Friday, December 19, 2003

Finished the bastard. All done, sent off, out of my mind for Christmas. It's going to be weird not having to write Craw Lodge, my writing life has revolved around it. I'm a bit at a loss, now. I'll probably take a break for the Christmas period, purely because I've been doing so much - but I'll keep getting ideas and writing them down, for other things, random things, bits and pieces. You're never completely away from it, there's always a little voice in your head going "hey, wouldn't it be cool if this happened or that happened?"...
Wheeeee, half past midnight on Thursday night, and I've finished draft 15. When I say "finished", I mean, apart from the 2 hours I'll probably spend tomorrow morning running through it, just in case there are any glaring errors. When I say "just in case there are any", I mean "so that I can fix all of the". When I say "glaring errors", I mean "huge, embarrassingly obvious errors that a 4 year old wouldn't even have made". But it's all good. And now I shall sleep the sleep of the damned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

These posts are a bit samey lately - "done a bit more on Craw Lodge, blah blah blah" - and this one is no different. I'm doing what is hopefully a final polish, about halfway through it at the moment. Hopefully there'll be more to report soon...

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Finished the polish/draft the other day, had a big chat with Jago about it today - it's so nearly there, I can taste it, it's a bit vanilla-ey, with a slight lemon aftertaste. I need to tweak up a few things here and there, and rearrange the third act, put more tension in it. I'm still enjoying doing it. I never thought I would be. I was bored with it for a long, long time, and I think that came across. Now I'm having fun, it's reflected in the script. The moral of the story is: I don't know, something or other.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Started the new polish that very same day, I've been working on it solidly ever since. Well, in between such tiresome wastes of time such as sleeping, eating, working the dayjob, etc etc. I'm about two thirds of the way through it, it's not taking too long at all. Most of the changes come at the end, but I'll fall off that burning, exploding bridge when it lands on me. One other major change involved removing a totally redundant scene - I could tell it was redundant, because after I'd removed it, I didn't have to do *any* other edits to cover the gap, it was just totally pointless. But it had some good jokes in, so I'd been hanging on to it. You've got to murder your evil babies in this game, you've really got to just stick the fuckers in a bag and drown them. So I did. And it felt good...

It's now half 1 in the morning. Sleep time. Sleep good. Writing evil. But... writing feel good. Me evil. Ha ha. World domination.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Nice! Jago really likes the new draft, we spoke about it today. He had some comments and suggestions, mostly tweaks, fixes and polishes, so I'm going to be doing them over the next few days - I started today, in fact, I'm dying to get it ready and sent out, I want people to see it.

And now I'm very, very tired, went to bed too late last night, woke up too early for work, staying up late again tonight - it's not healthy, you know.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Quick chat on the phone with Jago today, I couldn't talk much, I was on a train and getting my ticket inspected by The Bottom Inspectors - but he said "general thumbs up" about the new draft of Craw Lodge, he just wants to talk tomorrow about a few tiny things that need fixing, nothing that will take very long, which is excellent news. Oh, and his other concern was the level of violence - I know what he means, it's much, much more violent than it was, but not necessarily gory, just very violent, if that makes sense. I don't think it's that bad, but then I've got heavily into Japanese horror movies this year, so I think I've become quite immune to violence lately... Anyway, more news tomorrow when I hear it. But all signs are good.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

In other news, I finally finished the latest draft of Craw Lodge. I went over it three times altogether, with a fine tooth comb, and enjoyed it every time. I was so intense with it, I found tiny, tiny mistakes that I would never have spotted otherwise, inconsistencies, I agonised over every line of dialogue, every word, every description. I think it's a lot better now. I think it fucking rocks.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Radiohead. Last night. Live. My first time. Oh. My. God.

I've been trying to get to a Radiohead gig for years. Lately, I haven't even bothered trying to get tickets, just so I can save myself the disappointment. But this year, something went right, the planets aligned, and it all came together. I was worried that it would be an anticlimax - after all, I've seen them live on television, surely it can't be that different? Oh, how wrong could I be... As soon as the first notes crashed out, the lights came up, and I was transported. I had no idea it could be that good. Nobody mentioned that the music would rush through my veins, get under my skin, buzz in my teeth like electricity. I felt like the scientists in Close Encounters when the mothership arrives and blasts the windows out with its melody. I felt transported to another place.

In other words: no, it is so fucking NOT like watching them on television...

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Knocked back

Craw Lodge is nearly there, ever so nearly. The new ending is cool, much more tense and scary. I think. I've lost most of my ability to tell if this one is any better or worse in each successive draft, but it just feels like it's working well now.

The TV thing didn't work out, embarrassingly enough, but hey, it's a funnier story that way. No, I'm lying, it's a boring story either way. They asked for a sample scene, sent me sample scripts, and shitloads of other stuff. I mean, it's not as if it's a particularly sophisticated, ground breaking show, or anything. Anyway, I sent off my sample stuff, waited until they had their big meeting, and learned that they'd "passed on it". Which I'm kind of glad about, because it's shit, but I really could have done with the money. I think there's a lesson to be learned there, but I can't be arsed figuring out what it is.

Update from 5 years later, 2008! Never, EVER do this. To the me-of-five-years-ago: tough shit, you didn't get the job, your sample stuff wasn't good enough. And yet immediately, you're blaming the show, their show is shit, not ground breaking, blah blah blah. You didn't get through. End of story. Probably because your lack of enthusiasm for the show came across in your writing. Take it seriously, or don't do it at all. It's nobody's fault but your own, so stop whining, take responsibility for your actions, and get on with the next thing. THERE'S your lesson to be learned, me-of-five-years-ago. And now, I return to the future, to continue my life.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Did some more on Craw Lodge today, it's going very well. I'm just at the point where the characters make a major discovery, just before everything goes horribly wrong - the climax of act 2, if I'm being poncey. From here on in, it's all new stuff, and I'm not quite sure what's going to happen. I have a fairly good idea, but it feels good to be making it up for a while.

It's a comedy horror, but the idea is to slowly increase the horror as it gets towards the end, so that it just gets scarier and scarier. I'm just about to start act 3, where hopefully nothing remotely amusing will happen at all, except for some moments of jet black humour, of course. Can't wait...

