Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Balloon animals, my desk, and the new Who chap

Don't worry, everyone - I'm back. You're all safe now. Or are you??

Hope you all got everything you wanted from Santa. I got lots of lovely things, including - and this may be the best present ever - a balloon animal kit, courtesy of Jo. You blow up the thin balloons with the included pump, and follow the guide to twist them into amusing shapes. On my first attempt, I made a small green dog. Behold!

I think I'll call him Bursty. He's still alive too, although he has shrunk a bit. I had a lovely 2 week break, indulged myself a bit too much and now don't want to eat food or drink liquids ever again. I caught up on sleep, and didn't do much else. Of course, halfway through the break, I started getting antsy and wanted to get back to work. I've got lots of things I'm dying to get going on, so I had a quick fiddle (not that kind of fiddle) and eased myself back into it. Now I'm back at my desk, which I have taken a photo of - yes, I know everyone did the "my workspace" thing ages ago, but it's my blog and my desk. Also it was covered in junk for a while, so I couldn't use it. Last Sunday was spent cleaning it up, so now it's suspiciously tidy. Behold:

You may, if you like, clicky clicky for biggy biggy. But Uncle Jimbo, what's all that stuff on the desk? Well, on the left, are my TARDIS notebook (thanks again, Rae), my silver pencil case, small pen box, Dead Fred pen holder, and a picture of my gorgeous Jo to inspire me. Middle, my Macbook (with page 1 of my secret spec film script on screen, ooh, ooh, secret things on display), which is on a Griffin Elevator laptop stand, with an Apple keyboard. Right, my TARDIS desk tidy, Dalek figure (gift from Brian the script editor in Cardiff), mini Davros figure (gift from friend of the blog and nutcase Amanda), and Kensington Orbit optical trackball (to save space, and to stop me resting my hand on an RSI-inducing mouse). Just out of shot in front, is a Duffy office chair. The desk itself is a plain wood console desk, a bit like this one but without the gaps, and lighter brown (can't find the original link anymore). Above all that is a framed poster for Severance, which my agent had in his office at PFD, and then gifted to me when he moved to The Agency. Any time I feel like a failure, fraud, or talentless gimp, I look up at the poster, with my name on it, and think "yeah, I did that." Then I start panicking because it came out two and a half years ago, and I really should have got another movie going since then, so I get out all the DVDs of recent things I worked on, and sit in the corner, fondling the discs and crying. Hey, you've got to have a process.

In other news, we now know who the 11th Doctor is. This is particularly good news for me, because EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNOW OR HAVE EVER MET has asked me if I know who it's going to be. Now it's announced, I can come clean: No, I didn't know, just like I said. If I *had* known, I wouldn't have been able to say. But I didn't know. Oh God. I exaggerate some things occasionally (okay, most of the time), but not this one. I was asked by absolutely everyone - even people I met for the first time, and complete strangers who messaged or emailed me just to ask. It was funny at first, then I realised that it was never going to end, until the announcement. I try to be as nice as possible to everyone, cause I'm nice and stuff, and I know it's not that particular person's fault on that particular day - they have no idea they're the 20th person that day to ask, or the 500th person in total - but it did start driving me slightly up the wall.

Obviously, now the announcement has been made, I'm going to be asked what I think of the new bloke. So I'm going to answer that here, now, and if I have sent you a link in response to your email or message, don't be offended, it just means that I've run out of ways to answer the question. Sorry in advance for the disappointingly bland nature of the response:

Embarrassingly, I haven't actually seen any of Matt Smith's previous work before, apart from a tiny deleted scene from In Bruges - in which he is very good. So I don't really know what he's like. But he looks the part, and seems like a lovely chap. Besides, nobody knows what he'll be like in the role until series 5 starts, so let's all be optimistic, and wait and see. The people who chose him have seen him audition, and all his other work, so they obviously know if he's right for it, and that's good enough for me. Obviously it's a shame to lose David Tennant, he's been magnificent, but he can't do it forever, and the show must go on. Whatever happens, the show is in good hands, so I'm perfectly happy. Good luck to Matt, and everyone else involved, and I can't wait to see what mayhem and fun you have in store for us.

So there you go. By the way, if anyone comes into the comments going "OMG but it should have been Actor XYZ, the show is RUINED", I warn you now that I will personally lead my 100+ Twitter Army of Doom to destroy you. Yes, I have an army now. Ph33r me. And Bursty, my green balloon dog.


Erinn said...

Twitter Army of Doom Represent! *fist pump*

Le Mc said...

Really cool to see your desk set up, thanks for posting that.

Michelle Goode said...

What a nice set up you have there! I so need a desk! lol

Anonymous said...

Macbooks are oh so cool (I use one for music production)... but how on earth do you write on such a tiny screen? :) And that's a two-page layout you have there?

‘Bursty’ looks like a lot of fun… but will he live up to his/her name? Maybe ‘Slowlydeflaty’ instead… or ‘Shrivelly’?

P.S. I bet you really knew… *Runs and Hides* ;)

Dan said...

