LVJ

2011

As the year limps to a close in a trickle of damp grayness, it’s time to reflect on what’s gone before and wonder vaguely about what may come.

How was your 2011? Mine went something like, if not exactly the same as, this:

 

JANUARY

I began the year by joining Twitter. Actually, I began the year by tweeting using an account some mysterious person set up for me against my will a year earlier. I still don’t know who that was, but would dearly love to know.

Wrote a post about a project so secret I can no longer remember what it was about.

Offered to write someone’s name on a fighter jet.

And then gave a free video projector to anyone who wanted it. Turns out the people who wanted it most were the people who were supposed to have been given it eight years earlier until idiocy intervened.

 

FEBRUARY

I was a guest on #scriptchat (transcript here) and waffled at great length about getting work without an agent.

Karma Magnet turned up online. You can still watch it here.

Persona launched!

If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, then I’ve failed and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

I revealed my deepest secrets. No, wait, not secrets … just a bit of witter about junk files.

And then tried to encourage everyone to whip off their drama condoms and ride that script bareback. Dramatically speaking.

 

MARCH

In which I finally explain how to read.

Gave some people £25 each.

Explained what a reboot means for the hard of thinking.

And explained why having your script re-written was exactly like having your best friend spunk in your face. (An analogy which came back to haunt me months later when someone pointed out I’d spunked in their face.)

 

APRIL

Karma Magnet was shown at the Brighton Movie Bar and I was invited to talk shit about it. And talk shit I did. And I won the movie quiz. ME! I WON FOR I AM THE WINNER (on this specific occasion).

Had a bit of a rant about sexism.

And another rant about getting excited in the wrong places.

And another one about why you should all feel inspired by my presence.

Then apologised for not ranting more.

 

MAY

I went on holiday and did this to my child:

Stole ideas from Jason Arnopp.

Felt guilty, so I linked to the Stormhouse teaser:

Was amazed to find out half of Neil Gaiman’s Doctor Who episode was exactly the same as half an episode I’d outlined for Big Finish. Just not the good half.

Told you all how to eBehave. Actually, this one’s important, you should all go and read it and spread the word.

Took you on a tour of my rooms on the secret writing island:

And reviewed a book I didn’t want to read about a program I don’t use.

Actually, somewhere around here Strippers vs. Werewolves went into production; but for reasons too horribly complex and horribly horrible, I didn’t actually mention it until months later.

 

JUNE

Explained why having to do re-writes mid-production is a good thing.

Denied I’d written The Dark Knight Rises. Because I didn’t.

Shouted at critics for reviewing the script they haven’t read instead of the film they have seen.

And promised to include more joy in my scripts. Joy like this:

 

JULY

I learnt a new word! Callipygous … and then explained why you should never use it in a script.

Explained why comedy is and isn’t subjective.

Called a producer a parochial twat.

Wrote a film-makers’ glossary. Wish I hadn’t.

Swore at Final Draft. A lot.

Debated misogyny. Still not convinced I spelt it right.

Gave you one of the most useful writing tools you’ll ever use: snippety-snip.

And voiced an opinion on gangsters and the low budget movie industry.

 

AUGUST

I explained why I keep swimming with the gangster fishes.

Demanded you tell me what to feel.

Explained my career in a series of pretty graphs and charts. Like this one:

Explained why I quite like being replaced on a project. Sometimes.

Warned everyone to stay clear of hyphenates … whilst consistently using a slash instead of a hyphen. I did a flowchart too:

And unsuccessfully tried to give everyone £30.

 

SEPTEMBER

Finally admitted I’d done the production re-writes on Pat Higgins‘ Strippers vs. Werewolves:

And listed all the lovely press about it.

Told people to stop hassling me, the script will be done when it’s fucking done.

Ranted about notes … before remembering Sam Bain said it better.

 

OCTOBER

Persona relaunched.

This time for the bargain price of free!

iPhone app here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/persona-drama/id417940950?mt=8

Android app here: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.appmedia.persona

Explained the secret of success

Talked about the sheer horror of realising someone’s made a bad film out of your script.

Stalker had its London Première – hooray! Here’s the trailer:

Strippers vs. Werewolves had a fantastic set report in Bizzare Magazine:

http://www.bizarremag.com/entertainment/movies/11503/strippers_vs_werewolves.html

Highlighted why slagging people off and then asking them for a job is a bit daft.

Re-wrote Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch in an ill-advised attempt at humour.

Mumbled about being depressed in the middle of every script.

Was disappointed by the American art for Strippers vs. Werewolves:

Tacky. And has one notable lie on it.

Blogged about Fade In scriptwriting software – nearly what I want, but not quite.

And finally revealed the AFM Promo for Strippers vs. Werewolves:

My favourite comment about that promo is:

Looks pretty bad, but I like werewolf movies and tits, so I’ll probably watch it.

NOVEMBER

In which I finally admit there are no stupid notes.

Explained why Scrivener is brilliant … but no use to me.

Defended soapstars.

Reaffirmed the old maxim: PATRICK STEWART IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

Gave away a (very) small library.

And began using Fade In scriptwriting software because the developer developed it to suit me. Sort of.

DECEMBER

Explained how to think.

Debated the lack of comedy tribute acts.

Explained how to action a note now and undo it in the future.

Expounded my theory on how writers sideline themselves.

Went to see Piers‘ production of Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales. It’s awesome, if you hurry, you’ll catch it too.

