Tuesday, 13 January 2015

2014...

The blog isn’t dead! I just abandoned it for a bit. The funny thing is, this year has been full of blog-worthy happenings, but because I’ve been really busy I’ve not really had time to blog about them. That's not all that funny really.

A couple of years ago, before my son was born, I used the blog as a kind of warm-up exercise. So I’d write on here for an hour before working on a script or whatever. These days I don’t really have the luxury of time to warm-up as most of my writing is done in half-hour bursts on the train or on my lunch break. It’s kind of better that way, I think I actually get more done, but I’m between scripts right now so I thought this would be a good opportunity to update whoever still cares on what I did in 2014, and what I would've blogged about if I had any time to do it.

To put this all into context I really need to take you back to 2013. In the summer of that year I’d just finished the third Jenny Ringo short film (it’s the really short one so you can watch it right now if you have 2 minutes spare) –


Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook from Chris Regan on Vimeo.

When that was done I started working on the first draft of Jenny Ringo and the House of Fear, a feature based on the same character I’d established in the short films. I had a vague idea I might try and film it myself one day, or that I’d send it to the few industry people I knew to try to get it developed but really I was mostly writing it for myself. It was in writing that script that I trained myself to be able to write on trains and in crowded coffee shops, and without that I’m not sure I would have had nearly as busy a year in 2014 as I did.

At the end of 2013 I did some script editing on a project for Craig Fairbrass. He’d written a gangster film and it needed some work on the structure. The details of that film are here if you’re interested.
The rewrite went quite well and I got to meet the man who tried to kick Michael Rooker off a mountain in Cliffhanger so that was cool. The producer of Craig’s film, Nick Hamson, then asked me to look at a project he was working on.

This is when my day job really started to get in the way of my writing. At the end of 2013 and going into 2014 the UK experienced some of the worst storms on record. This resulted in extensive damage and severe flooding in various parts of the country and, without going into too much detail, that’s what my day job is all about. From November 2013 to March 2014 I was probably the busiest I’ve ever been. I was working late most days and at least one day of most of the weekends. At the same time the project I was writing for Nick turned out to be a lot of work as well as he wanted a draft ready for Cannes in May. That’s where being able to write on trains etc. became really useful.

In February I took a week off work purely to write. It was amazing. I was being paid to write and I had the time to do it. I finished the draft that week.

The script was ready for Cannes and there was some filming done. Here are some people being filmed -


There were a couple of articles about it, in Screen Daily and The Telegraph. Later in the year they filmed a scene in Ditchling where the film is set. This was pretty amazing as I got to go along and took my wife and my son and it sort of felt a bit more real. Here’s a picture of Eric on his first film set -


There was also a rehearsed reading, which unfortunately I couldn’t get to but I saw the recording and that was really exciting.

Alongside that project I was also working on two scripts with my brother, Pete. One is the martial arts/fantasy film that was optioned by Focus Films a few years ago. This was re-optioned again this year and we'll be doing a bit more work on it this year. I re-read it towards the end of last year and, if I do say so myself, it’s really good. I mean, it may not be to everyone’s tastes, depends how much you like undead ninjas, but from the perspective of coming back to a script we wrote at least five years ago it holds up surprisingly well.

The second project is an action film which we’re developing with Transfilm in Canada. Can’t really talk about that one, but it has been a really interesting process and has really evolved from the project we started with. We’re working on the final draft of that one right now.

Towards the end of the year I worked on a couple of gangster films, one a kind of action re-working of The Long Good Friday, and the other a more contained thriller. I just finished the first draft of the latter over the weekend.

A short film I wrote was also produced this year and I made it to a couple of screenings. The film is called Salvation and it's a ten minute action film with a serial killer sub-plot.


 It screened at the Century Club and at MovieBar in Brighton (yes, the MovieBar I used to run - it was awesome to have a film screening there again), and at the Action on Film Festival in the States. There’s a really nice review of the film here. Here I am with director Ross Boyask and host Simon Messingham at the MovieBar Q&A -


Other stuff happened too! You remember the Jenny Ringo feature I mentioned at the start? I decided at one point I needed to finish the second draft, but with all the other projects I had on the go I was struggling to find the time. So in order to set myself a deadline I decided to enter the second draft into the Blood List contest run by Stage 32. I entered purely on that basis, to set myself a deadline, and at the final hour I almost didn’t do it. But I did, and it went on to do really well! The script made it all the way to the final thirteen. I didn’t make it into the final six, but I was really happy to have made it that far in the competition, especially as it was the first original feature script I’d written in a while.

