Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The charity screening

Blimey... Where do I start? I thought being on set of a movie I wrote was the most surreal, bizarre thing that had ever happened to me. I was wrong. Being up on stage, in front of several hundred people, with the actors and director, with a radio mic, was even more surreal and bizarre. Until the moment I stepped off the stage, when- but I'm getting ahead of myself. Rewind.

Thursday morning, I had six hours before I needed to leave the house. I'd showered, dressed, and was more or less ready. But I still raced around the house, panicking, convinced I'd forgotten something. Really nervous. Went into town, met Jo, had a meal, tried to calm down, failed. Even when my mates from Dublin arrived - they flew over for the screening - I was still freaking out. I had nothing to be nervous about - apart from the thought of getting up on stage in front of a massive audience and talking. The charity screening as part of the FrightFest, a horror festival I've gone to for years.

We made our way to the cinema, it was nearly time. I was panicking really badly, shaking, breathing too fast, heart racing. Jo actually considered slapping me, I was that bad. Finally got to the cinema, saw some of the actors, got kissed and hugged by some of them, and got to our seats. It's okay, I thought, I've got 96 minutes until the Q+A, so-- and then the PR lady approached me, and said they were doing an intro, would I like to go up on stage with them all? I nodded, smiled, said "that'd be great!", and she pretended not to notice the thin stream of diarrhoea that was running down my left leg and pooling in my shoe.

The intro was announced, along with the names of the director and cast. I decided that if they didn't announce my name, I wouldn't go up, because I didn't want some security bloke to wrestle me to the ground for trying to crash the stage. But Chris went straight to the mic and shouted "where's James Moran, the writer, get up here". I looked at Jo and my mates, took a deep breath, and felt myself standing up and running to the stage, but at the same time imagined myself still in the audience, sitting and thinking "who's that bloke getting up?" I could see people looking at me, people whose faces I know from previous FrightFests, people I've chatted to outside the cinema about the movies we've just seen, people who had no idea that I'd written a movie. I got on stage, and Chris was telling the audience about my FrightFest history, and I think I got a round of applause, I'm not sure, I was hyperventilating slightly and staring in shock at the audience. I've never seen an audience from that angle, I've always been part of it looking up. Luckily the intro was very quick, and we all ran back to our seats. My heart was still pounding, and my mates were giggling at me, and then the movie started, which was a relief.

Best. Audience. Ever.

I knew they would be, the FrightFest audience are bloody clever, know their horror, know their movies, they got every reference, every joke, every horror gag where we tried to subvert things, clapped and cheered after every kill, it was fantastic. Massive round of applause at the end, and again, I thought, right, THIS time if they don't say my name again, I'll just hide.

The lights come up, and they announce the names. I don't move. My mates are saying "get up there", and again Chris is calling out for me, so I run up to the stage, absolutely terrified, and am handed a radio mic - I try to hand it over to someone else, but they back away from it as if it's poisoned, so I'm stuck with it. Standing there, with the actors and director, and the applause is still coming, it was magic, like nothing I've ever experienced. Okay, I thought, nobody will ask the writer a question, when there are handsome and exotic actors here, so I'll just move to the back, and--

--and, of course, the first thing out of Alan Jones' (co-organiser of FrightFest) mouth is a question to me. And somehow, despite the terror, I force myself to answer immediately. I crack a joke, get a big laugh, and, learning from my mistakes before, I carry straight on with the actual answer. He asks me another question, I crack another joke, get another laugh, and do another proper answer, which seems to go down well. Apparently (I hear later) I looked confident, relaxed, and perfectly at ease. I have no fucking idea how I managed that. But when I was up there, knowing the audience loved the movie, were happy to see us, and were nervous and excited about us being there, it made it okay. I was able to chill and enjoy it. Plus, the lights were quite bright, so it wasn't immediately obvious that 400 (edit: it's actually 832) people were staring at me. It was amazingly cool, I can't begin to describe how weird it felt though. The final question came, a good one which got everyone talking, and I was the last one, so I cracked another quick joke, did a quick final answer, and then we called it a day. I got off stage, and started heading to my seat.

