The Society Of Utter Scumbags

Word comes back from Option 3 for The Salesman’s Gamble. The idea is sound but the tension is ruined because the audience will be well aware that Ian will lose out in the end. In effect, the build is rendered pointless because the only way the story can go is with Ian losing the coin toss and swapping places with the Old Man. In the current version Ian is down on his luck and just trying to get by in order to get some money together for his family. I’ve shown him completely messing up a first house call and then going to the house of an Old Man who offers him a coin toss in a winner take all situation. Whilst we never see Ian lose directly, the Old Man does manage to walk unaided down the path towards Ian’s car and drive away. Having thought about it it’s amazingly downbeat. Ian seems like an honest guy trying to make a living and I’m locking him in a house forever.

Rather than attempt to stack the odds evenly and make it seem like Ian could win and thought gripped me. What if Ian was a complete bastard? What if he was a man who saw nothing wrong with ripping people off by conning them out of every penny they had? What if we saw him not fail with the first house he goes to, instead taking them for everything almost without them knowing? Rather than an act of desperation the coin toss at the end would represent an incident of extreme overconfidence for him. It’s basically him getting what’s been a long time coming.

They say always write characters that the audience can relate to and they sympathise with. In this project though I might just have to down the darker route for a while.


The Sins Of The Solar Empire

It’s gone quiet, far too quiet.

Since sending off a rewrite of The Salesman’s Gamble to the three interested parties I have received no word back. The first option emailed back before the send out to say he liked the draft he’d seen and was interested in carrying forward. I was determined not to leap on the first offer, instead waiting to see what the other two had to say before making a rational decision. Now all three have vanished from the radar. Either everybody is busy or the rewrite has put them all off.

Perhaps a quick email to ask about progress is in order?

The Shade Of The Morning Sun

Half an hour is all it took to beat The Salesman’s Gamble into slightly better shape last night. A whole new scene added at the top with Ian failing to convince a first customer to buy anything and a clean up of the dialogue to give a much better reason as to why he would go for this coin flip deal and not just leave the house.

The newer version has been sent out to all three prospective collaborators over the last 24 hours. The one who had yet to get back to me did indeed respond to the email I sent asking if they still wanted to read a newer version, an apology was given for taking so long as she was on a shoot. It’s no big deal but I’ve had plenty of previous director and producers just never bother to get back in touch, hoping you ‘get the hint’.

At the moment it’s a happy thing to have three possibles. 

How Far To Wisconsin?

As a writing exercise the short script which I took a break from ‘The Last Alive’ to write was fine, as a fully fledged idea it was perhaps a little too early. I pitched it anyway, thinking that nobody would ask about it and I’d have another ‘Unlocked Project’ on my hands.

Three people came forward to read ‘The Salesman’s Gamble’. All have been given the current version, I have stressed the word ‘current’. It is a short tale of Ian, a salesman who arrives at the door of an old man who allows him into the house. After talking the old man says he hasn’t left the house in years due to ill health. He offers Ian a chance to flip a coin, the idea being if Ian wins he gains everything the Old Man has left, if the Old Man wins he gets everything Ian has. Our final scene sees the Old Man walking briskly down the path with no sign of the crippling pain he was in before. He gets in Ian’s car and drives away.

At the core, everything I’ve written since day one is an attempt at The Twilight Zone.

The first responder is a director who has recently been trying to expand into his own projects. He’s directing a two minute film and likes The Salesman’s Gamble. He mailed me back after reading the current version and suggested some pointers. We’ve agreed that he’ll also receive version two when it’s ready.

The second responder is another new director, she has yet to mail back with any feedback. I’m not discounting her yet, there is still time. She’ll receive the next draft even if she does not respond, until she comes back with a firm no anyway.

The third is somebody whose work I know well, he will get back to me in due course. His word is good and I respect him. He will also receive the newer version.

The game is on but this still doesn’t solve my feature film woes.

A Case Of Strange Timing

Sometimes celebrities die when you haven’t heard from them in a while. Perhaps they’ve left the limelight and, as a result, slipped to the back of your mind. You receive the news of their passing with a raised eyebrow and a thought of ‘oh man, he was in that thing all those years ago’. Other people die at the prime of their careers, cut off without having a chance to show the world their best. The passing of wrestling legend The Ultimate Warrior this morning at the age of 54 is somehow a little bit of both.

At the age of 11 I knew nothing of steroid scandals and why they were a bad thing. All I knew is that wrestling was a new world, a live action cartoon full of bad guys and good guys doing battle. With Wrestlemania 8 in 1992 being my first of the WWF’s annual supercards I had no idea who The Ultimate Warrior was when he made his return. Tearing down the aisle to save Hulk Hogan from a battering dished out by Sid Justice and Papa Shango, he appeared a ball of muscle, facepaint and hair. He quickly tore into both before posing in the ring with Hogan and fireworks went off in the background. I had to pick up my jaw off the living room carpet, rewind the VHS tape and watch again. My favourites at that time in wrestling were The Legion of Doom and The Ultimate Warrior.

