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.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Mine on IMDB

Hello March...

Wait, it's March 25th?! I can't believe someone stole my month again. Honestly, whoever this month-thieving bastard is deserves a right good tickling. Or kicking. Whatever upsets them more.

In an attempt to cram in as many Blog posts into the last remaining sliver of March, here's one about MINE, the short film directed by Simon Berry and written by all-round-amazing-humanoid-person David Scullion.

MINE is now on IMDB.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5430024

The film itself is NOT on IMDB, as it is soon to be circulating festival circuits in an endless loop of praise and awards. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.

IMDB does, however, list all the awesome people who worked on MINE, including Ben Kent, whose cinematography is genuinely astounding in this short.

More on MINE in the future, with festival showing dates and perhaps - if you're lucky - an actual link to the short film so you to watch it yourself (and judge it yourself, possibly while naked and covered in Marmite. I heard that's how you like to watch short films. You pervert. You sexy sexy pervert).

Until next time...

...stay crazy.

Monday, 29 February 2016

February Stocktake

Month Two is almost over for 2016 and I've been busy.

Busy with writing, busy with my day (and night!) job, busy searching for a new gaff, busy in Dublin, busy in Essex, busy battling our land-baron, busy watching our government implode, and busy attempting to have an actual life around all of this... with varying degrees of success.

I did manage to see Deadpool, which was suitably bonkers. Caught Bowling for Soup and The Used live in concert, bringing out the emo-punk hiding inside me. Saw my nephew, brother and dad for their birthdays (all 40 today. Don’t ask. Time travel, basically). Saw too many computer screens and not enough sky. Played games, watched Netflix, ate too much pizza, had 44 cold showers, occasionally slept.

Exhausting month all in all.

So instead of an engaging, super-thrilling post about something thoroughly brilliant and hilarious, I'll do the thing I dreaded doing at HMV.

A stocktake.

My writing stocktake is as follows:

Dearly Beheaded - currently looking for finance.
Hipster Massacre - currently looking for finance.

Dead of Knight - buried off the coast of Malta. Inactive.
Blue Green Yellow Dead - eaten by zombies, zombified and shot in the face. Undead then actually dead. Or is it? Yes. Yes it is.
Botfly - half alive, but mostly gathering flies and dust.

Mine - the short film is almost done. I've seen a cut and it is excellent. More of this in the future!

Don't Move (Feature) – rewrite complete. Going out to terrify the world this week.
Capture - ready for a rewrite. Due Q3 of 2016.

All other projects have no updates, with The Kidnap, Liars End, Strapped etc... currently with various people and / or gathering dust in my vault.

I am working on a few short film scripts and also have a secret feature project I'm beavering away on, but that's it.

Stocktake over.

Thankfully less painful than a HMV stocktake, which took hours and gave me a nervous twitch thanks to the endless beeping of barcode scanners. And then you accidentally miscount a shelf. Ugh. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep [continue until dead or insane]






Yeah.

So that's it. Just a quick catch-up on my current writing status.

Next time I'll write something spectacular. Probably. Maybe. Or not.

Perhaps the complete opposite.

Tune in to find out!

Beep.