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Much more work on the Craw Lodge over the weekend, I'm really enjoying it - that's saying a lot, because I haven't enjoyed that bloody script for a looooong time... It's going very well, things are moving along nice and quickly, it's looking more and more like a decent horror film. I'm up to about page 70, but there are some things I need to slot in here and there, that I had to move around for various reasons - explanations and character stuff that had to move, and so on. It's cool, because the ending is quite different now, it feels like I'm going somewhere completely different, and there's lots more creepy shit to come. I never ever thought I'd be at this stage with it, I'm actually excited about it again, and looking forward to carrying on with it.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Met Pat today, all went smoothly, we had a great chat about the script, and action movies in general, and sorted out most of the problems. I'm dying to get going on it, but I've learned my lesson well (coughCrawLodgecough), so I'll be doing a revised outline before even attempting a new draft.

Speaking of the devil, the Craw Lodge draft is going really well. It's going slowly, but only because I'm being really careful with it. It's leaner and tighter too - I've checked the previous draft, and the bit I'm on at the moment is page 32, whereas in the previous draft, it was page 37. This a good thing, as it means a lot more stuff happens in the first half hour, before it kind of dragged a bit. So it's cool.

I spent some of last night typing up a wish list for whoever ends up re-editing the DVDs of Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions into a single, superior sequel. I loved Reloaded, but would have still loved it if half an hour had been edited out. Revolutions, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. It was flabby, self indulgent, boring, and lazy, a massive let down, I'm really fed up about it. By the way, there's a difference between being ambiguous, and just not giving any information whatsoever - we're supposed to make up our own minds, not have to make up our own movie... If I'd handed in a script like that to Jago, he'd have made me eat it, page by page. You see, he refuses to let me send out a substandard script because it makes me look bad - but when you get really big and famous, everybody just kisses your ass and is too scared to say no to you. People need to start saying no, sorry, this is fucking shit and you can do better. Hey! Wachowskis! No! This is fucking shit, and you can do better! There. When they read this, they'll be shitting their pants, I bet. "What?? Some nobody from England didn't like our movie that made several hundred million dollars?? Fuck! We're doomed!"

Monday, November 10, 2003

Pat likes the scifi thingy, but would like some changes and stuff, which I was expecting, so we're meeting up on Thursday to chat about it. It shouldn't take us too long to whittle it into shape, as it works pretty well as it is. This script is a lot easier to work with than The Craw Lodge, as it has always had a proper ending.

Speaking of which... I started the new draft of Craw Lodge yesterday. This'll be draft 13, including the draft which I have to abandon. It's annoying, because although the shit, abandoned draft is useless, there are some line changes and tweaks that I liked, so I have to go through it after I've done this draft, and see if I've made any small changes that I need to copy over. But it's not too bad, now that I've broken the back of it, it should be fine. I've finally got a proper outline for it (go here for details), a proper ending, and a plausible, simple backstory that doesn't require 5 pages of exposition to explain. So I'm actually happy about doing this new draft, amazingly. Something I never thought I'd say about this bloody script...

Friday, November 07, 2003

One more draft of the scifi thingy, just to iron out some things, and off it goes to Pat, the director. I hope he likes it. It may seem like I'm doing a lot of drafts, but when I say "draft", it can mean anything from a full rewrite, rejig and reworking, to a quick run through to polish dialogue or tighten some lines up. So on average, a "proper" draft is about 3 of my drafts. I work really fast, and just can't seem to spend several days polishing one scene, I get bored with it, I need to do what I can, then come back to it later. If it's too fresh in my mind, then I won't be able to do anything to it.

I used to think that a new draft meant a completely new version - ie, when Stephen King wrote the first draft of his novel, I assumed that he'd print it out, start a new document, and just retype it, from scratch, occasionally glancing at the printout to remind himself of a character name or something. Which, I realise now, would be fucking insane, it'd be like a first draft every time.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Tired. Very tired, after the manic weekend of drunkenness. Finished the latest draft of the big scifi action thingy today, so I feel like I've been productive as well. Not that there's anything wrong with drinking until 6am, I highly recommend it...

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Woooo-oooooooooo! Happy Halloween, to one and all. We had a mate round to watch scary movies, eat sweets, smoke cigars, and drink lots of booze. Much fun had by all, and we talked, drank and smoke until about 6 in the morning...

The next day, went to another mate's house for a meal and booze - I was determined to take it easy, but we ended up staying up drinking until half 6. Sunday, I didn't get up until about half past 5...

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I'm being really slack with this, probably because there hasn't been much to report. Still working on the scifi thing, given it a totally new opening sequence, and trying to trim things down to save time. I've introduced all the main characters earlier, and made it so that they are buddies instead of introducing them, and so on. It all saves screen time, which is always A Good Thing.

Working with a producer on The Craw Lodge, he likes the new background thing, so I'm meeting him tomorrow to chat about it. Hopefully there'll be developments to report on that soon.

Other things in the pipeline: possible chance of doing an episode for a kids telly thing, which should be a laugh. Also other ideas here and there, nothing concrete, just lots of hustling and trying to finish things off.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

A moment of clarity

Spent the last couple of days doing some serious thinking and talking about the Craw Lodge with Jodie. Today, we finally came up with a plausible background and bad guy for it, which I think will actually work. The good thing is, it will simplify things, make the revelation a bit more "oh yeeees, I see", and should make it more exciting. Jago likes the sound of it, so I'm going to keep at it before I even start the new draft. (2006 edit: this was, indeed, the moment where it went right. The new background and ending saved it, made tons more sense, and got me excited about reading/writing the script again. Most of this stuff stayed in, right through to the finished film. Sorry if you're reading this without knowing the end, I've just spoiled the surprise. And now back I go to The Future.)

Nearly finished the rewrite of the scifi thingy, which is going very well. Once that's done (probably tomorrow), I'll give it another dialogue pass just to snap things up a bit, then send it off and see what everyone thinks.

Also came up with an outline for the tv comedy idea, and one for a really cool film idea which I love to bits, which either means it's really cool, or really shit. I can never tell...

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Also today, I met a really nice producer from a telly company who is looking for comedy stuff. She really liked The School, really wanted to do something with it, but wasn't sure if she was able to - she's going to get her boss, a Big Time Comedy TV Producer, to check it out and see if it's even doable. If not, then she wants to get something else from me, because she likes my stuff, which is cool. I'm looking through all my scraps and half ideas to see if anything is workable, I've got one that she should be interested in, so I'll see how it goes.

