Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Short Script - Bobby's Call...

My entry to the competition was finally confirmed today - I had started to panic slightly. And one of the things I'm allowed to do as a result is post my short script somewhere online so other entrants can read my script and I can read their scripts. Then we can leave each other feedback in the forums which, on reading past forum posts, seems a quicker and more efficient way to get feedback on the script than waiting for the judges to get back to you. And seeing as I'm doing that I thought I may as well post the link here too:

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

End of the Pier screening...

So the End of the Pier festival screening went ahead last night to an audience of around 15 people. More had intended to come, but there had been problems with the trains all day meaning that some people physically couldn't get there in time (I almost didn't make it from Brighton!) plus the bad weather didn't help. The Gods were against us last night. Still, I'm really grateful to the people who did make it to the screening and it was great to see Ten Dead Men in a cinema one last time. Some of the scenes, particularly the Wembley sequence and the final action scene, work really well on a big screen too.

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

What creature is this?

Just got back from Birmingham. Went to Packwood House in Warwickshire which is a National Trust place that pretends to have been built in the 1600s when most of it was actually added by a looney rich bloke in the 1920s. Anyway, there was an area for kids offering various pictures to colour in, including this:

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

Short Script Competition UPDATE...

It's 1am on the 3rd evening (or technically morning) that I've been working on the short script for this competition and I've just submitted my script. So I finished the first draft at about 10pm, gave it to Andrea and Brother Pete to read, they had a few comments but nothing major so I did a quick pass at the script incorporating their comments. Then I realised that in transferring the script from the PC to my laptop it had somehow gained a page, and as I was already at the 15 page limit this was bad news. So I did another couple of passes cutting odd lines and generally tightening it up. Then spent ages trying to think of a title which bugged Andrea so much she couldn't sleep and she then came back into the room about an hour after going to bed having thought of the perfect title. And that's it - all done.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it. I'm not sure it will get me through to the next round - I think it could've benefited from a page one rewrite - but I think it's a good enough story that it will have a life elsewhere one day, either as a feature script or a TV pilot or maybe even a novel. I like the characters and I can think of cool stuff that can happen to them later on. Anyway, not allowed to talk about the actual script yet so I'll shut up about it. And I should probably take advantage of finishing early (I honestly thought I'd be up until five in the morning) by going to bed. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


So the reason I had one less evening to get the competition script finished was that I went to see Birdeatsbaby last night - a Brighton band who sent me one of those messages on myspace that I usually ignore. But I decided to take a chance on this one and it was ace - one of the best gigs I've been to this year. Their music is somewhere between Amanda Palmer and Rasputina, a kind of dark rock cabaret which the more I try to explain the more likely I am to show how little I really know about music so you'd be better off just watching their video:

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

Script competition update...

So last night, evening 2 of 3, I had a bit of a panic about writing a 15 page script in 3 evenings. Which was a a bit different to my attitude at the weekend when I was all '15 pages? No problem!' By the way, 15 pages is the limit, not the requirement and that's become part of the problem - my idea is a bit over-ambitious and perhaps more suited to a feature than a short.

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

The Last Minute Rule...

First off, more Ten Dead Men UK release news here.

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

New short film...

A short film I wrote called Whistle is now online. Unfortunately it's only been posted on Facebook for the moment so you'll have to be my friend to see it:

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


Apologies for my blog becoming an extended advert for my film. If you've already pre-ordered the DVD and are sick of me going on about it, please check back in just over a month's time when normal service will resume. In theory.

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

Ten Dead Men in Worthing...

I keep forgetting to mention this, but Ten Dead Men will be screening as part of the End of the Pier Festival on April 27th. We're on at 7pm at The Connaught Theatre in Worthing so if you live in the Sussex area and fancy seeing some artfully narrated death and destruction please do come along. Full details are here and you can buy tickets here. Reasons to be there - it will probably be your last chance to see the film on the big screen, I will be there, and I think there will be a Q&A afterwards.

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

Everything and nothing... kind of what my workload feels like at the moment. If I make a list of everything I could be working on it's huge. But if I make a list of things I need to do right now, it's kind of short. I'm sort of getting ideas and pitches together for Cannes, which actually isn't that far off.

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

Exclusive clip of me nodding...

So part of the interview we did for the UK distributor Brit Films went online here. I am certainly in this one more than the BBC one, but I don't actually say anything. However the full interview will be on the DVD so if you want to see something like the video below, only with the added bonus of me speaking actual words, then that's another reason to pre-order the DVD.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

About that...

So the rewrite I was enjoying because it was hard work has now become much less enjoyable. I finished the rewrite, but it didn't work at all and ended up with one of he characters basically being cut instead of merged into the other one. I've got a better idea of how to make it work now, but my aim to finish it this weekend is looking less likely.

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

Character amalgamation...

Amalgamating two characters is something I often find myself either suggesting as feedback on other peoples' scripts or doing in rewrites of my own. One of the first major developments in the Ten Dead Men script was the amalgamation of two of the main characters who essentially performed the same function. It's something that is often quite easy to spot from an objective point of view and can be an effective way of simplifying an over-complicated script.

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.

It's not.

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.