LVJ

New LVJ trailer

Or rather, another new trailer. There seems to have been a lot more trailer than film on this project so far. LVJ has been in post-production for … you know what? I can’t even remember.

A long time anyway.

The hold up, as always, as been the effects and other, better paid, projects getting in the way. Every now and then there’s a frantic burst of activity when everyone’s back on the case and working hard to get the film finished. You can always tell when the film’s entering a concentrated phase of work because the first thing which happens is a new trailer.

Which you can see here: www.lvjmovie.com

Although the rest of the website seems to be down at the moment.

Some people might get upset or frustrated by the lack of completion, I mean, how hard can it be to finish a film? Surely, once the writing and shooting is out of the way, the rest must be easy? Or if not easy, at least possible?

Well, since I’ve had five films semi-produced and not one of the fuckers has been finished (Not one. Including the one already out on DVD) I’ve come to see ‘partially finished’ as the default setting for movie making. It’s not even as if it’s the same reason every time, you know, something you can point at and warn people not to make the same mistake. It’s always different:

One’s run out of money, one’s turned into a bitch fight, one’s stymied because someone involved is being a cock, one was just abandoned because no one could be bothered and LVJ is just a monumentally stupid project for a company to attempt as their first project.

LVJ is the sort of film most production companies would run screaming from, particularly in the UK. It’s been shot on two continents, half of it’s period, it’s got action, aliens, gunfire, military hardware (including planes, helicopters and space shuttles) and more effects shots than Titanic.

And do you know the stupidest thing about it? They actually seem to be pulling it off. Very slowly, admittedly, but it is getting there. I guess with a film like this you need one of two things: lots of money or lots of time. LVJ doesn’t have a budget counted in millions. Hell, it barely has a budget counted in pounds; so the trade off is walking to the finish line instead of running.

If by walking you mean lying face down on the ground and trying to inch forward using only your eyebrows.

Still, I have faith the film will eventually be finished. Curiously, it seems to have already picked up a rating on IMDb of 3 out of 10.

3 out of 10 for a film no one’s ever seen and isn’t even finished?

I can’t work out if that’s good or bad.

Categories: LVJ, Progress | 6 Comments

50/50

A day later, how far did I get through my list?

  • Cast Report for ‘Kapital’.
  • Go through my files looking for sketches suitable for two women.
  • Read and consider a rewrite to a short film
  • Watch the latest edit of ‘LVJ‘ and make notes about possible changes.
  • Write a new segment for ‘The Summoning’.
  • Write a comedy short for a DoP I’ve worked with before.
  • Rewrite a feature which may or may not be going into production soon.
  • If there’s any time, write some sketches for ‘The Treason Show’/‘NewsRevue’.

Hmm, four of eight. Not so good. Let’s take those one by one.

  • Cast Report for ‘Kapital’.

Took an hour or so: two minutes to generate the report, half an hour to sum up the characters in a pithy sentence and the rest of the time to comb through the script and try to find all the non-speaking roles.

  • Go through my files looking for sketches suitable for two women.

This also took about an hour. Mostly because I had to open and read all these sketches I’d forgotten I’d written. Some of them were really funny, some of them were really shit. The balance is about 50/50.

Must try harder.

I only found 8 which were suitable for two women. That’s a poor show.

  • Read and consider a rewrite to a short film

Read it, considered it. I think it needs a lot of work. I’ve emailed my opinion, I’ll wait and see what the response is before going any further.

Would you believe it? I’ve just had the response. I’m going to have a stab at a rewrite at the earliest opportunity (next Tuesday).

  • Watch the latest edit of ‘LVJ‘ and make notes about possible changes.

This took up most of yesterday and today. The film’s less than two hours, but I had to keep stopping it, rewinding, making notes, comparing the film to the script – finding the original script and seeing what the fuck it was supposed to be about. Realising the actor was improvising and had forgotten to say key lines. Combing through the movie to find the odd second where people are turned away from camera and exposition can be dubbed in … and so on.

Despite the raw state of the footage and the lack of effects in some of the key space battles – it’s still absolutely fantastic. It’s hilarious where it’s supposed to be (and occasionally where it’s not) and it’s dramatic when it needs to be.

And that’s as good as it gets.