That Duffy chair was annoying devoid of any Duffy. :)

BaaBaaDoodle said...

Happy 2009 James! I promise not to ask you about the next Companion :). I personally think, however, it should be a goat.

Chuck said...

Is there any way to pump chicken blood into Bursty while you are inflating him(her). It seems like it would ooze out anywhere that there is a leak and form a nice coagulated lump.

Happy New year

Billy said...

The same people who are complaining about Matt Smith are the same people who complained about Catherine Tate. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. (I hope)

Dim said...

No, Actor XYZ would have been rubbish as the Doctor. He's much better in the theatre. Selling ice cream.

Nice to see your workspace. I read Joe Esterhaz's tome (wasn't that on YOUR recommendation...? I believe it was.) and he says he has a holy object on his desk while he writes...Hmm. Dalek, Davros, or photo of Jo?

Rosby said...

I cower before your inflatable dog, Mr Moran, and his mighty, popping jaws.

Glad that you had a great Christmas and fantastic New Year!

Also, now that Matt Smith has been revealed as Eleven (I know nothing about him, but I'm loving the hair and hand-flailing), the next big question is imminent; when will series three air?

(That's not me asking, because you might not know yet. And I don't want you to pop that balloon into my ear.)

Have a good week!

Rosby said...

Series three of Torchwood, that is. Probably would have been good to mention that in the comment...*facepalm*

Anonymous said...

Your desk is so much cleaner than mine...I hate you. *headdesk*

Totally off subject, but I see you're on the Gallifrey 2009 list. Just wondering...What enticements will you require? What gifts presented? Exactly what stimulus will you need, to spill juicy stories from the set of TORCHWOOD 3?

I want to come prepared. ;-)

Groovy Dead said...

It's the funny.

Dan said...

I'm happy to wait and see what Matt Smith is like, and have faith that Steven Moffatt wouldn't make a Colin Baker-style mistake on his watch. But... I am a bit concerned at how young he looks. He may be 26 now, 27 this year, and 28 in his Who debut year, but he LOOKS much younger. I'd say he could pass for 23. And that does seem TOO young to be an effective authority-figure, to me. But maybe he can overcome his youthful looks with his personality and mannerisms -- as Moffatt alluded to.

James Moran said...

Darren: It's a 13.3 inch screen, which is fine if you're right in front of it. Just one page layout, I have TextEdit open next to it, so I can see my notes while writing. You may already be right about Bursty. He's not the dog he was 2 weeks ago.

Dim: I did recommend him, yes. If I remember rightly, it was work-specific, so he'd have a different object for each project. I have an object for Secret Spec, but it's a picture on my desktop.

Rosby: Series 3 of TW - absolutely no idea. BBC runecasters are currently painting some chicken bones, to find out.

lv2bliberal: JD/Jim Beam and diet coke. Cash, so I can buy more booze. That's it, really...

GroovyDead: Hmm, some amusing bits, but obviously doesn't watch the show. There are better, more valid jokes to be made, I think. Ooh, hark at me sounding all boring.

Dan: Ah, but even if they had cast a 100-year-old man, he'd *still* look way too young, because he's supposed to be over 900 years old. So the age thing really, really doesn't matter. It's all in the performance, innit?

David Lemon said...

Balloon dogs are always good. Unless they get balloon rabies.
It's weird, isn't it? The whole regeration thing has been 'Who' lore since the 60s yet everyone gets in a flap, when the time comes (particularly now we have blogs and chatrooms to flap in).
I'm very much in the 'wait and see' camp. David Tennant has been, as you said, magnificent, but then so was his predecessor- and we still have him for all of 2009....

rob said...

Jesus it's so tidy!

Anonymous said...

Now the question is how long you will be able to keep that desk clean. How long do you think it will be clean for? And be realistic, not optimistic. I cleaned mine last week and only this morning realised that it was missing again. Whoops.

Nice balloon dog. How is Bursty? Still holding up? No pun intended there.

In regards to Matt Smith, I hadn't seen any of his work either and was reading all this negative stuff about him, then noticed that "Party Animals" was on that night here in Aus. I sent out a few messages to fellow Aussies and we have decided that he is a rather good actor, and we are looking forward to seeing him step into the role of the Doctor and the direction that he and Steven Moffat take the character in.

Just an update on the Australian convention thing from way back - seems they can't afford to bring anyone here from the BBC. I really love our economy and the Pound/Aussie dollar exchange rate. We are getting Eric Roberts though, but we will probably lose him to the Heroes fans.

Good luck with your New Years resolutions. I'm sure you'll become a better writer - everything we do makes us so. My resolution is to finish a book on Australian fandom I'm working on, and then try not to get sued by Network Ten for all the nasty things I say about them in regards to their poor treatment of Torchwood and its fans.

Now, keep that desk clean! ;)

James Moran said...

David: Shit, hadn't even considered balloon rabies. Although he's been shrinking dramatically, so I think he's on the way out. Everything I love shrivels up and eventually explodes...

