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.