Friday, 27 May 2016

Introductions and Unfilmables

 Sexism is bad. A statement so bleedingly obvious it feels comical to write it...

...but I have to.

Why?

In 2016 producer Ross Putnam had the sharp idea of noting sexist character introductions in scripts he read and then posted them on Twitter (under @femscriptintros).

By sexist I don't mean an intro reads like "JANE stands in the kitchen like the good house wife all women should aspire to be".

I mean they mention the physical beauty of any female character as a primary feature. Sometimes the only feature, as if beauty counts as personality somehow.

There's a great (Blog-distracting) Variety article about this here ---> VARIETY ARTICLE

Saddening, right?

Well, we all do it. Or have done it. Or could do it. I know I'm much more careful about character descriptions than I used to be, but it's a deliberate thing I actively do.

It's a thing that scriptwriters need to be conscious of otherwise it'll just be splurged out lazily with "JANE is a gorgeous blonde in fuck-me shoes" or "LARRY is a super-toned hunk with a smile that melts knickers".

I use character description to give the 'essence' of a character (to get all new-age on you) in order to give a flavour what they look like or seem.

Essence?!

Yeah, like "JANE looks like a punk-rock art teacher" or "JAMES is a clown in a dinner suit; uncomfortable and rare".

Okay, so those are fucking terrible examples, but you get the idea!

There are times when describing beauty is completely necessary in a character introduction, if their looks affect the scene or characters within in...

...but if you need your protagonist to have a "love at first sight" moment with someone (for example) you don't actually need to mention she's “as beautiful as a sunset orgasm”.

I think the reader can work that out themselves (and beauty is subjective).

I mean, the casting director isn't going to hire an "ugly person" (subjective!!!) because you didn't write the word "beautiful" in the script! You may've noticed that a couple of Hollywood films feature a somewhat heightened version of beauty in their lead characters…

Ross Putnam highlighting these careless and / or sexist introductions is not the first time horrible sexism has been pointed towards women in scripts / film.

Others have also been doing a fine job of shining a light on the truly repugnant casting calls / descriptions of females in this insane industry - but in relation to casting and not scriptwriting itself (I mean, if I went into how sexist the film  / TV industry is in general I'd be writing forever...).

There's a number out there, but the ones I knew of (and Variety also mentioned) are:


Worth checking out.


Honestly, some of these would be hilarious if it wasn't so fucking tragic.


UNFILMABLE INTROS

The other thing that infuriates me about character introductions are "unfilmables".

Take this intro from a Blacklist 2014 script:

JANE is a beautiful 17 year old ballet instructor and fights to get extra money. Super smart but super naive, she plans on going to the American Ballet Company and wants to marry Andy and have two and a half children.

How the hell can we know this from literally just seeing her?!

Does she have an "I'm a ballet instructor" badge on her chest and a baseball cap with her entire plan written on it in convenient bullet points?


Even the super smart and super naive statement is unfilmable at this stage. How can an actress act that? How can a viewer gain that from her literally walking into the scene?*

* Incidentally, we had previously seen Jane in the script… when she was beating the living shit out of another woman in a dirt field. Because that definitely suggests "intelligent and naive".

This kind of description is literally cheating and infuriating to some readers, me included.

I want to experience a script like you'd experience the final film if you watched it in the cinema; same pace, same emotional impact and same reveals.

This kind of character intro cheats us. The final audience will not know this information until later - or not at all! - so it's confusing as to why the reader should learn this at such an early stage.

It either shows a lack of confidence in providing this information within the action and dialogue or - worse - it's just plain lazy.

Okay, so I imagine you're now thinking "But this dude got on the fucking BLACKLIST with this script! That means I SHOULD write unfilmables and introduce all women as beautiful!".

No.

No no no no no.

Your script is a calling card. His card has been called. He is being championed by producers or agents or managers. This may be his sixth professional script. This may be a rough draft smacked out early to attract a star.

Your script - more than likely - is wanting an audience. It wants to be read. It wants respect. It wants to be passed around. It wants someone to champion it.

Thing is, this unfilmable nonsense might turn off only one reader... but that reader might've been the gateway to production. It might be a producer who loathes that kind of thing. It might even be a director who finds that sort of detail patronizing and unprofessional. It might be a barrier to a career in screenwriting.

