Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fantasporto Day 4

Oh, Jesus... I've said those words about a hundred times today, while holding my head and quietly weeping. As predicted, today was painful. The morning was not good. We're all pretty trashed, so a fairly quiet day again. Sensing a pattern here - drunken revelry one night, agony the next, then drunken revelry again. Got up slowly, went to find a bacon sandwich, got a tour of the institute of photography, and then sat in the cinema bar for the evening. Saw a great Spanish film called El Metodo, about a group of people going for a job interview and being eliminated one by one with bizarre mind games - really funny, smart, sexy, and quirky. Then went for some food, headed back to the bar for a while, and shamefacedly slinked off to go and get some sleep. I'm ashamed to say that's all we got up to, we just didn't have the energy to do anything else...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fantasporto Day 3

Feeling better today, thanks to a nice sleep, and actually waking up for breakfast for a change. Had a lie in, got showered and ready, and was able to face the world. Got a razor from the hotel reception, which was so fiddly and blunt, it was like shaving with a fork. No, a spork. But it did the job, and with only 3 pints of blood spilled, so hey, who's laughing now? Not me, my face is too stiff. So we started nice and early with Jade Warrior at 3pm, a bizarre fantasy fable doomed love martial arts epic, which was a Finnish and Chinese co-production, so it had all the swoopy slowmo epic fighting stuff mixed in with a bizarre, quirky sense of humour. We all very much enjoyed it. Oh, and Mike from eatmybrains gave me a superb eatmybrains cap, which I'm very happy with. He doesn't realise it makes me look like a crazy serial killer. Not yet. He'll find out one night, when he wakes up and sees me looming over him with a knife.

After that, it was dinner time, and I had The Biggest Steak in the World. Didn't get a photo, as no camera could manage it. This was a half portion, mind. Lots of beers were drunk, lots of arguments were argued, and much food was sunk. We then went to MovieTown for some beers, then the cinema to catch a short film - Rabbit, which was insanely weird, but hilariously sick - and then out to a bar.

And that's when things got fuzzy. I think we went to the upstairs cinema bar, then went wandering down by the riverside for more places. Found a nice place with some serious locals, then staggered into another place, a groovy karaoke bar with an excellent selection of tunes. It looked like it was closed, and they weren't letting anyone in - but Simon just talked his way in, so we all said "I'm with Simon" and strode in. After a while, they were giving us free shots of vodka and port, so I think we did okay. It all got *very* fuzzy after that, so I'm going to leave it there. We lost Jay about 11pm, so I have no idea where he ended up. But I'm fairly sure he's alive. Possibly. I have no idea what's happening tomorrow, I think we've been invited to meet up with the barmaid and her mates somewhere (from the free shot place), so we'll probably all get killed. It all got quite drunken and mad, so my memory is vague. But I do remember Karim singing "I Am Woman", really passionately and loudly. Karim is a man. And not a woman. But he sang the song anyway. And I think that should be applauded. I think things ended about 3 or 4am, but my memory is trashed, so we may have all gone to the moon for all I know. Tomorrow morning will be... painful.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fantasporto Day 2

Oh, what a sorry sight we all were today. We were supposed to do a morning tour of some port cellars, but we were all unconscious. We were then supposed to be at a lunch thing, but didn't make it out of the hotel until nearly 2pm. The only thing making me get up was knowing this press conference was at about 3pm, so I hauled Jay out of his room and we went for some chicken and chips round the corner. And lots of coffee and orange juice. Headed into the MovieTown tent where they had a proper press conference area set up, a big table and about 30 chairs facing it. Suddenly got an attack of nerves, and installed myself in an audience chair until the thing started, nursing a bottle of water and an orange juice. First up were two lovely Portuguese blokes, but I can't tell you who they were or what their movie was, because I didn't understand one single word.

Finally it was my turn, and I went up to the table to face the grilling. Jay had convinced me to have a beer by this stage, so I sipped at that and hoped that my head wouldn't fall off, which it was threatening to do. Started off a bit nervous and quiet, but it soon livened up. There were quite a lot of people there, and thankfully Jay was on hand to get things going, and keep things going, by asking plenty of good questions. I talked, and talked, and talked, and cracked jokes, and answered things, and waffled on, and said things that were in outrageously bad taste, and had a great time. They really enjoyed the movie, and I keep getting people coming up to tell me their favourite bits, which is really cool. After the press thing, a guy asked me to sign his brochure on the Severance page, and maybe draw a plane (you'll know why when you've seen the movie), which I managed even though I can't draw to save my life (it was a stick figure style plane). He then gave me a copy of his short film, which was very nice of him, so I'll watch that later on.