Rambled on, at great length about mystery in TV

And rounded off the year by analysing decades old Star Trek films. Because I like to be topical.

—————————————————————————————-

So that was 2011. Wow. I explained lots of stuff, didn’t I? Did you need those things explaining to you or was I just being presumptuous? If the former, you’re welcome. If the latter, sorry.

But onwards and upwards!

What does 2012 hold?

Well, hopefully it holds nothing new.

Or rather, nothing new film-wise.

I’m hoping not to get involved in any more writer-for-hire jobs for a year or so. I really, really want to write some spec stuff, you know, something just for me.

I’ve got one or two commitments to tie up and then I’m going to (hopefully) spend the whole year writing stuff I want to write so I can build up a decent catalogue of spec scripts and venture into pastures new.

I say hopefully because I am easily swayed by money and may end up doing something completely different. Feel free to sway me. I like a good swaying.

How was your 2011? Did you enjoy it? Have you learnt stuff? What will 2012 hold for you?

Whatever happens, have a great New Year and I’ll see you in January.

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Categories: Career Path, Future Tense, Industry Musings, LVJ, My Way, Persona, Progress, Publicity, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Software, Someone Else's Way, Stalker, Strippers vs. Werewolves, Things I've Learnt Recently, Writing and life | 2 Comments

Get your name on a fighter jet!

24 HOUR COMPETITION. GET YOUR NAME ON A FIGHTER JET !

Suggest a callsign (like ‘Maverick’ from Top Gun) and after 24 hours (um, less than that now. 21 hours, maybe?) the guys at LVJ will pick their favourite and put it along with your name on the side of an F16 in the action packed opening of the film.

To enter, add your suggestion here.

Just not Fuck Monkey or Arse Bangle because … well, just because.

Categories: LVJ, Opportunity | 5 Comments

2010

I know it’s traditional to do your end-of-year-blog-round-up at the end of the year you’re rounding-up, but I didn’t, so I’m doing it now.

And no, I haven’t caved in, bought an iPhone and then failed to wake up for three days in a row (although I do find it highly amusing and can’t wait to smile smugly at certain friends of mine whose most cherished and deeply held belief is ‘Apple products never go wrong’.); but I’ve just been excruciatingly busy with Persona … which the more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed completely failed to manifest itself two days ago. There is a reason for that, but it will have to wait.

So, what did I do in 2010 (which I can’t believe I’m talking about, it’s so last year)? Well, I did something rather like this …

JANUARY

I explained how to be happy, in a rather long winded post which went on for so long it annoyed the piss out of me; Lord knows how you felt about it.

I discovered there was a 5,50 in the morning, ate my first school dinner since I was 11 and became the world’s first, ginger Bollywood consultant.

Updated Quicktime.

Discovered a watched kettle does boil and took a video to prove it:

Equated ‘In the Night Garden’ to genital piercing.

Then ran head-first at a wall and played with some bunnies.

FEBRUARY

Posted lots of behind the scenes videos for ‘Just for the Record’.

Talked about Piers‘ Writers’ Social.

Got lost in America and had to ask where I was.

Updated iTunes.

Spend a weekend in a fabulous house on Anglesey (which may or may not have some connection to St Seiriol) with a Lord who taught me how to con money out of people on Waltzers and a young woman who tries to bring helicopters down by hitting golf balls at them (but is considering giving it up because she almost hit a car and feels that’s a bit dangerous), whilst working out a plan to invade the Falklands as the first step towards exploiting the untapped mineral wealth of Antarctica and being served dinner by William Wordsworth’s great-granddaughter … surprisingly, this wasn’t a dream and did actually happen.

Failed to get mentioned in The Sun, Broadcast and GMTV.

That was pretty much it for February.

MARCH

Wondered if Caprica would get any better – decided it wasn’t worth spending the time to find out. Did it get better?

Got given a note I didn’t understand.

Accidentally saw Superman Returns and got all shouty and upset.

Updated Quicktime and iTunes.

Explained how to deal with notes by wearing a skirt and letting other men in skirts stab you.

Broke down exactly how I deal with a thirty-day deadline … badly, is the answer, in case you were wondering.

Went to Piers‘ Writers’ Social.

The DVD for ‘Just for the Record’ became available to pre-order.

Remained unconvinced by 3D. I’m still not convinced – good idea or pointless gimmick?

APRIL

Got very stressed because I was working on five projects at the same time – five! How pitifully small that number seems now. My stress dissolved in the face of this pretty picture:

Which may or may not be in pre-production around about now. Probably isn’t.

Got held prisoner in France due to a dastardly plot involving my parents, British Airways and an Icelandic volcano.

Got a bit disappointed by the Daleks and their magic Easter egg.

Decided I don’t trust anyone’s opinion.

Updated Quicktime.

Got in a bit of a tangle about an exclamation mark!

MAY

Updated Quicktime.

Spent three days shitting myself here:

Stayed awake for 36 hours, whilst travelling eight hours across five time zones so I could get to here:

Just so I could attend the premiere of ‘Just for the Record’

Updated iTunes.

Went to see ‘Just for the Record’ in the same cinema I went to see all of the films which initially inspired me to be a writer. A film (based on) a script I wrote showing in an actual cinema! And not just one cinema, several across the country. Something I wrote got a theatrical release! … Shame it was a bit shit really.

Explained how cold reading helps get you out of holes you dig by being thoroughly unprofessional.

Realised IMDb ratings may be a slightly better work of fiction than the films themselves.

