Friday, May 29, 2009

Links, Torchwood trailer, and Who companion

What a bizarre, brilliant week this has been. Partly work, partly sorting out various arrangements (like renewing my passport, for example), and partly having lots of fun with cool people. Yes, Jimbo is in a benevolent mood, so you may all stop flogging yourselves for an hour. What the hell, make it two hours. I know! It's like Christmas!

Great interview with the fantastic, 2008 Hugo nominee Cath Tregenna over at the BBC Writersroom. Cath is a superb writer, I absolutely adore her work. Very interesting to read about her writing process, too, especially now I'm learning about the acting side of it. So much so, I think for my next spec thing I'm going to give it a go, to see how different the results are for me. Anyway, go and read the interview, and then go and watch all her stuff.

And yes, my Twitter army know this, but I'll mention it here too: I'm doing a beginner's intro course in acting, purely to help with my writing. I want to know about every aspect of film-making - when you see a filmed, edited version of something you wrote, it's very educational to see what was trimmed, what slows it down, what speeds it up, and so on. And the actors always manage to bring something extra to it, because they have to become that person for a while. It's been really helpful already, I've picked up a few things that make me look at characters in a different way. I'll talk about it more when I've finished in a month or so. And this is just to help with the writing, so no, I won't be acting in anything I write, bloody hell. That way madness lies. If I ever appear on screen in my stuff, it'll be standing in the background, holding a spear, or something.

OMG, the cracking new Torchwood Children of Earth trailer is out! For everyone in the UK, and also for everyone in the US (and everywhere else). Much more stuff crammed in there, but still, you have no idea what is in store...

And before I continue, because it's commenting on big news, if anyone chooses to quote the next two paragraphs elsewhere, please don't paraphrase, and make sure you spell my name right...

A Soothsayer from my Pompeii episode has been cast as the new Doctor Who companion. She's called Karen Gillan, and I imagine her email inbox has just broken into millions of tiny pieces. Very pleased to see more details gradually coming out about the new series, I'm sure she'll be great.

However. I was very surprised and displeased to get lots of messages complaining that she's "too young", and that this is a bad thing for the show. To those people, I have this to say: She's an actress. HER AGE IN NO WAY AFFECTS THE QUALITY OF THE SHOW. It didn't turn into a comedy sketch show when Catherine Tate was hired. It didn't turn into a motel-based soap when Freema Agyeman was hired (her first job was on Crossroads). It didn't turn into a teen pop song show when Billie was hired. Seasons 1 and 2 didn't have Rose singing a song at the end of every episode, about how cute Timelord boys are. Season 3 didn't have the Doctor and Martha opening a motel. Season 4 didn't have Catherine Tate dressing up as sweary pensioners or donning lots of prosthetics. Karen Gillan is 21. Not 12. She's an adult. But it doesn't matter how old or young she is, or what parts she played before, or how tall or short she is, or what colour her hair is, or what her opinions on cheese are, or anything else. She's an actress, and a very good one. That's all you should be worried about.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Comments and spammers

Hello everyone! TV's James Moran here. Well, it was good while it lasted, leaving comments open and anonymous, but once again some troglodyte has been spamming me with comments about how to buy gold, or hire sexy detectives, among other nonsense. I've just had to go through over 70 posts, deleting spam comments. Not good.

So, I've had to disable anonymous comments again, probably for good this time. But Uncle Jimbo, I hear you cry, what if I want to leave an anonymous comment, or make up a silly name for comedy purposes?? Never fear, because you can easily register for a Blogger or Google or Livejournal or Wordpress or Typepad or AIM or OpenID account, all for free, all anonymously - you can create an account with a false name if you need to. It's only a slight inconvenience, but will save me from huge amounts of spam trouble.

OpenID is good, because you may already have one - lots of accounts you probably already have will work as an OpenID login. Click here to find out which ones will work.

The downside is, if you want gold, or sexy detectives, you will have to go elsewhere. Sorry about that.

I've put this info above the comments box, in case people miss this announcement. You'll also notice a few words about some house rules - nothing major, just so that everyone knows the score. Basically, play nice, don't be a dick, careful with spoilers, and don't insult other writers. Most of you don't need to be told this, for which I thank you sincerely. Now, you may go about your business.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Americans! Primeval on TV and Crusoe on DVD

My episode of Primeval is on this Saturday, 23rd May, on BBC America, at 9/8C (Americans will understand that strange timezone thing, it's been explained to me several times but my brain refuses to store the information). American folk, this is your chance to see it. It's episode 2, or "the gremlin/haunted house one" if you like.

Now, I was going to do a live Twitter-chat during the episode, but it'll be around 4am here, so I don't think it's going to happen - also, with commercials, I won't know what scene is on at any one time. If there's anything else you'd like me to do before or after the episode, let me know, and we'll work something out.

