Latest News

07
Feb
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Written by Seb Hunter

Hello!

First of all, sincere apologies for the lack of updates recently. We are not dead, we are just readjusting somewhat on the sidelines.

What’s been going on with the Elder movie over the last few months?

Well, our (insanely busy) graphic artist Claudio Bergamin is to shortly deliver our long-anticipated concept art for the movie which, as soon as we have, we’ll be in a position to move onto the next stage…phew!! I’ve seen samples of what Claudio has been working on, and these pieces look truly great, and will massively contribute to getting us over the next hurdle.

I have also been working on a fifth (at least I think it’s fifth…one loses count) draft of the original screenplay, and the script is in as good a shape as we can get it, certainly until we are in a position to have to embark upon imposed rewrites.

Although this film project is still 100% live and ongoing, the pace has inevitably slowed down as I’ve not been able to work full-time on the thing, as I did - entirely unpaid of course – for 18 months. I simply couldn’t afford to devote all of my waking time to it, and have been working on other creative projects in the meantime, as well as my ‘proper’ job of attempting to raise two young children. So it’s kind of like spinning plates, really. But rest assured, after all the passion and hard work that so many people have put into this project over the last few years, we’re not going to just stop, after we’ve come as far as we have.

A few months ago we came to a T-junction. The script was ready, the vision was complete, we were finally ready to shit or get off the pot, if you’ll excuse my French. The dilemma was to whether to attempt make the film ourselves using Kickstarter (with no official authorisation from KISS…dangerous), or join forces with an established film production company, with whom we could then raise proper finance, and attract more experienced personnel and prestige to the project, as a result of which KISS would (we were informed) look more favourably upon us. Money begets money. KISS would only (maybe) come on board if we took the second route.

So as a result of this dilemma we decided to attempt to move forward under the aegis of a film production company. To do things properly, as opposed to stumbling around further in the dark. It makes a lot more sense.

So this is where we are now. With our glistening, fifth-draft screenplay, spectacular concept art and fully-realised vision, we’re going to head into Spring with a spring in our step, seeking collaboration; seeking partnerships. Because we’ve done as much as we possibly can on our own. If our vision for this movie is to be ultimately fulfilled, we need help now in order to move forward.

Thanks for reading. And thanks as always for your support. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

17
Sep
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.

Yes we are still here. Tweaking, twiddling, eking, fiddling. There’s not much to tell really, folks. I’m still waiting on the concept art from (crazy busy) Claudio. Been making some minor revisions to the screenplay. We have a nice single-page treatment thing now, with which to help sell the project. So all things proceeding to plan, we should be in a position to pitch the film to production companies certainly by the end of September. Everybody was on holiday in August anyway, so I don’t feel we’ve lost any time particularly – this is just a damnably slow process. It does feel weird though, after 18 months’ frenzied activity, to have to suddenly get used to a more, erm, *sedate* pace of development. The fact of the matter is that there’s not much more I can do at the moment, on my own. I am thus beholden upon certain other things falling into place before we can take our next tentative steps forward.

But step forth we shall. We haven’t come all this way just to wither on the vine, fear not. It’s a long game, and PATIENCE IS A GODDAMN VIRTUE, RIGHT?!?

*deep breath*

*insert various gnomic Yoda quotes*

Watch this space, my friends….and keep on keeping the faith!!

19
Jul
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GUEST BLOGPOST BY MR STEVE WEBSTER ESQ

 

Iron Maiden – London O2 Arena – November 2011

I am sat with Owen Oakeshott watching the support band scream their way ruthlessly through some dirge about nuclear war or the plight of bee colonies, when I receive a text.

“Do you want to be in my film?”

I was delighted, drank more overpriced lager out of a wax paper cup in celebration, and started to think about how I would negotiate a deal like Alec Guinness rather than Mark Hamill. The gig was a blur of excitement, even the obligatory stuff from the new album. I even think that Janick Gers gave me an encouraging wink, he could tell how charged with energy and passion I was. Or it might have been Dave Murray. We had cheap tickets.

