Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New outlook

Ever since we moved to this house back in December 2007 (link goes to blog post about our 27 hour packing and moving madness), I've had a nice desk and chair in the spare room, against the wall like this:


I liked having it there, as I could look up at my framed Severance poster to feel (a) inspired and (b) lazy for not having made more movies. But there's a really nice view out of the window to the right. I like looking out of that window. Unfortunately, looking out that window meant not looking anywhere near my laptop screen. Jo frequently suggested that I just move my desk to the window, but I didn't want to, as I thought the cables wouldn't stretch that far, it'd block the window, and the Kraken would rise up from the ocean and kill us all. Most of this was, of course, silliness. Apart from the Kraken. That's going to happen sooner or later.

So the other day, thanks to Jo making it happen when I was away and unable to panic, the spare room got rearranged, and now my desk is by the window, like this:


She did it all herself, moving other massive pieces of furniture around, in a Herculean effort that actually prevented the mighty Kraken from rising up. The Kraken was *scared*.

The cables stretch just fine. The window is not blocked. And all is well.

A closer look at my view now:


The blossoms are just starting to appear on the trees, and soon there'll be even more. I've blurred the screen because I just realised there are SECRET MEGAPLANS on there. The Severance poster is still on the other wall, and everything looks very lovely:


Lately, I've been doing too much work on the sofa downstairs, which is comfy at first, but no good for my posture when doing long stretches of scripting. Now, I can't wait to get to my desk, and keep working. Spring is here, and it feels like I've got a brand new office, it's energising and exciting.

Obviously, to you it's just an item of furniture that got moved a few feet. But to me, it's my workplace, my Captain's chair, my battle bridge, my gun turret. Anything that makes me want to get back to work is a very good thing.

Writers, or anyone who works from home, I recommend giving your own workplace a shakeup. It might not change anything. But it might make a huge difference.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Severance Twitter aftermath


During the recent BBC One showing of Severance, I did a live Tweet-along interactive commentary thing. I had lots of fun answering questions, and many lovely people said nice things about the movie.

We managed to get the #Severance hashtag and Danny Dyer trending, so I was curious to see who else was talking about it - lots of people I don't know were watching and chatting at the same time. So I clicked on the hashtag to see what they were saying.

Don't ever do this.

Not because people say nasty things - people always do, along with the nice things, I'm a grown up and am used to that. It's because there's SO much of it, which means you get sucked in and start wading through it all. I was going to stop, but it was genuinely fascinating to see how people were reacting, for better or worse.

Several comments - both good and bad - made me laugh, so I thought I'd copy in my favourites here for you. I've left out the user names, to protect the innocent - please don't send any abuse or responses if you find any of the users, they're allowed to dislike a movie, and I bear them no ill will. There were tons of good comments, tons of bad, but I've only grabbed the ones that entertained me.

It's partly for your amusement, partly to show newer writers that it's all subjective, and that you can't take any of it seriously. People will always love or hate what you do, so try not to worry about it, and do your best. It's also a response to the people who regularly say "oh, you can't take criticism, you should listen to the audience." I can take criticism just fine, but as you can see, if I took it from the entire audience, I'd never finish anything, because everyone wants something different! It's too sick, not sick enough, too simple, too confusing, depending who you ask. It's never quite as simple as listening to "the audience". They are not a hive mind who agree on everything. Thankfully.

I've added my own comments under their comments. It's a commentary on a commentary. I'm climbing up my own arse as we speak. Hey, if you don't like it, then YOU can't take criticism! Yeah! A double dumbass on YOU!

Spoilers ahead, obviously, if you haven't seen the movie. Why not watch it first? It's really, really cheap now! UK folk, it's on Amazon for £4.54, or one penny second hand. Americans can watch on Netflix streaming, or on Amazon Prime if you're a member, or just buy the used DVD on Amazon for $1.21.  You can't argue with those prices, surely. Well, you can, but they don't argue back. Click on the "Buy my stuff" link above for links to the relevant shops.


Here goes - let's start with the good:

So much hate for #severance but I fucking love it.
--Yeah, so much hate! Wait, this is supposed to be the positive section, don't mention that. Stay on message.

Watching #severance SHITTING myself big time!!!
--That's good, right? Shitting yourself through fear, right?

This will not do anything for CentreParks's bookings this year #severance
--If I can just save even ONE family from a package holiday, it'll all be worth it.

Watching #severance. Love it. Disjointed, b-movie horror comedy madness.
--Yeah! Disjointed! Wait, are we still in the positive section?