Was deeply surprised to find ‘Just for the Record’ in the DVD charts. Number 13, if you’re interested:

Updated Quicktime.

Went on a long and pointless rant about builders.

Updated iTunes.

Went on a long and pointless rant about isms.

JUNE

Was surprised to receive a smattering of complimentary emails.

Updated Quicktime and iTunes.

Stole some money:

Wrote my most popular post of the year: It’s not fair

JULY

Listened to two Jamaicans argue about the best way to spray paint an elephant.

Had a First Look at LVJ:

Got called a lying bastard for failing to recognise Apple as the true inventor of video calling.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Pause/beat – not the fucking same.

‘The Wrong Door’ came out on DVD! No one bought it! Hooray!

Got angry about some spelling.

Updated iTunes.

AUGUST

Updated iTunes.

Promoted some random shit.

Updated Quicktime.

Saw some films.

Updated iTunes.

Failed to understand semi-colons.

Updated Quicktime.

Invented a new sport.

Failed to win at the sport I’d just invented.

Updated iTunes.

Got removed from a project for waiting too long for them to send me some feedback.

Updated Quicktime.

Made some robots swear:

Updated iTunes.

Swore I’d make the robots swear once a month, just for fun.

Updated Quicktime.

Failed to make the robots swear ever again. This will probably be a lifelong failure.

Updated iTunes.

Got annoyed with people slagging off Richard Curtis.

Updated Quicktime.

Someone set up a Twitter account in my name … still don’t know who.

Updated iTunes.

SEPTEMBER

Realised I don’t know what iTunes is or why it’s on my computer. I mean, I know you can use it to buy music and stuff; but what’s all the rest of it for? As far as I can tell it’s something which gets between your computer and an mp3 player or a phone and … makes it all a bit more complicated. A bit like a geriatric butler who insists on chewing your food for you. I mean, what the fuck is it for?

Decided to uninstall iTunes.

Got excited about a poster I haven’t seen for twenty-five years.

Liked ‘Roger and Val Have Just Got In’ even if no one else did.

Uninstalled iTunes.

Moaned about people fucking up my (admittedly poor) scripts by removing, changing or otherwise tampering with the protagonist AFTER the fucking script has been shot.

Uninstalled iTunes.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Uninstalled iTunes.

Went to the theatre – nothing blew up, no one got naked and there was a surprising lack of giant killer robots; but it was actually very enjoyable.

Updated Quicktime.

Expressed a desire to project a photo of my balls onto various people’s faces.

Uninstalled iTunes.

Uninstalled iTunes.

Updated Quicktime.

Uninstalled iTunes – what the fuck is this shit? Where does it keep coming from? I don’t want it. I don’t need it. Please, please fuck off!

Gave up and updated iTunes.

OCTOBER

Tried to name a space shuttle ‘Brian’.

Updated Quicktime.

Learnt there is such a thing as a one word pitch.

Updated Quicktime.

Had a warm gooey feeling because I did something uncharacteristically nice.

Updated Quicktime.

Got confused between my imagination and a piece of paper.

Updated Quicktime.

Tried to decipher the numbering system of a script competition.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated Quicktime.

Realised iTunes seems to have given up asking to be updated.

Updated iTunes.

And Quicktime.

NOVEMBER

Confessed my sexual fondness for a cartoon character.

Updated Quicktime.

Ranted about working for two producers who hated each other.

Updated Quicktime.

Wished Apple would just make Quicktime work properly in the first place. Or at least the last place, since it seems to update every fucking two days and still doesn’t actually fucking work. What exactly is updating? Is inability to play any fucking file whatsoever?

Uninstalled Quicktime.

DECEMBER

Reinstalled Quicktime so I could watch a film trailer.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated iTunes.

Updated Quicktime.

Updated iTunes.

Updated Quicktime.

Talked about the snow for fucking ages.

Updated Quicktime.

Realised I’d spent more time updating Quicktime than fucking breathing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say updating Quicktime is 80% of my social interaction with the world.

Talked about some loveliness.

Realised Quicktime hasn’t asked to be updated for a week. I miss that little guy.

Did something I didn’t want to do and enjoyed it.

Made writing ridiculous complex with all sorts of colour-coded formulas.

Where’s Quicktime? Why isn’t it talking to me any more? Have I upset it somehow?

Got really excited about the trailer for:

And began the nine day countdown to … nothing.

UPDATED QUICKTIME! HE’S BACK! HE DOES LOVE ME! … Bollocks.

And that was about it. There wasn’t a lot of actual blogging happening this year, primarily because 2010 was the year of taking on too many projects. 12 features in all. 12 – fucking ridiculous. Behind the scenes, unblogged, I managed to work my way through 9 of those 12 features – 3 of them are still waiting patiently in the wings; invented the format for, hired writers for, developed, wrote and script-edited Persona (which has been delayed, but is definitely starting in January this year); attended a lot of meetings; met the world’s most pretentious man; travelled 8402 miles in 16 hours just to wank into a pot; became a sort of Producer; was forced to interact with actors; set fire to lots of things which went fizz …. bang; ruined four rolls of really expensive wallpaper; loved my wife and my daughter and generally had an absolute fucking ball.

What does 2011 hold?

Well, Persona for one thing. Those last three films and then a break from films for a while. Probably. Maybe some features going into production. Twitter – maybe? I might just follow people for a while and see what happens. And … um … sleep. I need some sleep. Quite a lot of it, really.

Happy New Year!

