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."