Sunday, August 31, 2003

8 pages today, went on a roll again. Almost there for this draft, only one more scene left, which will probably be about 2 or 3 pages - I was going to finish it, but don't want to rush though it just so I can say I finished. I'll finish it tomorrow. Then I'll need to go through it, finetune it, make earlier stuff match later stuff, add a few little things that occurred to me recently, and maybe add a scene in the midsection to flesh things out more. Some scenes weren't as long as I'd planned for, which is good, the leaner and trimmer you can get it, the better. Can't wait for tomorrow...

Oh, and Ichi the Killer is completely insane. I loved it. Need to get the uncut version on eBay though, the UK one has 8 minutes of gore missing.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Just over 4 pages. Would have done more, but I don't want to go too fast. Again, fixed some stuff from yesterday's pages, made it look more like I know what the hell I'm doing.

Now off to watch Ichi the Killer on DVD - if it's even half as violent as the trailer, it'll be the most violent film I've ever seen. Can't wait...

Friday, August 29, 2003

12 or 13 pages today, I'm not sure, what with the half pages and bits here and there. Also fiddled with some earlier bits, tweaked a bit, and added a minor plot point by merely having someone wandering off suspiciously (I can explain it later, probably).

Tired now. Going to watch telly and vegetate.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Roughly 10 or 11 pages today, I had lots of spare time, so I went on a decent spree. It's really moving well, approaching the climactic point of the second act. If I keep going at the rate I have been, it should be finished in a week or so. Once it's done, I'll go over it slowly, weeding out any dodgy bits, fine tuning, and so on. But it feels pretty good, I'm being careful with it so it shouldn't have any glaring errors or anything. Groovy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

7 pages today. Just over 7, actually, but who's counting? Well, I am, I suppose. More death and destruction, and some twists - the thot plickens, as they say. Now on page 45, and it's going really well. No saggy bits, no padding, just pure, unadulterated Stuff. I like Stuff. Stuff is good. Still trying to figure out some dodgy science for the ending bit - which involves me and Jodie having long, complex, intense conversations about evolution and genetics. While I don't necessarily need it all to be totally realistic, I'd rather not get laughed off the page when the giant electric penguins turn up holding lightsabers (when, as everyone knows, they would need a special adaptor for their flippers).

Still wish we'd caught Gozu at the FrightFest last Sunday - so I bought the DVD instead. eBay is excellent for getting twisted Japanese movies at reasonable prices, I heartily recommend it. Also bought two other Takashi Miike films (he made Gozu too), Fudoh and Ichi the Killer. Plenty of ultra violence coming my way soon. And, on the strength of the trailer, instantly bought Shaolin Soccer on DVD, it looks fabulous. I can't explain it. Just go and watch the trailer. It's insane.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

5 pages today, in just under an hour. I feel like I'm going slowly, which I am, for me - slowly and carefully. But I'm getting lots of it done. These are film script pages, by the way, which are a lot quicker to write than "proper" pages - lots of space, big margins, indented dialogue, short, snappy paragraphs, and so on - but even so, it's going great. The time we spent on the outline is paying off, big time. It's all already there, in my head. I'm just copying it out.

Things are getting bloody and messy for the intrepid heroes. There have been deaths. There will be more. I can't wait.

Monday, August 25, 2003

8 pages today. Something's bound to go wrong, this is going too well. I'm now on page 33, and Act 2 starts on the next line. It's moving along really nicely, I keep adding stuff that isn't in the outline as it occurs to me that it's needed, but it all seems to work out okay. I'm really excited about getting to this section, it means I can start killing people in horrible ways.

Also working on two outlines for TV ideas. Although I've pretty much given up on ever getting an original, interesting TV thing going, I still churn them out, just in case, you never know. It can't hurt, the more stuff you have to sell or show people, the better.

Watched Visitor Q on Saturday night, by Takashi Miike, the twisted genius behind Audition, Ichi the Killer, Dead or Alive, and about a million others. It is seriously, seriously fucked in the head, this movie. It's not easy viewing at times, but some of it is (intentionally) hilarious - then you think, Christ, I'm actually laughing at this shit, what is the matter with me? And then something else bizarre happens, and you laugh even more. And then you are suddenly horrified by something outrageous, the laugh dying in your throat. And then something so utterly bizarre happens, you don't even know how you feel about it, it's too bizarre, too surprising. Takashi Miike, you are the king. You're insane, but you're the king.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Groovy, 4 and a half pages yesterday, 6 and a half today. It's flying along, thanks to nailing down the outline tight before I ever started. Still stuff appearing that isn't in the outline, so it's still surprising me. It's great fun too, I hope that comes across in the script itself.

