Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Vintage TV

If you've been channel surfing at night, trying to find something to watch, you may have come across a fantastic channel called Vintage TV. It's a difficult concept to explain, but basically, it's a music channel... that actually plays music videos. I know, right??

And they're all classics from the 80s and 90s, so they're all great. It's quite easy to get sucked in and end up watching it until 3am, for example, just plucking a time out of nowhere at random that totally wasn't me.

They have a feature called My Vintage, where famous types go on and talk about the music that shaped their early years. And excitingly for me, they asked me to do one as well - they'd seen me tweeting about it enthusiastically, looked me up, and must have decided I qualified enough as a talking head, so here we are. I think my tweet that won them over was "it's all great and not shit!" so hey, there's a lesson there for all of us.

It's going to be on Sunday 23rd July at 5pm, repeated Thursday 27th July at 10.30pm. Vintage TV is on Freeview channel 82, Sky 369, Virgin 343, Freesat 505, BT/TalkTalk 82. The trailer for my episode is right here, with a true story:


I had SO much fun doing it, and am incredibly excited to actually be on the channel alongside actual music experts and music legends. I didn't get to meet him, and can't say who it was yet, but there was a genuine musical legend in the seat before me that morning. I sat in his chair ass-groove, and I hope some musical talent rubbed off. On my bum. This is getting weird now.

I've done a few of these sort of talking head things, mostly for DVD documentaries - Doctor Who DVDs The War Games and The Romans, Arrow's releases of Zombie Flesh Eaters and The Beyond - and I really enjoy the chance to talk about things I love. This was a bit different, it was a lot longer, and gave me the chance to choose specific songs and videos that mean a lot to me for various reasons. So please do tune in, there's some amazing music in there.

Check out Vintage TV on their website here, and their Twitter feed here. I'm not sure if my episode will be online at some point, but if I find out I'll update this post.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Blood Shed needs you!

Hello you! You may or may not be aware that I'm currently crowdfunding a new short film on Kickstarter. It's called Blood Shed, and it's about a shed... that eats people. It stars Shaun Dooley and Sally Phillips - yes! THAT Shaun Dooley and THAT Sally Phillips!


I'm directing it, Cat's producing it, we wrote it together, and I'm very excited about bringing it to life. But we still need your help! At the time of writing this, there are 10 days to go, and we're lounging around at 60%. We've had lots of lovely tweets and articles and feature backers, but this is traditionally the slowest part of any campaign, so we really need to get it going faster again.

If you haven't checked out the perks, please do, there are lots of really cool things in there, some of them you won't get anywhere else. Digital packs, swag packs, script feedback, pitch coaching sessions (now at a lower price), writing workshops, dinner dates, feature your pet on a missing poster in the film (this is a BRAND NEW PERK), screening tickets, even some fancy schmancy associate and exec producer things at the higher levels, even a product placement level if you're a big fancy business, product or service. We've got all sorts of fun stuff!

If you've already grabbed a perk, thank you! Either way, we'd love it if you could spread the word - it's all or nothing, we can't make the film for any less than the target, so we have to hit that magic number. Anything you can do to pass it on to people who might be interested would be REALLY appreciated!

The Kickstarter page is here: http://kck.st/2lDX1kp

The short's website is here: www.bloodshedfilm.com

The Twitter account is here: www.twitter.com/bloodshedfilm

Any links, shares, articles, retweets etc will really help - we really want to get over the finish line, and bring you our filthy, man-eating shed... Thank you!


Monday, February 27, 2017

Blood Shed short film crowdfunding

New short film alert! New short film alert! Prepare yourself... for Blood Shed!

Yes, I'm directing a new short film, which I and my partner Cat have written together, she's producing, we're crowdfunding now, it's called Blood Shed, and it's about a shed... that eats people. It's a very serious, dramatic piece, as you'd expect.

It's a love letter to 80s horror movies, with Creepshow-style comic panels, creepy red and green lighting, synthesizer music, all that fun stuff. We've got Ben Foster on board to whip up an 80s-tastic score with actual, physical chunky synths - he scored my first short Crazy For You, and composed for Torchwood, Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey, Thunderbirds Are Go, and many more. And check out this sweet storyboard art by Andy W. Clift, who is also doing the comic-style panels in the short:

We've got several other cool people on board as well, but will be gradually announcing them over the course of the crowdfunding campaign. We're VERY excited about it, and can't wait to get started - but we need your help to make it. We've got some very cool perks, like props, Exec Producer credits, fancy swag, writing workshops, or you can even be a victim of the shed!

