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.

Kiss

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.

Batdance

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.

Twitter

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.