The mystery film on Friday was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - it was great fun, lots of destruction, and a truly amazing Mr Hyde. Now *that*'s how the Hulk should have been done. So disappointed with Hulk, I'd have preferred to see two episodes of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno show, to be honest. Shame. But Mr Hyde rocks, all done with makeup, seriously huge makeup, and fancy schmancy camerawork. It allowed the actor, Jason Flemyng, to actually act the part, instead of just vanishing as soon as the CGI takes over. Anyway, fun time had by all. I've never managed to get hold of a copy of the comic, though I love Alan Moore's stuff, and know it will be great. That's my next purchase - I'm sure they've changed all sorts that will outrage me when I read the comic, but as a film, it was a rollicking good time.

Didn't get to see Gozu or Cabin Fever, they were sold out, which isn't surprising, we only heard about it the day it started. Still, they'll come out at some point, so we'll see them then.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Righteous. 3 and a half pages today, early, because we're off to see the Mystery Movie at FrightFest tonight. They won't say what it is, and we can't risk missing something groovy. Hopefully we can get tickets for Cabin Fever on Sunday, and Gozu, Takashi Miike's latest gorefest. I knew I wouldn't bother doing my pages tonight, so I got them done early. Aren't I so good you could just punch me?

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Sweet. 5 pages today, took just over an hour, this shit practically writes itself. It is huge amounts of fun, too, I love the main character, and the whole attitude of the thing. Nice. I'll stick with the 3 page a day target, no point increasing it every time - but I won't carry pages over, so I still need to do 3 tomorrow, I won't take the lazy way out just because I did 2 extra today, and say "oh well, I only need 1 tomorrow..."

Apparently the routine is now: have dinner, watch some telly, then sit down at the PC, pour myself a healthy amount of Jim Beam and Coke, and write like mad, with the headphones blasting out the heaviest songs on my hard drive. I have to listen to music when I write, usually. Different things need different genres. This is definitely a hard, heavy metal script. Plenty of Korn, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, Nirvana. Is it uncool to say "heavy metal"? I don't care. It was called heavy metal when I was at school, it's still heavy metal now. Fuck cool, let's kill.
(These next few paragraphs are Wednesday night's post, but it's showing here because it was after midnight - and you know what happens when you feed me after midnight)

Finally started the first draft of the scifi action extravaganza, tentative title "Prime Evil", or possibly "Harvest". I'm no good with titles. I have the opening sequence done, 3 pages of action (about 3 minutes of screen time, one minute per page), with one line of dialogue. I'm very pleased, I use too much dialogue sometimes. I was going to try and write the first draft with no dialogue at all, and then only add some where absolutely necessary, just to keep it tight and fast, but that would be a bit tricky, and probably insane. I will try and hold back on the 15 page speeches, though.

For those who are interested in the process: first cometh the idea (from the director, in this case), where you say "hey, wouldn't it be cool if, like, Hitler was made of cheese, and zombie mice tried to eat him?" or something. Then, you try and work out if the idea will be interesting for 90 minutes - that idea on its own isn't going to last long. For me, that means doing a one or two page outline telling the story from start to finish, not in too much detail ("Hitler is planning a major battle, which absolutely must not go wrong. Meanwhile, his mum is trying to win the Cake Challenge with her fairy cakes. In a small town in Idaho, an industrial accident leads to the creation of zombie mice, which terrorise the local town. Eventually, they smell the whiff of the HitlerCheese, and decide to go and eat him. Along the way, they kill many people. Meanwhile, Hitler's nose falls off" etc etc). You know, I'm liking this HitlerCheese story the more I think about it. Once the outline is done, I think about who should be in it, how many characters, what do they want, what would be more dramatic, and so on. If any research needs doing, now is the time - if the story changes during the outline stage, that's cool. If it changes when you've nearly finished the script, you're buggered. Usually I do this on my own, or with Jodie's help, but in this case me and the director came up with the goods, and I arranged it all into an exciting tale of derring do. It's basically like a very short story. In a film script, you have to know where you're going, even vaguely, or it'll be a mess.

And then, once you've run out of things to do to put off starting, you just start writing it. Expand on things that need it, let the story flow, let the characters talk - and if some things go in a different direction to the outline, let them. You can always change it back if it doesn't work. Anyway, that's what I do for these things. This blog is supposed to be all about my writing "struggles", a journal of the nuts and bolts of trying to make a go of this crazy business, so I may as well go into detail.

Another reason for the blog is to guilt trip me into writing every day, even if I don't update this every day. I need to be a bit more strict with myself, I'm too easily distracted from writing. This long blog entry is a case in point. So I'm stopping for today. 3 pages is good. I'll make that my daily target. Oh no! A target! That's going to put the kibosh onto things...

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Made my own sushi for lunch today. Okay, it was sushi rice in a packet (that Jodie made, I didn't even do that), smoked salmon, and nori sheets from a supermarket. But it still tasted very nice, and I rolled it all myself and everything. Obviously not a patch on proper, restaurant sushi. But nice.

Pirates of the Caribbean is the most fun you can possibly have in a cinema this year without hookers and cocaine.