It was also a runner up in the Ultimate Logline Contest in October last year. Here’s the logline –

When an incompetent witch discovers that her council estate is a prison for supernatural creatures she must recruit her neighbours to help her get better at magic so she can take on the evil witchfinder keeping them there.

In October I went to the London Screenwriters Festival. If you haven’t been or don’t know what it is, it’s basically three days in Regent’s University going to sessions about writing, meeting other writers and pitching to executives. I could probably write a whole separate blog about it on here, but given my track record last year that’s probably not going to happen. I’ll just say it was definitely worth the money and if you’re thinking of going you should do it. I learnt a lot and met some really amazing people. Look, here I am pitching and stuff -


The one thing I will go into detail about is the Pitch Factor. Basically it's this live event on the Saturday night where writers pay a fiver for the chance to pitch to a panel of judges. Everyone gets 60 seconds to pitch. I was in two minds over whether to do it or not. On the one hand I am a firm believer in doing things that scare you and felt that I’d regret it if I didn’t do it. On the other hand I’m not great at speaking in public and added to that the time pressure, the audience and the fact that the judges included Joel Schumacher and David Reynolds (writer of Finding Nemo) I wasn’t quite sure I was going to cope. Luckily I bumped into Simon Messingham (the magician from Jenny Ringo and the Monkey’s Paw and host of MovieBar as seen above) and we convinced each other to go for it.

Here's a picture of the judges, and there were a few hundred or so people sitting in the audience to the right of this photo -


Oh, the part I forgot is that by this time I was starting to lose confidence in my Jenny Ringo pitch. I’d done it for a few different people at the festival mixed responses and although most people loved the idea I wasn’t 100% it was the simplest story to tell in 60 seconds. Earlier that day I’d wandered off to the park for an hour to work on a pitch for another project just in case I needed a back-up. So as I'm standing in the queue it was this new project I was going to pitch. But as I got closer to the front something made me change my mind and at the last minute I decided to go back to the Jenny Ringo pitch.

But when I reached the stage the rules changed. There were too many people in the queue and the event was set to overrun, so in order to fit everyone in they cut the time limit down to 30 seconds. In a way, I think this really helped. It meant I only really had time to do the logline and couldn’t really embellish it all that much.

It went okay, Joel Schumacher said it was a clever idea, I went back to my chair thankful I hadn’t embarrassed myself. Then they announced the joint winners and I was one of them.

I completely failed to follow up on it, of course. Joel Schumacher shook my hand and congratulated me, I was mostly in shock so I took my winnings and headed straight for the bar. It was pretty insane really. I went to the festival as someone who had never really pitched and thought I’d be terrible at it, and then I won a pitching contest.

That’s it, that’s everything that happened writing-wise in 2014. I would be concerned about topping it, but due to real life, non-writing stuff 2015 is already set to be amazing. I don’t have much writing planned other than finishing off the projects I have from last year. I’m also hoping to film a short at the end of the year, something that’s not all that ambitious but that I’m still really excited about. I may post more about that when it happens, but based on last year it’s more likely you won’t hear from me again until 2016.

Oh, and Pete and I have a website!

Happy new year!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Jenny Ringo 1, 2 and 3...

I know, it's been a while. I am still here. I have been busy writing stuff and teaching my almost-two-year-old to do a convincing zombie walk (succeeded, btw).

I have written a Jenny Ringo feature script, it's 40 pages too long, I know what I need to do to fix it but second drafts are hard! It's getting there.

Anyway, all three Jenny Ringo short films are now online so I thought this might be a good opportunity for a round-up -

Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw -



Jenny Ringo and the Cabaret from Hell -



Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook -



Enjoy!

Oh, and follow me on twitter @cg_regan

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Birdeatsbaby need your help...

In April 2009, back when I used to actually update this blog more than once every four months, Brother Pete and I went to see Birdeatsbaby at the Latest Music Bar in Brighton. I wrote about it here. It was one of the most amazing gigs I'd ever seen. There was just something incredibly refreshing about the music and the energy in the performance; it was different enough to be exciting but without alienating the audience. I wasn't really able to put it into words back then and I can't really now, but the point is they were really really good, as seen here...



They continued to be really really good. In 2011 they made this awesome video for a single on their second album, which I later screened at MovieBar...


