Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oh noes!

Last week I told a room full of professional online media people from all over the world (all of whom had Warcraft rankings much higher than mine) that this bloke right, who'd been playing too much Katamari Damacy had been, like totally driving past a mailbox? And had swerved into it instinctively, because it was smaller than him, and that's what you do in Katamari Damacy, OMFG right this is soooooo true, and he nearly totally dieded, LOLZ!!!!'

Anyway, I've just realised I was thinking of this cartoon.

*burns with shame*



In other news...

Only putting this in because I'm getting emails already: yes, there is stuff happening in the colonies but no I can't even begin to talk about, other than to say 'eek', and also possibly 'hmm'.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bleeeeauuuugh.

Note to self: whilst a few sprigs of rosemary put in with roast potatoes and parsnips works very well, putting double the amount into a chicken casserole makes it smell and taste like pot pourri.

This then induced a Jacob's Ladder-style series of nested flashbacks to previous cooking disasters, including:

1. Boiled turkey mince.
2. The first time, when I lived in Penryn, that my and then-flatmate attempted to using her oven for something other than boiling pasta, so we roasted a chicken, which worked very well, although we then put the carcass back in the oven and forget all about it. So three weeks later, when the rising stench finally reminded us what we'd done, the savaged remains were by then so fuzzy with brightly-coloured moulds, it looked like H.R. Giger had designed a Muppet.
3. Making 'twists' at cubs camp. 'Twists' are flour and milk turned into paste, wound around sticks, burnt on a campfire and thrown away. They have no reason to exist, other than for ritual purposes, like communion wafers, or Alan Yentob.

UPDATE: Kaiki's comment just reminded me that for my last christmas at the bookshop in Canterbury, I made all my closest work chums a gift bag each of coconut squares, some white and some pink.

ASSEMBLED RESPONSE OF ENTIRE BOOKSHOP STAFF, EACH OF WHOM HAD AT LEAST ONE ARTS DEGREE, AND HAD KNOWN ME FOR OVER FOUR YEARS: 'I didn't know you were gay'.

Because that's what gay people do with their time, they make coconut squares, like Alexander the Great.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Last night...

...at a party at somewhere located "beneath Glass, on the former site of Elysium....." which also has a secret tunnel, and "and a lighting system which lets the untouchables see the touchables, but not vice versa", I stood in an indoor gazebo and accidentally spat fish on a Guardian television reviewer during a conversation about Battlestar Galactica.

How many of you can say that, hmm? HOW MANY OF YOU CAN SAY THAT?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Coke love kittens!

According to the Media Guardian site (can't link directly as you have to sign in):

"Coca-Cola has avoided potential litigation by reaching an agreement with a London-based band over the use of a video clip and music that resembled the group's song, Ninja.

The agreement covers a payment to the band, called Seven Seconds of Love, with a portion of the money going to two charities - baby charity Tommy, and stillbirth society Sands.

Seven Seconds of Love is headed by Joel Veitch, more well-known for the cult website rathergood.com and his video of an animated cat bouncing around in a Ninja suit.

The band approached Coca-Cola after fans in South America contacted them to let them know about the TV and online campaign promoting Coca-Cola Light, which used a similar creative execution to Ninja's animation and music. The Ninja track was only available online.

The solicitors Olswang* brokered the agreement between the band and Coca-Cola Latin America.

"The band was in a strong position because it owns various forms of intellectual property for the Ninja song and video," said Michael Burdon, head of intellectual property and a partner at Olswang.

"This dispute clearly demonstrates the international nature of international property rights and enforcement. The band may never have known about the ad in Argentina if it had not been for the internet."

Seven Seconds of Love will be using the some of the money to help launch an EP that will feature the Ninja track.
In addition, Peter Jenner of Sincere Management, who has 40 years experience managing the likes of Pink Floyd, T.Rex, The Clash and Billy Bragg, has signed on as manager of the band."


Hurrah for the internet! (and the for steam-powered media nodes that picked up the story as well, to be fair, or I doubt Coke would have given a monkey's, but there we go, new media and old working in harmony, like when the homemade Stealth Viper took on that weird spidership while it was distracted by two different older spaceships on Battlestar Galactica in series two) An inside informant told me that one particular news studio had purchased a whole set of plush ninja kittens to (discreetly) show their support, so they'll be pleased. A good day for lovers of S. K. A. music everywhere.