Categories: BBC, Career Path, Industry Musings, Just for the Record, LVJ, My Way, Opportunity, Persona, Progress, Publicity, Rants, Sad Bastard, Software, Someone Else's Way, Sparkle, That Band, The Wrong Door, Things I've Learnt Recently, Two steps back, Writing and life | 2 Comments

LVJ – name your own space shuttle

Here’s an offer you don’t get every day … unless you work for NASA in the ‘Space Shuttle Naming Department’. In which case, the following video is probably of no interest to you whatsoever:

Categories: LVJ, Opportunity | 1 Comment

Pretty damn spunky

In my opinion, anyway. This is a still from the latest FX shot for LVJ:

Lovely.

Categories: LVJ | 2 Comments

Collaborators will be shot

Collaboration, sorry. I meant Collaboration will be shot.

On film. You know, with a camera.

Fuck.

I can assure you, right now, this post doesn’t get any better. Now is a really good time to give up and read something else.

Sometimes this blog may give the impression that everyone I work with is a clueless fucking idiot with the talent of … um … me and the intelligence of … well, me again.

Hmm … it’s a bad day when I’m the most insulting thing I can think of to use as a comparison. What can I say? There’s a mirror in front of me and I’m severely lacking in imagination.

Anyway, the clueless idiots scenario – it’s just not true. It’s mostly true, but not completely true. Occasionally I do work with people I respect.

Just not very much.

Or often.

Last Sunday, however, was one of those days; an afternoon spent lounging around with the guys behind LVJ, working on the webshow. One of those great days with no egos and no bad ideas – just a pile of suggestions to use or discard.

Obviously there are some bad ideas, things so stupid they’re instantly mocked and derided; but all in exceptionally good humour and I hardly cried much at all.

But that’s the fun, isn’t it? You just say whatever crosses your mind and some of it works and some of it doesn’t. Sometimes the bad ideas spark off great ideas and sometimes they don’t. When you get stuck, you have a cup of tea and load up on chocolate digestives until someone mentions something about zombie rabbits and suddenly you’re off and running again.

Plus, on this occasion, there was Thai food.

 And chocolate digestives. Did I mention the chocolate digestives?

I did? Good. Biscuits make me happy.

And so does collaboration. Or at least,  good collaboration. The projects I really enjoy working on are the ones where I can sit down with the producer or director or other writers and talk things over, work out what the next step is going to be together. When I first started writing, it used to really bug me: why the fuck do they want to change things? Don’t they know I’m a fucking genius?

Now, I get an attack of the collywobbles when no one questions the script. What do you mean you’re just going to shoot it? Are you fucking mental? It’s a first draft! You can’t shoot a first fucking draft you retarded sparrow chomper.

And it’s a shame really, that when you’re first writing stuff on spec, you tend to do it alone in your bedroom. A spec script has to work so much harder than a commissioned draft. A commissioned draft isn’t expected to be perfect, it’s expected to be a work in progress. A spec script is expected to be perfect and there’s just very little chance when you’re writing it on your own with no outside help.

That’s why it’s absolutely vital to find people to help you. You don’t have to collaborate on every spec script, but you should at least seek other opinions. Find people, preferably other writers, who will read your script and, most importantly, be a complete cunt about it.

Or honest. I mean honest.

If you’re working on your own without any input from anyone else, you’re trying to work harder than any professional scriptwriter. You’re just making life harder for yourself.

And you have to buy your own chocolate biscuits. It’s just madness.

Film making is a collaborative process. We all know that, but so is scriptwriting. Even writing on spec – find someone to help you.

Who knows, one day you too could find yourself in the middle of a script meeting showing a bunch of bemused filmmakers a video of your kettle boiling whilst explaining how, one day soon, you’re going to project a photo of your balls onto their faces.

Living the dream, baby. Living the dream.

Categories: Industry Musings, LVJ, My Way, Random Witterings, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way | 2 Comments

LVJ – First Look

LVJ, the film that just won’t die, has a shiny new website and an even shinier new documentary video:

If you look really, really closely you’ll notice I’m not fucking in it.

At all.

Despite dragging my fever-ridden carcass all the way to the production office and talking to a wall for an hour and a half.

They have assured me my absence is nothing to do with being ginger or unaccountably shit. Personally I think they were just blown away by the ‘choices’ I made on the day. I figured the character of ‘Phillip Barron’ probably wears an eyepatch, speaks with a lisp and masturbates furiously.

Apparently that doesn’t fit in with the image of the film.

It’s this kind of narrow-minded lack of vision which has led the British film industry to the poor state it’s in today.

Probably.

Anyway …

Ooh look! A shiny video!

(This one is the same as the one above … don’t watch both, that would just be silly.)

Categories: LVJ, Publicity, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way | 6 Comments

2009

So here we are at the end of the year, hell at the end of the decade and …

Actually, when does the decade end? Is 2010 the end of this decade or the beginning of the next one? Tricky number, zero. Still, fuck it. If the Romans couldn’t get to grips with it then why the fuck should I? I mean, they built roads and shit while all I’ve ever done is push buttons on a keyboard … and even that I do pretty badly.

Mind you, have you seen the roads in Rome? Shockingly bad. Fuck knows how those people supplied an empire.

But I digress.

Did you have a good Christmas? Did Santa bring you everything you wanted? I asked for World Domination and some French Fancies but the fat git failed on both counts. How was 2009 in general? Mine went almost exactly like this:

JANUARY

I realised we were living in the 21st Century … nine years after the fact.

