Friday, December 23, 2016

Taxi for 2016

So. 2016, then. Yeah. I realise units of time are a human construct and therefore meaningless, but blimey, I won’t be sorry to see 2016 shuffle off the meaningless calendar. Luckily, 2017 will be here soon, with its ruined economy and potential fiery nuclear death--

Okay, that’s enough of that. Sure, shit is fucked, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Let’s try and do something about it, and survive this thing together.

In the meantime, ignoring the terrifying world stage, what’s been going on with me? What about ME, 2016?? Well, in my first blog post of the year, I pledged to do more Weird Stuff, which I’ve certainly done.

I started a brand new podcast, Not Guilty Pleasures, in which I and a guest talk about something we love unconditionally, to try and balance out the bucketloads of internet snark out there (I’ll need to do more of these). Topics covered so far: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America movies, and The Walking Dead. I didn’t plan to start a podcast, it just sort of happened. I like it when things just sort of happen. And yes, I'm planning to do more, watch this space.

After indulging at Christmas, I thought doing Dry January for charity would be easy. Turned out that I’d inadvertently picked a month in which tons of great people would die, AND we’d be at a family funeral. Pro tip: don't do that.

My season 2 episode of Eve aired on CBBC, which was huge fun to write. They’re a wonderful team of smart people. My rule is, pick people to work with who are smarter than me - this is usually very easy to do...

Tower Block aired on Channel 5.

I started writing a movie that I had no idea how to write. Update: I have a rough draft. It might actually work. I have no idea why or how that happened.

We lost Prince, and I wrote a thing about missing him:

The people behind Night Vale, the weirdest, coolest, freakiest podcast show ever, let me co-write an episode.

My partner Cat Davies wrote & directed another short film, Connie, which I edited and we produced together, premiering the fuzzy dame at FrightFest.

While at FrightFest, I did my writing workshop for them (and later for YouTube). If any organisations would like me to run it for you, just let me know. I like doing it, and it works.

The lovely people behind Eve let me come back and write another episode, for the 3rd season, which aired in November. This one was more difficult to write, as I’d decided to try and show off how clever I am... I got there in the end, with their support and patience.

The Horror Channel had their premiere of Cockneys Vs Zombies, so I did an interview for them, and took part in a Den of Geek article about how to write horror.

My new webseries, Mina Murray’s Journal, premiered online, and then went on tour to VidFestUK and Dublin Web Fest (where it won Best Screenplay). I’m so, SO proud of what we all pulled together, I love how it looks and feels. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it, and to everyone who watched, liked, shared, tweeted, drew fan art, made Tumblr gifs - you're all lovely and amazing.

As always, there were lots of other things going on behind the scenes, things you might not see for a while, things you might never see. Development is a fickle beast, and sometimes I’ll work on stuff for years only for it to die a quiet death when the finance fails to appear, or the boss moves to another department, or the channel ceases to exist, or one of a million other reasons... One project outlived the head of drama, the head of the company, the head of the channel, AND the channel itself, as they all went off to different places, before it finally died. You come up with universes, people, fall in love with them, and then things are just snapped out of existence. It happens, a lot. You learn to deal with it, but you never get used to it.

What’s in store for next year? Again, as always, you never quite know what will get picked up and when. I’ve got plenty of things in development, shorts, TV, films, web, so it depends on what pops up next. One falls away, another springs to life, and so on. I’m definitely directing another short, and am determined to get my own TV show off the ground, and direct a film. I’ll be doing more stuff with Cat, as we work well together and make a kickass team. See that thing about working with people smarter than you?? I got *very* lucky there.

Most of all, I’m going to concentrate on getting things done, and not worry so much about other people and projects. I can only control what I do, as can we all. You be you. I’m going to be me.

Be safe, stay hydrated, and try not to actively make things worse. Especially that last one. We’re all going to need that.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Eve, Mina, Cockneys Vs Zombies

Various bits and pieces have appeared online recently, featuring me and my work, so here's a roundup of them all.

My episode of Eve is on CBBC today at 4.30pm. It's quite unlike anything I've done, and will give you the best possible glimpse inside the anxious brain of a writer - you'll see what I mean when you watch it. Update! It's online now, here!

You can catch up on all the previous episodes here, if you haven't seen them. And there's a sneak peek at my episode right here, if you can't wait until 4.30pm.

Cockneys Vs Zombies will be on the Horror Channel this Friday, 4th November, at 9pm - Freeview channel 70, Sky 319 Virgin 149. They did a new interview with me about the movie here, and I'm very excited it's airing on Horror, it feels like its rightful home. If you miss it, it's on again Thursday 10th November at 10.55pm, and Tuesday 22nd November at 9pm. You may as well watch, because it's on free TV and that's a bargain in anyone's book.

Cockneys also features in a 5 page spread in the current issue of Starburst magazine, with a massive interview with me, in case you haven't had enough of me babbling about it. It's in issue 430 out now, on pages 51-55, with lots of great photos and a lovely piece of artwork at the start. It's worth getting for the Michael Berryman interview alone, never mind me. There's also a great tribute to Universal's Monsters, as the classic films are all on re-release in cinemas. Update! Interview is online here now!

It's a lot of me me me and CvsZ this month, mainly because of the Horror Channel screening. I'm very happy to keep talking about it though, because I'm very proud of the movie, and love it to bits. Rotting, undead bits.

Mina Murray's Journal, my webseries, is getting lots of lovely press attention, including four stars from SFX and 8/10 from Starburst, and a great article and interview here at IndieWire. I'm quite overwhelmed by the reaction, it's my silly idea that I didn't think anyone would like, and now it's somehow become A Thing.

You can see all of our latest reviews and mentions at the press & reactions page here. The first season has its finale tomorrow at 11am, so go and subscribe here to make sure you don't miss it, and/or to catch up on the other episodes.

Mina is also mentioned in Den of Geek's list of 11 scary things to watch on YouTube right now here.

Speaking of Den of Geek, they did a piece on how to write a horror movie here, with quotes from me and Alice Lowe, Kevin Lehane, Nick Ostler, Mark Huckerby, and The Blaine Brothers.

It's a really good article, I always love hearing about other writers' processes, and they all say lots of clever things.

