"I'm a Derek...and Derek's don't run."

"I'm a Derek...and Derek's don't run."

Feel free to join me............

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The BFI and The Black List Punt...

Sup peeps.  Life stopped hitting you in the balls?  Makes a difference doesn't?

Enough cracking wise, just thought I'd give an update with the few things I've been getting up to.

If you clocked on to a tweet or bookface post I mentioned I'd been accepted on the Creative England Make the Leap scheme.  It's basically a networking type environment once a month with guest speakers from companies, the BFI, screenwriters etc coming in to talk to put you on a path to make a feature.

The first of these talks took place Wednesday.  I didn't know what to expect and overall it was a bit of an eye opener.

First up was Jamie Wolpert from the  BFI.  He is the Film Fund Development Executive for the British Film Institute.  He's worked on a number of films from Harry Potter to the Selfish Giant from a development stage.  Basically he's in charge of where the development funding goes and helps shape projects before they go further into production.

He talked about what the BFI looks for and funny enough for all the preconceptions labelled towards them, he happily pointed out that wasn't the case.  The bottom line was that they aren't looking for what's selling, how much money people can make (they're publicly owned so cant make films solely for profit), or what book is popular etc.  They want to help find new talent and push established talent further.  Well that's what he says.

I happen to believe him.  Mainly because the BFI don't seem to be agenda driven.  Of course the more established or proven track record are going to be looked at more favourably.  But when the argument of "the UK only funds kitchen sink etc" its not entirely the case.  The BFI aren't allowed to fully finance production of films for a start, they can only co-finance something.  So it's up to other sources to pool in to finance a film.  So the genre of the film can be anything which is what I found out when I happened to accost Jamie in the bar.

What did I ask him?  Well, just about the variety of films that are Lottery/BFI funded. I mentioned that in one week I saw two co-BFI and Irish Film Board films - Calvary and Last Days on Mars.  Two completely different films; one a sci-fi genre film, the other a quirky dark comedy. So how did that come about?  He said he's got about 3 sci-fi films in development and a number of genre films as they're good scripts, with good filmmakers.  But they can only go so far.  If funding isn't pulled from other places, it stays in development hell.

The 2nd talk was by Diarmid Scrimshaw of Inflammable Films, producer of BAFTA winning films TYRANNOSAUR and SWIMMER.  This was more open and brutally honest.

He broke things down exceptionally well. The more interest aspect I found was the idea that producers track Sale Agents to understand the market. If you don't know what the public like to see, what makes them see it, and who makes what in what territory, then you can't budget a film.  Any investor will not invest if they don't have the numbers.  They won't give you a million if your comedy about sex offenders will only sell in 1 country (Thailand...joke) and make 2K.

But a good point that stuck in my mind was what brings a UK audience to a film?  Well, here they are. Genre, Star, Buzz, Source Material. Genre is a massive aspect.  It sells the film straight away.  Everything else is additional but if the audience can't pigeon hole it, they ain't watching it.

All in all, a top night. Can't wait for the others.

Which leads to The Black List.

Does anyone know what it is?  No?  The Black List was set up to a promote a list of the scripts producers highly rate but haven't been made. The big one recently has been Transcendence which topped the list a few years ago and eventually got produced.

Anyway, there's been an offshoot to this.  The Black List still collates the top unproduced scripts but now offers a subscription service.  It can host your script for a fee which can them be read by members, agents, and script readers.  They offer a paid evaluation service where a professional script reader will read the script and provide an evaluation.  They rate the script and the higher the rating, the more views and buzz it gets.

I took a punt didn't I?  Below is the evaluation I received -

For starters, and there's no way to type this without it being a massive understatement, the action is great. Like a highlight reel of all the best parts of the MATRIX Trilogy, the various fistfights, shootouts and building-leveling brawls are punctuated with juicy gore and doled out at a rapid rate. The premise is thicker on style than substance, but that's to be expected for this type of sci-fi actioner. The best elements of the premise are activated early on, when Wesco and Fix have a bit of an LA CONFIDENTIAL Guy Pearce-Russell Crowe vibe: two fundamentally opposed cops forced to work together to solve the biggest case of their lives. The scene where they both watch their comrades get mown down and join together is sure to be a moment of catharsis for the audience. The broad ensemble finds room for lots of colorful characters, with the rivalry between Eve and Serchen's factions of supersoldiers being the rare B plot that could probably make a solid film on its own if it was expanded. The cyberpunk/near-future setting works well for the story; it's not so futuristic that everyone has tech-heavy "get out of jail free" cards, but it's just far away enough that the fascist-leaning government feels like a fun creation rather than tepid social commentary.