Discovered Oli stops reading when he reaches his own name and then talked briefly about magic puppies with Lego faces.

Tries to get someone to hold my hand.

Learnt, once again, communicating by email results in appalling scripts and that the more notes someone has for you, the better the script is.

Revealed I had a BIG IDEA … with no time to write it.

Had a pile of work, so massive and so daunting … I decided to fuck everyone off and go to Disney Land instead.

Didn’t go to Disney Land, just knuckled down and attacked the pile of work.

Talked about a Writer’s Vision – basically how to lie in order to get money.

Revealed to the world that Satan talks to me through the TV and told me I have to leave Pipex and sign up to Sky Broadband or he’s going to make me rape, kill and eat next door’s babies.

Fielded an email from an American Production company looking for something almost exactly like the BIG IDEA. It’s right easy this marketing lark – you just sit there and wait for them to call you.

And then saw Seven Pounds and got depressed because I can’t write like that.

FEBRUARY

Had a pointless conversation with an Air Hostess in the middle of a forest.

Got bored.

Decided, more or less on a whim, never to speak to anyone ever again.

Named and alphabetised my T-shirts.

Decided I didn’t want to be in Battlestar Galactica.

Revealed my obsession with Creative Screenwriting Podcasts.

Got confused about Easter.

And got bored once more, this time by Benjamin Button. Fuck it, if he doesn’t pay any interest in his own life, why should I?

MARCH

Failed to blog about THE A TEAM V DAD’S ARMY and DAISY DOGNUTS. No, I have no idea what that means either.

Talked about the technical difficulties involved in writing a script … although for the life of me I can’t remember which fucking script I was talking about. I may have been making shit up to make myself seem cool.

Shit a solid gold brick.

Explained why this:

Made me into a writer.

Discovered a clone of me from the future used to stalk me in the past.

Got attacked by a T-Rex and rescued by Spiderman.

Got nominated for a Rose d’Or. Sort of.

Met up with Lara Greenway and Terry Wogan in Madam Tussauds.

Got emails from actors asking if they could be in a film I didn’t write. Only to find out I may have written bits of it, sort of.

Realised I could carry all my scripts around on my phone, all the time.

Got annoyed about mugs and companies who sell themselves as cool without actually telling you what their products do. Like Apple.

And offered to buy people lunch.

APRIL

Got nominated for a BAFTA. Actually, this has nothing to do with me.

Dropped an imaginary phone into an imaginary vat of home brew at Dan Turner’s imaginary house.

Wrote a script to an extremely complicated and prescriptive set of rules. Rules which the producer who set them immediately complained about.

Karma Magnet came out as a DVD extra.

Pimped some stuff for someone else.

Got fucking angry about the media’s ‘information’ about Swine Flu and declared it was all fucking bullshit and no one was going to die from it. Bird Flu, anyone?

Warned people their ideas would make a 90 page script into a 180 page script. They didn’t listen, I wrote the script, they got upset.

And filming started on a sitcom pilot … so I hid in Crouch End.

Wow, nothing really happened in April, did it?

MAY

Got annoyed about story drops – the point in a film/TV thing where you could stop watching and not feel like you’d missed the next hour.

Got really unreasonably upset about MOMENTS LATER. That must have been a particularly bad day.

Just for the Record began filming. I went to hide in the Caribbean and got sucked off by an air steward in First Class. There was a video of that and everything … but I seem to have lost it.

Got a phone call from the Mail on Sunday who wanted to talk to me about not being in Cannes.

Took a meeting in a room chock full of little rubber pigs – every single one of which bore a sticker proudly proclaiming: THIS IS NOT A TOY

Went to Nuneaton. Never again.

Apparently I went on holiday somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t remember where.

Oh, and I bought a new laptop:

Touchy touchy!

JUNE

Came over all positive for a moment and said some nice things. Hopefully that was just a phase.

Launched Jack Tweed’s movie career. Great.

Went to the Screenwriters’ Festival and drew some sperm:

Muttered something about being forced to promote stuff even when I thought it was shit

Saw a preview/promo for Fleeced:

Saw a trailer for Just for the Record … which has since been removed. Damn.

Saw a poster for Just for the Record … which has since been binned.

Tried to make sense of Spatulas, Iguanas and a fruitbowl.

Attacked a man on the bus so I could rip this page from his paper:

Because of this paragraph:

Which is about a sitcom pilot I co-wrote.

And came over all nice again and promoted other people’s short films.

JULY

Finally explained about the movable goalposts of excitement.

Held a meeting in a street which was on fire.

Attended a screening of Splendid. It was.

Got hassled by an all female Squad of pissed up Motown fans. One of whom insisted she was a natural blonde with the landing strip to prove it who went on to kick me in the chest with a spiked heel. I quite enjoyed that day.

Got angry about morons giving James Moran a hard time for writing good telly.

Did this:

For these people:

Deleted more than I wrote.

Ran out of ways to procrastinate and very nearly had to do some work.

And saw the trailer for the sitcom pilot I co-wrote:

AUGUST

Oh, and a music video from the same:

Another trailer for Just for the Record. This one’s still there!

Took part in a three-way conference call between New York, Barbados and Crawley. (I was in Barbados, but strangely my car was in Crawley).

Was told I wasn’t allowed to photograph an imaginary gorilla and used it as an excuse to show this trailer again:

Finally realised (but haven’t fully accepted) that NO ONE FUCKING CARES ABOUT SCRIPT FORMAT.

