Packaged on BBC Two tonight

A quick reminder that short film Packaged, based on my script and directed by Lemarl Freckleton, is on BBC Two Wales tonight at 23.15. 

IMG_9572.JPG

If you're outside Wales you can watch it on Sky or Freesat on channel 971. The film will also be available on the BBC iPlayer after it airs. 

Phillip John, who plays Jack in Packaged, deservedly won the Best Actor award at the It's my Shout premiere last weekend, so this is your chance to see his portrayal for yourself.  Packaged is the penultimate It's my Shout film to be shown on the BBC this year. They are all well worth watching and all seven English language films will be on the iPlayer for the next month or so. 

IMG_9573.JPG

Packaged on the big and small screen

Last night this year's It's my Shout Premiere and Awards Evening took place at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. Packaged, the short film based on my script (originally entitled The Package), was one of the nine films shown at the event. It was immensely satisfying to get to watch the film on the big screen and to experience the audience's reaction to it first hand.  

IMG-9558.JPG

The awards ceremony that followed the screenings was as uplifting and entertaining as the films had been (the standard this year was very high across the board).  From beginning to end I was reminded just how many people from across Wales get to take their first steps into the film industry through the work that It's my Shout does. Every single award winning trainee seemed to be more humbled and grateful than the one before. The awards part of the evening was rounded off in style with a suitably rousing speech from Inspiration Award winner Russell T Davies. 

The after party that followed gave me the opportunity to catch up with, amongst others, the film's director Lemarl Freckleton and lead actor Phillip Jones, who deservedly picked up the Best Actor award earlier in the evening for his portrayal of Jack.  It was also great to catch up with many of the other writers who I met at the BBC Writer's Room as part of the selection process too. 

p05f9zml.jpg

You can see Packaged on BBC Two Wales on Monday 18th September at 23.15 (Channel 2 or 102 in Wales and in the rest of the UK on Channel 971 on Sky and Freesat). It will also be available on the iPlayer for 30 days after it airs and I believe all the films will be on YouTube eventually too. It was a really enjoyable experience to be part of It's my Shout this year and it's made me keen to get more shorts made in the near future. 

 

21371195_10155741970339722_260925357345678363_n.jpg
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 19.25.37.png

 

 

The Package selected for It's my Shout

I found out a few days ago that my short film script, currently titled 'The Package' has been selected as part of this year's It's my Shout scheme. Things have been moving very quickly since I got the nod and it's only now that I've had the breathing space to be able to share the news properly. 

I had a lunchtime meeting today with my director, Lemarl Freckleton, to discuss his vision for the film.  It was a refreshing change to be discussing something I'd written in a meeting, rather than someone else's project that I was involved with the visual effects or titles for.

As hoped it was very productive, we both come at the project from a similar thought process visually and narratively and he's already brought some interesting extra elements into play just from this one initial meeting. My next job will be to work on rewrites to get the shooting script into shape, which will be happening in tandem with the pre-production phase, including casting. The ten-minute film is due to be shot in August and will air later this year on BBC Wales and at the It's my Shout event at the Wales Millennium Centre in October. An exciting few months ahead. 

Talking about other people's scripts at Cross Channel Film Lab 2016

Talking about other people's scripts at Cross Channel Film Lab 2016

 

 

It's My Shout/BBC Writers Room Wales

It's been a whirlwind few weeks on the screenwriting front. As I posted previously, I found out last month that my short film script 'The Package' was shortlisted for this year's It's my Shout. Since then I had some even better news, when I was notified that I had made it through to the even shorter list of projects that were being considered for production.

As a result of reaching this stage I was invited to the BBC Writers Room residential, two intensive days at Roath Lock, here in Cardiff, the BBC's state of the art centre of excellence for drama and home to Casualty, Pobol y Cwm and Doctor Who.  The workshop was overseen by BBC Writers Room Development Producer Rachel Williams and run by experienced producer Henry R Swindell. The first day was an overall look at story and writing for the screen. We discussed and watched lots of film and TV, all of which really helped cement the points that were being made, including relating the theory to our own favourite mainstream movie, in my case Predator. 

