The McFly Pizza Dinner

A message on Facebook last night confirmed one thing, Robotics is finished. I cannot post it on here however, nor Facebook book it or tweet a link to the file because it’s under a lockdown. The plan is to get it shown in film festivals around the world and having the film freely viewable on the internet apparently ruins any chance you have of getting it into a major festival. Whilst frustrating I can certainly see the point of such an arrangement.

I can tell you that Robotics has turned into everything I hoped it would be. It’s looks and sounds fantastic and the central performances from  Horace Cohen and Janne Fassaert are pitch perfect, summing up pretty much all the emotional quirks present in the script. There have been some changes as there was always going to be. The ending has been made a lot sharper and it gets to the point far quicker now. What’s also interesting is that Robotics got a lot of rejections initially because people thought it would be impossible to film an actor playing two different roles in the same shot on a lower budget. My point about them doing it 20 years ago in Back To The Future Part 2, in which Michael J Fox plays every member of the McFly family, didn’t seem to fly. I’m happy to report therefore that it’s worked out well with the occasional cut away.

So where do we go from here? The synopsis of Seven Lucky Stars was just sent to Shooting People so hopefully that will be on the script pitch network in the next few days. With luck we’ll be able to start negotiations with anybody who wants to carry that project forward. Until we get to that stage and before the rewrites kick in (and they will) I’ll set about starting ‘The Last Alive’ which takes me back to the science fiction I love so much. It’s almost Doctor Who territory and I’ll no doubt blog about my love for that show in the near future.

Honestly, this feels like the start of something.

In My Honey, In My Milk

It’s slowly taking shape, the conversion is now about halfway through and Seven Lucky Stars is turning into something like a film. The only major problem thus far is that many ‘scenes’ go on for a long time. It’s fine on stage because any change of scene would require the stage being reset but the freedom of being able to change anytime during the screenplay means that it sometimes drags on a little. I’m trying to break it down by having flashbacks. Not flashbacks like dream sequences where the edges of the screen go a bit wobbly as the characters look skywards but more focussing on Edward getting the TV gig in the first place and his first few rehearsals for presenting the quiz show. It kind of bookends the story nicely, we have Edward’s first day in the job alongside the agony of his last day and being fired. The only thing is, they’re being told simultaneously. It’s just about working and I’m halfway through. All going well we should be done at some point over the weekend and the first feature will be ready to be developed.

There Is Nothing In The Water

I’m sat in my front room, it’s around 11pm, the wind is blowing a gale down my street so hard I can hear the lid of my bin smacking against the fence and I’m wondering why the heating hasn’t automatically kicked in yet because it’s damn cold. I was going to spend tonight working more on the script, I haven’t opened it.

I’ve received an e-mail saying that the documentary ‘Senna‘ which I’ve been wanting to see for months is now on my movie streaming service. I keep thinking perhaps I should have watched that tonight.

I’m still playing through Mass Effect 3, maybe I should have put another couple of hours into that to watch some more aliens having an argument.

In truth I’ve sat reading other people’s blog entries while checking Twitter and Facebook. Twitter because I was a guest on the geek culture podcast Sonic’s Ring last night and vanity demands I check when the episode goes up, Facebook because I’m still waiting for news on when Robotics will make it into this world. In both cases a waiting game, the time scale does vary between them though.

I have yet to press cut and paste on moving over the stage script over to the movie version I started the other night. It’s a simple keyboard command that unleashes a whole world of staring at text and removing stage directions. For some reason tonight, I wasn’t feeling that.

It’s been that kinda night.

A Cloud Of Cigar Smoke

The first steps towards converting Seven Lucky Stars occurred a couple of nights ago. I’ve had to rewrite the opening as the original stage play took around five minutes for Edward, our main character, to appear on the scene. To start the film I’ve flash backed a few years previous and gone to the comedy club in which Edward is performing and John, the producer of the show, approaches him with the job offer for TV.

As such we can contrast the styled, brightly lit game show studio with the dirt and smoke of the club. I’m aiming for the same with Edward’s comedy style as well. For this reason our previously clean, smiling Edward on TV has been replaced by a man drinking on stage and starting a joke with “Me and the Wife tried a new sex position last night “.

Crazy Idea Time

‘He doesn’t do anything for a week and then posts three times in one day’

I know, I know, you’re sick hearing from me today but I’ve been doing the dishes in the last half an hour whilst listening to Radio 5 and something struck me. I’ve been doing this blog for about nine months now and I’ve gathered a fair bunch of followers. I read your blogs and enjoy them but I want to find out more. So, I want to interview different writers and put them up here on Howling In The Dark. Doesn’t matter what you do be it short stories, scripts or plays but if your an amatuer and you’re trying to catch a break then I’ll fire a few questions your way. It’ll probably be a conversation via e-mail which I format into a final piece before putting it online. You don’t have to follow me in order to get in.