Confessed I frequently imagine I’m Steve McQueen.

And tried to work out what I wanted out of the SWF.

SEPTEMBER

Are we all still here? Are you as bored as I am yet? Yes? Good, moving on.

Saw a trailer for Exposé.

Signed contracts and received feedback for the BIG IDEA. Wait, did I mention I sold the BIG IDEA without trying? No, not to the American Production company, but to a different American Production company. Actually, my friend sold it for me without my permission or knowledge. Suits me, as long as I don’t have to do any work.

Made some cats out of blue icing.

Talked about two adaptations and how they’d missed the fucking point. Since I’m now working on two adaptations I look forward to people throwing that blog back in my face.

The Dutch gave me some money, via the BBC.

So did Sweden, Denmark, Italy, America and Russia.

And, for reasons which escape me, babbled about furniture for far too long.

Is that it? Is that all I did in September? Was it a short month this year?

OCTOBER

Hooray! This is nearly over and I can go and do something more interesting!

In October, I lost my rag with Microsoft.

Got suckered into thinking this was a real school orchestra:

Got stuck in a rant about designing cars and then bought one to cheer myself up.

And … that’s it? That’s fucking it? What the fuck was I doing in October?

NOVEMBER

Went to the Screenwriters’ Festival – fannyed around, didn’t really make the most of it and met a lot of nice people. Like Hayley McKenzie – she’s lovely. Oh, and I compared cock size with Simon Beaufoy. I’m not telling you who won.

Masturbating monkeys … I still don’t really want to talk about that.

Tried to sell my car via my blog. Bizarrely, I actually sold it in absolute darkness, during a storm and a power cut to two Eastern Europeans who paid cash and didn’t want to test drive or even inspect it.

Got all mellow and wibbly over stuff like this:

Wrote an open letter to directors.

Wrote an open letter to writers.

Wrote an open letter to producers.

Hmm … looks like I did more in November than October but still, come on! Have I really been too busy to blog?

Yes, I have as it happens …

DECEMBER

 Moaned a lot about writing constantly without actually writing any scripts.

Pointed out the target audience for a script is the producer and the director, not the people who pay to go and see a film. That’s the target audience for a film.

Spoke to a wall.

And that was it. That’s the entire fucking year.

I can’t help noticing the beginning of the year involved a lot more blogging than the end of the year. I’m sorry about that (unless you hate my blog, then I’m happy for you) but I have been exceedingly busy. I’m currently working on four feature scripts as well as keeping all the other plates spinning and blogging has become an expensive luxury.

January and February 2010 promise to be absolutely fucking mental and possibly completely impossible – but hopefully once this lot is out of the way, normal blogging service will be resumed.

And by normal service I mean me talking shit in extremely long-winded, ill-thought out and ill-advised posts.

Happy New Year to you all, see you in the next decade!

Or maybe the last year of this decade … depending on how you count it.

Categories: BBC, BBC Sketch Show, Bored, Career Path, Exposé, Festivals, Fleeced, Industry Musings, Just for the Record, Karma Magnet, LVJ, My Way, Progress, Publicity, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Software, Someone Else's Way, That Band, The Wrong Door, Things I've Learnt Recently, til Death, Two steps back, Writing and life | 1 Comment

Conference calls

A long time ago, when the world was young and dinosaurs figured that whole ‘hot blooded’ thing would never catch on, I got involved with a film called ‘LVJ‘.

For a long time lots happened. Then, for a longer time, nothing happened. Then there came an extended period of alternating between lots happening and nothing happening. Finally (or so I thought) we settled for nothing happening.

Recently, lots started happening again. Perhaps even more amazingly, it’s continued to keep happening.

When you’ve been working on a project for this length of time (most of my fucking life) it becomes increasingly difficult to get everyone together in one room. It’s particularly difficult in this case because the director and producer no longer live on the same continent and I tend to spend an inordinate percentage of my time on small islands in the Caribbean.

Luckily, technology has the answer.

An unspecified period of time ago (unspecified because, of course, I was working on your project on that date, not fucking about with this one) we went through the latest edit of the film and identified all the little moments where the story needs clarifying or there were oppotunities to punch up the dialogue/add production value/swear at the actors for not being able to deliver a simple fucking line no matter how often you punched them in the face and threatened their kiddies.

(One day I will tell the full story of ‘LVJ’ and I guarantee, not one of you will believe a single fucking word. It really is that preposterous.)

The best way to do this is to all sit in one room, watch the edit one scene at a time and talk about what we felt was missing.

Sadly, that wasn’t possible.

Enter technology.

Enter the conference call.

I fucking love this technology which, granted, isn’t really that much different from making a phone call, but it fucking amazes me. The three of us were sitting in different rooms, in different countries on different continents, watching the same video clip and discussing how best to proceed.

All this from one, rather funky, laptop – and it really is a close second to actually being in the same room. We laughed as hard, we cried as hard and, best of all, I could go for a piss and no one noticed.

“Phill? Oh, the sound’s gone a bit funny there.”

Hmm. Yes.

For posterity, these were the three locations:

NEW YORK

New York

BARBADOS

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and CRAWLEY

15062009117

For the sake of a bit of mystery, I’ll leave it up to you to decide who was where.

Strangely, when I took the Crawley photo (that’s my crappy, immortal Celica there) I was under strict instructions NOT to photograph the Gorilla.

I think I succeeded there.

