Friday, January 30, 2009


So there I am  with this 95-page-piece-of-shit-script I'd spent 3 months writing.

I knew it was bad, and I knew it was my fault: like I said earlier, it's my creative writing inexperience, much like the drawings you from a five-year-old. You can see the basic elements in place, but they really don't come together in any meaningful form.

At that age, the kid has this image in it's mind and it dumps it onto paper, but it's an entirely one way process, there is no evaluation of the drawing. In time, the kid learns to LOOK and SEE on that piece of paper and reassess this image to see if it matches the mental image.

Considering some of the diabolical things I've seen painted, written, or tasted from adults(that's right, this theory applies also to cooking) most people then DO NOT learn how to then continually keep critically evaluating their creation and improving it until it is finished.

And a 90 page script is a very hard thing to understand and have a handle on, since it's all about structure, structure, structure - which take a long time to be able to picture in ones mind.

But to be honest, the shame of holding this fucking turd of a script in my hand was enough of a kick up the ass for me to want to LEARN how to critically evaluate my own writing.

All I wanted to do was DIRECT A MOVIE,  not sit in my bedroom and learn to write the fucking thing -- but I had little choice.  A book I have on screenwriting says that writing a movie is actually all about re-writing.

Roughly around this time I got an email from a good friend (himself a writer/director) his advice was very important and I paid careful attention to it:

Don't shoot until you have a really good script. Young directors are just burning with the desire to shoot their first feature, so much so that they think the script doesn't matter.  They focus on the deal or the production team and not enough on the fact that without a GREAT script, your film will suck, never get released, lose your investors' money and consign your career to the scrap heap. Even with a great script you can end up with a bad film, it happens all the time, even to great directors -- but a good film coming from a so-so script? that has never happened.

Effectively I deleted 90% of the script and started again, but concentrating this time on elaborating and exploring those KEY ELEMENTS in my head which I knew worked. I studied structure and broke down each element into it's basic components and tried to fit them together as best as I could.

That 'first' piece-of shit-draft took me 3 months. 

This second draft took me another 10 months of sitting and hacking away at keys. 

But this time, the consensus was that it was a massive improvement on the first. Amusingly enough, it has later been revealed to me that most writers after having their first drafts torn apart, go away, re-jig it and effectively re-write it the same way, with the same problems. Luckily for me, the shame of the first draft made sure I wouldn't fuck it up again.

But the trouble was not over for me. After this I did another major overhaul, which incidentally was THEN TORN TO SHREDS for managing to lose the heart and soul of the story. So I rejected the overhaul, returned to draft 2 and refined it until I had what is presently considered to be a good script.

It's continued to evolve, but this whole process has taken me about 18 months. And, even if I *DO* get the funding to this movie, as I hope to, there will be more writing ahead.

Le sigh.

Coming soon:

How not to raise the finance.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So. Here I am, on the threshold of financing my first feature film, experiencing a blend of optimism, pessimism, fatalism, hope, anxiety which all balance themselves out to become a state of indifference. The result: I have at last attained that much coveted 1,000-yard-stare.

But how did I get here?

How indeed.

Well in order to direct a great feature film, one needs a great script. The problem with great scripts is that they don't grow on trees. And if anybody I know did have one, they'd be a fool to give it up to some numpty-first-time film maker for free. They should sell it for megabucks or make it themselves. Or whatever they need. 

So, without the funds required to purchase a script, and lacking super-talented friends willing to write some shit for free I had only one course of action.

In order to find a great script, I'd have to write it myself.

Previously, I have co-written a science-fiction film with a very talented guy and I'd learned a lot about the process. So I started to solo-write a project - a contemporary crime-thriller-prison- revenge-story. After about 3 months, what started off as a very neat and nice idea became bogged down it convoluted, hackneyed, cliched bullshit. I was frustrated that what started as a great idea became a fucking mess.

So, after some meetings with some people I made the hard choice to start again, this time taking on-board a piece of useful advice: 'stick to what you know'

I have been a true fan of horror movies since I was a kid -- and it's the one genre of movie, I know the most about -- so instead of writing a thriller, I decided to write a horror. I excavated a short script that I'd written seven years ago and found it to have a SOLID core with some great ideas.  So I sat around, expanding, developed, and began to write the script.

June 2007

After 3 months of writing, I'd hammered out a rough draft. I remember sitting on Brighton Beach on my 29th birthday with this cute 19 year old girl and talking about how awesome my script was. And how the next step was to go find a way to film it.

Shortly after this, I had a few development meetings and the feedback was the same. 

The script was complete and utter shit - It was a horrible, nasty, sinking feeling. Made worse by the fact that I was the one responsible for this atrocious mess. It was a horrible feeling. 

I'd say it was devastating. aside from one reality,  the script WAS shit. and it was my fault. During these meetings I defended the story arguing about certain core-elements and I could see that the points I were making were getting though and making sense --- BUT these story elements I was arguing about actually didn't exist in the script, at least not in the way I thought they did.

The truth was that I had a great story, but it was NOT on paper. My inexperience as a writer meant that what I had written was no reflection of what I wanted to write. Somehow I assumed that everything I wanted to be in there would get in there whether I wrote it or not.

It sounds fantastically stupid to do this, and worse still, I had done an identical thing at film school ten years ago with my first short film. I had this ludicrous belief that if I put a hot girl, a nice car, some drugs, some gangsters and a love story and some other stupid bits together then somehow is would become a SUPER SWEET SHORT FILM.

How fucking wrong was I.

So there I was with a horror-script with some violence, some sex, some tits, some blood, some scary bits, a bit that will make people jump, a bit that will make people tense, a bit that will make people think: wow, this is such a cool film --- and yet, somehow despite all these parts, it was a terrible, misguided croque of steaming turd.

That awful feeling of despair, that sinking feeling became my friend. It only lasted 12 hours, because, I knew immediately that it would be solved only one way.


Sunday, January 25, 2009


A lot's changed and a lot hasn't since I used to update this site regularly.

For sure, most of my old readers are gone. This blog is private and my anonymity is still important to me. Nobody knows who I am.

So, for who do I write this?

Perhaps I'll share this with my wife and children one day, perhaps it will become public and people will know who I am... but right now, I'll simply write.

I am at the absolute threshold of accomplishing something I've dreamed of for my whole life. I have wanted to direct feature films since I was 13 years old.

And I have spent the last TWO YEARS writing a 94 page psychological horror script and I have two respected producers on board, an investor and a 20 page proposal all strung together.

All I need is the guy to say yes, and then it begins.

Sometimes I wonder if I am deluding myself that a simply kid from South London can pull off something as fantastic as this, and at other times it just seems so perfectly normal for me to expect myself to accomplish this.

There are no fixed ways to finance and make a movie, most people will tell you that you should start small and make things micro-budget ($100,000) but I am being a little more ambitions and aiming for $2,000,000.

But I really have little desire to make a micro-budget movie, when $2,000,000 is already such a tiny amount.

I've learned a lot of mental 'tricks' along the way - mostly about how to conduct oneself and how to overcome fear.

Of course, whether any of these strategies and choices work out for me, remains to be seen.

I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Back, I'm bad, not blonde, which is sad.


I doubt any of my old readers will find this... It's been about 2 years since my last proper post on here. 


The need for me to write this shit down, seemed to disappear as suddenly as it had come to me to write it down in the first place.

I am now 30, single,  and I am in the middle of trying to raise the money to my first feature film. A Psychological Horror movie.

The statistically probability of me achieving this is very low.

But I say: fuck statistics.