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10
Feb
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Hello. I’m Owen, co-producer of The Elder, a thrilling cinematic journey into the unknown for us all: one that guides us through the sun-lit promise of childhood to the autumnal redemption of middle-age.

As you can see, our strap-line still needs work.

NB: a movie’s strap-line is the summarizing sentence that usually appears on the posters. It also tends to be one of the first promotional tools used by the producer to achieve backing for his or her movie. Often, the strap-line can become almost as famous as the movie itself. (Pointless Elder Pub Quiz Question #1 - name the three films that these legendary strap-lines are for:

“In space, no-one can hear you scream.”

“Let’s go to work.”

“Does for rock’n’roll what The Sound of Music did for hills.”

The first person writing in with the correct answer will - oh, I dunno - feel a little smug for the rest of their day.)

So, after my recent shredding of the Writer’s initial offerings (see Seb’s last post-but-one), I have been frog-marched to the blog to explain myself. I feel my position is somewhat analogous to a vicious killer of kittens being summoned to a convocation of cats – presided over by Peter Criss in full make-up. (To civilian followers of the blog, that was a crafty feline/Kiss allusion right there in your bitchin’ faces. Keep up, slackers.)

To begin with, puss-cats, some context...

Curriculum Vitae

I am a professional actor, and since leaving drama school in 1996, I’ve had the usual torrid career path of the middling, muddling thesp: some high points (handcuffing Kevin Spacey in a play at the Old Vic), some low (playing a tomato-ketchup stain in a Belgian advert for kitchen cleaner). Before drama school, I spent three or four years in a succession of grotesquely appalling heavy metal bands in the usual hare-brained, twenty-something belief in fame and world-wide notoriety. Which is how I met Seb. I auditioned him for a dreadful covers band I was fronting in the late 1980s in Winchester and ultimately forced him to play ‘Spirit of Radio’ by Rush. He was unable to master it and was forced to temporarily make way for a guitar genius from Andover. Seb has never forgiven me, and has been my best friend ever since.

Common strands in our relationship include a shared passion for heavy metal, a fervently peculiar enthusiasm for the electoral cycle and my regular satirical inclusion in books he occasionally writes about himself. We can sit for hours arguing over what position ‘The Opening Ritual’, the debut EP of Wolverhampton NWOBHM band Cloven Hoof, reached in the metal charts in 1982 (Pointless Elder Pub Quiz Question #2: what was the position?) whilst simultaneously conducting interminable investigations into the foreign policy of the Liberal Democrat party at the last election … the Liberal Democrat party in Japan. He will then write it all down and somehow make our deliberations appearing amusing. Undeniable literary skill, this kid.

Owing to my ‘career’ as an actor (see above) and progress as an international movie mogul (I once tried to help another friend of mine produce a film – you’d think my friends would learn), I also have a degree of knowledge about the whole process of writing a screenplay and shooting a film (aswell as acting in one, of course) that Seb doesn’t. By ‘a degree’ of knowledge, by no means do I intend that to be taken as a nationally recognised academic measure of proficiency. I mean ‘a degree’ as in an incremental fraction (and I mean fraction) of superior understanding: I’ve read tons of scripts in my time, but never actually written one. I’ve done my fair share of acting in front of a camera, but have never succeeded in being the proud father of my own baby movie. I have occasionally had my name roll past at the end of the credits, but never in the capacity of producer. Yet. In other words, I talk a good game but have I actually kicked a ball in anger? No sir. My knowledge is, in the final analysis, not dissimilar to Music from the Elder itself – ie: not as impressive as it sounds.

Hence my complete awe - and not inconsiderable anxiety - at watching Seb dive into the writing of the Elder script without so much as taking off his clothes and leaving them on the beach first. The big, fat, hairy cojones of the man! I’ve always had this admiration for him: his ability to simply create without allowing considerations of convention or form get in the way and tie him to a state of writer’s paralysis. If he has an idea, he will simply apply it forthwith and deal with issues as they arise. Like, as a young man, his aptitude for making up nonsense lyrics on the spot while breathily intoning in a girly voice over a sweetly plucked guitar. Like how, more recently, he writes books.

Let’s call this approach, shooting first, asking questions later.

