Sunday, July 31, 2005

He always seemed like such a nice, quiet man

It's time police rounded up and arrested all the nice, quiet people. Whenever a serial killer is caught, neighbours always describe them as nice, quiet, and normal. They say that they never imagined he could have done anything like this. The bombers involved in the 7th July attack on London were all described as "quiet", and "ordinary". People said things like "He was a good man, quiet... when I told my daughter she said 'no, he can't do something like that'". And "They were just normal, everyday people. It's just so shocking that he could be involved in something like this." Anytime you see a news story about a murderer getting arrested, look for the reactions from the people who live in the street. It's never the mad, shouty neighbour with the three pitbulls who gets drunk every night. It's always the nice, quiet man over the road, who always had a kind word, who didn't seem the sort of person who would get involved in anything illegal. If police had done a random crime sweep, they should have seen the warning signs, ignored the loud guy, and taken away the nice, quiet man. 9 times out of 10, his cellar will be filled with bodies, his fridge stuffed with heads, his food processor clogged with bone and hair.

Our next door neighbour is really nice, quiet, never causes any trouble, and seems like a perfectly innocent, upstanding citizen. Clearly, he's a serial killer. He must be. We just know he's got a dungeon in there. We're terrified of him.

Seriously. Arrest all the nice, quiet, decent people. They're all evil.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tax, short film, and FrightFest

Two meetings today. The first was with a man from an accountancy/tax firm. As I'm now earning money outside of my dayjob, I'm classed as self employed, and have to declare it to the Evil Tax People, and pay tax on it. I knew this when I started, so I've been putting aside 40% of everything just in case (although it should be less than that, taking into account stuff I can claim back). The thing is, the Evil Tax People send you a fuckoff big tax return form, and I haven't got a clue where to start. So my agent sent me a list of places that deal with us poncey media types, and I went in for my preliminary chat today. It's cool, I can just give them all my details and receipts and stuff, and they'll do it all for me, pretty much. I can claim all sorts of things as business expenses, which means the amount I pay tax on is reduced, and I should have a smaller tax bill. I think so, anyway, I'm not quite sure how it all works, which is why I'm getting professionals to do it for me. It's all very weird and grown up.

The other meeting was with a really cool director I've met before. We wanted to do something together, and now he's got funding to do a horror short film. We've been bouncing ideas backwards and forwards, and it looks like we've got the story pretty much sorted. I'm going to work on it over the next couple of days, and hopefully have something to show him next week. They want to move fast on it, and are already scouting locations and thinking of casting people. It'll be great fun, and hopefully I can be an extra in the background - I'll be a dead body.

Looking forward to the FrightFest next month - the full programme lineup has been announced, and it's going to be fantastic. The main things I'm dying to see are Land of the Dead, Wolf Creek, Night Watch, and Born to Fight. But the whole weekend will be great, the shorts, the guests, the surprises, the trailers, the madness - can't wait.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Back in the saddle

Been a bit restless for the past few weeks, didn't get much writing done. I was starting to feel a bit empty, like I'd completely run out of ideas. But it was probably just the heat. Over the past few days, the ideas have been coming back, I've got a couple of new things I'm outlining, and another thing that I'm actually writing in full, which is starting to kick ass. I got loads done today, and am feeling very pleased with myself. So tomorrow I'll probably be very lazy. It's too hot, anyway.

Have to give this a quick mention, if you haven't heard of it. Global Frequency, the fantastic comic by Warren Ellis, was made into a TV pilot. The TV network decided, in their infinite wisdom, that it Wasn't Our Sort of Thing, and shelved it. Somehow, it got out on Bittorrent. Everyone loved it, kicked up a huge fuss, and now it's taken on a sort of life of its own. So now they just might release a DVD version of the pilot that was never shown on TV, thanks to people downloading it and watching it illegally - the same people who are desperate to buy the thing. Cool or what? Check out the full bizarre tale here. And yes, I've seen it, and yes, it's damn good stuff. Sign me up for the DVD version if it comes out.

