Thursday, November 15, 2007

Writer's Strike Caused By Half-Life 2 Orange Box?

Sentry Gun
Originally uploaded by arsenionavarro
On October 10th 2007 a computer game, “Half-Life 2 – The Orange Box” was released in the U.S. to popular acclaim. On November 5th 2007 the Writers Guild of America went on strike. Two totally unconnected events.

Or are they?

A recent online poll by Valve software, creators of the game in question, revealed that an unprecedented amount of screenwriters in film and television were not only fans, they were spending vast amounts of their time playing the games contained in the Orange Box package in the days leading upto the strike and even more so since the strike began.

Through Valve software's online game system “Steam”, hours spent playing are logged, along with an option to indicate profession. Time and time again, Valve's staff were surprised to find the players racking up the longest stretches of game time were screenwriters.

“I suppose it makes sense.” commented Adi Shepherd, Valve's head of market research. “I mean a lot of these guys work from home, obviously on a PC. With no boss looking over their shoulder, I guess the temptation to just log on and start fragging is strong.”

These facts alone are interesting, but certain parties believe that the popularity of the game may have actually contributed to the strike itself. Certain members of the WGA negotiation team have been accused of “computer game addiction” in a spat that is threatening to draw attention away from the aims of the strike itself.

“Utter nonsense.” countered Cal Houn, one of the WGA's chief negotiators. “This is merely an attempt to cloud the clear issues at stake here. All we want is a slice of the online cake. A cake that at the moment, the producers are claiming doesn't exist. Well, we don't agree. That cake exists.”

“And when it comes down to it, the writers are the initial creative force. What is it exactly that the producers have created? Can they name even one thing?”

AMPTP representative Gina Cross countered bullishly “Cry some more.” going on to cryptically state “ A shepherd must tend to his flock, especially when they have grown unruly.” When pressed for clarification, she commented:

“I am sick and tired of hearing this whining from the writers for more money. We are their benefactors and they should appreciate that.”

On the issue of computer game addiction, she became defensive, believing that the accusations were directed at her union.

“I can assure you that no-one within the AMPTP even has a computer, let alone knows how to install mods, aimbots or wallhacks.”

“Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and build a sentry gun. Overlooking the picket line.”


Yes, it's a spoof. And apologies if you haven't played any of the Half-Life family of games, and read the whole thing with the slack jawed frown of someone with the creeping feeling that they're missing out on in-jokes. Maybe go buy The Orange Box, play the whole thing all the way through, then come back. I promise you it will get much funnier.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Am Quitting Myspace

Firstly, don't get me wrong. It's been a blast. You're all close personal friends of mine and I will truly miss all the partying we do. But I feel it's time to move on. Facebook maybe. Or I might even go outside. Stop crying, you'll find other friends.

Now I was planning to just slink away like a thief in the night. But here's the rub: Myspace won't let me. And it's pissing me off.

About a week ago I tried to cancel. Here are the buttons I had to press, each of which lead to a new screen with variations on the theme of “Are you sure, little boy?”;

Account Settings,

Cancel Account,

Cancel My Account,

Cancel My Account.

The last one read as follows:

“We're sorry you're leaving MySpace!
Please briefly explain in the form below why you're cancelling. You can really help us improve MySpace!”

By this stage I wanted to kill someone. But they weren't done:

“NOTE: You will receive an email from MySpace instructing you on how to confirm your cancellation request. You must follow the instructions in that email to complete cancellation of your account. Thank you.”

I went through this process at least three times. I received no e-mail. It's been a week. I've had enough. I want out.

Not only that, I want revenge. Revenge for being treated like a witless simpleton stuck in a call queue. Revenge for the transparent psychological ploy of trying to keep me in Myspace by making it too irritating to leave. Revenge on Rupert Murdoch for being Rupert Murdoch. And taking Sky One from my Virgin package, damn him.

And you can help me.

Here is my plan:

If you've been feeling a little lacklustre about the whole Myspace experience for a while but just needed that little push, I am here to shove you in the back.