Now this is fine & glorious if one is, for instance, noodling with one’s guitar in an ‘improvised, less dogmatic, non-idiomatic ‘ electronic trio called Crater, available to listen to on Spotify and other outlets. (See how I help him whilst simultaneously kicking him in the teeth?) However, it becomes potentially more of a problem when you’re approaching one of the most structurally unforgiving forms there is... (cue huge ‘E7’ chord with liberal use of whammy bar):

The Screenplay

A man called Joseph Campbell suggested that as a species, homo sapiens is hard-wired to grasp story structure no matter what era or culture we come from – it’s a universally understood succession of points on a ‘Hero’s Journey’ that has its roots in myth dating back thousands of years. And he must be right, because George Lucas had Campbell sitting next to him when Lucas wrote Star Wars.

William Goldman, who wrote the screenplays for Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man & All the President’s Men, and is generally revered as something of a deity in Hollywood, is quoted as saying: “Screenplays are structure.” In other words, there is a clear and present scaffolding around a screenplay that a screenwriter tinkers with at his peril.

This has to do, I think, with the immediacy of the medium. Because film allows the transmission of the story at an almost kinetic level, the milestones on our narrative odyssey (inciting incident, plot point one, plot point two, showdown, resolution - or if you’re Campbell: call to arms, road of trials, achieving the goal, blah blah blah, just go & look it up on Wikipedia if you’re that interested) have to be intuited by all. Even if they’re at different points, back to front, upside down and clothed in song and zombie dwarves, those milestones still have to be definably present and doing their job.

Now, I could bore you rigid with the difference between three act, four act or seven act structure (too late, you say?); or the way fifteen story-beats divide into forty mini-beats; or who the blinking bejesus Robert McGee, Syd Field and Blake Snyder are. But really, what would be the point? Because you would quite cheerfully say: “PLEASE, enough already, all I need is a story that’ll move me, thrill me, shake me, make me care for the characters, and has a beginning, a middle and an end...!”

And you’d be damn right. Because that’s the three act movie structure in a nutshell. A nutshell in italics. And now in higher case. (And also bold.) BEGINNING. MIDDLE. END. And without really, truly channelling that structure - with all its bewildering array of variations, narrative possibilities and subtle subtextual reverberations - the audience probably won’t be moved, thrilled or shaken by the journey of the characters the film is about. That’s why structure matters: without it, what you’ll be watching is something closer to an art installation. Might evoke a sensation – but won’t have told you a story. Like wearing a bin-bag on your legs rather than a pair of fetching slacks. People will certainly stop and look, but ultimately, you’re a mess and you’ll never make any money.

So much for form. But the same criteria could also be applied to the process of writing. Because it’s such a structured form, writing a screenplay also requires you to adhere to basic rules in the construction of the thing. Obviously, no-one’s holding a gun to your head and shouting at you to DO IT THIS WAY, OR NOT ALL!!! ...(although, to be fair, I came quite close to purchasing a fire-arm); it’s just that it has been done so many times before by so many people that an optimal strategy has been refined over the years to facilitate the smoothest possible writing process. For you the writer. As well as for him, the bastard. PRODUCER, not bastard, producer is what I meant. Producer.

Basically, we’re on hugely trodden territory here, with starving scribes in their draughty garrets worrying their keyboards/biros over the minutiae of this bollocks for all of this century and most of the last one too. But Seb – powered by a nuclear blast of iconoclastic enthusiasm – launched himself into the whole process and simultaneously sloughed off the requirements of the form and the process like a great big lovable hippopotamus in a pond full of A4-sized lilies. A hippo who can write. And talk. And play guitar. (Reasonably well, these days.)

And he began to write the screenplay from a standing start. By which I mean, first-line-of-dialogue-in-the-first-scene sort of standing start: no treatment, no synopsis, no blueprint, no plan, no nothing. As startling and ill-advised as an Englishman striding naked into the Serengeti, grinning broadly.

NOT EVEN A STRAP-LINE, LADIES & GENTLEMEN, NOT EVEN A COCKERMAMIE STRAP-LINE!

