I’ve spoken about Robotics almost endlessly during the two year span of this blog, I detailed the process of getting people to read it and then going through rewrites with producers and directors and yet I couldn’t show you it. It felt odd talking about the film when you, my dear reader, could not look at it.
That ends tonight…
Click play to watch.
I’d like to thank Jasper Bazuin and all at Alphabet Pictures for making this a reality and helping this Scotsman’s crazy idea he had in 2007 get on screen. I’d also like to thank Horace Cohen and Janna Fassaert for their brilliant performances which truly come across exactly as I’d have wanted. It’s crazy to think we’ve never met and yet you’ve done so much for me.
Please share this, tweet about it and generally shout from the rooftops. The festival run on Robotics isn’t quite finished yet either, it’ll play in Rome this September which is incredible news.
The first five minutes are down on paper (well, on computer file because I’m all modern like that). It’s a terrible read, the dialogue is clunky and my main witchfinder might as well have a handlebar moustache he twiddles considering how evil I’ve made him. Obviously if you’re going to be tieing up people to massive sticks in the ground before setting them alight then you might be of bad intent but it’s bordering on panto at the moment. I now need to get a scene by scene together with details of every segment and why it’s there. After that the process is fairly straight forward.
The only other piece of news yesterday came in the shape of Alphabet Pictures rejecting ‘The Salesman’s Gamble’. Sadly, after a couple of rewrites they cannot see a way of making it into something they would want to direct. I send a reply thanking them for the time they’ve spent on it already. I’ve worked with these people before. they got me to Cannes and they know what they’re doing so I’m not about to argue the bit with them. It’s certainly a knock but hardly a serious one. I move on.
It hasn’t quite fully clicked yet, the story for ‘Order For Burning’ remains a little bit incomplete but I think I’ve got the characters down at least. This is good step forward for now at least. Hopefully by the end of today (if I can actually stop writing this) I’ll blaze the first five pages. As explained in previous entries of Howling In The Dark I usually set about writing the first five pages of any feature script before I’ve planned most of the long term stuff out. That way, when you finally do finish planning you’re not looking at a blank screen because you’ll have already got a head start. Also, the start of any project usually means the anxiety of where to go with this scene or how a character would say that line hasn’t yet kicked in. I go in dumb just wanting the first five minutes to be brilliant. If it grips me and wants me to write the rest then, in theory, the audience will be griped and want to know the rest.
Mind you, I’m speaking as a guy who has never had a feature script made. Bear that in mind before taking any of my advice seriously.
One major dilemma I’ve faced in the run up to getting ‘Order Of Burning’ off the ground has been the battle between sticking to historical detail and getting a good story. In the actual events as far as I can tell there were originally eleven women found guilty of witchcraft around Dumfries at the time. One killed herself in her cell and another, Helen Tait, somehow got away with it. She was never executed, only sentenced to fifty ‘merks’ and banished from the region never to return. The main question I would have is how she achieved this. How exactly did she defy the usual crowd mentality and live to tell the tale (assuming she’d want to go around telling people she was accused of being a witch after that, I’d probably assume she’d want to keep her head down)? The records are not greatly clear in giving any detail on what happened so I could use artistic license to fill in the blanks or strive to find out.
Helen is one of my main characters, simply on account of her surviving all this makes her very valuable to our story in that it won’t be just a case of everybody going to die. She is the hope, she is the exception to the rule and as such she is front and centre in the current plan. I’m picking another one of the group to concentrate on and stopping there as any more would be a major headache to keep balanced.
If that’s the story based most in the reality of the situation then I’m also writing my own characters into a parallel story concerning a young man being trained by the Church as a ‘prodder’ to extract confessions from suspects, usually by the means of torture. Obviously, at one point these two strands will almost certainly cross over.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to start a document file entitled ‘Order For Burning’ and stare at the screen for a few minutes.
Back in the ring, its The Conquistabores! Yes, Cameron, Euan, Phil and Geordie Al are taking on the might that is the Survivor Series of 1995. So that means Goldust and The 1 2 3 Kid and a WWF Champion in the form of Diesel. Big Daddy Cool Diesel? Oh God yes. But not only that, you also get a big bit out female Japanese Wrestling. Don’t even ask, just get the show downloaded and listened to then let us know your feedback!
Next week’s show will be the diamond in the rough that is (potentially) WCW’s World War III 1995, so if you want to get involved get the show watched then leave us some feedback on the Facebook group or email at theconquistabores at abadeducation dot com.
To download the show click here, subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes here or if you want the direct…
It’s written on my left hand so I can see it all the time when I’m at my keyboard. Upon dropping my son off at school this morning I explained that I was driving through to Dumfries today to meet some friends so I can talk about witches with them. For a few minutes he thought his Dad was actually off to meet some witches. I assured him this was certainly not the case.
I met Kathleen and John from Mostly Ghostly which is always a pleasure. During our hour and a half conversation we started to piece together some basic structure on ‘Order For Burning’. Kathleen brought along her folder of information about the women who were burnt on the Whitesands in Dumfries on that day and many more. It’s something I really will have to sit with and digest over the next few nights. Even after that short time though there was something forming and taking shape, as ever at this early stage it’s whispers in the fog but it’s still there.
The three of us thought about how to present the story of this group of women and one question kept coming up again and again. Where is the hope? A feature film about these women being doomed and an audience just watching them go to their inevitable demise is no good, There needs to be some kind of hope, a small chink of light in the situation that these women might just be let off and people may just come to their senses. Of course, that’s never going to happen but for those who know nothing of the story the promise should be there. I need to find a way of introducing this.