Brief break for drink, a TV interview, and then it was time for The Horror Bus, which was a fun, quirky kids' horror movie, which didn't have a lot of bus action, but was very interesting and strange. I liked it. Once it finished, we all headed off to stuff our faces with meat and chips, and around 11 I had to just bail out and come and quietly die screaming into my bed. Which is where I am now. Tomorrow, Simon Rumley (director of The Living and the Dead) is arriving, it's the last day for Karim (one of our posse), so we're probably going to have a late one again. So I'm going to sleep now, to prepare for the insanity.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fantasporto Day 1

Flight was fine, landing was fine, and got to the hotel easily. Porto is a beautiful city. The people are very welcoming, friendly, and a little bit mad. I've been drinking lots of Super Bock (the local beer) and eating plenty. I was hoping to put off the meat and cheese sandwich for one day, just to build up my strength, but somehow we ended up all eating it tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Fantasandwich:



Yes. Yes indeed. Clickyclicky for biggybiggy, but only if you are prepared for the might of it. Can't remember the real name of it, but that's what it's now called. Every kind of meat inside - chicken, bacon, beef, sausage, and more - in a double decker toasted sandwich, with melted cheese. And quite feisty chili sauce all over it. There's prawns in it too, for some reason. It's really, really nice. But it's like having 27 meals at once.

The Severance screening went great, the audience got all the jokes I was worried about, and a few besides, and generally loved it. Half the time they were laughing before the dialogue happened, because the subtitles were on screen, so it must have been a good translation. Afterwards, several people came up and told me how much they enjoyed it, which was really cool. I did a short intro, in which I had no idea what to say, so rambled on for a few minutes, but was apparently funny - Mike from eatmybrains.com recorded it on his camera, so I might post it here if I was okay. I got laughs, so that's a success in my book.

After that, we went to MovieTown - a huge tent set up in the square outside the cinema, where they were showing the Oscars and giving us free beer. We'd gathered together a posse by this stage, so about 6 of us took over a corner, jeering the losers, loudly applauding the winners that we liked (yay for Pan's! yay for Marty! yay for Forest! yay for Morricone! big yay for Ellen making really funny jokes and being lovely!), and generally being drunken lunatics. There was much booing and shouting (led by me) when Celine fucking Dion somehow made the tribute to Ennio Morricone into a big "look at me I'm Celine Dion" moment, which was pretty fucking shameful (even more shameful that the man hasn't been given an Oscar for every single score he's done, but hey, that's another blog post). And plenty of cheering for Thelma Schoonmaker, editor extraordinaire. Around 5ish we staggered back to our hotels, supposedly to meet up at 9.30am for a tour of some port cellars (which, as I write this at midday the next day, none of us managed to get up for). Oh, we all had a bet thing going on, with a sheet where you make your predictions, and the winner scoops the pot - and I won! Joint first with one of the festival organisers, we both got the most correct. So I won the tidy sum of 8 Euros, and the satisfaction of being outrageously smug.

I'm supposed to have a press conference tomorrow, but apparently it's like a relaxed Q+A, so hopefully the assembled people will be kind to my hangover...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The MeatMan Cometh

This will be the last entry before I head off to Portugal for fun and frolics, as I'll be spending most of the weekend standing over an empty bag wondering where I hid all my t-shirts. I can usually pack for any trip in about 5 minutes, and then spend about 5 hours frozen in panic, thinking I've forgotten something, and ransacking the bag to make sure the items haven't leaped out since I last checked 12 seconds ago. I think I'll be introducing Severance at the screening over there, but am not sure if I'm doing a Q+A. Happy to do one, just have no idea if I am or not. So it will be a voyage of discovery. My fellow Austin psychopath Jay Slater will be there too, and knows all the right places to go. I've heard tell of a local dish, which is a killer sandwich, filled with 800 different kinds of meat, cheese, and spicy sauce, that has brought down men twice my size. Obviously I am compelled to take on this sandwich in combat. For I am MeatMan, the Man who eats Meat. I'm going to regret saying these words, I can feel it in my urine.

Secret TV Episode draft has been refined and handed in, with plenty of time to spare before the deadline. I'm hoping to finish the new outline for BBC One-Off Thing on Saturday, but might have to work on it on the flight over (it's 2 hours), or the mornings next week (films don't start till around 4, but I may be in a meat-induced coma in the mornings). The other TV things are still up in the air at the moment, waiting to hear back (but looking good), and there are some interesting new possibilities that may develop in the next few weeks, so we'll see how that goes.