Let me know if you’re up for it in the comments below, first come first served for now.


Another Castle

I’m not really wanting this to become a video game blog as such, I used to do regular video game reviews and podcasts over on ‘Brake For Frogger‘ (you can possibly still hear me prattle on during the podcasts if the server is still running) but there’s two main reasons why I’ll be mentioning games every now and again here. Firstly, I have probably invested more time over the years into video games than I have movies, music and books. To some people this might make me sound like some kind of sad loner but I’ve always valued the interactive experience highly. The second reason is that writing is all about story telling and story telling is much harder to get right in games. Consider a screenplay, you know that an audience will be passive and take in the story in the speed at which you dictate. The stories told by games have the double edged sword that you are placed directly central in the action. It’s basically like watching a play and getting up on stage to direct the actors when you think the performance is lulling a bit.  Strangely though, it’s something games have taken a long time get get anywhere near right.

Elite, probably the first game I invested a major amount of time in and one that allowed me to generate my own stories.

Some games will guide you through a story, never allowing you to change events and giving you a set list of goals to achieve. Others will bend the story slightly depending on your actions, often changing the ending and having very binary ‘good or bad’ responses to problems encountered. Some games meanwhile simply give you the environment and let you get on with it, making your own stories as you go. There’s no particular ‘correct’ way of doing it as there’s fantastic examples of each method. I’ll probably end up going through a few examples in blog entries in the near future as examples of the craft of storytelling via an interactive medium.

Obviously, there will be spoilers.

A Court Jester With A Broken Heart

I’ve been away for a few days and despite the intent to do some writing whilst I was away I ended up doing precisely none. As I’ve previously mentioned here before though, I tend to write like a maniac for a few weeks followed by periods of nothing rather than have a consistent level.

There’s still nothing from the script pitch for The Unlocked Project, no interest has been forthcoming so it’s probably a case of moving on from that one. There’s always an slight though of wondering if you’ve wasted your time when a script doesn’t get picked up. Have you lost out by concentrating on that script for the last few months when you could have been doing something else? Is the entire thing now worthless? I’d say that no completed script is without merit if you can learn from the experience, put it to one side and then come back and improve on it. ‘Robotics’ was only picked up after being listed twice over, having been rejected many times over beforehand.

So the process begins by converting ‘Seven Lucky Stars’ from stage to screen. It might involve a fair bit of cutting and pasting as I still have a version of the script that is in film format and it’s running time is currently 90 minutes based on one set so I can afford to expand it a little more and chop out some of the more long winded elements and delve a little more into Edward’s character. One of the themes running through Seven Lucky Stars, being set in the 80’s, was Thatcherism. Her recent death on;y serves to bring much more of that debate to the foreground. Do I therefore go down that road with an aim of making it far more political?

This is all things to think about, in the meantime here’s a flavour of what we’re going for and what passed as prime time TV around 25 years ago.

The Sound Of The Hollow

I would love to be writing a new entry about how I’ve spent the last few days battling through e-mails that I’ve received from producers all wanting to move forward with The Unlocked Project. To inform you of the sleepless nights of constant negotiation and rewrites I’ve had. If I did I’d be lying through my teeth to you.

The listing was distributed on Wednesday morning and nothing has arrived yet. True it’s only 48 hours and there’s time yet but it’s looking like the script won’t get the attention I hoped. I’m not dismayed by this in any way as becoming dejected would be counter productive. It’s more a case of going over the pitch again and seeing what went wrong. Is the pitch appealing? Is it concise? Does it give the idea there’s a good story to be made here? In the current state of Unlocked I’m not sure I can give positive answers to all those points.

The ending still bugs me and it would take a far longer film to advance on that idea of controlled fear. In this current state the ending firstly comes across as science fiction nonsense and, worse, it’s SciFi nonsense placed there purely for the sake of it. I remain unsure how to resolve that yet.

For now I think I shall press on with other projects, mainly the couple of features I’ve been planning. Seven Lucky Stars could easily be made into a film seeing as it’s already running at 90 minutes and that’s just the stuff that suited the one stage set. Making it as a film means we can expand on a lot of sections of Edward’s life which would have been too much of a change in the theatre. With a little push I could probably have a version of this ready to roll in six weeks or so.

Then we have the SciFi film that’s been at the planning stages for a long time now. It’s currently under the title ‘The Last Alive’ but like most things at this point it could all change.