Update: if you like what you see, please do go to FrequencySite, and do as they command. Spread the word, let people know that there's an audience for it, and we have money to spend. If you want more stories, buy the two graphic novel collections here (book 1) and here (book 2), they're well worth it...

Monday, July 11, 2005

An Open Letter to the Terrorists Involved in the London Bombings

Dear Terrorists,

Fuck off.

Yours sincerely,

James Moran, Londoner

PS: Seriously, go try that shit somewhere else. We're not impressed. You want to make us sit up and take notice? You're having a fucking laugh, aren't you? Better cunts than you have tried and failed. All you are to us, is just another fucking delay on our way to work. You are signal problems. You are leaves on the line. You are the wrong type of snow. You want to give us some shit? Join the fucking queue, pal. And you'd better fucking queue properly, or we'll fucking have you.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Oh. My. God.

Well. I'm back, as of Monday night. Still trying to come down from the massive buzz. It is, quite simply, fucking amazing.

I arrived in the evening, and went straight to the set, where loads of people were in the middle of filming. I sat at the monitor, and saw two faces I didn't recognise - then when I heard them speaking, realised they were Jill and Gordon from the script. It was such a headfuck, a feeling I experienced a lot over the five days.

I knew it was going to look cool - Chris is a man on a mission, and determined to give it an epic look - but I didn't think it was going to look so fantastic. The footage is incredible, it looks like a slick, glossy film already, without any treatment, effects or sound fiddling. The actors are superb - Tim McInnerny cracked everyone up with a speech that I thought was quite amusing when I wrote it, but that turns into something hilarious when he delivers it. I kept having to stop and say to myself "holy shit, this is actually real, they're filming my script". It was crazy. One morning, when Laura Harris was doing a really intense scene, I got so taken aback by her screams, I actually got all emotional and had to have a sit down - okay, I cried, I actually cried tears of fucking joy, it's my dream come true so fuck off, all right - that's when it really hit me that all of these people were working to make a movie out of something I wrote. It was partly that, and partly because she was so convincing, I thought they were doing terrible things to her behind the hill. Maybe they were. I didn't ask. Danny Dyer is absolutely perfect as Steve, there is nobody alive who could play it as well as he does. He's a top bloke too. They're all great, all perfect for their parts, and all really nice. God, I sound like Tom fucking Hanks giving an Oscar speech. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels! I'm standing here on magic legs! My drama teacher was gay!

The whole crew were incredibly cool, and were all really working their arses off to make the film as good as possible. I was embarrassed at how many people told me how much they liked the script, and kept fobbing them off and making out like I had nothing to do with it. And fair enough, it's a good script, sure - but they are making a great fucking movie. It looks scarily good. And I can't wait to see more of it.

This is how good it was: one of the days was a long dialogue scene with all the actors. Just that one scene. From every conceivable camera angle, different close ups, and so on. Over and over and over again. And I watched every single one. And laughed every single time. I wrote the fucking thing, and I'm standing there, laughing like an idiot at my own jokes, because they're being delivered in such a funny way.

I'll stop going on about it now, I could wank on all day. But I couldn't be happier with the way it's going. If I had a hat, I'd take it off to Chris, Jason, the cast and crew. I may just buy a hat so I can take it off to them. There are a few photos in the posts below - nothing of the cast or actual scenes being shot, partly so I don't tread on anyone's toes, but mainly so I don't give any plot secrets away...


Originally uploaded by jamesmoran.
One of the 18,000 Watt lights shining through a diffuser - it's actually daytime, but they've partially blocked the sunlight so as to get even lighting that will stay the same all day.


Originally uploaded by jamesmoran.
Just some of the 80+ people working on Severance - outside the lodge location (black sheet to simulate night inside).


Originally uploaded by jamesmoran.
The clapperboard for slate 133, scene 152, take 2.