Magic Mushrooms & a huge wheel of cheese its Danny Dyer in #Severance tonight BBCone HD 23:30,oh and bear traps!
--Best. Review. Ever. Why didn't the TV announcer say that instead?

Was gonna go to bed, then noticed #Severance was on, fuck bed
--Yeah, fuck bed! Woohoo! Stick it to the man, man!

Was going to bed but decided to give #Severance 10 minutes. Love it. Film wins. Bed can wait
--Yeah, fuck bed! Again!

Fuck it, I'll watch #Severance even though I went to cinema and have DVD. Very funny film..
--Yeah, fuck bed! Er, I mean, fuck watching the DVD when it's on TV now!

Fuck Hot Fuzz, #severance is on!? FOURTH FAVOURITE FILM EVER.
--Yeah, fuck bed! Wait, what? No, don't fuck Hot Fuzz, it's brilliant! Still, Severance is your fourth favourite film ever?? I'm happy with that. But I suspect you haven't seen many movies.

remember the time when the film #Severance actually got me laid
--Yeah, fuck bed - I mean, yeah, fucking in bed! I'd love to know how the movie actually achieved this, but will happily take the credit.

#severance wat a film lol
--Indeed, wat a film.

Moving on to the one inconclusive tweet I found:

#Severance any film discerned as a comedy horror I'm probably not going to find that funny..., I'll give it a go
--Oh noes! I hope you discerned it funny!


And then, the bad:

#severance what a shit film
--Yeah, fuck Severance! The same person then said this:
actually this isnt too bad #severance
--Hooray! I won them over! Oh, wait, they then said this:
changed my mind this films a bag of wank!
--Gah, you took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride! Now I don't know what to feel!

Why is #bbc1 showing #Severance?! We don't want to pay for this!
--Yeah, fuck BBC One! And fuck anything at all on any BBC channel that isn't something you like! It's all about YOU!

#Severance is a truly shite movie! #BBConeHD you should be ashamed!
--Yeah, fuck BBC One HD too!

#Severance is the biggest pile of shit I've seen in a long time
--I assume you're not exaggerating here, and that you see lots of huge piles of shit all the time, for some reason.

Watching #severance and it's making me puke. Think I'll go to bed instead.
--Yeah, fuck bed! Oh, wait. Dammit. Actually, I'm not sure this doesn't belong in the positive list.

watching #severance... Who the hell makes these sick films!!
--Perverts. And weirdos. They let us out of prison once a year to spread our perversions through the medium of film.

Eeeeew #severance is on. That is the sickest film ever!! Just thinking about it makes me want to puke. Thanks [username] scared for life!
--Another puker? Jesus, you should probably get that seen to. Sickest film ever? Really? Is it the only horror movie you've ever seen??

How am I still watching this fucking shit film #severance
--Er... you could stop, or change channel. Hot Fuzz is on the other side.

Why am I sitting up watching #severance it's total poo bums
--Is the previous person forcing you to watch?? Change the channel!

Omg this movie. Forgot how vile it was. #Severance
--But... you're watching it again?? Change the damn channel!

Severance was the worst film I've ever watched and i've seen Lesbian Vampire Killers #JustSaying
--The only bad one directly sent to me. Not sure why he felt the pressing need to let me know, and I'm quite sure there are *much* worse films out there. Still, thanks for the info!


Then, the confused:

Right so a man loses his leg so he decides to take ecstasy? #severance
--Well, if you'd listened to the dialogue where they said it was for the pain, it would have made sense. It was about 30 seconds before he actually took them. Same scene, actually. Come on, the *writer* is supposed to enter the scene late, not the viewer!

Why is a severed head still blinking? what the hell #severance
--Well, if you'd listened to the conversation they had earlier about the guillotine... oh, never mind. You were probably busy.

this film is so confusing, i have no idea what is going on #severance
--Dude, it's a pretty simple plot: people go into the countryside and get attacked by nutters. For your own safety, please don't watch anything really complex, like Primer.

he is now missing a leg, what the hell is this!?? #severance
--Did you not see it happen? It didn't just vanish! You kind of have to watch the whole film, in order, or it won't make sense. Like many films.

Just watched #Severance - What the hell was that film about?
--People go into the countryside and-- oh, never mind.


And finally, the uncategorised one, because I have no idea what it means:

I just have regurgite! I feel like a Big Frog! #Severance :s
--I was just about to say that.


I hope we've all learned something from this. I know I have: Severance is the best, worst, sickest, most confusing film ever made. Oh, and don't click on anything, ever.