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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Script Frenzy Update Day 0

Hmm...mixed feelings as I look down the barrel of another intensive writing month. April is a busier month on the whole than January, which will present a whole new range of challenges, let alone forcing my brain to think in a script-ward fashion. Particularly a radio play, which it strikes me now will make for a rather dialogue intensive experience. Obvious, really, but I never think of these things while surfing the wave of what seems like a great idea.

I know what I'm doing: an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Captain of the North Star. It's an idea I've had for a radio play for some time and is the only thing in that format that I've got any kind of real planning done for, which is not the same thing as having any extensive planning done. Still, it means when I sit down tomorrow I have a place to start. More importantly, I have a place to finish.

I must admit, an adaptation does feel like something of a cheat. Hell, I have a story structure in place (though not nearly enough to flesh out one hundred pages of script), characters (a few of whom will need beefing up) and even dialogue to shamelessly rip from the page (though it won't all translate handily to spoken word). Not too bad, really: a damn sight better than my novel writing month, where I hadn't the faintest idea what it was going to be until the morning I started.

But it presents its own challenges. For one thing, I need to beef it out a bit while remaining true to the original narrative voice. And given I'll be trying to mimic the Doyle-ster (as he liked to be known), that will probably mean bastardising the rest of it with my own, poorer grasp of language. Also, I'll be trying to fiddle the structure into six chapters of approximately ten minutes each, for the purposes of a student radio show that young master Tom Crowley has in mind. I would like to come out of this with something I can hammer into better shape for that particular outlet. So that will mean introducing a series of escalating cliffhangers and payoffs into a story that doesn't necessarily work that way. Yet.

Another challenge is losing the wonderful, block-busting freedom to just make shit up. I'm adapting something and therefore am sort of locked into a particular narrative flow. Oh sure, I can (and will have to) play around with it, but at the end of the day I have my start, I have my end and I've even got lots of bits in between. Which means I'm always working to a set purpose. On the novel I really was just making it up on a day to day basis. Anything could happen. If I hit a dead end with a character, well next chapter I introduced someone new to pass the time until the first character figured out something to do. It worked and it kept me moving forward. I worry that if I come up against a dead end here I may well lose a bit of time. Well, I guess I could jump ahead and figure out the connections later, but dammit, it just ain't as much fun!

Ahh, well. All this talk is just a load of old wank, really, isn't it? The proof is in the pudding and all that. So I'll shut my trap now and get to the job of it in the morning. See you tomorrow night for a progress report!

Oh, hey, a great piece of pre-production software pointed out to me by a post at Push Listing (which features nice, sharp comic reviews): Celtx. Amazing stuff.

Carry on reading...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Script Frenzy!

Remember JaNoWriMo?

Well, this April I going to (kinda) do it all over again! Script Frenzy is the script-writing equivalent, organised by the same folks who do NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 100 pages of script in a 30 day period. It can be any kind of script - film, stage, comics, anything you like - and can also consist of multiple scripts if you like.

I'm utterly unprepared for this, having only just been reminded of it, but I figure when it comes to writing I really do need to get myself a leap before you look mentality. So, same drill as before: daily updates right here outlining my progress or lack thereof. Additionally this time around I am doing it as part of the larger official event, so I'll be interested to see what the impact, if any, of that community (of sorts) will be.

Also, anyone else keen?

Carry on reading...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things I Did Yesterday 26/03/09

Slowly but surely my desk is becoming visible again. Yesterday I:

- Walked in to work, with a coffee and writing stop on the way. Just journal stuff, but mainly thoughts on a project I'm doing for Master Tom Crowley.

- Did some emergency library guff before the delivery showed its face.

- Unpacked comics. Counted comics. Pulled comics for standing orders. Bagged comics. Put comics into A-Z longbox runs for the purposes of filing. Started filing comics. Finished work.

- Had a quick coffee with Tony, Matt, Will & Nat, before Will and I walked back up to Islington.

- Didn't wind up reading any comics, mainly due to an extended period of procrastination wondering whether I would read or watch a film. Ran out of time for both. Watched an episode of Harry Hill, then went to bed.

Carry on reading...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things I Did Yesterday 25/03/09

I didn't realise Dave Eggers was co-writing the Where the Wild Things Are script! Anyway, yesterday I:

- Walked into work as a part of my new "stave off death" campaign for 2009. Nice sunny start to the walk, though the clouds had started to gather by the time I got in. Started listening to my new audio thing, Aliens in the Mind: a BBC radio drama from 1977, featuring Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. Fun science fiction / horror, based on what was originally a pitch for a Doctor Who story.

- Didn't write. Bad Andrew.