And that's when the weirdest thing happened. I thought, they're all going to be looking at me, 96 minutes ago I was an anonymous bloke in seat N16, and now suddenly I'm a filmmaker, I'll probably get some stares, which is fine, and--

--and there's a bloke standing in front of me, FrightFest brochure open to the Severance page, with a pen, holding them both out to me. "Excuse me, would you mind signing--" and that's all I heard. My mind was going "holy shit, he's asking for my autograph, oh look, he's got Chris and the actors to sign too, now he's completing the set, that's nice, I can't believe he's asking me though, my signature is worth nothing, I'm nobody, and oh my God there's someone standing behind him waiting for their turn, this cannot get any more bizarre." Jo and Emmet (my Dublin mate) saw me, and began silently screaming and pawing at Sal, my other Dublin mate, who was looking in a different direction saying "oh look, it's Kim Newman", until they grabbed her head and turned it. My brother was there, gobsmacked, and speechless for once. I had lots of other mates in various different seats, equally gobsmacked. None more gobsmacked than me. I get to my seat, and someone leans over to shake my hand, saying "well done, great movie", a complete stranger. I thank them, still finding it hard to believe. We file out to the lobby, and still people are coming up asking me to sign their brochures. Absolutely unreal.

Outside, people are heading to the aftershow party. I have an invite for me plus one, so I tell my friends and brother that I'm not going. They tell me to get myself to the fucking party or else, that they'll all wait in the pub, enjoy my moment and all that. So me and Jo head off. A moment of hilarity when it turns out I'm not on the list - but then it turns out I'm on a different list, and all is well. If I'd actually been turned away from the party, I would have found it hilarious, a typical Hollywood-style story, and much more interesting than "and then I actually was on a list". We go in, chat to the FrightFest DrunksTM who are lovely horror fans that I've bumped into before as an audience member, and try to explain to them how weird it is to suddenly become a different person in the eyes of several hundred people (and myself) purely by standing on a stage for 15 minutes. We then go down to the Severance area, and chat to Tim McInnerny and his lovely wife and lovely posh sister, and have a great time. Drink is drunk, Chris arrives, who has had a drink or seven, and there is much hugging and mutual giving of compliments. We stay about 45 minutes or an hour, then head back to the pub to be with our mates and my bruv. Much booze is drunk, they all clap me loudly when I walk in (cue many confused "who the fuck's that?" looks from the other drinkers), and a fun time is had by all. We move to the amazing Garlic and Shots on Frith Street, where there's a tiny little crypt room that we can all fit in, seemingly reserved just for us. Corin gets us all a Bloodshot, which seems to be a glass of Tabasco Sauce, chillies, garlic, and FIRE. We down those, gasp like dying fish, and reach for a beer to cool our flaming throats - but oh no, it's garlic beer! With chunks of garlic! We're starting to figure out why it's called Garlic and Shots. Cause we're clever, and stuff. We get a round of normal beers and JD and Cokes, and after scarcely half an hour I'm able to speak again. Two plates of garlic bread turn up, which is eaten immediately, and much more booze is drunk. Eventually we fall out of there, pile into taxis and trains, and crash and burn.

The next morning we hit the local caff, for a huge fryup, and I buy all the daily papers - they're the only reviews we don't see in advance, so we have no idea what they'll be like. But they're surprisingly good. Mirror gave us great coverage, even the Daily Mail liked it, although I was hoping for a "ban this sick filth"-style outrage. Mind you, he did call me "Paul Moran", so that makes up for it. Most of the rest were pretty good, apart from the Grauniad which gave us a hilariously sniffy review which was longer than their reviews of stuff they liked. It was very much "oh, MUST we make crassly commercial films like this, how dreadfully tiresome", and then proceeded to say how much they enjoyed You, Me and Dupree, which is well known for its anti-commercial, kitchen-sink drama. God forbid that we go to the cinema on a Saturday night and get entertained, civilisation would collapse! But I was hoping for at least one sniffy, snobby review, so I'm happy.