The rewrite that never was

That last week's rewrite of the Craw Lodge? Waste of time. Totally cocked everything up that was good, and added shite stuff, according to my agent, although he said it more politely than that. It's a shame, because I just don't know if I'm making it better or not anymore, I have to wait and see what his reaction is. So, we talked about it, and agreed that it's better if I just go back to the previous draft and do a new draft from that. So, if I include the abandoned draft, the next one will be number 13. Unlucky for some? Who knows? I know that the previous 12 fuckers have been anything but lucky...

Monday, September 29, 2003

Blimey, haven't posted in ages, better do some updates.

SciFi thing: did the polish, sent it to Mr AgentBloke, and we then had a big chat about why having X in it wouldn't really work, which was a bit disheartening, because X was in the outline, and we spent ages working on the outline so that I wouldn't have to start messing around like this when the final script was done. Phoned the director, chatted about it, and between the three of us, we changed X to Y, which works just as well, and will mean changing lots of the opening stuff. This good because it fixes things, but bad because it means losing one of my favourite scenes. Oh well, these things happen.

Spent last week doing the rewrite on the Craw Lodge, which makes it draft number eleven kajillion. Did a lot of fiddling, changing, adding tension, a new spooky bit at the beginning, substantially fiddled with the third act, and hopefully made it much better. But I've worked on it so much, I now have no idea what is good or bad anymore. I just have to wait and see what the feedback is, I honestly don't know if it's great or shite. Which isn't helpful when trying to make it better.

Started doing the rewrite on the SciFi thingy, the opening stuff took a long time, but it's finally sorted, and I'm onto the second act now. I think it's for the better, the changes have meant that the characters already know each other, rather than me having to introduce them all, which is always boring for an audience. The opening is more exciting now, too.

Also getting lots of ideas for various things, which I have been frantically putting into outline format, to see how they hold up. Ideas I'm not short of. Saleable material, on the other hand... We're really broke at the moment, so apart from the coolness of it, selling something would really, really, really help out. A lot.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Had a great weekend away, in the countryside - went for drives, walks, drank wine, talked bollocks, ate food, had a fab time. It was like all my best childhood holidays rolled into one, where the summers never ended, and every day was sunny and warm. And I didn't think about anything, which was a nice break.

Currently going over the scifi thing, a dialogue polish, adding some life here and there - in my quest for stripped down, lean and mean pages, I have whole sections where several people remain totally silent, which is a bit odd when there's a conversation scene...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Finished! Well, finished this early draft. There will be a few more before it's ready to do anything with it, some of the dodgy science needs a bit of airbrushing, but it's all pretty much there. And now I can't think about anything for a few days, so we're going to stay with some friends for the weekend, where I am determined to do no writing or thinking whatsoever. Just watching movies, drinking, chatting, and enjoying myself.

I'm still taking a notebook, though. Just in case. The good ideas only come when you haven't got a pen handy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Hooray for Blogger, and the new, free Pro features! Hooray for Google, for buying Blogger, and being a great search engine! Hooray for me, because this is my blog and I'll do what I like!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

More fine tuning yesterday and today. Lots of spending hours fiddling with two lines, then putting them back, then deleting them altogether, then doing something else, then going back to where the two lines were and putting them back, but slightly different, then moving on, then just when you think you've solved the two lines problem, you go back and spend more time on them until they're right (you think).

I've rejigged and moved things around and tweaked and added stuff. Still not finished, just got to the start of the final sequence. I added the bit in the middle I wanted, and have generally improved things and got them sounding right. Should finish up tomorrow, hopefully.

And when I do, I may do another draft of the Craw Lodge, God help me. But it needs it, and I've been away from it long enough, and I know what needs fixing, so it shouldn't be too bad. But still - bloody hell. Also got some outlines to do. It'll all be worth it soon, hopefully. It's quite tiring though, thinking. I'm not used to it.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Met a nice lady from a film company on Thursday, they're looking for book adaptations, so I'm currently scouring my bookshelves for cool stuff that would make a good movie. I realise the blasphemy of what I've just said, but hey, that's Hollywood, love.

Friday I met a nice man from another film company, he's looking for straight horror, dead serious stuff, which the Craw Lodge isn't, it's a black comedy horror. Got a couple of ideas for dead serious horror though, so I'm going to work those up into outlines. Apparently horror is "hot" at the moment, so I may as well take advantage of it.

Saturday me and Jodie brainstormed ideas for the main groovy horror one, and a couple of other good ones. I'll work those up into pitches/outlines soon.

And today I spent several hours going through the script I finished last Wednesday. Got about halfway through, going quite well. Needs another sequence in the middle, just to give the characters more drama and excitement. I may need more people to kill, though, which will be difficult. I may need to find a way around that. Maybe just a serious injury. How casually I toy with people's lives.

We're halfway through our homemade strawberry ice cream. We made it last week, and it's bloody gorgeous. I highly recommend it. But you can't have any. It's ours. We mades the precious and we going to eats it, yes...

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Added a few things to the script yesterday, just little extra bits for clarity. Haven't gone over it yet, I'm going to leave it for a couple of days, so it's not so fresh in my mind. And I need a break from it, so it'll all seem new when I read it again.

Monday, September 01, 2003

3 and a half pages today, one of which was an addition to an earlier scene that just occurred to me to add. And with that, I have finished the very first draft - 87 pages long. I'll be going over it tomorrow, polishing, adding things that need adding, lengthening some, shortening others. It'll probably get a few pages longer. The general rule is one page of script roughs out at one minute of screen time, so it should be a fairly lean, 1 and a half hour movie, which can only be a good thing for an action movie - keep it lean and fast.

Charles Bronson died last Saturday, which is a real shame. I already had a big tribute to him in the script, just because he's cool, but now I'm going to add to it a bit.

Spent three hours last night defrosting our freezer. Two shelves, one of which was solid ice all the way through. So I couldn't actually defrost it, it would have taken a year to melt. I had to get down on the floor with a towel, three baking trays, and a screwdriver, and chip away at the bastard. Cleared out the top part, then used a hair dryer to get through to the edge bit of the shelf, and then chipped away everything else. It was epic - filled the entire sink with ice, and the extra, weird, mini-sink too. Photographs soon. Can now open the bottom drawer, and put things in the top shelf. To celebrate, I had ice cubes in my Jim Beam today.

Meeting a producer on Thursday evening for a general meeting - my crystal ball predicts they will say "Loved The School, obviously it'll never be made though, what else have you got?", because that what they all say... And meeting another producer on Friday evening for a more specific meeting. Nothing major, usually in these things you just chat for a while, mention things you like, and they ask you to send them specific stuff if you ever have something that might suit. No guarantees, no promises, just getting my face around, letting them know a new pimp is in town, etc. The first time I met a producer, I thought ooh, cool, my stuff will all be on the telly next week. But as I keep learning, everything moves really slowly in TV and Film Land...

