Sunday, January 23, 2005

Not feeling like a fraud anymore

Not much happened this week, apart from the title thing. Severance (starting to get more used to that title now) has been sent out to sales people, and the preparations for casting are underway. The people they're thinking of offering the parts to have surprised me - not because of who they are, but purely because they're real, proper, famous actors and actresses. Look at it from my point of view - I wrote this script at home, in my living room, on a shitty old computer. It got sold, I rewrote it lots, worked with the director and producer on it, and now, suddenly, they're looking for actual Actors to play the parts. All of a sudden, it is no longer something I did at home, in my spare time, evenings and weekends. Now, it is a proper film project. Actors will be sent the script, and offered it. They will treat it the same as any other script they get - they'll read it, and if they want to do it, then they will. They won't know that some chancer with a dayjob wrote it in between watching telly and going to work. The film company will pay the actors, they'll turn up and do their job, and it will be all in a day's work for them. At work, I'm the bloke who sold some script thing. To the film crew, I'll be "the writer".

All along, I've been feeling like a fraud, like I don't deserve to be meeting all these people, that they'll find out that I'm not a proper writer, I'm just some bloke who writes stuff in his spare time. Recently - very recently - I've started to feel like a proper writer. A professional. When I expressed surprise to the producer when he suggested a certain actor, he asked me "Well why wouldn't he do it?" - and he was right. It's a proper script. It's a proper film. And I deserve to be out there, making movies, meeting people, working with them, just as much as anybody else currently doing it. The only difference between them and me is that I don't quite feel like I'm all the way there yet. But I'm getting there. I used to think that anytime I met a producer or somebody, as soon as I offered my opinion, they'd stop, look at me, and say "what the fuck do you know? You're not part of this business!" Nobody has yet, because as far as they know, I *am* part of it. I've got the talent for it. I've got the enthusiasm. I've got every fucking right to be part of it. I still get panicky and freaked out that they won't like what I've written, apparently that never goes away. But I've learnt a lot over the past 2 years, and I think I'm ready to be a lot more confident than I was. I am not a fraud anymore.

One last thing: I'd love to blab about which actors and actresses they're considering, but I'm not allowed to because (a) it's bad form to do so before anything is offered or signed, (b) if they turn it down and they offer it to someone else, nobody wants to know they're 2nd or 3rd choice, and (c) it might look like I was trying to pretend that so-and-so was going to be in the movie, when they might not be. But they're proper actors and actresses. You will have heard of them. And as soon as anything is confirmed or press-released, I'll be splashing it all over this blog like cheap aftershave.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The new title

I don't know if I'm allowed to announce this or not, but it can't do any harm, so I'm doing it anyway. The official new title for P45 is... "Severance". As in, severance pay, or severed limbs, or heads, or other things. See how it has a double meaning? Crafty, eh? That's depth, that is. I like it the more I hear it, it fits, and it sounds right. So I'm very happy with it.

Had to do a few quick tweaks today, just three lines, and it was ready to send out. It's being emailed to sales agents today - they are people who will distribute it in the cinemas, and you usually have one for each country around the world. If they agree to distribute it, then they pay you for the rights to do that. They then pay for prints, posters, advertising, and all that fun stuff, in return for a share of the profits in that particular country. The idea is, we generate enough excitement about it so that they'll want to snap up the distribution rights - if you can sell to enough of these sales agents in enough countries, you can sometimes cover the entire budget of the film, so you're automatically going to make a profit. Hopefully we'll get a good response from them. It was sent out to them today, so let's wait and see.

As far as I know, casting begins this week or next week. I intend to hang around and watch as much of it as they'll let me, because I'm incredibly excited about the whole thing. More details as they arrive...

MacPr0n

New Mac stuff. Hot sex. Want it all. Want to rub it against my skin. Mmm. Mac stuff.

Actually, the new hardware stuff is cool and all, but the thing that's really got me soiling myself in excitement is Pages, part of iWork. It's a proper Apple word processor. Does all sorts of cool shit. And it imports and exports to MS Word. If I can finally rid myself of Microsoft shite, then this is very good news indeed. And I'm even looking forward to playing with Keynote 2, which comes with iWork - bargain! I'd pay 50 quid for Pages alone. But then I'm a sucker for MacPr0n.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

You know, amazing as all this movie stuff is, it is dwarfed by the wonders of the universe. Tonight, when I checked my mail and the BBC news site, I was gobsmacked to see a photograph of the surface of Titan. Physically, it's nothing spectacular to look at, but the amazing thing is... you can look at the surface of fucking Titan! For real! Seeing the surface of Mars took some beating, but they finally did it. This is big. This is fucking HUGE. I'm in a total geek frenzy over this, I really am. I can't wait to see the next set of photos.

Just as long as we keep away from Europa. We don't want to piss off the beings who created the monolith.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The movie is on - if we can just think of a title...

Blimey, they like keeping me in suspense. Didn't hear anything until Wednesday night, when I got a phonecall from the producer. The film company (and the big cheese) love the new draft. They are ready to move forward now, which means casting next week, and location scouting (probably in Romania). Hopefully the full pre-production will start in February. Thunderbirds are go. I'm over the fucking moon, it's absolutely insane. I'll keep this updated with any changes as often as possible.

Got another phonecall yesterday - we need a title. I've known we would need a new title, but assumed that they had clever marketing people for that sort of thing. So we've all been throwing lots of (really, really shite) titles back and forth, most of which are too embarrassing even to reveal here. We've narrowed it down to about 2 or 3 choices, so I think we're nearly there. If we hadn't been able to think of one, it would have delayed the casting and so on. Yet another movie myth debunked - movie titles are, just like anything else, decided by everyone involved desperately trying to make stuff up...

Met John the producer and the German financier on Wednesday too, to talk about the book adaptation. It went very well, they're determined to get it made, so hopefully we'll sort the contract out soon, and I can get started. I'm dying to write it, it's a great story, and I'm looking forward to the job of adapting a book into a script, even from a technical point of view. I have my highlighter pens all ready and everything.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I did it my way

Just handed in the final, revised version of P45. We've put a lot of work into it - me, the director, the producer - including a 7 hour meeting last week where we literally just went through it, line by line, questioning every little detail and line of dialogue - but we're all really happy with the results. It's funny, it's scary, it's exciting, it's fucking great. Whatever happens, I'm proud of what I did, what *we* did. The only thing it's missing, if they want extra stuff, are some dinosaurs or spaceships or something. We've addressed everybody's concerns, it's all there on the page, it's all working, it all feels right.

Of course, they could come back and want more changes, another draft, whatever, but there comes a time when you have to let the process move on to the shooting stage, let the actors roll with the lines, let the crew work their magic to make it happen, let it all become the collaborative process that it needs to be to become a good movie.

So once again, fingers crossed, let's see if they like it and want to start pre-production (casting, budgets, location scouting, etc). I really want this to start happening soon. I need it to. A lot depends on this not falling apart.

In other news, I'm seeing John the producer on Wednesday afternoon, to meet his German financier - to let him know that I'm real, I know what the story is about, and am capable of writing it. It should go fine, it's not an interview or anything, it's mainly for the financier to see if I'm going to be pleasant and easy to work with. For all the skills people have, that one seems to be the most important.