Friday, June 29, 2012

Festival news

Two pieces of festival news today - Cockneys Vs Zombies and Tower Block will be screening at this year's Sitges film festival, AND both of them will also be at FrightFest! Here's a Screen International article about the FrightFest lineup.

Tower Block was already announced as the closing film for FrightFest, and now CvsZ will be the 2nd movie on the Thursday, so my stuff is pretty much topping and tailing it. I'm so, so excited, Severance was the opening movie there 6 years ago, and now I'm making up for lost time with two movies.

I've never been to Sitges, but have heard great things, so I'm hoping I can get along to that. I'll definitely be at FrightFest though, same as every year, so maybe I'll see you there. Cockneys is the 2nd film on the Thursday, and Tower Block is the closing film on Monday.

Both movies are mentioned in this great Den of Geek article about upcoming British movies - worth a read for all the other cool stuff that'll be coming out soon. Although if you go by some of the commenters, the British film industry is dead, and a "closed shop" if you're a "nobody" - well, I was a nobody, I wrote lots of stuff, got better at it, got myself an agent, wrote a film, sold it, and got it made. It's not a "closed shop", that's just an excuse. I'm proof of that! So stop worrying that "the system" is keeping you out, and focus on writing, re-writing, and improving your work. Moan online all you like, but remember that it won't actually get your stuff made...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

World's Collider out on July 10th

Yes, you read the subject line correctly - World's Collider, the shared world anthology in which I have a short story, will be released on July 10th! What's more, it's now available to pre-order, from this link here.

The other writers are a brilliant bunch, and have come up with a cracking set of stories. So go and check it out!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Crowdfunding my short film

Well looky here - I'm making a short film, and crowdfunding it, which means you - yes, YOU! - can be involved. How?? Here's how:

Just go to this link here, and read aaaaaall the details. There are many shiny rewards at various levels, and if you can't/won't/would rather die than donate, then please pass the link around. If nothing else, you get to watch me making an utter buffoon of myself - so even if you hate me, you win! Everybody wins!

I'll post updates when we have cast/crew locked in, and when anything interesting happens, documenting the process as it happens. Now go! Read! Watch! Link-spread! Thank you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tower Block at FrightFest 2012

I'm very excited and chuffed to say that Tower Block will be the closing night movie at this year's FrightFest! I'm bouncing off the walls right now. FrightFest is brilliant, it's been 6 years since Severance was the opening night movie there, so it feels like coming home.

And Tower Block was born there, too. The idea came to me while watching a movie at the 2007 FrightFest - I thought something was about to happen in the movie, but it didn't, so I filed it away as something to work on. I wrote it in 2008, it got optioned in 2009, sold in 2010, filmed in 2011, and now it's coming out in 2012. I've been dying to see what the FrightFest audience makes of it, so I'm really looking forward to it.

It'll be released in UK & Ireland cinemas in September, with other countries to follow, watch this space. No trailer for that or Cockneys yet, be patient! Well, be *more* patient, you've already been patient.

Update: there is a Facebook page for Tower Block here, with a cool promotional poster design. Not the final poster! To be decided! Etc!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Reading "crap"

Many years ago, me and my mum had just moved to Ireland, and I was facing the daunting prospect of a new primary school, new classmates, and a new teacher. I'd just turned 11, and was a voracious reader - thank you, mum, for that, and so much more. So I would much rather just re-read favourite books over and over, instead of revising, or memorising boring historical facts. This caused some friction between me and the teacher, Mr Crowley.

We'd already had a disagreement about one of my stories. He said it was really good (after everyone in the class had said it was hilarious) but that I shouldn't have used the phrase "little piles of dust", as piles aren't little, normally they're big. I argued that piles of dust could be any size, but he wouldn't have it, and marked me down.

One day, I was having trouble remembering some stuff from the recent history lessons, and Mr Crowley was getting frustrated. He knew I liked reading and writing stories, and asked me what my favourite book was. "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," I replied, without hesitation. I had the book with me, and showed it to him. He started reading from one of the pages - the bit where Ford tries to convince Mr Prosser to swap places with Arthur. He read out the first sentence, and told me to continue - but from memory.

I was proud to oblige, as I'd read it about ten times in the past year or so, and knew I could do it. I recited the rest of the scene from memory, pretty much word for word. Mr Crowley nodded, and I felt like I'd done something right. But it was a trap! He said "so how come you can memorise that crap, but not your school work?"

He wasn't expecting a reply, and I didn't have one for him, apart from "dunno, sir". I was really embarrassed, he'd made me look stupid in front of my new classmates. He had a point, of course. I *was* supposed to be learning the historical facts. But it was still a bit mean. He was a brilliant teacher most of the time, and I looked up to him, until that day.*

So on the off chance that he's still alive and reading this, or even if he's not, I'd like to answer properly now:

Dear Mr Crowley,

The reason I could memorise "that crap" and not my school work, was because "that crap" was important to me. It meant something. It took me away from my life and into an exciting world where anything could, and often did, happen. It inspired me to tell my own stories, to believe that there was something out there worth striving for, to hope that one day, I might be able to get my own "crap" published, maybe even "crap" that would be memorised by some other daydreaming kid.

And because it made me happy. It still does.

So there's your answer, Mr Crowley. You had a point, I wasn't the best pupil, but bollocks to you for telling a kid that a book he clearly loved was "crap", especially a kid that actually read books for pleasure**. By the way, I really like history now, and can recite lots of it from memory. What does that tell you about your history classes??

Yours sincerely or faithfully or whatever, I don't care what the correct sign off is, AND my handwriting is still terrible, so nyerrrr,

The weird, tiny British kid from 5th Class***


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* He also started making me read out passages of Irish, so that everyone could laugh at my inability to pronounce any of it.
** One of the non-book-reading kids took exception to me being British, so he started calling me "Nigger". At the time, I didn't know what it meant, but I was still pretty sure he'd got his insults mixed up somewhere.
*** The rest of the kids were actually really nice and welcoming. One of them even taught me how to swear properly, because I only knew a couple of swear words. He taught me how to combine them, and when it was appropriate to say each phrase. Thank you, Martin Coomey, you were brilliant.