Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Picking a Project

So it's post-Edinburgh Film Festival, pre-Picturehouses cinema tour with CrimeFighters, and I'm deciding what projects to work on next. Because the worst thing now would be to rest on our laurels. And we haven't made that joke before.

You know, our... EIFF laurels? Sighhhh...

We have a slate of films lined up for shooting over the next couple of years including the P.I. and Zomblog movies in 2011/12, my short film Gallery this autumn, with my next feature Amber next spring.

At this point, as well as developing Amber, I want to be writing, writing, writing, not just for enjoyment but also to get a lot of ideas down into scripts so that they can be developed as future projects or sold for other directors to work on. There's the musical - and at the moment I'm focusing on the main song for the promo - and the two comedy horror scripts... but one popped into my head today which, inspired by recent events, is a romantic and rather sexy comedy. So that should be fun to write!

I wrote 6 pages and a treatment for the romantic comedy - which is definitely not a genre piece - which is a good day's work and about average for me. The characters came into my mind fully formed which is also a good sign, and the ending and structure of the film are very clear to me. This is the kind of script I'd love to direct with big(ish) money and some damn fine actors. It's very actory.

So I'm going to develop that over the next few weeks as well as the other things. I don't want to spread myself too thinly but these are all very distinct films with different themes that wouldn't work all rolled into one film. So they might be rolled into a dozen films instead.

Work to do...

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival

The world premiere of CrimeFighters (i.e. not for cast and crew) was, I must say, a complete triumph!

We got a warm round of applause from the audience as we stepped up to introduce the film, then within minutes of it starting there were ripples of laughter around the room which developed into belly laughs and groans of recognition at the predicaments of the characters, and finally a round of applause for the film's twist and punchline. Really a dream premiere!

(thanks to Marcus Wilson for this pic)

(and Kat Angus for this one!)

It gave me a wonderful feeling knowing that this was a room full of complete strangers (save the few cast and crew and a couple of friends that were there). These folks had picked up the EIFF brochure, read this:

...and decided to take a chance on a small unknown film, much the same way the festival had. So far the film had screened to friends and family, cast and crew, and some had loved it and some thought it was OK, but this screening cemented in my mind (because after making a film you can lose perspective when it comes time to actually watch it) that we did our best and made the film we set out to make.

And then we got this rather nice 4 star review.

Now, I am fully aware that not everyone is going to like this film and we may have some scathing or lacklustre reviews coming up (and a few good ones from what I hear) but at this point I am kind of beyond caring. This was the best launch we could have had and I finally have that feeling of breaking out of just showing films in York, and now having the chance to share them with the rest of the country/world.

I get the feeling that whether or not CrimeFighters ends up being popular with critics, it will be with audiences, and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming cinema tour. David Lynch said that every time he watched one of his films with a different audience, it made the film different. That's certainly true of CrimeFighters at EIFF; it's hard to watch your own films sometimes after slaving away at them for months, but our audience made it an absolute joy.

The next day I did one of those TV interviews where you sit in front of a poster of the film which was pretty cool:

...and chatted with various journalists about the making of the film and future of our production company.

All in all, my first big film festival experience was just perfect. Let's hope there are many more.

Friday, 18 June 2010

There and Back Again.

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. It's been nearly two months since my last blog.

Here are the reasons.

I don't know if anyone even reads this. Well, I know two or three that do. And then I thought Miles, so what if anyone reads it, this is for you isn't it? Ok, then why publish it online? Because I'm a compulsive writer/sharer of pointless information and this is the perfect format.


I then thought Miles, you should get on with writing actual scripts and getting them made into films for people to see instead of writing your banal thoughts down in a blog. People are interested in your films (or not) and not your blahs.

I also started thinking it might not be such a good idea to broadcast my thoughts and feelings to the world, for various reasons. And then I thought Miles, don't be a dick. There's nothing on here you wouldn't want anyone reading. I'm pretty open for a guarded person so I thought fuck it, I'm going to write another blog. This is that blog, hello.

Another reason was because so much has happened in the past few weeks that writing a blog hasn't even been on my mind. But now I actually have things to say and news to report.

So, first of all, CrimeFighters has been accepted into this year's (next week's in fact, eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) Edinburgh International Film Festival. This is absolutely amazing news and has given me such a boost post-film finishage (I remember having a real slump after BandWagons but one that led to where we are now). Our EIFF inclusion has started opening up many promising doors and interest from filmy types that may lead to things like representation, selling scripts, publicity for Zomblog, DVD distribution and so forth. Basically not enough to kick back and buy a yacht, but impetus to work my ass off as a writer and filmmaker because now I know it's absolutely going to be worth it.

OK it was always worth it, but up until recently I was thinking WHEN is it going to be worth it? Which you can't blame me for after a decade of customer service jobs both good and bad. Now I know whenever I sit down to write a screenplay it's going to be sellable or makeable or marketable, and most importantly perhaps it means that people will see the finished film.

So the scripts I'm working on at the moment are:

- A Dogme-style comedy drama which I'll be filming in Bristol in Spring 2011.
- A musical. Oh yes. Like Glee? Shit no.
- A comedy horror set in the 80s and not involving zombies.
- Another comedy horror not set in the 80s and also not involving zombies. But with a monster.

I have also written a short film script called Gallery for Paul Richardson, my friend and DoP on CrimeFighters, to direct this Autumn. It's the one I was working on a for a while about a guy's view of the female friends in his life. Quite Woody Allen I guess, very festival friendly we hope, one that was very personal to write and one that I'm proud of.

Tony is working on the script for the feature film of Zomblog and we're getting an office and making MilesTone Productions into an actual production company instead of 'Miles and Tony Enterprises Inc'. We're planning another feature next year from Tony's script A Simple Investigation. That one's set in York as well.

Then there's Zomblogalypse, my main lurve, and something I shall be involved with for a good few years yet. Season 3 will roll out over the next few months all the way to Hallowe'en, and the show has attracted the fandom of people we really admire like Sandeep Parikh and Felicia Day who we would LOVE to get in the Zomblog movie, but for now it means a lot that they even watch it. I really should get a copy of CrimeFighters to Joss Whedon...

So that's me, that's what I've been up to and what I shall be up to for the next few years of my life. It's amazing how platitudes like 'Don't give up' and 'Believe in yourself' can actually turn out to be true. There's a long way to go yet, and I couldn't have done it without a huge list of people, but I'll save that for the awards speeches.

Come on, a guy can dream. I have that on good authority.