I want to stage a mass exodus from Myspace.

I want to start a meme that swells and grows and hits Myspace where it really hurts; membership numbers.

Firstly, I want everyone who reads this to report me for abuse using the abuse button at the bottom of my page. Get me banned. I don't care how I get out I just want out.

Secondly, forward this to anyone you think might appreciate it.

And then, if you've had enough of Myspace, try and leave. Go on, try. Not that easy is it? Failing that, you might want to try making your pages hideously offensive, then report each other for abuse.

And then all move to Facebook. Job done.

(Update - it worked - just got an e-mail from Myspace - "Account deleted for violation of Terms of Service" It does my heart proud to think of all the unsung heroes out there who reported me for abuse. Thanks to anyone who bothered.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Will You Be My Friend?

Today I had a man on Myspace send me a friend request. He already has 24,000. I turned him down. It would have felt cheap.

I don't think I'll be missed.

Friday, May 11, 2007

To Spec or not to Spec

Originally uploaded by cashmoney_4real.
I don't think I am unique in writing scripts on spec (for those of you not in the business, spec is short for "speculative" which essentially means no-one has paid you or asked for the script, you just thought it was a good idea and wanted to write it) but there seems to be a growing trend of writers pushing for commissions and payment before they write a word of anything, usually based on a few page outline or pitch document.

I am not keen on this approach for a few reasons. Firstly, the idea of trying to expand an "approved" outline brings along with it a whole set of pressures which simply don't exist if you're off on your own, plotting territory in the undiscovered landscape of a new script. For one thing, you've already been paid to finish the damn thing.

If you're working on something speculatively, the option always exists to just shrug and go "Screw it, this isn't working." and put it to one side. Not so if the money is already in your account. You're contractually obliged to hand something in, even if you have to wrestle the story to the finishing line.

I have written a new film. Nearly

Originally uploaded by efo.
In the format of Final Draft, my screenwriting program of choice, one page equals one minute. I have just reached page ninety of a brand new screenplay that I began exactly one month ago. This blog entry is my limp virtual version of popping a champagne cork. The script isn't finished, not by a long chalk, but it's an hour and a half long, which is a film. And just to be clear, that's ninety pages that I am happy with, rather than ninety pages that need rewriting.

I tend to rewrite a lot, and habitually cut rejected sequences or dialogue and paste the rejected bits at the foot of the document. The current document is 141 pages long. The mathematically minded amongst you will realise that this means that I have 51 pages of trash stuck to the bottom of the "approved" stuff. I am telling you this merely to give an insight into my wasteful and ill-judged working practices.

I can't tell you what the script is about, but I am very excited by it. This was partly an exercise in pushing myself. I had the idea for the film on 10th April and just wanted to get the script written and the film out there as fast as possible. At this rate, it should be with my agents and encouraging ferocious bidding wars within the next month.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Happy Anniversary

smashed watch
Smashed Watch
Originally uploaded by mathieson_jamie.
Well, it's been one year since I did any stand up.

April 1st last year I stood on stage and announced my retirement to an audience who didn't even know my name. Not that this is that unusual. In comedy clubs up and down the country there are comedians wowing appreciative audiences, who then file out at the end saying things like "That Irish guy at the end was pretty good."

Do I miss it? Not really.

I always used to say that if I could teleport to the gig and then teleport home, gigging would be a lovely job. The laws of physics being what they are, it's a lot of travel and a lot of waiting around for half an hour of sweaty spotlight.

Some stand-ups thrive on the sweaty spotlight bit. I never did. I was never entirely comfortable being a stand up. I tended to stick to the script. I didn't improvise well. I could never fully shake the fear that I would fuck it up and jeopardise the mortgage. Especially playing at a big chain of clubs, where a couple of really bad gigs can lose you a lot of work.

I think the only way I could ever go back now is if I was so financially comfortable that screwing up on stage wouldn’t really matter. And I'm not there yet.