It also might not matter.

But I think it does.

Much like the atrocious and lazy descriptions of female characters in some screenplays ("JANE is in her 30's but surprisingly pretty"), the unfilmable character intro is equally repugnant.

Okay, so some intros can afford to have a smattering of unfilmability about them. For example:

"JANE is a thirty-something whirlwind of fun. Chaos unleashed and loving life"

This is fine unless she acts contrary to this, meandering solemnly into the room like a moribund sloth. She needs to live up to the description immediately otherwise it's cheating again. Or lying. Or just plain stupid.


TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY

I'm wrong.

I'm sure of it. I'm sure someone can pull out an example of a phenomenal script with a sexist and unfilmable introduction.

Probably a few. Probably award-winning ones by phenomenal writers I adore. Probably some of my favourite films ever. Probably some scripts written by me.

Yep.

Definitely.

There will be exceptions. There always is.


But I'm still trying to bang down the door of an increasingly-tougher fortress. The portcullis is open, but I'm still battering the gate, hoping to be let in.

I want my scripts to have nothing that could stop an investor or a producer or a reader or a PERSON from reading it. I also don’t want to be sexist because… duh.

Sexism is bad, remember?

I think lessons can be learned from what Ross Putnam and co. have discovered and it's up to writers to address it. Because if we don’t, who will?

Right.

That's it.

Rant over.

I'm off to meet my friend Jane (45), who is a beautiful mother-of-two who used to be a judo instructor and is now a firefighter in Thurrock. She is proper sexy, despite her age. And loves meerkats.

Yeah. 

Film that.
 

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Planning McPlannington

I like to outline. Many people don't. Some people - like the phenomenal / possibly-insane Max Landis - just vomit out scripts. Some take months. Some take days. Some do it over a weekend (Max Landis, proving himself both phenomenal and insane again).

I'm somewhere in the middle. I plan for a few weeks then smash out a script in a month. This is a "working a full-time job in an office month" too, so about eight weekend days and twenty evenings, if life doesn’t get in the way…

My current script - the secret one I'm evasively avoiding talking about - is now fully planned and I’ve smashed into the script.

This is my 21st feature I've ever written in full. Not script - that's over 50 if you include shorts, plays and TV scripts. A thousand if you count ‘great’ ideas scrawled down and dropped into a dusty coffin / filing cabinet, never to see light again.

I experimented last year with not planning a script and it resulted in a messy, long process. Vomit draft became just that: vomit. On toast. With a sprinkling of egg. And explosions. It was a mess that took a lot of unpicking and STILL needs a rewrite.

So I planned the bastard out of this next script.

How?

I've explained my planning process in previous Blog posts, but I'm taking a slightly unique approach on this one.

Well, unique for me. This might be old hat for some of you veterans. Or Renaissance hat. Or Victorian hat. I'm not carbon dating the hat, so it doesn't really matter...

After planning a scene, I now have four questions at the end of each scene. These are:

  • Purpose of Scene
  • Character Needs / Wants
  • Conflict
  • Research

I literally write and answer the questions during the outline stage! You know, in case I forget…

Now, let me break this down:


PURPOSE OF SCENE

Now, you'd think I'd already know the purpose of a scene before smashing into it, but it's the combination of Purpose-Conflict-Needs that need to be addressed.

If – however – your scene purpose is solely to reveal exposition, then you’re pretty much guaranteed that scene will suck rhino. Yes, suck rhino. Do you want to suck rhino? Does anyone?

No.

That’s why sucking rhino is definitely a bad thing and something you DON’T want your scene to do.


WANTS AND NEEDS

I’ve come across a couple of scenes in my latest script that could’ve been solely exposition, and in many circumstances possibly would’ve just turned into that had I not actively addressed the wants and needs of each character in the scene.

Once I realized this I also made use of the scene to reveal character, give motivation to everyone there and add conflict.

Some of the worst scenes I've read (and written!) have zero conflict and zero character motivation. They exist simply to forward the plot: informative scenes or scene-setting scenes or 'reveal' scenes.