Seb didn’t come to Iron Maiden (we don’t usually text each other when we are in the same room). He had scoffed at the idea of seeing another metal band that we’d all seen decades  ago still parading their 30-year-old paunchy, balding, Sanatogen-fuelled bobbins…

Saxon – Bournemouth (Boscombe) O2 – A few months later

Over a quick pre-gig pint Seb tells me the role he had in mind for me has been eradicated in the second draft of the script. It is “superfluous to the narrative” or something. It also appears that the role was of a 40-something, rotund, simple farmer type who spoke with a charming south west accent. I was in a way glad that the role had been spiked…too stretching. Saxon were brilliant.

Anyway, documentaries! Never done one before. So I’m teaching myself as I go. I hope this shows in the “quality arc” of my output so far – I am at Conscious Incompetence at the moment according to Abraham Maslow’s 4 Stages of Competence. Interestingly although attributed to Maslow, who is much better known for his humanistic Theory of Self-Actualization, there is no historical evidence that he came up with or contributed to the 4SoC theory. You’re welcome.

What I have basically realised on my journey to become a documentarian (everyone else is having a ‘journey’, so I’m going to as well) is that you need 3 things;

Quality Equipment

Quality Editing Software

Absolutely Bloody Shit Loads of Film Where Nothing Happens, Poorly Indexed & Stored On Several Hard Drives

Luck

Discretion

This is admittedly more than 3 things

The self-control to not scream “Fuck's sake Seb you wanted this documentary, now give me access you precious tart!”

A copy of Anvil: The Movie

A really big book on how to direct documentaries – thanks Ross – which is too heavy to read in bed or on the train

The eye for a story

Courage

A Brain

A Heart

The skill is then blending them together. And you can only get better at that the more you do it and the more self-critical you are.

This is why my first clip where Owen rolls in the mud was shot on my phone and suffers from poor sound quality, lacking pace, wobbly, poor / no narrative and dreadful use of clunky graphics. And why my “Making of the trailer…” mini-doc a few months later was just a bit shit.

But I have footage,  lots of footage. Some that people will never remember or even realise was being taken (I have my defence of ‘testing the night settings’ already worked out).

And we have lots of footage yet to be made. Seb meeting Gene and Paul. KISS’s management stealing my camera - I have a spare, hah! Joey Essex turning up to audition for the role of Grigorss. Several more hours of Seb & Owen talking absolute drunken shite in the pub. All of this and more will be at the very least weaved into the DVD extras section of The Elder, or hopefully into my very own standalone documentary which will premiere at the Basingstoke Film Festival.

Will this do?

07
Jun
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Greetings, citizens of Earth. Denizens of Jendell.

"WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ELDER??" people ask me on Facebook. On Twitter. On the bus. On the train. On the street. On the corner. On the misty mountain. On the dark side of town. On the beach. On fire.

And I'll tell you. We've been having some interesting meetings. We know some things. Things we didn't know before. And this knowledge is moving us in new and exciting directions.

We're basically now pretty certain that KISS are not going to directly invest in our film - they are not going to fund any of this upfront - no matter how killer-driller our screenplay may or may not be. Shall I tell you what KISS do? KISS get given money to do things. Lots of money. Give KISS a load of money and they will not only endorse your product, but they'll endorse it with all guns, flash bombs, smoke bombs and elevating drum kits blazing. Not only that but they'll turn up in sunglasses and cut your big red ribbon with an outlandishly large pair of scissors whilst doing that devil-hand sign thing ever-so-slightly wrong. If you want the KISS brand to add value to your product, you must pay to get access to this brand, because this brand SELLS. And KISS don't come cheap, ladies and gentlemen. KISS don't even know what cheap MEANS. KISS even refused to go out on tour with the band Cheap Trick, so loathe were they to have their venerable logo anywhere in the vicinity of that dreadful C-word. So you can see where this is going, right?

