Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Evil twin...

This is going to seem a bit rambling but bear with me, it does relate to something that happened today.

So back when I was at university a friend, I forget which one, mentioned spotting someone who looked like me on a bus. Not so amazing, but they stressed that this person did look exactly like me to the point that they almost went over to say hello. I definitely wasn't on that bus so I decided I must have an evil twin, like The Dark Half. The twin came up in drunken conversations and was occasionally used as an excuse but was otherwise never heard from or spotted again.

Cut to a few years later and I'm living in Chelmsford. There was a shop in the station near my flat that I used to pop into on the way to work everyday for cigarettes. The bloke who worked in the shop came to recognise me and to know what I came in for, but then one day he hands me the wrong brand of cigarettes. He realises his mistake, but explains that there's someone else who has started coming into the shop every day who looks exactly like me but smokes different cigarettes. From that day on he never really confused the two of us again, but would occasionally say things like 'I saw him again the other day - you really do look identical'.

This goes on for a few months, then one day he tells me that the other me is leaving to work in Cambodia for some reason or other (at this point I start to wonder whether my twin is actually the evil one of the two of us as he sounds like quite an interesting chap). He is so convinced that we look alike that he wants us to meet so I can see for myself, so he asks for my phone number to pass onto the other me. This is obviously a bit weird but the bloke is pretty insistent and to be honest I am a little curious so I give him my number.

I don't hear anything for a few days, then I go into the shop and the man says that he gave my number to the other me but the other me said he wasn't going to phone me as he thought it was weird. Again I'm wondering if he's really the evil twin as he seems a lot more sane than I am. Anyway, he left for Cambodia and I never heard anything else about him.

Until today.

So I'm walking up to the office where I now work near Brighton station and as I'm about to go in the receptionist bloke comes out with a pile of letters in his hands and says 'Are you going to the office?'.

'Yes,' I say, because I am.

'Great, glad I caught you in time. Meant to grab you on your way past yesterday but I was too late. Can you take these for me?'

He hands me the pile of letters. This is not completely unusual. He often brings the post up to the office where I work, so I figure today he can't be bothered and has decided to have me do it instead. I take the letters and head inside.

'What? You're coming in here?' he asks, clearly confused.

'Yes, I work here,' I say, also confused.

He then realises who I am, and that I'm not the person he thought I was who obviously looks identical but works in a different office nearby. I see the receptionist bloke every day, we say hellos and goodbyes, he knows who I am and yet this other bloke who looks like me is obviously so identical that even when looking me in the face to give me the letters he didn't notice the difference.

'You must have a double,' he says.

I knew that, but he appears to be following me.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Clowny Clown Clown...

Had to post this, if only to convince Brother Pete that he didn't dream it...

Hope it doesn't give anyone nightmares.

Crispin Glover = awesome.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Exte: Hair Extensions...

So I am just going on about random films this week, but this one is interesting from a scriptwriting point of view. I watched Exte: Hair Extensions last night and as J-horrors go it's not the best but has a lot going for it. The dialogue and characters are all good (as is the translation which makes a nice change), plus Chiaki Kuriyama is awesome and it was cool to see her carrying a film. But the best thing by far, and I rarely say this, was the effects - a really nice mix of practical and CGI that often managed to be effective and suitably disgusting.

The problem is in the script and it's purely a structural issue which is why I think it's worth mentioning as it shows the importance of good structure. The main character is set up really well and we understand her goals and her problems early on (she is even a good example of a character who has the oft-debated wants and needs that are said to be the basis of all good characters). Parallel to this story we are introduced to the possessed hair extensions of the title (yes, it really is a film about possessed hair extensions).