Sunday, August 31, 2003

8 pages today, went on a roll again. Almost there for this draft, only one more scene left, which will probably be about 2 or 3 pages - I was going to finish it, but don't want to rush though it just so I can say I finished. I'll finish it tomorrow. Then I'll need to go through it, finetune it, make earlier stuff match later stuff, add a few little things that occurred to me recently, and maybe add a scene in the midsection to flesh things out more. Some scenes weren't as long as I'd planned for, which is good, the leaner and trimmer you can get it, the better. Can't wait for tomorrow...

Oh, and Ichi the Killer is completely insane. I loved it. Need to get the uncut version on eBay though, the UK one has 8 minutes of gore missing.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Just over 4 pages. Would have done more, but I don't want to go too fast. Again, fixed some stuff from yesterday's pages, made it look more like I know what the hell I'm doing.

Now off to watch Ichi the Killer on DVD - if it's even half as violent as the trailer, it'll be the most violent film I've ever seen. Can't wait...

Friday, August 29, 2003

12 or 13 pages today, I'm not sure, what with the half pages and bits here and there. Also fiddled with some earlier bits, tweaked a bit, and added a minor plot point by merely having someone wandering off suspiciously (I can explain it later, probably).

Tired now. Going to watch telly and vegetate.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Roughly 10 or 11 pages today, I had lots of spare time, so I went on a decent spree. It's really moving well, approaching the climactic point of the second act. If I keep going at the rate I have been, it should be finished in a week or so. Once it's done, I'll go over it slowly, weeding out any dodgy bits, fine tuning, and so on. But it feels pretty good, I'm being careful with it so it shouldn't have any glaring errors or anything. Groovy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

7 pages today. Just over 7, actually, but who's counting? Well, I am, I suppose. More death and destruction, and some twists - the thot plickens, as they say. Now on page 45, and it's going really well. No saggy bits, no padding, just pure, unadulterated Stuff. I like Stuff. Stuff is good. Still trying to figure out some dodgy science for the ending bit - which involves me and Jodie having long, complex, intense conversations about evolution and genetics. While I don't necessarily need it all to be totally realistic, I'd rather not get laughed off the page when the giant electric penguins turn up holding lightsabers (when, as everyone knows, they would need a special adaptor for their flippers).

Still wish we'd caught Gozu at the FrightFest last Sunday - so I bought the DVD instead. eBay is excellent for getting twisted Japanese movies at reasonable prices, I heartily recommend it. Also bought two other Takashi Miike films (he made Gozu too), Fudoh and Ichi the Killer. Plenty of ultra violence coming my way soon. And, on the strength of the trailer, instantly bought Shaolin Soccer on DVD, it looks fabulous. I can't explain it. Just go and watch the trailer. It's insane.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

5 pages today, in just under an hour. I feel like I'm going slowly, which I am, for me - slowly and carefully. But I'm getting lots of it done. These are film script pages, by the way, which are a lot quicker to write than "proper" pages - lots of space, big margins, indented dialogue, short, snappy paragraphs, and so on - but even so, it's going great. The time we spent on the outline is paying off, big time. It's all already there, in my head. I'm just copying it out.

Things are getting bloody and messy for the intrepid heroes. There have been deaths. There will be more. I can't wait.

Monday, August 25, 2003

8 pages today. Something's bound to go wrong, this is going too well. I'm now on page 33, and Act 2 starts on the next line. It's moving along really nicely, I keep adding stuff that isn't in the outline as it occurs to me that it's needed, but it all seems to work out okay. I'm really excited about getting to this section, it means I can start killing people in horrible ways.

Also working on two outlines for TV ideas. Although I've pretty much given up on ever getting an original, interesting TV thing going, I still churn them out, just in case, you never know. It can't hurt, the more stuff you have to sell or show people, the better.

Watched Visitor Q on Saturday night, by Takashi Miike, the twisted genius behind Audition, Ichi the Killer, Dead or Alive, and about a million others. It is seriously, seriously fucked in the head, this movie. It's not easy viewing at times, but some of it is (intentionally) hilarious - then you think, Christ, I'm actually laughing at this shit, what is the matter with me? And then something else bizarre happens, and you laugh even more. And then you are suddenly horrified by something outrageous, the laugh dying in your throat. And then something so utterly bizarre happens, you don't even know how you feel about it, it's too bizarre, too surprising. Takashi Miike, you are the king. You're insane, but you're the king.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Groovy, 4 and a half pages yesterday, 6 and a half today. It's flying along, thanks to nailing down the outline tight before I ever started. Still stuff appearing that isn't in the outline, so it's still surprising me. It's great fun too, I hope that comes across in the script itself.

The mystery film on Friday was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - it was great fun, lots of destruction, and a truly amazing Mr Hyde. Now *that*'s how the Hulk should have been done. So disappointed with Hulk, I'd have preferred to see two episodes of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno show, to be honest. Shame. But Mr Hyde rocks, all done with makeup, seriously huge makeup, and fancy schmancy camerawork. It allowed the actor, Jason Flemyng, to actually act the part, instead of just vanishing as soon as the CGI takes over. Anyway, fun time had by all. I've never managed to get hold of a copy of the comic, though I love Alan Moore's stuff, and know it will be great. That's my next purchase - I'm sure they've changed all sorts that will outrage me when I read the comic, but as a film, it was a rollicking good time.

Didn't get to see Gozu or Cabin Fever, they were sold out, which isn't surprising, we only heard about it the day it started. Still, they'll come out at some point, so we'll see them then.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Righteous. 3 and a half pages today, early, because we're off to see the Mystery Movie at FrightFest tonight. They won't say what it is, and we can't risk missing something groovy. Hopefully we can get tickets for Cabin Fever on Sunday, and Gozu, Takashi Miike's latest gorefest. I knew I wouldn't bother doing my pages tonight, so I got them done early. Aren't I so good you could just punch me?

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Sweet. 5 pages today, took just over an hour, this shit practically writes itself. It is huge amounts of fun, too, I love the main character, and the whole attitude of the thing. Nice. I'll stick with the 3 page a day target, no point increasing it every time - but I won't carry pages over, so I still need to do 3 tomorrow, I won't take the lazy way out just because I did 2 extra today, and say "oh well, I only need 1 tomorrow..."