Also happening that morning was one of those parent/baby "Baby Club" screenings at a London cinema - you can bring your newborn baby in, they leave the lights on, so that new parents can see new releases, with the understanding that there'll be lots of other people with babies there too - for Severance. Yes, as I ate my fryup, at that very moment, babies were being forced to watch the horrific events that I had written. I was poisoning fresh, new minds. Result.

Friday night, we all went to see Pan's Labyrinth, which is a work of genius, a beautiful, magical movie that took us to another place for 2 hours. Saturday night me and Jo went to the Enfield Cineworld to see Severance with a normal audience of punters that didn't know me. Full house, went down really well, and everyone was talking animatedly as they came out, which was a huge buzz. Sunday I met up with my sister, who had just seen it with her mates, and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. Monday I had a 4 and a half hour Curfew meeting (preparation for the big one on Wednesday), and Monday night we went to see The Host, a crazy monster movie from Korea. Great monster action, hilarious gags, went down a storm. And last night, I slept.

Today, I'm back in my dayjob, doing corrections to an online computer course and entering them into a database. Back to the real world. I'm exhausted, haven't stopped since Thursday morning, and just want to sleep for a week. But I'm buzzing inside, still excited and delirious about the whole thing. Ever since I was struggling with the ending of P45 as it was back then, I always thought, wouldn't it be great to be on stage at FrightFest, hearing the audience clap the finished movie? It's an absolute dream come true, and it couldn't have gone more perfectly. Magic.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Last bunch of links

Okay, it's Wednesday, the night before the Severance charity screening FrightFest preview spectacular. On ice. With penguins. (may not contain actual ice or penguins). I'm trying not to think about it, trying to concentrate on other things, but it's impossible. I am so excited, I can barely articulate myself, and have been forgetting how to speak all day. So let's have the last few Severance links, until the next ones:

TimeOut review - they actually liked it! A lot! And they don't like *anything*! Critic's Choice in the print version, too - okay, number 9 in the Critic's Choice, but fucking Critic's Choice nonetheless. Thanks, TimeOut critics! Thanks for choo-choo-choosing me!

Sky Movies review - they liked it, too.

As did the BBC.

And the Hollywood Reporter - great to have both this and Variety behind us in America.

Channel 4 are keen, too.

And Film Exposed.

And Dark Matters.

As with all reviews, watch out for spoilers, some heavier than others - for best movie-going results, try to go in knowing as little as possible. In fact, don't visit the above links at all until you've seen it, just in case.

We've also got a proper release date in America - March 9th, 2007, according to Bloody Disgusting.

Speaking of the US release, here's the official page for the US distributors, Magnolia Pictures, obviously a bunch of very intelligent, good looking people with impeccable taste.

I think that's all the current news and info, obviously if there's any more I'll post it immediately, because it's my blog and I'll do as I please, thank you very much. If you're going to the preview screening tomorrow, then I'll probably see you there. I probably won't be blogging anything until the weekend, as I'll be out with friends and seeing other movies, so until next week, or whenever the hangover wears off - I salute you. Or something. Go and see Severance, in the cinema, pump up the opening weekend. Tell all your friends to do the same, tell them I know where they live. And I have the ass-knife...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

DVD Commentary

The day after the press junket, we all turned up again to record the DVD commentary - me, Chris, Tim, Andy, Danny, Babou, and John Frankish the production designer (Claudie couldn't make it, and Laura and Toby were still in the US). It was a big group one, all of us together, in a tiny Soho screening room, like a mini cinema. I've always wanted to do a commentary, and I was determined to be prepared - I hate commentaries where there are long silences, people laughing at the jokes, and endless gushing praise for the actors. So I made some notes, made sure I had enough stuff to say. Chris had done some notes too, and was going to lead the chat, asking us all about various aspects of the movie. So we were all set.