* hahahahhaha 'Olswang'


Monday, January 22, 2007

Being Charity Mugged for Attention Deficit Disorder on Chiswick High Street

HOW IT SHOULD HAVE GONE:

CHUGGER: Hi, we're trying to raise money for kids with ADD?
ME: Great! Put me down, I've always thought- ooh look, a weasel!

I wander off.



HOW IT ACTUALLY WENT:

CHUGGER: Hi, we're trying to raise money for kids with ADD?
ME: (mumbles) Ha ha, um, sorry, too many, sort of... jokes,
CHUGGER: (annoyed) It's not a joke.
ME: No I know, I just... you know, sounds a bit.. And it's sort of my job-
CHUGGER: It's not a joke to the kids, is it? IT'S NOT A JOKE TO THEM!
ME: Eek!

I ran away. Thirty seconds later:

CHUGGER2: :Hi, we're trying to raise money for kids with AD-
ME: AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

I run away again.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Chris Lowe was good too.

I always wanted to be a keyboard player in an electropop band, an ambition hampered only by my utter lack of musical ability.

I mention this purely because a song ("Tony The Beat" by The Sounds) which was already very good indeed:



... has now been given a remix and a new video with perhaps the greatest keyboard player I have ever seen, combining as he does, petulance, stoicism, intellectualism and 'not taking any shit from monkeys'.



Via popjustice. More Rex the Dog here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

If I lose the car, can I have a proper cape?

Robin Kelly asked: at this stage ar you writing what you want and let other people worry about the budget or do you have to keep the budget in mind?

Interestingly, the concept of how big a budget this movie would be hasn't arisen - I suspect because the first draft is already quite clearly a biggish studio film rather than a cute indie movie (although that was the feel I was going for), so any changes are just going to make it more of the same, rather than taking it into a completely different league.

When I started writing feature scripts, all the advice was to write something that could be made with a small budget, preferably in the UK. I started writing my first script with this in mind, but as the story got bigger and more fantastic, I decided to stop worrying and go as big as I wanted. Both scripts have lots of effects in them as well, which if you're using CGI, get cheaper by the day, so I decided not to fret too much about this.

I also though that the chances of my script ever getting near to being made were so slim, I may as well go mental and write whatever I wanted. Sounds horribly cynical, but these first scripts were more likely to be a calling card than anything else, so I might as well have a blast writing them.

The original plan for the superhero movie though, was to start off with a standard superhero setup (costumed hero saves city from villain) then take it somewhere else: having established a world where people with amazing powers and funny clothes are taken for granted, it might be interesting to see how the same people react when they're not in their traditional environment.

My script editor is great, by the way, I'm a bit worried it looked like I was having a go in the last post, but in fact she's suggested a number of ways of beefing up the story by bringing out ideas that were already in the first draft (writers like this kind of thing because it looks like they Meant To Do That All Along). The satisfying thing is, I can make the story stronger, and give the characters more depth, but then reach into the toolbox of superhero effects (amazing cars! forcefields! killer satellites!) to illustrate this.

Mmm... forcefields....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

With a Single Bound I Was Free

My most recent film script, an adaptation of Shane Richie's heartrending biography 'From Rags to Richie'- no I'm kidding, obviously it's about SUPERHEROES, has jumped though a number of hoops (some of them flaming) and ticked various boxes (not flaming) and has been picked up by the Film Council as being Potentially Just Stupid Enough To Work.

I need to do a proper outline though, so show how a second draft will build upon the complexities and depths evident in the first, and thus secure me some development money with which to buy pens and notebooks and hookers not hookers. I am also seconded a script editor, via a means I can only assume is like that thing in school where David Mammet Mamet and Tom Stoppard are picked first for games, and my script is left with the fat kid who smells of crisps* and Akiva Goldsman**. What a weird school.

I have a meeting with my script editor, so that we may discuss how the second draft can build upon the complexities and depths evident in the first. One concern is the ending, which sort of fizzles away a bit, in that after the hero has travelled across the entire country into order to get to the villain's base to turn off a machine which could potentially blow up the world, it ends when he gets there and sort of.... turns it off. The End. Thus far, it's not exactly Citizen Kane.

