Monthly Archives: February 2016

Wunderkind Child

fupayme

I refer you dear reader to a film maker bulletin email I have received this evening. It’s a shining example of the kind of stuff I see nearly everyday regarding producers looking for scripts. I won’t put the guy’s name on this but I will start quoting.

Firstly our producer/director introduces himself alongside a link to his latest short film. It’s all good so far, he’s done good stuff. Then we get…

‘Right now I’m looking any writer that has un-produced scripts that they would like to see brought to life.’

Fantastic! He’s done movies before so isn’t some joker with only a Youtube channel to his name and he’s willing to read new scripts. I’m seriously thinking about giving him an email with the synopsis of ‘Order For Burning’.

He then lists the music artists he’s worked with, the adverts he’s filmed and the vast selection of software he uses. More importantly, he has his own company. This is seriously sounding better and better.

‘I’m considering any genre and style but I’m really looking for scripts that allows for visual flare, that can be considered cinematic in content, and have strong themes & subtext that’s explored within the narrative.

I’m naturally drawn to big concepts but I am considering anything and everything at this point.’

Okay, Order For Burning might be a story about witch burnings in a Scottish setting but it does have themes of religion, how people will commit torture gladly if their belief system dictates it and society’s attitudes towards women. There’s a fair bit in there that chimes with some modern day stuff.

‘These projects will be self funded so I’m not looking for any scripts that need serious financing. As a result of self funding I will not be able to buy or pay for any scripts that I make.’

Uh oh…It was all going really well too.

So this producer who has worked with stars, been on the books of advertising companies and has experience up to his eyeballs will not pay a penny towards any script he makes..

‘…but I will happily sign a profit sharing agreement in case the film wins money at a festival or earns profit in any other way.’

Yes my friend, you’ll be happy because you’ll have got a script for free. I seem to have to settle for ‘in case’ and ‘earning profit in any other way’. So I have to wait until you’ve broken even just to get a sniff at anything do I?

‘Please be aware that any scripts chosen are likely to under go some changes to maximise my vision of it. This wont ever be a personal reflection on the quality of the script’.

So even after spending the grand total of absolute zero on it you believe you have the right to change everything around. As part of a normal film making process this is perfectly fine but I highly doubt that you’ll be paying me for rewrites if you can’t be bothered paying for the script in the first place.

‘I am planning to post this in as many places as possible with the aim of reading as many scripts as possible. With this in mind, if you wish to submit a script/scripts for me to read it must come with a short letter that very briefly covers the following:

Title/Genre
A quick summary/description of the scripts narrative
A list of any (if any) themes, issues, subtext, visual metaphors addressed in the script
A quick description of yourself
contact details

Please understand that I cannot read any script that doesn’t come with this’.

So not only are you not going to pay me but you’re also going to make me jump through these hoops just for the privilege of you possibly reading it. I assume you won’t accept a synopsis like most others in the industry then?

When ‘Robotics’ was made I didn’t get any money from that as a writer, the main reason being it was a short. Shorts traditionally go around festivals and do not make any kind of return. If they’re asking for features then the amount of work involved would require payment. If it’s shorts then the promise of ‘making money at festivals’ should be seen as the bullshit it is.

I’ll be keeping my scripts in the drawer for this one.

Has anybody out there ever found success writing for free?

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Time Is My Business Mr Scarman

Right then, if you missed the first part of ‘Hunters Of Gods And Demons’ then catch it here. If you’re one of those who’ve read the first part then I thank you very much. If you’ve read it and commented on it or mentioned to me you’ve read it then I thank you even more.

Here’s part 2 alongside my thoughts at the end.

HUNTERS OF GODS AND DEMONS Part2

He was standing on a small pile of rocks as if taking to a stage. He pointed his torch upwards towards the ceiling. The beam of light shone up towards the high stalactites. The sound of water ran through the cave, a small stream just to one side.

