Wednesday, 25 June 2008

2nd script difficulties...

I was feeling very pleased with myself for getting the first script done in two weeks, but this second one is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. I'm 60 pages in and still on target for the deadline on Monday, but it's nowhere near as good as I want it to be. Part of the problem has been moving straight onto another script straight after finishing one - I've been pretty much writing non-stop in the evenings and at weekends for three weeks now, plus a week writing treatments, so I'm pretty exhausted. The other problem is that it's a much more complex script and I don't think I've planned it well enough. Unfortunately the only way to get it done for the deadline is to skip over the parts that aren't working and hope I get a chance to rework them later. That said, there are some parts of this script I'm really happy with and I think if I rework the problem bits it could be the better of the two scripts - it's always a good sign when something's hard work.

I finally discussed the Hit the Big Time feature script in detail with JC so as soon as I'm done with these scripts I'll be straight onto rewriting that one. He also sent me a DVD of the Cannes trailer - basically a three minute trailer for the as yet unfinished short film. It's looking really good and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished short.

There are two Ten Dead Men screenings in July - one at Moviebar in Brighton on the 7th, the other as part of the Phantasma-goria festival in Swindon on the 13th, details on the following websites:

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Too busy to blog!

Speaking of the billions of other writer's blogs on the net I mentioned last post - how do they get time? They probably don't all have day jobs...

Anyway, I'm still here - script one is finished, only 8 pages into script 2 with one and a half weeks to go until the deadline.

Sorry to hear about Stan Winston and Cyd Charisse dying this week. Too many cool people have passed away this year!

Unrelated but exciting news - booked a flights for our trip to New York in September this week! Yay!

That's all I have to report!

Friday, 13 June 2008

70 pages in...

Not much to report other than that! Things got a bit much this week. I decided to take on a third script from the slate of six to be finished by the end of the month, intending to pass it on to my brother Pete to work on. I ended up spending three evenings on the treatment. So I'm a day behind on my original deadline for the first completed script but hope I can push the draft through tonight and get it presentable over the weekend. Then onto the next one.

I was looking back through my blog the other day and noticed that my opening statement said something to the effect of 'not many other writers are doing this'. I hadn't done my research. Quite a lot of writers are doing this and all of them have been blogging about writing for a lot longer than I have! I will post a whole load of links when I get time, but my current favourite is Phillip Barron's consistently informative blog here:

I have also discovered and become addicted to Creative Screenwriting Magazine's podcasts which are really quite amazing considering they're free. My favourite so far is the interview with Dr. Uwe Boll who I have a lot more respect for having heard him explain his career choices. Not that I ever disliked him as much as the rest of the world seems to anyway - Heart of America was a great film and he deserves some respect for keeping Michael Pare in work. Anyway, check out the podcasts if you can.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Big in Japan...

I'm still working on getting two features written in what is now three weeks remaining and am 60 pages into the first one. But there has been some good Ten Dead Men news - the film has been sold to Japan, France and Indonesia! More details here:

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Filming in the rain...

Filming on Monday wasn't a complete success, but not a complete failure either. We filmed the first few scenes on Brighton seafront just along from the Palace Pier, but the climax was cancelled due to bad weather. And although the end of the film is the most complex part, it was these first scenes that I was most worried about. Brighton seafront is busy at the best of times, and we were going to film on the busiest part just by the pier at a time when most people are heading home from work. I'm not a huge fan of filming in public - partly because I keep expecting some official type person to demand to see a permit, and partly because you're relying on members of the public to just be members of the public, not look at the camera at all or demand to know why you're filming them.

