Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Beats, Casting, Cotton-Monsters and a Good Bad Robot


You!

Yes, you!

Come close. Closer. Closer.

Now you are inside me.

Pervert.

What an intro! Shame really, considering this post is going to be a quick, light-hearted update full of infuriatingly elusive statements that gleefully skirt all specifics and show you untold horrors instead.

The past four days have been rather manic and ‘interesting’.


DON’T MOVE

Saturday and Sunday I completed the initial Beat Sheet for the DON’T MOVE feature, which was an excellent experience. It truly feels like a film now; the workshopping with Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton over June has really paid off and I feel we’re closer to something damn special here… despite our evening meals being a giant pile of crisps and once being swept away by a tsunami of Spanish children.

We now just need to rework the beat sheer and write the treatment and… well… the script and stuff.

Onwards!


HEAD CAST

On Saturday I also worked as Jessica Taylor’s make-up assistant / slave, helping her create a full face cast of actor David “Dave P” Puckridge.

I have been under the process on a number of occasions before, so it was certainly interesting being on ‘the other side’. I took some pictures of the process too – check ‘em out below:






And yes, the top photo looks like a cheap Hellraiser demon.

Pinhead, please meet Cotton-face.

This resulted in the following face mould, which seems like an optical illusion now I look at it...




This mould was then filled with white gloop (the official name), which hardened and when removed produced a cast of Dave P's magnificent head. 


This makes Dave P look like a sleeping emperor from an old Roman coin. Which he isn't. At least I don't think he is. I've never cared to ask, to be honest.

Why do this? Well, this can now be used to sculpt and design prosthetic pieces on (like gunshot wounds, bites, lesions etc...) which will then be moulded perfectly to Dave P's lovely face, meaning they're much easier to apply to him (and will look seamless once smoothed out and painted).

And example of her previous prosthetic work can be seen been (from my short film Sixth Sense):


Lovely, huh?

If you ever need a SFX make-up person, then head over to Taylor Made Effects www.taylormadeeffects.com/ - Jess can make you into a staple-headed goon or a beautiful bin-bag wearing fluffy hellbeast too. 

You know you want it.


BAD ROBOT

Last night I jumped on the phone with someone at Bad Robot, those excellent people behind Star Trek, Star Wars VII, Cloverfield etc…

I can’t exactly say much about it (or anything…) but they came across as fantastically professional and wonderfully refreshing in their approach to filmmaking and writers. I hope to chat more to them in the future.

That infuriatingly elusive enough for ya?!


DEARLY BEHEADED

Any news on Dearly Beheaded?

Well, the casting process is still underway and it’s an exciting – and nerve wracking – time. Consider my nerves adequately wracked. More updates to follow on this, hopefully full of positive news and not a report on my murderous killing spree throughout London’s acting populous. Cumberbatch, I’m coming for you. Wait, I need to rethink that phrasing…





Right. 

Done.

Look at all that. I could’ve stretched out 4 different Blog Posts about all that crap above, but have kindly condensed them into one lovely post for your easy reading. I’m so efficient / lazy.

Also, I could’ve easily split it in two and posted it tomorrow, but it’s my birthday tomorrow so I’ll be sitting in my pants, eating ice cream. Even if I go to the cinema. They don’t have a dress code, do they?

Right. Enough of this nonsense. You may leave me now.

Until next time; live long and don’t drown in soup.


Monday, 22 June 2015

Blumcast...

Anyone interested in modern Horror should check out this podcast by Brett Easton Ellis, which features Jason Blum.

Who and who?

Hopefully you know who these folks are, but a quick recap...

Brett Easton Ellis is the superb (novel) writer of American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction and The Informers. He runs a regular podcast who focuses on all kinds of awesomeness, including the Hollywood machine and all its insanity.

Jason Blum is the CEO of Blumhouse Productions and the uber-producer behind a huge array of modern Horror films, including Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge and - surprisingly - the fantastically Oscar-winning thriller Whiplash.

Anyone interested in writing Hollywood Horror should listen to this, to get a valuable insight into the business and mind of Hollywood's powerhouse Horror producer.

Love them or hate them, these films rarely fail to make a profit and continue to pull in the audiences worldwide.

Right.

That was it.


