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!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal at Vidfest

Thank you to everyone so far who has watched, liked, subscribed, commented, and generally been lovely about the first 2 episodes of my new webseries. If you haven't seen it yet, go and catch up now! Ep1 is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38sREiRdA7Q and Ep2 is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vslBy3RpzyA, go on, I'll wait.

Are you back? Great! Excitingly, we'll be at this year's VidFestUK, the massive celebration of online video and webseries, which is part of MCM London Comic Con, from October 28th to 30th, promoting Mina, doing a panel (details/times to be decided later), and meeting as many of you as possible.

Isn't that exciting?? I'm excited! Are you excited? Look how excited Mina and Lucy are!

We're currently blackmailing figuring out which cast members can come along for the panel, but the wonderful Rosie Holt (Mina) will definitely be there, and so will the also wonderful Matt Hargreaves (Jack). I'll be there all weekend, and at the panel, so come along and say hi! We'll have some postcard goodies with us, first come first served, grab them while you can.

There'll be lots of other cool online people appearing at VidFestUK, some of which are listed here (more to follow). Tickets for MCM are available here, and they have a variety of different ticket types. Keep an eye on their website for panel details when the schedule is out, and I'll update this post when I have that info for you.

Come see us! We're really looking forward to meeting you!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal premieres this week

Mina Murray's Journal, my new webseries, premieres this Thursday 29th September!

I'm aiming for 11am UK time, so if you're at work that's a good time to grab a coffee/tea break and check it out.

First episode is about 5 minutes long, and episode 2 will follow on Monday 3rd October, with two every week.

If you don't already know, it's a modernised, vlog adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with the characters flipped around so that Mina and Lucy are the heroes. That's Rosie Holt as Mina in the pic up there, and Kate Soulsby as Lucy. They are brilliant and hilarious and I can't wait for you to meet them in these roles.

I'm really happy with how it's come together, it looks and feels *exactly* as I had hoped, but is even better thanks to the amazing cast and crew. But where can you see it, I hear you shriek - what an excellent question, I'm really glad you asked, because I have the answer: on YouTube, for free, wherever you are in the world. Yes.

Links! Come and get your fresh, tasty links!

Official site:
www.minasjournal.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/MinaMurraysJournal/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/MinasJournal/

YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/c/MinasJournalSeries

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ10oDkIZU4

We also have some in-character social media accounts, the characters have been online and tweeting for a while, so keep an eye on those and watch out for extra clues. There are more accounts out there, but they're secret for now - maybe they'll be revealed in series 1, maybe not...

Character accounts:
https://twitter.com/theminamurray
https://twitter.com/ItsMeLucyWest
https://twitter.com/JackSeward93
https://instagram.com/TheMinaMurray/

I hope you like the show, I'm very excited to get it out there. If you do enjoy it, please like, share, subscribe, all that good stuff. Any webseries lives or dies by word of mouth, it's incredibly hard to make people aware of new stuff in such a crowded internet, so if you like it, please pass it on!

Friday, August 12, 2016

FrightFest horror writing workshop

FrightFest, or Horror Christmas, is almost upon us - 5 days of brand new horror movies from all over the world, I love it and go every year. For 4 years in a row, I've done several "Turn Off Your Bloody Phone" idents that have played in front of the opening night movies.

This year, the lovely organisers have asked me to do something a bit different. On Sunday 28th, at 1.15pm, in Discovery Screen 3, I'm running a horror writing workshop! Free to pass holders, or £5 for everyone else! You don't have to be a pass holder or member or anything, anyone can just buy a ticket! Here's the blurb from the site:
Ever watched a horror movie and wondered how they came up with the idea and made it work? Acclaimed writer/director James Moran (SEVERANCE, TOWER BLOCK, ‘Turn Off Your Bloody Phone’ FrightFest shorts) will take you through his writing process, so you can find out! In this fast, fun, informative and highly interactive workshop, James will build an outline from scratch for a horror movie using local newspaper stories for inspiration, and taking suggestions and questions from the audience in a live brainstorming session. Ideas are everywhere, it’s what you do with them that counts...
"Acclaimed"! I'm acclaimed! Yes, if you want to find out how my process works, how I write the things I do, come along! Learn all my 3 and a half tricks!

We'll come up with ideas and a rough outline together, brainstorming and working as one, like some sort of giant, evil brain. I'll show you how I work ideas up into full stories, because that's the tricky bit, not the ideas themselves. And we'll prove it, by picking a dull news story from a terrible local paper, and using that as the basis for our exciting horror movie.

It's fast, it's funny, and it can *easily* go horribly wrong, which means you might get to watch me panic and run out of the building, and/or kill one of you and blame you for the whole thing. But hey, as the cheesy old saying goes, you can't run a writing workshop without gratuitously murdering a few audience members.

Details of the workshop are here, and tickets are available here for £5. Come along!

