Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Happy birthday to me, again

Another year older, not necessarily wiser though. I keep waiting for that to happen. When is being grown up supposed to kick in, exactly?

I'm in the strange position of not knowing what I want for my birthday. I'm not rolling in cash or living in a palace, but I don't really need anything major. I have a computer, a desk, a chair, a telly, a PS3, a sofa, and a comely wench. I live in a nice place. I love what I do for a living. I don't need a car, can't drive anyway. There's ice cream in the freezer. Booze in the cupboard. Clothes in the wardrobe. So what do I need? Most days, all I do is write, watch telly, read, go to the cinema, eat, play games, and so on. All I ever buy are DVDs, books, games, and CDs/downloads, but I don't *need* any of those things, and there's no point everyone getting me lots of DVDs. Besides, you'd only get the wrong version, and I'd sound like a madman explaining to you that the UK version is only the 2 disc whereas the US version is the 5 disc containing *crucial* extras, and you getting me the 2 discer is a slap in the face (I'm talking, of course, about the Blu-Ray version of Blade Runner, get the US version as it is actually multi-region and will play on your UK machines, as will many other US titles, see, now I sound like one of Those People).

But I can't have a birthday with no presents, it feels wrong and slightly sad. Birthdays are for getting presents. It's the one time a year you're allowed to be selfish and demanding. But things have been so hectic lately, the one thing I really, really want is a nice, quiet day of not doing anything much. Which is what we're doing. If we can be arsed. So it'll be a quiet day here at Spork Towers, but also partly because it's Wednesday, which is always an awkward, ugly, unwanted day. We have vague, non-threatening plans, but will save the full-on celebrating for the weekend.

One thing that did come yesterday, just in time for my birthday, is a DVD copy of my Doctor Who episode. I happened to be at The Mill last week, for... various reasons, and they showed me some of the effects footage from it. Obviously I can say nothing, as BBC Wales have implanted an explosive device in my neck that will blow my head off if I say certain trigger words or phrases. But I think I can safely say this:

OMG. And Squee.

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, in fact.

Okay, head's still attached, good. It looks absolutely amazing, it's way, way cooler than I could have imagined. There are specific things and moments I want to praise, but there's no way to do that without going into specifics, so that'll have to wait, I don't want to even hint at anything. But if I can be allowed a little birthday leeway, then I'll just say one thing: Catherine Tate is going to knock your socks off. She's fantastic. And gorgeous, too. That's all I'm saying. Please do not reproduce this blog entry on any other sites, or turn it into a news item, there's nothing to see here apart from "DW writer thinks DW is great, including own episode". Any questions will be fobbed off in an amusing fashion.

Holy shitebiscuits. I just casually wrote "DW writer". I'm a writer for Doctor Who. I mean, I knew I was, but it's only when you stop and think about it that you realise what that means. As someone at Gallifrey said (probably one of those other, clever writer types), if I could go back in time and tell my 10 year old self about this, it'd absolutely blow his/my mind. Birthday presents? I'm doing what I always dreamed of, so it's my birthday every day, as far as I'm concerned.

Other projects are going very well. I have so many things I want to announce, but they're all still secret. If any of the people involved are reading this, please announce stuff, so I can say stuff. I'm the birthday boy, and you *will* obey me. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You're another in this mad birthday season. I'm trilled to know that you love your episode. I'm so excited!!

For your birthday, despite it still being tomorrow for me (How does that work?) I send you lots of digital hugs and cookies. I'll think of something more, but for now, they'll have to do.

So, hope your day is grand and that your ego gets stroked more.


LJC said...

OMG and squee all in one post?


I love that you have an inner fangirl.

Anonymous said...

*huge grin* Happy Birthday Mr. James! My friends and I (you met all three of us at Gally) wanted to send you a card, but we didn't know how to, so...

Happy Birthday!!!
~The Losers

We hope your day goes brilliantly (is that a word? if not it is now...)and we're eagerly anticipating your episode of Doctor Who.

Jools not James said...

We've still got your Christmas presents here. Come and get them, you slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag!!
Oh and happy birthday, your card is still sitting on the kitchen table but it WILL be posted today. It's not quite as affectionate as last years, but you can't have everything!