And I found out I wrote some great dialogue such as:

“I’d just taken down this big case, I was the man of the hour, you know? So I was hiding in the can; there was a light and this big, purple-faced creature; a bit like Joey’s mom only without that funny eggplant smell. Next thing I know I’m here, pant-less in trees-ville, being interrogated by a giant, two year old midget.”

Which unfortunately got improvised over and lost. Oh well, them’s the breaks. If you haven’t already seen the trailer, it’s here.

Oh, and in a moment of quiet reflection after lunch, I edited the first ten pages of a script and sent it in to the Red Planet Prize. I’m not big on competitions and I don’t expect to win, but everyone else is doing it and I felt left out.

This is tomorrow’s revised list:

  • Tweak the synopsis for ‘Kapital’ so it actually describes the new draft. (1 hour)
  • Write another music video. (2 hours)
  • Write a new segment for ‘The Summoning’. (3-4 hours)
  • Write a comedy short for a DoP I’ve worked with before.
  • Rewrite a feature which may or may not be going into production soon.
  • If there’s any time, write some sketches for ‘The Treason Show’/‘NewsRevue’.

I’ve got to get to number three, the others are extras which can wait; and I’ve got a meeting in London at 17.00 so I’ve got to leave here by 15.00. That means I’ve got to be sat at my computer by 08.00.

Hmm.

Who wants to take bets on me not achieving any of it?

Categories: Kapital, LVJ, Progress | 3 Comments

Back to work

I had a day off yesterday, and very nice it was too. It’s been a long time since I did nothing all day, or at least intentionally did nothing. I’m not counting the odd days I have when I sit at the computer and completely fail to achieve anything – they aren’t days off, they’re just annoying. Fortunately they’re few and far between.

I finished the second draft of ‘Kapital‘ on Sunday, just waiting to hear back from the production team now. I’m curious to know if it makes any sense. It does to me, but getting the balance of exposition right can be quite tricky when you’re working on a project. Particularly when said project is designed to be the first of a trilogy and events in the second and third films have to be foreshadowed here, without confusing people.

Although there is one overall story, each film has to be self contained. We don’t want to go for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ thing of only giving you a third of a story at a time.

There’s a meeting scheduled for Thursday, hopefully it won’t revolve around the rest of them calling me names and swearing at me.

The second draft was a massive pain in the arse … and the fingers, back and eyes.

It’s taken me longer than any rewrite ever has, I’ve been working on it non-stop from 8 in the morning until 11 at night, every day for ages.

Except when I haven’t.

Like when I went to the pub last Thursday – but even then I worked on the train on the way up and back. The first outing for my gay laptop, I might add. An outing which proved no one wants to sit next to a bloke with a pink laptop. One guy sat down, but after a brief glance at the sheer pinkness of the thing, he upped and left.

Space to stretch out on a train, sheer luxury.

But the second draft’s done now (until the next lot of notes come in) and it’s time to move on to the next project. Jason Arnopp asked me when the last time I worked on a spec script was, and I honestly can’t remember. As appealing as it is, it’s difficult to find the time amidst the list of the things pending for other people.

As it stands today, the list, in no particular order, is:

  • Cast Report for ‘Kapital’.
  • Go through my files looking for sketches suitable for two women.
  • Read and consider a rewrite to a short film
  • Watch the latest edit of ‘LVJ‘ and make notes about possible changes.
  • Write a new segment for ‘The Summoning’.
  • Write a comedy short for an DoP I’ve worked with before.
  • Rewrite a feature which may or may not be going into production soon.
  • If there’s any time, write some sketches for ‘The Treason Show’/‘NewsRevue’.

And there’s something else. Something I know I’ve forgotten which is lurking at the back of my mind. Something someone asked me about writing for them …

Nope, no idea. If you’re reading and I’ve left you out – I will remember, I promise.

For anyone whose work is on the list – rest assured YOU are top of the real list. YOUR project is much more important to me than anyone else’s.

Honest.

Categories: Kapital, LVJ, NewsRevue, Progress, The Summoning, The Treason Show | 3 Comments

Producery Wednesday

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

Erm …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, yes I am.

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

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

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

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

Categories: Kapital, LVJ, Progress | Leave a comment

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