Go listen to it.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Celebrating Your Failures

I have failed.

Now celebrate it.

"Celebrating your failures" is something I've always believed in. I don't mean you should invite your friends & family to your house, hire a clown and make a cake with "You Fucking Failed" written on it.

By celebrate I mean you should acknowledge it openly and move on. Embrace the failure as a reason to fight harder and move forward, either rewriting what you have or cracking on with that next (presumably awesome) script.

My failure.

I did not make the Quarterfinals of the Script Pipeline competition, with my entry of The Kidnap.

Congratulations to those talented souls who've made it to the quarters - nice work! - and I look forward to seeing who wins it.

Results here: https://scriptpipeline.com/2015-screenwriting-competition-results

So I failed. Or maybe a script reader failed (to fully understand my masterful vision... erm... of comedy? Yeah, that’s definitely it…). Or maybe my electronic upload failed and I accidentally sent them a picture of a kitten eating a mango. What? It happens. Although that picture IS better than my entire script.

Whatever the case, the Pipeliners (as they'll forever be known) did not dig my script and that piece of hope has been removed from the hope jar.

But I don't despair. That jar is plenty full already.

Also, The Kidnap is a script that still gets me meetings and is a portfolio piece that accurately displays my comedy writing potential. It has continually pushed me under the noses of production companies, managers and producers in the UK and the States (thanks to my excellent agent Ed) - so it's not all bad. Not yet.

That's it. Post over. Just wanted to celebrate my failure with you. Welcome to the party, pal. Hope you enjoy the hummus.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Beaver As A Beaver

The headline says it all. I've been as busy as a beaver. If a beaver has built an entire fully-functioning city out of wood, reeds, rocks and grass.

It's been awesome and frustrating and bonkers and eye-opening and worth every fucking second.

Me, yesterday.

The journey is far from over (is it ever? Really? I'll stop when I'm dead. Or you're dead, depending on how you consider personal perception and existence to work. Will I exist once you're gone? Find out next week. Next week?! Yeah, sorry, next Wednesday you get beaten to death by a horde of angry penguins. You should've given them that packet of Fisherman's Friends. They love a good mint. Wait, what was this parenthetical about again?).

Dearly Beheaded is looking great and we’re moving forward. What’s that mean? I can’t tell you. But you’ll find out. Or not. Who knows?

Mmm… frustratingly elusive.

Okay, so that particular journey is far from over, but I'm also continuing on two other awesome - Horror related – journeys with Hipster Massacre and Don’t Move, alongside the rewrite of insane slasher-flick The Motivator.

I'm loving it, like a beaver building Hoover Dam out of spit and twigs.

One rule: Just keep going. No matter how insane the damn task is.

Bring on the madness.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Hipsters, Demons and Exploding Cows

Quick update!

This week I have been non-stop busy, working on various projects and trying to cram everything around my day job.

On Bank Holiday Monday I had another awesome session on Dearly Beheaded with script consultant Hilary Norrish and I’m currently smashing through the latest draft (lunch, evening, weekend). It’s slicker, faster, funnier, still contains an exploding cow. Loving it.

Need to finish the next draft by the weekend, as it’s going out to various important people and places in June. Exciting times!

On Tuesday the fine people at Cloud Burst Productions organized a read-through of Hipster Massacre, with the producers, myself and the directors. I took a day of annual leave off work, but it was definitely worth it. The actors were ace and really helped us see the pace, character and – essentially – comedy clearer.

I love a read-through and this was really damn useful. Glad it held up and that people enjoyed it too.

Now… a rewrite!

On Tuesday night I also had a meeting about Don’t Move (the feature) with director/producers Anthony Melton and Ben Franklin. The last thing I mentioned on this blog was regarding a full feature script floating around Hollywood, written by an up-and-coming screenwriting over in California. No updates (for you, anyway) but it’s still alive and kicking and covered in buckets of sticky wet blood.

More news to follow – when, I have no idea – but it’s in a very exciting place.

Regarding my other work, the original ‘plan’ has obviously gone completely awry! I’m still working on the rewrite of The Motivator and yet to begin on my sitcom pilot and horror feature, but these other (current) projects are much more important and fantastic fun to work on, so I’m not concerned. I’ll find the time to write them. I always do.

