Thursday, 27 September 2007

More translation fun...

I recently posted about translating the blog into Korean and back. Oh, the fun.

Thought I'd give it another go, and so I translated this article from Yahoo into Sensible (a long forgotten, dead language) and back. It came out something like this:
"Jack Straw says it's okay to be a vigilante! So go grab a baseball bat and cave a drug dealer's head in, people! You know that bit in American History X where Edward Norton crushes the guy's head against the pavement? Give it a go! Or check out Death Wish! It's all good."
Weird how these things come out sometimes, isn't it?

UPDATE: Also worth seeing the tragic reality behind my somewhat glib post...

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

I am largely covered in paint...

No bloggy goodness for the past week, as I have been decorating my new house. After a couple of weeks of making it look worse than when we moved in, it's finally started looking lovely.

On the screenwriting side of life, Red Planet first round announcement has been moved back a bit, as noted by The Bearded Child and the lovely folks at Red Planet themselves.

So, no need to feverishly check my e-mails for another couple of weeks.

I'm going to anyway though. That's how I have fun.

P.S. Dreamt that I met the drama commissioner from the BBC last night, who in said dream was a crinkly old lady living in an attic office in the style of Miss Havisham.

UPDATE: For the avoidance of doubt, the whole Mrs. Havisham thing was a genuine dream, and not a satire of Kate Rowland, who is a youthful and I'm sure very nice lady, and bless her for setting up the writersroom.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Fun with Korean...

Translating my blog into Korean and back to amuse myself (don't judge me) I found at that the following sentence

"This has come off a lot more maudlin than I'd intended."

translates as

"This fell sentiment it went out to prearrange the man with underdeveloped genital organ it did and it sees it came."

Hurrah for the internet.

Monday, 17 September 2007

A plea for sanity...

Will all the people emptying their Northern Rock accounts please stop?

You are not helping matters.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Crunch time...

There it goes again on its own.

The miniseries rewrite of Seven Spires, 90 page screenplay for part one and a scene by scene for part two, has gone off to the lady-who-is... I'm bored of typing that now. It's gone to the agency that seems to like me.

I've rewritten, proof read, rewritten, proof read, proof read and then proof read. I'm not going to look at either the script or scene by scene again for a good long while, because I know there will still be hundreds of typos that I somehow did not spot. I swear some typos only become visible to the human eye once a script's in the post. Writer's camouflage, I shall call it.

Pretty much crunch time on this. If they don't like it, they may ask to see some more of my stuff in the future, but I think that door will be pretty much closed; maybe ajar. They know what I'm like as a writer, and whilst I hope to keep getting better, it's unlikely that there'll be a sea-change in my style. So if they don't go with it now... that's probably it.

Of course, they may like it, think they can sell it (probably more important, they liked it in its last draft...) and sign me up. In which case hoorays and party balloons all round.

This has come off a lot more maudlin than I'd intended. Hmmmmm... Here's Spec Monkey celebrating that the script's gone off. Look at the monkey. Look at the funny little monkey...

Spec Monkey celebrates me finishing Seven Spires

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

When research attacks...

I got very excited this morning when I started to properly outline one the ideas that I yesterday declared I would write by the end of the year. I had a sneaking suspicion it was great.

I rang up my brother, a good sounding board for story ideas, and pitched it to him. He responded that it sounded like "the best idea ever". My girlfriend liked it a lot too, and she's hard to pitch to.* This was a magic idea.

But, but, but... one of the key characters is a historical person. Doing a bit of Wiki-research on them, when - gah! - I see there's a film coming out in 2009, about the same character at roughly the same point in their life, with an Oscar winning screenwriter and an Bafta nominated actor in the lead. Oh, as they say, for fuck's sake.

But you know what? Bollocks to them. I'm writing my screenplay. If you couldn't write a movie because there was something similar, we'd have to choose between Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. That's not a choice I want to make.

Plus: even if by some miracle my screenplay does get made, it'll probably be in about 2012 at the absolute guardian-angels-coming-down-and-giving-me-the-budget-themselves earliest, by which point everyone will have forgotten about the stupid little Oscar calibre film. Plus plus: given the past works of the writer involved, and the high (mile-high, sky-high, as high as Cheech Marin sitting on the Moon high) concept of my screenplay, I doubt they'll have much in common. Certainly no grapnels in his version.

There. Have I talked myself back into writing it yet?

* This may sound like I'm preaching to the converted, pitch wise, but actually both my girlfriend and brother are very hard to impress. They've never outright told me something's a bad idea, but if you've not sold it to them, the response will star with 'Hm. Well...'