Piers said...

Happy Birthday to you
Squashed tomatoes and stew
Bread and butter in the gutter
Happy Birthday to you

Peter Pan said...

A very very Happy Birthday to you fella-me-lad.
Very pleased you are so chuffed with your ep - I look forward to seeing it in a month or so.
And what is with Squee? Id never heard of it until two weeks ago and then spent last week with a Squee Squad ....

rocky_of_TW said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you have a totally awesome day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Muchos love and if it wouldn't get squished in the post I'd send you a birthday cake with lots of chocolate and hundreds and thousands and some of those edible ballbearings that the Doctor loves so much and have some nice alcoholic filling...

Lol. Anyways, Happy Birthday!

Rocky x

Dozeymagz said...

Very Happy and Fluff Filled Birthday Greetings to you!

Chill out - order *insert fave food of choice* and drink some *insert fave beverage of choice* and partake in some *instert fave passtime of choice* and have a very lovely day!

Lee said...

Happy birthday, old boy. What is it, 42 today? Oh sorry, that's just all the work wearing you out! Enjoy your day off, you've defintitely earned it over the last 366 days.

Robin Kelly said...

Happy Birthday! Can you say what the airdate your DW is and what number you are in the series?

jim said...

Happy birthday, old man.

PammieJR said...

Happy Birthday!

I hope you have had a day filled with friends, family and relaxation.

I think it is FAB you are digging your own episode of DW. As a writer, it must feel like you are giving your baby away for some else to take care of it when you hand over a script.

Can't wait to see it!


Phill Barron said...

Present wise: have you got the flight control TARDIS?

If not, that's the one to get - it lights up and makes noises and everything.

0tralala said...

Happy birthday! Sorry you can't make the pub tomorrow night. Otherwise you could have had a beer with a candle in it.

hotzappa11 said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Here's a digital pat on the back, plus cake.

Oli said...

A belated happy birthday to you, kindly sir.

Jaded and Cynical said...

To have so much smoke blown up one's ass can hardly be healthy.

I think it is FAB you are digging your own episode of DW.

In a blog where Catherine Tate is elevated to the level of legendary beauty, we're hardly going to get much crticism of anything, are we?

Rosby said...

Crap, I arrived late. Happy Birthday! Hope you had a fantastic time.

I *think* I know what your episode is about. The one with two of the same vowels in the place? Next to each other? If that makes any sense at all without giving it away?

James Moran said...

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes!

Robin: I can say nothing, sir. Although I am episode 2. But I can say nothing else.

Jaded: Come on now Mr Cynical Pants, when you hand in your final draft of anything, you have *no* idea whether the resulting episode or film will be amazing, or a pile of shite. All sorts of things can go wrong/right, that are completely out of your control. I am delighted to say that I love my finished episode. If it had turned out to be a pile of shite, I wouldn't have said anything in this post. Nobody asked me, I was just excited and wanted to talk about it a bit. People being pleased that I am thrilled with it are hardly blowing smoke up my arse, they're just happy for me.

"Elevated to the level of legendary beauty"? What I said was "Catherine Tate is going to knock your socks off. She's fantastic. And gorgeous, too." I stand by that, I think she's gorgeous. My opinion. You're free to disagree. It hardly proves that I've been brainwashed or something.

As for criticism, this is just my blog. I talk about stuff I like, and usually don't bother talking about stuff I don't like. Sometimes I'll have a rant about something, but mostly I can't be arsed. I do understand the whole "you're just saying that cause you work for them" attitude, but there's not really any way for me to prove otherwise, so we'll all just have to learn to live with it, and put our shattered lives back together somehow. I will be doing this with the assistance of some Jim Beam. Which I love, even though I don't work for the company.

Amanda said...

"Crap, I arrived late."

Rosby, it's better than arriving early, ifyaknowwhatImean?

So, Moran, I've been useless and haven't posted your card yet, nor even text you. I'm a bad friend. BAD! But it's my daughters birthday tomorrow and I didn't even *buy* her a card yet, so it appears I'm a better friend than I am a parent.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday you lovely man! Your DW episode is the current epitome of squee whenever I look at the 'plan' in Gallifrey Guardian. And your wise words don't make that any better...