Now I just need to find some time to…

… Sleep. Eat. Socialize. Exercise. Dance. Laugh. Cry. And fight evil. Maybe have a bagel.

Update done.

Time to write.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Mine - A Short Film

A few months back I met with filmmaker Simon Berry, to discuss short film ideas and general film stuff.

He had an ace idea for a short film called MINE and we batted around some thoughts and I agreed to write the script for it. Two characters, one field… and something else.

It’s a sharp idea, a little FX heavy and should be moving, funny and viciously good fun.

Well… it’s been filmed.

When?

While I was in Greece, of course!

I seem to be a little cursed when it comes to someone else filming short scripts I’ve written; if you remember, I couldn’t make (most) of the shoot for DON’T MOVE because of my younger brother’s stag do. I did turn up in the latter half of the last day of shooting… probably smelling like a brewery had done a shit in my mouth.

MINE was filmed in Shipbourne, West Kent on the weekend of 9th / 10th May and Simon has kindly sent over some exclusive shots from the shoot. Check ‘em out here:

 

Intrigued? You should be!

It’s a surprising short, and I can’t wait to see the final thing.

More details – including a Facebook Page – to follow.



For more info on filmmaker Simon Berry, check out his website here: www.simon-berry.com

Dearly Beheaded on the BBC



DEARLY BEHEADED is on the BBC!

Okay, technically it’s mentioned on the BBC website… but still. Cool.

An ace little interview with producer Rachel Richardson-Jones:


For prosperity’s sake (and in case the web page is ever removed / moved), here’s a copy and paste of that article / interview:



Rachel Richardson-Jones is a film producer and co-founder at Not A Number Productions and, prior to entering the world of feature films, directed and produced corporate videos and commercials.

She produced horror films Splintered in 2010 and White Settlers in 2014 and is meeting with sales agents for her third film, Dearly Beheaded, which is due to start shooting this in September.

How has your background in corporate videos has helped you?

The corporate stuff has stood me in good stead for features. My last two movies I raised through private equity. You need to be able to understand the corporate culture and how SEIS works. I wouldn't have imagined being a corporate producer had so much continuity with film producing.

Is it just coincidence that you've gone from the corporate world into horror?

There are the horrors of the corporate world, making high end films about fork lift trucks! When Simeon (film director Simeon Halligan), approached me with an idea for a low budget horror, I didn't really know anything about the genre. But I thought, that kind of stuff sells.

I was so lucky to have been mentored by Tony Parsons (producer of films including Scum and Gregory's Girl) and I asked him whether I should go for it and, in the end, he offered to executive produce and said he would teach us everything there was to know about film producing.

Sadly, he died before we finished producing Splintered (2010), so both Simeon and I knew about production but it was after-production which was where we missed him so very much. So there we were, we had this movie and didn't know the world of sales and distribution.

We didn't have UK distribution so we decided to put on on an event, just us and a few filmmakers of low budget movies. and before we knew it, it wasn't one day with three or four films, it was three days with 27 films and Grimm Up North was born and we're now in its seventh year.

Sim loves the genre and we've now built an audience - I'm more of a sci-fi geek. I'm dying to make a pure sci-fi movie but they take bigger budgets

What stage are you at with your feature Dearly Beheaded as you head to Cannes?

We're actually just about close finance on that, and hope to start shooting in September. So we are talking to sales agents (who market films and help find international distribution) but with Cannes around the corner they are all very busy.

I'm going to be doing some meetings about a monster movie bank heist, primarily with American sales and financiers because it really lends itself to being an American-set movie. I've been sending emails about meeting with production partners, there are a couple of studio people I met at the Berlin Film Festival and I'll reconnect with them.

To the untrained eye, it all seems quite chaotic on the Cannes market floor. What challenges do you face?

The industry people spend the first four or five days seeing who they are there to see, they are there to buy and sell. So you coming along with your little project, its very difficult to get time with them, to sit down and have a proper conversation. It's always good to have meetings planned and have time to shift them if you need to.

Also the parties, they do help in bumping into people and catching up. We have another Manchester-based project called Habit. It's a novella by the writer Stephen McGeagh.

Simeon has just adapted it in to a screenplay so we are going to start talking about that project. It's a fantastic gritty, kitchen sink horror.