Sunday, 28 October 2007

The sod's law of deadlines...

...dictates that one's keyboard and printer will break on the same day, when one is quite pushed to have a script delivered by October 31st.

I missed out on a few hours of weekend writing time yesterday going into Brighton to replace them both. Given that surely no one, unless it's a dire emergency like this, would go to a High Street store to buy these things anymore, I expected Dixons to be empty.(I know it's not called Dixons anymore, but Currys Digital is up there with Starburst and Snickers in my list of stupid replacement names that I'll stubbornly never use.)

I expected wrong - it was packed, and miserable. And they had no keyboards, except in expensive wireless keyboard and mouse boxed sets. So, I had to go to Argos, which was even more packed and miserable. Argos now seems to have dispensed with staff behind tills, as you have to type in your code number and stick your credit card in the slot yourself. The only humans employed are those schlepping out your purchase at the end, and I'm sure they're working on a robot that'll perform this function in future. Ghastly.

Anyway, I now have a shiny new printer, and a keyboard where some keys are in ever-so-slightly different places to where I'm used to. But I'm not letting it slow me down - the first pass of my feature is done, and I'm now amending, trimming and improving before Wednesday. Latest pages have included the words gob, Catholic, and greenhouse.

On the iPod today: the new Pet Shop Boys long-player, Disco 4, with remixes of their own work, plus remixes of songs by icons: Bowie, Yoko Ono, Madonna... and, er, Atomiser, who must have won some sort of competition, I guess.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

I can finally talk about it

I am officially a professional feature film writer! After a few weeks of meetings, negotiations, and intensive writing, I finally signed the contract yesterday. I’m working with producer/director Mark Jay of Full On Pictures, with some development support from Screen South. Thanks - and another beer onto the massive tab I already owe her - to Miranda Robinson, who initially put Mark in touch with me.

The project is a 1970s based coming-of-age story, and is proving to be a joy to write, and Mark a joy to work with. In fact, the only difficulty so far was finding someone in Brighton’s Jubilee library yesterday to witness the signing. We needed a person not known to either of us, and Mark’s lawyer advised trying the library; but, most of the staff there looked at us like we wanted their John Hancock on some kind of devil/soul-extraction type agreement.

Mark had to be on a plane to the U.S. mere hours after this, and I didn’t want to delay any longer either ‘cos I’ve been bursting to post about it for weeks. What would happen if we couldn’t get anyone to sign? Can I get a witness?! Luckily, the fourth or fifth person we asked agreed: we promised the library a copy of the eventual DVD as a thank-you!

As I said, Mark is now off to the States to pitch this project, and I have to have the first draft completed by October 31st before the AFM. The day job is horribly hectic, though, and can’t give me any time off. So, I am working every minute of every day, and haven’t got time to swing a cat (which as anyone who’s tried it will know takes quite a long time – you’ve got to find a pet shop that doesn’t ask questions, and all sorts).

At the time of writing, I’m up to page 85 of a 95-minute script, and today’s pages have included the words “applause”, “prison”, and “falafels”. Woo - and after having given it a certain amount of calm reflection – hoo!

On the IPod today: podcasts of Radio 4 shows. Hooray! Never normally being in a room with a radio at the right time, these new podcasts are a positive boon. And, after only a few days, I’m already addicted to The Archers. You can also get Start The Week, highlights of The Today Programme, The News Quiz… As soon as the Afternoon play is available, my listening will be complete.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

And another one

Another great-sounding event at the Guild. I'm going to this one too - let me know if I'll run into you there. Blurb below:

The Writers’ Guild presents Imaginary Worlds on Thursday 1st November from 7pm – 8:30pm at the Writers Guild Centre, 17 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JN (Nearest tube: King’s Cross).

Celebrate the recent resurgence in British science fiction and fantasy, by talking to the writers behind the boom.

Britain's other great literary tradition has always been a hit with the public - from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World, 20th. Century classics by John Wyndham, H.G. Wells and Nigel Kneale, to the recent boom in graphic novels and even more recent box office successes such as Dog Soldiers and 28 Days Later.

Critics and cultural commentators have finally realised what writers, readers and audiences have known for years - that fantasy writing can - and does - tackle adult themes in a unique and exciting way, and that imaginary worlds are not just for children.

Panellists include: Guild members Ashley Pharaoh, one of the creators of Life on Mars, Adrian Hodges, a co-creator of Primeval and Phillip Palmer, author of Debatable Spaces.

The discussion will be chaired by Edel Brosnan, Chair of the Editorial and Communications Committee.

To book for this event, please post a cheque to: Imaginary Worlds, Writers’ Guild, 15-17, Britannia Street, London WC1 X 9JN. Please make the cheque payable to: “Writers’ Guild of Great Britain”. Tickets cost £5 for Guild members and £7.50 for non members.

Saturday, 6 October 2007


Still very busy, still don't want to post about it until contract negotiations are officially complete, but it's going very well. Meanwhile, here are some events and schemes that you may or may not have heard about:

Firstly, 4Talent are running a scheme where new writers can apply with a pilot for a 6 x 23-minute episode series. Thanks to both Lianne and William Gallagher for independently pointing me in the direction of this one. Deadline is 23rd November.

The UK Film Council has changed its rules allowing first-time writers to apply directly to them for development funding. A good write-up on the Guild website, or on Piers' blog here.

Finally, The Writer's Guild are having another 'Meet the Agents' event. The last one was over-subscribed, so I'd get in early. I'm going if I can get a ticket, so I might just see you there. Usual Guild event rates: £5 for members, £7.50 otherwise. It's on Monday 29th October.

On the IPod today: The Killers' "Sam's Town", which I thought was a bit 'meh' when it came out - crikey - it must be about a year ago now; but revisiting it, converting it into mp3 format, and carting it around with me, I've come to appreciate it a lot more.