Our finely crafted plans lasted about 12 seconds after Danny entered the room, grabbed a beer and took over, so we immediately settled into a random free-for-all. We had headset earphones and microphones, so if you wanted to say something, you had to be quick. It was hilarious, silly, and of course we ended up laughing at some jokes, and complimenting everyone. But at least it was entertaining. I managed to get about three sentences in, which is impressive considering the constant banter - you can't accuse this commentary of having long silences. I learned my lesson when I got asked about the dream sequence, early on - I was all set to say my piece about it, but thought I'd do a joke first. Joke got a laugh, I took a breath, and went to carry on - but my mistake was stopping for breath, as the banter just carried on. Half of the time I was too busy laughing to get a word in. I decided to abandon my carefully constructed discussions of the intention behind the writing, as even if I could have got any in, it would have killed the atmosphere dead - so I just tried to keep up with the joking, anecdotes, and banter. It was brilliant fun, just like we were all sitting around in a living room together. In fact, it was very much like the eatmybrains.com Zombie Club I went to, but with headsets - a gang of people, with booze, watching a movie and having a laugh.

So, that's one of my ambitions from last year finally achieved - I have "done" a DVD commentary. It was completely different to what I expected, but much, much better.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The press junket

A press junket is a way of getting lots of interviews done all at once. The interviewees park themselves in a hotel room, while millions of journalists are brought in one by one, for about 5 minutes. It's quite a bizarre, unreal world, and on Tuesday I was part of the Severance junket.

I got there in the morning, and found a room filled with journalists and soft drinks. Lurking in the corridors were Andy Nyman and Tim McInnerny, who had been constructing an elaborate pretence that Tim had turned up (at 11am) completely drunk, and that they needed to "handle" him... Those crazy kids! First interview was with me and Chris, and a very nice journo bloke doing a general print thingy. We chatted for a bit, then I got taken out to do some TV ones. Yes, TV. Two chairs were set up in the middle of a tiny, tiny room jammed full of lights, microphones, bits of equipment, and several patient, but melting, crew people. A nice bloke from Sky Movies interviewed me first, while I drank lots of water and tried not to stare at the massive camera that was pointing at me. It was only about 5 or 10 minutes, and then he was done. After that, it was the turn of a nice lady from The Zone Horror Channel, who asked me more questions. I was more relaxed by this stage, and managed to crack some jokes and make it a bit more entertaining than my usual panicked, mumbling monotone. When that ended, I escaped the terrible room of heat, and went back to the holding room with the journos again. Some other TV things were happening with the other actors, and Emily Booth was one of the interviewers, who is famous and stuff, and used to be on that games show called Bits - she came in to get her tapes when she was finished, I didn't recognise her for a minute. She's tiny, and seemed really nice, but I didn't say hello because she wasn't interviewing me, didn't know who I was, and I didn't want to be that creepy guy who goes up and says hello to people off the telly. So if she's reading this: hello! You're tiny, and you seem really nice!

I'd done three interviews now, and had been asked much the same questions. I mentioned this to the Sky bloke, who explained that everyone will be asking the same things, because there are some things they all need to get quotes on - where did the idea come from, why do we like to be scared, etc etc. I confessed that I'd said more or less the same thing every time - not to be lazy, but because they're the only answers I have, so I just had to try and phrase them differently. I said "do you know we're saying the same thing to everyone?" and he just laughed and nodded. Rumbled! He seemed okay with it, though. If he hadn't been, I would have had him killed - there was a person there doing that for us, a drinks person, a handler, a herder, and a body dumper, they really look after you at these things. Claudie Blakley, Babou Ceesay and Danny Dyer were there by that stage, so there was more banter, and then we got herded into a room for our lunch. Which was brilliant fun. Me, Chris, Tim, Babou, Andy, Claudie, and Danny, scoffing food, swearing, and laughing our arses off, it was really nice.

