Wednesday, 29 April 2009
To put it into context, everyone was given a genre and a subject. I got 'mystery' and 'phone bill'. Somehow I got from there to a freak detective in a Coney Island sideshow. If you do get chance to read it let me know what you think in the comments, although please bear in mind it was written in three evenings so if there's anything bad in there, that's my excuse.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
And if you really really wanted to see the film but couldn't make the screening for whatever reason remember the UK DVD release is less than a month away now! You can pre-order it here.
I do have to apologise to Kely McLung who had come over from the States to show his film Blood Ties only for me to leave after my film finished and take the majority of the audience with me. I am definitely going to indie film-maker hell for not supporting fellow artists, but to go partway towards making up for it here's the trailer for Kely's film:
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Obviously I haven't coloured it in yet but I wanted to establish what it was first, in case I invoke the wrath of some long-forgotten Elder God in the process by mistake. Brother Pete suggested that it's either a Basilisk or a Cockatrice - I thought they were the same thing and have never really known what either of those are anyway. And whatever it is, I'm still not sure what it was doing in a National Trust house - perhaps the National Trust was originally founded by a race of mythical creatures ? Any ideas?
Friday, 24 April 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Birdeatsbaby - The Trouble from Philippa Bloomfield on Vimeo.
See? Awesome. There are details of their upcoming shows and soon-to-be-released album on their website where you can also buy their rather excellent EP (you can also get it from iTunes).
There were also excellent support acts in the form of Trousseaux and Gentleman Starkey - go check out their websites too. All in all it was a rather awesome night. I drank too much and then me and Brother Pete came up with an idea for a short film possibly involving puppets. Here we are plotting by candlelight:
This is also my last chance to mention the screening of Ten Dead Men in Worthing on Monday 27th. Despite my extensive Facebook/Myspace PR campaign at the weekend I'm pretty sure there are still tickets and the details are here if you want to come along.
Anyway, going to Birmingham tomorrow which means tonight is my last chance to finish the short script for the competition so I'll blog about how that went when I get back. And then I've got a feeling I'm going to get very busy.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Anyway, Monday I wrote a two page treatment then tried to re-work it a bit, but that took me until 2 in the morning and it wasn't in a position to be turned into an actual script. My plan for last night was to rework the treatment and get a first draft finished. I'm busy tonight, so that leaves Thursday for a second draft.
Reworking the treatment took a bit longer than I thought. It was basically about simplifying it and getting it to the point where I felt it was good enough to work from. It was about 10pm when I started the first draft script, and it was then that I realised setting the film on Coney Island in the 1950s required an awful lot of research that I hadn't really done. So I spent about an hour collecting photos and confirming that the parts of Coney I saw last year and wanted to use would've been there in 1955. I then started putting this into the script and quickly realised that most of it didn't need to be in there. But after a rather slow start I got into the flow of it and managed 10 pages by 1.30am.
And it's kind of going okay. I'm starting to doubt my premise a bit - i'm not sure my macguffin is being used to full effect. But even if it's not good enough to get through to the next round, I'm enjoying working on something different and I'm happy with the characters I've created for it - they may well live on in something else further down the line.
Monday, 20 April 2009
And if you or anyone you know are in the Brighton/Worthing area on Monday 27th of April Ten Dead Men is screening as part of the End of the Pier Festival. You can buy tickets here.
Anyway, I've been at a bit of a loose end this year. I got off to a good start with a major rewrite on a script (Jimmy Sci-Fi) that at the moment is looking like the one most likely to be turned into an actual film. Which means there's also not much else I can do with it at the moment. Since then I've been working on the other Jimmy Scripts, which has mostly involved writing treatments. Jimmy Fight is in Brother Pete's hands at the moment for the first draft and seems to be moving along pretty well. Jimmy House went through a couple of treatments and I'm supposed to be having a meeting about it some point soon. Jimmy Horror I never really got started on but it's also in the treatment stage. Then I did the Dark Future rewrite which took far more time than I thought it would but in the end I think it was worth it, if only to go through the process of doing a really tough rewrite.
As I mentioned a couple of posts ago there are things I could be doing, like getting pitches ready for Cannes. But that all seems like a long way off (even though it's actually less than a month). I know what the problem is - it's the last minute rule. When I was at university I never managed to get any work done prior to the evening before said work had to be handed in (which I believe is quite common) and I've never managed to shake the 'why do today what you can put off til tomorrow' attitude.
I realise this is a bad advert for anyone wanting to hire me to write anything. I'm not like that with everything, honest. Sometimes I even do things a whole two nights before they have to be done.
If Cannes was happening tomorrow I'd have no problem motivating myself to getting these pitches sorted out. But it's not, and there's also the fact that I haven't done any new script writing all year. It's all been pitches and treatments and reading other scripts. And that's what scriptwriting is, for the most part. I think I've said before that the first draft is fun but the real work is in the preparation and the subsequent drafts. But if you don't do the fun part you kind of forget why you're doing it in the first place.
So I'm doing this instead and now have to write a short film in one week. I've got my assignment, I spent most of Sunday researching 1950s phone bills and now I've pretty much got a story and characters. I just need to write the thing.
And I've picked a week where I've only got three free evenings.
And I'm using up one of them writing this...
Saturday, 18 April 2009
This isn't a pathetic bid for more friends, there really is a short film there, but because I didn't post it I can't share it outside Facebook at the moment. Look, here's a still to prove I'm not making it up:
Anyway, it came out really well and looks amazing - it was filmed in an abandoned police station in Brighton which helps. It was directed by Carlos Boellinger and produced by Alex Beales who also plays the lead role and gives a rather excellent performance. If you get chance to watch it please let me know what you think.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
If you haven't already pre-ordered the DVD then I will continue to provide reasons to do so here, like this image of the shiny new packaging complete with actual comic in actual print:
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Also worth checking out at the festival are the premiere of Dan Parkes' drama Ambleton Delight on the 25th and Peter Stanley Ward's horror film Small Town Folk on the 26th.