For more exciting info on LVJ and the never-ending production, visit the Production Blog. And what the hell, let’s watch the trailer again:

Categories: LVJ, Random Witterings | 6 Comments

2008

Another year over (nearly). How was your 2008?

Mine was suspiciously like this:

JANUARY

George MacDonald Fraser died. I was a bit upset about that.

I set out to write a feature in six days (due to some ridiculously bad time-management skills). I actually managed to write it in three … and it was shit.

I found out I had no idea what blue pages actually are. Or rather, I knew what they were, but not exactly what they looked like and how to do them. I’m still not 100% sure but I’ve come up with my own version and no one’s complained so far.

Whilst on location for ‘K‘ I managed to work out a cheap way of throwing an actor off the roof.

I got fired from a film and inexplicably became obsessed with tin foil as a direct result. Looking back on that, it might have been a teeny tiny nervous breakdown.

I learnt how to write a sex scene which won’t upset actresses, then got called a sexist by Piers for using the word ‘actresses’.

Weirdly, someone asked me to put more swearing into a script. I’ve never been asked for that before or since.

K‘ started shooting.

I began a new script and immediately tried to hide under the tin foil again.

I bought my first ever calendar.

And to wrap January up, BBC Three announced the airdate for ‘The Wrong Door‘.

FEBRUARY

I learnt how to keep actors happy. Or happier, anyway.

I finished the first draft of the new script and for some reason felt the need to post a video of my friends and I massacring ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’.

IMDB made me happy.

After a couple of years of faithful service, I abandoned this room:

Office

And moved into this one:

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Which has a sofa for me to lie on whilst wrapped in tin foil:

22022008130

And a light switch shaped like a nipple:

22022008126

All to make space for my soon-to-be-arriving daughter. My old office looks more like this now:

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And then I got memed. I didn’t like it.

 

MARCH

I decidedthe new script was going to be my last low budget film and from now on I was going to concentrate purely on some TV specs.

I started work on two more low budget films. Since I can’t remember what they were, they obviously went the way of most low budget films and imploded on contact with reality.

I wrote a lot of shit about strategy.

Adele Silva completely failed to mention me in Hello!

I learnt taking meetings when your brain is in a different time zone is a bad idea.

I got invited to a mysterious gathering.

I learnt I used to live in Croydon – or at least that’s what the Croydon Guardian believes.

I worked out how to introduce a character without having her in the scene.

And then I got dressed up as Captain Kirk.

n534632306_758690_8843

 

APRIL

Wow, are you still reading? Really?

I went to the thing I got invited to – a BBC shindig and chance to meet the producers of the BBC’s New Comedy Unit. Where I stood in the corner for a few hours, got very hot, very angry and completely failed to meet any of the producers of the BBC’s New Comedy Unit.

I realised there are very few female sidekicks.

I picked up even more low budget film work.

Abi Titmuss completely failed to mention me in The Sun and then promised to continue to never mention me in public. I decided not to believe she existed.

Karma Magnet turned up online. People seemed to like it.

Abi Titmuss made good her promise and failed to mention me in Closer.

I confirmed, once and for all, actors don’t really have sex in sex scenes. Unless it’s porn.

I got to write for Doctor Who. Not the show, or even the current Doctor, but for Sylvester McCoy and that’s good enough for me.

I decided some actors needed punching in the throat.

And then the new script started shooting, so I went and hid in the Caribbean.

 

MAY

 I finally gave in and went on set. It was fun. I made tea.

Shouted at people for getting upset about not winning competitions. If you’ve entered the Red Planet Prize this year, you should read this post again.

I had a day off. That was nice too.

Someone said something nice about me on IMDB. I immediately became suspicious.

I had another shout at people for being idiots and starving themselves to death whilst failing as a writer. Get a proper job, for fuck’s sake.

Had my first, and so far only, guest post.

Wrote a short guide to dealing with notes which basically involved a lot of swearing and some minor violence.

Hmm … May was a bit rubbish, wasn’t it?

 

JUNE

I decided to murder my old spec scripts and just deleted them.

I rescued  my old spec scripts from the recycle bin and hid them where I couldn’t find them.

Fleeced‘ started filming – that’s three features so far this year.

Got another black belt – also my third.

Went on a bit about loving the treatment I was writing. I wish I hadn’t now.

Shouted a bit about questions and then took two weeks off because:

dsc00076

Seriously, who gives a fuck about the rest of the year?

 

JULY

Oh, you’re still reading, are you?

Fine, come on then.

Shall we just have one more photo of Alice?

alice

 Aw.

Anyway.

In July I organised a museum heist.

Got invited to a screening of The Wrong Door.

Went to the screening of The Wrong Door, met loads of people including Doctor Fox, Sarah Morgan and her boyfriend, didn’t make a tit of myself (except with Doctor Fox) and managed to steal a T-shirt:

100720080791

Two days later, I had to give the T-shirt back. A handy tip – if you steal something, don’t mention it on your blog.

Learnt how to be constructive with my criticism rather than just scrawling SHIT on the script in red ink, wiping my arse on it and sending it back.

Met Gordon Robertson after knowing him via email (not in the biblical sense, that’s impossible) for a few years. He’s a nice bloke.

And then waffled on a bit about random shit to avoid having to do any real work.

 

AUGUST

Crap. Still working on that fucking treatment.

Got asked an annoying question.

Got offered a shit load of imaginary money.