The second day centred around specific feedback on our scripts and pointers on what to focus on for the next round of rewrites. I was one of the first to get notes, so I spent much of the second day tucked away in a corner with my headphones on, listening to instrumental tracks while working away on the next version of the script. 

The notes I received gave me a lot to think about and really pushed me to take the bull by the horns and start to try some new things out. I spent all of last weekend and a good few hours last Monday working on revisions, until I had a version of the script I was happy to submit. The next stage includes not only the team from It's my Shout and the BBC Writers Room evaluating the revised drafts, but also the Directors who have also been selected, who get to decide which of those shortlisted they are most interested in bringing to the screen. Decisions should be made very soon, so I'll have more to say when I hear if I've been successful. Either way, this has all been really valuable and has given me lots of diagnostic tools for not only my screenwriting work, but also my comics projects as well. 

Something old, something new...

I decided that I wanted 2016 to be a year where I procrastinated less and wrote more, and so far that's be going to plan, as the year has gotten off to a very productive start.

Title - TBC

(Comic short) 

In January I took an idea that had been in my head for about four years and finally put it on the page as a short story. It doesn't have a title yet, but I already had it accepted for an anthology title once a suitable artist is found. This story ended up taking on a life of its own and went in a slightly different direction than I had planned and the ending wasn't what I was expecting. I think the story is all the better for these changes though. 

Working Title - Viva Las Venus  

(Comic mini-series) 

Re-evaluating old work has been part of this year's plan too. Looking back on unfinished projects and deciding whether to ditch them and move on or give them another chance has been a wise move. 

This space opera project started life about ten years ago and I wrote the whole mini series for submission to Visionary Comics. I've gone back to the concept a few times over the years, but disliked so much of what I'd written that I could never quite get past it. This time I ditched a lot more, kept the world and the two main characters but dropped parts of the high concept. I also brought in characters from two other sci-fi story ideas that had stalled in the early stages. Creating an ensemble piece gave the series a new life and pushed me to take the story further and I'm really enjoying working on it. I think two pages from the original book have made it into this new version. 

I wrote Issue 1 in January and did two rounds of rewrites in February. The plan is to do some more rewrites this month and then to look for a suitable artist while working on the other issues.  

Title - The Package

(Short Film) 

    

 

 

This project started life a short comic script in about 2009, when I first came up with the idea. Two years later, having lost the original script I wrote it again, following the same plot and that version has been sitting on my hard drive ever since. Every now and then I'd consider pitching it to an anthology title, but it never quite felt like the right fit.  

I've been thinking for a while that the concept is much more suited to film, so took the plunge and wrote it a third time last month, this time as a short film. The cringeworthy dialogue from the 2011 version has all gone and despite the plot being essentially the same, the characterisation is stronger, the pacing more interesting and the overall finished script far more satisfying. It's coming in at eighteen pages currently, so would be pushing twenty minutes so my next job is to try and get it back to fifteen minutes.  Once I've done that I'll start thinking about ways to get it made. 

Title - Break

(Short Film) 

Another short film, which I've been mulling over for the past few weeks prompted by a specific call out for submissions. The submission has some specific criteria that the story has to meet and at one point I did consider reworking 'The Package" to make it eligible. In the end I decided that having two shorts written was a better plan than trying to make that story into something it wasn't intended to be. I got the plot for this one down on paper yesterday and I'll need to have it written, polished and submitted by the end of the month. 

As well as these projects I'm also working on 'Seven Shades', a supernatural western comic series with artist Dave Clifford (Dexter's Half Dozen). It's based on an idea he had, which we fleshed out together in January. I'll be doing this one Marvel style, to allow him to really flex his artist muscles and I should be starting work on Issue 1 very soon.

Sci-fi mini series 'Flux' which I'm co-writing with Steve Aryan (Battlemage) is gathering pace. Artist Maysam Barza is hard at work on Issue 2, Issue 3 is written and we're in the process of tightening up the breakdown for Issue 4 before we start scripting it.

Lots going on, hopefully I can maintain this pace throughout the year.