Thank you to Den of Geek for supporting the UK movie and TV world, by the way - they really do try to cover as much as possible, in an honest, open way, without the snark that creeps into a lot of genre coverage. If a site can be your best mate, then Den of Geek really is.

That's all the various things for now. I hope you enjoy my Eve ep, and Cockneys, and Mina. I know I bang on about being proud of my work, but I really am, partly for me, mostly for the amazing job the teams do on each one. If you enjoy them, please do pass them on to someone else. Or I'll have to summon a demon to eat your soul. Sorry. I don't make the rules.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal at MCM London and VidFest UK

I'll be appearing at VidFestUK, part of MCM London Comic Con, all this weekend (Friday 28th - Sunday 30th October), to chat about Mina Murray's Journal, my new webseries!

I'm on a panel at 4pm on Friday, called Writing Web Series, with Rochelle Dancel, Jamie McKeller, and Jesse Cleverly, and Team Mina will have our own panel on Saturday at 1pm, with me, and stars of the show Rosie Holt, Liam Dryden and Matt Hargreaves. Kate Soulsby is also a star of the show, but she's away this weekend, so we'll just have to make up terrible stories about her. She'll never see this! (Ooh, cheeky reference to a joke in the show)

We'll all be around all weekend, we'll have a Mina Murray's Journal table in the VidFest area, so look for our lovely banner and come find us. Maybe we'll give you a postcard. Maybe we'll just hide under the table. Who knows? The panel schedule is here, and tickets for MCM are available here.

If you haven't seen the show yet, what are you waiting for?! You can find all the episodes so far at our YouTube channel here. It's a modernised, #vladaptation of Dracula, with Mina and Lucy as the heroes, told through the vlog format. It's got jokes, scares, and if that doesn't convince you, listen to what these people say about it:


“James Moran makes several smart updates to the novel, shuffling characters around so that it’s office junior Mina who travels to Romania to meet the mysterious Count. But don’t worry – the vampires are still definitely vampires, with transmogrification powers very much intact… several episodes will raise goosebumps. Creepy and clever, it has an irresistibly likeable cast and an admirable commitment to the webcam conceit.”


“Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been adapted more times than we care to mention over the hundred-plus years since it was published, and one would think that there would be very little anyone could bring to the story that was new. Well, acclaimed writer James Moran (Doctor Who, Cockneys vs Zombies) has done just that with his web series that turns the focus of the story to the character of Mina. The cast are all very likable, and Rosie Holt, in particular, is a bubbly and engaging lead. It’s an interesting way to give the dusty old text a modern twist and certainly a fun use of the web series format. With the story beginning to really kick in, now’s the perfect time to catch up with what could be the hippest retelling of Stoker’s novel yet.”

Eve series 3 on CBBC this week

Series 3 of Eve screens this week on CBBC, on Wednesday 26th October, with episode 1 at 4.30pm and episode 2 at 5.30pm - the series continues every Wednesday after that at 4.30pm.

My episode is number 3, which means it'll be on next week, Wednesday 2nd November at 4.30pm! I can't wait for you all to see it. It's... different to pretty much everything else I've done so far. It's quite mad. You'll see what I mean next week.

It was MASSIVELY fun to write, and then MASSIVELY difficult, and then fun again, then difficult again, then finally fun again. I decided to try and be clever, which is always a mistake, because my brain got tied up in knots trying to unravel the plot. I got there in the end, but clearly haven't learned my lesson, because the current movie I'm writing is ridiculously complicated. Oops.

If you haven't seen the show, where the hell have you been?! It's brilliantly funny, smart and cool, and the team are amazing, headed up by the fantastically brainy Emma Reeves and David Chikwe, with supernaturally sharp script editing from Sophia Morphew. Thank you so much for having me back on your superb show, and for being so welcoming and lovely.

And kudos to Adrian McDowall, director of my bonkers episode, who I met at the readthrough and when he said he was directing my one, I just laughed and said "good luck", which wasn't really helpful. Despite me throwing all sorts of obstacles at him, he's done an *amazing* job on the episode. Coming back for another series, I already knew what the wonderful cast were capable of, so I threw a lot at them, especially Poppy Lee Friar, who I can't say enough good things about, she's a comedic genius.

You can catch up on the previous episodes here, watch a series 1 & 2 recap here, and see a sneak peek at episode 1 here. Go catch up, and get ready!

While you're waiting for this to start, you can go here and catch up on episodes of my new webseries, Mina Murray's Journal, a #vladaptation of Dracula with Mina & Lucy as the heroes, set in the present day using vlogs - with more jokes! It's suitable for most ages, and I'm very proud of it. Catch up on that now!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dublin Web Fest

Mina Murray's Journal, my new webseries, will get its first festival screening next month at Dublin Web Fest, from 18-20 November, and I'll be there to join in the fun.

It's being held at Filmbase, Dublin 2, which is right in the Temple Bar area, on the brilliantly named Curved Street.

I'll be around on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, and Mina screens as part of Screening Block III in the Basement on Saturday 19th, from 4.45pm to 5.45pm.

Just after that at 6pm, also in the Basement, I'll be doing a writing workshop, which may be the interactive story brainstorm one, or more of a talk-based Q&A about my writing process and how we got Mina made, we're still working on the details.

Festival info is available here, and the full schedule (where you can also buy tickets) is here. I haven't been to Dublin for years, it'll be great to see my friends again, and the beautiful city itself. So come along and watch some of Mina, and lots of other webseries, join in with the panels, talks, workshops, and maybe, if there's time, have a drink in Temple Bar (there are one or two pubs, as far as I can remember...) Can't wait to visit!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal at Vidfest

Thank you to everyone so far who has watched, liked, subscribed, commented, and generally been lovely about the first 2 episodes of my new webseries. If you haven't seen it yet, go and catch up now! Ep1 is at and Ep2 is at, go on, I'll wait.

Are you back? Great! Excitingly, we'll be at this year's VidFestUK, the massive celebration of online video and webseries, which is part of MCM London Comic Con, from October 28th to 30th, promoting Mina, doing a panel (details/times to be decided later), and meeting as many of you as possible.