I'm talking about the kind of scene in crappy horror movies where a crazy old man warns the teenagers about the "thing in the woods". It usually feels false and absurd and tropey because it's only there for ominous reasons and the audience feels the bullshit. They smell it, and it smells BAD.

If I planned a scene like this then I'd address what the old man WANTS. Why is he telling these kids about the woods? Why does he feel the need to do it? What is his - insert actor-pheromone here - motivation?

But also what are the wants and needs of those listening to this crazy old nutbag? Usually the other characters just sit and listen... but in 'real life' they'd surely still have their own individual motivations. Are they excited or bored or cynical or scared or angry or turned on (What?! Turned on?! Yeah, well some people love a creepy old dude!)?

This doesn't mean each character should have an obvious motivation in each scene. They don't need dialogue explaining how they feel. But it IS useful to know as a writer, so focus can be made on expression or comment etc... - because you're damn sure an actor will ask this when your film eventually goes into production. What am I doing here? What do I need? Why do I want it?

No one ever sits passively and listens. No one ever just sits. No one just is unless it’s a robot or they’re broken inside. And if they DO just sit at a bar and say nothing, then they have a motivation behind that too, and it's definitely worth knowing about and acknowledging it.


CONFLICT

Okay, so what about conflict?

Conflict taps deeply into the needs and wants of these characters. Conflict doesn't have to be gunfights or swearing matches or pies in the face or monsters ripping out hearts.

It can be subtle and incidental. It can be meaningful and plot relevant. It can be defensive and passive aggressive.

But I think the majority* of scenes should have conflict, even if it’s absolutely incidental. Conflict excites and intrigues and life is full of it. Watching two people sit at a dining table and agree is probably the least interesting thing you could ever witness, unless you really like watching fresh paint turn slowly less fresh.

* Not ALL scenes should have conflict. Ones that show perfect happiness before a (figurative or literal) storm are perfect. But most scenes should have elements of conflict, even if they’re friendly banter or light teasing or immense sarcasm.

Whatever the case, conflict should also have a REASON.

Some scripts (and films) will have characters clashing personalities for absolutely no reason, and that’s even worse than not fighting at all!

Again, this boils down to motivation. Every character needs or want something, which is what often leads to conflict, usually if two sides want opposite things.

Some people just argue for the sake of arguing. Contrarians are very real and we've all met them - in friends, family and work colleagues - who take an opposite stance no matter what the argument. We SHOULD leave the Euro! There IS no global warming. Battlefield Earth IS an awesome film. That kind of thing.

Of course, people in 'real life' are also illogical or randomly argumentative for seemingly no good reason, but if you delved into their psyche - seriously jumped inside their mind - you'd find all sorts of deep-seated reasons behind why they react in a certain way in a certain situation.

It is psychology, so as a screenwriter you get to choose and write the psychology of your characters so you CAN know the reasons behind their actions. They can certainly appear illogical, but you will have a reason and you can ensure it's consistent and story-led, and not just randomly included in one scene to add conflict or excitement.

That’s WHY it’s important to write down the reasons at the planning stage, so you know exactly why the character is reacting the way they do at any given point, even if their reaction is unexpected, extreme or bonkers.

But WHY include conflict?

Conflict is at the heart of all drama. It is the heart of all stories - good versus evil - and makes even the most mundane situation exciting.

Don't believe me? Fairy tales are all about conflict. Shakespeare is packed with it, even in his more docile plays and scenes. WWE wrestling is literally ALL about conflict on a sporting and acting level. People watch reality TV shows like Big Brother for the intense clash of personalities, not to see people getting along swimmingly and chatting about their hopes and ambitions and the weather.

People will stop and watch a couple fighting in public, but they will rarely stop and watch them chatting about bus times or what kind of haloumi to buy in Tesco.

Now I want some haloumi.

Conflict intrigues and excites.

It can be an external factor or a character vs character one. It can be small or huge. It can be Batman vs. Superman or Tom Hanks vs. A Desert Island or Kurt Russell vs. a chess computer.

Essentially, it boils down to this:

Scenes in which people sit around happily, agreeing on everything and generally having a lovely time are BORING.

Again, I'm not saying that Bouncer #2 should give a big speech about how his brother's suicide has made him hate all women... but having him hold a disdain for women (and thus creating a tiny moment of conflict) adds a layer to an otherwise potentially dull character/caricature.