Oh, and will there be another phone ident this year?? That would be telling. You'll just have to attend the festival and find out...


Reminder! Connie, the short film written & directed by Cat Davies, that we produced and I edited, is also playing at FrightFest! It's on in Short Film Showcase One, Saturday 27th August, 1.10pm, so please come and see it. We'll be there, and might have a felt & foam special guest... The trailer is here, if you'd like a sneak preview.


Connie at FrightFest 2016

Connie, the short film written & directed by my partner Cat Davies, that we produced and I edited, has its world premiere at this year's FrightFest!

You can see the poster on the left, which of course you may clicky-clicky for biggy-biggy.

It stars the fantastic Catrin Stewart (Doctor Who, Stella, The Library Suicides) as Dolly, a frustrated stand-up comedian who turns to puppetry to get her big break - but Connie is no ordinary puppet, and has a career plan of her own... Catrin also plays the voice of Connie, in a really difficult dual role which she manages brilliantly.

I'm really proud of our evil child, and incredibly proud of Cat for pulling it together, writing it wonderfully, and directing it beautifully. I had quite a long edit to do on this, as it was an extremely complicated shoot due to the demands of the puppet - we had to shoot one take with Catrin doing the voice of Connie, then another take with her acting as Dolly but *miming* with Connie, trying to remember how she'd said Connie's lines previously, and trying not to let Connie's emotions appear on Dolly's face. Matching up the multiple takes with audio and mouth movements was... time consuming. But now, finally, Connie is ready for her close-up, and about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting audience.

It's on in Short Film Showcase One, Saturday 27th August, 1.10pm, so please come and see it. We'll be there, and might have a felt & foam special guest... The trailer is here, if you'd like a sneak preview:



I probably should have warned you, Connie is quite rude, and not safe for work, home, or anywhere. So you shouldn't have watched that. Sorry.


Press enquiries email here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal

New Secret Webseries Thing!

I've been beavering away on something in secret for a while, and now it's finally out in the world - Mina Murray's Journal, a modernised, vlog adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. I've flipped the characters around so Mina and Lucy are the heroes, it's all told vlog-style, and I'm massively proud of it.


It stars Rosie Holt, Kate Soulsby, Liam Dryden and Matt Hargreaves, season 1 is shot and in the edit, and you can see a trailer right now:



UPDATE! The episodes are online now! Go to our YouTube channel to watch and subscribe!

This is my first webseries since 2009's Girl Number 9, which got several Streamy nominations, the first UK webseries to do so. Back then, the UK web scene was nothing like it is now, and we faced an impossible struggle convincing people to fund a second season or any other webshows, they just couldn't visualise how it would all work. Things are miles better now, people get it, and there are lots of talented folk out there.

The idea for Mina came a couple of years ago, but I didn't write it down or do anything about it, as I didn't know if anyone would be interested, or if it would even work. Attending my first GeekyCon convention, I was inspired by the amazing, creative attendees - I realised that they would get it, they'd know what I was trying to do.

So I wrote it up, got some very cool, clever people involved, and now it's officially A Thing. It wouldn't have existed without the GeekyCon audience inspiration, so I did a sneak peek at ep1 while I was there this year to thank them for giving me the motivation to do it.

It's funny, it's scary, it's aimed at audiences of all ages, so there won't be gore or swearing, which may surprise you if you're only familiar with my horror work, but I've done plenty of family and kids' shows too. I really wanted to do something fun and different, and hopefully I've managed that.

The show will start airing on YouTube next month, so keep an eye on the website, the Twitter account, the Facebook page, and subscribe to the YouTube channel to make sure you don't miss anything. It's a Moranic Production, one of the first projects from my & Cat's production company, so have a look at the site to see what else we're cooking up.

Night Vale and me

Yes. YES.

I’ve written an episode with the Night Vale team. It’s been KILLING me keeping it secret, but now it’s out, it’s the latest episode (91), and I’m so excited I could burst. I’m thrilled with how it came out, it’s such a trip to hear Cecil speaking things that came from my brain, and the whole experience was utterly lovely.

I met the Night Vale crew in 2015 at GeekyCon, hung out with them, and then realised I had to catch up on the show. So I spent from August 2015 to March 2016 catching up on every single episode. While I was doing this, I was making random notes about ideas for the show, just by myself, not knowing what I’d do with them - it really spoke to me, and sparked off tons of ideas. Much later, I asked Jeffrey if I could be involved in some way, and they graciously let me jump on board. Fast forward to now, and it’s the year 5 opener.

It’s very much a team effort, as always it’s their show and I’m just playing with their toys for a while. It’s a perfect fit for me and my style, and we’ve make a beautiful, mutant baby together. I hope you enjoy it.

If you don’t know what any of this means… go and catch up. Seriously. You won’t regret it. And check out their live shows. You *can* jump on with this year 5 start, or a live show, but all the episodes are glorious and you deserve to treat yourself by hearing them all.