Friday, February 29, 2008

He's not my boyfriend...

Hot off Edgar Wright's Blog comes the news that Fox plan to remake Spaced for an American audience hoping to emulate the success of The Office.

The article in Variety describes the remake as Single-cam half-hour revolves around a young man and woman who pose as a couple in order to rent a cheap apartment...

Kind of boiled the life out of it there didn't you?


Simon Pegg's Official Statement Regarding the US Spaced

Very Superstitious

I'm not normally a superstitious person. Oddly working in IT has made me more wary of tempting fate then I have ever been before. We're in the middle of buying a house at the moment and Emma and I have been stopping ourselves saying 'everything seems to be going ok,' or 'we haven't had any problems so far,' or anything else that providence could possible construe as over confidence.

Fat lot of good that's done us.

We were due to move in a couple of weeks. The timing was perfect, just tying into the end of our current lease. The sellers had already started packing. Now the house that they were buying has been taken off the market. They're back to square one. And we've got nowhere to live after March twentieth. Of course, the in-laws (Gawd bless 'em) will put us up temporarily.

I just hope the sellers can find a new house fairly quickly as I can already picture my little office all kitted out with index cards, desk tidies and a nice big notice board and flip chart. Not to mention our cat, when we get one (keep those name's coming by the way).

Bloody providence. I never even said it was going well. Except maybe once.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Books about films...

OK, so Chip memed me ages ago but I'm such a schmuck I'm only now getting around to responding. Yeah, I know; Lame as.

To keep it simple I've only picked three. A lot of good books have already been picked by other, less useless, bloggers. This is what I've come up with...

Film Book Recommendations

An Autobiography by Peter Cushing

Just a very special human being really. I think reading the first chapter of this made me realise that actors were just people like me who liked to play games and make stuff up. A lovely memoir by a remarkable man.

Halliwell's Film Guide
by Leslie Halliwell

No, I'm not being facetious (for once). As a wee kid I used to literally read through film guides in general and this one in particular. I'm a little out of touch now as the multiplex pleasers of the last ten years or so have largely turned me off current cinema, there was a time though when if I'd never heard of a film - it probably didn't exist. Thanks Les. One thing though, how does he still churn a new one out every year when he's been dead since 1989?

How to Write a Movie in 21 Days
by Viki King

Well it's the classic isn't it. This woman wrote for Hart to Hart for God's sake. And Tim Robbins character in The Player has a copy in his desk drawer. And it was in The Sopranos. This was the first book on writing I ever bought. I know a lot of writers can't stand 'How to' books but I've always found them interesting. There's usually something useful you can take away with you.

Viki managed to get my first screenplay out of me. It was called
'Just Love' and was a gritty action drama about a guy who joined the police after his Dad's murderer was brought to justice but then found it wasn't always that simple and became a vigilante. Actually that sounds pretty good now I write it out. Shame as the script is bollocks but thanks anyway Ms King. Incidentally, she has a website here that also has some useful info.

Thanks for letting me play, Chip. From a quick but exhaustive search of the entire inertweb I have identified the following blogs which have not so far been memed with this one... until now. The Jobbing Scriptwriter, Bloggery Pokery and Jet Packs and Such - you're all it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Being Human

From what I had seen of this before broadcast I expected Being Human to be out and out comedy. I had raised my eyebrow at it occupying an hour long slot; not the conventional length for a sit-com. In fact it turned out to be quite a dark drama with some moments of humour.

It seems like a fairly obvious premise with hindsight but I can't help feeling that quite a few execs must have taken a lot of convincing to say, 'ok, let's make the show with the vampire, the werewolf and the ghost that share a house in Bristol.' I was struck about half way through that it was sort of like a twenty-first century
Addams Family.

The name Toby Whithouse must have carried a lot of weight. He's written for
Who, Hotel Babylon, Torchie and was the creator of No Angels. That's a smart track record. Being Human is a worthy addition to his cv. I'm a cynical bastard and no matter how much I want to like something I can usually spoil it for myself ('Ouch, that was a bit over acted.' 'Ooh, I would have preferred if X had Y.' 'Lord, I don't like that theme tune, and why is it sung by Dennis Waterman anyway?'). I was captivated straight from the start.

The characters are brilliant; Mitchell (Guy Flanagan), the reluctant vampire with a soft eastern European accent; all sad eyed and ancient. George (Russell Tovey) the neurotic, obsessive compulsive werewolf who wants to keep his condition totally separate to his
normal life. I loved the little box motions he kept making with his hands. Finally there's Annie (Andrea Riseborough), killed a year earlier but stranded due to her attachment to the house she bought with her boyfriend. The script and the underplayed performances really brought these characters forward and made them believable and appealing.

In addition to the humour inherent in the premise, there are foundations laid for future arcs. A malevolent coven of vampires poised to prey on humanity (and led by the deliciously evil Adrian Lester), the mystery behind Annie's death and whether she can or will complete her 'journey', and George's struggle with his own nature.

Honestly, I'd like to say there was something I didn't rate but I thought the whole programme was awesome. It was well directed, the music was good, the effects were good (and not too frequent). It was subtle and engaging and bloody good telly. You will probably know that it was intended as a pilot, it's not yet known if it will be developed into a series. I think it should be (you may have guessed), so I've signed this petition along with a lot (about fifteen hundred so far) of like minded folk.

If you didn't see it then check it out on the lovely BBC iPlayer, there are still four days for you to do so. Then sign the petition or the monsters will get you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's an update...

I've dumped Opera. I don't feel very good about myself and I'll always be friends with it but I've been seeing another browser for a while now and it's serious...