Freddy Vs. Jason has terrible acting, dialogue and plot, but tons and tons and tons of blood, gore and murders, which is why I went to see it. If you love gore, like I do, you won't be disappointed. Some of it is quite beautiful, really.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Got the characters more or less sorted for the big scifi extravaganza, they're a colourful bunch of freaks, I like em. I'm dying to get started and just write the thing, but that's where I went wrong with Craw Lodge, so I'm just being extra careful with the planning and the plotting and the monkeys and the burning.

The TV thing just kept going all drama-lite, it was two different stories, one of which I had no interest in, so I'm going to leave it. It's just not my thing, which makes me wonder why they asked to meet me in the first place, but feh.

Met a producer I'd met before, which went very well. Also met a cool animator guy who was very funny, and I'm dying to see his showreel because there is a really funny cat thing on it that looks hilarious. Might be doing some small things with him, depending on time and so on.

And thank Christ, the unbearable heat has eased back a bit - now it's just hot and sunny, instead of furnace-like. I can go out for a short walk without feeling like someone has set fire to me. Amen to that. Which reminds me - we're used to new channels just appearing on our digital telly box, which is always nice, but we've suddenly been given the God channel for no reason, and it's hilarious. There these raving lunatics ranting on and on, and every single show has a book or a tape or a guide or a thing you can buy. They even had a prayer cloth - a cloth! I shit you not! - to, er, pray with, I guess. It was just a cloth, like. With the name of the preacher or pastor or whatever embroidered on it. I have no idea how you would use a prayer cloth, but hey, that's why I'll probably go to hell. Anyway, we can now tell people that we've got God. He's on channel 279, right between Discovery Health, and FashionTV.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Went to a friend's flat for a barbecue on Saturday - I have never seen so much food in my entire life. Bread, salami, Japanese bean pod things, crisps, salad, rice, chicken, potatoes with mint, smoked salmon, mini pizzas, little clam-like things, mushrooms - and that was before the barbecue was lit, then we had sausages, teriyaki chicken, Other Chicken (forget the name), and got to make our own sushi rolls, which was the best fun ever. My first sushi roll was like a cigarette, my second was like a fat cigar, and quite good. All tasted yummy. Lots of beer and wine was consumed, about 12 pints of sweat soaked the floor around me, met some people I hadn't seen for ages, fun time had by all.
Can't do anything in this heat. Can't write, can't think, can't move, can't not move, can't breathe, can't sleep, can't even sit on the sofa doing nothing because you start getting damp sticky patches on your legs. Foul, foul, abysmal weather. Make it go away. It's just too much.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Some blah, some feh: Pat (director bloke) wants me to write the scifi action thing, which is cool, so we're signing a legal thing promising not to do anything naughty, just to cover ourselves. No money yet, but when we sell it, hoo boy, I'm getting me one of them toasters I seen on the magic picture box. I've come up with lots of groovy characters to put into it, hopefully making some nice juicy roles that people will want to play, and not mind that they only have 5 lines before getting horribly killed.

TV outline: the people at A National TV Station didn't like the outline much, they were hoping it would have more about the human conflict and stuff, bit of a misunderstanding on both sides probably. Anyway, they're happy to see a new revised version - if they don't like that, then I'll leave it, because it will be drifting scarily close to a "drama", which ain't really my thang.

Disaster outline: it doesn't really work. So I've abandoned it, and have 2 months to think up a new way to kill, main, and trap people in burning wreckage. It's for a kind of genre film submission thing, they want disaster movies, musicals, or family movies. Bit of an unfortunate time in history to be asking for disaster movies, really...

Nobody in TV Land is "getting" The School, they either think it's a comedy and can't find the jokes (there aren't jokes), or it's a drama, and can't find the drama (it's not a drama), don't get the black comedy surreal aspect, or think hey, it's, you know, for kids (it isn't, but I'm sure they'd love it). Depressing. I thought there'd be a market for good, original genre TV stuff, but they just seem to want to churn out the same old shite over and over again. That's fine, if they're happy spending their lives blanding everything down to the point of transparency, then their punishment will be their own miserable lives, he spat bitterly...

Friday, August 01, 2003

I rescued a cat today. Heard some plaintive mewling coming from a hedge on my way home, went over, saw a little face peering out - it had got stuck. I helped it out, and it mewed gratefully for a while, then wandered off. Ain't I just the big damn hero?

Speaking of needing help, check this out. Oh. My. God. It's the eyewitness reports that get me...
Finally finished with the Craw fucking Lodge. Ten and a half drafts, several pints of blood, sweat and tears, and three yards of nerve fibre. It's going to get sent out now, I think, and may God have mercy on its soul.

Working on outlines for a black comedy (let's just assume everything I do has black comedy elements, to save me typing it every single time) tv two parter, and a bang bang action disaster thing. Soon I'm going to be writing the big scifi thing that director came up with, he wants me to write it, we came up with an outline, and it's all good. Going to start working on the characters before I start, and will be watching several particular movies to inspire me (to nick characters from, in other words).