Implementing this method has done some surprising things for me. It has helped me focus on the scene itself as a whole, not just an easily-ignored cog in a massive machine.

It means no scene is wasted.

It has bolstered character throughout the script, especially the secondary characters; some relatively one-dimensional (bland!) supporting characters now feel fleshed out and consistent and real... and it really makes the scene jump off the page, just by knowing their motivations and wants and needs.


RESEARCH

Why RESEARCH?

This is a post-scene outline area I use to add any questions I have about props or locations or naming conventions etc... For example; someone pulls a gun inside a nuclear power station control room. I could easily write that scene and make everything up, thinking I'll resolve it in the rewrite.

But that rarely happens.

I usually forget it's NOT correct or researched and focus on poor spelling or awful dialogue or pacing or plot continuity instead, leaving in props / costumes / actions that could essentially be utter bullshit. In reality I need to know how security works in an nuclear power station, what type of gun it is, what the room looks like and how it's staffed (amongst other things!).

But how do I research?

I usually wait until the end of the outline, gather all the available questions and have a “research session”.

Yeah, but HOW?!

Ask someone! Jump online! Find an expert! Email someone. Ask on Facebook. There's literally no excuse for poor research in the Golden Age of Communication (+ Procrastination).

For my latest script I have a contact from the actual industry in which the script is set. Very useful and very receptive. It is amazing how simple things like acronyms and official procedures and clothing and interesting facts can help make the world feel real and add confidence to your writing.

Obviously not all scenes need research, but it's useful to have a section to note something that may need fact-checking.

A reader can tell if something is well researched and it’s impressive. It shows professionalism and passion. They can also (sometimes) tell if something hasn’t been researched very well, with the opposite results.

Researching at the outline stage also stops you getting bogged down in the middle of a script-writing session, trying to find out if they had Nike trainers in 1978 or custard cream biscuits in Romania during the Romanian Revolution. We love to procrastinate, so doing research at the planning stage – no matter how small -- can save a tonne of time.



PAN-FACE / CONCLUSION

Okay okay okay. So some of you may be reading this and screaming “THIS IS ALL PAN-FACINGLY OBVIOUS!!”

Sorry dudes / dudettes!

Teaching you to suck eggs is close to making you suck rhinos, so I apologise if all the above is absolutely fucking obvious. I don’t mean to be patronizing.

Hopefully, however, this may be of some use. To anyone. To one person. To me.

You can also (rightfully!) say that I have zero authority in the field of scriptwriting to righteously deliver this sermon from my pulpit in Blog-land.

My paid work has been minimal and I've only had short films produced... but I have written 20 features and have a number of projects optioned, so I'm partially authoritative. Yes, that’s right --

David Scullion: Partially Authoritative.

If you can take a seedling of advice from this, though, it’s that planning ahead can save a truck-load of time on rewrites in the future. Just bullet-pointing each scene to ensure it contains a purpose, conflict and your characters’ needs and wants can genuinely change a scene from ‘decent’ to ‘compelling’.

That’s my method though.

If you talk to Max ‘of a thousand scripts’ Landis he’ll say “just write” and splurge your script out in a weekend. Is he right? It is for him (clearly!). But for me, I like a little more plan in my flan. Yes, in my flan. And no, I have no idea what that means.

Rhino sucking, flans and partial authority.

If you remember anything from this post, remember that.

Rhino sucking
Flans
Partial authority

Solid gold.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Capture - Round 2

Round 2.

Ding ding.

FIGHT!

This week I finished the 2nd rewrite on my horror feature CAPTURE, utilizing notes from the following awesome people:

Phil Clements
Adam Graveley
Mark Hill
Mac McSharry
Freddie Sandilands

A lot of it was consistent, some utterly brilliant and all of it useful.

So I've spent the past few weeks re-planning CAPTURE - especially the ending / third act - restructuring it and tweaking some characters. Adding a sexy badger. Removing the killer bees. That kind of thing.

I completed another read-through with the ever-patient Jessica Taylor - who probably knows the script better than I do now, poor bastard! - and made additional edits, tweaks and additions based on that.

It is ready for the eyes of…

...other readers

Yep. Not ready for the industry. Not yet.