Anyway, I've finally come round to Firefox, and more significantly Thunderbird and I think you probably should as well. Too many visitors to this site are still using Internet Explorer and they really should know better. I can tell, you know. I can see everything you're doing right now. Yuck.


Hit a bit of a snag as far as SWF '08 goes. No day tickets this year and a ticket for three days will set me back three monkeys (or something). Bum. The wallet just won't stretch that far when I'm buying a house this month.

But that's ok. I still feel my energies should be going into generating spec scripts and developing my skills. I can always go next year, with a years-worth more work behind me. Hell, I'll be 33 in a couple of months - it's not like I'm against the clock.


I'm on leave this week so it's binge-writing time, in between bouts of packing and appointments with solicitors. Actually today wasn't a great start. Sat in front of the laptop for ages trying to make something work to no joy before moving on to a different problem. Amusingly the answer came to me hours later while I was doing the dishes.

I'm hoping to get one big project finished this week. It's been hanging around for ages and I really want to clear the decks before moving to our new home - and my new office.

Over at the Jobbing Screenwriter the Barron has been showing off his (very) shiny new desks. I won't be starting off with anything so flash but I'm very excited about having a space to write again. It's six months since I had a desk - never mind an office. I have stolen his notice board system though, don't tell him.


Elsewhere in the Scribosphere the redoubtable M. Arnopp will be enjoying a screening of his short film what he wrote, Look At Me, in a seedy Soho kinema tomorrow evening. The Island of Dreams is transmitting big blog love in the direction of ole London town and hopes the event is a smashing success. Good show Jase.


I know the Writers Strike is all sorted now, but does that mean I have to get rid of my little blog badge? I'm pretty fond of it. Maybe I can keep it as a warning to anyone else who fancies playing tough with writers?


Well, that's it for now. I'll probably chip in later this week with some thoughts on Ashes to Ashes (précis - Started poorly but improving), Being Human (Bring us more of this genre television of which you speak), and of course Torchwood (They don't have any torches, but they've all got wood).

Until then then... then.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Plate of the Daleks

None of your tampering with genetics or harvesting human cadavers for me. When I need a remorseless army of enforcers I reach for the rolling pin. Soon my Dalek cookies will be the supreme power in the universe.

This is not the end. This is only the beginning!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Door Jam

Emma and I went out of the house Saturday morning to walk down to town and get some breakfast, Saturdays are still a bit of a novelty to us.

Two metres from the house I realised I hadn't put my specs on. My eyesight isn't that bad but if it's further away fro my hand it's going to be a little blurry. I was intending to raid some second hand book shops so I'd be needing my eyeses.

Pop back to the house and open the door... open the door... open (strain) - nope. The door won't open.

I may have mentioned we've not been too happy in this house. On Saturday the house bit back again. I tried to call the letting agent but just got an answerphone. Just to be safe we decided to walk down to their office and pop in to explain the situation in person.

'We're your tennants from number X on blah st,' we said, 'and we can't get into the house. The lock turns but the door isn't opening.'

'I don't think I can get anyone out to you today.' says the company that manages our home.

'You'll have to get someone out today because we can't get into our house,' says we.

'I know what you're saying but I'm not sure there'll be anyone available today, it's Saturday.'

'Then you'll have to arrange an emergency locksmith,' I suggest.

'Take a seat please,' our handy dandy helper says dismissively.

So we sit. And we listen to the letting agent phone the land lady. The conversation begins with a discussion about who will pay.

'If we call someone out and there's nothing wrong with the lock you'll have to pay.'

'Once we're back in our house and the situation is resolved we can discuss who pays for what,' I reply.

'But if the latch has dropped and the deadlock's on are you happy to pay?' she asks.

'You need to get us into our house,' I say firmly, 'then we can discuss payment.'

'The tenants are fine with paying,' she tells the land lady - still on the phone. Curiously that doesn't seem to match the words that came out of my mouth. Too late it ocurrs to me that if the latch has dropped and the deadlocks on then the locks at fault anyway. I say so helpfully but the letting agent isn't very interested in anything I say unless I say it loudly and slowly like I'm about to rip her eyeballs out of their sockets and stuff them up her nose.

Rather than call out a locksmith, like we asked, they send one of their man-with-a-van's. This works out in our favour though as it turns out there really isn't anything wrong with the lock. The door is so swollen from the damp we've already reported that it's solidly jammed shut. Man-with-a-van has to force his way in and plane a couple of inches off the door to shut it. This is the second time the door has been planed in fortnight. Come July you'll be able to walk into the house without opening the door. At least we won't be here then.

The point of this story is this. I've been renting for over a decade, I've had a lot of land lords and I've dealt with a lot of letting agencies. I don't honestly think I've ever rented from anyone who didn't describe me as an ideal tennant. My current letting agency are without doubt the laziest, most incompetent and overpriced company it has ever been my misfortune to deal with. Their customer service is atrocious and I would warn anyone who reads this never to even consider renting or purchasing a property through them. Only a sense of good form prevents me disclosing the name of the company - though I could probably be convinced. If you're looking for a home in the Worcestershire area drop me a line and I'll let you know.

On the plus side I did find The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Making of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on video for 50p at the Cats Protection jumble sale. And The Trouble with Lichen from the bookshop in the market on The Shambles. We're probably going to get a cat when we move. If we can think of a good name. Is Phenomena a good name for a cat?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Writers Strike Breakthrough..?

The BBC News website reports that there has been a breakthrough in negotiations over the Writers Guild of America strike.

"A breakthrough has reportedly been reached during informal talks between striking Hollywood writers and production companies.

The two sides bridged the gap over the key issue of payment for projects distributed on the internet, the Associated Press news agency said."

Full details here.