Got asked if I wanted to run a sketch writing workshop. I didn’t. Then I thought I might. Then the guy stopped talking to me. So I didn’t.

Didn’t have dinner with Gordy Hoffman.

Bought a new computer:

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It has touchscreen. I like touching it.

Discovered cats and touchscreen computers don’t mix.

The Wrong Door got a lot of publicity in the run up to the show – 12 of the 14 reviews I read were very positive. 2 were very negative.

The Wrong Door kicked off. So did a guy called Ben Randall who was so upset he didn’t find a programme funny he came all the way over to this blog to call me names.

 

SEPTEMBER

The Wrong Door had the highest opening of any show on BBC Three (about four people) which seemed to greatly upset a handful of Internet loonies who went on and on and on about it for fucking ages.

I made the mistake of suggesting the people coming to my blog to call me names because they didn’t find a TV programme funny were a bit mental. Several people took great exception to this and went far out of their way to call me names in an effort to prove how mistaken I was about their lack of sanity and a real life.

Got my first death threat. Actually I got two death threats and one offer to rape my three month old daughter to ‘teach me a lesson’. That was nice. Perfectly sane behaviour that, I thought.

Still working on that fucking treatment.

Had a superb meeting where people offered me lots of money. I didn’t, and still don’t, really believe them.

Got offered another low budget feature film. That’s more like it.

Yet more abuse about The Wrong Door. One guy has taken to posting insults then changing names and agreeing with himself. He doesn’t seem to be able to grasp concepts like IP addresses, I can see it’s all one guy. I assumed this was a guy because I like to think women have better things to do.

There was a new trailer for LVJ. Again.

An old project threatened to spring back to life … and then didn’t.

Finally finished that fucking treatment.

Oh and a bit more abuse about The Wrong Door.

On a serious note, all that abuse was a bit wearing. You write in the privacy of your own room for years until someone decides they want to make your work. You’re pleased, they’re pleased, the show comes out and generally people either like it or turn it off. Then a small contingent of morons think it’s perfectly acceptable to come and call you names, threaten your family and generally behave like cunts because – horror of horrors – THEY don’t like it. It’s depressing and it’s demotivating. I expected to be slagged off in papers if the critics didn’t like something I’d written. I expected to be slagged off on forums or other people’s blogs – all that’s fair enough; but the sheer persistence of a few individuals who felt the need to come here and spout off about it did actually get me down.

Until Oli sent me a cartoon. Which explained everything and really cheered me up. I decided I would find some way to repay him, somehow.

I completely failed to do some writing and in a gargantuan procrastination session, I redesigned my website.

 

OCTOBER

I revealed the one true secret of screenwriting THEY don’t want you to know.

The Wrong Door finished.

The abuse didn’t.

Took on far too much work and struggled to cope.

Found out I didn’t have a second act. Bit of a bugger that one.

Had a dream about Jason Arnopp, James Moran and an over-ground submarine.

Fixed the second act thing and discovered it no longer matched the ending.

Wrote a whiny post about writing treatments in the hope a certain producer was reading and would let me off for not turning in a treatment he was expecting. It didn’t work. Turns out he can’t read.

Wrote a writer’s vision for a sales pack – I don’t have any vision.

That guy’s still answering himself on The Wrong Door posts.

Found out I’m a celebrity.

 

NOVEMBER

Is anybody still reading?

Why?

Are you fucking mental? Go outside and play.

November:

The second-act-less treatment went to script stage. Bugger. Now I have to write the fucking thing.

Saw some footage from Fleeced. Was pleasantly surprised.

Found out I’m an anal bastard.

That loon is still at it, still posting bile and answering himself. It’s been three months!

Didn’t get an email from Kristen Kreuk.

Made Alice do some writing for me:

05112008047

She’s better than me, so I banned her from using the computer.

Got horribly busy.

Actually did some work.

Ate some soup.

Got upset about writing the first ten pages of a script.

Painted the lounge, got high on paint fumes, wrote a load of shit about writing sketches. I have no idea what my point was.

Got a request about re-writing. Wrote a loooooooooooooooooooooooong post about it.

Got sacked from a project I didn’t know I was involved in.

Learnt that A and B are the same thing.

Talked about bookcases and wallpaper. No idea why. Probably trying to avoid working.

Got all arsey about the word ‘what’.

That lone loon’s finally stopped commenting. I miss him, the crazy bastard.

 

DECEMBER

Hooray! December! This post is finally over and we can all go home!

Assuming any of you are still here.

Met some more writers in the pub: Paul Campbell, Danny Stack, Lara Greenway, Michelle Lipton and Oli … as well as the normal crowd. They were all nice. I told Danny and Michelle the secret which isn’t really a secret – just something I don’t bother telling people. Danny immediately left the pub, Michelle wanted to hug me.

Got angry with ten imaginary people because there were ten of them.

Panicked. Finished the script.

Cut out every other word in the vague feeling it might make it exciting and mysterious. It didn’t.

Told people how to wait. Not sure why, probably avoiding some other work.

Declared my love affair with Apparitions. Which I still haven’t seen the last episode of. I’m a fickle fucker sometimes.

Had some fun. It was fun.

Met James Moran. Told him the secret which isn’t really a secret – he seemed to find it funny.

And there you go. That was 2008 for me. How was it for you? 

Categories: BBC, BBC Sketch Show, Bored, Fleeced, K, Karma Magnet, LVJ, My Way, Progress, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, The Wrong Door, Two steps back, Writing and life | 18 Comments

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