Friday, June 23, 2006

Tendon update

Blogging and writing has been slow lately, due to my massively fucked tendon. The background: at my dayjob, I have to use a mouse a lot, due to lots of fiddly work and having many windows open. One of my many bad habits is just letting my hand rest on the mouse, even when I'm not using it - and the bottom corner of my right hand rests on the desk or mouse pad. The bone there has been extremely sore for quite a while. Anyway, I was getting out of a minicab the other day, when I slipped, and landed on my hand. Not sure how I bent it, but it yanked the tendon or muscle or something on that corner bone, and felt like someone had rammed a red hot skewer into my wrist and down the length of my arm.

Ouch. The pain went from my wrist almost to my elbow, and I could barely bend my wrist at all. I could hardly get my keys out of my pocket or open my fly, and when you expose yourself to strangers as much as I do, you need a quick wrist action. So I couldn't do any typing for a few days. I spent the time having the odd surf (with my left hand), resting my right hand, and trying to bend it as much as I could, as well as flexing the fingers open and closed. After a week, it was nearly back to normal - normal being just the sore bone corner bit.

I made the dayjob get me a fancy sideways mouse (I say "made", I actually said "please get me this otherwise my hand will fall off and I won't be able to do any work ever again"), so that my hand would be in the "normal handshake position", according to the Ergonomitrons, and tried not to use it much. As it's a sideways one, my arm isn't twisted, my hand doesn't rest on the desk, and I can't keep my hand on the mouse for too long, because it just falls off. It's a sideways mouse, you see. Click here for pictures and info. At home, I got a normal, full size Macally keyboard for my Mac, so that I can position it anywhere I want. And I'm trying to limit the typing and mousing, which is a bit tricky when you make your living from typing and mousing, and you're in the middle of a script draft that someone's paid for and have got to deliver an outline that someone else has paid for. Wrist and hand are okay now, outline is done, script is going nicely. Delayed blog posts will be here next week.

So keep an eye on your bits and pieces, fellow scribomonkeys. Observe the proper RSI-avoidance techniques, and sit properly. And above all, if a part of your body basically shuts down for a week, take that as a warning to change your habits.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Contains strong bloody horror and violence

Severance has been rated 15 by the good people at the BBFC, passed with no cuts (click here for more details). All BBFC movies are given a line of consumer advice, and the one for Severance is "contains strong bloody horror and violence", which is what you want from a horror movie, really. It's certainly a step up from "mild fantasy peril", which was the verdict for my slightly less bloody short "Cheap Rate Gravity". I got a t-shirt made with that printed on it, because it was such a strange phrase, so I'm going to get another one now. It can be one of my weird little writer traditions, I don't really have any of those, and I need to cultivate some to appear windswept and interesting.

Speaking of consumer advice, I think the first Harry Potter had "mild fantasy spiders", which I've been told are NOT what I'm thinking of. And if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know exactly what I'm thinking of.

Blogging may be light for a while, as I'm knee deep in Curfew, have an outline to finish for next week, and have massively fucked a tendon in my right wrist, so I need to rest my typing hands for a while. However, my *non* typing hands will be in constant use, ha ha. Yes, sadly my crap joke tendon is in perfect health.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Another list - meetings, and the writing frenzy

Things that have happened to me this week:

* Met Other James, who mistakenly thinks that *I* am called Other James, when I am simply James and *he* is, in fact, Other James. He's probably saying that exact same previous sentence over on his blog, if so he is a dirty stinking LIAR, and I never touched him. Just the sort of thing I'd expect an "Other James" type to say. Although he was very nice, unless he's fattening me up for the kill or something. No, I don't know how that would work.

* Met Stacks of Danny and Matt "I still don't have a blog despite what a deviant that makes me" Wilkinson. Discussed some Secret Plans of the utmost secrecy.