We are led to assume that that the hair extensions and Chiaki's character, Yuko, will clash at some point which will kick off the story. However, what happens instead is that we get another story when Yuko's sister dumps her young daughter on Yuko's doorstep. Yuko finds out that her sister is neglecting the child quite badly and decides to take her in. This causes complications with her career and leads to a confrontation with her abusive sister in one of the most tense dramatic scenes I've seen in a film for a long time. The problem is that it's quite far removed from a story about possessed hair extensions.
But that's okay, I prefer my horror films to be taken seriously and the depth this subplot adds to the characters is worth the minutes it adds to the running time. The issue is that it's a big enough complication to set a film running on its own without the possessed hair extensions. I'm still waiting for the possessed hair extensions story to collide with Yuko's story so the film can start. But that doesn't happen until at least an hour in, and even then there's still a sense that there are two very separate stories here that have begrudgingly agreed to share screen time even though they'd both rather have their own film. The two stories never quite fit together and the film often feels a bit directionless as a result.

The point is, if you set up character A, then show us big nasty situation B we will naturally assume that A & B will collide at some point and that this will be what drives the film forward. When this collision is actually more of a bump that happens an hour into the film you're in danger of losing your audience.

But I hope I haven't put anyone off watching the film as there is some excellent stuff in there.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

New Ten Dead Men review...

It's been a while, but there's a whole new, rather epic and quite fair review by Occulus Orbus here.

So far this week I have mostly been trying to adjust myself back into the work/work balance and completely failing to do so. I have watched a lot of films, including Franklyn which I really really liked:

Monday, 14 September 2009

Back from Devon...

I'm back from a week in Devon, having been away from both day job and writing. Other than Josh Olson having a moan not too much seems to have happened in the week I was away. I always expect to come back to an inbox overflowing with important e-mails, but after I'd deleted all the rubbish I was left with about three that were of any interest (probably because I'd told most people I'm working with that I was going away so I shouldn't really be surprised). And yet this is a good thing because I kind of left whilst in the middle of a number of projects which now need to be finished off.

Highlights of my holiday were:

a) the Gnome Reserve where you are made to wear Gnome hats before going in. Unfortunately this was the one day we forgot to take the camera with us so there are no pictures of me in a gnome hat or indeed any evidence that the place actually exists at all. Although the gnomes do have a website.

b) the little village of Taddiport (which was near the tiny village of Langtree where we were staying) had a lot of houses with very lifelike scarecrows standing outside their front doors. I didn't get close enough to see whether they were actually humans dressed up, but it was quite freaky, especially having seen the Japanese film Kakashi.

c) a spontaneous night out in the nearby village of Torrington where we had the obligatory chat with a random local and saw Telstar at the Plough Arts Centre which was awesome.

It was excellent to get away for a bit, and feels weird to be back into a routine even though it was only a week. I am looking forward to getting back into writing and will hopefully be finishing off a couple of long-running projects over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The work/work balance...

So today at work I was reading something and started to criticise the motivations of the character and that I didn't really get where the story was going or how this part fitted in. I was on the verge of making notes to this effect when I realised that I was reading a work e-mail and not a script. The day job/writing balance has started to seriously tip towards the latter.

This is mostly on account of getting some paid work last week which then took up the whole of the bank holiday weekend. It's a rewrite/polish of an existing script and I can't really say much more than that at the moment, other than it's hard work but I'm enjoying it. On top of this I have two other scripts I'm working on at present and three projects lined up once those are finished. I am very much looking forward to going on holiday next week!

Meanwhile, there are potentially exciting things happening with two previously completed scripts that are in the casting/funding stages. Both are still a long way off production, but every week there seems to be a bit more news which at least means things are moving forward. Still no official announcement on either of them so I can't into details yet.

I went to Son of Moviebar last night which was excellent as always, partly because our team (Team Shakma, obviously) came first in the quiz, although I disappointed myself by not knowing that George Miller directed the best segment of the Twilight Zone Movie. The rest of the evening was dedicated to screening trailers, some for completed features, some for features to be and one for a feature that was tragically killed in a hard drive wiping accident. There's full rundown at the Son of Moviebar Facebook group with links to the trailers here.

Also, I've linked to it on the right but I don't think I've actually mentioned in a post that Luther Jones who co-organises the event has his own film making blog here which anyone seriously interested in no-budget film production should check out.