Hot Fuzz is very, very funny, full of great characters, dialogue, and silly references. The two boys are great, and it's packed with amazing actors like Edward Woodward, Billie Whitelaw, and a hilarious turn by Paddy Considine. But the star of the show? Timothy Dalton. "Lock me up, I'm a slasher... of prices!" The man should be in every film ever, he's fucking fantastic. He glides around the movie, popping up to boom out some cracking lines, twirling his moustache, totally stealing the movie and obviously enjoying himself hugely. I've always loved his work, ever since I saw him in Flash Gordon as the moustachio'd Prince Barin ("Freeze! Ya bloody bastids!"), and I don't care what anyone says, he was a fucking cool Bond, doing the gritty, no-nonsense thing well before Casino Royale. He's great in The Rocketeer too, a very underrated movie, where he also has an excellent moustache. And if you get a chance, try and see Hawks, with him and Anthony Edwards, it's heartbreaking and hilarious, and they both turn in amazing performances. I'd love to see him on stage, but missed the 'His Dark Materials' production he was in, so hopefully I can catch him in something else soon. Tim, I salute you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Speedy hands and a festival

I have a 62 page rough draft of the Secret TV Episode. Call me Bullet, for I am fast, and DEADLY. My hands are actually registered as lethal weapons, like Martin Riggs, if you get in the way when I'm typing, you'll have 27 broken bones before I can stop myself. As expected, it flowed nice and easily, because the story was all there, I knew the characters, and I was dying to jump in and get moving. Discovered one major plothole halfway through, but didn't stop to try and figure it out, I just kept going. And then as I wrote, I got an inkling of how to solve it. After that, it suddenly popped up in a line of dialogue, and fixed itself. When I finished the very rough draft, I went back over it and set things up near the beginning, and it worked very nicely. Sometimes you just can't figure out stuff like that in the outline, you have to jump in and see where the story and characters take you, they'll usually figure out the answer for you. So I'm just going over it again and again, fine tuning, streamlining, making sure everything fits, and that it all moves along properly. I'm having so much fun with it, it's almost obscene.

BBC One-Off Thing: Had a good meeting with the boss, and ironed out some things. Need to revise the outline soon, and hand it over.

Pitch for New Movie Thing: Is done, and my agent is quietly approaching various people. I have no idea what will come of it, if anything, but it could be a really cool, scary movie if somebody picks it up. I was determined never to try and sell a pitch again in this country, but hopefully I've got a bit of clout now, and can manage it. The main trouble with trying to sell any pitch is that people don't know if it's going to be good or not, because it's not written yet. You're basically saying "I promise to write something really cool and successful, so give me lots of money right now with nothing to show for it up front, please." And they're basically saying "Er, no, you mad bastard." As of yesterday, one place has passed, and one place has had me in for a meeting about it, so it's early days yet.

And I don't even know why I'm mentioning this, because it's such an impossibly long shot, but... There's a brand new, upcoming TV show in the works, that I am desperate to write for. There is one slot left that they haven't filled yet (i.e. for one episode). My agent is sending them all of my stuff, including upcoming secret things, to try and land me the gig. There's almost no way it'll happen. But I've told him that if he can get me in, I will gladly kill one person of his choice, by any method he likes. I can make it look like an accident, or do a big ritualistic killing to send a message, anything at all. So watch this space.

Sorry for the lack of informative blog posts at the moment, I have various topics to talk about, but don't have time to do them properly. I'll get to the backlog of questions soon, I promise. Next week I'm off to the Fantasporto Film Festival in Portugal - they're showing Severance, and have invited me over to take part in the mayhem, so that should be good fun. Full line up of movies here. I'll try to blog as much as possible during the festival, depending on how much meat and beer they throw at me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love is in the air


I know, I know, it's a horrendous, mercenary, enforced Gestapo-fun, Hallmark-created day, blah blah blah, but it's an excuse to do something silly and fun with your other half, or make a move on that person you fancy, or post pictures hinting at love affairs between fictional characters. Although, when I was at school, it was the time when you sat there, alone, watching everyone else get loads of cards, brooding, thinking up extremely violent revenge fantasies that you'd eventually pour into nasty scripts filled with murder and tragedy. But now it's about pink hearts and rainbows! And occasionally murder. But *caring* murder.

And remember - nothing says "I love you" like genital herpes. Go on. Spread a little love. Tell em Uncle Jimbo sent you.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I never said I was a mathematician

Okay. Yesterday, when I posted the words "...on the 25th, which only gives me 3 weeks to get the draft done", observant readers will have noticed the slight flaw in my mental arithmetic skills there. I posted it on the 10th, and the deadline is the 25th. 25 minus 10 does not equal 21, apparently.

So I only have 2 weeks to do the draft, not 3. Pah, I thought, 3 weeks?? Piece of piss. Loads of time. Let this be a lesson to you all out there.