Rob: Yes, but tidying it up *before* taking the pic was cheating a bit. Although in fairness, it was covered in non-desk stuff, due to rearrangement of the room.

Clarrisani: Oh Clarrisani, don't make me tell the truth, it pains me... Actually it's still looking good, my new rule is only having one piece of paper at a time for whatever I'm working on. Damn those convention types! I'm cheap! Really, all I usually want is travel and accommodation, I'm not a monster. I think they're making excuses. And boo to Network Ten, I say. Boo!

Nicole said...

Wahoo, you have a clean desk. Now I wish I could say the same thing about my desk.

and Bursty looks pretty cool.

Yay for Twitter Army of doom :)

James'NewFan said...

Hi James just discovered this blog. And it's great!

Wonder if you can help.

I have 2 45 page scripts and am sending them to agents and production companies.

How do I ensure they read at least part of BOTH scripts? I think they are wonderful; but as they are episodic the second one has a few more special bits in.

Anonymous said...

'They' say a tidy workspace is indicative of a tidy mind...

Just goes to show what 'they' know.

Also, I'd like to point out that I never once asked you about Doctor the Eleventh. So, you're clearly a big fat liar. With amazing balloon manipulation skills.

I'm also weeping. All these years I thought I was *your* friend but it turns out I was just a friend of your blog. Give me my Davros back (

Anonymous said...

I'm liking the dog.

You don't even want to know how bad my desk is... aside from the odd scribblings, I'm supposed to study there... so not gonna happen...

Also, I don't think I got a chance to thank you for emailing me back ages ago - people were jealous of me, it was fun XD

Sarah H

Anonymous said...

Hi again, James. I just let the convention know your response to them saying no. Thought you'd be interesting in what they actually told me:

"The UK in particular, or actors deriving from there, find the weakness in our dollar compared to their pound disheartening as a $10,000 fee, for argument’s sake, is only 4,000 pounds for them. In real terms that’s about the equivalent of $5,000, or 50%, when used domestically here. Add business class travel to those costs and it becomes very expensive, very quickly."
- From a Supanova Representative

I also mentioned pretty much sent a portfolio of your work with the last email, so hopefully I can entice them into giving you a trip down under. And hopefully to Melbourne at that.

Here's the convention website (it's the biggest convention in Australia):

Anonymous said...

Sorry James, I just got this message back.

"Our budget doesn't allow for James to be considered this year. It looks like he'll be contributing to the franchise for a while so I'm sure a more suitable time will present itself."

I tried. Sorry.

James Moran said...

NewFan: If they're well written, it won't matter if some of the plot is unclear until episode 2. If it's the first 2 episodes of something, they'll probably only read the first one, to find out if you're any good. Better to send 2 different things, to give a wider taste of what you can do. DON'T say in the query letter that they must read both, or they'll probably not read any of them...

Amanda: I bet you did ask. IN YOUR MIND. Also, "Friend of the blog" is a figure of speech, for "gin-sodden wench".

Sarah: You're welcome, hope it was of some help!

Clarrissani: Ah, well, as I'm not (a) a sexy actor or (b) enormously famous, I couldn't get away with asking for that much as a fee. Maybe when I get my own show going, or become lead writer on another... At the moment, for conventions with a limited budget, I don't have an appearance fee, unless there's a standard fee for all guests - as long as my travel and accommodation are taken care of, then I'm happy. I love conventions - for me, it's pretty much a free holiday with a couple of days where I feel famous and cool. Depends on the event. Us non-famous writers are cheap, they could probably get a few of us down. But the actors are a bigger draw for some of the bigger events. And it looks like they have several events a year, so hopefully they'll get a few of us pale, blinking writer types at one of them soon... Thank you for trying though, and I hope I make it down there at some point!

Robin Kelly said...

I highly recommend 'Party Animals', it was co-created by Ben Richards of Spooks fame and was very well written and acted. It's available to rent and buy on DVD.

Anonymous said...

*sigh* Just got another email from Supanova. I think you're right about them making excuses:

"the distance and time involved in getting someone, and taking care of them, to Australia is substantial in its our right given the cost of airfares and 12 nights worth of 4/5 star accommodation. We're talking thousand's regardless of appearance fees."


"I like James. He sounds like a reasonable guy. We'll see what happens, see if more of his work gets airtime and we'll take it from there - no promises attached - but I mean that sincerely. "

So maybe, just maybe, we might see you in Australia in 2010.

Oh, and "it's still looking good, my new rule is only having one piece of paper at a time for whatever I'm working on." Yeah, I've heard that one before. Then it's two pieces, then three... :P

Dozeymagz said...

Oh I LOVE being nosey and seeing other folk's worky places!!!

And stop bragging about how many Twitters you have!!! *Runs away and sobs in the corner because she has a Not Quite So Mighty Twitter Army of One* Doesn't really inspire the same fear does it?

You do realise that you should now just ditch the writing thing - you are obviously destined to be an even greater Balloon Animal Twisty Type Person instead! (Do they have a name for that? What do Balloon Animal Twisty Type People say on their CV's? )

Sadly - I really need to know this now!!!!