Check out our Kickstarter page here, and see if there are any perks you might fancy - and please share the link around to anyone who might be interested. There are loads more details about the short, about us, about how it all works, so have a good look through. Check out the short's Twitter account here, too. We'd love you to be involved, so don't hide away your love of sheds, come and be a shed fancier with us!

UPDATE! We've already had some lovely articles about the crowdfunding, from places like SciFiNow, Starburst, From Dusk Till Con, and Fan Carpet! Check them out!



Friday, December 23, 2016

Taxi for 2016

So. 2016, then. Yeah. I realise units of time are a human construct and therefore meaningless, but blimey, I won’t be sorry to see 2016 shuffle off the meaningless calendar. Luckily, 2017 will be here soon, with its ruined economy and potential fiery nuclear death--

Okay, that’s enough of that. Sure, shit is fucked, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Let’s try and do something about it, and survive this thing together.

In the meantime, ignoring the terrifying world stage, what’s been going on with me? What about ME, 2016?? Well, in my first blog post of the year, I pledged to do more Weird Stuff, which I’ve certainly done.

I started a brand new podcast, Not Guilty Pleasures, in which I and a guest talk about something we love unconditionally, to try and balance out the bucketloads of internet snark out there (I’ll need to do more of these). Topics covered so far: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America movies, and The Walking Dead. I didn’t plan to start a podcast, it just sort of happened. I like it when things just sort of happen. And yes, I'm planning to do more, watch this space.

After indulging at Christmas, I thought doing Dry January for charity would be easy. Turned out that I’d inadvertently picked a month in which tons of great people would die, AND we’d be at a family funeral. Pro tip: don't do that.

My season 2 episode of Eve aired on CBBC, which was huge fun to write. They’re a wonderful team of smart people. My rule is, pick people to work with who are smarter than me - this is usually very easy to do...

Tower Block aired on Channel 5.

I started writing a movie that I had no idea how to write. Update: I have a rough draft. It might actually work. I have no idea why or how that happened.

We lost Prince, and I wrote a thing about missing him:

The people behind Night Vale, the weirdest, coolest, freakiest podcast show ever, let me co-write an episode.

My partner Cat Davies wrote & directed another short film, Connie, which I edited and we produced together, premiering the fuzzy dame at FrightFest.

While at FrightFest, I did my writing workshop for them (and later for YouTube). If any organisations would like me to run it for you, just let me know. I like doing it, and it works.

The lovely people behind Eve let me come back and write another episode, for the 3rd season, which aired in November. This one was more difficult to write, as I’d decided to try and show off how clever I am... I got there in the end, with their support and patience.

The Horror Channel had their premiere of Cockneys Vs Zombies, so I did an interview for them, and took part in a Den of Geek article about how to write horror.

My new webseries, Mina Murray’s Journal, premiered online, and then went on tour to VidFestUK and Dublin Web Fest (where it won Best Screenplay). I’m so, SO proud of what we all pulled together, I love how it looks and feels. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it, and to everyone who watched, liked, shared, tweeted, drew fan art, made Tumblr gifs - you're all lovely and amazing.

As always, there were lots of other things going on behind the scenes, things you might not see for a while, things you might never see. Development is a fickle beast, and sometimes I’ll work on stuff for years only for it to die a quiet death when the finance fails to appear, or the boss moves to another department, or the channel ceases to exist, or one of a million other reasons... One project outlived the head of drama, the head of the company, the head of the channel, AND the channel itself, as they all went off to different places, before it finally died. You come up with universes, people, fall in love with them, and then things are just snapped out of existence. It happens, a lot. You learn to deal with it, but you never get used to it.

What’s in store for next year? Again, as always, you never quite know what will get picked up and when. I’ve got plenty of things in development, shorts, TV, films, web, so it depends on what pops up next. One falls away, another springs to life, and so on. I’m definitely directing another short, and am determined to get my own TV show off the ground, and direct a film. I’ll be doing more stuff with Cat, as we work well together and make a kickass team. See that thing about working with people smarter than you?? I got *very* lucky there.