After that, there was a big "roundtable" - all of us sat around a table, with about 8 journalists and tape recorders, all firing questions randomly, with us jumping in when we wanted. I had decided that there was no way I'd get a word in, and that they wouldn't be interested in me anyway (the writer isn't as glamorous or interesting, to be fair), but I got asked a good few questions which I handled with aplomb. If you define 'aplomb' as 'talking so quietly and nervously they have to move all the microphones right up to your face'. But I did okay. Most of the time though, I was just laughing at all the joking that was going on.

Once that was finished, my stuff was all done, so I waved goodbye to anyone who wasn't still locked inside rooms being interviewed, and went on my way. I'd drunk 100 glasses of water, 47 cups of coffee, and talked about myself and the movie for hours. On the way home, I had to stop myself discussing the nature of horror with complete strangers. It was an incredibly weird experience, but fantastic fun. I can totally understand why you see actors going a bit funny at these things - when they get asked the same question a hundred times in a row, they must just start making stuff up to break the monotony. I'll never get that intense level of scrutiny, thankfully, so it'll probably always be this laid back for me. Besides, I think one day per junket is probably quite enough...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Severance charity screening - buy your tickets now, or Jill gets it!

Tickets are still available for the special FrightFest charity screening of Severance at the Odeon West End on 24th August - a very reasonable £10 from the Odeon website or the Odeon booking line on 0871 22 44 007, and proceeds go to the Teenage Cancer Trust, a very worthy cause. There'll be a Q&A session afterwards with the director, cast, and me, and it should be a rollicking good time.

I wouldn't normally pimp the screening twice, but it's for charity, and I want to make sure they get as much cash as possible, which means filling every seat. If you're in London that day, and were planning to watch the movie anyway, come to this showing. If you have any mates who might be up for some gory fun, send them along. If you don't like horror, or comedy, or cinemas, come anyway, and keep your eyes shut for 96 minutes. You'll be helping some people out, and you'll be sitting with the best audience in the world - the FrightFest audience.

So come along, watch a kickass horror comedy, have a laugh, and enjoy an entertaining Q&A where the director and cast answer questions while the writer sits in a terrified silence, staring at the audience like a frightened rabbit, wetting his pants and weeping.

My first bus poster sighting

Severance bus poster

Oxford St. bus, 3pm today - wahey! Click for the ultra large version.

And also my first test of the mobile phone pic/text thing that lets me do posts WHILE WALKING DOWN THE STREET like some sort of futuristic mobile hacker with computer equipment surgically attached to my skeleton. Although I have edited the post now, and uploaded the full sized pic so you can see it properly. But the fact remains, I took a photo on my phone, and made it appear on my blog, without ever being near a computer. I love technology. Until it turns evil. Then it must be destroyed.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Writing updates

Some updates on writing projects and things: when I was having that big batch of meetings in May, there were 2 outlines I was working on, and mentioning in those meetings. Sort of informal pitch sessions really, they'd ask what I was working on, and I'd briefly tell them. The reaction was very good on both of them, which was a good sign, and I was able to refine them both slightly based on how people responded. One of the outlines is still being worked on, it needs that crucial extra jigsaw piece before it is ready. The other one came together quite nicely, has a beginning, middle and end, and I managed to get the thumbs up from my agent too. So I'm going to write it, as a screenplay. If you write an outline for yourself, that's fine, it's just so you know the story works. If you're trying to sell that outline, and get people to pay you to write a script from it, it's very, very difficult. The outline needs to be perfect, it needs to be gold, it needs to be really fucking long. And after you've spent months working on it, people read it, and say things like "the characters aren't really coming through", or "I'm not getting a sense of the comedy/scares/tension." No, of course you're not, that's because it's an OUTLINE, with no dialogue, and not a script. So rather than doing that whole dog and pony show again, I'm just going to spec the bastard. It's easier, quicker, and at least that way they have a script they can read and decide if it works or not. Whatever happens, I'll have another writing sample, and will feel like I've accomplished something. At the end of last year, I promised myself I'd do two brand new specs this year. So far, I've spent most of the year so far working on ideas, writing outlines, and meeting people. All these things are good, but they don't result in a script. It's incredibly frustrating not to be writing, and when I got halfway through Curfew, my brain started firing up again, coming up with ideas and sparking off in new directions. It was because I was writing properly again, an actual script, and I realised how much I needed that. So yeah, long story short, I'm doing a new spec. 6 pages in so far. And because it's not for anybody yet, there's no rush, I can do what I like, and I'm fully in charge. Which rocks.

