When I were a lad, probably around 10 years old (although my memory is rubbish so this maybe happened later than that, like last year or something), I was on a family day out at a farm when we were approached by a local news team looking for people to fill up a shot. All I had to do was stand in a bakery looking at cakes - that was it. So they set the camera up behind the counter and I just started laughing - I could not keep a straight face at all. Subsequently the only footage of me that appeared in the item when it was broadcast was the back of my head in a wide shot and my shoulder, whilst Brother Pete who took direction much better than me and was able to keep a straight face, had a full on close-up all of his own.
So on Friday I was interviewed by BBC South East Today about the release of Ten Dead Men, along with director Ross and actors Brendan and Pooja. This was my chance to finally overcome the failure of that first local TV appearance and to have my say on the state of independent British filmmaking broadcast to the whole of the South East! This is what it looked like:
That's me in black, strolling around in the background and throwing rocks into the sea. And that's all I got. Once again foiled by the insistence of local news teams to only show the interesting bits!
To be fair, it was quite a nice little piece about the history of films that have been made in Brighton. There were some really good clips of Ten Dead Men that made it look and sound like a proper film, like we made it with money or something. And it was cool to be factored into the canon of famous Brighton-shot films such as Quadrophenia and Brighton Rock. In a way it seemed a shame that it wasn't part of something larger - not because of us, but because there really is a rich history of filmmaking in Brighton going all the way back to the days of silent cinema and one of the first ever film studios. There's a documentary in there somewhere. Or you can go to Hove Museum where you can learn all about it.
Ten Dead Men isn't in Hove museum though - not yet anyway.
I fared slightly better on the the radio for BBC Southern Counties today - it being live I couldn't be edited out. I talked a bit about writing the script and our influences, then left it to Ross and Brendan to talk up the film.
It is cool to be involved at this level and to have a more public presence in relation to the release of the film, but at the same time I can see why writers do often get sidelined when it comes to publicity - particularly more general publicity like local TV and radio. For example, one of the questions I was asked for the TV interview was 'how do you go about writing a script?' - there just isn't a straightforward, dynamic answer to a question like that, although there probably is a witty one I couldn't think of at the time. And there's a constant nagging in the back of my head about whether this is interesting to anyone who isn't a writer. As with a lot of things, I'm maybe a little too self-conscious for some interviews, although I'm not so bad with the more film-centric ones.
Ultimately, it's great that the film is getting some pre-release attention and it's nice that's it's local. It's also weird in that I'm leading much more of a double life at the moment between the day job and film stuff. I was lucky today because the Southern Counties studio is just down the road from where I work, so I was in the office one minute, popped out for half an hour to do the interview, then came back. Cool in a kind of superhero, secret identity kind of way (although being on the radio isn't particularly secret so that analogy doesn't work at all really) but not so cool that I want to keep doing it like this forever.
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