Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Website update and links

The official site has been updated, with screams and pumping blood effects - and there's now a game where you have to knock the limbs off a strung up office twat, by kicking a severed head at him. Kicking with a severed leg, obviously. Check it out.

Some places Severance is popping up online:

Empire Future Films (thanks to Ruth for the link)

Out Now - worth a look at the targeted adverts: Constructive dismissal, employment law compliance, know your legal rights to severance pay, compromise agreements...

The trailer on YouTube

Severance wins Jury's Choice Award at PiFan (Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival) in Korea - thank you, lovely Koreans, and also the lovely Lamberto Bava, who was on the jury.

And the poster was spotted in the Showcase cinema in Leeds by my niece Emily - here are two of her friends being shocked and impressed:

Severance poster, being admired by Emily's friends

Monday, July 24, 2006

Quick, hide

Strange thing happened to me the other week. First time ever, but probably not the last. I went to a meeting, never saw the guy before in my life, he shook my hand, and said:

"How's the tendon?"

I stopped in my tracks, and thoughts raced through my head frantically. Only a few people know about my fucked tendon, and my agent doesn't even know, so how the hell did this man find it out? Jesus, it's inexplicable. I mean, it's not as if I had typed out the information, and put it somewhere publicly available where anyone could-

"I was reading your blog."

I am so stupid. It just didn't occur to me that someone I haven't met yet would read my blog. I haven't told that many people about it, so I assume only a couple of people read it. Too scared to tell my agent, because he'll see I've been talking smack about him for ages. But it's the first time I've met someone who has just found it. Luckily, I'm quite restrained on here, and if I gossip then I never name names. Imagine if the most recent post that day had been something horrendous, instead of a sober warning about RSI? Tendon is okay at the moment, by the way, I'm still taking it nice and easy.

Update on other matters: I have purchased Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas, as mentioned here. It's a cracking read, and is giving me a vicarious thrill, because whatever else you want to say about the guy, he made some great stuff, some bad stuff, but didn't take any shit, and got to be an incredibly rich, famous and - most importantly - powerful screenwriter. He's as delighted about it as I am, so it's very entertaining. I particularly enjoyed his answer to someone who suggested a change to one of his scripts - he grabbed the guy by the throat and slammed him up against a wall. Maybe that's not entirely in the spirit of collaborative movie making, but I can't help but admire him for it. Great to see someone not lying down and taking all the usual shit that is thrown at them. Joe, you're my new hero.

Been mad busy with several things on the go at once. It's really hard to sit down at the keyboard and type when it's disgustingly hot, but it has to be done. Curfew is very close to arrival. Three other spec outline things are coming along nicely. Delivered a paid-for outline in the nick of time, and have got another two potential things rumbling - one a cool new film project with some cool new people, and one a potential TV thing with some other cool new people. More news as it happens.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trailer and website for Severance


Fancy schmancy new website is now up for Severance, along with - fanfare please - the trailer! You'll need Quicktime, speakers, eyes, ears, and something to click the mouse button with.

Direct link to trailer - right click and save as.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Starburst review

Severance gets 4 out of 5 in issue 339 of Starburst magazine (which covers genre movies and TV, not the popular chewy sweets), with a great review by top movie bloke and FrightFest co-organiser Alan Jones:

"As funny as it is frightening, with clashing styles that shouldn't work but do brilliantly, 'Severance' is a charnel house cut above 'Deliverance'. Continually impish, crazy and chilling, it's terrifically twisty 'And Then There Were None' plotline is performed with ensemble élan by a super-troupe of classy character actors."

It's available in all good newsagents now (Starburst magazine, not Severance). You can always have a quick flick in the shop, if you don't want to pay 4 quid to stroke my ego. And yes, I'm excited. Seeing it there, printed in an actual magazine, is quite bizarre, because this is something Real People will buy in the shops. It'll be even stranger to see it listed in cinemas.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Last minute short script competition

Found this on Mr David Bishop's blog, who has very kindly linked to me and said nice things. He has edited 2000AD and The Megazine (I'm a subscriber, of course, why aren't you?), written comics, and bucketloads of novels and audio dramas. He also has quite a terrifying goatee, and may possibly be The Master.

So, it's a short film competition (clickyclicky here). The deadline is this Saturday 15th, but you'll only be doing a one or two page script, so it should be manageable. The challenge: write a short script, featuring a specific 16 words of dialogue (in that order, no changing words, no extra words, no leaving words out), starring a man and a woman (no extras, just them), and only one or two pages long. Can be about anything at all, but has to stick to the rules.

The five best scripts will be made into five short films, starring the same two actors. Winners get writing credit, a share of future profits, and fifty US dollars - but the best part of the prize is having your short made, and schlepped round to festivals. Worth a go, eh? One or two pages? Dialogue's already written, it's only two characters. Go for it - it's free and easy to enter, and should be fun. I'll have a go too - if we all do it, we can post our tiny scripts on our blogs, give feedback, and have a big lovefest or something. It's easier than posting sections of scripts, the whole story is there for all to see in one easy to read chunk.

As the page count is so small, you'll have to keep the idea simple, strong, clever, and preferably with some sort of twist or reversal at the end (my personal preference, of course, but those types of short stand out in the crowd). See if there any small, interesting, funny or scary little moments from your day that would work as an ultra-short. Or, you know, make shit up. Have at it! Fly, my pretties, fly!

Update: If you're accepting the challenge, and why wouldn't you, then let me know or leave a comment, just so I can track you all down if you try to wriggle out of it, you slippery eels.