Isn't that exciting?? I'm excited! Are you excited? Look how excited Mina and Lucy are!

We're currently blackmailing figuring out which cast members can come along for the panel, but the wonderful Rosie Holt (Mina) will definitely be there, and so will the also wonderful Matt Hargreaves (Jack). I'll be there all weekend, and at the panel, so come along and say hi! We'll have some postcard goodies with us, first come first served, grab them while you can.

There'll be lots of other cool online people appearing at VidFestUK, some of which are listed here (more to follow). Tickets for MCM are available here, and they have a variety of different ticket types. Keep an eye on their website for panel details when the schedule is out, and I'll update this post when I have that info for you.

Come see us! We're really looking forward to meeting you!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal premieres this week

Mina Murray's Journal, my new webseries, premieres this Thursday 29th September!

I'm aiming for 11am UK time, so if you're at work that's a good time to grab a coffee/tea break and check it out.

First episode is about 5 minutes long, and episode 2 will follow on Monday 3rd October, with two every week.

If you don't already know, it's a modernised, vlog adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with the characters flipped around so that Mina and Lucy are the heroes. That's Rosie Holt as Mina in the pic up there, and Kate Soulsby as Lucy. They are brilliant and hilarious and I can't wait for you to meet them in these roles.

I'm really happy with how it's come together, it looks and feels *exactly* as I had hoped, but is even better thanks to the amazing cast and crew. But where can you see it, I hear you shriek - what an excellent question, I'm really glad you asked, because I have the answer: on YouTube, for free, wherever you are in the world. Yes.

Links! Come and get your fresh, tasty links!

Official site:



YouTube Channel:


We also have some in-character social media accounts, the characters have been online and tweeting for a while, so keep an eye on those and watch out for extra clues. There are more accounts out there, but they're secret for now - maybe they'll be revealed in series 1, maybe not...

Character accounts:

I hope you like the show, I'm very excited to get it out there. If you do enjoy it, please like, share, subscribe, all that good stuff. Any webseries lives or dies by word of mouth, it's incredibly hard to make people aware of new stuff in such a crowded internet, so if you like it, please pass it on!

Friday, August 12, 2016

FrightFest horror writing workshop

FrightFest, or Horror Christmas, is almost upon us - 5 days of brand new horror movies from all over the world, I love it and go every year. For 4 years in a row, I've done several "Turn Off Your Bloody Phone" idents that have played in front of the opening night movies.

This year, the lovely organisers have asked me to do something a bit different. On Sunday 28th, at 1.15pm, in Discovery Screen 3, I'm running a horror writing workshop! Free to pass holders, or £5 for everyone else! You don't have to be a pass holder or member or anything, anyone can just buy a ticket! Here's the blurb from the site:
Ever watched a horror movie and wondered how they came up with the idea and made it work? Acclaimed writer/director James Moran (SEVERANCE, TOWER BLOCK, ‘Turn Off Your Bloody Phone’ FrightFest shorts) will take you through his writing process, so you can find out! In this fast, fun, informative and highly interactive workshop, James will build an outline from scratch for a horror movie using local newspaper stories for inspiration, and taking suggestions and questions from the audience in a live brainstorming session. Ideas are everywhere, it’s what you do with them that counts...
"Acclaimed"! I'm acclaimed! Yes, if you want to find out how my process works, how I write the things I do, come along! Learn all my 3 and a half tricks!

We'll come up with ideas and a rough outline together, brainstorming and working as one, like some sort of giant, evil brain. I'll show you how I work ideas up into full stories, because that's the tricky bit, not the ideas themselves. And we'll prove it, by picking a dull news story from a terrible local paper, and using that as the basis for our exciting horror movie.

It's fast, it's funny, and it can *easily* go horribly wrong, which means you might get to watch me panic and run out of the building, and/or kill one of you and blame you for the whole thing. But hey, as the cheesy old saying goes, you can't run a writing workshop without gratuitously murdering a few audience members.

Details of the workshop are here, and tickets are available here for £5. Come along!

Oh, and will there be another phone ident this year?? That would be telling. You'll just have to attend the festival and find out...

Reminder! Connie, the short film written & directed by Cat Davies, that we produced and I edited, is also playing at FrightFest! It's on in Short Film Showcase One, Saturday 27th August, 1.10pm, so please come and see it. We'll be there, and might have a felt & foam special guest... The trailer is here, if you'd like a sneak preview.

Connie at FrightFest 2016

Connie, the short film written & directed by my partner Cat Davies, that we produced and I edited, has its world premiere at this year's FrightFest!

You can see the poster on the left, which of course you may clicky-clicky for biggy-biggy.

It stars the fantastic Catrin Stewart (Doctor Who, Stella, The Library Suicides) as Dolly, a frustrated stand-up comedian who turns to puppetry to get her big break - but Connie is no ordinary puppet, and has a career plan of her own... Catrin also plays the voice of Connie, in a really difficult dual role which she manages brilliantly.

I'm really proud of our evil child, and incredibly proud of Cat for pulling it together, writing it wonderfully, and directing it beautifully. I had quite a long edit to do on this, as it was an extremely complicated shoot due to the demands of the puppet - we had to shoot one take with Catrin doing the voice of Connie, then another take with her acting as Dolly but *miming* with Connie, trying to remember how she'd said Connie's lines previously, and trying not to let Connie's emotions appear on Dolly's face. Matching up the multiple takes with audio and mouth movements was... time consuming. But now, finally, Connie is ready for her close-up, and about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting audience.

It's on in Short Film Showcase One, Saturday 27th August, 1.10pm, so please come and see it. We'll be there, and might have a felt & foam special guest... The trailer is here, if you'd like a sneak preview:

I probably should have warned you, Connie is quite rude, and not safe for work, home, or anywhere. So you shouldn't have watched that. Sorry.

Press enquiries email here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Mina Murray's Journal

New Secret Webseries Thing!

I've been beavering away on something in secret for a while, and now it's finally out in the world - Mina Murray's Journal, a modernised, vlog adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. I've flipped the characters around so Mina and Lucy are the heroes, it's all told vlog-style, and I'm massively proud of it.