* Had two more meetings, one with a bloke from a Very Large US Company. Pitched two of the things I'm working on outlines for, and they went down very well, which is a good sign - shows that the ideas are commercial, at least. That's not a dirty word for me, I'm tired of the attitude that has prevailed for years over here that commercial stuff is somehow lower quality than your period dramas about people dying of consumption and wearing posh frocks. Whenever I meet people, I make it clear that I write stuff I'd want to see on a Friday night at the cinema. They're movies, they're supposed to be entertaining on some level, and there's nothing wrong with that.

* Went to a party thingy for the Skillset graduates. Had a good time, was quite happy and confident, but for some reason my tongue just could not wrap itself around any words I wanted to speak aloud. I must have come across like some sort of idiot savant, but without the savant part. Couldn't get a single complete sentence out, for the whole evening.

* Met the head of Pathe. Was introduced to him at the party thingy, just as I was leaving, and discovered that he had actually heard of Curfew. Everyone I meet has heard of Curfew, for some reason. This just added to my tongue-tied-ness.

* Finally went to the gym. They cancelled our induction last week, it was looking like we were destined never to set foot in the place. Did an hour using all the different machines, with the special plan they drew up for us, which was very cool. Now, muscles I didn't even realise existed are screaming in pain, and my heart has exploded. But in a *good* explodey way.

* Saw Poseidon, which is top notch. See above comment about commercial stuff. It's short, sweet, gets to the action in about 5 minutes (it's a disaster movie, we don't need an hour of exposition), and is fantastically harsh and gruesome. Several times, we looked at each other, open mouthed in amazement at something incredibly dark that had happened. The bit in the lift - don't want to spoil it, but it's when a terrible, terrible decision must be made - was gobsmacking. Most importantly, it's got Kurt fucking Russell in it, who rocks in everything he does. And Richard Dreyfuss, who stole the entire movie with his first 5 seconds of screen time. This is what summer movies used to be like. It washed away the stain of X-Men 3, with a fuckoff tidal wave. Can't wait for Superman Returns. We're so excited about the cinema again, we're actually going to see Fast and the Furious 3 next, because it looks like a good laugh - car crashes, fighting, and the spookily good kid from American Gothic, but all growed-up. We're there!

* Wrote shitloads more of Curfew. I'm 72 pages into my first, rough, don't-show-anyone draft, and it's spewing out like a dream. I'm so jazzed to be writing a proper script again, so quickly, it's just firing up all my synapses and making me come up with loads of ideas for other things. I'm working on 4 other outlines at the same time, just to mop up all the energy, not letting it go to waste. My plan is to have another outline ready to go, so that when I deliver the first draft of Curfew, I can just immediately start writing another script. I'm on such a roll, I came very close to going for that 14 Day screenplay challenge thing that everyone's doing, as well as all the other stuff. Luckily, I realised that would be madness, and stopped myself in time. It's great to be writing again, though. For me, outlines and things don't really do the job, because you don't get that same buzz as when you fire up the old script machine and start letting the characters live and breathe. Writing, when it's going well, just gets you in the mood for more writing. Yes, I'm aware how wanky this all sounds, but I don't care.

Soon there will be a new blog entry, with an actual question and answer thing. Yes, someone has asked a script question, and I'll be answering it here! Actual content with a point to it, instead of random talk about me me me! Don't worry, normal service will be resumed soon.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Today is the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year (well, 2006th, according to our man-made and frequently wrong/altered arbitrary calendar construct, but hey it sounds cool). Sanctus! Dominus!

Signs of the impending Apocalypse that I have observed today:

* Beer-bellied, red-faced yuppies drinking lager outside at 12.30, presumably going back into their offices afterwards to try and fuck the country up a little bit more, depending what their jobs are. Rating on the Apocalyptometer: 3 (typical occurrence)

* Trains were all on time this morning. Rating on the Apocalyptometer: 8 (extremely atypical occurrence)

* Me, considering buying Joe Eszterhas' book "Hollywood Animal". It looked very entertaining, and filled with Hollywood scuttlebutt. And if you know me, you know I love good, solid scuttlebutt. Rating on the Apocalyptometer: 6 (according to many sources, Eszterhas is the devil, and he seems to accept this)