- Worked, rejigging an order for Hammersmith & Fulham. Did other stuff too, but I'm damned if I remember what. Work-y kind of stuff. Sold some comics.

- Walked home, swinging by the pub on the way to meet Alex, Myles & a pregnant Tabs. Hadn't seen the latter two since the wedding, so it was nice to catch up briefly. Walked home, grabbing some stuff for dinner on the way.

- In all honesty, things are a bit of a blur. Oh, we watched an episode of Pushing Daisies, but by about 10pm I was damn near asleep. What the hell is wrong with me?

Carry on reading...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Things I Did Yesterday 24/03/09

Well, Lisa, yesterday I:

- Got up nice and early, considering it was my day off. Spent ages faffing about on the internet and fretted that I was wasting my day, then realised that it was only 10.30. Sweet!

- Picked up some laundry.

- Headed out to West India Quay with a mind to having a movie day. Was going to catch Gran Torino, Duplicity and Young Victoria.

- Saw Gran Torino and enjoyed it a great deal. Oh racism, you crack me up. It's an entertaining, satisfying film for the most part. A bit like a comfy sweater, really: just the thing for a cold, miserable day. Eastwood is gruffly loveable as the local racist with a heart of gold, who befriends the Hmong family living next door and becomes a role model for their teen son who is struggling to find his place. There's a bit of Dirty Harry lite as Clint stands up to local gangs and mouths off to authority figures, but it all ends with a nice twist. Great little film, really. Good enough that I decided to let it sit with me for a while rather than carry on to watch the others.

- Made the mistake of getting a bus from Canary Wharf to Essex Road via Hackney just as schools were letting out. Well, it was entertaining, if nothing else. In a shouty, sweary, tinny-music playing sort of way.

- Had a bath. Read some comics. Had some dinner. Watched the first episode of Legend of the Seeker (which was a bit naff). Flaked out at about 9, which is what is happening to me at the moment. I'm obviously not quite readjusted yet. Also, I think hayfever is starting to rear its ugly spring head. I snored like a trooper all night and woke up feeling chesty and puffy-eyed. Oh no!

Carry on reading...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Things I Did Yesterday 23/03/09

A stuttering start. Yesterday I:

- Finished reading LOEG Century: 1910. It's a good read, but as much as it has been billed as a stand-alone, it very much feels like a first chapter. Which is fine, given that it will serve as part of a greater story. Not that there aren't aspects which are sewed up within the issue, and the dominant Threepenny Opera musical moments will I suppose be specific to this issue alone. I wonder if the following chapters will continue with the musical numbers. Anyway, unsurprisingly, I recommend it highly. Due out late April and I guess I would be remiss to plug the fact that Gosh will be having a signing with Moore and O'Neill when it comes out.

- Finished reading Total Film, which I had picked up on mine and Alex's daytrip on Saturday (did a 17km country walk out in Sussex - very nice!) As much as Total Film is a puff-piece mag, I do enjoy having a flick through to see what's coming out in the month and even the upcoming film features are somehow more enjoyable to read than they are online. I'm going to try and get to the movies a bit more, perhaps setting Monday evenings aside for it. Just been missing too much good stuff.

- Worked! Always strange, that first day back at work after a period of time off. Still, it was nice to start back on a Sunday and ease myself back into things. Lots going on (surprise surprise), with some library stuff to deal with. Fairly short staffed too, so spent the morning on the till. Exciting stuff!

- Met up with Doug and Tom for a couple of drinks and a catch up, which was very pleasant. Something else I intend to do a bit more of, especially now summer is here.

- Watched the final episode of Battlestar Galactica which, despite not explicitly answering a number of questions, was a fully satisfying conclusion. I particularly liked the way in which they took their time to wrap things up, bringing the focus firmly back to the characters over the plot. Good work.

Carry on reading...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Things I Did Yesterday 21/03/09

Oh why not? Yesterday I:

- Felt rather spaced out for most of the day. If you don't know, I've been away in Sydney for the last two weeks for a wedding. Just long enough for my body to properly adjust to the new time zone, so although I managed to get a proper nights sleep on Thursday I still spent the whole day wandering around feeling as though I should be asleep.

- Attempted to sit down and get caught up on emails, web reading and general life admin. Didn't do terribly well. For example, I overspent terribly on my trip and had to borrow from our joint account, which I need to now sit down and calculate a repayment plan for. Couldn't really face that, so I went to the movies instead.

- Saw Bronson, what on the surface appeared to be a Chopper-like biopic of the man glorified by the tabloids as "Britain's Most Violent Prisoner". Charles Bronson (formerly the much milder-sounding Michael Peterson) has - apart from two brief periods of about 2 months each - been in prison for thirty five years, thirty of them held in solitary confinement. They actually have a separate unit set up for him and two other prisoners who are considered too much of a danger to other prisoners and guards to be held on standard cells, though he has apparently not been involved in any violent incidents for the past seven years. Certainly an interesting character, who has also won awards for his art and poetry produced while inside, as well as written a fitness book based around the regime he developed in solitary confinement.