So I warned him. I wrote in an email: “Please tell me you’ve at least written a synopsis first.” Which, bearing in mind he’d just sent me his first three pages and it was the week before Christmas, was perhaps not the most tactful, or indeed Christian, response. The lamb had nervously proffered his first delicate submission; in return, he needed reassurance, a kind comment, a gentle touch on the buttock. Not a chilly put-down demanding an immediate volte face. But hell, what’s done was done. The door had opened. And it sort of went a wee bit sour and downhill from there. He got a little stroppy and committed to doing it his way, he had the thing all worked out in his head, leave me the feck alone, you big, hairy bully, and so on. So, I submitted. It’s his baby after all, let him mistreat it if he wishes, social services (me) will come knocking on the door with a protection order before he has a chance to do any real damage.

Also, crucially, a substantial part of me genuinely believed that Seb would be able to pull a rabbit from the hat and create something of rare beauty from scratch if he was given his head. After all, this was the gentleman who twenty five years before had stirred countless teenage hearts in a variety of Winchester living rooms with his guitar, his friend, Orbs, and his free-form musical imprecations to ‘Fuck the Parrot’. This is an artist, I’ll have you know, who is capable of occasional flashes of genius. Anything is possible.

And indeed it was. Unfortunately, what was possible in this instance was also what was most probable – indeed, with hindsight, was all too inevitable. Here was someone who had no particular prior interest in films, had never read a screenplay from start to finish, and had read no more than the opening chapters of one of those countless how-to-write-a-screenplay manuals we’d bought when we’d both had a bit to drink in Central London; and who was insisting, still, on providing no treatment for himself by way of initial support but was wading ever deeper into the swamp of his unplanned, un-sketched, unbidden first draft. What did I imagine it’d be like?

When I read the first 25 pages of Seb’s script the week after Christmas, I could, if I’d had but the sense, have reacted rationally. It had a lot a lot of really good points. Plenty of areas with great potential. The fundamental premise was sound and really rather curiously engaging. But the actual execution of it all was crashingly bad. Simply because of a number of easy screenplay techniques that were pelting through the pages of his script, frothing at the mouth, screaming: “I’M NOT HERE, READERS, I’M NOT F*****G HERE!!!”

Telling not showing – problem. Way too much dialogue - problem. Weak characterisation - problem. Scenes much too long – problem. But learn the techniques & precepts for dealing with these flaws fast and well, and you’re on the way to creating a first draft that we can really work with, old chum.

That’s what I should have said to myself. (And later to him.) Unfortunately, I let myself be carried away by my sense of disappointment. It’s like the Van Halen reunion: I mean, c’mon, Dave & Eddie are in their late fifties, they still probably despise each other and they could do with the money. Did we honestly think their first offering after twenty five years apart was likely to be any good? (Pointless Elder Pub Quiz Question #3: Did we?? Seriously???) Surely we only have ourselves to blame if we feel just a little let down. They simply need some time to get back in the groove. That’s all. No biggie.

Likewise Seb. He just needs some time to figure out which buttons to press, which levers to pull, and how much to squeeze the sticky-outty thing on the narrative transmat beacon console thingamajig. Doddle. Oh, and a producer/colleague who doesn’t totally over-react at the Writer’s first stab and end up giving catastrophically clumsy and almost exclusively negative feedback.

Yeah, that too. That one’s going to be crucial, I think.

Constructive feedback – and its alternative

In the event, I panicked. I stalled for time. My favourite – and, as we both found out, most disastrous – ploy was to suggest that I wait til he’d been given a camera by Mentorn, and then give him the feedback by way of a video-diary. That way, I could rehearse and fine-tune what I had to say. I took advice from my wife. She’s a psychotherapist – she knows about this shit. I read self-help books. I put my fist in my mouth and wailed like a fool. Long dark night of the soul. Plot point two.

Y’see, here’s the deal: I love Seb. He’s my best & most treasured friend. We share that chemical something that all best friends have: as soon as you meet up, something clicks and you just relax. Why would someone want to drop a fat, ugly rock into the pool of his best friend’s enthusiasm? But a producer must and should if necessary. Act two - rising conflict, right there, students. Also, I’ve always been blown away by everything he’s ever written – no need for any negative feedback before. Until now. But I needed him to radically change course before he got any further into his swamp.

