Friday, March 23, 2007

Some q's, followed by some a's

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.

And finally, some more bizarre search terms that have somehow led people here, presented without comment:

birth porno

nudie pens australia

i couldn't stop staring at her tits

teen objects pen pic

the screen then they pop up an ugly face and make a loud noise to scare you


hotzappa11 said...

Hey, look:

Down the page you get a name mention along with a bunch of other fellow bloggers.

I thought you'd be interested.

Jason Arnopp said...

Hooray, someone else who knows and loves Session 9! The night I watched that movie, I was frightened after turning off the light. Why do so few films have that effect, these days? Why James, why?

Have you seen Whistle & I'll Come To You, Jonathan Millar's TV movie? Scares the Christ outta me...

Janna said...

Have you already watched the House of Wax? This is one of the horror film that I've watched.

Lucy said...

"provident360: In my opinion, UFOs in the Bible are angles and are referred to as a cloud, fire, star, etc."

That's all very well, but what KIND of angles? Are we talking obtuse, acute...? Maybe this is why we haven't got into the next galaxy yet.

(Soz Provident, was it James who cocked up with that typo? Bet it was! ; )

soulmining said...

Yayy! Session 9 - totally agree, is a really spooky little film.

You should make the 'search terms' bit a monthly feature, they're hilarious... I'm currently using "festering pigeons" to lure my readers!

Jason Arnopp said...

I've been using "lesbo apocalypse" for years now. Draws 'em in like a moth/flame interface.

James Moran said...

Cheers hotzappa, that looks cool, will keep an eye on it.

Arnoppppp: Session 9 nearly made me wee my pants. I think because it doesn't resort to jump shocks, and just slowly and steadily creeps you the fuck out...

Janna: Seen the original, but haven't seen the remake yet - is it any good? My hatred for Paris Hilton will probably spoil it for me.

Lucy: How DARE you etc etc. Nope, I copied and pasted the comment exactly as it was.

Phil: If they keep cropping up, I'll have to make them a regular!

Amanda said...

Count me in for a laminated 'Session 9 Fanclub' membership card, please? Thank you.

Lucy said...

A LIKELY story and a fiendish plot to besmear Provident360's good name if ever I heard one!!! Bloggers of the world unite against this typo tyrant!

Jim said...

I think "The Wicker Man" is one of the single most disturbing horror films, period. Many current attempts at suspense & horror fail miserably, despite big budgets, despite computerized special effects and gallons of blood, despite being cast to the rafters with "big name" actors. I think "Wicker Man" is a great example of a solid, original story resulting in a solid and scary film. There's also a lot to be said for Edward Woodward playing the lead - his being a f**king giant among actors, I think there's more talent in a gram of his earwax than in the whole front row of this year's Oscar awards. Has anyone seen the weak remake of "Wicker Man" with Nicolas Cage? I almost want to rent the DVD to see if there's an audio comment feature explaining the director's theory as to why the original film needed polishing.