Hogan and Warrior

Of course at that age we know nothing of backstage struggles. This mystical entity vanished again from the company again in November of that year only to return again in 1996 to face the man who is now firmly in the management structure of WWE, Triple H, in one of the shortest Wrestlemania matches ever. He stuck around for a few months before going again. Looking back there were plenty of stories about disputed pay cheques and attitude problems. The WWE even saw fit during 2005 to release an entire DVD box set trashing the guy by saying he was money hungry, couldn’t work and expected everybody else to do the heavy lifting in matches. Three discs were spent running Warrior down which in retrospect seems crazy a company would spend the time, energy and money doing that to an ex-employee.

Not that Warrior himself was a saint, in his non-wrestling days he toured college lecture halls of America with views that were racist and homophobic including his infamous ‘queering doesn’t make the world work’ line. If there are any other homophobes who rose to fame by flexing their muscles on TV whilst wearing trunks then please let me know. He seemed to want to use the fame he had gained through wrestling to attempt to warn the youth of America about something they were never threatened by in the first place. There’s plenty of ex-wrestlers who hate the industry they made their name in, many of whom will sound off about their views if given a forum, but Warrior seemed the highest profile. To be honest though, I doubt many would have been thinking ‘I’m going to hate the gays because the man with the facepaint told me to’.

Any kind of reconciliation into the WWE seemed impossible up until Wrestlemania XXX this past weekend in which Warrior accepted the invitation to take his place in the WWE Hall Of Fame alongside names such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Andre The Giant and Ric Flair. The theme of this year’s Hall Of Fame seemed to be redemption as it featured not only Warrior but Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Razor Ramon as well who have both had drug and alcohol battles in the past and have turned their lives around in dramatic fashion in the last two years.

Not only did Warrior take to the stage at Wrestlemania itself but also on the next Monday Night Raw in which he said the following…


“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life what makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am The Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.”

A day later he collapsed whilst walking back to his car and was pronounced dead in the hospital not long after. Those words suddenly go from words of advice to younger wrestlers in the industry to something beyond that. It seems like a call to everybody, no matter what you do in life, to do something that matters and that lasts when you’re gone. It seems like a man reading his own eulogy, it’s impossible to shake the idea that he knew something was up and this was his last chance.

The timing of his death is incredible. It was a mere two days after Wrestlemania 30 and five days from me being involved in a podcast talking about him. I’m often baffled as to why we have this outpouring of grief when a celebrity dies which results in messages saying how brilliant they were. I always think to myself why we don’t bother doing this when people are still with us. We’re all usually too busy attempting to bring people down. Warrior managed to see over the weekend how many people had loved what he did during his wrestling career. At least he left us knowing that.

The Conquistabores Episode I: WrestleMania VIII

If you want to hear me bang on about old school pro wrestling for a hour or so then this new podcast is right up your alley!

A Bad Education

Oh boy! It’s new podcast time! And this one is all about the wrestling! Thats right, join myself, Cameron Philips, Euan Taylor and Geordie Alan Milburn as we tear into wrestling pay per views from the history of the greatest sport of them all.

In this inaugural first episode of The Conquistabores, join Cameron Phil and Geordie Al as they tear their way into what was one of their very first pay per views: WrestleMania VIII. That’s right, the one with the Papa Shango run in! But there is some gold to be found here in this vintage early nineties WWF pay per view, let their be no doubt about that!

To download the show click here, the iTunes link will follow shortly but for now the direct feed is right here.

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In The Can

You might remember around a month ago I was busy posting about how you’d be able to see ‘Robotics’ really soon, how it was going to be up online having finished its festival run as of March 11th. Finally after a year of waiting I would be able to show it off and you could all see what I’ve been talking about this last few months. You may also have noted that that didn’t materialise. There’s a good reason for it, allow me to explain.

Around that time the producer over in Holland messaged me to say that the film would be released for public viewing if the last festival on the list said they weren’t interested in showing it. If they said yes then they would be screening it in May this year meaning that the online release would be put back until at least the summer.

Last night, as I sat playing ‘Out There‘ on my tablet, a message came through on Facebook telling me of the festival’s decision regarding the film. I’m sorry to say I won’t be able to show it to you for the foreseeable future because it has to be elsewhere.

Basically, Robotics will be screened in the short film corner of The Cannes Film Festival 2014.

Which I think pretty much makes me this guy…