Monday, 10 September 2007

Sword fights, dastadry and at least one airship...

Regular followers of this blog (Hi, how are you both?) will know that I've recently sold my flat.

In the (exactly) 23 months that I lived there, I've really stepped up my attempts at being a writer, but I've written surprisingly little*:
  • Dead Air: A knockabout monster movie that got me my first nice letters from agents;
  • Hiatus: An action thriller albatross that unanimously killed any interest that those agents had in me; and
  • Seven Spires: A TV pilot which got me back on track, spiritually and in the nice letters department.
That's not a lot, not really. Not when I compare myself to David Bishop, who I believe is only behind Gary Lineker and Bobby Charlton for goals scored. Mostly, it's been because Seven Spires has taken up so much time, but that's an excuse, and my portfolio's still limited.

Hence: this year, I'm going to write as much as I did in the previous two. Currently fermenting in my brain are:
  • Nightshift: A TV pilot for a lowish budget British SF series;
  • Limbo: A low budget ghost story, feature; and
  • Alexandrina: Being an exciting and very slightly pre-Victorian romance, with sword fights, dastadry and at least one airship. Feature. Probably not low budget.
By September 10th, 2008, these three will be committed to paper, I shall have a significantly bigger portfolio, and all will be right with the world. Hurrah.

Getting an agent this year would also be nice...

* There was other stuff, lots of it, written during this time, but none of it was finished, so I don't count it.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Keep on moving...

Sorry for the M-People reference, but...


I now own a house! With a garden! And a tree! And a shed! I'm going to have to buy a lawn mower!

I am, officially, a man.

... and remembering that this is ostensibly a screenwriting blog, here's some Seven Spires news: Just been in touch with writersroom to ask how it was going, and I've made it past the dreaded 'read ten pages and returned' phase.

It's currently undergoing a full read, at which point it could a) come back a bit later with a BBC reader's report, which would be invaluable, b) like a, but with a request to read my next script, which would be lovely, or (and this is the one least likely and hence the best...) c) I get invited to London to talk about the script.

At this point, I'm just glad it won't be coming back without notes. But a man can dream...

UPDATE: Lawnmower acquired. Hoooh, yes.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Dramatic irony...

I'm a geek, but I never thought of myself as that much of a geek. I've never worn Vulcan ears, or attended a convention. I am not Moss from The I.T. Crowd. I like to think as myself as geeky but cool, like Seth Green.

Then I reviewed my last five ebay purchases: here, here, here, here and here.

Apparently I'm a massive geek. Time to re-evaluate my place on the hierarchy.

Blogging about this makes me geekier again, doesn't it? Dammit.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Cheese is murder...

I’m a vegetarian*. Not a vegan. I love cheese. MMMmmmm, cheese, I say. Eggs as well, and milk. Put them all together, you've got yourself a quiche. Yum.

I have to be a bit careful with cheese though. A lot of cheese, including parmesan, has rennet in it. Most people don’t know what rennet is, which is awkward, and see no reason that I won’t eat some cheeses. If I check cheese to see if it’s veggie, I am often told I’m being fussy or strange.

So here’s what rennet is: it’s an enzyme taken from the gut of a freshly slaughtered calf.

Gross, isn’t it? Not, by anyone’s defintition, vegetarian.

So why, when recently offered the choice between a meat course and a vegetarian course, did the vegetarian option have three different sorts of non-vegetarian cheese in it? That’s not a fucking vegetarian option, is it? That’s calf guts. If you’re going to give me something from a dead animal, you might as well give me a steak. I miss steak. If I one day give in and have a steak, fine, but I’m not going to sacrifice my beliefs when you could just go to the fucking supermarket and buy some vegetarian cheese!

The caterers said that they couldn’t cater to my ‘specific needs’. Specific needs? You asked if I wanted to have a vegetarian option. I said yes. You failed to provide me with one. You, specifically, are ignorant and offensive.

And relax.

Don’t even get me started on trying to buy trainers...

* I've got no problem with other people eating meat, or other animal based products. I wish they didn't, but it's their choice. Just like it's my choice not to.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

GAH! (Red Planet...)

E-mailed my entry to the Red Planet Prize on Thursday. Good boy me.

Got message this morning saying that the mail had been refused because their mailbox was full. Gah! Gah! Gah!

Bearded Child has had the same problem:

Have commented on Danny Stack's blog, hopefully he'll come back to me with some advice. Help me, scribo-dad!

UPDATE: Danny Stack, who is indeed a top geezer, has sorted me out. Phew. Thanks, Danny.