I will be sending it out to some other trusted readers to get some fresh critique on this fresh new piece of fresh freshness.

Fresh.

Once feedback roles in, I'll do some more edits (or set it on fire and bury it in a slurry pit, depending on the feedback...) and finally have it ready for the world.

Until then... I shall relax.

Ha!

Not likely. Onto the next script!!

After rewriting DON'T MOVE at the start of the year and moving immediately onto rewriting CAPTURE, I'm looking forward to writing something new.

Not that this is the last time I'll be rewriting CAPTURE. Writing is rewriting. Writing can be obsession and passion and madness... but it is always rewriting.

My next script? A secret. It's a diversion from my usual output, veering from horror and comedy into another territory entirely...

And I can't wait.

Right.

Onwards!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Into the Woods

I spent twelve hours in the woods on Saturday.

Why?

Well, it was not the usual wicker man building, ritual sacrifice malarkey I normally get up to on the weekend. I mean, one guy died, but what trip into the woods doesn't involve the untimely death of a stranger?

A badger ate him.

Okay, okay, so what was I doing for half a day in the woods?

Helping out on a short film set, of course!

Anthony Melton and Ben Franklin filmed another masterful short film for their growing collection of work, and I got the pleasure of joining them.

What did I do?

Well, my exact title was "1st AD production assistant runner SFX makeup assistant waterboy fluffer caddy man person".

So... a diverse range of things.

For me it was great gaining experience on another film set, seeing how everything operates and how - no matter how diligently you plan - the weather will never obey you.

We experienced the full gammut of England's much-moaned about climate on Saturday, waking up to snow, then being smashed with torrential rain, light showers, grey skies, blue skies and raging hot sun. It was only missing a Sharknado to really top up the madness.

The crew and cast, however, powered through, and worked their collective tits off. By 8pm the muddy floor was left drowned by a sea of overworked mammaries, when the sun finally set over the titless collection of filmmakers.

They were all awesome, every single one. Apart from the 1st AD production assistant runner SFX makeup assistant waterboy fluffer caddy man person.

He was a total dickbasket.

Fun was had. Blood was let. Weather was cursed. And people rightly took the piss out of my WHSmith rain mac... which made me look like a lost tourist searching for a log flume.

The exact exactnesses of this short are strictly secret - unless you ask anyone involved - so I'll keep the details secret.

I will say it involved people in some woods with some blood and faces.

And a pterodactyl.

Dammit, I've said too much!

Anyway, I did manage to whip out my camera and takes some sneaky photos of the awesomeness in the Kings Lynn wilderness. No spoilers here. Just awesomeness.

Let's go:

 
 
 
 
 
 

As a fun side-note, after filming for 12 hours in the rain and sun and rain (again), I clambered aboard of train back to London, dreaming of having a shower and washing my muddy clothes…

…only to get an email from our landlord, saying the water in our entire block of flats wasn’t working. Broken pipe. Not fixed. No water. ARRRRRRGH! So I bought a small giraffe and had it lick me clean. I also used it as a toilet. He was great. I’ll miss Greg.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Sci-fi London 48 Hour Short Film Competition

On Saturday 2nd April I joined Rock Strong Productions in embarking on the 8th annual SCI-FI-LONDON 48hr Film Challenge!

The challenge is this:

On Saturday morning you get given a brief for a short film… and then by 1pm on Monday you have to deliver a completed short film!


There some restrictions:

It must be between 3 and 5 minutes.
It must be Sci-Fi (and its many sub-genres, like Sci-Fi Musical and Sci-Fi Rom-Com).
It must include THREE specific things – a specific piece of dialogue, have a specific title and contain a specific action and / or object.

They also include a FOURTH thing, which is a suggestion on theme / concept, which you can happily ignore or utilize to your heart's desire. 

We arrived at 9am on Saturday, which was a little needless as the brief kicked off at 9.30am (ish)… although we did get free chocolate and leaflets. LEAFLETS!!  

The brief was jovial and exciting and geared us up for the forthcoming madness…

Then we found out our title, dialogue line and object/action.

Plucked from a bag of many many options, each team would end up with random choices and selections, with a thousand combinations.