INT. SOHO COFFEE SHOP - DAY

SCRIPT EDITOR: So, any thoughts about developing the ending?
ME: Yes, I thought the villain's lair could suddenly turn into a giant robot, which the hero could fight, which would make a better ending, and would pad it out a bit into the bargain.

Slight pause.

SCRIPT EDITOR: I was thinking more about some way in which the hero could, you know, sort of develop. Emotionally.

I punch her in the face, smash through the window and run, screaming, onto the london streets.

Later however, I wonder if she might have a point, and ring the Film Council to see if my actions were irreversible. Fortunately, it turns out that script editors are grown in vats, in a large warehouse on the edge of Chiswick, and there's loads left. Hurrah!


* He later goes on to invent streaming video, so don't feel bad for him.
** Hoik Spit



UPDATE: of course, if anyone from the Film Council happened to have glanced at this blog during the half hour it took me to realise the protagonist's name in Citizen Kane isn't actually spelled with a 'C', the whole point might be AMAZINGLY MOOT anyway.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Winging It

Just a quick thank you to all the people who organised and attended the 'Winging It' Green Wing convention on Saturday, and in the process raised quite a few thousand pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Great to be able to put names to faces, and see lots of old friends as well. Hello to all the people there who read this blog as well, most of whom I forgot to say goodnight to when I stumbled out of the building, still burning with shame at suddenly remembering I'd said a very rude word indeed when describing Billy's 'swearword reduction' process during the Q&A.

Best bit: charity auction, when the script with my name on it went for slightly more than exactly the same script with Oli Chris's name on it, even if I was reduced to begging people to up the bidding. IT DOESN'T MATTER, I STILL WON.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Before Christmas

I had a meeting with BBC DRAMA, which went like this:

BBC DRAMA: A'ight.
ME: A'ight.

Pause.

BBC DRAMA: 'sup.

Pause.

ME: Yo, I ain't got all day, man. I got to be dealing with my people. You gots to cut to the chase, you hear me?
BBC DRAMA: Why you got to be all up in my face, yo? We just hardly done met!
ME: That's just how I is. Where I come from, that's how we roll.
BBC DRAMA: So, we be keeping a' ear to the streets, yo- Ooh, cup of tea?
ME: Lovely, ta.
BBC DRAMA: -and we be hearin' 'James Henry' this, and 'James Henry' that, and so forth and suchlike'?
ME: I hear you.
BBC DRAMA: An' we deduct that this 'James Henry' of which we hear so much, he clearly be one scriptwritin' muthafunsta. And maybe, jus' maybe, we gots room for one such as yourself in our organisation.
ME: I don't know man, I had some meetings with BBC Comedy, and though the lower levels contain some straight-up playas such as a straight-up playa such as myself can relate to, the resolution to the negotiations were not what you'd call satisfactory.
BBC DRAMA: Do you see smoked glass partitions?
ME: Playa whut?
BBC DRAMA: Do you see smoked glass partitions?
ME: No.
BBC DRAMA: Do you see big photos of Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Muthafunsting Saunders up on these here walls?
ME: I do not.
BBC DRAMA: That's because the environs in which you've planted your pasty gothic butt belong to Drama, not to motherfunsting Comedy.

Pause

ME: Fair enough.
BBC DRAMA: So we'd like to commission you to write an hour long drama script.
ME: Not comedy?
BBC DRAMA: No. Experiments have shown that in comedy, an hour can be quite a long time.
ME: Can it be a bit funny?
BBC DRAMA: Yes.
ME: Are you going to give me some money?
BBC DRAMA: Yes
ME: Woo hoo!
BBC DRAMA: Now go away.
ME: Righto.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

STILL bloody banging on about Green Wing, even though it's finished, GOOD GOD LET IT GO, MAN!

UPDATE: Production designer JPG has some great GW wedding-related photos over at his blog.

Anonymous said:

was it a conscious decision to have it themed around death? reviewers etc. have often said it's almost as though the gw writers have a ticklist of taboos to put on screen, so maybe death was the last one? how it affects people/ why people might choose it/ why people kill each other/themselves?