So now I'm a writer. I make things up to feed myself. Which I still find funny. I love the idea of cutting out the middlemen, of trying to pay for my shopping by waxing lyrical to the shop assistant on some bizarre topic:

"Four pound fifty? Well here's a fiver's worth of speculation about futuristic nano-armour. You can keep the change."

My Lovely Lady Lumps

This is beautiful. For those of you too busy to press play, it's a satirical cover of "The Black Eyed Peas" "My Humps" by Alanis Morissette. It has been thoroughly shown up for the abomination right thinking people always knew it to be.

And how has Ms Morissette deconstructed this beast? What clever lyrical changes has she wrought to underline the wrongness at it's core? The answer: None. She's kept the lyrics exactly as they were. Only instead of being sung as a celebration of women using borderline prostitution to gain material wealth, the lyrics are now sung as a keening lamentation of exactly the same thing.

Fucking genius.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bingo The Imaginary Dog

Originally uploaded by kraftybkraft.
My wife and I have taken to walking in the local woods because we enjoy the exercise and being in nature. Basically, for fun. But here’s the thing: we never bump into anyone who hasn’t got a dog. And they always assume we’ve got a dog somewhere behind us in the wood. We’ve had people ask us “Where’s your dog?” and “Have you got a dog?” And worst of all, just look at us oddly, as if to say: “In the woods? Without a dog? You perverts.”

The other day, something in us snapped. We borrowed a leash from an understanding neighbour and whenever we bumped into anyone in the woods, we would shout “Bingo! Bingo! Come here boy!” into the woods, while slapping our thighs and shaking our heads and rolling our eyes as if to say “That Bingo! Always getting into trouble!” Anyone we bumped into also rolled their eyes and shook their heads as if they too had encountered Bingo and his unruly ways before.

To complete the illusion, we even carried a bag full of Bingo’s poo. We’re nothing if not responsible in cleaning up after our imaginary dog. Although judging by the size of his stools, Bingo is, in fact, a six foot tall dog-man.

I had suggested we call Bingo “Felcher” which as well as being a very rude word, is one of those lovely catch 22 rude words that people can’t actually get offended at without losing the moral high ground, as the very act of getting offended reveals that they know a great deal about deviant sexual practices and therefore have no right to judge.

However, it was pointing out that shouting “Felcher!” into a wood might feasibly attract a gay man with that proclivity, who would arrive very disappointed when he discovered that we were simply trying to attract an imaginary dog.

So “Bingo” it is.

Friday, March 23, 2007

When To Shove

Originally uploaded by urban hermit $27.55.
When I was about ten or so, I developed an odd little game. A friend of mine would stand on the school playing field with their eyes closed. I would then stand next to them and explain that they were in fact standing on the very edge of the roof of an immense skyscraper. I would then describe in great detail their surroundings, the wind whistling around them, the dizzying height in front of them.

And then, at the very height of their absorption in the story, I would give them a good hard shove in the back.

Now, twenty six years later, I'm doing exactly the same thing for a living.

And now, as then, it's all about deciding when to shove.

An Open Letter To Myspace Users

See if this sounds familiar;

Someone asks to be your friend on Myspace that you’ve never heard of. You check out their profile and think: “Our Venn diagrams don’t overlap even a sliver. We have nothing in common at all. This friendship would be a huge mistake.” But then an inner voice accuses you of being an old curmudgeon and that you’re missing the whole point of social networking so you click on “Accept” and welcome them in to your bulging friend pit.

And instantly, your “bulletin space” lights up with two or three inane pieces of crud from your “new friend” that you have no interest in whatsoever.

Here is my advice to you: delete that so called friend immediately. Dump ‘em. Leave them confused as to why their friend list bleeds members every time they send out a bulletin.

If I wanted to know your deep inner thoughts I would read your fucking blog. If I wanted to find out what side of the bed you slept on, I would sleep with you. If I wanted to find out your favourite colour, I would pull both your eyes out with a fork then ask you what colour you missed the most. Stop telling me this shite.