It stars Rosie Holt, Kate Soulsby, Liam Dryden and Matt Hargreaves, season 1 is shot and in the edit, and you can see a trailer right now:

UPDATE! The episodes are online now! Go here to watch and subscribe!

This is my first webseries since 2009's Girl Number 9, which got several Streamy nominations, the first UK webseries to do so. Back then, the UK web scene was nothing like it is now, and we faced an impossible struggle convincing people to fund a second season or any other webshows, they just couldn't visualise how it would all work. Things are miles better now, people get it, and there are lots of talented folk out there.

The idea for Mina came a couple of years ago, but I didn't write it down or do anything about it, as I didn't know if anyone would be interested, or if it would even work. Attending my first GeekyCon convention, I was inspired by the amazing, creative attendees - I realised that they would get it, they'd know what I was trying to do.

So I wrote it up, got some very cool, clever people involved, and now it's officially A Thing. It wouldn't have existed without the GeekyCon audience inspiration, so I did a sneak peek at ep1 while I was there this year to thank them for giving me the motivation to do it.

It's funny, it's scary, it's aimed at audiences of all ages, so there won't be gore or swearing, which may surprise you if you're only familiar with my horror work, but I've done plenty of family and kids' shows too. I really wanted to do something fun and different, and hopefully I've managed that.

The show will start airing on YouTube next month, so keep an eye on the website, the Twitter account, the Facebook page, and subscribe to the YouTube channel to make sure you don't miss anything. It's a Moranic Production, one of the first projects from my & Cat's production company, so have a look at the site to see what else we're cooking up.

Night Vale and me

Yes. YES.

I’ve written an episode with the Night Vale team. It’s been KILLING me keeping it secret, but now it’s out, it’s the latest episode (91), and I’m so excited I could burst. I’m thrilled with how it came out, it’s such a trip to hear Cecil speaking things that came from my brain, and the whole experience was utterly lovely.

I met the Night Vale crew in 2015 at GeekyCon, hung out with them, and then realised I had to catch up on the show. So I spent from August 2015 to March 2016 catching up on every single episode. While I was doing this, I was making random notes about ideas for the show, just by myself, not knowing what I’d do with them - it really spoke to me, and sparked off tons of ideas. Much later, I asked Jeffrey if I could be involved in some way, and they graciously let me jump on board. Fast forward to now, and it’s the year 5 opener.

It’s very much a team effort, as always it’s their show and I’m just playing with their toys for a while. It’s a perfect fit for me and my style, and we’ve make a beautiful, mutant baby together. I hope you enjoy it.

If you don’t know what any of this means… go and catch up. Seriously. You won’t regret it. And check out their live shows. You *can* jump on with this year 5 start, or a live show, but all the episodes are glorious and you deserve to treat yourself by hearing them all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ghosting screening in London 5th May

Ghosting, the short film I wrote and directed, is screening at Shorts On Tap, on Thursday 5th May, 7pm, in Cafe 1001 in Shoreditch. It's part of a selection of dark comedy shorts, and you get the whole evening for the bargain price of £3, so come along and check it out.

Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm, it'll finish up at 10.30pm, and apparently the filmmakers will be there to answer questions, including a very handsome, talented chap called-- oh, how embarrassing! It's me! So bring questions, and possibly spare underpants because it's a bit of a scary one.

The short recently won a Bronze award at the Los Angeles Film Review Independent Film Awards, and has some more festival screenings coming up which I'll post about on here when they're announced. Cat's short KEEN-wah won a Silver at the same awards, so clearly she's already become too much competition, and I'll have to secretly murder her. Hopefully nobody will find out (luckily nobody reads this blog).

Also, I don't want to alarm you, but if you do come to the Shorts On Tap screening, the selection is called "Laugh or Die". I'm not saying the organisers will definitely kill you if you don't laugh - but why risk it? Just laugh. Laugh. LAUGH.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Random Prince memories

I haven’t written anything about Bowie since we lost him, and haven’t even been able to listen to any of his music yet. It’s too sad, and I still don’t quite know how to process it, he was such a hero and influence. We’ve lost a lot of heroes lately, it seems like a particularly savage year.

But for some reason, while I’m desperately sad at the loss of Prince, my immediate instinct is to listen to as much of his work as possible, to defiantly get through this thing called life, to fight back against the sadness. Let’s crank it the fuck up, get loud, get sexy, get crazy.

When things like this happen, lots of random moments run through my mind, formative experiences featuring the person we just lost. This time, I wanted to write them down, mostly for me, partly just to celebrate the incredible experience of hearing his work for the first time. I’m going to wing it and throw in anything that occurs to me, just see what comes out. Let’s do this. Because Prince.

First time I heard a Prince song

I’d just bought a cheap radio off a friend, a Sqeez orange juice branded piece of shit with a 9V battery, and had a mono, single bakelite earphone (the one that looks like a hearing aid) jammed in one ear. Listening to any radio station I could find, under the covers at night when I was supposed to be asleep. Had no idea who any of the songs were, was just enjoying discovering new music. And then they played 1999, and my mind exploded. How the hell are they making those sounds? Are they even instruments? How is he doing that with his voice? What IS this? All Prince songs do everything “wrong”, the verses and chorus are in the wrong place, the lines don’t stay in the tracks where they’re supposed to, nothing fits properly, they refuse to follow standard song protocol - and that’s why they’re fucking amazing and righteous. I will never forget hearing that song for the first time, and how it made me feel - like anything was possible. And naughty. Because Prince.


As a kid at boarding school before the internet and iTunes existed, you were at the mercy of the radio and friends with albums on tape. I’d just heard Tom Jones and the Art of Noise covering Kiss, and didn’t realise it was a cover until that kid in my class with guitar angrily declared that we were all idiots for liking this terrible version of a great song. I scoffed. How could it possibly be better than Tom Jones belting out sex over an Art of Noise beat? How could it *possibly* be sexier? And then I heard it, and realised: Because Prince. THAT is how it could be better and sexier.

Lovesexy album cover

Going to a boarding school in the countryside in the 80s, there was a lot of homophobia and suspicion of anything that might possibly be effeminate. As a small kid, some of it was directed my way, as not being tough enough, or tall enough, or liking the “right” music and movies. But for some reason, not a single one of those bullies and general arseholes said a *single word* about Prince, ever, not even when the Lovesexy album cover was everywhere. Nobody was ridiculed for liking Prince. Not a word. Because Prince.