As for Curfew, I handed in my finished first draft, and we'll be meeting to discuss it this week. I'm really pleased with it, it came together very nicely, and I'm looking forward to getting back to it whenever the revisions are needed. Reading it over again, there are some bits I'm already thinking of ways to improve, so hopefully I can do that soon.

I'm working on two other outlines at the moment. They're both paying gigs, both producer/director teams that came to me looking to work together, both with people I really get on well with. One will be used as a pitch/financing document, one is just for us to work from, but both outlines are coming along very easily. There are one or two potential TV things in the pipeline too, nothing concrete yet, but I hope they work out because I'm dying to do them.

There's one other idea/outline that I *didn't* mention in the May meetings, because I didn't want to give it away. I haven't told anyone about it, it's extremely high concept, and fairly easy to steal, so it's top secret for now. Again, it's not quite ready yet, got a couple of huge holes in it that need patching. But when I figure it out, I think I'm going to spec that one, too.

And just because it wouldn't be a post without a Severance mention: TV ads start on Wednesday 16th, mostly on Channel 4 but also on others, and bus ads start on Monday 14th. So keep your eyes out for posters on buses, and telly ads, and take a photo if you spot it before me...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Drafts, changes, and notes

In an attempt to look like I run a respectable screenwriting blog here, I'm answering a question that was sent in (okay, it was a comment, but "sent in" sounds better) by Andy. Hello Andy! Andy wrote:

Could you tell us things like how long they give you to do another draft/amendments, and what happens if they suggest something that you really hate. Also who has the last say - the writer or the director or the producer? Or the distributer even?

If you've sold a script or a pitch, you normally get about 8 weeks to do a first draft. Once they've read this draft, they'll come back to you with more notes, and you then do the revisions, which you usually get 4 weeks to do, or half the first draft time. "Revisions" isn't a plural thing, it just means another mini-draft, based on their notes and/or your discussions with them. It doesn't mean a complete rewrite, or at least, haha, it shouldn't. But most companies like to get as much work out of you for as little money and time as they can ("we love it, but could you just do these tiny few changes, nothing major, take you about an hour, tops..." - substitute "fortnight" for "hour"). Then, depending on your contract, they'll either move forward (attach a director, etc), get you to do another draft, or smile politely and tell you that your services will no longer be required.

Doing a draft or revisions will involve the infamous "notes". You've heard about notes. "We love the script! It's amazing! Perfect! Here are our notes." Okay, it's not always like that - I've been lucky so far, in that I only ever got notes from a few people at once. For Severance, I mainly dealt with 3 film company people at the start, and then one person from that team along with the director and producer. So usually 3 people at a time. For Curfew, I've been working with one guy, with occasional meetings with the big boss, and the financing boss. We've all heard the horror stories of writers getting notes from the execs, the director, the producer, the actors, etc, etc - all different, all contradicting each other. No idea what I would do in that situation, hopefully I'll never have to figure it out. I'll fall off that bridge if I come to it.