Emma x

h said...

haa, i came here having just been reading gawker where this article was the last thing i read. i'm afraid to say this entry falls somewhat foul of the bloggers and commenters.

and happy b-day. march is a great month to be born in. [although it sucks when easter decides to be early and your birthday ends up being easter sunday.]

also, as i'm here and rarely post, i saw this and couldn't help but think of you... sorry.

Jason Arnopp said...

Well, personally speaking, I feel that my life will never be the same. It's ruined, I tell you. Ruined. A Doctor Who writer is happy with his episode, and "people" (no doubt all make-believe cyber-drones invented by Russell T Davies) are popping up, expressing happiness for him?

Just another piece of obvious Cardiff Propaganda. Yesh, and no mistake.

Cunningham said...

You're happy with your episode?

I want what you're on...

Happy belated birthday wishes. You're old. Get over it.

PammieJR said...

I think a username like jadedand cynical kinda explains it all...

Looks like someone who is just "jaded" and "cynical" and trying to start a flame war.

Seems like someone who has just created a blogspot profile to spread their negativity.

Jools not James said...

What a shame Jaded and Cynical hasn't produced a single solitary blog entry for us to mock!

Jaded and Cynical said...

Take a look at your recent blog entries, JM.

It's just a stream of self-promoting bullshit.

Of course you're entitled to use the blog any way you want.

But if you're then going to invite comments from the public, don't expect us all to respond along the lines of 'SQUEE! I'VE CREAMED MY PANTS!'

We're not all adolescent fanboyz, you know.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

I have an incredibly odd question. At least, I think it's a question. It might be several? Bear with me a moment.

I'm a College Student attending a college in the US Midwest, where we have a lovely rhetoric class in which we spend all our time writing argumentative papers. Grand Fun.

My paper topic is about the recent strike of the Writer's Guild of America, and what kinds of impacts it has had. As part of our research, we need to communicate with professionals in a field related to our topic.

I was wondering If I could get your perspective on how British writers regarded the American strike, and any feelings you personally might have on the topics that were involved at all(Like, Internet streaming of TV shows, or how writers are reimbursed for their work on either TV shows or movies). Really, any thoughts whatsoever! Even how Televison writing works in the UK as opposed to the USA...Anything at all!

I realize it's a bit much to ask- but it would be a tremendous help, to gain a new level of perspective. And the sight of my professor's jaw dropping because I got feedback from a British TV writer would be highly entertaining. :)


Jason Arnopp said...

Ha! That was ticklesome, Jaded And Cynical. I'm guessing that your adolescence, hope and civility are distant memories. And as far as I'm concerned, Anonymous Barbs = Cowardice.

Lady Muck said...

What's your beef Jaded & Cynical, I'm confused? Your moniker says it up front I supppose but being anonymous and being rude is, well, like Jason says, cowardly. Having an anonmyous tag doesn't validate anything you say, it just pisses people off, which maybe is your intention, but you'll gain little, if no, respect.

James Moran said...

Jaded: There's no need for personal attacks, so calm that shit down. I don't expect you all to respond with squeeing, people can respond however they want. I was just surprised that you expected biting criticism all of a sudden, when you know I don't do that here. But that doesn't mean I lie to the people who make the shows - if I get to meet them, I tell them what I think, to their faces. If I'm working on something with them, everyone is honest and frank about what works but especially about what doesn't - they have to be, and so do I, it's the only way to do a good job. If I don't like one of their other shows, I tell them. We're all grown ups, they don't take it personally. What would be the point of me later having a big rant on my blog about the show? Even if I did it anonymously, it'd still be a waste of my time. And if I haven't met them yet, why slag them off in public? That's just not me.

This blog, silly as it is, is a public forum, and my work should be able to stand on its own two feet without me feeling the need to bring down other shows or writers. I've been on the receiving end of that, and it's shitty. I'm not talking about reviews, they're fair game, I mean other people in the industry. I'm not a reviewer, and neither are they. Meet me in the pub or in the street, I'll happily tell you what shows I don't like. I've had several rants with my mates and other writers about some of the horrendous shite that passes for TV in the UK and USA. I've turned down plenty of awful wank that I hated. But I don't want to fill my blog with that, it'd just depress me. So I talk about the things I like, odd things that happened - occasionally bad things, with the details changed. But mainly things I like. Like the Blu-Ray 5 disc edition of Blade Runner, which I mentioned before the Doctor Who stuff, and which didn't seem to bother you.

