Thursday, 26 November 2009

Scripts, scripts, scripts...

I s'pose I'd better say something about the one thing that I've devoted my life to since I was 14...

Writing film scripts.

Here's how it goes: At 14, I co-wrote a couple of daft, silly stories with a school friend, essentially dissing all our teachers in various scenarios influenced by our surroundings i.e. Die Hard in a school, Aliens with killer carrots... needless to say, we laughed. Nobody else was going to. After creative differences drove us apart (I didn't agree with some of the story points, he owned the PC...) I went my own way and wrote my own 'proper' script. Again, it was another Die Hard riff, as was my love at that time, but from there I progressed into much more serious ripping-offsies.

Reservoir Dogs. When this movie came out in '92, it was a cold bucket of water in the face that made me beg for more. I loved it. Not the violence, not the swearing, but the dialogue. It made me realise there was more to movies than blowing stuff up (I still sometime revert on this theory). Looking back now, I see Res Dogs for what it is (A City On Fire/Taking Of Pelham 123 re-write, but he got away with it and kudos to QT for that!). But it was a huge inspiration. So much that, like many writers at that time, I wrote my own 'British' Reservoir Dogs. Sure, again, mostly appalling, but a few neat ideas/scenes etc...

But it was all enough to motivate me into writing more and more. I even turned my hand to adapting H.G. Well's The War Of The Worlds in 1995. I love the book, and as much as Spielberg did a good job on his version, I feel that he missed the point of the book - which is to keep it set in an era without nuclear bombs and other hi-tec weapons. Its about mankind being over a barrel and there's nothing they can do to stop the onslaught. I love the way the book is about mankind's self-centeredness. Brilliant.

From here I wrote tons. Literally 10 features in one year, all of varying quality, I'll add. Some had great ideas but were poorly executed, some were just fanboy nonsense. But I kept on... After a long period of (warranted) rejection, I had matured and my movie tastes had changed. So I turned over a new leaf, ditched all the old stuff, and wrote my first 'real' script. The change was light years away from my previous efforts. Finally, things began to click. (Go to my website for the scripts I'm most proud of!)

During this time there were lots of highs and lows (Highs being making films, the Quentin Tarantino phone call, Terry Gilliam financing my student film, getting an agent, lows being no money, inner turmoil and self-doubt and squillions of rejections), but I'm at least comfortable with the type of things I want to write about.

And yes, I hear that voice accusing me of B-S whenever I'm writing stuff which I suspect is B-S. And I listen to it and try to think of something better.

Movie highlights of 2009

Still not standing for baloney.
So here's the pick of the best movies I've seen this year - they may not have been released this year, but I watched them none the less. So in no particular order, I present films that scored 3.5 (out of 5) or higher...

The Reader
Star Trek
Rocky Balboa
Gone Baby Gone
Flame And Citron
Gran Torino
The Jane Austen Book Club
Burn After Reading
Into The Wild
La Vie En Rose
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Hamlet 2
Happy Go Lucky
Bridge To Terabithia
In Bruges
Arthur And The Invisibles
The Mist
The Secret Life Of Bees
A Mighty Wind
The Boy In Striped Pyjamas
American Teen
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire
Step Brothers
Open Range
A Horton Hears A Who
Shattered Glass
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

I look at this list, and I'm slightly amazed at how much 'serious drama' there is in there, especially as I was raised on Arnie and Police Academy films. Have I finally grown up? There's a fair smattering of kids films in there too, but if I look hard enough, the one thing that links most of these films (with the exception of Bruno and Step Brothers, which just made me laugh out loud lots at their vulgarity) is that they're about people. Well-written characters whose stories I wanted to hear.

With films like Cloverfield, its easy to state that it was just a big monster film playing on 9-11 fear, but referring to list, I think there's something to be said for films which set out to achieve a certain aim, and are brilliantly realised.

Not every movie needs to be curing cancer, and when excellent entertainment has come along, its been an oasis in a desert of extremely mediocre films. I'll list my 3 stars and under films at some point, giving special notice to those that didn't even score any stars (and boy, there were plenty)...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

385 DVD rentals in one year...

Last October, I joined my local library's DVD hire service: £15 per month for up to 14 hires at one time, and you can keep the dvd's for up to a year. Bargain. Seeing how I was about to become a dad, I figured I'd have plenty of time to catch up my movies (my social life, in particular my cinema-going was about to come to a crashing halt).

According to my membership info, I've rented 385 dvds since becoming a dad. I'll go in to what I've watched at some point, probably with pin-point summaries as the list is far too long to write detailed reviews. But lets go back to that number. 385.

How is this possible?

Before becoming a Dad, I was a video editor, a film maker, a script writer, always on the go with various projects on the boil. When my daughter was born, it was a life-changing experience in many ways. The big plan was that my wife would return to her office job whilst I would look after the baby and fit work in when I could, in the evenings and at weekends.

Seeing how babies sleep lots (at least to begin with), turns out its quite amazing how many films you can watch (providing you're not doing anything more important/creative with your time). The plan to work while she slept didn't quite always work. Its hardly news that looking after a child is tiring, but I had no idea it would be this tiring. So any free time became viewed as 'down time' also known as 'Monging'; time to be still, relax, stare in to space, recoup for the next onslaught...

It took a long time to snap out of this. In fact, I'm not sure if I've snapped out of it fully, as I now try to stay up late now and then to squeeze a movie in, but I've rallied myself to realise that if I am to indeed build a large extension on my house for more babies to live in, I need to sell a script. Pronto. And probably more than just one.

So here's my blog, something I will occassionally update as its better to be writing something than nothing - and its easier to dip into this kind of stuff and keep the creative slosh a-pumpin'. Its also going to serve as something to look back on, and hopefully will chart some kind of progression (uphill preferably, God!)

Monday, 9 February 2009

First post

Welcome to Evermore Films' blog! Interestingness baked in.

Updates will chart the progression of various projects, as well as anything film-related that might be of interest to you, the public.

Til then...