Why in God's name would KISS want to give a bunch of Limey amateurs a pile of their own, hard-earned, hard-assed, hard-putted KASH?

They simply wouldn't. Even if they think this is the greatest movie idea of all time. Which of course it is. But still.

However. If we start to channel this film through more traditional avenues - ie an independent movie production company, whose very raisons d'être are essentially cash facilitation - then we get into far more interesting territory. Production companies are supremely adept at raising finance for moviemaking. That's essentially what they're there for. And in order for our - now significantly-developed - movie project to appeal to one of those, then we need to begin to play the industry game. So far, we've played this by our own rules. Worked on instinct. Drive. Passion. Complete fucking ignorance (or as I prefer to call it, inspiration). And we could still make this film on our own terms. The fact is that we COULD start shooting this film in a mere few months' time. We have everything in place - we have a script, actors, most of a crew, the technical nous, the hardware, the BASIC ABILITY to make the film we have conceived.

But.

And this is a big but. The $6m but.

Do we REALLY want to make it ourselves? A diligent, dogged, lo-fi, artistically pure, quite possibly somewhat amateur-looking local piece of film-making? Maybe we do.

Maybe we don't. Maybe we want to make a film with a proper budget. A film that looks great, feels great, IS great. Is proper, plush, MONEYED. If this is to happen, then the way to proceed with this movie project is to hook up with an independent production company, and essentially join the film industry mainstream. Yes, we'll then quite possibly be in dreaded 'development' for a while; yes, I won't be able to drive this project single-handed any more, if indeed at all; and yes, the whole thing might well change into a disabled pensioners' romcom set in Bridlington-on-sea, but perhaps this is the price that we need to pay in order to get The Elder made? We do this via an established movie production company, start to raise finance, hopefully secure the services of a star (for the Morpheus role, the key role), then rest assured, KISS will answer our phone calls. Because we'll be phoning with money behind us.

OR should we stay completely independent and fund the entire movie with an all-singing, all-dancing, massively proactive Kickstarter campaign?

I really don't know. Both options have their merits.

In the meantime we are going to be speaking to some independent production companies, testing the water. I recently had a great lunch with a well known director who, when I showed him our all-new, sexy 4-page treatment document, told me to rip it up (AGAIN) and boil it all down to an even sexier (just how sexy is it possible to make a single piece of paper?), ONE-pager, and include with it some visuals - some concept art, Ralph McQuarrie-style too, so that we're going in with a visual hook, context, right from the offset.

So this is what we're now busy doing. Weirdly, the very morning after this lunch, I was Facebook messaged by a guy in Chile - Claudio Bergamin, concept artist extraordinaire - who got in touch offering his services over a year ago, and to whom I've not spoken since, simply as I've had no need for his considerable expertise. Until the exact moment he contacted me last week. Life is weird like that sometimes.

So Claudio, God bless him, has now been briefed on the specific concept art required, and we should now be in a position to pitch professionally to the indies by the end of June. Phew!

So we'll see what kind of reaction we get. I'll keep you posted. I guess if nobody shares our vision then we'll be forced down the independent, Kickstarter route, which might in fact be the best way to proceed in the first place. We'll see. But everybody who reads the script, or the treatment, seems to really *get* the movie, so I'm feeling quietly confident. A lot of people have worked very hard to get us to this point. And the movie, as it stands, as a fully-fledged concept, script, the works, is in damn good shape.

So it's all still to play for, folks.

The kid stays in the picture.

For the time being.

23
Apr
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

My lords, ladies and gentlemen.

OK so I have been avoiding writing this Elder movie blog.

Not much has been happening on the surface, but plenty beneath, like Stephen Hawking, or Loch Ness.