I even debate the merit of pimping gigs you’re doing. Fine. Do it. But in moderation. Save it for the really special gigs you’re justifiably proud of. If I want to find out where you’re playing I’ll visit your page.

I realise of course that in sending this out, I risk the same fate I am recommending. My friends list may suffer a sudden huge drop in members, but I win either way, as to do that you’ll all be conceding, even as you delete me: “You know what, that guy had a point. Bye bye you smug fucker.”

Friday, March 02, 2007

Payslip Of Destiny

Jamie at Royal Mail
Originally uploaded by mathieson_jamie.
I used to work in the phone based customer service department for Royal Mail, the UK postal carrier. The calls were primarily along the lines of “I’m 78 and the postman has left my gate open again.” or “Where is my benefit cheque? I am going to f**king kill you if you don’t find it”

You know, the usual.

But I had a plan. Oh yes. I was going to escape and become a stand-up comedian, an ambition I was already making inroads into.

I was paid monthly and never spent too much time checking my payslip – if it looked about right, I would shrug and file it. I usually cleared about £800 a month.

Until one month my payslip read £8000.

That’s right. An extra zero. The decimal point had slipped one place to the right, earning me £7200 in the process. And this wasn’t just an error on the payslip – the money actually turned up my account a couple of days later.

But what to do?

I discussed it with my wife over a weekend. Two options presented themselves; just keep quiet, spend it and hope that no-one spotted the error, or come clean and give the money back.

And this was big money for me in those days. I could survive for months on eight grand. Months without work to focus on the comedy.

But after much soul searching I decided on option two, to give the money back, which may sound crazy, but I really didn’t like the idea of looking over my shoulder for years, fearing that at some point, payroll was going to come knocking on my door and ask for their money back. Presumably at the point when I was furthest in debt.

So, first thing Monday morning, I rang payroll and explained to the nice lady on the line that I thought they’d overpaid me a little. She checked the records and sounded a little shocked as she agreed with me, then put me on hold as she got the manager. The manager came on and explained:

“Er, we haven’t overpaid you. That’s back-pay. We’ve been under-paying you for five years.”

I stood up at my desk, brain whirring and got him to repeat this bit of information. He did, with a little more detail:

“Every year you worked here, you were due an increment which you never received, due to an error in payroll. We have only just spotted and corrected this error.”

The money was mine.

After a quick phone call to my wife, I marched into my manager’s office and asked for six months off unpaid leave. She was only too happy to agree, as her budget was now down by £7200, which not paying me for six months would certainly help.

During my six months off I managed to get enough comedy gigs booked to ensure that I never had to go back to customer services.

And the moral of the story? Be sloppy with your finances. And write good jokes.


I have seen the future

Originally uploaded by redisred.
Drum roll please:

I have seen the as yet unreleased film “Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel”. Twice.

Or to be more accurate, I have seen two different cuts of the film. At the moment it doesn’t have all the music, it’s in mono and the special effects are obviously temporary or indeed, missing. But nevertheless, I have seen it, from beginning to end.

The story I made up in my brainhole and squirted from my fingers into a keyboard has now been squirted in through my eyes and back to the grey pulp where it began it’s journey.

“But Jamie” I can hear you all screaming in the void “Is it any good? Tell us details and stop beating around the bush, you fat ponce.”

Stop being so impatient. And rude. We’ll get there, we’ll get there.

My first viewing was with Justin and Neil, the producers, in the conference room of an office building. On a television. And about ten minutes in, I realised I had lost all perspective. I knew the jokes too well. I had forgotten why they were ever funny.

(Apparently Richard Curtis guards against similar fatigue by putting stars in the margins next to jokes that make him laugh in his first draft, because he realises that six weeks down the line, he won’t have a clue. But I digress. And possibly repeat myself from another blog entry.)

I genuinely didn’t know if it was any good. I was too close. I mean technically, it felt like it worked. Everything was in the right place. The funny bits felt like they should be funny, if only I wasn’t mouthing along with the actors. Justin and Neil thought it was really good. But the only bits I really laughed at were ad-libs I didn’t know about, or quirky takes I hadn’t seen in the rushes. I genuinely didn’t know.