They are still really really good. Now they sound like this...


But they need help to finish their third album. There's a Kickstarter page here. I know everyone is running Kickstarter campaigns these days and it's becoming more and more difficult to stand out, but here's why you should support this one -

- They are really, really good as mentioned above.

- You can pay the price of the album and then when they're done you actually get a copy of the album. So really you're just pre-ordering something you will probably buy one day anyway (because it's going to be awesome).

- They've been really upfront about their costs, and the fact that they are putting in half of what they need themselves shows how serious they are about this.

- They are doing really well and have passed the halfway point, so with a bit of extra help they will definitely make it!

- Did I mention that they are really really good?

So you should seriously consider heading over there and contributing to their Kickstarter, because if artists this good can't crowd-fund their work then there is seriously no hope for the rest of us.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Guest Post - Peter Regan (part two)...

Day Two- 14th April 2013

Day Two began as any normal day on a Jenny Ringo shoot begins. There were bandages, fake blood and lights in tiny cramped spaces.






We started with a scene that was eventually cut for time. Time in the film, and lack of time to create the effects needed. However all I remember was sitting on the bathroom floor, squashed up against the wall trying my hardest not to break down into laughter. I failed. How unprofessional of me.


Despite my failings, the scene was shot, and after getting the feeling back in my legs we moved on to the monsters outside ready for their close ups.


Once again the sun had got his hat on. However lighting a dark, interior corridor when you're outside is a pain in the back side unless you are the proud owner of some massive bright lights. Unfortunately I am not.

However we managed to get a happy medium and grab the shots we needed. As soon as the monsters had finished it was time to film the babies.


How does one direct babies I hear you ask? Well simply put, you don't. Instead you wave lots of things around, blow bubbles and eventually turn the TV on in a hope to distract them long enough to get the shot we need. It eventually worked and resulted in a 10 minute out-take of pure cute anarchy.

The beach was next. Originally the script called for the beach discussion to be at night. However in case this didn't work, a back-up would be required. Day time beach...no issues here. It was sunny, we got the shots, we moved on. We would be back later for the night time which came with a few surprises.


Now off to space to space for us to crank the F-stop.

Space was located in a barn. The result of a friend’s short who still had a set up for a couple of days.

Here's the original film the spaceship was constructed for...


Robot from zoneonestudios on Vimeo.

Now I'm new to filming things for myself and when told to crank the Fstop to make sure we had a smooth green screen, I couldn't help but stare blankly before nodding in agreement (something I've learnt more about with more night shoots). However we managed to get the space we needed. Everything was in focus that needed to be and we packed up and left.


And then we had to wait....

...finally it was dark.  We could now reshoot the earlier beach scene but in darkness.

"But if it's dark, how are you going to film anything?"

We had a plan. A plan involving plastic folders, LED lights and camping lanterns. A plan that gave us the desired effect or a burning magic flame. A plan that came at a deadly cost. The cost of being attacked by millions of  bugs.

Evil beach dwelling creatures that crawled up out of the pebbles to attack their prey. Had I not been tired and grumpy, some of those bugs may have survived to tell the tale of how they saw the filming of Jenny Ringo 3. However, at times I am not a patient man. It was survival of the fittest. I won.

Here's Pete not being very patient...



However had I had to face the sea fox alone, I'm sure I'd be telling a different tale. It's never a good sign, when your back is to the sea and everyone start looking over your shoulder at a "dog" coming out of the sea. Not a dog my friend, but a fox. A fox that each night rises from the briny depths to wander Worthing looking for easy prey. A Sea fox...I would guess.

Anyway, we got through the last location shoot. We each went our separate ways, back to the safety of our houses and beds, to dream of the adventures of sea foxes and beach bugs.

We still weren't finished. There was still animation that I had to complete, the construction of a monster and trying twice to get the perfect night time shot of Brighton Pier.

This is another tale for next time...

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Please vote for Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook by clicking the Tweet button under this video or by tweeting '#VMShortsVote Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook'

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Jenny Ringo and the Funhouse of the Damned...

If you haven't seen Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw turn away now because there will be spoilers ahead. Or you could just watch the film -


I'll let you in on a secret. I never intended for Jenny Ringo to be a series. When she ends up in Hell in the first film it was meant to be just that...the end.