Most of all, I’m going to concentrate on getting things done, and not worry so much about other people and projects. I can only control what I do, as can we all. You be you. I’m going to be me.

Be safe, stay hydrated, and try not to actively make things worse. Especially that last one. We’re all going to need that.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Eve, Mina, Cockneys Vs Zombies

Various bits and pieces have appeared online recently, featuring me and my work, so here's a roundup of them all.

My episode of Eve is on CBBC today at 4.30pm. It's quite unlike anything I've done, and will give you the best possible glimpse inside the anxious brain of a writer - you'll see what I mean when you watch it. Update! It's online now, here!

You can catch up on all the previous episodes here, if you haven't seen them. And there's a sneak peek at my episode right here, if you can't wait until 4.30pm.

Cockneys Vs Zombies will be on the Horror Channel this Friday, 4th November, at 9pm - Freeview channel 70, Sky 319 Virgin 149. They did a new interview with me about the movie here, and I'm very excited it's airing on Horror, it feels like its rightful home. If you miss it, it's on again Thursday 10th November at 10.55pm, and Tuesday 22nd November at 9pm. You may as well watch, because it's on free TV and that's a bargain in anyone's book.

Cockneys also features in a 5 page spread in the current issue of Starburst magazine, with a massive interview with me, in case you haven't had enough of me babbling about it. It's in issue 430 out now, on pages 51-55, with lots of great photos and a lovely piece of artwork at the start. It's worth getting for the Michael Berryman interview alone, never mind me. There's also a great tribute to Universal's Monsters, as the classic films are all on re-release in cinemas. Update! Interview is online here now!

It's a lot of me me me and CvsZ this month, mainly because of the Horror Channel screening. I'm very happy to keep talking about it though, because I'm very proud of the movie, and love it to bits. Rotting, undead bits.

Mina Murray's Journal, my webseries, is getting lots of lovely press attention, including four stars from SFX and 8/10 from Starburst, and a great article and interview here at IndieWire. I'm quite overwhelmed by the reaction, it's my silly idea that I didn't think anyone would like, and now it's somehow become A Thing.

You can see all of our latest reviews and mentions at the press & reactions page here. The first season has its finale tomorrow at 11am, so go and subscribe here to make sure you don't miss it, and/or to catch up on the other episodes.

Mina is also mentioned in Den of Geek's list of 11 scary things to watch on YouTube right now here.

Speaking of Den of Geek, they did a piece on how to write a horror movie here, with quotes from me and Alice Lowe, Kevin Lehane, Nick Ostler, Mark Huckerby, and The Blaine Brothers.

It's a really good article, I always love hearing about other writers' processes, and they all say lots of clever things.

Thank you to Den of Geek for supporting the UK movie and TV world, by the way - they really do try to cover as much as possible, in an honest, open way, without the snark that creeps into a lot of genre coverage. If a site can be your best mate, then Den of Geek really is.

That's all the various things for now. I hope you enjoy my Eve ep, and Cockneys, and Mina. I know I bang on about being proud of my work, but I really am, partly for me, mostly for the amazing job the teams do on each one. If you enjoy them, please do pass them on to someone else. Or I'll have to summon a demon to eat your soul. Sorry. I don't make the rules.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal at MCM London and VidFest UK

I'll be appearing at VidFestUK, part of MCM London Comic Con, all this weekend (Friday 28th - Sunday 30th October), to chat about Mina Murray's Journal, my new webseries!

I'm on a panel at 4pm on Friday, called Writing Web Series, with Rochelle Dancel, Jamie McKeller, and Jesse Cleverly, and Team Mina will have our own panel on Saturday at 1pm, with me, and stars of the show Rosie Holt, Liam Dryden and Matt Hargreaves. Kate Soulsby is also a star of the show, but she's away this weekend, so we'll just have to make up terrible stories about her. She'll never see this! (Ooh, cheeky reference to a joke in the show)

We'll all be around all weekend, we'll have a Mina Murray's Journal table in the VidFest area, so look for our lovely banner and come find us. Maybe we'll give you a postcard. Maybe we'll just hide under the table. Who knows? The panel schedule is here, and tickets for MCM are available here.