Then we had a test screening. With real people. Most of which knew nothing about the film and none of which who had read the script. And they laughed. And we breathed out. And they liked it. And we breathed out some more. And they filled in questionnaires and offered opinions on what bits they thought were slow and what they liked and didn’t like.

And Gareth and the Editor considered these questionnaires and notes from us and went away and tweaked and tucked and recut.

And lo, then there was another test screening. Which scored even higher. And there was much rejoicing in the land.

And flushed with this early success, a small paranoid voice in the back of our collective heads whispers that maybe, just maybe, we’re all doomed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

"I am not a Number", etc

Originally uploaded by jwight.
I have just returned from a very pleasant few days in Portmerion, where they filmed influential mind-mashing sixties telecast "The Prisoner".

By law, all writers of twisty turny high concept fantasy must come here periodically to recharge their creative engines. Using the key which I keep around my neck at all times, I unlocked the secret gate and descended through the echoing dripping passage. Soon I had reached my goal - the machine which swiftly rejuiced my maguffin gland.

I returned blinking into daylight feeling rejuvenated and filled with the promise of stories as yet unborn . To celebrate, I ran along the beach shouting Prisoner quotes in my best Patrick McGoohan voice (not bad, but sadly very similar to my Patrick Stewart. And for that matter my Ian McKellen.)

And then it rained for two days.

Friday, February 23, 2007

If You Aint on Myspace, You Aint Nowhere

I went to a comedy gig the other night with Marc Wootton (who’s Myspace Page can be found here) his friend from the BBC called Anna (who’s Myspace Page can be found here) and Marc’s co-writer Liam, a poor fucker who has no Myspace page, and thus, in any measurable way known to man, doesn’t exist. Oh wait a minute, here it is. Now he is real.

On stage we saw The Alternative Women’s Institute, (Myspace Page) who were composed of The Congress Of Oddities (Myspace page) Danielle Ward, (Mspc Pg) Isy Suttie (Mspc Pg) Josie Long (Mspc Pg) and Bridget Christie (NO MYSPACE PAGE – she will be DESTROYED!)

To underline the point, a mugger mugged us on the way home (that's what they do) and in the process gave us the address of his Myspace page in morse code, a slap being a dash and a kick being a dot. He took all our money and asked us to leave a review of the mugging on his comments.

I feel conflicted, as that would mean adding him to my friends. And I know that technically, friends on Myspace don’t have to be real friends, but I draw the line at someone who has terrorised and mugged me.

For those of you at all alarmed that I am making light of a real mugging incident, I am not. The mugging story is a lie. You may now breathe out.

The comedy night itself was fun, and I found myself remembering how comedy could be. Experimental and filled with flights of fancy, rather than a production line of set-up/pay-off. When I wasn't laughing I had a big smile on my face. I even found myself fleetingly thinking I could go back to it, be reborn after a year off, which it will be in April.

Then I remembered the traveling and loneliness and thought, nah.

And for those of you wondering, my Myspace page is here. But I never update it and it only serves to entice people here really. So why bother going there?

Monday, February 19, 2007

I, Writer

broken clock
Originally uploaded by ananasbacke.
I am a writer. That is now where all my money comes from, rearranging words and letters and selling these specific arrangements to other people, who say things like “Those words in that order! We could never have rearranged them like that!”

It wasn’t always this way. I did a lot of “normal” nine-to-five work on the twisty turny road that lead me here. And in my spare time, and sometimes even when supposedly at work, I wasted a lot of time. I watched a lot of TV, played a lot of computer games and read a lot of comics.

However, now that I am a writer, I can retroactively re-categorise much of this time wasting as research;

Lying on the sofa in my underpants for that three hour Simpsons marathon? Research. Reading the text files of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan books while supposedly processing customer service complaints for Royal Mail? Sticking it to the man. And research. Playing Counter-Strike until I viewed every dustbin on my street as potential cover? Research.

