Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Long live the new flesh


So this is the last blog post I will ever post here... because I have a new website! Rather than try to retrofit this place to be something it was never designed for, it was easier to start from scratch and keep it clean and simple, so that's what you will find over at the new home: www.jamesmoranwriter.com 

I'll be keeping this site as an archive, as there's a ton of FAQs and articles that I want to preserve, they won't be going anywhere. You'll just be viewing them at jamesmoran.blogspot.com, instead.

I've been doing this blog on and off since 2003, so this really is the end of an era for me. I've had an absolute blast here, met some amazing people, and learned a lot. Blogger has been great for what I originally needed, but it's time to move on. I hope to see you at the new place.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Severance on the Horror Channel in November

UK folks! Severance is screening on the Horror Channel this November, as part of their Saturday night prime-time Bloody British Season which, according to their site, celebrates "the new wave of British horror movies that reinvigorated the UK horror industry in the early 2000s."

It'll be screening three times, twice in the prime 9pm slot:

Friday 3rd November - 9.00 PM
Thursday 9th November - 10.45 PM
Tuesday 28th November - 9.00 PM

UPDATE! I'm going to live-tweet the Tuesday 28th screening, it starts at 9pm, so get yourself over to Twitter and keep an eye on my feed at @jamesmoran. I'll try to hashtag each post with #severance so you can mute that if you'd rather not have your feed flooded. It'll be like a director's commentary, but I'm the writer instead, and my memory isn't brilliant. How can you resist?!

The Horror Channel website link is here, featuring an image from the bizarre French poster, which features things that aren't in the movie, like Richard holding a shotgun, and Maggie's unsuitable-for-the-woods outfit. I'm sure it made sense in France.

You can find the excellent Horror Channel in the UK on Sky Digital channel 319, Virgin TV channel 149, Freeview channel 70 and Freesat channel 138.

Yes, it's on Freeview. Yes, that means you can watch Severance for the extremely low, low price of FREE! If you haven't seen it by now, where have you beeeen?? It came out in 2006 and has been on TV loads of times, if you've somehow still not seen it ever then I'll have to assume you're avoiding it, and your name will go on The List.

Go get some free horror! Go on! It's free! Tell them I sent you!

Speaking of free stuff, my webseries vlog adaptation (vladaptation) of Dracula is still online, it's called Mina Murray's Journal, and follows the adventures of Mina in the present day as she posts YouTube vlogs and starts to realise that spooky shenanigans are afoot.

Watch the entire first season here - I'm really proud of it, the cast are amazing and there are lots of silly jokes.

SFX magazine gave it four stars, and we also had great reviews from Starburst and Kim Newman, film critic and author of Anno Dracula. Fancy! Please go check it out, and if you like it, tell your friends. If you don't like it, tell your enemies. Tell them I sent you! Your friends, not your enemies.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Blood Shed trailer and festival news

Blood Shed, our latest short film, will have its World Premiere at London's FrightFest!

I'm very excited about this, FrightFest is my horror home at Horror Christmas, and I couldn't be happier about unleashing our beautiful, mutant baby on the best audience in the world. Everything else I've done has premiered there, Cat's last short Connie premiered there last year, so it feels right and proper. FrightFest is incredible, I'm so excited to see what everyone makes of Blood Shed.

It will screen as part of the second Short Film Showcase, on Sunday 27th August at 11.15am. FrightFest is at the Empire Leicester Square, and the short film showcases are around the corner in the wonderful Prince Charles Cinema, the original home of FrightFest.

Tickets are available here, but there are very few left, so get in there quickly!

We've only just completed the film, the paint is still slightly sticky to the touch. The score, by BAFTA winning composer Ben Foster (Torchwood, Happy Valley), is *amazing*. He and Synth Wizard Toby Pitman have cooked up some proper 80s sounds, using actual, vintage synthesizers, including one built into an old suitcase which apparently "smells of burning" when switched on. You can see them recording some of it here, and here!

The trailer has just been launched too, which you can go and watch here - or just click the play button below, if you dare!

I directed Blood Shed, I and Cat wrote it together, and Cat produced it, so it's something neither of us could have done by ourselves, it's a real mix of our weird minds. I still can't believe what we made Shaun and Sally do, but they put up with it without complaint. I almost felt guilty when throwing buckets of freezing cold fake blood over them in a cold garden. Almost.

We're also screening at the Women in Horror festival in Atlanta in September, and the fantastic Nightmares Film Festival in Ohio this October, where Connie screened last year. We're very honoured to be part of their Early 13 announcement, covered here at Bloody Disgusting. Starburst have posted an article about the FrightFest shorts lineup here. There's also a FanCarpet article about our trailer launch here.

And if you haven't seen our gorgeous poster, illustrated by the brilliant Andy W. Clift, here it is in all its quad-glory:

There will be more news soon, so keep an eye on the official website and Twitter for updates!

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.