This story sticks very closely to the special one/hero's journey plot that just about every big-budget film goes for. Films being thought up by teams of execs and staffed writers can afford to be derivative, but for a spec originality is really king. That's just what's missing here; the reveal that James is special and the key to the entire plot can be telegraphed from the first page of the script and it's disappointing to see Don pushed into the fringes of the plot to accommodate James' solo journey. The script's plotting overall is more convoluted than anything; it's hard to tell why Murphy waits until he does to explain things to James, for instance. Or why James can simply "abort" the entire standing government of the city (a gimmick used to equally poor effect in ELYSIUM). Also disappointing is the badass female warrior essentially being a doomed lovesick "school girl" meant to inspire the hero by the script's end; it's as though the author is dedicated to retrofitting the most cliched plot elements onto a story that starts out as fairly unique. Pacing is fairly lax for a script that is so action-heavy; keeping track of the plot elements is more exhausting than intriguing - the way the mystery builds is perhaps a little too deliberate given that the climax is an action extravaganza.

This is an incredibly expensive script, but it's in the right genre: sci-fi action tales are more or less the only stories that can feasibly sustain this huge of a budget and still have a chance at profitability. This script would need to connect with the same massive crowds that made films like INCEPTION or MINORITY REPORT print money, and providing that the violence be toned down to a hard PG-13 it's totally possible to connect with all of them. Going R-rated might constrict the audience a bit, but not unduly so. In terms of satisfying the audience, it's a tough call: there's not a lot in this script that doesn't feel at least a bit derivative, but it brings the spectacle in a big way. It may be a bit of a split vote amongst action fans, but crossover appeal will be limited by the run-of-the-mill plotting.

Well, well, well.  I was pleasantly surprised by this.  First of all, the script in question is just a big sci-fi action film that will never get made.  So with that comes a bit of trepidation.  Those types of scripts for an amateur can be utterly shocking - too big and ambitious for a new writer.  So to me, this feedback is beyond anything I could've expected.

For an action script, it seems like I nailed the action.  Writing action isn't fuckin' easy.  Its either too much description to lose a reader or too little not to give any impact. But from this it seems like it delivered on that.

Another big aspect was commentating on the films that heavily influenced it.  Sometimes I get the feeling from screenwriting blogs and articles is that influences can ruin a script due if they are too open about it.  In this case it seems more that the story follows a conventional route rather than it being a case of a selection of favourite movie scenes put together.

When I read this I decided to reach out in the twatter-verse and ask a writer I've been following called Emily Blake.  Check out her blog - http://bambookillers.blogspot.co.uk/.

The idea was to get another opinion that can confirm what I want to do next based on the evaluation.  I can easily have made my own decision but I needed someone else to clarify the next step. Her response was that cliche is death and to rewrite.  Which is what I took from the evaluation but as I do tend to second guess myself I needed to make sure so I could kick on.

We'll see what I do with it.  But I'd say it is well worth using.  It's far cheaper and more beneficial if you want to be taken seriously.  It gets the script out there and you never know....well, yeah I do but I've got nothing else to look forward to.

See ya on he flip side...Danny.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Kino Screening and MERRIN buzz

Bonjourno kiddies.

Wednesday night I attended Kino Shorts monthly film screening in Manchester's Three Minute Theatre.

The place was full, around 40-50 people in there I think, so it was a good turn out.

The video was 2nd shown and went down pretty well.  

Did a brief QnA after the screening.  As usual I rambled on that there was no room for audience questions (which their weren't any anyway).  The video should be up at some point in the next few weeks.

A few people commented and enjoyed it after the screening but after that it ended up being a normal short film night.

Had an eclectic bunch of videos ranging in quality.  But I have to say there were a couple of crackers on there.  One a mock documentary about an actor called Randolph Tempest (played by comedian Peter Slater).  A very witty character so worth checking out.