Ours were:

TITLE: Click Click.
DIALOGUE: Very slick. Very very slick even by my high standards.
OBJECT/ACTION: Two screws are removed from something.

Proof below! PROOF!



My first thoughts were “A sequel to Adam Sandler’s Click? With a James Bond bad guy? And some DIY?”

We bundled into Waterloo station and crammed ourselves into a coffee place.

Then we quickly debated ideas, smashing about some pre-conceived concepts and decided on an idea / basic plot…

…and then I had to write it.

I’d been given two hours to write a 5 minute short, which is a lot harder than it sounds!

CLICK CLICK was sent over, edited, tweaked and refined, ending up being 6 pages long. A beast, considering it should’ve been between 3 and 4 in reality.

Still, the Rock Strong Productions team took it and launched into an EPIC day of filming, that ended at 7.30am.

Yep.

Seven-thirty the following morning.

Some of them had a 22 hour day!

Then they had to edit it on Sunday.

Lessons were learned, fun was had, madness set in, but they made a goddamn short film in 48 hours – from start to finish – which is a huge achievement.

Can you see it?

No.

Why?

Because I’m a bastard.

We know that, but WHY CAN’T WE SEE IT?!

Okay, okay, it’s because the final film had to be 5 minutes long to meet the minimum requirements of the competition… when what they shot was about 7 or 8.

They had to cut two minutes!

So it’s been edited to death and makes as much sense a David Lynch on acid in a snowstorm! It looks great though! Well done to director / producer Helen Serruya and her cast and crew - an achievement whatever the freakin’ result.

The final version is being worked on by Rock Strong and will be submitted separately to festivals this year – more on this in the future!

Next time I’d like to go ‘all in’ and do the entire thing myself, as this year my pre-commitments meant I could only provide the script and had to be done by 3pm. Boo hiss etc…

For more info on the Sci-Fi 48 film challenge, check out their website below:


So amazing work out there.

Check it out.

Go on.

Click.

Click.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Happy Easter – New Beginnings

Yesterday I wrote about DON’T MOVE, in which a group of people can’t move without being horribly eviscerated by an ancient demonic evil.

The day before yesterday I wrote about MINE, in which someone is stuck on a landmine and can’t move without exploding a bit.

Today I’m going to write about ACTUALLY MOVING, in a physical and metaphorical sense.

March 2016 is about new beginnings, in the most hippy-ish, new-agey sort of way possible. Last weekend I moved house with my partner (and unofficial editor and read-through sufferer) Jessica Taylor.

We moved on Sunday and it took a massive ONE HOUR to move. That day happened to coincide with the first day of spring (the vernal equinox, which is not a space STD). Spring means a lot of things, but mostly it means rebirth, revival and new beginnings.

Before I get too wanky about this, I’m not a pagan or some kind of weird druid motherfucker, who dances naked in the moonlight and buries potatoes in the rain to cure herpes (or whatever). I also clearly don’t understand paganism.

So we moved house from Leytonstone in London to a place called Leytonstone in London. A modern flat close to the station and dangerously close to a chip shop and superb alt pub.

We’re still working out the arrangement in the lounge area, so my desk is currently at the end of a long dining table. Thankfully we’ve got some great shelving units now, so my view is an explosion of geekery:

Go on, judge me.

Board games and books about writing and special effects make-up. Get your ‘kick me’ signs ready, the nerds are coming to town.

The new home is excellent and has a much better ‘feeling’ about it. Our previous address had an odd energy about it –

Energy?! Dave, you are literally talking like the staff of a lentil-chewing, bead-wearing, shroom-addled, health-food emporium managed by “new world peace activists” hell-bent on making everyone fruitarian, bigamist, orgy-monkey bastards.

Well f*ck you. That’s just an absurd cliché. Most fruitarian bigamists are lovely.

We all get a “feeling” about a place, whether it’s related to past experiences or something entirely subconscious. Our old address - named after a channel island, for a clue to our old street name – just felt angry. It felt depressed, like a really sad couple used to live there and their residual sorrow permeates the walls (like that little old lady who lives in your kitchen cupboards).

It was also very fucking dingy no matter what light bulbs we installed and was constantly plagued by an unstoppable tide of mold. Which is probably why it felt so freakin’ shit to be there. Nothing says “awesome” like sucking black mold into your lungs. Yummy!