Because Severance was a spec script, there were some suggestions made to improve it when they first bought it, all of which I really liked - except for one small thing. It wasn't a huge deal, didn't change the story or the flow, it was just a small shock moment that could have been played one of two ways. I thought it didn't work their way, and even showed them two versions of it to prove my point. They still felt it was better their way around. Fair enough, I thought, I'll go with the majority view. So I did it their way. And now I prefer it the way it is. If it had been a big thing that I thought fucked the whole movie up, then of course I would have had to make a stand, and argue my case fully. And that's all you can do - if they suggest something that you think is awful, just say so, without being arsey about it. Explain in detail why and how it isn't right for the story, but try and offer a different solution. Sometimes, as the saying goes, they don't want the thing that they want, they just want a different thing. Again, I've been lucky with notes. All the notes I got for Severance were great, and improved it no end.

As for final say, the writer has final say up to a point. You don't have to write anything you don't want to. But if they feel that they're not getting anywhere with you, then they don't have to keep you on after your contracted drafts. If you're able to have proper discussions with people though, there shouldn't really be problems like that, and you should all be in agreement on what needs to go into the draft. When I was working with the film company, then they ultimately were the bosses. Once the director and producer came on board, then it was still a team effort, but they were pretty much in charge, because they were responsible for making the movie into a physical thing. Once you finish all your drafts, the movie making process takes over, and it passes out of your hands. You can still take part in the process, help out and so on, but once that script is locked down, budgeted and so on, you have to leave it alone. Unless they need you to come on set and fix stuff while they're shooting it, which I imagine is a whole different kettle of fish. The distributors generally have no say, as they usually see the finished product and decide whether they want to buy the distribution rights.

Again, it's about finding the solution to the problem they're highlighting - maybe it's not the solution they came up with, but if it works, they'll be happy with it. Obviously, there may be situations where you're working with complete idiots with no idea what they're doing, but I don't know how to deal with that yet. I'll let you know if I work with any...

Hope that's answered the drafts and notes question properly, feel free to chip in if anything's unclear, or if you have your own experiences with this side of things.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Reviews, links, and FrightFest screening

More Severance reviews starting to filter through - people have been asking if I'm nervous, and the answer is no, because we get shown all the reviews ahead of time, so I know the score: most places really like it, a couple weren't bothered, and a couple didn't like it. But the majority are all for it. Which is nice, and also unusual for horror, apparently. So:

Variety review - yes, *that* Variety. It's a great review, and my name is listed properly in the credits, twice. It's an odd read though, because Variety don't like using the words "the" or "a". So you get sentences like "Casual way in which special effects are thrown at the viewer pays dividends as the story progresses". Anyway, it's in the print version this week too, page 21 if you want to have a flick through in the newsagent (it's 5 or 6 quid otherwise).

Eatmybrains.com review - my absolute favourite review. These are proper horror blokes, mind, so they're the people I really wanted to like it. It's a great fun review, picking up on all the stuff we jammed into the movie, and I'm really chuffed that they "got" the movie so much. They can eat my brains any time. Check out their Zombie Club reviews, they're classics - I was invited to my first one last night, and it was massively entertaining.

The trailer is showing up on lots of sites too, like FilmRot and AICN, which is cool. Also, apparently it's showing in the cinemas too - my mate Phil says someone he knows saw it before Stay Alive, the "moderate horror" movie showing at the moment. Keep an eye out for it. The TV ads should be running by the end of next week, they're due 2 weeks before the release date, so watch out for those too.

Tickets are now available for the special FrightFest preview screening at the Odeon West End on 24th August - they're a tenner from the Odeon website. Proceeds go to the Teenage Cancer Trust, so even if you hate horror movies, do it for the kids.

Been mainly posting Severance news, as I've spent most of my time working away on Curfew, which is going very well, and several other outlines, and meeting lots of people, some about things I'm working on, some about possible new things. It's a really exciting time, several things look like they might be about to take off, so keep your fingers crossed.

Oh, and send someone a personalised voice message from Samuel L. Jackson, on this Snakes on a Plane site. You know it makes sense.

Update: Here's another one, a review and interview with Toby Stephens. Cheers to A_A from the comments below.