Muppets Tonight

The entire Prince episode of Muppets Tonight is an utter delight, but my favourite bit is the opening. It was at the height of Prince’s contract troubles with Warner Brothers, when he changed his name to symbol, and became The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. The episode starts, Prince arrives at the studio to be greeted by Bobo the security guard bear, who asks for his name. Prince’s reaction is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and showed that he was happy to poke fun at himself. Watch it here, because Prince.

Nothing Compares 2 U

I love the SinĂ©ad O’Connor version, but I’d never heard the original. At college, a friend passed me a tape of his recording of it with The Family. Both versions are completely different, and somehow both are the perfect version of the song. I’m not sure how that’s possible. Probably because Prince.

The best gig I never went to

I never managed to see Prince live. In 1995, my friend Sal went to Prince’s gig in Dublin, where I lived at the time. I hadn’t been able to get tickets, and was gutted. The next day, I called into her workplace to hear how it went. She talked me through pretty much the entire show, how it started, how it went, the talky asides, the atmosphere, in the way only a superexcited, lifelong fan could. It was so vivid, her enthusiasm so infectious, I actually felt like I’d been there. I still feel that in a way, I was there, through some sort of magic. Because Prince.


In 1989, Tim Burton unleashed a brand new version of Batman on the world. It was dark, it was adult, it was moody, it was scary. Either nobody told Prince, or he just didn’t give a shit, because he did his own thing anyway, and gave us Batdance, which is crazy even by Prince standards. It’s *completely* wrong for the movie, but somehow that just makes it work perfectly. Because Prince.


Big Train once did a sketch about Prince hunting jockeys in the African plains. It’s bizarre, you have to see it. In 2015, Prince tweeted a link to it, and clearly found it funny. One of my biggest wishes is that I’d seen his face when he watched that sketch. It’s like the internet wrapped around itself for a brief, wonderful, bizarre moment, just because Prince.

There are so many more moments I could mention. Prince is woven into the tapestry of my life, probably in a pattern that spells out something rude. So today, I’m wearing my purple shirt, blasting the music loud, and celebrating the artistry of one of the most incredible, gifted, sexiest motherfuckers to ever walk the Earth. I suggest you do the same.

Because Prince.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Uncharted territory

Warning! Writing process discussion ahead. Beware. Don't operate heavy machinery while reading.

A while ago I blogged about my writing process, which you can read here. It's a method I've developed over time, that works best for me creatively, professionally. I tweak it or add to it now and again, but because it works for me, they're not huge changes.

But now, I've got a movie idea that I have no idea how to write.

My usual process doesn't work, because the very nature of the plot depends on the character interactions and how they react to various events - I can't brainstorm that, I can't outline it, because I don't know how they'll react until I'm actually writing the draft and hearing their voices.

I have some of the major plot milestones, but the order could move around depending on what the characters want to try and when they try it. And I don't know exactly who they are yet - the voices never become clear until you're actually in the draft, sometimes the second draft.

Oh, one more tiny problem: I don't know how it ends. Yeah.

I've come up with a mind-twisting science fiction plot, that gets the characters into a really, REALLY weird situation that's impossible to get out of. So I can't figure out how to get them out of it. They might figure it out for me when I'm writing it and they're all speaking. Or they might not. I might not be clever enough to write it. I might end up with most of a script, minus the final act. I don't know.

None of my usual techniques will work for this. I'll just have to wind up the characters, let them go, and see what happens. It's terrifying, and weird, and I don't know what I'm doing.

So obviously, I *have* to do it. Even if it fails utterly and I have to abandon it at the end. It's worth a try. And I'm curious to find out where it goes, if anywhere. You've got to do things that scare you, sometimes. So here goes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Crazy For You audience award

Crazy For You has won another award, this time for Audience Favourite at the Horrorshow Hot Dog Short Film Festival. Look at that bling! That's the blingiest hotdog you'll ever see, I bet. Thank you to the lovely audience for voting for it, and to the festival itself for choosing it as part of their selection.

It'll go on the shelf next to the lovely Crystal Palace International Film Festival award for Best Horror/Sci-Fi, and the Fantasporto Best Screenplay award for Severance.

I will now insist on being called "The Award Winning TV and Films' James Moran" in every social situation, even when just having a drink with friends. It's only right and proper.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Not Guilty Pleasures podcast Ep 3 - The Walking Dead, Jason Arnopp

It’s time for a new episode of “Not Guilty Pleasures”, my podcast where I and a guest talk about something we love unconditionally, to try and balance out some of the negativity for everything online. There ARE no guilty pleasures, just love what you love and be proud of it.

This episode’s guest is Jason Arnopp - he has written audio books, short stories, novellas, and has a brand new novel out right now called The Last Days of Jack Sparks. Jason came on to talk about The Walking Dead TV series, and we both tried (and, spoiler, failed) to figure out why we love it so much when it just wants to bite our faces off.

Find out what we love about it, our favourite moments, and which character makes me so furious, I want them to die more than any other character in the show, or in any other show on TV!

It’s a longer episode this time, because we’re talking about all 6 seasons of the show. We talked for so long, in fact, that we sadly died and became zombies. Look at us! Look at the bloodlust in our stupid, mindless faces!

MAJOR SPOILERS for all episodes up to season 6, episode 11, “Knots Untie” - obviously two more episodes aired since we recorded this, but it took a while to edit as there was a lot of it. If you’re not caught up with this episode, don’t listen to this yet! We talk about everything. EVERYTHING. It’ll ruin it, and won’t make much sense either.

Speaking of editing, this is a longer episode than usual, because we had such a lot to cover. The next ep should be back to around 30 minutes or so. But hey, 49 minutes isn't that long, stick us on during your lunch break or something.

Swearing! Not safe for work! LOTS and LOTS of swearing! It’s an adult show with adult language! Many, many fucks, shits, and other bad words!

iTunes version here!

Non iTunes version (and RSS feed) here!

