Thursday, 24 July 2008

Warning: This post has a theme!

Before I get into a rather lengthy ramble about the nature of blogging I have to point out that I will be appearing on the AMR Movie Show tonight at 9PM. You can listen to it here:

You can also download the show from the same website if you don't catch it tonight.

We recorded the show last night (not sure if that's supposed to be a secret, but if it is it ties neatly into what I want to talk about later) and it was good fun, although it was difficult to contribute sometimes as I hadn't seen any recent films due to moving flats and writing. But I did talk at length about writing Ten Dead Men and name checked some cool films.

Apologies to the listener and competition winner I accused of being a stalker. It was late, I was tired and every time I managed to get a word in I tended to ramble on in order to make the most of it, without really thinking about what I was saying. But this does lead me onto the main subject of this post. It struck me after recording the show how easy it is to forget that it wasn't just a bunch of mates chatting about films, but people could actually be listening to the whole thing. The same applies to this blog.

When I started the blog one of the things that annoyed me about other writers' blogs is that once they reach a certain level of success they would stop talking about the scripts they were working on and just talk about 'the secret project' or 'untitled big movie deal'. That's something I vowed never to do, but despite being quite far from that level of success I am finding myself in the same situation. I've had to skirt around a couple of issues already, and a few I've delved into a little deeper. I've always accepted the fact that people I know and people I'm talking about in the blog may well be reading it. I thought I was okay with that, but now I'm not so sure and what I don't want is for the things I write here to affect my career. Hence my posts about the films I'm currently working on are becoming more and more vague, I can't talk about certain projects due to related delicate situations, and as a more specific example I can't show the Hit the Big Time teaser because it's a work in progress that I've probably already talked too much about here.

The problem is I sort of wanted it to be the opposite. The best commentary I ever heard on a film is Joe Berlinger on directing Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. It's a bad film, he knows it's a bad film, and he's happy to explain why and dish out blame. That's not to say honesty has to mean being negative about an experience, but that's kind of where the problem comes in - so far I've been very honest about the positive experiences I've had, not so honest about the negative. In fact mostly I've omitted them completely. And that's what can be frustrating - some of the most interesting stories about Ten Dead Men do require a level of disclosure that I'm really not supposed to go into.

So I've been thinking about this and about what I wanted from this blog. Originally it was just for me, to keep a record of my career and to remind myself of how I felt about certain developments in case I ever needed reminding. For that it's already proved useful - reading back I find that one week I'll be championing one project that I feel really good about, the next that one's not going so well but another is really taking off and I seem to forget how I felt about the former. The other reason though is that I do want people to read about it. Partly for the reason that I'm in rather a unique position in the industry - I'm an unpaid writer without an agent, but with one feature already in the can and more in development. It's a vulnerable, scary and quite often exciting position to be in and once that I hope will change, but also one that I want to share with other people who may find themselves in the same place someday. And I wanted to be honest about it, because people in this industry rarely are, but as I'm now discovering it's often for good reasons. There are also selfish reasons for the blog, of course. As much as I despise reality TV and our current celebrity obsessed culture I guess I too want my 15 seconds of fame just like everyone else. This way I get my fix for free and at the moment without having to subject the rest of the world to my ego if they're not interested. I knew that too when I started this, because otherwise why not just keep a diary? There had to be an audience, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to summon the enthusiasm to do it.

But faced with the fact that I actually do have an audience, albeit a small one so far, has made me reconsider the nature of what I'm writing about. I did start this intending to be as honest as possible and I've decided I need to find a way to do that without causing any unnecessary problems for my career. So what I'm hoping to do going forward is to keep names of people and projects out of the blog where at all possible in the hope of maintaining a level of honesty about things that are happening and how I feel about them. At the same time I don't mean it to sound ominous - I'm not going to start attacking people or whinging about everyone, but I do want to talk about some of the situations a writer gets into at this level in a bit more detail than I have done so far. I'm also not going to go over stuff that's already happened, this is purely to be applied to future experiences.

So for now that's the compromise. Obviously at the moment a new reader could go through the archives and my imdb page and work out who I'm talking about, but hopefully as time goes on that won't be so apparent. I guess what I'm saying is I'm not going to start going through old posts censoring them. I'll also probably continue to talk about projects I've already named like Hit the Big Time and Dark Future because it would seem weird to start talking about 'the secret hitman project' or 'exciting zombie script' at this stage.

Bringing it back to the radio show, it has made me think that maybe I would like to experiment with audio or video blogging, but maybe I'll reconsider after I've listened back to the show! So far I've done 2 Q&A's, this radio appearance, plus the dvd extras for Ten Dead Men and while I'm pretty happy with how they all turned out I do think it's something I could get better at. I am also going have a go at making the blog a bit more interesting and adding links and stuff - something I've been meaning to do for ages.

Anyway, if anyone's still with me after that, well done, enjoy the radio show if you get chance to listen to it, and I hope to see you in the next post!

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