And then there was the landlord, but that’s another story entirely…

Now, to desperately claw this rambling back into a Blog about screenwriting, the “New Beginnings” thing is important for any creative person.

We should constantly be “beginning” again. In order to be fresh, we should look to begin new work all the time, and new challenges and ideas and processes.

2016 has been tough on me creative-wise. I’ve written a bunch of short film scripts (for myself and others. You should read The Tickle Monster – it’s begging to be made), alongside smashing through some rewrite work on DON’T MOVE and planning the CAPTURE rewrite.

Yes, really.

My intention had been to kick-start a new script entirely - the ‘secret’ project I’ve mentioned before. But time disappeared. My day job frequently became my night and weekend job, the rewrites and short film scripts became priority and then I decided to move house… which apparently takes up ‘some’ time in planning, packing and throwing out years and years of collected junk and body parts.

We gave eight boxes of books, DVDs and other paraphernalia to charity. And that was only a small portion of the ‘stuff’ we no longer needed. Humblebrag in your face.

New beginnings can often mean shedding previous shackles and kicking off the anchors weighing you down. We felt our old house was that and are ecstatic to be in a new one, chain free.

It feels exciting here and clean and fresh and happy, despite the ghost of the crying child haunting the bathroom. Fucking Little Jamie. You’re dead, get over it mate.

I’m going to boot away the takeaways and lack of exercise and finally get back in shape. By “back in shape” I mean “not the shape of a melted hippo”. I like the idea of moving away from a guaranteed heart attack and more towards not succumbing to Pizza Go Go’s “artery explosion disease”.

Incidentally, Pizza Go Go have a GOLD PIZZA available, only for £500.

I’m not even lying.


Because nothing says riches beyond comparison like drunkenly buying £500 worth of greasy cheese.

"Includes angry lobster attack"

Today I’m writing a short film (a drama, would you Adam and Eve it?) and then punching the CAPTURE rewrite in the balls. By that, I mean “doing the rewrite”.

Oh, and also celebrating the death of Jesus. Or the zombification of him. Or the rebirth or whatever. Something to do with a boulder and a lady of the night. And an omnipresent rabbit who hands out chocolate eggs. Man, religion is really weird.

Anyway…

Happy Easter you beautiful bastards.

I hope it brings wonderful new beginnings to you all. Bring on the future!


Don’t Move – Moving On Out

Moving on up. Moving on out. Moving on up. Nothing can stop it. Moving on up. Moving on out. Time to break free. Nothing can stop it.

Yeah.

To paraphrase M People’s seminal classic “Moving On Up”, DON’T MOVE is ironically now in full motion, moving on out into the magical land of Hollywood and beyond. And nearby. And around the corner.

The final edits have been made following some decent feedback and a jolly good rewrite, which has only strengthened the script (well duh. Making improvements that weaken a script isn’t a great idea…).

As well as being sent out via the multi-tentacled arms of Linda Seifert Management Ltd (who are NOT actually an otherworldly Cthulhu-style monstrosity, in case you’re wondering) it has also been jettisoned into America (North, not South or Ferrera) by Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton’s US agents / manager.

It has been sent to a small, carefully selected group of producers, production companies etc… who we think this style of terrifying horror film would suit (basically Nickelodeon, CBBC and Mattel Toys).

Now we kick back and wait patiently, whilst everyone:

a.) Sets the script on fire and sends drones to England to bomb our loved ones.
b.) Gives us mild complements, followed by absolute silence and future unexplainable anxiety attacks.
c.) Has a massive bidding war and ends up bankrupting Hollywood just to buy this game-changing, life-shattering script, which – to many – is the equivalent of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Or the first. It’s that cult-makingly awesome.

Or another option (Option D.) labelled “something actually realistic”.

The conclusion of this needlessly long and rambling Blog post is this: DON’T MOVE is complete and being sent out to production companies and producers worldwide.

I say “complete”, but I obviously mean it’s complete at THIS STAGE. A script is never truly complete until the writer is sitting in the cinema (or at home), watching the final final product on screen.

There is much more work to do on DON’T MOVE… and I can’t fucking wait.

Bring on the madness.