Anyway, I froze. Sitting on his sofa, camera on, “So what did you think of the script, Owen?” Rabbit caught in headlights. Of car driven by kitten. And out I breathed and proceeded to unburden myself of all the negative voices that had been reverberating in the lunatic echo-chamber of my head for the preceding few weeks. To begin with. Before I said a single kind word about the script. And his face started to drop, he began to look uncomfortable, and I blathered on like an idiot with a chain-saw who can’t turn it off. In a room with a kitten. A kitten who’s got out of the car by now. No, forget the car. Kitten in a car? Doesn’t make sense. Wrong genre. On & on it went: I’m worried about your lack of this or lack of that, this won’t work, you need to understand this or that, these scenes are simply not act-able, etc, etc, ad nauseam. And then, eventually, finally, after what seemed like an excruciating eternity, I found the off-switch to the murder weapon and gradually stopped speaking. Silence. Then quietly mumbled some of the things that I liked about his work. And then felt dreadful and embarrassed. Far, far too late.

Jesus, it was horrible. Like that scene in Hostel.

To compound the misery, I left my A4 sheet of notes that I’d brought along with me on the Hunter coffee table. For the most part, this was written (I thought) in the general style of our email exchanges: curt, knock-about, occasionally sarcastic, um, robust. My plan had been to pass on these notes after I’d given my vocal feedback in the deluded assumption that the atmosphere would have been congenial and good-humoured enough to withstand some forensic pummelling on paper. Big misjudgement. If in doubt, NEVER write it down. And if you have to, keep it sweet. As I’ve discovered, being direct and no-nonsense when imparting critical written feedback can very quickly be mis-interpreted as brutal and aggressive. Nut/sledgehammer. Kitten/chainsaw. Ooooops.  

As it turned out, yer man took the whole experience magnificently on the chin – and we proceeded to have a splendid evening teasing out further juicy plot-strands for the screenplay over a curry. Not for nothing is he my best pal. But as he told me later, he was devastated and briefly wanted to give it all up. Head/hands/shame.

Over the course of the last fortnight, we’ve had something of a further email tussle (see Seb’s last post) which allowed us to iron out a few relational glitches following the great feedback debacle at his house. On reflection, I was concerned that Seb was being carried away on a tidal wave of enthusiasm and rushing headlong into proceedings with the net result being an amateur pile-up in front of a sniggering prime-time documentary audience. He assured me he was being calm and steady as a snooker player and he had no pretensions to being Werner c*****g Herzog. I threatened to resign because I didn’t want to end up being a nag, and suck all the vim & buzz out of him. He told me to stop shouting at him and being so hysterical. I told him he never does any household chores, treats this house like a hotel and came home the other night smelling of perfume. He bought me flowers and told me not to...

Whoops, wrong relationship.

Basically, we resolved things handily, and have decided that the optimum space for creating this movie is somewhere approximately half way between Seb’s delusions of grandeur and my default angry pessimism.

The Elder

Grand. Pessimistic. Angry.

And deluded.

There’s your strap-line, folks.

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

06
Feb
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Hello again, Elder fans. 

This week I have some outrageous news. 

The new edition of Classic Rock, one of the UK's biggest-selling music magazines and a formidable force internationally, includes a comprehensive feature on the 50 Worst (Rock) Albums Ever. 

Among those records listed are the following:

St Anger by Metallica (#48)
Calling all Stations by Genesis (#32)
Tin Machine II by Tin Machine (#7)
Gone Troppo by George Harrison (#27)
Primitive Cool by Mick Jagger (#25)

Nothing to argue with there. You don't even have to have listened to that Genesis album where they replaced Collins with that bloke from the Levi's advert to simply know that it belongs on the list.

I know what you're probably anticipating at this point. Music from the Elder is included, right? And yes, inevitably, it is. The Elder is a record that has become tediously fashionable to laugh at. And people aren't laughing at the music, they're laughing at the backstory, the hubris, the humiliation - the human story of the ambition behind the record and its subsequent, infamous fallout. Which one can of course appreciate. 

UNTIL, THAT IS, IT GETS VOTED THE #1 WORST ALBUM OF ALL TIME. 

Yes, the Elder is number one on the list. Even worse than the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band OST (#4). Even worse than Cyberpunk by Billy Idol (#2). Even worse than Asshole by Gene Simmons (#26). Even worse than Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed (one of my all time favourite albums - #50).

