Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Fool: The Album

I'm back at it again; writing The Fool, my sequel to 2007's Self. I've been spurred on by the ridiculously good Boyhood movie. It's my on-off journey, asking "what happened to Horatio Maguire?"

Last time I was this productive on the idea was July 2013. A full year on, half a new draft is written and, d'know what? It isn't half bad (if I do say so, myself!).

As with every script I write, I do so listening to a number of different songs - that emotionally grab me, and help set the mood/tone for what I write.

Here's what I'm currently listening to, and how the song is contributing to what's going through my creative mind:


"Make Your Own Kind of Music" - Mama Cass

Self ends with this playing. In my mind, it's a reminder of where we left the character of Horatio before, and from that I form all sorts of ideas about what happened after the original film ended. What did he do next? What paths did he fall upon, and where did that lead him in life?

 I think it's probably the most important song in reminding me what the project is, and where it should be heading.


"Poison" - Alice Cooper

I see this playing at the end of The Fool, almost as if we end with a newly confident Horatio who is writing again; perhaps cocky, and feeling more than a little anarchic? I think he needs that, having spent the last 7 years of his life living an oppressed existence, hiding even from himself what he truly is - a writer.


"Get Happy" - Frank Sinatra

Ah, good old Frank.

It sounds like it could be lifted straight from Self. It's an old fashioned life-is-good sort of swing. I think Horatio would hear, and judge it with a sense of irony. His life isn't good - and he's anything but happy. Frank's taunting him when the song plays - almost laughing at him.

But then... could Horatio's life be good again? Of course! It's a hint of what's to come for our hero.

"Hero" - Family of the Year

Taken from the Boyhood film/trailer. It reminds me of the power of that film, and pushes me to get this passion project of mine completed!


"Somebody I Used To Know" - Gotye

The whole theme of the film!! In a song!!


"Japanese Boy" - Aneke

Horatio would like this sort of cheesy 80s pop, I think. I dunno why, it'd just be his 'thing' - in the same way we played Adam & the Ants during Self.


"Sound & Vision (2013)" - David Bowie

There's something simple, but haunting about this remix of Bowie's track. When I listen to it, especially vs. the traditional 70s version, I hear something hollow, and stripped back. This is exactly how I think of Horatio now - so far removed from what he once was, and could be again.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Productive 5am Post

It's 5am. My body seems to have become use to this unnaturally early time. Today, thankfully, at least I'm using the early morning hours, and productively.

I just sent the last two and a bit hours pencilling out a general outline of my Assassin comic book series. See, I'm up to Volume 4 of the story now, and although I have an over-riding story (our hero is stranded some 500 years into the future) and a theme for this run of stories (a person's freedom) something just wasn't clicking into place, creatively, in my mind.

Today, I think I may just have cracked the case! It's funny how, as a writer, things just come to you out of the blue. I do think we curse ourselves, us creative types, by simply staring at blank paper - because once something (hell, anything!) is written down on paper, our brains immediately click into gear, and begin to think up better ideas... and suddenly, the paper isn't blank anymore. We just need to overcome that initial fear of nothing being jotted down, or committed to paper.

So, I can sleep easy for once. I have the outline for the series done, and a definitive breakdown of chapters 1-3, with a 4 gathering thought within my mind right now. To top it off, I've got a great idea for an end of Volume cliffhanger, that could lead into the next slice of the story. You have no idea how great it feels when, after years of trying to think something up, a solution finally offers itself.

More to come!

Night night.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ever Shifting

I'm 25; not exactly 'past it', but I've accumulated plenty already. So many personal histories, that I can look back on - and suddenly realise just how long ago they actually happened.

Recent events always feel too fresh in the mind, that they don't quite register as history. No, for that to happen I think a few years have to pass. Let me give you an example:

When I first moved to London back in 2010, the period 2007-2009 felt recent. Events that had happened between those dates were well embedded in my mind, still perfectly formed memories. I had friends that I met in 2007, that I was still friends with in 2010. The relationships that we shared hadn't changed much, and had become comfortable and very familiar.

Now, 2010 feels like a lifetime ago; but I think it's the fringe of my current 'recent history'. So much time has passed since then, that that 2007-2009 period has been relegated to a hazy period of my life, where lots of things I can no longer remember happened, and I knew people who I no longer keep in contact with. Facebook and Timehop flash back to my history across these years, and I don't recognise what I see. I look so young! I'm doing something stupid! I did that? I wrote that? Eh?!

It's curious, how time shifts, all around us. Today, I checked in (read: stalked) an ex of mine, Clare. It hit me when I did... I don't know this person anymore. She's shifted, too. Worse still, I couldn't remember the connection we'd had. Does that make sense? I loved somebody for a chunk of my life, and I've forgotten why. History has taken that away from me.

Then I looked at (again, read: stalked) my first girlfriend. Her familiar smile smiled back, but this time all I saw a stranger - from my own history, now twice removed.

It's started to happen to my last girlfriend, too - and that relationship was only last year!!

When you think about it, it's an amazing process of change. Every day, in its own small way, has contributed to this new 2014 me; that the 2007 self probably wouldn't even recognise. Sometimes I wonder to myself what would happen if the girl I dated in 2006 met the 2014 version of me, not their twinned 2006 boyfriend. It's a curious experiment. I think the Katie from back then wouldn't like some of the changes she saw in me - the cynicism, the beard, the general grumpiness. Then again, her breaking up with me initiated some of those changes in me - so I'd certainly bite back! I think she'd find good, too. Certainly she'd like the new found confidence, and the fact I live in London, and have been exposed to a greater culture than we could ever imagine for me back in 2006.