Do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites dear boy?” he asked.

I hadn’t found quite enough time to gather my thoughts.

I’m sorry, what was the question?”

Stalagmites and stalactites, the difference between?”

I thought for a small moment. This information had probably been put in front of me in school but, after what had just happened, I found myself in no position to recall. Sensing my hesitation Philip pushes forward.

Tights always go down!”

He chuckled at his own joke for a few seconds. I found myself smiling along with him.

What just happened?” I asked.

He folded his arms.

Are you one of those people who gets shown a magic trick and instantly tries to work out how it was done?”

Doesn’t everybody?”.

Yes” he replied “but some take a few moments to enjoy what they’ve just seen instead”.

I turned around to face where we had come from. There was no wind blowing through the entrance we had just come through, no view to the outside world, no sunlight. There was only a wall of dark stone. I held out my hand thinking the rocks would part again. My fingers hit only the cold rock and stopped there.

How do we get out?” I whimpered.

Out?” said Philip “I was rather thinking more of going further in, I have something to show you”.

He jumped down off the rocks and walked away. I quickly followed. The lights from our headlamps illuminated the cave just enough to see ahead. We walked alongside the small river, taking small steps and edging our way through the dark. Eventually the high ceiling narrowed down into a tight tunnel, the walls smoothed down. Eventually we both had to stoop in order to continue.

What did you want to show me?” I asked, still thinking exactly why I was down a narrow tunnel.

Sometimes people forget” Philip started.

Forget what?”.

Beliefs that become outdated and talked of less and less” he said, pressing onwards down the tunnel and never turning to face me.

What has this got to do with a mountain?”

When they’re forgotten about, many Gods or demons go into hiding from mankind, only occasionally emerging to rattle a few cages here and there”.

There was a silence as this thought hung in the desperate air for a while.

Philip stopped, turned around and held his hand on my shoulder.

I think I may have found one”.

For a short while I was glad that Philip seemed to have a plan for this impromptu expedition. Upon thinking more about it I had a sudden need to ask a very important question.

Is this a God you’ve found or a Demon?”.

If I asked you to name the God of Mischief who would you say?”

Loki?”

Philip’s face turned downwards, as if almost disappointed by my response.

Most people would say him but there were more with that title”.

The tunnel opened out once more, easing the atmosphere and making the walk much easier. I turned my head only for my light to settle on a stone figure. It was around six feet tall or thereabouts, muscular and dressed in furs. The figure’s face was covered my a mask which looked at first glance to be made of bone with antler horns positioned at the top. Held aloft above one shoulder was a spear with sharp flint at the tip. I reached out a hand to touch it.

I wouldn’t if I were you” said Philip “Anything here is property of the Gods, they may not take kindly to a mortal meddling”.

I quickly retracted my arm as Philip continued walking.

What is it though? Who?” I inquired.

A guard positioned at the threshold” came the response.

Threshold of what?”

Philip pointed further down the tunnel towards a light in the distance. We both gathered pace down towards the doorway. Philip walked in first, keeping to the edge of the room. He stood waiting for me to arrive.

What say you of this?” he said, looking almost proud of what was in front of him.

The tunnel through the mountain had suddenly given way to something that looked almost purpose built. It was a large room with tall walls that supported a high ceiling. All were perfectly smooth, almost marble in appearance. Sunlight shone down from gaps in the upper levels leaving round disks of gold on the floor. In the centre of the room there was a large wooden table with intricate carvings across the surface. On each leg of the table were carvings of the same antlered mask worn by the guard outside.

Philip waited for the initial amazement to pass.

This isn’t on the map they give to the tourists” he said.

I shook my head “No, it certainly isn’t”.

There’s talk around this place of a God called Bevran”.

I searched in my head for anything like that name.

I’ve never heard of anybody…”

Philip cut me off.

I refer to my previous point”.

He propped his stick on the table and tapped the wooden surface.