As for self-promoting bullshit - dude, it's a blog. If I've got an interview somewhere, or I'm doing an event, of course I'm going to blog it, because I'm happy about it and want people to know. I still find it funny and mad to see my name in magazines or the Radio Times. If I get a job, or something of mine is on TV, then I'll talk about that too. Wouldn't you? If your episode was on TV, wouldn't you be fucking thrilled about it? And mention every single article or interview you were featured in? It's exciting! Likewise, when my Doctor Who episode arrived, I was delighted with it, and wanted to express that in an amusing way. Should I not talk about it? Pretend not to like it? Nobody asked me to talk about it, I have no obligation to do so, and probably shouldn't before the official reviews come out. I just wanted to. I love my job, especially when something I'm really passionate about has a great end result, I want to shout it from the rooftops.

Look, you can dislike whatever you want, it's cool, I'll happily debate the merits of any show that I like and you don't. But don't accuse me of lying about liking things just to get jobs. I worked my arse off for years to get to this point. If I don't like something, I won't work on it. Life's too short.

Jaded and Cynical said...

I haven't mounted a 'personal attack' against you. That's not fair.

I've made no personal comments whatsoever about you, or about anyone else. And I've only ever complimented your work.

But you've made a decision to absolutely ignore the 'horrendous shite on TV', while constantly singing the praises of every aspect of every project you're involved with.

You're free to do that, but don't complain when you're criticised for churning out what are, in effect, just a series of press releases.

James Moran said...

Jaded: "Stream of self-promoting bullshit"? Calling the other commenters "adolescent fanboyz"? Not personal? What was it, then?

You keep implying that I'm not telling the truth about those projects. So far, luckily, the things I've been working on have all gone really, really well. I'm happy about that. And this blog is a journal of my writing career. So what am I supposed to do? Talk about something else? Make up bad stuff? There's plenty of doom and misery in my early entries, when I was struggling to break in, feel free to re-read those if you like. But right now, things are going well. It's really that simple.

Lady Muck said...

(I recognise the irony of me commenting under a sudo-nim, but wot I meant was making catty comments under an anon banner isn't cool. There's a way of offering criticism without coming across like a twat.)

Amanda said...

Well, you know what I reckon JM? You should definitely only ever talk about things you don't like, depressing stuff and be all 'round jaded and, uh, cynical. That way any arrogant commentors won't feel the need to point out that you're not only failing to do so but also you really, really ought to. How dare you feel excited about Good Things happening to you? Do we have to put with this constant steam of positivity?

Well, no. I suppose the answer is refer back to the many-a-time you've stated, quite clearly, this is your blog and you will do with it as you wish.

And as someone who has been in regular contact with PRs I find it laughable that this helpful, inspiring, often amusing, blog has been called, and I quote: self-promoting bullshit. Just bloody promote someone else for a change, eh? And make sure you charge them at least 12% of any furture earnings because, well, you're clearly a professional, right? :P

*fixes up a 'Do Not Feed The Trolls* sign*

Love ya, and as you know FULL WELL I will also tell you when I don't like what you've written... *squishes* But I'll happily accept the fangirl title J&C is no doubt bestowing on me RIGHT NOW! :D

Jason Arnopp said...

This little "bullshit/smoke-up-arse" episode puts me in mind of one of my favourite moments in The Office.

The office team are standing around enjoying dishes of dessert, home-made by successful, dashing boss Neil. Then Brent jealously pipes up with, "I'd prefer a flan". Cue stunned silence...

Piers said...

I think that from now on the word for an anonymous and bitter troll should be Flan, in honour of this thread.

Anonymous said...

I have no blogger thing so I must remain anonymous unfortunately. Therefore I am flan hehe. I like it.