I need to stress I'm only talking from my own point of view here, but still:

The short version of why the GW special was about death (or at least why Mac had to die), is because... they're doctors, and they deal with death every day, which is why the big deal with writing GW was that you got to look at all the trivial stupid things that in the long run turn out to be important. All those little moments that would never make it into a more serious drama, but which are nonetheless can be just as profound. The brief, not-really-about-anything conversation you have with someone before you realize you've fallen in love with them, or they're hit by a bus. Or both.

Which is why I never agreed that you could have set the show on a cruise ship, or a supermarket or something, and have it work just as well, as you lose the sense that all the characters probably are dealing with life and death, and all the big emotions that are dealt in a very direct way in something like ER. In GW, you could tell from the fact that all the main characters had white coats, all that stuff was probably going on in the background, that just wasn't what we were choosing to look at.

But for a final episode (which sitcoms rarely have, because they're always trying another series), the characters suddenly had to deal with death directly, rather than it just being a part of the working day. It's important too, to think there's a good chance that the characters that survived would hopefully take something from the whole experience. I like to think that Boyce actually got something from his weird relationship with Statham (he'd probably buckle down to his studies after being shouted at, and maybe even find himself becoming just a bit pedantic every time he passed a garden centre), and that after Mac dies, Martin actually grows up a bit, and passes his exams (or decides not to be a doctor after all, which might be best). Guy has already become a slightly nicer person after falling in love with Caroline, and this process might even last ten minutes beyond the credits.

But that's just my thoughts on it, the other writers might have completely different points of view. It was fantastic being able to see something like Green Wing through to its conclusion though, and flawed and slightly-too-long though it sometimes was, I'm enormously proud to have been a part of it, and immensely touched by the community of fans that built around it, you crazy mofo's.

And despite me constantly being rude about the actors on here, they genuinely were lovely to work with, although I'll deny saying that HOWEVER MUCH YOU HURT ME.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

More Coke hates kittens

Original post on how Coca Cola's Argentinian ads owed rather a lot to the 'Ninja' video for my mate Patrick's band here, a story which suddenly seems to have been picked up on by lots of news media, including BBC, SKY, and Channel 4 so far.

In fact, Coke look to be distancing themselves from the advertising agency Santo Buenos Aires as quickly as their sugary feet can take them: The Guardian has them quoted as saying "The piece in question was commissioned to a local advertising agency ... which assured us that each element was original. Therefore, we are surprised by the alleged claim."

Which is fair enough - they signed off on it, but it was the agency who swiped it (presumably thinking, 'hmm, we're in Argentina, that's miles away from the people who made the original video! What could possibly go wrong!'). So let's hope the whole thing is sufficiently embarrassing to Coke that they urge Santo to pay 7 Seconds of Love a decent amount for their original work to make the whole thing go away. Otherwise, if people keep mentioning Santo Buenos Aires in their blogs near words like 'thieving' and 'bastards', their google hits are going to start looking really quite embarrassing.

I'll put up links people send me, but do keep them coming...

SKY news link, via londonista

BBC

The Guardian


UPDATE: Ooh I really like the background pattern on that Santo website. They probably STOLE IT OFF MY MUG.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Green Wing Feature-Length Special Then

Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm. I'll be out, as it's Best Mate's birthday, and I'm not sure I'll get back in time. Gosh I hope it's good, and doesn't use the ending we weren't sure about, where Caro((((***dsljfnapoz`ijhrfva`w;

*some text missing*

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I take Patroclus to see my nan.

NAN: (apropos of nothing) I remember when I was young, my boyfriend at the time drove us round Trafalgar Square in a Wolseley Hornet Special, while I leant out of the window with a soda siphon, squirting people.

I suddenly feel I should be making more of an effort in this relationship. Later I drive us to the village of Brill (there is a village called Brill in undead starting zone in Warcraft, but it is not that one), and we walk down to Constantine. Sadly there are no shops selling soda siphons. A scruffy, long-haired teenager walks past us and chirps 'Morning!' in a bright chirpy sort of voice.

I am appalled at the attitude of today's youth. My hopes are raised when I round the corner and my (mum's) car appears to have vanished, but it turns out I just parked it a bit closer in to the hedge than I remember.


UPDATE: patroclus and I met up with occasional poster of comments for pints of nice cornish beer, and on the way home someone drove past in a car and squirted us with water.

Hmm.