Going to do some quick questions and answers, clear the decks a bit, and push the depressing blog entry down a notch - thank you to everyone who sent nice messages, by the way, all very much appreciated. But now, it's time for quickfire Q+A action! I don't know about you, but that turns me on. Some q's require longer answers, so they'll get their own blog posts, which is why you won't see them here right now (like the useful scripts to read, what I think of script books, and others). Keep the questions coming, as they will force me to write informative, sensible blog entries - otherwise it'll just be secret this, blah that, rant rant, silly photo. Okay, let's go:
Jim: when I checked the PFD web site, their submissions page reads, "We do not accept unsolicited material." I'd be interested to know the approach you used to get your foot in the door, please. What did you do / say / send?
This was back when they accepted submissions (and many places still do, if you're not crazy, so always worth asking, even if their site says no). I sent one feature, one episode of The School, and a covering letter. I still can't find it anywhere, but it basically said "Hello, I'm blah, won a short film competition, etc etc, trying to make a go of writing as a career, seeking representation, here are some samples, what would you recommend?" It wasn't much longer than that, short and sweet - mention what you've done, what you want to do, what you've attached, and ask politely for help. That's pretty much it. And for fuck's sake, don't make jokes in the letter, although I think I may have made one. That just annoys them. Give the info, say what you want, end the letter.
Hotzappa: From your old posts I thought it was 6 episodes of The School not 1. I could be wrong? By the way, James. What was the actual feature you sent to PFD and what was it about?
I did write all 6 episodes, but only sent the first one in. I didn't realise at the time that you're only supposed to write one, then do a page outlining the rest of the series. And it was so much fun to write, I just got carried away, and did the whole thing. The feature was a horror/thriller about a serial killer and a man falsely accused of the crimes, stalked by said killer who has a grudge against him. It was a good concept, but badly executed - lots of scenes where people sat around and told each other what had just happened in the previous scenes, and moments of light comedy mingled in with utterly horrific murder (not like the horror comedy Severance did, I'm talking a bizarre mishmash, Silence of the Lambs crossed with a bad sitcom). I may still resurrect the concept and rewrite it from scratch, but probably won't be bothered. Although I have reused some ideas in another project, so nothing ever really goes to waste.
Anonymous: yo yo jam-es, is you full time now or do you still have the "other" job on the go could you blog about this because otherwise I will feel i must be completely unsatisfied in my job to write cool ass horror so will get a job at b&q or mcd's or something for experience also do you have a 25 hour day my friend does but then he is on the dole and can sleep however long he likes and scratches himself a lot but seriously we should all try longer days it becomes almost routine who said 24 hours was good anyway goodnight!!!
Yo yo Anonymous. I still have the day job, 2 days a week at the moment, because writing still doesn't earn me enough to pay all the rent and bills. Yet. I'm hoping that will change when things start picking up later in the year. And it's perfectly possible to write a cool ass horror while working a day job - I wrote Severance evenings and weekends while doing 5 days a week full time at the day job, a job where I had to write creative content for computer courses and manuals, so the *last* thing I wanted to do when I got home was sit down at another computer and start typing again. And it took a year of hard slog, endless rewrites, and I wasn't getting paid for it... If you want to write something, just start, there is always enough time to get something done. Give up TV for 2 months, and you'll have tons of time. I don't have a 25 hour day - if you're talking about one of those odd polyphasic sleep things. I've often thought about trying one, but I get incredibly grumpy and weird if I don't have enough sleep, so it's probably best that I stick to normal days.
lyhana8: i'm still waiting the list or really good horror movie
This was on the 7 deadly sins of horror post, where I went on (and on) about bad horror movie cliches. Blimey, really good horror? So many to choose from: The Thing, Halloween, The Exorcist, An American Werewolf in London, The Wicker Man, The Evil Dead, Hellraiser, all of Romero's zombie movies, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ring, Black Christmas (the original), Session 9, Candyman, Alien. All of these are prime examples of horror that works, that plays fair, that doesn't cheat. Thankfully, there are plenty more too.
provident360: In my opinion, UFOs in the Bible are angles and are referred to as a cloud, fire, star, etc.
I'm very glad to hear it.
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