But that's a dangerous path to tread, I think. No point living in the past. Time shifts, and I think it's our responsibility to shift with me, or risk being left behind.

I haven't spoken to one of my friends, Jack, in a while - and this experiment is a live one between me and you. We've changed in the two years since last contact. Imagine the personality clash when we eventually meet back up, and play catch up to one another's life shifts?

Back to the point: We all change, and that's a pretty incredible thing. It's like when you drive, and round a sudden corner. To begin with you, going into it, you have no idea what lies around it once turned. But then the car twists, you see the new reality ahead of you; and you're OK with it. However, sadly, you can no longer see the road behind you fully, as you've turned away.

***

Look up ahead of you: There's a sharp corner.

Turn!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

400 Blows

I'm rapidly approaching my 400th blog post - but before I hit that milestone, I've made a decision about the future of this blog. I'm shutting it down.

Yes, I've said this before and then doubled back on the decision - however, this time it feels right.

In 2014, I don't think that blogs are particularly 'cool' anymore, or necessarily the best way a writer can communicate with his or her audience. I'll look for a new medium to do that. What it will turn out to be, I have no idea. I'm not ruling out a return to blogging, on BlogSpot or any other blogging tool - but it needs to come with a clean break, away from 10 previous years of blog posts.

To me, it's important that the next phase of my life has as fresh a beginning as possible. As much as possible needs to be unexplored - because, in my mid-twenties it does sometimes feels like I'm being weighed down a little too much by what has gone before, including its angst and heartbreak. I'm nostalgic at 25... when I should be looking ahead, forging new corners for myself.

Besides, I don't think it's much of a secret that nobody reads this anyway, except my good friend Jack who has been a loyal follower since day one. Hey Jack, I hope you're well. I hope you understand my decision, and the need for my voice to present itself a little differently in the future.

What becomes of this blog then? Well, I've still got a few more things to say on it before I disappear. First of all, I'll track my job hunting, and eventual resignation from the cinema. There's also a few lingering posts that I need to conclude, and finally get 'out there'. After that... well, the first 400 posts will start to disappear for good. I'll move them from public viewing, to private - meaning they won't be accessible to anybody but myself.

Then when the time is right, I'll be back - in a new format, somewhere else (or maybe here, just de-cluttered and reset to zero) - maybe this time, a little less of a cliché!

So, thanks for reading up to this point. The countdown begins...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Unforgotten Few #3 - Foreign Devils & Camper: Space Alien

Another entry in my series of posts surrounding ideas or scripts that were dropped before completion.

#1 - Doctor Who & Sarah Jane Smith
#2 - Peter Pea & Friends

This time:

Foreign Devils & Camper: Space Alien

Foreign Devils

A prose series I wrote between 2003 and 2009. Originally it span out of the Peter In The USA series I wrote, which centred around a British 20-something called Peter Hail moving to and living in America. It featured his friends, and on/off girlfriend Chloe Mansfield.

Peter and Chloe ultimately broke up for good, and Chloe departed America, to help out in an African region called Mucano. The area had recently been hit by an earthquake and she formed part of a relief team trying to put the area back together again.

The series lasted for 5 seasons, each of growing confidence and complexity. It ended prematurely, as I originally had planned a good 10 seasons worth of stories - but then I started writing scripts, and the idea of two page prose stories seemed so small, and distant.

At the height of writing this series, it was in my head all the time. Literally. I remember sitting down on the toilet, thinking to myself "Well if we do x storyline in season 7, we can pay that off in season 10..." I liked to plan ahead! It was the closest I ever came to feeling like a genuine showrunner on one of these fancy US shows. If only!

Ultimately though, I don't think much good would have come out of seasons 6-10. The formula was already starting to repeat itself; although I had planned to introduce new characters, and - in a very soapy turn of events - even bring one character back from the 'dead'. Oh yessss.

What would have happened? The African government would have been corrupted, and the man named new President would have then done some pretty bad things. Our heroes would have gotten involved, and eventually brought him down.

As it stands, the series ended on a deliberate cliffhanger. The President still ended up corrupt; but we as readers only witnessed the beginning of this. Our heroes are attacked, and begin to fight back... at which point, it's the end of the story.

Every now and then I get a niggle to go back and revisit the series. Maybe not creating a sixth season, but by writing the odd special. Most recently, six months ago, I had the idea of beginning the new story some time later - the new President having been brought down, and the story being about what happens next. I like that. It avoids the cliffhanger ending, and starts afresh.

We'll see. Maybe it will happen one day.

2. Camper: Space Alien

The story of an alien living on Earth, doing his best (or perhaps that should be worst) to disguise himself in to the general population of the Texan town he now called home.

My first attempt at writing something funny, and it didn't pan out like I'd hoped. Early storylines about Camper getting drunk off of battery acid were overly surreal, but not very amusing. I have to admit, at the time I was very embarrassed by my own writing of the series.

Season 2 was a little better, perhaps because I was a older, and able to focus on the characters more. I introduced new concepts, and situations, and you know it got to the point where it was a decent series - but never anything more.

That was it's main problem. Ultimately, I axed the series 2 seasons in to a proposed 5 season run. Camper was supposed to see many more adventures - involving conspiring government agencies, alien invasions, and fatherhood. But I stopped the story in its tracks, before it got too silly for even itself.

I don't think the plans for seasons 3-5 still exist. If they did, I'd take them pretty much as 'canon'. By that, I mean that what's written on them probably did still happen to the characters - it's just that we're not around to read about it! (And that's not me being lazy I don't think, but rather me knowing when something isn't working, and pulling the plug at the right time!)

NEXT TIME... Assassin Volumes 4 and 5!