If you subscribe on iTunes, you’ll get new episodes automatically. If you like the show, please consider leaving us a rating or review, it’ll really help.

Thank you! And I hope you enjoy the gory mayhem.

Show notes/links:

Jason Arnopp:

Jason Arnopp on Twitter:

The Last Days of Jack Sparks:

The Walking Dead Monopoly:

Michonne Vinyl Idolz figure:

The Walking Dead zombie piggy bank:

The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon novelty CD clock - with desktop stand:

The Walking Dead Dog collar:

Dressing gown designed like Rick’s police uniform:

The Walking Dead bed linen:

Daryl Dixon crossbow coffee mug:

The Walking Dead opening credits using the Friends theme:

The Walking Dead dad jokes meme:

EXTRA! We didn't get to this in the show because it hadn't been announced yet, but there's going to be a Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood from this summer. Check out this article, which has a trailer - I'm so going there when I get the chance:

EXTRA EXTRA! This month's Loot Crate has the theme of "Dead", so there are some TWD and Deadpool exclusives in there - including a fantastic soap on a rope version of Daryl's ear necklace. We've got it. It's great:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tower Block on UK freeview TV

Well, Severance has been on TV several times, as has Cockneys Vs Zombies, now my third movie is heading to freeview TV in the UK - Tower Block will air on Channel 5, this Sunday 20th March, at 9pm. For free!

If you've somehow missed every other opportunity to see it, now is your chance for the bargain price of no pounds and no pence, if you have access to a TV or the internet.

Update! It has aired, and is now on Channel 5 catchup - you can watch it here until April 19th. It's also on all the usual catchup services.

Tower Block premiered at FrightFest in August 2012, and had a good run in cinemas the following month, thanks to Lionsgate. It's available on DVD and blu-ray with the original cover, and the newer one. It's also out in America, and many other countries. The trailer is here if you want to check it out, but it's better to go in knowing nothing.

If you've already seen the movie, and don't have the US disc, you can listen to a free commentary I recorded here - it's not on the UK DVD, so you'll have to sync it up and pause it when the ad breaks are on, but I'm sure you can figure it out, you clever thing.

I'm very, very proud of our little movie. It's difficult competing with the massive budgets and marketing power of the bigger movies out there, so this one had to get by on some advertising, some word of mouth, and a big scary hook. Ronnie & James directed the hell out of it, Sheridan, Jack, Ralph and the rest of the amazing cast delivered barnstorming performances, and it always seems to get a good response, so I hope you enjoy it.

Although maybe "enjoy" isn't the right word - where Cockneys Vs Zombies is a big friendly hug of a movie, this is more of a knife to the kidneys. It's got some big shocks, scares, and lots of tension.

I'm pleased to see that the excellent Harry Brown is on Channel 5 immediately afterwards, which is a great double bill pairing, and another great Jack O'Connell performance. So settle in for a relaxing Sunday evening of mayhem and chaos, and don't blame me if you have trouble sleeping afterwards. Okay, you can blame me, that's fair enough. Just watch the movie.

Update! Radio Times have picked Tower Block as their film of the day, giving it 4 stars. Thank you to Andrew Collins for the lovely review!

Update 2! Here's a page with several Tower Block DVD cover variants from around the world, several of which I hadn't seen!

Monday, March 07, 2016

My Eve episode airs today

Alert! My episode of Eve is on CBBC today, Monday 7th March, at 4.30pm. Set your chronometers!

If you can't wait, there’s a sneak peek at the episode right here - and it’s not looking good for Lily...

You can catch up on previous episodes here, which you should do if you want to know exactly what’s going on - and catch up on the previous series while you’re at it. I wrote a big blog post about it all here, which has links and interviews and all sorts of fun stuff. The episode will be on iPlayer pretty soon after it airs, and I’ll add the link here when it’s up.

UPDATE! The episode is online now, and you can watch it here!

It was SO much fun to write for Eve and the gang, thank you to Emma and David for letting me jump on board. I tried not to break anything...

And don’t forget series 4 of Wolfblood starts tomorrow on CBBC at 4.30pm! Creator Debbie Moon is the guest on the latest ep of my podcast, Not Guilty Pleasures, so while you're waiting you can listen to her being clever and funny about the Captain America movies. Go! Listen! Watch! Prepare!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Not Guilty Pleasures podcast Ep 2 - Debbie Moon

It’s time for a new episode of “Not Guilty Pleasures”, my podcast where I and a guest talk about something we love unconditionally, to try and balance out some of the negativity for everything online. There ARE no guilty pleasures, just love what you love and be proud of it.

The first episode is still available on iTunes here or non-iTunes version online here, me and Andrew Ellard talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And I’m recording another episode this week, so the accidental podcast looks like it has definitely become A Thing. I like Things! Things are cool!

This episode’s guest is Debbie Moon - she has written for several TV shows, and created an amazing series called Wolfblood, which starts its 4th season on CBBC, Tuesday 8th March, at 4.30pm. Debbie came on the podcast to talk about the Marvel Captain America movies, what we love about them, from a writing point of view, from an emotional point of view, and from a “chesty men loving each other” point of view. Actually, mostly that last one. Look at us! Look how excited we are, by chesty men loving each other!

We jump around between both movies, as things occur to us, but it should be fairly clear which ones we’re talking about and when, we just got excited about how cool they are. And in what is now a regular section of the show, Weird Merchandise, we went looking for the weirdest related merchandise we could find, which took us down a very strange path... This is possibly now my favourite part of the show, we sound all clever at first, but then we just Google a load of silly stuff and laugh.

Important! Spoilers! Obviously, MAJOR spoilers for Captain America: The First Avenger, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier - we talk about pretty much every single aspect of both movies, so if you haven’t seen one or both of them, please watch them first, as this will (a) make no sense, and (b) ruin the surprises for you. Note: Captain America: Civil War has not yet been released at the time of recording (Feb 2016) so we will only be speculating about that. However, there is a bit of Hydra sympathising, and some Cap and Bucky wedding plans, so be alert.

