Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Sparticle Mystery, season 3

Announcement! TV announcement! I’ve written two episodes for the upcoming 3rd season of The Sparticle Mystery, created by the brilliant Alison Hume.

The series starts on Monday, January 5th, 2015 at 5pm on CBBC and CBBCHD. I wrote episodes 4 and 9, so mine should be on 26th January and 2nd March - I’ll update that in case the schedules change, so keep an eye out.

Update! Episode 1 of the new series is on the iPlayer right now, watch it here!

I worked on the show early in 2014, joining their writers’ room led by Alison. It was a really fun, inspiring time, and I loved being part of the process. When the boss of the team is the head writer, it makes things SO much easier and smoother, because they’re right there with you, and all their notes come from a good, creative place. And it's lovely to have something of mine airing on TV again, after a long time off doing movies and development stuff (which takes ages) - I haven't gone anywhere, just been doing other things, that you'll hopefully get to see soon. Like this!

If you haven’t seen the show, you can catch up on season 2 on iPlayer now. If you’re just going to dive in - spoilers in this paragraph! Spoilers for seasons 1 and 2! - the concept is that one day, a Large Hadron Collider-style experiment goes wrong and everyone aged 15 and over gets sent to a parallel dimension - leaving the world full of children. Some of them want to bring the adults back and, obviously, some don’t. Right now, at the start of the third season, an attempt to bring the adults back has gone wrong, and the teenage versions of the adults have been brought back instead. Who’s in charge now? Ever wondered what your mum and dad were like when they were 14?? You might not want to know... End of spoilers!

I've never written purely for children's drama before, and if you're familiar with my work you're probably wondering why they let me... But I've done family stuff, and pre-watershed-friendly episodes, so I'm not a blood-soaked gore fiend ALL the time. And there's plenty of emotion and drama on kids' shows, this is no exception. Obviously I can’t say what happens in the episodes or the series, so you’ll have to watch and find out.

But! Here’s a trailer for season 3!

Food fight! There are several clips from my episodes in the trailer, but I didn’t do the food fight, I’m very envious of that...

Official website!

Facebook page!

Behind the scenes website with photos!

Catch up on season two!

And you can follow the show on Twitter here and get updates like this:
By the way, another show starting straight afterwards at 5.30pm, is EVE, created by Emma Reeves, about a robot girl trying to live a normal life with a human family. Emma’s brilliant too, and the show looks really fun, I saw some early prep work on it and it sounds great. So check that out as well! There’s a trailer for it here, and episode 1 is now online here.

UPDATE: I've just realised that, if the schedule doesn't change, my latest episode of TV will air on January 26th, almost exactly 8 years after my first ever episode of TV - "Sleeper", in season 2 of Torchwood, on January 23rd. And I'm still incredibly excited to have my work aired on TV, that feeling never goes away, in fact it gets stronger. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 things, with free stuff

Blimey, where did 2014 go? Seriously, where did it go? I suspect nefarious shenanigans. VERY nefarious. The nefariest!

I got into the habit of doing an end of year blog round up post a while ago, but then I... got out of that habit. It tended to be a bit maudlin or self congratulatory, depending on the sort of year I’d had, and went on longer than those end of year shows where people who aren't old enough to have been alive back then “remember” things from the 70s.

So instead, here’s a few things you might have missed from the blog this year, in handy link format for you to click on:

--A new blog article about breaking in and sustaining a writing career, and how every time you write something new, it feels like breaking in all over again.

--The Cockneys Vs Zombies script was added to the permanent collection of The Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

--I directed a new short film, which is online here for free.

--I also directed my first music video, which is very closely linked to the above short film.

--The Doctor Who Adventure Games were made available on Steam, including the one I wrote, called TARDIS.

--The Borderlands, a horror movie I did a rewrite on, was released in the UK. Update: It’s released in the US in February 2015, under the new title Final Prayer, so watch out for it.

--Maggie from Severance made it onto the Total Film list of the 50 Most Badass Female Horror Leads.

--Mark Kermode very kindly asked me to be a guest on his Kermode Uncut film blog, talking about whether critics pay enough attention to writers, and if they are undervalued.

--I was a guest on Emma Newman’s brilliantly mad podcast Tea and Jeopardy, which was even more fun than I thought it would be.

--VS Comics came to a close, and you can read why here.

--My YouTube channel quietly sprang to life, and I made lots of videos, to try out some new things. One is the first in a series where writers talk about their process, and features guest writer Amber Benson.

--My other YouTube videos included a guide to playing the ukulele in 15 minutes, my convention experience at LeakyCon (now GeekyCon), a trip to see inside Battersea Power Station, how to get an agent, a spoof Halloween sequel trailer, and the trailer for Crazy For You, the short film I wrote & directed starring Arthur Darvill and Hannah Tointon.

--I did two more anti-phone cinema idents for FrightFest this year, and you can watch them online here.

--Cockneys Vs Zombies aired on UK TV for free, and will be on again during the Christmas break, on Friday 26th December at 10pm. Uncut, no TV edits, so you can safely watch with the family knowing all the swearing will be there. It is actually a family friendly feelgood comedy horror, that's not a joke - it's sweary and violent, but lots of people have told me they've watched with grandparents who enjoyed it, so I think it'd be fun to watch at Christmas time.

--I wrote an article about writing horror movies, for the Script Angel website (I'll be re-posting it here next month).

--I appeared on Tea and Jeopardy again, as part of their podcast advent calendar.

--The second Den of Geek “Den of Eek!” ebook of scary short stories became available here (the first is still available here), both containing a story each from me - they’re in aid of Geeks Vs Cancer, and you get a lot of story for a little cash.

--And I made another guest appearance on Paul Cornell's always excellent 12 Blogs of Christmas. This post features me and 19 other writers sharing the worst thing that happened in our writing careers, to exorcise some demons, and to hopefully make newer writers feel a bit better when bad things happen - they happen to us all. And reading the other writers' tales of woe, *I* immediately felt better, because there were several things worse than anything I had experienced (yet).

--These are from last year, but they’re still available, still free to read - my two Doctor Who short stories from the Short Trips collections: Companion, and Breadcrumbs. Companion is Christmassy, and possibly my friendliest piece of work.

--And because it’s the season of giving, if you're looking for a local charity that would appreciate even tiny amounts, Kirkwood Hospice looked after my sister Julia at the end of her life. They provide free care for patients, even supporting their families. They're amazing people, and rely on public financial support, so if you want to donate (thank you in advance), click the link here.

--Similarly, you can still grab Behind the Sofa, a Doctor Who book I contributed to, in aid of Alzheimer's Research UK - it features a short essay from me about my memories of the show, and also from people like Neil Gaiman, Sophia Myles, Stephen Merchant, and many more. It's just over a fiver, and is well worth getting.

Well, that went on a bit longer than expected, I’d forgotten how much stuff there had been. There are two TV things that I’ll be able to announce next year, they’re still secret for now, so look out for those. Look out!

Whatever you’re doing at the end of this year, I hope you enjoy it, get some time to relax, and eat chocolate for breakfast if you want to, no judging here, not that I’ve ever done that, no way, not at all.

Writers: I hope all your dream projects come true, that you get excellent notes from smart people, and that you learn something new every day.

Everybody: whatever you aim to do in 2015, please try to make something. Anything. Put a bit of extra art into the world, something unique to you. And let’s make the world a tiny bit nicer for everyone else. OR ELSE.