I'm always a little sceptical about this kind of film. I loved Chopper, but it can't be argued that it didn't glamourise the man. Oh sure, he's horrible and there's an attempt to lure you in with his roguish charm then horrify you with the reality of the man, but I can't help that a number of people come away from that film more entertained than anything. Bronson looked much the same, but I'm pleased to say its anything but. I think the kind of guys who would like to glorify a man like Bronson will come away from this wondering what the hell they had just watched. It's art-house through and through, sometimes annoyingly but mostly to good effect. The narrative is unconventional and although it may seem to begin with that Bronson is being set up as something of an anti-hero, by the last scene its clear he is anything but. Not that it condemns, per se, but rather just underlines how tragic he is. There is clearly something in him that can't be fulfilled, a kind of gnawing hunger that has hollowed out his existence and stolen his life away. At least, as portrayed by the film.

All in all, an effective peice of film carried by a fantastic central performance which plays against expectations. It's still sitting with me this morning, which is a good thing.

- Stopped by work and picked up the last couple of weeks worth of comics to read, which I haven't really touched yet. Oh, for those who might be jealous of such things, I also grabbed the uncorrected black and white galley for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910, the first issue of the new series from Messrs. Moore and O'Neill. Started it on the way home but haven't gotten around to finishing it yet (unlike previous series, this is coming out as three 80-page one-shots, each set decades apart over the course of a century). It's curious, reading LOEG with such a different line-up, but I'm warming up to it. It's nice and dense with several strands being set up, including Nemo's daughter struggling with her destiny, the return of a serial killer and Mina and the boys (and boy/girl Orlando) looking into an occult threat which looks to be the overarching plot for the series. So far so good! Nice to read in B&W too.

- Popped out and met Alex for a drink after work with a mind towards getting some dinner and just about fell asleep in the pub. So we came home, got some takeout and chilled.

- I started watching the third-to-last Battlestar Galactica and fell asleep. Woke up just in time to see the credits come up. Went back to sleep.

Carry on reading...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Something I've Been Meaning to Post

Unbelievably I've been meaning to put this up for about a year now, but I was waiting until I had uploaded them all to Flickr. Well, I'm still just uploading NZ, so I thought I'd just get this done now while I have a couple of minutes. My absolute favourite photo from Bangkok, if not our whole Antipodean trip from last January lies below the break here. The story is this:

We were on Khao Sahn Road on our last night in Bangkok, just having a couple of beers and watching the world go by. For those who've never been, Khao Sahn Road is backpacker central. It's quite tacky and tourist-geared, but definitely toward the younger, beer chugging set. So it's nice and cheap and there's a lot going on. Anyway, we were sat in the bar and I noticed a larger guy come in with a Thai girl.

Now, I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as it used to be, but you still see what I might charitably describe as a number of "unlikely" pairings when walking around Bangkok. I'm sure many of them are perfectly wonderful love stories, but I get the feeling many aren't.

So this guy came in and sat down with this girl and they proceeded to sit in an increasingly uncomfortable silence. No conversation, the guy fidgeting and looking a bit miserable really. The girl looked everywhere but at him. This wasn't the vibe of a couple who have had a fight, but rather two people who just aren't clicking. This was great, I thought, a wonderful opportunity for me to get a photo of something which I had so keenly noticed around town over the previous few days. I got the camera out, all casual-like, sitting it on the table, turning the flash off. All the while chatting to Alex, I glanced down occasionally to line up the shot from the table-top, resting my hand on the camera like some kind of master spy. Brilliant. Looking at Alex, I gently pressed the shot button.

Now, the shot that I was expecting, that in fact I got on a second try, was this:

But the shot I got upon initial inspection, the shot that had me do a quick double-take, was this:


My initial reaction was of course - me being me - GHOST! Perhaps this woman was some kind of restless spirit, returned from the dead and luring this man back to God only knows where in order to exact her revenge on all men. A cunning ruse, unmasked by my trusty camera.

Or perhaps someone just walked past at the wrong time.

But still, I love it! I love the possibilities of it. I love the fact that no trace of the woman remains; that you can even see the back of her chair, she's so perfectly obscured. Fucking brilliant!

So now that's done. Hoorah!

Carry on reading...

Wedding Wishes

We received our wedding gift from Mr Jon Chandler the other day, which I'm thrilled to present below! It's a portrait which, to be honest, captures mine and Alex's day-to-day life pretty well...

Carry on reading...