The other was a horror called a Long Way Back (I think).  Had some good scares and an interesting story. It was written to be ambiguous but there's a great ghost story in there involving the elderly.  The idea that the lead character could be suffering from dementia or some mental illness interested me - something they could develop.

Anyway, it was a good night but nothing overally productive. Hence a can of Jamaica's finest.

In other news, good friend of mine and his band MERRIN who I directed a music video for his song HENRY KANE a year or so ago, has been getting some big props from the horor website Bloody Disgusting. Check out the articles HERE. Pretty cool and hope it gives them a step up.

 See ya on the flip side, Danny.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Screenings and Shiz Reel

S'up people.  Friendly neighbourhood Spider-lad here.

Currently hard at work catching up on flicks, TV shows, and general re-writes leading up to hopefully some fun stuff in the summer.

Meantime, I've a few updates for you slappy-wags.

The music video for YOUR LITTLE FANTASY by BRAVER THAN FICTION is being screened at LANDED FESTIVAL at Doldowlod Hall, Powys, Wales on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of May 2014.

Its a bank holiday music festival with lots going on.  Check it out as well as the Facebook Page.  Really happy about this and the organisers really enjoyed the video.

There's also another screening on the 29th April at KINO SHORTS 48 for this month (clicky the link).  The venue is the THREE MINUTE THEATRE in Manchester and it kicks off at 7:15pm till 10:15pm.  I should be able to get down there, so if anyone wants to tag along, feel free.  You can buy me a drink.

Lastly...I've knocked up a muthafuppin' showreel.  Its now on the main page at the top so you can watch over and over again.  Let us know what you think if you're that way inclined.

Oh its below to....


See ya on the flip side...Danny.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Behind The Scenes Photogs

Hey-ho...LETS.  GO.

Just stumbled on a few behind the scenes photies from the recent music video for YOUR LITTLE FANTASY by BRAVER THAN FICTION.

Check em out HERE or click on the photosets at the side of the window.

See ya on the flip side....Danny

Saturday, 15 February 2014



Quick update. The music video for YOUR LITTLE FANTASY by BRAVER THAN FICTION is being screened at SHOWROOM SHORTS by the SYFN at the SHOWROOM CINEMA, SHEFFIELD.

Plenty of documentaries, short films, and music videos over the night.  It all takes place on Tuesday 18th February at 8.45PM.

Directions HERE if you ain't got a scooby where it is.  Come on down and have a swift jar or two with me.

See ya on the flip side, Danny.

Friday, 31 January 2014


Hello Me'Hearties,

What a week.  Well, personally its been a terrible week.  On a supposed holiday I was struck down with suspected food poisoning.  Bed ridden, toilet loving, and probably lost about a stone in weight.

Professionally, a contrast.  The launch night for the music video for YOUR LITTLE FANTASY by BRAVER THAN FICTION happened this Wednesday at the RIVERSIDE, SHEFFIELD.

I couldn't make it due to my illness and it was pretty depressing in all honesty.  After all that hard work and effort from both sides, to get hit by sickness and then unable to go to an event to celebrate it was gutting.

But hey, I've got to look forward.  From the feedback I've heard is that the night went spectacularly well and there's been a lot of good response to the video.

So anyway, enough chatting shit...here's the video below.

Enjoy and let me know what you think?

See ya on the flip side, Danny.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

New Music Video Launch

Howdy folks, some interesting news.

It's been long while since we began pre-production on YOUR LITTLE FANTASY by BRAVER THAN FICTION, finishing production in October, and began post from there on.

But here we are. The finished product....

Not so fast.  If you wanna see it you'll have to wait a little bit longer.

The band are going to have a launch night on Wednesday 29th January at RIVERSIDE, SHEFFIELD from 9pm.

I'll be new to all this.  Depending on the turn out it should be good fun.  Either that or it'll be one man and his dog, but at least there will be alcohol involved.  So I'll be on the promotional trail trying to drum interest up on it.  Bookface and Twatter will get a hammering which is a warning to you people for the next few weeks.

Again all I can say is thanks to:
Rachelle Shaw, Ryan Meehan, Julia Bisby, Rob Harris, Sarah Walker, Ed Cartledge, Mel Lampro, Braver Than Fiction (the rest of the band), The Rutland Arms, the staff, and The Film Pool.
Follow these people:

See ya on the flip side - Danny