Swearing! There’s not much swearing in this one, possibly the influence of Steve Rogers there, I think there are only a couple of shits, possibly three, but nothing worse than that.

iTunes version! You can find the podcast on iTunes here, and if you subscribe then you’ll get new episodes AUTOMAGICALLY, using WITCHCRAFT. If you like it, please consider leaving a rating or review on iTunes, it will *really* help. Note: at the moment, you'll only see Ep 2 if you subscribe, as iTunes takes a few days to update the public listing - I have no idea why, or how long it takes to appear, it's all a bit arcane and mystical.

Non-iTunes version! If you use other podcasting stuff, you can get it at the Podbean post here, or listen in the browser, or download, or grab the RSS feed.


Show notes/links:

Debbie Moon’s website:

Debbie Moon on Twitter:

Wolfblood (including iPlayer episodes you can catch up on):

Helen Mirren cracking a whip:

Captain America Cheez-It Snacks:

Captain America-inspired Bacon Apple Pie:

Captain America’s shield cookies:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My episode of Eve on Monday 7th March

As the more observant of you may have cleverly figured out from the post title, my episode of Eve is airing on Monday 7th March!

It's episode 10, on CBBC at 4.30pm, and you really should catch up on the first 9 episodes of the series, which can be found here. I wrote a bigger blog post about the show here, which has lots of other links to have a look at.

I had loads of fun working on the show, they're a great bunch of smart, creative people, so please do go check out all the amazing work they've done on it. And then watch my episode!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Crazy For You nominated at the Los Angeles Short Film Festival

Crazy For You is screening at the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, and has been nominated for their Best Screenplay award!

It screens on Saturday March 5th at 8pm, as part of the Comedy Program, tickets are $12 on the door, or $10 online. More details on the other shorts and awards here, and tickets are available from the same link. That's on my birthday, which makes it a lovely present for me.

The awards ceremony is on Sunday March 6th, at 4pm. Tickets for that are $20, or $15 online. I was hoping to get over for the screening and awards, but flights and timing didn’t work out, so I’ll have to cross my fingers from here.

The festival is in beautiful Santa Monica, so if you’re in the area and fancy seeing some great shorts, go and check it out. The other shorts sound great, it looks like a really cool festival. Thank you for selecting my short!

Crazy For You is coming towards the end of its festival run now, and it's great to see how many festivals and awards it's collecting. When the last screenings have finished, it will enter the next stage of its life - I'm exploring a couple of avenues where everyone will be able to see it outside of festivals. Watch this space.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My booze-free month

I’ve just completed Dry January, in aid of Cancer Research. A lot of lovely people donated a total of £570, so thank you all (at the time of writing). It’s still open for donations if you feel like chipping in, for a great cause. But this post isn’t about convincing you to donate, it’s more of a reflection on my booze-free month.

Regular blog readers, Twitter followers or anyone who knows me knows that I like a cheeky drink or three now and again, as do quite a few people. I’m not reliant on it, I didn’t face any withdrawal symptoms or anything. But I was surprised to find how much I casually lean on it, habitually.

It’s almost a superstition. Tough day? Cheeky drink. Tough week? Cheeky drink. Watching a fun show or movie at home? Cheeky drink to accompany it. Finished a long project? Cheeky drink to celebrate. It’s a mind-trick a lot of us use to reward ourselves. And when you can’t drink, *everything* seems booze-related. Going for a meal? Have a glass of something with it. Out with friends? Get a round in. And so on.

January was pretty tough due to some bad real life stuff, and the loss of some cultural heroes - David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan. Attending a funeral the week Bowie died, on the *day* Rickman died, I could have happily had several drinks.

I didn’t dive back in as soon as February 1st arrived. But it was good to know that the option for a random drink was always there. We all need to treat ourselves with a variety of things, in moderation of course. But it’s been an interesting, surprising, occasionally frustrating process, which has made me give a lot of thought to this aspect of my life. And anything that makes you think is a good thing.

The best things about it? Raising a chunk of money for Cancer Research. No hangovers. Getting fitter. Although I did tend to reward myself with cake or sweets instead, so I might be the only person who did Dry January and weighed more at the end...

Would I do it again? Possibly. Maybe. I don’t know. If I can have a strict promise from everyone not to die that month, then I’ll think about it. Until then... cheers!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New podcast thing

I seem to have made a podcast by accident.

Recently I was chatting on Twitter about how much I loved the new Star Wars movie, and how much it made me want to talk about it in detail. Andrew Ellard, a friend and fellow writer, joined in, saying he felt the same.

We joked about doing a podcast, someone said they'd like to hear it, and my immediate instinct was to say “oh, I don’t have a podcast” - but then I stopped. My commitment to trying new, weird things compelled me to try it and see what happened. So we did. Look how excited we are!

“Not Guilty Pleasures” is a very irregular series where I and a guest talk about something we love. There’s plenty of stuff on the internet about what people don’t like, 47 things wrong with this, here’s everything wrong with that, why this thing sucks and why you do too - but unashamedly loving stuff seems to be scoffed at. There’s nothing wrong with loving things. And as our lord Dave Grohl said, there are no such things as guilty pleasures. Hence the title.

This one is all about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What we loved about it, from a writing point of view, from an emotional point of view, with lots of random silliness. There’s clever analysis, but also swearing and bad jokes. It’s sort of an experiment to see if the format works. If enough people like it, I’ll do another one with another guest, talking about something else. Possibly. Who knows?! Try new, weird stuff, it’s fun!

I’ve tried to keep it as close to 30 minutes as possible, because for a new podcast - or even existing ones - it can be a bit much to see that you’ve got to commit an hour or more to something, and for things like this, short and snappy is always better.

Important Note! The podcast contains MAJOR spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this podcast will (a) ruin the surprises, and (b) make very little sense, and (c) why would you do that to yourself, life is too short. Also Important! This is NOT safe for work, there’s some swearing in it - some fucks, some shits, one or two pricks, possibly a piss, and I suspect some bollocks. Be aware! Words can kill! Probably!

I've gone with Podbean for hosting, and will have to upgrade from the basic account soon - I'd rather this project didn't put me out of pocket, but I won't charge for a podcast, so if anyone has any suggestions on what I should do - sponsors or otherwise - give me a shout.

iTunes version! You can find the podcast on the iTunes Store here, where you can subscribe if you want to be alerted when the next one appears.