How did you find this place?” I asked.

Philip took a deep breath.

Local legend mentions Bevran being a figure who used to walk the mountain and the woods here. He would pop up every once in a while to remind the mortals he was still very much here”

Have you seen him?”

Not he himself, I’ve only recently discovered this place”.

But how did you make it here, walking through the rocks?”

His voice went low.

I went looking”.

And why show me all this?”

So that somebody else would believe me”.

The room was peaceful, if I strained my ear enough I could just about hear the birds chirping in the high parts of the mountain. There was a satisfactory stillness to the area.

The sound of a footstep came from down the tunnel, quickly followed by another. For a second Philip and I looked at each other as we both tried to silently think what it could have been. An animal of some kind perhaps? Surely not this deep down? Philip stepped away from the table, never taking his eyes off the doorway.

I think it’s been noted that we’re here” he called.

Standing in the doorway was the guard. No longer was this figure made from stone but now of flesh and bone. It’s masked head turned towards both of us before raising the spear over it’s shoulder. It jerked forwards as if trying to shake of years of inactivity. Philip, for reasons known only to himself, proceeded to copy this movement with his stick. There was a stand off over the table. Philip turned his eyes towards me.

Whilst I’ve got him like this I suggest you run” he shouted as the guard brought the spear down, taking a chunk of wood from the table. I turned and ran, only once turning back to see that Philip was not following. I hurtled down the dark tunnel, cowering as best I could through the smaller gaps. It was then I became aware the sound of the footsteps had not gone quiet. Gulping down air I forced myself onwards eventually meeting the stream. The antlers of the guard’s mask scraped across the rocks of the tunnel behind me.

I reached the end of the cavern and had to stop in front of the rock wall. The stones themselves seemed to stand out even in the darkness. I twisted around only to see the outline of the guard running towards me, spear ready. If it had worked before, I thought to myself, then I must work again.

Gathering pace I threw myself headlong towards the wall fully expecting to smash directly into it. Instead the rocks parted and I found myself once again running through the shadowy cloak of the mountain. This time however I did not have Philip’s hand to hold. I could only close my eyes and hope that the guard would not or could not follow. My head was down, a full on charge through chance hoping my luck would hold. My legs could no longer keep up the pace and I collapsed, sucking in every last bit of air I could.

When my eyes opened the sunlight shone down. The early morning sun had risen high in the sky and the grass had lost the dew. The opening of the mountain that had parted for me showed no signs of breaking, the face still steadfast and solid. Philip was nowhere to be seen. I quickly started to dig around in my pockets for the advert I had torn from the newspaper that morning. Once it was back in my hands I unfolded it only to see that it was blank. A scrap and nothing more with no words or numbers upon it. I thought about calling the police to report Philip missing but I had doubts they would ever believe me. A raving lunatic pointing and screaming at a blank piece of paper.

I walked back to my car, staring blankly at the walkers and mountain bikers who were passing in the parking area. I sat in the driver’s seat and took a few deep breaths before turning the ignition and pulling away.

—————

*Sigh*

It tails off a bit at the end there doesn’t it? The pay off of finding a dining table after walking through some rocks probably wasn’t the best idea either. The attempt to get across that Philip is also Bevran ain’t exactly done too well either. Also, it’s really obvious I read Neil Gaiman a lot.

For a knock about piece I did when I was waiting on some technology to work it’s not bad. I haven’t written anything like it in a long while.

Feel free to ask questions about it or tear it apart in the comments below. I won’t cry honest. 🙂

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Deeper Into The Mountain

I should be playing Street Fighter V.

sfv.jpg

It might be released worldwide officially today but I ordered it from a very nice website that managed to send it out first class post on Friday meaning it was here on Saturday night. I’ve had a couple of hours on it over the weekend, enough to remind me that I’m rubbish at it but I still enjoy playing it.