Ironically we were saved by the weather that later forced us to cancel the shoot. It wasn't raining when we started but being cold and windy there weren't too many people around, just enough to make the scene work. And those that were around helpfully walked through the scene oblivious. Shooting with two units (okay, not whole 'units' exactly, just two cameras) was a new experience and a difficult one - they were set up quite far apart and our actress (my helpful and talented girlfriend, Andrea) was set up even further away so there was a lot of running around. And as usual worries about the time meant that I spent too long working out the shots and didn't concentrate as much on what Andrea was doing as I should've done, but when we watched it back it looked fantastic. Then we moved down to the decaying West Pier and tried to cheat the geography of the seafront to get a cool shot. Then it started raining and we called it a day.

We've decided not to enter the film into the horror film competition - the deadline is June 12th and although it would be possible there's no way I can do it with my current workload - so that takes a lot of the pressure off. So we're looking to shoot the final scene in a few weeks time when I'm a bit less busy, and hopefully with a bit more planning the climax could come out really well.

Also, I finally got some feedback on Hit the Big Time from Jason who plays one of the main characters (and played Garrett in Ten Dead Men). I'm planning to speak to JC tonight and then I just have to work out when I'm going to rewrite the thing. Apparently it got a lot of interest at Cannes though and there are a couple of producers waiting on the completed short film and the feature script which is encouraging. Also JC will be sending me the teaser trailer for the short soon so it will be great to see some actual footage.

And I'm now 25 pages into my first script for Ross. As usual my first act is way too long, but once that's done I'm hoping to race through the 2nd and 3rd and finish the thing by the middle of next week. Then move onto the second script and hopefully there will be a week at the end of June to do rewrites!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Ten Dead Men stuff and filming...

There have been some minor Ten Dead Men developments this weekend. Our second print review was printed in Combat magazine. Once again it's a very positive review slightly tainted by the fact that Ross and Phil get credited for the script, and I don't get mentioned at all. On Saturday, reading the article in the queue in Smiths, I got very angry about this. It's not the fact that I wasn't mentioned, it was the fact that credit was given for the quality of the script but that credit wasn't attributed to me! I spoke to Ross about it and there was talk of printing retractions and so on, but having thought about it I'm not that bothered now. It's still a good review and there are some quotes about the script I can use. Plus, a much as I don't want to downplay any of the good press we get, it is in a specialist martial arts magazine unlikely to be read by many film people. But it does stand as the first time I've been misrepresented (or perhaps just ignored, but it doesn't sound as good) by the press - something of a career landmark I feel.

I've also arranged a second Brighton-based Ten Dead Men screening at Moviebar - a monthly film night at the Cornerstone pub which I'm sure I've mentioned before. The website is and if you look hard enough there's a rather embarrassing photo of my team winning the film quiz with me looking exceptionally drunk. Anyway, it should be an interesting night and at least it's a chance for the handful of my friends who missed the first screening to see the film.

Speaking of Moviebar, the event is organised by Chris Cook who also directed the Penalty King which is the film I've been subtitling in German for the last two months. It's taken far longer than it needed to, but I finally finished at 3am Saturday morning. So that's one more thing off the list.

My two feature projects for Ross are coming along fine. I'm 15 pages into the first one and hope to have a draft finished early next week. I'm also expecting notes back on Hit the Big Time shortly, although when I'm going to get chance to rewrite it I'm not sure.

Onto short horror films. If you go back through this blog a few months you'll find that I was at one stage working on two short horror films for an online competition - one I was writing, the other I was directing. The first never came to anything. I was working with a director I met on Shooting People who had me redrafting the thing four times which is never a good sign when the script is two pages long. Having tried every combination of scenes and events to tell the same story I called it a day as I was starting to get busy with other things. I got an e-mail from the director not long ago and despite his best efforts to put the project together it never really worked out. To be fair it was quite ambitious for a two minute film so I'm not hugely disappointed.

The second one has had a much longer gestation period, partly due to a lack of time and to be honest a lack of commitment on my part. I'm still not particularly comfortable with directing, especially at this level when you have to do so many of the other jobs as well. Also with my writing workload getting bigger I just didn't have the time to think about it. But it finally reached a point where it was either do it or call the whole thing off, so we're filming tonight. I'll report on how it went tomorrow.