Obviously, had I never become a creative of any sort, this would all have remained time wasted. Now it’s all grist to the creative mill. Even striking out in my teens is valuable raw material.

If I ever have to write a script about a teen striking out.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Adventure Time

It's a bit of a lazy man's post to just embed a YouTube video, but I enjoyed this so much I had to share. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Vision

Originally uploaded by Ape Lad.
I am starting to pick up more and more returning visitors to this blog. And I don't want to let you guys down - every time you open this box there should be something new and interesting inside, so I am going to try and start writing more frequently.

Here's a story I don't think I've ever told the world, and should tell you all you need to know about me:

When I was young - and we're talking under the age of seven here, I was convinced that if you wished for something hard enough, it would occur. This was one of my more reasonable beliefs at this age. On the day in question, I decided that I wanted to have the superpowers of "The Vision", a lesser known Marvel superhero. (His Wikipedia entry is here, for those of you that really care. And who wouldn't?)

One of the key things about The Vision was his ability to change the density of his body - he could become as hard as diamond, or as ethereal as mist. This mist thing was the bit I was keen on - for then I could walk through walls, just like The Vision. Quite why this appealed to me so much at this age is lost in the mists of decayed synapse pathways. And gin.

So I wished, and I wished, and I wished, eyes scrunched up and straining almost to the point of forcing a hernia. Then, having determined that I had wished hard enough to achieve my goal, I decided to test my new Vision powers on the nearest wall.

Imagine my surprise when I bounced off.

Now I am sure that most children at this point would realise the folly of this whole wish/superpower belief system and move one step closer to the healthy cynicism of adulthood.

Not me though. Oh no.

I came to the conclusion that my wishing system was working just fine. It was the execution of my super powers that needed work.

Put simply, I needed a run-up.

And so I did. I ran full pelt at a concrete wall. I'll repeat that for those of you skimming. I ran full pelt at a concrete wall. Oh yes. I was knocked senseless with a lump on my head the size of an egg.

And the moral of the story? I don't know. Pick one. Something about futility, or the power of imagination, or the folly of youth. Something like that. Knock yourself out.

Or rather, don't.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cousins Through Time

Cousins Through Time 2

With at least twenty years between photos. Same people, same garden. We would have been in the exact same position but they'd gone and built a pond there.

Me and my brother on the right, my two cousins on the left. Guess who are the crazies and who are the straights...

I love my little brother's Nosferatu face as a child.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Truth In Advertising

NSFW - but very funny. It's like they looked at my life and put it right up there on the screen.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Johnny Morris

Johnny Morris
Originally uploaded by mathieson_jamie.
Is it just me, or does Johnny Morris look like Steven Spielberg? Has anyone ever seen them together?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I gave a talk

I spoke for the best part of two hours, which felt very self indulgent, but the other writers there said they found it useful (see previous post, if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

I'm reminded of the story of Woody Allen, who was rehearsing on his clarinet when someone knocked on the door and informed him with excitement that a few streets away people were queuing round the block waiting to see his new film. Woody was then left alone and pondered upon the fact that this piece of information hadn't changed anything. It was still just him alone in a room rehearsing.

Success is like that. Most things stay the same. Problems you had before success are still there afterwards. The biggest difference, at least for the moment, is that I don't have to go out and do things I don't want to do in order to stay fed and warm.

I will do eventually, but allow me my moment of smug self satisfaction before it all collapses around my ears.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I'm Giving A Talk

The very thought makes me smile with stinging pangs of self-mockery.

Basically Joe Oppenheimer, our contact point and supporter from BBC Films asked me if I'd give a bit of a talk to some TV and Radio writers about my experiences on the rocky road to FAQATT. The phrase "teaching your granny to suck eggs" comes to mind.

And also, if I flipped the situation and found myself facing some upstart who'd come straight out of stand-up into feature film writing and I'd been bashing away doing radio and TV for years, I'd want to slap his impertinent little testes.