Instead of this I’m writing. Getting further through ‘Hunters of Gods and Demons’ short story which, as a complete surprise to me, I’m actually enjoying writing. I’ve never really done much in the way of writing in the first person before but it seems to be flowing well because of it. I’m not typing away and hating every single word of it as has happened so many times in the past.

When I write a script I’m just applying dialogue to a set up and it would take somebody to come along and film it for it to be a final product. Writing a story means it’s already in the final stage after it’s typed up. It’s pretty cool to have a reaction to something I’ve written almost straight away. The fact I was greeted by a workmate today asking “What’s in the mountain Cam?” was also a pleasing moment.

Part two should be up here in the next couple of days. We’ll find out exactly what’s in the mountain in due course.

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Buddy Holly

I haven’t finished the story yet.

It’s odd that something which I started purely to waste time whilst a blog post wasn’t working has now become something which I feel I must finish. It’ won’t be tonight however as it’s 11:30 and I have work in the morning. I’ve reached what might be the halfway point.

In fact, I might as well do this thing in two halves. Here’s the first part. Please bear in mind it’s been ages since I wrote any kind of short story so I’m open to it being torn apart and/or kicked to death.

HUNTERS OF GODS AND DEMONS (Part 1)

The advertisement in the newspaper had stood out on the page. ‘Adventurers wanted’ were the bold letters on the top of the column, framed by requests for scrap metal and antiques. The page was already upon the café table when I took my seat. Before the coffee had arrived I had examined the wording twice, trying to fill in the missing details as I went along.

‘Long Lost Gods And Demons To Discover.

Please Phone For Details’

I had carefully torn around the edges of paper, stealing the words for myself so nobody else may enquire before I was able. My breakfast arrived and I quickly placed the scrap of paper in my pocket as if it were a contraband substance. The waitress had looked at me, noticed the hole in the middle of the page and possibly thought better about asking why. In between chews of bacon and pancake I had fumbled for my phone to dial the number. There had been no answer and so I had left a message in a low voice. Only a couple of fellow diners raised their eyes from their phones and magazines upon hearing me mention gods and demons. After leaving my number I put my phone back on the table, watching the screen go black after a few seconds.

The frantic moments seemed to have passed. Everybody around me appeared to be going about their day as normal yet my mind still whirred on what creatures could be living nearby that would warrant somebody’s help in finding them. This place was fairly rural with one road running though it. The occasional gathering of buildings were placed almost only to break up the monotony of trees and rocks. It was hardly an opening to hell.

The phone began to buzz across the table, causing the gentleman next to me to tut loudly as it broke the atmosphere. My hand dived to scoop it up from the table before answering it.

Hello” I said cautiously.

Were you calling about the demons?” came the voice of a older man on the other end.

And the Gods as well” I replied.

Are you close to the mountain?”.

About a twenty minute drive”.

Excellent, I’ll meet you in the car park and explain more there”.

He hung up. Leaving the money on the table I paced towards the door, rattling around in my pocket for the car keys as I went.

The drive was accompanied by the sounds of local radio, a phone in about the price of the postal service and how deliveries were being cut down. The sun cut low through the branches overhanging the road. ‘Drive Carefully’ the signs read ‘Beware Animals In Road’. The voice of a now former postman chimed through the car as I pulled into the parking space.

There was initially nobody else around. I switched off the engine yet kept the keys in the ignition. There I sat for a good five minutes or so watching through the windscreen for any other movement. I heard myself speak out loud, in the privacy of the car, saying this had all been far fetched and nobody was really there. If anybody was then they were currently looking through the undergrowth at a man who had fallen for the gag.

Then, from over the brow of the nearby hill, hobbled a man in his 50’s. He carried a stick in his left hand and wore beige trousers and a checked shirt. On his feet were a pair of brown walking boots. He scanned around the car park, holding his free hand over his brow to stop the sunlight from hitting his eyes. He squinted in my direction before slowly beginning to walk over.