Apparently the routine is now: have dinner, watch some telly, then sit down at the PC, pour myself a healthy amount of Jim Beam and Coke, and write like mad, with the headphones blasting out the heaviest songs on my hard drive. I have to listen to music when I write, usually. Different things need different genres. This is definitely a hard, heavy metal script. Plenty of Korn, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, Nirvana. Is it uncool to say "heavy metal"? I don't care. It was called heavy metal when I was at school, it's still heavy metal now. Fuck cool, let's kill.
(These next few paragraphs are Wednesday night's post, but it's showing here because it was after midnight - and you know what happens when you feed me after midnight)

Finally started the first draft of the scifi action extravaganza, tentative title "Prime Evil", or possibly "Harvest". I'm no good with titles. I have the opening sequence done, 3 pages of action (about 3 minutes of screen time, one minute per page), with one line of dialogue. I'm very pleased, I use too much dialogue sometimes. I was going to try and write the first draft with no dialogue at all, and then only add some where absolutely necessary, just to keep it tight and fast, but that would be a bit tricky, and probably insane. I will try and hold back on the 15 page speeches, though.

For those who are interested in the process: first cometh the idea (from the director, in this case), where you say "hey, wouldn't it be cool if, like, Hitler was made of cheese, and zombie mice tried to eat him?" or something. Then, you try and work out if the idea will be interesting for 90 minutes - that idea on its own isn't going to last long. For me, that means doing a one or two page outline telling the story from start to finish, not in too much detail ("Hitler is planning a major battle, which absolutely must not go wrong. Meanwhile, his mum is trying to win the Cake Challenge with her fairy cakes. In a small town in Idaho, an industrial accident leads to the creation of zombie mice, which terrorise the local town. Eventually, they smell the whiff of the HitlerCheese, and decide to go and eat him. Along the way, they kill many people. Meanwhile, Hitler's nose falls off" etc etc). You know, I'm liking this HitlerCheese story the more I think about it. Once the outline is done, I think about who should be in it, how many characters, what do they want, what would be more dramatic, and so on. If any research needs doing, now is the time - if the story changes during the outline stage, that's cool. If it changes when you've nearly finished the script, you're buggered. Usually I do this on my own, or with Jodie's help, but in this case me and the director came up with the goods, and I arranged it all into an exciting tale of derring do. It's basically like a very short story. In a film script, you have to know where you're going, even vaguely, or it'll be a mess.

And then, once you've run out of things to do to put off starting, you just start writing it. Expand on things that need it, let the story flow, let the characters talk - and if some things go in a different direction to the outline, let them. You can always change it back if it doesn't work. Anyway, that's what I do for these things. This blog is supposed to be all about my writing "struggles", a journal of the nuts and bolts of trying to make a go of this crazy business, so I may as well go into detail.

Another reason for the blog is to guilt trip me into writing every day, even if I don't update this every day. I need to be a bit more strict with myself, I'm too easily distracted from writing. This long blog entry is a case in point. So I'm stopping for today. 3 pages is good. I'll make that my daily target. Oh no! A target! That's going to put the kibosh onto things...

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Made my own sushi for lunch today. Okay, it was sushi rice in a packet (that Jodie made, I didn't even do that), smoked salmon, and nori sheets from a supermarket. But it still tasted very nice, and I rolled it all myself and everything. Obviously not a patch on proper, restaurant sushi. But nice.

Pirates of the Caribbean is the most fun you can possibly have in a cinema this year without hookers and cocaine.

Freddy Vs. Jason has terrible acting, dialogue and plot, but tons and tons and tons of blood, gore and murders, which is why I went to see it. If you love gore, like I do, you won't be disappointed. Some of it is quite beautiful, really.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Got the characters more or less sorted for the big scifi extravaganza, they're a colourful bunch of freaks, I like em. I'm dying to get started and just write the thing, but that's where I went wrong with Craw Lodge, so I'm just being extra careful with the planning and the plotting and the monkeys and the burning.

The TV thing just kept going all drama-lite, it was two different stories, one of which I had no interest in, so I'm going to leave it. It's just not my thing, which makes me wonder why they asked to meet me in the first place, but feh.

Met a producer I'd met before, which went very well. Also met a cool animator guy who was very funny, and I'm dying to see his showreel because there is a really funny cat thing on it that looks hilarious. Might be doing some small things with him, depending on time and so on.

And thank Christ, the unbearable heat has eased back a bit - now it's just hot and sunny, instead of furnace-like. I can go out for a short walk without feeling like someone has set fire to me. Amen to that. Which reminds me - we're used to new channels just appearing on our digital telly box, which is always nice, but we've suddenly been given the God channel for no reason, and it's hilarious. There these raving lunatics ranting on and on, and every single show has a book or a tape or a guide or a thing you can buy. They even had a prayer cloth - a cloth! I shit you not! - to, er, pray with, I guess. It was just a cloth, like. With the name of the preacher or pastor or whatever embroidered on it. I have no idea how you would use a prayer cloth, but hey, that's why I'll probably go to hell. Anyway, we can now tell people that we've got God. He's on channel 279, right between Discovery Health, and FashionTV.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Went to a friend's flat for a barbecue on Saturday - I have never seen so much food in my entire life. Bread, salami, Japanese bean pod things, crisps, salad, rice, chicken, potatoes with mint, smoked salmon, mini pizzas, little clam-like things, mushrooms - and that was before the barbecue was lit, then we had sausages, teriyaki chicken, Other Chicken (forget the name), and got to make our own sushi rolls, which was the best fun ever. My first sushi roll was like a cigarette, my second was like a fat cigar, and quite good. All tasted yummy. Lots of beer and wine was consumed, about 12 pints of sweat soaked the floor around me, met some people I hadn't seen for ages, fun time had by all.
Can't do anything in this heat. Can't write, can't think, can't move, can't not move, can't breathe, can't sleep, can't even sit on the sofa doing nothing because you start getting damp sticky patches on your legs. Foul, foul, abysmal weather. Make it go away. It's just too much.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Some blah, some feh: Pat (director bloke) wants me to write the scifi action thing, which is cool, so we're signing a legal thing promising not to do anything naughty, just to cover ourselves. No money yet, but when we sell it, hoo boy, I'm getting me one of them toasters I seen on the magic picture box. I've come up with lots of groovy characters to put into it, hopefully making some nice juicy roles that people will want to play, and not mind that they only have 5 lines before getting horribly killed.

