Okay, I own up! I’ve been rather slack at updating the blog recently, being busy isn’t the best excuse, but what can I say – hey, I’ve been busy! So here is a brief ramble, sorry, I mean “update” covering a couple of the things I’ve been up to recently:
If you weren’t already aware – I am a massive James Bond fan. My absolute dream would be to one day direct a Bond film, I would pour my heart and soul into this if the opportunity ever happened. Of course the likelihood is that I will never get to direct a Bond film, but this doesn’t mean I won’t try to make my own spy-thriller further down the line (even if it is only a short). I love the books too, it’s fair to say that my favourite entries in the franchise are generally the ones which follow closer to the original Fleming novels. Therefore it was a great pleasure to go to a book launch signing for the latest novel Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver. This was held at the Diamond Light Source facility. We were firstly greeted by this rather wonderful car, a Bentley (which harkens back to the Fleming novels, rather than the Aston Martin which is associated to the films).
After having a quick browse around and quaffing a vodka martini, the event which was organised by Mostly books (my favourite local book shop in the Oxfordshire region) kicked off. Jeffrey talked for about an hour on how he loved the novels, how he updated Bond and perhaps most interestingly the process he goes through as an author (interesting stuff). This was all done in a refreshingly candid, witty style which resonated with me because of the script drafting which the Flanders project is currently going through. I’m really looking forward to reading the novel, and I really believe in the writing integrity that Jeffrey brings to his stories. I got to have a quick chat with him afterwards about the differences between writing a novel and a screenplay. He was extremely gracious and encouraging, plus he likes Scotch Whiskey – how can I dislike him?
As if this wasn’t enough excitement, last weekend I decided to tread far outside of my usual comfort zone where I attended Chris Jones‘ Guerilla film-makers master-class (if you are a film-maker and you don’t already have Chris’ Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint – this comes highly recommend and should you want to check out a copy – please help Chris out buying it directly rather than via Amazon). As expected this was an exceptional event, filled with humour, interesting anecdotes, invaluable information which were presented in a very matter of fact manner (sometimes brutally so). It was also a great place to network with other like-minded film-makers and the event was as much about networking/collaborating as it was about learning the ropes from someone who has “been there and done that”. Friday evening kicked off with a brief informal chat between Chris and Rhys Davies who directed the film Zombie Undead – a guerilla film made for £3500, which the distributor Metrodome bought for a substantially higher figure. This is one of the occasional British Indie success stories you hear about – most sadly seem to fall by the way-side. I chatted briefly to Rhys and obtained a copy of the film (I will watch it at some point – although judging by the IMDB rating, I won’t hold out too much expectation. It important to support a fellow film-maker where I can though). It was great to know he filmed it in much the same way as my first short Gardening and other Crimes (both used a Sony FX1 camera before the DSLR revolution really hit and we both micro-crewed – covering far too many roles than would ordinarily be healthy). Then came the main event which was a chat with the Oscar winner’s David Seidler (writer) and Gareth Unwin (producer) who made the The Kings Speech. Very inspiring stuff, with David captivating the audience with his various anecdotes on how the project happened (he had a stammer and the King was actually his role-model), how they managed to attract Geoffrey Rush and how the Queen Mother was involved. After the event, I got to chat briefly to Gareth about how I should go about attracting a producer and the difficulties of re-creating a period drama. He took my card and said that his production team would get in contact – I’ll believe this if I see it – but at least the pitch seemed reasonable enough for him to request further details from me.
The rest of the master-class event was over the Saturday and Sunday – all great stuff, almost non-stop and completely brain-melting (felt the strange sensation of being emotionally drained and completely fired-up by the end). Plus I had met some truly wonderful (and occasionally quite mad) people at this event who I will endeavor to keep in contact with. One or two of these might hopefully collaborate on the Flanders project (hope to make some announcements further down the line). In between the script drafting I’ve also offered my help for some other productions too. One such production is by Mike Facherty who wants to produce a two-minute short. I’ve offered to my services as an editor. Mike is a local film-maker who I met at the event and ended up chatting to in great detail on the train journey home. I will also update this blog with any development on this project too – I’m really looking forward to having a go at editing again – this should be fun! Plus this time I’m not editing my own film, something I really regret doing with my last project.