan says I have to write he’s “dashing, witty, urbane, charming and phenomenally well endowed” I wouldn’t like to vouch for phenomenally well endowed and I don’t know what urbane means (something to do with houses?); but I’ll give him the rest) and Martin Kemp, who’s going to direct one segment and, I think, star in another and actually is dashing, witty, charming and really fucking tall.

Or maybe that’s because I got there first and was already sitting down?

After having had the meeting, I can say with some authority, he’s lovely too.

There were some notes given (and since actioned), some risotto eaten and it was time to move on.

Time for the sat-nav again.

Now, I know the second meeting isn’t too far away and with the power of my new gadget I should be able to quickly plan a route between …

No, actually all I’ve managed to do is wander into a lamp post. It turns out my third weakness is not being able to read and walk at the same time.

At least not walk in a straight line.

It also occurs to me that walking around holding a brand new phone at arm’s length and squinting at the sky is akin to holding a sigh which reads: PLEASE MUG ME.

So I pocket the phone and take the tube, since I already know where I’m going for the next meeting anyway.

Which is with Don Allen and Emma Dobinson about ‘K-Past’; and in the interests of fairness, they’re both lovely too.

All in all, it was a lovely day. I’m not the kind of guy who uses the word ‘lovely’ that much, but it does accurately describe how I feel about yesterday.

Apart from actually having to go into London which generally makes me want to punch people and scrub myself with Vim.

When I got home last night I had a couple of interesting emails. One from the American company I was talking to in Cannes asking if I could change the ages of the characters in the ‘Narnia style thing’ I’d pitched them. They felt 12 was too young, which is fair enough. I think I’d originally conceived them as 16, but since Narnia was mentioned as a reference point I thought I’d put them at the same age as the kids from ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ (8 – 13).

Of course nowadays, by 13 most kids are more interested in fags and Bacardi Breezers than having whizzo adventures in a wardrobe – and anyway, they have to get home because their babies need feeding.

Or so The Daily Mail would have you believe.

Regardless, the fact they’re inquiring about changing the ages of the characters has got to be a good sign.

The other email was from a producer I met out in Cannes and had dinner with a couple of times called Becky Adams. Becky was the only person at dinner who wasn’t producing one of my scripts. Of course I gave her my card so she could rectify this appalling faux-pas.

In her email, she points out we’ve already had dealings with each other last year.  She was looking for scripts and I sent her the synopsis for one of mine. She politely declined and I thanked her for her time – which was lucky. If I was the kind of guy who sends angry emails after each rejection, dinner would have been quite interesting.

She assures me now she’s met me she’ll be in touch about working together after she’s finished her current project. It’s nice to have this offer after a face to face meeting, it’s obvious to me that, having met me, she’s realised I’m ginger and need all the help I can get.

I knew it had to come in useful one day.

Categories: K-Past, Progress, Random Witterings, The Summoning | 2 Comments

It’s been a busy few days


I’m thinking of making that the name of this blog.

Over the weekend I signed the contract for ‘Future Tense’ which is the provisional title for the horror anthology mentioned in previous posts.

This simple little sentence probably conjures up images of a nice office where contracts were signed on a plush desk and celebrated with champagne. A handshake, a brief chat: ‘we’re so excited to be working with you on this’ and out the door half an hour later.

Oh no, my friends. It was a five and a half hour pub crawl of Eastbourne, followed by a brisk trot along the seafront in the vain hope of there being another bar open at 11.30 pm on a Sunday night.

Surprisingly, there was. Or at least, surprisingly to me. Which is embarrassing since it’s now technically my home town and has been for the best part of a year.

Never mind, a good time was had by all. Or at least both of us: the producer, Jonathan Sothcott, and myself. In fact, the more Jonathan had to drink, the more work he seemed to be offering me; a fact I must remember when dealing with producers in the future – get them drunk.

Or at least allow them to get themselves drunk.

As usual, I had to resist shouting out: “YOU FOOL! HAH, HAH, HAH, HAH!” immediately after the ink had dried. I settled for saying it quietly to myself when Jonathan had gone to the toilet; something which worried the barmaid who had witnessed the signing and wasn’t really sure what was going on anyway.

So I told her she’d signed away her soul.

We got thrown out shortly after that.

Future Tense is proving to be a very enjoyable film to write, since it’s really just six shorts stuck together (with a linking premise). I had intended to be really flash and turn up on Sunday night with the last four written, slap them on the table and shout something pithy; but it turns out my delusional grasp of time had struck again and it was only physically possible to write one.

Still, I’m three shorts in now and they’ve all been well received. The only notes I’ve had so far about the last one was “Lose the Poodle”.

Which seems fair enough.

Yesterday I scribbled down a longer version (5 pages) of the ‘K-Past’  synopsis for director Don Allen to take with him to Cannes.

That was well received too. It seems, at the moment, I can do no wrong.

Speaking of Cannes, I’ve resolved my ‘hotel in Belgium’ problem by renting a car; which will probably be a damn sight cheaper than taxis/buses and solves the other problem of deciding what clothes to take into town each morning. Casual? Dressy? Shorts? Now I can take them all, including the new (cheap) suit I bought on Saturday to replace the old (extremely cheap) suit I ruined at the Gothenburg Film Festival. I hope I’m not going to go through one suit every festival.

I also sorted myself out with a French sim card so it won’t cost a fortune ringing people trying to find out where they are.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m getting myself organised.

The only hassle with the sim card was the company wanted confirmation by fax and my PC isn’t connected to a land-line. The simple way was to install the relevant software on my laptop and connect that to the phone-line downstairs.

I’ve never really liked the simple way though, where’s the challenge?

It took the best part of three hours to find the right cables and enough extensions to run from one corner of the house downstairs to the opposite corner upstairs; but by god it was worth it.

Well, no. Actually, it wasn’t; but I wasn’t going to let a machine and some common sense beat me.

Speaken of beaten, that’s me off to bed now. Another early start tomorrow, another segment of ‘Future Tense’ to write and more fretting over my rapidly diminishing bank balance.

If anyone can be bothered, there are some very sketchy details about ‘K-Past’ and ‘Future Tense’ on my website; but be warned, they are very sketchy. By reading this post you’ll probably know more about them than you will from scouring my website.


Categories: Festivals, Future Tense, K-Past, Progress, Sad Bastard | 2 Comments

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