TV outline: the people at A National TV Station didn't like the outline much, they were hoping it would have more about the human conflict and stuff, bit of a misunderstanding on both sides probably. Anyway, they're happy to see a new revised version - if they don't like that, then I'll leave it, because it will be drifting scarily close to a "drama", which ain't really my thang.

Disaster outline: it doesn't really work. So I've abandoned it, and have 2 months to think up a new way to kill, main, and trap people in burning wreckage. It's for a kind of genre film submission thing, they want disaster movies, musicals, or family movies. Bit of an unfortunate time in history to be asking for disaster movies, really...

Nobody in TV Land is "getting" The School, they either think it's a comedy and can't find the jokes (there aren't jokes), or it's a drama, and can't find the drama (it's not a drama), don't get the black comedy surreal aspect, or think hey, it's, you know, for kids (it isn't, but I'm sure they'd love it). Depressing. I thought there'd be a market for good, original genre TV stuff, but they just seem to want to churn out the same old shite over and over again. That's fine, if they're happy spending their lives blanding everything down to the point of transparency, then their punishment will be their own miserable lives, he spat bitterly...

Friday, August 01, 2003

I rescued a cat today. Heard some plaintive mewling coming from a hedge on my way home, went over, saw a little face peering out - it had got stuck. I helped it out, and it mewed gratefully for a while, then wandered off. Ain't I just the big damn hero?

Speaking of needing help, check this out. Oh. My. God. It's the eyewitness reports that get me...
Finally finished with the Craw fucking Lodge. Ten and a half drafts, several pints of blood, sweat and tears, and three yards of nerve fibre. It's going to get sent out now, I think, and may God have mercy on its soul.

Working on outlines for a black comedy (let's just assume everything I do has black comedy elements, to save me typing it every single time) tv two parter, and a bang bang action disaster thing. Soon I'm going to be writing the big scifi thing that director came up with, he wants me to write it, we came up with an outline, and it's all good. Going to start working on the characters before I start, and will be watching several particular movies to inspire me (to nick characters from, in other words).

Friday, July 25, 2003

Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not. The School came out easier than anything I've ever written, and I think it's the best thing I've ever done so far. Craw Lodge is taking months - I thought it was good once, but now I can't tell anymore. The surreal Hell comedy thing came out easy, but isn't lighting any fires. The latest spooky village thing was quite hard, I got stuck and nearly abandoned it, but it's really good. If only there were some proper physical laws, I'd know where I was...

Three quarters of the way through the Craw Lodge new draft - can't believe I'm in double figures on the draft number. It may be the death of me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Ah, Dublin. Thursday to Monday of pretty solid drinking and smoking, with some fryups mixed in. Thursday, polished off half of a big bottle of Jim Beam Black (absolutely gorgeous stuff, aged for 8 years, may be even smoother than Jack, which is blasphemy to say but there we are), Friday went to a friend's gig (Emmet, who we stayed with), stayed up with more Jim Beam. This is Emmet, with a friend:



Emmet's the one on the left. Isn't he charming? Saturday was a long, crazy wedding - didn't know anyone, ended up pissed and best mates with our entire table. Got back to Emmet's flat at 2.30am, landed in the middle of a fucking great party, which went on till 6am. This is part of the view from the flat at 4.30am:



Sunday we recovered slowly, then had some more drinks that night, and an early night (1am). Monday we staggered home, flights delayed, crazy people everywhere, insane heat. Superb. Oh, and someone seems to have dropped a fucking huge needle into O'Connell Street:




The first pic is looking at it from O'Connell Bridge, the second is at the bottom, looking up. Isn't it bizarre? Very, very cool though. I think it's just called "The Spike", or maybe "The Millennium Spike". The best thing about Dublin (I used to live there) is the friendliness - we didn't know anyone at that wedding, but by the end of the night, it was like we'd gone with 8 of our best friends. Same at the party when we got back, we knew one person, but got on instantly well with all the other mad people. London's really hard to make friends in - I made more in that one day/night than in 7 years of living in London. I miss Dublin a lot. I miss Dublin people.

Monday, July 14, 2003

You can now leave comments on my blog entries thanks to the good people at enetation - it's free, cool, they host it, all you have to do is copy and paste the code - give them a donation if you use it though. And lo, the ability to leave comments was duly added - and there was much rejoicing.

Just back from Dublin. Much drinking. Parties. Madness. Late nights. Hangover. Talk tomorrow. Homer sleep now.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Met the director yesterday, very productive. Came up with loads of ideas, had a laugh, and got the story more or less worked out. Now I have to sort it all out, write up an outline/treatment/synopsis thingy, structure it all together, so we can see how it looks. But it's going to be great fun, I think it'll be a cool script, big, exciting, funny, scary, tense, witty, nice and simple but with lots of groovy shit going on in the background. I'm really looking forward to getting started, and will crack on with the outline over the weekend.

Jago's back on Monday, then I should hear what he thinks of the latest draft of The Craw Lodge. If he doesn't, I shall feign insanity, smear myself with my own excreta, and run around the room screeching. Or just do another rewrite, whatever I feel like at the time, I guess.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Well, they liked me, but thought I was too inexperienced for the rewrite, so blah blah blah.

That sucks, I mean they knew I was new to the game, but I just haven't written enough stuff for them to take a risk on me. And it is a risk, fair enough, but I know I could have done a good job on it. Oh well, it's not the only thing in the pipeline, it came out of nowhere last week as a surprise, so I'm not really behind. Would have been cool, though.

Tomorrow I'm meeting the director with the cool scifi idea, to thrash it out and come up with stuff. I've got lots of ideas already, I'm really looking forward to it. This stage is the fun part, there's no pressure and you can come up with whatever the hell you want...

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

No news yet. No news is good news, they say. Well it's not. No news is agony. I hate no news. No news sucks. Go poo off, no news, you're not in my gang any more.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Why, when you so desperately want the phone to ring, does it stubbornly refuse to do so?

A deathly silence has descended upon the flat. I am working at home, I have the phone next to me, it's working (I've checked it several times to make sure), I also have my mobile in front of me, fully charged. Two phones! Two! And how many calls do I get? None, that's how many.

I'm remaining calm. If I've learned one thing about the TV/film industry, it is that it's painfully s l o o o o o w...