Hold on. Even worse than Asshole?!?

Too brutal, man. 

At least the TWO PAGE spread on the Elder's awfulness mentions our movie project. 

Allow me to quote Paul Stanley. "If you love us, God love ya. If you hate us, that's OK too. But if you're in the middle, get the fuck out."

So to news of the movie. 

The script is back on the rails. I'm rewriting the first 30 pages. And then probably rewriting the subsequent 30 pages after that. And then writing the rest. Simple. 

Despite swearing I wouldn't bother, I'm also currently writing a Treatment: big context document, theme(s), plus scene by scene breakdown. Makes sense. Actually really useful. 

I think I've resolved 90% of my plot maths. Some loose wires still dangling loose but they'll all get smoothed out in the end. Much of this new, improved watertight structure is down to a spectacularly fruitful spontaneous plot brainstorming session down the pub with my friend and fellow Winchester City FC fan Richard Cross last Wednesday evening. I tottered home with reams of notes scribbled down on ripped-out margins of the Hampshire Chronicle. Not only that, but they also ALL MADE SENSE IN THE MORNING. Thanks Richard! 

In romantic news, Owen and I have finally resolved the comminications issues sketched out in the previous blogpost, following a typical (for us) interminable and labyrinthine exchange of profanity-laden emails. On the "Owen & Seb Falling-Out-ometer" scale, this latest dispute scored an impressive 6.5/10. Our worst ever was over the Iraq War (Owen - for; me - against), when we reached 9/10 (virtually Defcon 1), and almost fell out permanently. So this one was small beer really. Nursery slopes. We have much worse to come. Of that we're entirely in agreement. 

We have a new Production Assistant, Dan Strode, who lives just outside Winchester and is going to be our man on the ground during the shoot. Welcome, Dan. 

This blogpost was meant to be an open letter to Gene and Paul, wasn't it? 
Well, I've stared writing that, but I want to get it right, so I'm doing this one in the meantime. Maybe that will be next. 

What we really need at the moment are two things, or rather two people. We need a Funding Manager, to oversee the funding side of this project, which is going to become steadily more important the further this process continues. Secondly, we need a Press Officer, to oversee all publicity and promotional activity. 

Any volunteers? These positions are rather specialist, and so probably require people with some previous experience. If you're interested, please let us know. 

While I've been writing this I've also been checking out a random selection of tunes from the remainder of the 50 Worst Albums Ever on Spotify. The worst songs so far have been Adam in Chains by Billy Idol and Keith Moon's version of the Beach Boys' Don't Worry Baby. Or his take on the Who's own The Kids are Alright. These last two are so bad they're not even funny. They've made me a little bit sad. 

Talking of Spotify, my improv group Crater's new CD 'Elemental' is just out on the Critical Heights label, and is available on Spotify, iTunes and, of course, those plastic, silvery circular things which you can actually hold in your hand, if not eat your actual breakfast off (DAMN YOU, TOMORROW'S WORLD).

By the way, don't tell anybody I said this, but the title track off Genesis's Calling all Stations album is alright, you know? It's all bloody right. 

Come back Ray, all is forgiv.....

CUT!

26
Jan
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

Hello. 

So Owen (Oakeshott - co-producer and actor: he's playing Morpheus) came down to WInchester the day before yesterday. The plan was to interview one another on the documentary video camera I've been given. First Owen interviewed me: how's it all going etc etc. I replied with this has happened, that has happened, and I hope that such and such might happen next. And so on. Seven or eight minutes, all light-hearted, straightforward. And then we switched places and I interviewed Owen, to ask about his thoughts on the project and his involvement. 

A week ago I sent the 60 pages of the screenplay I've written so far to Owen, Dave and my friend and our movie's official Script Editor Simon Nicholson (Simon is a successful kids' TV writer). Simon sent a constructive email in reply with lots of positivity and some very helpful suggestions. He opened my eyes to a number of things. Owen decided to wait until he was on camera before delivering his own verdict, for extra special dramatic effect. 