* Shitty, pointless remake of still-scary horror classic "The Omen" is out today. To quote a film critic (can't remember who, might have been Dr Kermode), it's "a marketing gimmick in search of a movie". Either way, it's "clearly symptomatic of the painful death of the art of narrative cinema" (that was definitely Dr Kermode, as his podcast listeners will remember). Rating on the Apocalyptometer: 7 (blasphemy, meddling with beloved films)

* My agent in cheerful form, as he phones me to talk about my latest outline. Rating on the Apocalyptometer: 666 (he's an agent, he's probably up to something, but he's *my* agent so in theory I'm safe)

* My agent then proceeding to rip the shit out of the same outline over the phone, describing in detail every single thing that was wrong with it, and why I should never, ever show it to anyone but just burn it and anything it touched - then taking pity on me (fake pity, even worse) by finishing with "it was *very* well written, though." Rating on the Apocalyptometer: Infinity (like I said, "in theory")

Note: I am not angry or upset with my agent, bless his filed-down incisors and black, black eyes. One of the most valuable things he does is telling me when I've written shit, it's *vital* to have someone like that. If you're surrounded by yes-people, your work suffers. In fact, I phoned him just after I saw The Matrix: Revolutions (The Mech Warrior and Don't-Give-a-Fuck Secondary Characters Saga), and told him that if I ever complained about him ripping my stuff to bits, he should just remind me of that day, and say "attack on Zion".

I just like to pretend he's a vicious bastard, because he's a big softie really. Unless you're negotiating my contract with him, in which case, he will EAT YOU ALIVE AND WADE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF YOUR OFFSPRING. True story: One time, when I was introduced to someone at a poncey media party thing, their eyes widened in fear, they said "Oh… isn't your agent…?" then just whispered his name. I nodded, smiled, and took their lunch money. Okay, I didn't, but I *totally* could have.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Severance distribution deals

The US rights have been flogged, so it looks like Severance will get a cinema release over there, which is very cool indeed. They've also announced several other sales, so it's going to be out in lots of countries. Click on the text below for the full story:

Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to the horror-comedy "Severance," directed by Christopher Smith and starring Danny Dyer and Laura Harris, which HanWay Films screened at the recent Cannes Market.

"'Severance' had me alternately laughing my ass off and gripping the seat handles in suspense. It's a fantastically entertaining mix of corporate comedy and slasher film -- kind of like 'Dilbert' meets 'Freddie,'" Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said.

"Severance" will be released by Pathe throughout the U.K. over the Aug. 25 bank holiday weekend. In Cannes, HanWay concluded a raft of multiterritory sales, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Canada. Deals also were concluded throughout Southeast Asia and Latin America.

It's not really like Dilbert meets Freddy, although I'd pay to see that movie: When Freddy Krueger breaks through into Dilbert's nightmares, and starts brutally murdering the pointy haired boss, what's his face, and the other one, Dilbert must join forces with his former enemy Ratbert to defeat the razor-fingered menace. Intestines fly, as they travel between the real and cartoon world, and many gently amusing statements are made about modern office life.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's only a game

Okay. We get it. We all understand. It's been beaten over our heads constantly, for years and years, so finally I think we can say that everyone knows this one little piece of trivia:

England, apparently, won the World Cup in 1966.

Beating Germany.

At the World Cup.

In 1966.


Please. For fuck's sake. Stop going on. And on. AND FUCKING ON. I don't know what would be worse, England winning again, or never winning again - if they win again, then we'll never hear the end of it, but if they don't, we'll never hear the end of the fucking 1966 win. Either way, I lose.

We get it! It was all very exciting! Three lions! Geoff Hurst! Jules Rimet! Some people are on the pitch! They think it's all over! It is now! Well hey, guess what?? It ISN'T all over! It never will be! EVER! It'll just keep on going, until the sun explodes, the Earth boils away into space, and the universe reaches its largest size then collapses down again into a microdot of theoretical nothingness. And even THEN, there'll be some fucking advert or supplement or documentary about it.

Yes, I'm sick of the World Cup already, and it hasn't even started yet.