I opened the car door and before I could stand he was extending his hand towards me. “Philip Braithwaite” he smiled alongside a jostling handshake “Sorry about not answering the first time, not much mobile reception in the caves”.

Caves?” I asked.

Indeed” he said with a shine in his eyes “Certain creatures don’t like the broad daylight you see”.

He reached into his pocket and brought out a head lamp, the kind that miners use. “You might well need this old boy” he said. I wrapped the soft cloth around my head ensuing the light was facing front. Philip had already turned around, walking back in the direction he had came from. Without turning back he cried “Good to be keen, follow me”.

The stick was no barrier to his movement. I launched myself over rocks and across streams which lapped away at the forest floor. I had only a few moments to look up and see him becoming a small speck in the distance. “There’s a footpath soon” he bellowed back to me. Maybe, I thought to myself, this is some strange man with stories to tell and I should leave him to those. The thought of giving up and just allowing him to walk on ahead occurred to me and yet it was instantly replaced by the question of why anybody would place an advert in the local newspaper asking for help in whatever he thought he would discover.

We arrived at the base of the mountain. The promised footpath had faded away under the feet of many walkers. The wind flowed softly across the grass. Philip held his stick up and tapped it on the stone. “People often imagine Gods as being up in the sky” he pointed upwards “Yet many are here on Earth hiding from us”. He ran a hand across the rocks and stared at them. There followed a few seconds of silence then, without turning to face me, he announced “We need to get inside this”.

The mountain?” I asked in disbelief.

Oh yes” he answered as if this was completely normal.

The tourist entrance is just up the path”.

Dear sir” he exclaimed “Do I look like a tourist to you?”.

He held out a hand and pushed his fingers between two rocks. Before long his arms had followed and the rest of his body was vanishing into the stone folds. Slowly he pushed his way further. As his shoulder became absorbed he turned to me.

Best be following me if you want to see this, it doesn’t hold open for long”.

He held out his remaining hand and I grabbed it, cautiously walking after him with small steps. His body pushed forward, his face disappearing into the stone. Soon my arm followed. In my mind I thought the jagged rocks would shred me, my body tense to the expectation of such an event. When the time came a few seconds later it was like being muffled by a large blanket. The tweeting of the birds outside soon faded to be replaced by a low rumble. I could see nothing ahead, only taking comfort from the fact I still had hold of Philip’s hand.

We’re nearly inside” came his voice, echoing around the darkness “Just a few moments longer”.

It was like standing behind an industrial drill. The vibrations continued making me feel like my brain was rattling inside my head as small fragments of stone dropped from above and bounced on the ground below. I wanted to cover my ears but I could not let go. I was, it would seem, between two worlds. At the moment I thought the noise could not get any louder it stopped as if somebody has disconnected the power. I stood for a few moments, my eyes still closed, until I was sure I was on solid ground. As I took a deep breath back in I felt something poke me in the shoulder. Peering out with one eye first I focused on Philip prodding me with the end of his walking stick.

We’re here” he said with obvious glee.


		
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Death Is Bvt A Door

I would have got more writing done today were it not for small technical glitches. Long time readers will know that I make a wrestling podcast with a few friends called ‘The Conquistabores’. As part of the show’s blog I’m watching all the WWF shows from the late 90’s I missed. Each entry is usually between 4000-5000 words in total and I had carefully edited the entire article about the 1998 Royal Rumble (from California for all you fans of geography) and placed photos in the relevant places. It was then that Tumblr decided to have some kind of fit, graying out the ‘Post’ command. I couldn’t do anything with it as it seemed to be stuck in a loop of backing itself up. I deleted the entire thing and went back in to try again. The text went on fine but the photos meant I was unable to post again. After much swearing I went to the kitchen to get a coffee. Leaving the article to one side I began a short story instead.