Non-iTunes version! This is the Podbean link, where you can listen in the browser, download, or grab the RSS feed. It's also up on Soundcloud for this episode, but future episodes won't be on there due to space limitations. I might also start putting them on YouTube as well if people want that.

By the way, if you listen and enjoy the show, please leave us a review on iTunes, it would really help a lot. Thank you, and have at it!

Show notes/links:

Andrew Ellard’s website:

Andrew’s Twitter:

Andrew’s Tweet Notes:

Buy or rent Afterdeath now on FrightFest Presents:

The snooty article we briefly discuss:

The Making of Star Wars books:

Star Wars Cheestrings:

Star Wars Helmets:

Update! Thanks to Ridley from Twitter, we now know there actually are Star Wars apples! This will only make sense if you've listened to the podcast:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

GeekyCon 2016

GeekyCon, or The Convention Formerly Known As LeakyCon (TCFKALC - pronounced TaCUFFkalc), has made YET ANOTHER terrible administrative error, and I've been invited back AGAIN, for my third visit!

I went last year (and made a video about my experiences here), and the year before (and made a video back then too), and for some reason, they haven't learned their lesson. Perhaps they were fooled by my lipsync battle stylings. Perhaps they admired my snazzy jacket. Perhaps their brains overheated in the Florida sun. Who knows?? All I know is, I'm going back. And I have a lipsync title to defend.

There's a post about it here on the GeekyCon site, where I'm listed as one of the "fan favourites", so clearly there has been some vote rigging (I deny all accusations, I wasn't even there, and certainly wouldn't know how to use my vote rigging machine which I totally don't have).

But Weird Uncle Jimbo, you cry, how can I get to this event? Good question, imaginary internet people! It's on Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July 2016, at the Orange County Convention Centre North, Orlando, Florida. Tickets and details are available here, and you'll want to keep an eye on their social media feeds, because they always have a special evening lock-in at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which goes on sale at a later date.

Surely they won't make this silly mistake again, and will delete me from their records, so catch me while you can at the 2016 event!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Being weird

Last year I wrote about my regular writing career stock-take, which you can read here if you want to remind yourself. I’ll wait. Okay, you're taking too long, I'm carrying on. This particular stock-take went on slightly longer than usual, as it turned out there were some big decisions to make, due to various life and career changes. In a way, it’s still happening now, as I still have some decisions left over. I’m trying to refocus certain areas of my career, and it all takes time to work out.

One thing I’ll definitely be doing, however, is More Weird Stuff.

It’s important to try something that scares you every once in a while, to keep yourself sharp, to challenge yourself. And sometimes you need to jump off the path entirely, and try something random and weird. I’ve already done some weird stuff, things I didn’t expect to be doing - YouTube videos, tutorials, interviews, silly Vines, Instagrams - but I keep getting the urge to do more. It's sort of a hobby, now that my original hobby has become my job.

You probably don’t know - because I rarely mention it - that I have a Tumblr page. That’s for random things, Instagram reposts, links, etc. I also made a few other Tumblr pages - Loki as Withnail (a collaboration with James Henry with some NSFW words), Unhelpful Game Messages, and Unhelpful Product Reviews.

None of these are of any help to my career, none of them will help me pay the bills, they’re just weird things I felt like doing, to amuse myself and hopefully amuse anyone else that stumbled across them. I haven’t updated them for ages, and have now opened them up so people can submit posts. Go be weird there, if you like. We can be weird together.

I’m doing a new weird thing next week, but I’m not even sure what it is, yet. Maybe I’ll do more of it. Maybe not. I don’t know what it would be if it continued, or how it would work. But I just feel like doing it, and that’s good enough for me right now. It'll be online as soon as it's ready, which shouldn't take more than a week.

Weird is good. Different is good. Whatever you do this year, do something weird.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Eve, series 2

Happy New Year! And welcome to the first blog post of 2016! Well, *my* first blog post of 2016, not *the* first blog post of 2016. Unless everyone else is still asleep.

And what a way to kick off my year, with the excellent news that... I’ve written an episode of series 2 of Eve, for CBBC!

Eve is an advanced robot in human form who ends up living with a human family, trying to find her purpose in the world and stay one step ahead of those who would destroy her. The show is created by Emma Reeves and David Chikwe, and Emma is the brilliant head writer on the show.

Series 1 aired last year, and series 2 has just kicked off. But! There was also a Christmas special episode, which you should watch before you start episode 1 of series 2, because it’s hilarious.

You can watch the Christmas special on iPlayer here, and episode 1 of series 2 here. Series 1 is still available online here, so if you can catch up before jumping into series 2, then you'll get to see even more robot hijinks.

And if you’d like to find out if you’re a human or a robot - which I would recommend, as a matter of personal security - take this handy quiz here.

Twitter folk! You can follow co-creator and head writer Emma Reeves here, co-creator David Chikwe here, and the amazingly talented and funny lead actress Poppy Lee Friar here. Go and be nice to CBBC here too, because they make wonderful shows and deserve our love.

There’s also a great, in-depth interview with Emma at the BBC Writersroom here, talking about her journey towards making Eve a reality.

I’ve written episode 10 which, if my calculations are correct, will air on CBBC on Monday 7th March 2016, at 4.30pm. That’s two days after my birthday, which makes it a lovely birthday present - although you should still give me cash and booze and sweets, because I said so.

Obviously I can’t say anything much about my ep, because it hasn’t been on yet, but you can expect excitement, dramatic twists, jokes, and possibly the odd explosion or two. And a cheeky DW reference if you listen closely enough...

They’re a superb, creative, smart, fun team on the show, and I’m incredibly grateful that they let me play with their toys for a while. And it’s a mini reunion for me, as it’s the first show Joe Lidster and I have been on the same team for since our very first TV gig back on series 2 of Torchwood! It was also my first set visit to one of my TV episodes since Children of Earth back in 2008, as I wasn’t able to get to the filming of The Sparticle Mystery or Crossing Lines, so it's been loads of fun.

Anyway, please catch up on the show if you’ve missed any of it, it’s fantastic fun and you need all of it in your life. Pass it on!

Photos © Leopard Drama 2016, used with permission.