If you haven't seen the show yet, what are you waiting for?! You can find all the episodes so far at our YouTube channel here. It's a modernised, #vladaptation of Dracula, with Mina and Lucy as the heroes, told through the vlog format. It's got jokes, scares, and if that doesn't convince you, listen to what these people say about it:

SFX
★★★★

“James Moran makes several smart updates to the novel, shuffling characters around so that it’s office junior Mina who travels to Romania to meet the mysterious Count. But don’t worry – the vampires are still definitely vampires, with transmogrification powers very much intact… several episodes will raise goosebumps. Creepy and clever, it has an irresistibly likeable cast and an admirable commitment to the webcam conceit.”

Starburst
8/10

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been adapted more times than we care to mention over the hundred-plus years since it was published, and one would think that there would be very little anyone could bring to the story that was new. Well, acclaimed writer James Moran (Doctor Who, Cockneys vs Zombies) has done just that with his web series that turns the focus of the story to the character of Mina. The cast are all very likable, and Rosie Holt, in particular, is a bubbly and engaging lead. It’s an interesting way to give the dusty old text a modern twist and certainly a fun use of the web series format. With the story beginning to really kick in, now’s the perfect time to catch up with what could be the hippest retelling of Stoker’s novel yet.”


Eve series 3 on CBBC this week

Series 3 of Eve screens this week on CBBC, on Wednesday 26th October, with episode 1 at 4.30pm and episode 2 at 5.30pm - the series continues every Wednesday after that at 4.30pm.

My episode is number 3, which means it'll be on next week, Wednesday 2nd November at 4.30pm! I can't wait for you all to see it. It's... different to pretty much everything else I've done so far. It's quite mad. You'll see what I mean next week.

It was MASSIVELY fun to write, and then MASSIVELY difficult, and then fun again, then difficult again, then finally fun again. I decided to try and be clever, which is always a mistake, because my brain got tied up in knots trying to unravel the plot. I got there in the end, but clearly haven't learned my lesson, because the current movie I'm writing is ridiculously complicated. Oops.

If you haven't seen the show, where the hell have you been?! It's brilliantly funny, smart and cool, and the team are amazing, headed up by the fantastically brainy Emma Reeves and David Chikwe, with supernaturally sharp script editing from Sophia Morphew. Thank you so much for having me back on your superb show, and for being so welcoming and lovely.

And kudos to Adrian McDowall, director of my bonkers episode, who I met at the readthrough and when he said he was directing my one, I just laughed and said "good luck", which wasn't really helpful. Despite me throwing all sorts of obstacles at him, he's done an *amazing* job on the episode. Coming back for another series, I already knew what the wonderful cast were capable of, so I threw a lot at them, especially Poppy Lee Friar, who I can't say enough good things about, she's a comedic genius.

You can catch up on the previous episodes here, watch a series 1 & 2 recap here, and see a sneak peek at episode 1 here. Go catch up, and get ready!

While you're waiting for this to start, you can go here and catch up on episodes of my new webseries, Mina Murray's Journal, a #vladaptation of Dracula with Mina & Lucy as the heroes, set in the present day using vlogs - with more jokes! It's suitable for most ages, and I'm very proud of it. Catch up on that now!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dublin Web Fest

Mina Murray's Journal, my new webseries, will get its first festival screening next month at Dublin Web Fest, from 18-20 November, and I'll be there to join in the fun.

It's being held at Filmbase, Dublin 2, which is right in the Temple Bar area, on the brilliantly named Curved Street.

I'll be around on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, and Mina screens as part of Screening Block III in the Basement on Saturday 19th, from 4.45pm to 5.45pm.

Just after that at 6pm, also in the Basement, I'll be doing a writing workshop, which may be the interactive story brainstorm one, or more of a talk-based Q&A about my writing process and how we got Mina made, we're still working on the details.

Festival info is available here, and the full schedule (where you can also buy tickets) is here. I haven't been to Dublin for years, it'll be great to see my friends again, and the beautiful city itself. So come along and watch some of Mina, and lots of other webseries, join in with the panels, talks, workshops, and maybe, if there's time, have a drink in Temple Bar (there are one or two pubs, as far as I can remember...) Can't wait to visit!