Monday, 13 April 2009
I did mange to finish off the new draft of Dark Future which ended up being two new drafts instead of one - first time I've had to do that, but I guess that's what comes of thinking something will be easy and not planning ahead. Or just a necessary part of the process. Anyway, it's on draft five now which will hopefully be it for the time being. There is a website being constructed at the moment so hopefully I'll be able to reveal a bit more about that project shortly.
I also finally got a new phone after having my old one for eight years. This was mainly due to needing one that would work abroad. I miss my old phone already. It was chunky and had been dropped more times than I can remember without ever being permanently damaged. And it had a Spider-Man cover which was ace.
My new phone looks like it would probably smash into a thousand pieces if I dropped it. My old phone also didn't do anything except make calls and send texts, and it did both those things very well. My new one does lots of things I never thought I needed a phone to do and am still not sure I do. Ultimately I think my real problem is with the idea of mobile phones themselves rather than my new phone. I'm still a phonophobe at heart (or is that a fear of sound?) - I've never been comfortable with the idea of people being able to get in touch with me whenever they want to. And I kind of miss the days when people used to just turn up to meetings on time rather than call to let you know they were going to be late, and real life conversations didn't have to be put on hold the moment someone else calls.
Still, at least I can do all the things that will help me out of a supernatural thriller situation, as described here. And I can have the Hawk the Slayer theme as my ringtone which has yet to get annoying.
Went to see Supersuckers and Nashville Pussy last night out which was ace - a proper ROCK gig. We went right to the front which I haven't done for ages and I now can't hear anything.
Monday, 6 April 2009
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Meanwhile, there is another really good Ten Dead Men review here, which says some nice things about the script:
'All this would be a frankly tedious sequence of one fight after another - simultaneously violent and picaresque - if the film was told in chronological order. But where the script by Brighton-based Chris Regan (working from Boyask and Hobden’s story) works brilliantly is in chopping up the tale and mixing it with slices of earlier events so that we only learn why this is happening as we’re watching it happen. Cause and effect bundled together into one remarkably coherent and logical plot.
Not that the viewer could necessarily work out precisely what is going on without a little help. Hence the drily detached narration by Doug Bradley - which at first seems, as narration invariably does, tacked-on and gratuitous. As the film progresses, as we start to realise which bits of the story happened before or after other bits (including, later, some bits which we saw out of context at the start), Bradley’s narration becomes not only worthwhile but indispensable.'
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Sometimes it's not that simple, especially when you get into it in the later stages of a script as I'm finding now. Dark Future, the zombie project I've been developing with a director for a couple of years now, is currently at three drafts and I'm in the process of writing the fourth with the main change being the amalgamation of two characters - as I don't really like getting into specifics we'll call them Jim and Bob for now. At first I thought this was a great idea - Jim was always a bit of a problematic character to begin with and Bob had been criticised for being far too similar to a third character...let's call him Cecil. It also seemed like something that would be fairly straight-forward to implement.
Both characters are bad guys, but Jim starts out as a potential hero who is slowly revealed to be a bit wrong, while Bob is a vile, malicious character from the moment we meet him. So it's not a case of just changing the name of one to match the other and working round the bits where they interact. Except I was daft enough to think this might help so the first thing I did was change the names round. So I now have two characters in the script called Bob and am working from memory as to which was which. This can be annoying but I'm too lazy to change it back.
The other problem is there is a lot of exposition in the film. I'd forgotten that in the second or third draft I'd changed Jim's occupation into one that would give him an excuse to deliver a lot of that exposition. Fine, give Bob that occupation instead, but the problem with that is that Bob's character is tied closely into Cecil's story arc, and without him Cecil has no one to talk to and becomes a lot less interesting. They may have been very similar but the two of them were necessary so it's still easier to merge Jim into Bob rather than the other way round. And the Bob that is partnered with Cecil can't have Jim's occupation - it just wouldn't work.
There are two conclusions I've come to as a result.
1) Time-consuming as it is, there are advantages to doing a full, page-one rewrite rather than just a pass at the script. In this case it's a small enough change that it doesn't really warrant a page one rewrite and I don't really have time to do that anyway, but it is also the kind of change that's difficult to keep track of when doing it like this. And this leads me onto point two.
2) It's easy for a reader (and I'm really talking about the casual reader rather than the professional script reader - as a somewhat casual reader myself I often recommend changes to people's scripts without any idea of how I would go about implementing them) to say 'I know what the problem is here - these characters are essentially the same!' Working that into a script is much harder. A lot of things in film making, at all levels of development and production, are about hiding the process - making the behind the scenes stuff invisible so your audience isn't aware of it. We all know there is a three act structure and with plot points and character arcs and so on, but we don't want to be reminded of that when we're watching a film. Just like we don't want to be reminded of the crew and the lights and the cameras.
So the machinery beneath the surface of the script shouldn't really be visible to the casual reader. But when you take out one of the elements on that surface there are all kinds of repercussions below - it's like taking a gear out of a complex machine and hoping it still works the same way. So the page one rewrite is when you disassemble the whole thing and put it back together again making sure everything works the way it should. Or you do it the way I'm doing it - running tests, finding the parts that used to work and now don't anymore and then changing them too, only to find that now some other part somewhere else has broken down as a result.
It's hard work, but that's also what I enjoy about it - it feels like hard work. Although it's also why I've been putting off doing it on this script for so long.