Update 2: Well, I've done mine, but it's rubbish. It was all I could think of, and is extremely predictable. For a much, much better one, check out Dan's entry here. He's pulled off the twist very well, I wasn't expecting it at all - very nicely done, sir! Here's my piss-poor attempt:

INT. TRAIN STATION - NIGHT
The concourse is empty. In one corner is a passport photo booth. The curtain is closed.

INT. PHOTO BOOTH - NIGHT
A young WOMAN sits on the stool, fiddling with the height. She adjusts the stool again, and checks it. There is a screech as the curtain is yanked open. She jumps.

A young MAN looks in.

MAN
Hi!

WOMAN
Hey.

The Man comes all the way in, and they sit down together. The Woman fusses with the Man’s hair, nervously.

MAN
You nervous?

WOMAN
A little.

MAN
Why?

He grabs her hand to stop her messing with his hair.

WOMAN
It’s my first time.

The Man is surprised and amused.

MAN
Really, you’ve never-

WOMAN
No!

Embarrassed, she peeps out the curtain to make sure nobody heard. The Man smiles, and closes the curtain fully. He nods at the coin slot. The Woman puts some money in, and they sit, patiently waiting. The machine beeps. They glance at each other. The Man nods at the Woman.

MAN
OK...

INT. TRAIN STATION - NIGHT
From inside the booth comes the sound of four flashes as the pictures are taken.

There is a pause.

The Woman steps out quickly, alone, closing the curtain behind her. She hurries away, leaving the station.

We get closer to the photo booth. We can just see the legs of the Man below the curtain.

There is another pause.

With a click, the photos appear in the tray outside. They show the Man’s throat being slit by the Woman, with a straight razor.

With a thud, the dead Man falls out of the booth, covered in blood.

THE END

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Don't tell him, Pike!"

Cracking finale to Dr Who, apart from the mood-spoiling bride bit, even if they did chicken out a tad by not killing SpoilerCharacter (but in fairness, at least they rammed the painstick home by having him run out of time at the holographic meetup thing, and good on them for not having him say those words afterwards). Loved the big battles, major death scenes, solid drama, and a really touching, didn't-think-I'd-like-it-but-ahhhh farewell moment. Again, some bizarre logic, but I was enjoying it enough to overlook it (I've decided that the crying what's-her-name Cyberman wasn't quite finished, and escaped before the pain limiter thingy was put in). Very nice surprise about what the genesis ark was, and what was inside. Even found myself loving the (surely intentional) camp verbal bitchslap meeting between Who's two greatest foes, along with a great Dad's Army gag. I managed to get a copy of the script for you all:

EXT. TORCHWOOD CORRIDOR - DAY

The three Cybermen turn the corner, and come face to face with three Daleks. An irresistible force meets an immovable object. Clash of the titans. The tension is palpable.

CYBERMAN 1
Identify yourselves!

DALEK 1
No! YOU! Identify!

CYBERMAN 1
No, you!

DALEK 1
NO! Daleks! Do! Not! Take! Orders!

CYBERMAN 2
Aha! Identified as Daleks!

DALEK 2
Bugger! Exterminate!

CYBERMAN 3
Exterminate my arse!
You will be deleted!

DALEK 3
Delete! This! Big! Ears!


Dalek 3 FUCKS CYBERMAN 3’S SHIT UP, big style. Cyberman 3 falls the floor, head exploding.

CYBERMAN 2
Oh no you didn’t!

DALEK 3
Oh! Yes! We! Did!

CYBERMAN 1
There are millions of Cybermen!
And only four of you!

DALEK 1
It! Only! Takes! Four! To!
Destroy! All! Of! Youuuuu!

CYBERMAN 2
Ooh, get her!

CYBERMAN 1
I’ll scratch your eyes out, you bitch!

DALEK 2
Careful! Dalek! Comrades! I!
Think! She! Has! P! M! S!


Daleks and Cybermen whip out handbags, and start slapping each other. The film speeds up, and the Benny Hill music plays.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

FrightFest screening

FrightFest is delighted to announce a special pre-festival screening of Severance. With thanks to Pathe, the film’s UK distributor, we have arranged a screening of the film on Thursday 24th in the Odeon West End at 6.30 p.m. Director Chris Smith will introduce the film and after the screening will return with members of the cast to host a Q & A. Ticketing arrangements have still to be confirmed and will be announced very soon.

I've been a FrightFest audience member for a few years now, it's the movie highlight of my year. 4 days of horror and other genre movies, with a load of friendly fellow horror fans, all packed into the same cinema screen. In between movies, you stand around outside, chatting, bigging up or slagging off the movie you just saw, and just having a laugh. Inside, there are the screenings, intros, Q & As, trailers, sneak peeks, short films, and loads of other fun things.

This year though, because Severance is out that weekend, I've got some mates coming over from Dublin. We're all going to check out various screenings over the weekend, and drink a lot. It means I'll have to skip most of the FF this year, but I'm incredibly chuffed to see that there'll be a special FF showing of Severance - I'll be able to see my movie, with my best friends, on the opening night, with the best audience in the world. It's the coolest thing I could have imagined. Back when I was working on the script, night after night, before it had even sold, I had misty-eyed visions of what it might be like if it was made and then shown at FrightFest - but never really thought it would actually happen. I am going to get so amazingly fucking drunk that weekend, it may shatter the space/time continuum. So don't say I didn't warn you.