The last time we spoke, I had just finished (draft four - first public draft, of) our original screenplay and contacted KISS's manager Doc McGhee in order to hopefully fix up a meeting to pitch the film project to the band. Well, this hasn't happened yet. In fact KISS were so desperate to avoid having to speak to me they flew all the way to Australia to 'play some gigs' instead.

Initially my feelings were somewhat hurt by this brutal rejection. HELLO? AHEM?? DON'T YOU KNOW, I HAVE FINISHED WRITING MY THING NOW? AREN'T YOU GOING TO OPEN YOUR ELABORATE PATIO DOORS AND BEARHUG ME? Sadly the world does not work like this. Sadly the world does not give two hoots about one's valiant creative efforts. Instead one must crowbar oneself into every crevice and then TURN TO RUST, so they can't get rid of you without phosphoric acid or the threat of firearms.

This period of patience and head-scratching enabled me to realise that even if / when I get my meeting, the likelihood of millionaire rock stars subsequently dutifully sitting down and reading a 100-page screenplay was remote to say the least. What I needed, and LACKED, was a goddamn TREATMENT DOCUMENT. For all you peasants who don't know what this is, it's basically a sexing-up synopsis document which explains the idea, the themes and a breakdown of the story itself, as well as who we are exactly. So that perusal of such a critical document ought to provide the reader / mogul / blood-spitting demon in big silver dragon boots kinda guy with an overview of WHAT THIS PROJECT ACTUALLY IS, AND WHY, without having to wade through 100 pages of my original screenwriting genius. Don't forget that. (Please also do not forget that multiple-Oscar-winning 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' was William Goldman's DEBUT original screenplay, a fact whose obvious parallel I need linger over no longer.)

The only, shall we say, issue, about this clearly essential treatment document, which is now done and has been sent off to our designer David Bailey to design (thank you David), is that writing it was officially the most boring and tedious creative thing I have ever done. EVER. And I once wrote an entire book about classical music. Writing this sodding treatment meant boiling down everything that happens in the film - every scene, important gesture, potent allusion, etc etc - down to a line, or half a line, or couple of words, which must then hang together in ITS OWN narrative context. My God it was deathly dull, ladies and gentlemen. And it took me WEEKS. That's right, ACTUAL WEEKS, just to end up with 6-7 pages of this general synopsis! In fact it could even have been months. I kind of kept putting it off, as it was so unrewarding, and hey, Doc still might just call at ANY MOMENT. What time is it in Brisbane anyway?

But now we something more palatable to put into his hands. And it provides a truly excellent overview of the film project, as well as telling the, ahem, dazzling story itself. The story of the Boy, Morpheus, the Order of the Rose, the Odyssey, Mr Blackwell, and so on and so forth. So now, as soon as I get it back from David, we will be AGGRESSIVELY pushing this treatment document to do two things. Here are the things.

1) Get us into a hugging situation with KISS management and possibly Tommy Thayer.

2) Get us a fucking producer.

This treatment is basically my homing pigeon, which I am about to send out into the big wide world, in my trusty old cloth cap. Because that's how my pigeon rolls. With a thump.

If you're interested in our treatment and would like me to email you over a copy, please get in touch, as this pigeon document is going to be doing some serious avian muscle work for us over the next few weeks and months.

Oh and I also worked through another (F I F T H) draft of the screenplay itself. I kind of did that as I was synopsising the thing; realising that, oh look, now I'm here I realise I don't really need that scene to be there after all, so...CUT!!! SNIP!! DELETE!!

So despite the lack of blogdates, we are still out there, putting in the hours. We're still making this god damn movie. More than ever, my friends, more than ever.

Next blog: hopefully something other than sitting in front of my computer.

Fly, little pigeon, fly!!

Fly on the wings of love.

Fly baby fly.

Reaching the stars above.

Touching the sky.

Maybe it is mine.

Fly on the wings of love.

Reaching the stars above.

Touching the sky.

The Olsen Brothers, 2000

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