So my first interview question to Owen was: what are your thoughts on the 60 pages I'd sent him last week? He began by reminding me that whatever he was about to say, he was still my best friend and he loved me and so on. I said yes, yes, I can see where this is going now, get on with it, please God just let's just get this over with. And so, over the course of 20 minutes, he destroyed it. Annihilated it. In awful, forensic detail. I was completely mortified. When he finally ran out of things to say he paused and I think realised that he'd gone a bit too far and apologised. It was all rather embarrassing. He then said one or two nice things about it, but it was too late. We were both suddenly out of our depth in this new context of... what exactly? Humiliation? We stumbled on with the rest of the interview as best we could, and then took lots of embarrassed deep breaths and probably talked about the weather. I switched the camera off. 

Well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? All of his points were completely fair enough, he was just rather tactless about it. He essentially made exactly the same points as Simon, but unfortunately led with the bad rather than the good. 

Oh, he'll pay. 

The main thrust of this stuff was that I had been massively overloading the protagonists with unnecessary dialogue at the front of the script. The fundamental principle of screenwriting is SHOW, DON'T TELL. And I had been guilty of tell, tell, tell. Massive long scenes full of bloated disposition. The audience doesn't need ANY of that stuff. Show it! So I'm completely rewriting the first 30 or so pages. There's some other stuff too, but we're on top of it. Or at least know now how to attempt to get on top of it. 

So there we go. Later that evening we went to the pub and thrashed out much of this stuff, working over character motivations and contexts and the science and the sheer LOGIC of this world in which 99.9% of the population has been wiped out by a synthetic virus. We worked out a lot of good stuff. And then we went for a curry. I had garlic chilli lamb and Owen had chicken dhansak. You really do get everything with this blog. Even a peshwari naan. 

The irony of my writerly balloon being quite so brutally popped the direct blog after the one in which I boast about how much I LOVE rewriting is not lost on me, thanks very much. 

Yesterday was also our most viral media day to date. After the weekend's Guardian article, yesterday also brought pieces on our project on Blabbermouth, Classic Rock, Planet Rock, Ultimate Guitar, Metal Insider, Antimusic, Cherrybombed, Noisecreep and more. We also advanced deeper into South America, with features in both Chile and Argentina. Next stop Uruguay. Is there a KISS Army Uruguay? There's probably even a KISS Army Antarctica. KISS Army International $pace $tation?

All this coverage has been fantastic. I thank you all. Through it we've picked up some decent financial contributions, though we still need much MUCH more. Especially if I'm to sue Owen for defamation, which is my aim. I can't believe all that is on camera. I really really hope it doesn't make the final documentary. I have no control, over that. 

Why haven't YOU contributed to the movie yet? Eh? EH??? Don't give me that. 

My next blogpost is going to be an open letter to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, so look out for that, folks. 

And don't worry about the script. It's being reworked, remodelled. It's going to be great. We are going to get this right. We care, you see? We have no desire to make fools of ourselves. if something is worth doing, it's worth doing properly. 

Until next time. I'm off to sit in a dark room and have a little cry.

17
Jan
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

 

Last week, apparently, half of the visitors to this site were from Brazil. Ola! So in honour of these lovely new South American folk, I am going to write the first half of this edition of the Elder blog entirely in Portuguese. 

Eu tenho medo Eu nunca fui ao Brasil, embora eu sempre assistir ao Grande Prêmio do Brasil na televisão. Eu particularmente gostei do Interlagos Grand Prix em 2008, quando, na última volta, Lewis Hamilton da Grã-Bretanha arrebatou o campeonato mundial de debaixo do nariz de plucky piloto brasileiro Felipe Massa. Eu imagino que você, provavelmente, gostei desse momento um pouco menos do que eu. Sinto muito sobre isso. (O que é o problema com Hamilton e Massa no momento, porém, não é? Por que eles continuam bater um no outro? Eles são como crianças!)
Música brasileira que eu sou parcial inclui a cena da Tropicália, Os Mutantes e Sepultura. Na verdade isso é tudo que eu realmente conhecem.
Junto com a maioria do resto do mundo, eu gosto de assistir o time de futebol brasileiro em ação, especialmente Lionel Messi. (Isso foi uma piada.)
Eu gosto da bandeira brasileira.
Eu pensei que o filme Cidade de Deus foi excelente.
Todo o povo brasileiro que eu já conheci foram encantadora e amigável e atraente também.
Obrigado por seu apoio no meu filme Elder, as pessoas do Brasil. Eu realmente aprecio isso. E eu vou fazer se a versão em DVD do filme apresenta legendas em Português. Eu lhe dou minha palavra!
Eu sou de voltar para Inglês agora, espero que tudo bem.