I'm quite good with telling the time, though.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I am a leaf on the wind

So. Curfew has been handed in. Secret TV Episode outline has been handed in. BBC One-Off Thing outline has been handed in. Pitch for New Movie Thing just needs a polish. And the Sort-Of Secret-ish But Not Very Secret Movie Thing Collaboration is nearly done too. I'm feeling sane again.

Yesterday I had a big, important meeting about the Secret TV Episode, which went incredibly well, and mainly involved about 6 of us just sitting in a room and laughing heartily for half an hour, which was great. All meetings should be like that. I now have to write the first draft of the episode, if possible by the end of the month. But I'm going to Portugal for a film festival on the 25th, which only gives me 3 weeks to get the draft done. So I started it on the train home, and got a page and a bit done. I rock. But now I need to batten down the hatches, and pump out 60-ish pages of quality entertainment. Can I do it in time? Of course I fucking can. I can do ANYTHING. I am a leaf on the wind. (You have to believe that of yourself too, otherwise The Fear takes over and you end up a babbling wreck in the corner, soiling yourself). I work pretty fast anyway, and the story's all worked out, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Feel free to refer me back to those words if I post a blog entry saying that it's all gone horribly wrong.

The cool thing about writing an episode for an existing TV show is that I get to play with someone else's toys. But also, all the characters are already created, all the setup has been done. And I don't have to worry about getting their voices right - I've got a whole season of episodes to watch to tell me how everyone speaks. I've already seen them, but they gave me a bag full of the DVDs in case I needed to go over any of it again, which will be really helpful. I asked if I could borrow a CD of some of the incidental music, to listen to while I write, so they're sorting that out for me, as well as sending over a copy of one of the scripts, just so I can see how they work on the page. They couldn't have been nicer or more helpful.

I'm suddenly Mr TV at the moment. Last week I met some nice people who are working on a new action adventure series, and got a voicemail yesterday about a different telly meeting happening soon. It's cool, because there are less people to answer to, usually one or two (as opposed to film, where you can get notes from several different people at once), and things move a lot more quickly, because they have to get the stuff made and broadcast on time. In film, you've got one chance to make the thing and succeed, and try to get people into the cinemas, whereas in TV, you're on every week, and people don't even have to get up to watch your stuff, you are in their homes already. The downside is, it's a lot easier for them to change the channel if they lose interest. But then the upside is, you're already in their homes so you can butcher the fuckers in an orgy of violence for having the sheer AUDACITY to change the channel while watching the fruits of your hard work. But then comes prison. But hey, free cable TV.

And now I have to go and write. Fast...

Monday, February 05, 2007

More scary internet people

It always fascinates me how people find my blog, if they're searching for something completely unrelated. I use StatCounter to keep an eye on it, cause I like to know who's reading, where they're from, who's linking to me, and so on. People come here from Iceland, the USA, Australia, Canada, Thailand, South Africa ("deeplomatic eemuniteee!"), Germany, Spain, even Japan (give me a shout if you're from any of these or other places, I'd love to know). People have linked from all over, including Digg (for the horror sins post), and Whedonesque (for the character intro post). And occasionally you get some... strange search terms that people have been using, and somehow they land here. I posted about this before, using search terms from my old website, but it's time for an update, as there have been some new weird ones. In no particular order, here are the strangest things people have been searching for that somehow led them here:

drunken ferrets: Shame on you. Do you feel superior, lording it over sad, lonely ferrets ruining their lives with alcohol?

special pens at whsmith: I don't know why, but this one really scares me.

laura harris topless: Ah, the internet. Allowing us all to express our interest in talented actresses... by searching for naughty photos of them.

lorraine bracco legs: And this is *not* from the same person as the Laura Harris stalker, I'm sure both ladies will be happy to know. You have one each! Yay!

prayer cloth: Wow, they really ended up in the wrong place here, didn't they?

the price is right and moments and topless: I have no idea what the hell this person was looking for. Moments of toplessness on The Price is Right, maybe? Does this mean anything to anyone? Of course, you won't tell me, as you'll be exposed as the searcher.

big retard blog: I guess it's the only way my mum can remember it. And yes, if you search for that (on Yahoo), this blog is the 8th link found. Thanks, Yahoo.

If anyone is reading this who used any of the above search terms - I'm really sorry, it's perfectly normal, please don't find out where I live and murder me. Not that I'm saying you're capable of murder. Or incapable of murder, I'm sure you could do it if you really wanted to. But I'm not saying you want to. Or anything. I'm sure you're a perfectly reasonable human being. I used "scary internet people" in a purely affectionate, ironic way.