I haven’t written much in the way of stories in a while. I started what might end up being a book not that long ago but this is the first time in a while for a self contained story. I haven’t actually planned anything about it but it’s written in the first person so I’m hoping this actually helps it along somewhat. It’s a recollection of an event rather than a polished piece.

I had thought originally that I might be able to finish it tonight. I was wondering what exactly I’d do with it when it’s done. Keeping it saved on a hard drive defeats the whole purpose of writing as it’s important to get your stuff out there so it can be read. Trying to find a place to publish it would take a very long time and wouldn’t guarantee ever seeing the light of day. I’ve reached the conclusion that I could probably finish it on Friday and then I’ll just stick it up on here.

I’ve currently shut it down for the night as it stands at one thousand words. I went back to the wrestling article after this and the gremlins clocked off for the night as it posted fine.

If it’s your bag then you can check it out here.

These two things combined mean I’ve probably done about 3000 words today. Tomorrow night will probably be spent playing video games.

 

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A Thing Of Beauty, Long Remembered

In between writing about my own struggles to get things I write made/screened/published I often like to support others in getting their stuff off the ground. The first ever project I supported on Kickstarter was a comic called Bust which ended up being released. I have one of the first signed copies in my bookshelf complete with my name in the back.

Bust was created by a guy called Dave Cook. I don’t know Dave, I’ve never met him but I follow him on Twitter and it’s fair to say he sounds like a fine sort of gentleman so it was brilliant to see him succeed. I also put some money towards the second volume of Bust which is due out soon.

The reason I’m writing this is that he’s created a whole other comic series called ‘Vessels’ which looks brilliant and I’ve put more money his way so that it becomes a reality also.

The link is right here if you fancy having a look at it yourself.

If you can give something to help the project along then please do because Dave’s proven before he can deliver the goods and his stuff is amazing. The campaign currently has nineteen days to run and one of the stretch goals is to produce the whole thing in lovely shiny coloured pages which look pretty phenomenal.

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The Bear, The Bull & The Punk

How do you begin a film? What should the opening scene be? How should you grab attention?

I think I’m ready to bolt together a scene by scene now. It’s the final piece before we head out of base camp for the long climb ahead. The dilemma is that I’m starting this story at the end of the main character’s research trip. It feels like it’s winding down just when I want to apply the pressure.

I might start with another character getting back to Earth first. He ends up being safe and sound back with his family. We then cut back to space and our main protagonist remains up among the stars waiting for her ride home.

Which, after a few pages, we know will never come.

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Fearing The Reaper

I’m in bed as Storm Henry is battering the house (and pretty much the entire of Scotland by the sounds of it). My wife is on a nightshift so the cat has decided to place himself where she would usually be. My Son finally fell asleep around 10:30pm. I have to be upstairs with him tonight because it’s part of his procedure for somebody to be there for him. Being downstairs somehow doesn’t count.

I have my notebook however and I’ve been writing the outline for the script over and over again. I had planned to spend last week, which I had booked off work, writing solid scenes and having half half the thing finished simply from bring able to spend hours each day on it.

I am still planning. Still marking up diagrams. Still changing details.

It’s not usually like this. I’d be writing it by now and probably grinding my teeth through draft one. Here’s the problem I’ve had and I’d appreciate your thoughts on this one.

When does a concept become a story?

I have my stranded astronaut who wakes up to find that mission control are reporting the shuttle has left for Earth with her on board. She tries to radio home to say this is impossible as she’s still there. They take no notice. Soon they will shut down the oxygen and power to the base. Our astronaut is in a blind panic, what can she do?

One voice cuts through the static.

“I believe you” it says.

As hard as it is for me to admit, this is a concept. It’s the blurb on the back of the DVD. I’m trying to build this up to be a story and failing a lot. She has an obvious goal in wanting to get home but how does she take steps to carry this out? I find myself with a great five minutes but nothing else to fill the other eight five minutes plus.

And it’s gnawing at me.

Because I should be better at this.

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