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Might have my first writing gig, fingers crossed. It's a UK/Ireland/France co-production, big action adventure animation thingy, they want someone to do a quick pass through the script, touch it up, so to speak. They biked the script, brochure and trailer over to me at work, I felt all important and writery. The trailer is gorgeous, like moving paintings, shockingly good. The script is great fun, but just needs the dialogue polishing (some of it feels like it's been mistranslated), and the ending made bigger, more exciting. Other than that, it's pretty much there - everyone learns a lesson, grows as a person, blah blah blah.

So anyway, there were 4 of them, it felt like a job interview. They asked me what I thought of the stuff - thank God I'd read the script the night before - so I talked a bit, suggested possible ideas for the ending, etc. They nodded a lot, smiled a lot. One asked what I had done before, which was a bit embarrassing, because I'm new to the game, but I just told them the sort of thing I'd written, and they seemed okay, I think. It was all over in 15 minutes, which was unusual, so I thought I'd fucked it up. Two rays of hope - one, they said they were in a hurry, and would I be able to start straight away; two, they said that it would involve going to Paris (!) for a day initially, then more trips up till September to work with "the creative team", and would that be a problem? Not at all, I smarmed.

I think I did okay, it was all very quick, but I was honest, I was myself. They agreed with me on the dialogue, and said that most people agreed the ending needed work. I still think I ballsed it up though, but then I always do. They'll be in touch with my agent (hark at Mr Fancy) to let me know the score. My fingers are crossed so hard, they're going bendy...

The coolest thing was where we had the meeting - the Radisson Edwardian Mountbatten Hotel in Covent Garden (or rather, "ten minutes of wandering aimlessly around weird higgledy-piggledy streets away from Covent Garden"). It was gorgeous, and the lifts actually had those old dials with the moving pointer, which I thought was the coolest thing ever:

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Was supposed to meet up with the scifi director again yesterday, but he had to go to Spain suddenly, as you do. So we're meeting next Friday instead. But, as these things have a way of working out, I got an email the night before from my old English teacher from secondary school - he was arriving in London the next day. So I met up with him yesterday. Just to explain: I didn't enjoy school, at all, but he was one of the few teachers who appeared to know what they were talking about, who I liked and respected very much. They were great classes, I learned a lot, and he really inspired me to do my best in writing, and not just trot out some lazy shite even though most people would think it was okay. I wrote to him recently, just to let him know how much he had inspired me, and that at least one of his pupils had got something from his class, because I imagine it's a terrible feeling knowing that most of them will just ignore what you're trying to do. It was great to get in touch with him again, we went to a pub, and had a long chat about life, school, writing, English, movies, teachers, priests, the media, and tons of other stuff. We talked about the music teacher (who is still there), and how his face would just be filled with despair at the philistines in his class - although he's one of the main reasons I love classical music now, so he can pass that message on to him too, that there's always hope, you'll always reach one person. Although I have no such messages for my history or geography teacher, whose idea of teaching was to stand in the classroom dictating reams of arse for us to write down.

Oh yes - last night, at half past 1 in the a.m., I finished the 9th draft of Primeval - now renamed The Craw Lodge. It's a pretty big change, mainly the ending, but two characters have been overhauled to make them more interesting. Sent it off to Jago today, and may God have mercy on his soul. Though he can't possibly be as sick of reading it as I am. In the process of doing a draft, I probably go through it 2 or 3 times, unless it's a hefty rewrite - so an average of 2 reads per draft makes 18, plus the time I read it to write out the story, then the index cards, then the timings, makes 21, then another couple of times to figure out what the hell I'm doing, and all the times I read a line several times over - 25 times, conservative estimate. It's probably closer to 50, considering I have to think through each line several times before I actually write it. Feels like a thousand... Hopefully this will be it...

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Met a director on Monday who liked The School, and wants to chat about a big scifi action film he wants to do. It sounds really cool, right up my alley - he's similar to me in the kinds of movie he wants to do, entertaining, popular, genre (horror, scifi, etc), but intelligent too. He's a nice bloke, and his idea is really good. We started buzzing off it straight away, so we're going to meet up next week to spend several hours talking about it, then hopefully I'll get to write it. It's good because (a) it should pretty much write itself, it's that good, and (b) it's not Primeval. I am so fucked off with Primeval, I can't even find the words. But I've come up with a different ending - all the others end in more or less the same way, just changing the big bad, etc, which was just predictable. So I moved that so that it happens just over an hour into it, then it goes in a totally different direction. It seems to be working so far. This will be draft 9. Why does some stuff come out really easily, but some stuff has to be dragged, kicking and screaming? Actually, I know the answer, it's because I didn't plan it out properly. I've learned a lot from the process of fucking it up, which is one good thing, I suppose. Still could have done without it.

In other news: I have realised a lifelong ambition: either to have a Swiss bank account, or, failing that, to know someone with a Swiss bank account. I have now met someone who has a Swiss bank account - two Swiss bank accounts, actually. At least. And I really can't tell you any more that. Sorry. That's just the way it is. Hey, it's *supposed* to be mysterious. That's half the fun...

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Rewrite hell

Finished the new surreal comedy script thingy yesterday and sent it off. It went soooo much easier than Primeval (working title). Spent the rest of the day planning out what to do with - yipe - draft fucking NINE of Primeval. Planned it out using some formula exercises, which helped, and made it clear that everything's shite after about page 50. Still stuck on the final baddie, the revelation, working it into the main story. It sucks. I'm so fucking sick to death of this script, I wish it would just go away, I just want to sell it and let someone else rewrite it, even if they make a shit film out of it, I wouldn't care, because I wouldn't have to do it, and I'd just get shitfaced with the money and at least it would be bringing me some fucking enjoyment. Sigh. But I can't leave it, not after all the work I've put into it. I'm dreading starting yet another draft, though. Why doesn't it work? Why won't you work, script?? Why won't you let me live???

Thursday, June 05, 2003

How it all started - getting an agent, and the first projects

This blog is going to keep track of my writing efforts, daily life, and any silly things that happen. To put things into perspective, here is The Story So Far, or How I Got Into The Business:

As you may or may not know or care, in 2002 I won the Sci Fi Channel's Sci Fi Shorts competition. This meant that my 10 minute script would get made professionally into a proper, 10 minute short film, and released in front of Men In Black 2 in the cinemas. It all turned out very well, although it didn't get released with MIB2 - it came out with Reign of Fire, The Bourne Identity, Halloween Resurrection, and Final Destination 2. Not a bad result...

