Monday, February 27, 2012

My film-writing career.

Such as it is.

I wrote my first feature script (as we seasoned film-writers like to say) over a long weekend. I'd had a vague idea for a thing about a superhero having to drive across the US in a car with his arch nemesis, and spent a few weeks trying to avoid doing any writing, but thinking up some fun scenes that weren't particularly linked. When I'd finally run out of excuses not to write the flipping thing, I splurged the script out over three days and sent it off to film people, Sean Connery, Kermit the Frog, people like that.

Fortunately I also sent a copy to my agent, who sent it to the UK Film Council, who liked it, and gave me some money to develop it, as in make it read like an actual script human beings, or, failing that, actors, could be in. This process went on for ELEVENTY BILLION YEARS, until finally I had an actual proper script, which someone Universal agreed had actual potential, and they would totally have at least optioned it if they hadn't just committed to HANCOCK with Will Smith, the twats. The giving me of money wasn't a charitable act, by the way, because when the film inevitably became a massive hit, I would have to pay that money back, and more besides, although frankly from my cold dead hand &c.

Immediately after that, the top level of UK Film Council executives were removed in a putsch (like a Yugo crossed with a wheelbarrow) and I never heard from the UK Film Council again. So when recently the Tories had them all killed (I didn't follow the details) you'll forgive me for not weeping big snotty tears.

So I thought I'd do another feature script, and this one would be a horror film about fairies, before Guillermo del Toro did it as well, so go me. I had just finished the script, in which a single parent family move to a remote house in the countryside, only for the mum to be called away, leaving the children to do battle with a series of bizarre but genuinely frightening creatures from fairy mythology, when I heard about this film called The Spiderwicke Chronicles. Best do a bit of research, I thought, and rented the DVD. I very much enjoyed the film, which turned out to be about a single parent family moving to a remote house in the countryside, only for the mum to be called away, leaving the children to do battle with a series of bizarre but genuinely frightening creatures from fairy mythology.

CUT TO: tatters of my script raining down like confetti, while something sad and Sigur Ros-y played.

Then I thought I'd do something closer to home, so I wrote a script about a couple of young people stuck in the remote Cornish countryside who gradually realise they're being invaded by a load of gribbly sea-based monsters. After which I heard about Kevin LeHane's GRABBERS script, which had just gone into production. Kevin was kind enough to let me read a copy of the script, and my worries were soon proved as aught, as GRABBERS was about a couple of young people stuck in the remote Irish countryside who gradually realise they're being invaded by a load of gribbly sea-based monsters. So that was fine NO WAIT IT WASN'T.

CUT TO: tatters of my script raining down like confetti. I no longer had the budget for Sigur Ros, so I had to use Russ Abbot's 'I Love a Party With a Happy Atmosphere' slowed down fourteen times.

Having had my fingers burned, I decided not to overcommit with my next script, and instead planned out a detailed outline for a robot movie, involving giant robots in a movie, that's all I'm prepared to say (it's nothing like Transformers, apart from having giant robots in it).

One meeting with a producer later, and I was assured that although a prospective budget of two hundred million dollars was ambitious, it would be best to scale the actual script down a bit, go for summing twenty five million-ish, DISTRICT 9, that sort of thing. And this I totally intent to do, although this morning I did write the first five pages of a monster movie set in a rundown shopping centre based on the Eagle Centre in Derby. And if I hear on the internets that Tom Stoppard has just started the same project, I swear I will go over and kick him in the special place (Mickleover).

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

*Ahem* http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/1142858/80s_horror_movie_chopping_mall_set_for_a_remake.html

james henry said...

OH FOR FU- actually, having read that article, mine sounds more monstery, s'fine.

John Cowan said...

"It steam-engines when it comes steam-engine time." --'Weird' Al Crowley

james henry said...

Wise bloody words, them.

Tim Footman said...

Why not make a film about a scriptwriter who's constantly tearing up his scripts, and is just about to tear up his most recent one, but can't, because his iPod's broken, so he can't play the appropriate music and it turns out the untorn document is about a scriptwriter who's constantly tearing up his scripts, and is just about to...

You can get Spike Jonze to direct it. Or, better still, the bloke who did that Human Centipede one. And I'm thinking Danny Dyer for the writer.

Boz said...

Well if you really did write that in under three minutes, I did at least three and half LOLs, so please don't give up.

Rita - minijuegos said...

hahaha ... that wander .. but the truth that I found very interesting your post .. why waste time reading it ... many congratulations on the blog ...
regards