Anyway I'm glad you write about your excitement as a successful writer. That way I can live vicariously through your blog. Considering that I am pursuing veterinary sciences at uni I will never get to be a DW writer after all.

oh and happy birthday. oh and I think Catherine Tate is gorgeous too so :P to whoever dares defy my personal taste. I have no doubt that inability to see past comical expressions and old lady costumes is the reason why there are so few female comedians. gossshhhh

The Phantom Phlan Phlinger said...

Did somebody call?

Lina said...

Wow, I'd no idea that the little-net-wank-that-could would get so much attention. James, I understand you defending yourself, I know I would, but you don't need to waste your time and thought on a little piss of a non-blogger that has a lot of angry words and no thought to back them up. I take and give criticism with the 'why' attached, and I also give praise with the 'why' attached. This fan-brat, Jaded, would be as bad as a mindless squeeing fangirl, but the testosterone flinging and the empty circular comments that say absolutely nothing and are trying to be mean about it, flip him from the hormonal adolescent girl category into the toddler-flinging-toys category of humanoid. What job must he do and what issues must he have to want to put a thorn in this happy corner of net? I think you would be the successful writer who is living his dream as we type and he would be some god-knows-what, hiding behind a weak self-disclaimer of a name, throwing rock filled snowballs from the other side of the safety wall called the internet. We know you're awesome. That's why we're here. And if he doesn't think so he can move on or say something that actually makes a valid point. Preferences will always exist but quality is exclusive of that. Unless you like bad movies. Then bad is the criteria. The point, however, is that bashing something just cause "I don't like it and WAH!" is pointless, and until backed by any given fact is about as good as an empty comment post.

You don't need to defend yourself; we all know this kid is a thoughtless, angry shell of a person who hasn't managed to learn how to form real opinions yet and gets some kicks from calling a famous person names on his blog.

Someone needs to grow up here, and it's not you.

jim said...

Right on, Lina. James, I'm sorry to see you've been forced to deal with a minor outbreak of dipshittery in your blog. You know the disease (it is rampant here in the states) - it's that creeping fungal hybrid of low self-esteem and jealousy that thrives in the shadow of other people’s accomplishments, much the way mold thrives behind a leaky toilet. Combine that with anonymous access to an open online forum, and suddenly you've got a wee little prick who imagines his backbone to be ten feet tall, his tastes to be cultured and impeccable, and his opinions worth “sharing” as the final word.

Men and women who contribute to this world through creative, productive talent (customizing cars, writing screenplays, gardening, web design, playing in garage bands) have a right to be proud of their work. And dipshits who are brought up to scrutinize the creators instead of getting busy themselves? They whine and criticize because that's all they have to soothe their feelings of jealous alienation. Such clowns have always walked the earth among us, probably ever since the first hunters brought down the first mammoth and hosted the first barbecue. Buckle up and flash back with me – look! There they are:

HUNTERS: "Eat up, everyone!"

DIPSHIT: "I don't care for such gristly meat. You call yourselves hunters? I'm sick of all these cave paintings where you guys are blowing smoke, telling the world you're such great hunters."

Thousands and thousands of years later, archaeologists still marvel at cave paintings of these long-dead hunters – yet there is no monument to the complainers, who likely starved to death, having never contributed anything to the tribe but snarky comments (how their DNA managed to get passed along to continue the whiner lineage into modern times is another mystery, however – dipshit blood extracted from a mosquito trapped in amber?).

I know you don’t need propping up here, James, but I’ll lay it out anyway: you’ve followed your dream, you’ve rocked the casbah and you’ve only just begun. I am working on a comic book script and when I feel like sleeping or watching TV or playing video games, I pop over to your blog to read what sports writers call the “Cinderella story” of your career. Your path from aspiring writer to professional writer motivates me, your blog is insightful and fun, and the other characters who enjoy reading and responding to your posts also contribute a lot to the Spork. There’s no need to address the dipshits who have nothing to offer but a very transparent, sour longing for the things you have achieved. An exchange of words with such a person is like playing catch with a wet wad of shit instead of a ball.

Jodie x said...

It's abundantly clear from your blog that you're incredibly passionate and excited about your job and that you're having a great time doing what you do.

There will always be people who are bitterly jealous of that and of all your success and happiness.

You're where you're at today because you've worked so hard for years and because you're talented. Thankfully, there will also be plenty of people who can be happy for you, and excited with you. Like me!