Then I started making the second film. To justify it the writer Geraint D'Arcy and I decided that Jenny Ringo and the Cabaret from Hell would be a prequel. Haven't seen it yet? Here's the trailer -

You can see the whole film by going to www.jennyringo.com and signing up to the mailing list!

Anyway, when we were shooting it became apparent that the relationship between Jenny and Gavin had evolved from the first film and it certainly felt like it was happening after that one. So I decided to embrace the fact that it was a sequel, which meant somehow I needed to explain how Jenny escaped from Hell.

So I contacted Paul Cousins, an amazing artist I knew from back when I was writing for Night Warrior, and suggested the idea of a 5 page comic to bridge the gap between Monkey's Paw and Cabaret from Hell. This is the result (click the pages to make them go bigly)...






If you enjoyed the comic and would like to see more Jenny Ringo adventures please vote for Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook by clicking the Tweet button under this video or by tweeting '#VMShortsVote Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook'

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Guest Post - Peter Regan (part one)...

Peter Regan was one half of the two-man film crew who made Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook! Here are his memories of the shoot...


On the weekend of 13th/14th of April 2013 I shot Jenny Ringo!

Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spell book to be more specific.

Over two days we hoped to bring to life the most ambitious Jenny Ringo film yet. A film with dinosaurs, killer clowns, hellish landscapes, 'Tron' style in game escapades and bizarre monsters from other worlds...and so we did.

Director Chris Regan and Producer Andrea Regan had strategically planned everything down to a t so we could fit everything in, so I grabbed my camera, batteries and memory cards and dived into the car to get underway.

Day One - 13th April 2013

First stop, Under-cliff.

There were a number of scenes that took place outside and it looked as though we had been blessed on this bright and sunny Saturday morning in April.

 
This was the first issue I had. Having an inability to see properly I need the use of spectacles to see properly. Also suffering from migraines in bright sun, I had adapted these spectacles to "react" to the harsh UV rays, creating a darker lens protecting my eyes. Had I known that this combined with reflectivity of the LCD screen on the camera, would result in an inability to see what I was filming properly, along with a lot of guess work relating to the focus, I may have re-thought my previous eyeball solution.

Anyway, we managed to get through the first few scenes well enough. The bright weather was holding up and we were still on track.


We had one final shot to make in Brighton, overlooking Madeira Drive for a giant pizza.

Unfortunately it was decided that the best place for me to film was next to a playground. Now I know I was there to film Jenny Ringo. Chris and the cast knew I was there to film Jenny Ringo. However I couldn't shake the feeling that anyone else passing by may have thought I was there to film children playing.


Luckily we got the shot we needed and moved down to Madeira Drive for close ups, and to prove to all those questioning onlookers that I was in fact making a Jenny Ringo film.

However someone still wasn't happy and the heavens began to open. With the first few drops of rain. Rain that would decide not to stop as originally forecast and later forces the well planned schedule to be reassessed and split into multiple shots.

So back to Worthing we went to continue the adventures of Jenny Ringo and to Lime Café to battle the evil clowns.


It's always a bit of a struggle on films with few crew members when faced with a room full of extras. You're trying to plan a shot but also make sure everyone knows what’s happening and will be ready when the director calls “Action”.

Saying that, on this occasion there wasn't really any major difficulty. Everyone who arrived seemed quite happy chatting until it was time to get transformed into clowny evil-ness.

I don't think I'll be forgetting anytime soon, having to film close up after close up of menacing clowns, especially when it seemed it was me they were after.


Unfortunately that was where day one ended. The rain continued to pour, light was beginning to fade and we still had a couple of exteriors left. These would have to be moved to the next day. A day of monsters, babies and sea foxes...

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You can see Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook here -

http://www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/film/4903/jenny-ringo-and-the-infinite-spellbook

To vote, click the Tweet button under the video!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook!

Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook has been entered into this years Virgin Media Shorts contest and I could really use your votes!


I've tried to cram as much cool stuff into the 2 minute 20 second running time as possible, including dinosaurs, monsters, evil clowns, spaceships, tentacles and more!

You can check out the film here -

www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/film/4903/je...

To vote either click the 'Tweet' button under the film, or Tweet '#VMShortsVote Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spellbook'

As always I meant to blog a lot more during the production, and then got caught up in the actual production itself. This one was a lot of work, partly because there were so many different elements but mostly because I took on the edit myself. BUT I will be posting behind the scenes stories and some bonus video content over the course of the week so watch this space! AND I'll be unveiling the brand new Jenny Ringo website very soon!