Anyway. The upshot of all this was, the film people said I'd probably get an agent out of it all, when the industry screening was held. This was supposed to be September 2002. Then it was late September. Then it was December. When I asked again, it was "Oh, January, early, definitely." So I stopped asking - I realised that I couldn't expect people to give me a career, and if I wanted to make a go of this writing lark, I needed to do something about it myself. I've been writing for years, but this was my first foot in the door. I needed to kick the door open, murder the owners, rob them blind, and burn down their house with their children screaming from the bedroom windows. So to speak.

So I planned out my, er, plan. I had a script called The School, a 6 part TV thing, which I was very proud of. I also decided to write a full length film script, and then start approaching agencies. I bought the Writers Yearbook thingy, checked out many, many websites for agent details, and drew up a long list. I would submit my scripts to them, one by one, changing and editing if I got feedback along the way. If I got to the end of the list with no acceptances, then I could just forget about it, face the fact that I'm shit, and kill myself.

The first agent loved The School, and wanted to sign me up straight away. He's been busily whoring the script all over the place, I've been meeting producers, and all sorts of exciting stuff. That's the short version of the story so far; I've left out all the Sci Fi Channel stuff. But to briefly fill in the end part: short film got made, I was on set to watch, great fun, it came out, blah blah, got a copy on video and CD, all was lovely. I've also been keeping track of my writing, and what I'm working on. Here are the full details, or How I Got My Agent:

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October - November 2002

Finish first drafts of The School, episodes 2 to 6. Come up with lots of film plots, some of which even make sense. Decide to go with the strongest - Mirror.

December 2002

Complete first draft of Mirror.

January 2003

Do second draft of Mirror; get feedback from wise, witty friends. Polish off the third draft. After much dithering and searching through agents' websites, decide to approach PFD first - they're big, therefore powerful, but kind of chummy and friendly, not off-putting, which is good. When I'm ready, I'll send them my things.

Tuesday 4th Feb

Print out the stuff I need, compose a letter of such heartbreaking genius they can't possibly reject me. Or at least, they'll have to be polite. Or maybe not. I don't care. Bastards, what do they know?

Thursday 6th Feb

Finish printing everything off, get Mirror properly bound at work, because despite me having the strength of ten men, I can't get a staple through 106 pages. I decide to take it round to PFD by hand. Not that I don't trust the post office, I just don't trust myself to put the correct address on. Strangely anticlimactic; I arrive, hand it in, am thanked politely, and leave, all within 30 seconds. Okay, it's done. The result of nearly 6 months' work, in their hands. The die is cast.

Monday 10th Feb

Get a phonecall from Jago at PFD. He has read my scripts (already? yikes) and liked them, especially The School, which is a surprise. Would I like to come in for a chat? Er... fuck YES! Jump up and down for a bit. This is all going very quickly. By the way, isn't "Jago" a cool name? Sounds all streamlined, cat-like and dangerous. I shall never speak to him of this.

Wednesday 12th Feb

Meet Jago. He's really nice, funny, clever and keen to represent me. He loves The School, and thinks it's one of the strongest spec scripts he's seen. He tells me all about what an agent does and doesn't do, and generally fills me with excitement. Would I be prepared to write episodes of existing shows? Only if I like them, I say. Good, says he - if you don't like them, there's no point, better to say no than to hand in an inferior script. I like this guy. He also says that because The School is so strong, I probably won't have to go the whole Eastenders/Holby City/Emmerdale path to prove myself, thank Christ. That would have sucked, because I don't like or watch those shows, and wouldn't know how to even go about writing an episode of them. He wants to know if I want him to represent me - inwardly I'm screaming "YES! PLEASE!", but I try to remain calm, and agree to call him the next day to see how I feel.

Go outside and jump around in Covent Garden for a bit.

Thursday 13th Feb

Phone Jago and say yes.

He says he's going to get photocopying and send the script out to a few people, put out feelers. He's very cool - finally, someone who says they'll do something and actually does it, with no messing around. I now have an agent. I can actually say the words "my agent" and it isn't a joke.

Monday 17th Feb

Phone message from My Agent - a producer has got back to him already. He doesn't mess around, he said he'd send the scripts out, and he did. The producer of The League of Gentlemen emailed him, saying she really liked the script, and wants to know if she can meet me.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I fall over myself to phone back, leaving a message on My Agent's machine, emailing him, his assistant, and his mum just in case.

Tuesday 18th Feb

It's all set - the meeting is on for Tuesday 4th March (the day before my birthday) at some club in the Strand. Do you say in the Strand or on the Strand? Who cares? 4th March. Christ. It doesn't seem quite real: I am meeting the producer of The League of Gentlemen, to talk about my script that she really likes.

I get some more feedback from My Agent (novelty hasn't worn off yet, saying that) about my other ideas, too, which is really helpful, he knows his stuff. He loves the woodlands story, and thinks it could be something really sick and funny. I'm going to develop the characters and work out how they all fit into it. I've also got an idea for a kickass TV thing set in London, that I don't think has been done quite this way before. Finally, it all seems to be a bit more real than before. I've got an agent. Blimey!

Rest of Feb

Start work on first draft of woodlands thing (2006 edit: this is Severance, which was known as Primeval, then Craw Lodge, then P45, then Severance - look how I travel through time)

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And now, June 2003.

At the moment, The School is getting sniffs from one or two people, hopefully there'll be some news about that soon - the producer tried pitching as animation to some telly bloke, but he wasn't having any of it. She's busy filming for a while now, but there are other irons in the fire, melting away - they're plastic, you see. The woodlands movie thing I've been having trouble with. The ending just won't work, and it's driving me crazy. Just finished the 8th draft - about to start the 9th, but have ploughed through two Syd Field books which weren't hugely helpful, although they did make me realise that the script has one major structural problem: it doesn't have an actual structure. It has a beginning and a middle, but it doesn't have an ending, it just stops. I've been trying to tack on endings, which have no relation to what has come before, among other things. Anyway, I think I know how to fix it.

But I'm taking a break first, writing two TV things, one surreal mystical science fiction comedy, one mystery scary horror stuff. I've met lots of producery type people, which has been great, and they've all been really positive. That's more or less everything so far. And now, our story continues... in the next post. Whenever that may be. I'm going to try and update this every day or so, but if there's nothing to say, then I won't. The world will just have to cope, somehow.

How do you get an agent, then? Send some scripts to them, with a covering letter explaining who you are and what you can do. Make sure the scripts are the very best you can do, keep the letter short, and follow the submission guidelines. Worked for me, anyway.