Monday, 28 January 2008
Directing is something I would like to do more of and definitely something I would like to get better at. I like the idea of having more control over my scripts and while I find the actual directing process hard work I like seeing how it all comes together afterwards and the sense of achievement you get from putting the hard work in. But it is hard work and that's why I'm reluctant to devote too much time too it. I made a decision a long time ago that I wanted to concentrate on writing, but I'd still like to keep my hand in directing just in case the right opportunity comes up someday.
In other news I got some feedback on my last treatment of the serial killer film I'm writing for the producer of Ten Dead Men. This idea has been going back and forth between the two of us for about three months now which isn't really that long, but it feels like its been going on for much longer. It's getting there but still needs a bit more work. Phil still isn't quite happy with the story, but I'm getting to the point where I just want to get writing. I don't really have a system that I use for every script - each one seems to work a little differently. Sometimes I think it pays to put the work into the front end and develop the story until it's close to perfect before going into the script. Sometimes, as was the case with Hit the Big Time, I think it's easier to go straight into the script and see where the characters take you. With the horror film I think it definitely needs the development as it's potentially a very complicated story, but I also feel like I need to get into these characters a bit more and give them some room to develop, especially since it's a two-hander. So I think I can manage one more pass at the treatment, but then I really need to get these characters into a script to see what they say to each other.
Also as I'm writing this I'm listening to the Brent Hanley (writer of the amazing Frailty, one of my favourite films of the last few years) commentary on his episode of Masters of Horror and he's just said he doesn't like doing too many outlines!
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Anyway, A V P R – not bad, better than the first one, but as usual could’ve been made loads better with a decent rewrite. The dialogue and characters are all fine; it’s just that the stakes aren’t high enough and the writer obviously didn't think that it mattered too much. There’s a moment where the characters are on their way out of town – perfectly sensible thing to do since everyone else is getting picked off by monsters, although at this point they don’t really know what’s happening – and they get stuck in traffic. So they just decide to go back into town. No real reason except for the fact that if they did leave at that point it would be a much shorter film. All it needed was for someone to say ‘We can’t get out – the bridge is down’ or some such excuse and it would be fine. Instead it’s a classic case of the characters looking stupid because they miss an obvious opportunity to escape.
Then at the end the survivors are getting onto a helicopter and the main guy tells the others to go ahead. Why? No reason, he just wants to shoot some aliens. Which he does, then gets on the helicopter anyway having achieved nothing except killed some time and used up more of the effects budget. It wouldn’t have taken much to give him an excuse to go back for something - one of the others gets left behind and he decides to try to go back for them. Instead, he came off looking stupid. Again.
I don’t want to turn this into a film review site, but I feel it’s important to point out when big-budget films are messed up by writers who are getting paid a lot more money than I am – and as I’m not getting paid at all at the moment they’re earning loads more and should learn to do a better job!
Saturday, 19 January 2008
1) Dark Future – A zombie film currently at 2nd draft and looking good but at present far too expensive to shoot without funding.
2) Hit the Big Time – A Ten Dead Men spin-off, currently shooting a short in LA.
3) Untitled Horror – A serial killer film developed with the producer of Ten Dead Men.
These are the scripts I’ll be talking about over the next few months, along with a couple of extra projects I’m hoping to work on this year too…
1) The evening class at the Brighton Film School. There were good things about it and bad things about it, but I did make some good friends and get a short film made which you can see here:
2) I made another short with film school friends. It’s from an old 15 minute script that I compressed to 3 minutes, filmed in one night and then spent about 6 months editing. Here is the result:
3) The highlight of last year and my career to date didn’t happen until December. The producer and director of Ten Dead Men managed to get Hellraiser star Doug Bradley to play the narrator of the film, and I got to be there when he recorded the dialogue. It’s amazing because I’m a huge Hellraiser fan and it’s one of the films that made me want to start writing in the first place. More importantly, he did a fantastic job and I can’t think of anyone more perfectly suited to the role.
Which should bring you up to date. My first feature as a writer is currently in the latter stages of post-production and will be screened in Brighton in April this year, and will hopefully get a DVD release by the end of 2008. I am now frantically trying to decide what I’m going to do next! Which is what this is all about – rather than actually do any writing I’m going to write about thinking about writing and therefore kill some time whilst simulataneously wasting someone elses.
And partly I've been inspired by James Moran, writer of the excellent Severance and of the best writing blog on the net at http://www.jamesmoran.blogspot.com/
The real reason I’m doing this is because aside from Mr. Moran, no one ever really talks about writing at this level – one day they were working in some sort of trendy retail establishment vaguely related to their career, the next day they are international megastars. What happened in between? Usually they networked at parties. Not that I’m due to become an international megastar or have any idea what networking really involves, but whatever happens I’ll record it here and it will give me something to do on my lunch break at work. Enjoy.