Anyhoo, I'm committed to doing it on Tuesday at some conference stylee stately home. I'll try not to be too much of a nob.

Having self-deprecated sufficiently, I've got to confess I am looking forward to talking to some other writers about the journey that got me here. I'm sure we'll all have had similar experiences with rejection, failure, juggling day jobs, stupid gutless commissioning bods, stupid producers, over-enthusiastic but talentless script editors and piles of things we've written that nobody wanted. Or is that just me?

(For anyone that's wondering, all of the above was before FAQATT got optioned. Relax.)

Joe was a bit concerned about how I'd feel about talking to a room full of strangers. I reminded him that I'd earned a living as a stand-up for six years regularly playing to 300+. This would be much less people and I wouldn't even have to make them laugh.

All I've got to do is make them not want to kill me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

And that's a Wrap

Principal photography has finished. We had our wrap party during which I witnessed the incredible sight of one of the producers body popping. I wish I was making that up, but Neil Peplow is a big hip-hop fan and at one point was spinning on his back in the middle of the dance floor. And spinning some tunes. And then he popped a cap in our asses. Because he's old skool.

One of those statements is a lie.

I had a bit of a dance, then realised that the sedentary lifestyle of the writer has severely reduced my dance floor endurance. I started dancing like I used to in my twenties, then started sweating like a man in his fifties. Note to self: avoid heart attack by moving arms and legs occasionally in your life.

During the party I had three people independently comment to me that everyone was there "because of me". It felt it churlish to mention the free bar.

Joking aside, I know what they meant, and I kind of refute that idea. It's pandering to the worst kind of egotism. We are all where we are as the result of a lot of different things and people. For one thing, if the production staff and crew weren't working on this film, many of them would no doubt have found work on some other film. We all gotta eat.

Yes, my script was the catalyst to get these people together and that's kinda cool. But that's all it is. Took me long enough to get here. I've been trying to write things since I was sixteen.

When my script first got optioned, I asked Justin when I should celebrate. He said "When you're sitting in the cinema and the credits roll."

That was almost two years ago. I still haven't celebrated. Not really. Each little victory along the way I've done a little internal "Whoo-hoo!" but I've yet to really kick back and howl with joy. I wonder if it's really in me.

Our main boys (Marc, Dean and Chris) got me some presents and a home made card with a photo on the front. Which I would love to share, but seeing as they are all in costume in the piccy, it's a no-no. Very touching though.

Then we all shuffled away into the night, some vomiting, some crying, some babbling about the premiere.

Next stop, the rough assembly...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pinewood Studios Diary 9

It's always tricky with these things trying to give movie "news" without giving the game away plot wise. I feel a little bit like a soldier behind enemy lines with a MOD censor looking over my shoulder.

So with that in mind, we've shot all the scenes in the ***, the main location of the film, and that set is currently being destroyed. The action has now moved to an outdoor location for night shoots, which is the *** ******.

We have about a week of shooting left, everyone seems happy and the rushes look fantastic. I'm getting on very well with everyone apart from ******, who I think is a total tosser. I think I'll be doing a cameo in a big group scene which could be fun, as long as I don't have to stay there for the whole night, and can just wander out of shot and back to my fictional trailer. It's called a fictional trailer for two reasons; firstly, because that's where I write fiction and secondly, because it doesn't exist.

I've got a big list of other script ideas I want to work on when the dust has settled on this one. It's nice knowing that whatever I come up with, people will read it with the power to make it. Just being in that position is worth a hell of a lot for a writer.

I went to a party the other night, a kind of work's do for stand-up comics above the comedy café in London. It was good fun. It felt like being in dressing room without the pressure of having to do a gig at the end of it. Lots of old faces from the circuit, many of whom didn't recognise me with the beard and long hair. Or who claimed not to.

I didn't pimp the fact that I was making a film, but found myself telling a few people anyway, as many of them started conversations with "Didn't I hear you're making a film?" and in one surprising occasion "I auditioned for your film. Loved the script."