Also for you lovely Region 1 folk, Crusoe the series is now out on DVD. You can still get it if you're Region 2 folk, as long as you have a multi region player. My episode is either 4 or 5 depending on the order on the disc - episode 4, but hour 5 - and is called "High Water". I'm really happy with the finished episode, it turned out even better than I'd hoped. I'm delighted with how well it went, the whole experience was great fun and really challenging (in a good way).

There you go, America - lovely TV gems for you, because you're worth it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

BAFTA Television Craft Awards

I'm extremely proud to say that The Fires of Pompeii has won the Visual Effects BAFTA in the Television Craft Awards. I still remember the first time I saw the finished effects, sitting in a tiny room in The Mill, watching a tiny TV screen, and marvelling at how bloody fantastic they were. They looked even better at the press screening for episodes 1 and 2, when we watched it on a huge cinema screen. The eruption of Vesuvius was gobsmacking, and the Pyrovile creatures were superb - exactly as I'd pictured them in my head, even the way they walked and moved. The Mill did an amazing job, and the award is very well deserved. Even though I can't actually take credit for the visual effects, I'm still going to pretend to have won a BAFTA - there's no way anyone will be able to find out the truth, is there? No? Good.

Also delighted to see that Philip Kloss won the Editing Fiction/Entertainment BAFTA for his work on Doctor Who. Go Philip!

Very disappointed that RTD didn't win for Midnight, I honestly think it's the best episode so far of New Who, hands down, it's a stunning piece of work. Disappointed that there was no nomination for the sound on that episode either. I guess the only thing I can do is get the BAFTA directory, then find and publicly spank every single member, including myself, to teach us all a lesson. Don't worry, I'll do it good and hard.

But it all works out in the end, because at the BAFTA Cymru awards, Russell won Best Writer for Midnight, and the same ep took the Best Sound award too (the fab team of Julian Howarth, Paul McFadden, Paul Jefferies, and Tim Ricketts), along with Philip Kloss again for Editing, and Euros Lyn for directing The Silence In The Library. When I went in to do my Pompeii commentary, Paul McFadden gave us a quick demonstration of the sound work he was doing on Midnight - he'd been doing it for ages, and was still only halfway there. As I saw how finely detailed and difficult the work was, I felt myself starting to go insane. I get the same thing when I see how they make stop motion animation films. So I'm really glad that they got recognised for their hard work.

Finally, I'm very pleased to announce that I've just won the TV's James Moran Award for Being Awesome, a highly regarded award in my house, which is decided by me. Obviously, to avoid accusations of cheating, I make the decision with my eyes closed and my trousers down. This is the tenth year running that I've won my own award, but it gets better every time. Go me!

Award! Award! Award Award Award Award Award!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Two quick news snippets

Mr Tony Lee and Mr Dan Boultwood are signing their graphic novel Hope Falls, at Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London, tomorrow, Saturday 16th May, from 2pm to 4pm. If you buy Hope Falls, Tony Lee will also sign your copy of Doctor Who: The Forgotten. So go along, support good comics and creators, and don't look Tony directly in the eye if he's been at the gin. He has also threatened to hold a post-signing drinking session somewhere. Run. Run away.

Primeval starts on BBC America tomorrow - Saturday 16th May, at 9pm ET/PT whatever that means. My episode is the 2nd one, so it'll be on Saturday 23rd. No idea if they're cut, but the show is normally on ITV with several ad breaks, so hopefully any cuts will be minimal. Was hoping to do a live Twitter-along when mine is on, but I think it'll be 3 or 4am here, so... I'll have to do something else. Suggestions always welcome...

That's all for now, work to do, nothing to see, move along.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Scott Frank, answering questions

Okay, if you want some pure, fried gold on the nitty gritty of screenwriting, you need to go to this link here - Scott Frank, in the Ask a Pro section of the Artful Writer forums, is answering questions, explaining how he works, and generally kicking ass and taking names. Yes, Scott Frank. Little Man Tate, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report, The Lookout, and many more. You'll need to register in the forum to see the thread, but it's free, quick, and easy.

It's brilliant stuff, especially his thoughts on the sequence-based approach to writing scripts: "This gives me a headache. But if it works for you, go for it. I wonder, though, if Steve Zallian organizes his scripts this way. Or Tony Gilroy. Or Charlie Kaufman. Or Paul Attanasio. Or Paul Thomas Anderson. Or the Coens. Yes, now I that I think about it, Slumdog Millionaire could have benefitted from being a little better sequenced."

Go read. Now.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009










Monday, May 04, 2009

Movie recommendation: Bone Dry

Just a quick post, and I don't want to make too much of it, for fear of spoiling it, but you really should check out Bone Dry, starring Luke Goss and Lance Henriksen. Rent the DVD. Don't watch any trailers or read about it, the less you know, the better.

It's a low budget, straight to DVD flick which is better than many of the studio movies I saw last year, a tense, simple thriller that takes its concept, runs with it, and gave me several harsh, twisted moments that made me wince. With a tight script by Jeff O'Brien and Brett A Hart, very nice direction by Hart, great performances from the two leads, this is a really solid piece of work. If you like dark, hard thrillers, then you should check this out.

That's all for now, go about your business.