So let this be a lesson to other countries who decide to suddenly show up en masse. 

So what news of the Elder movie? 

Not much really. It's been a quiet few weeks, getting back into the rhythms of work. The screenplay is now up to 48 pages, or 48 minutes. I have reworked the first 15 pages or so to take into account later developments, but this is all technical line work, none of which lends itself well to being blogged about. The basic initial structure I originally had in mind appears to be holding up OK, however, which is a big relief. Not that I mind rewriting; far from it. I enjoy rewriting, self-editing, getting under the bonnet and fiddling around, improving the text. I learned to embrace that side of things writing the books what I've done. If you can't embrace prising your own prose apart and putting it back together again piece by merciless piece, then you probably should never try to be a writer. You need to be able to do that. And to take criticism and be able to apply it constructively. This is, of course, much easier said than done, but it's the one piece of advice I always give aspiring writers, who are stupid enough to ask me for advice: learn to take criticism; rewrite your work; rewrite, rewrite, rewrite! 

I have been having the occasional crisis of confidence, I must say. Last week I hit a major plot/confidence wobble and went for a soul-searching hike up on the South Downs in order to attempt to work it through. Which failed spectacularly. I returned from my walk completely convinced that my script was an absolute and complete pile of shit which was going absolutely nowhere. I was distraught. But I opened up the document and gritted (grat?) my teeth and knuckled down and worked through the self-loathing. A few days later and the script was back to shining like a (black) diamond again. I was through the storm; in fact it had ended up actually strengthening my vessel. But these storms are entirely necessary. Alongside the up comes the down. You've got to just cling onto the mast and keep your head above the water, when the dark grey waves of uselessness have eventually passed, simply rewrite, rework, pare it down and think, THINK. Do not hide. There is nowhere to hide, writing a screenplay. You are writing an instruction manual, not poetry. There's no lily to gild. 

Did I mention that Mentorn sent me a video camera which which to record a video diary? I did my first video diary segment on Friday. It was actually quite nerve-wracking. I balanced the camera on a pile of books on a chair in our spare room and positioned myself on a blue pouf facing, holding a page of notes in case I dried up. I dried up so many times the video diary entry ended up resembling an outtake from One Flew Over the bloody Cuckoo's Nest. Staring into a lens and talking and attempting to think all at the same time is VERY DIFFICULT. I now have a lot more sympathy for outside broadcast TV presenters. Except that annoying Scottish cunt who does Coast. 

Owen is meant to be coming down to Winchester to interview me (for the doc), but he is currently "on a Ministry of Defence base in Cumbria doing my occasional gig for British Gas, with strict communications restrictions". Which is absolutely brilliant, whatever the hell it means. I'm also trying to persuade Owen to do a special guest blog on here. That might be fun (and, cough, one less for me to have to do).

I've been told there is going to be a piece on the movie project in Saturday's Guardian Guide here in the UK. As a Guardian reader myself, I am very pleased about this. Hello, Guardian readers. Please financially contribute to the film! The government sure ain't going to. 

Until next time. 

Adeus Brasil. E obrigado. Por favor, indique-nos o seu reais (creio que esta é a unidade brasileira da moeda).

06
Jan
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Happy New Year, everybody. Back on the horse. 


So, 2012. Year of the Mayan Apocalypse. The London Olympics. The US presedential election.  The new Crater album, 'Elemental'. The new KISS album, 'Monster'. THE ELDER MOVIE.


Some heady events there. Plus the new KISS LP. 


Joking aside, this will, we hope, be the year we actually make this film. The screenplay is going extremely well. We have the backbone of a great team already in place. We have some brilliant actors. We (almost!) have the accompanying making-of documentary in place. And, crucially, we have an expectant public, for whom we must deliver. 


We shall deliver. 


New year, new Churchillian blog voice. 


Owen and I now also have Elder Movie Productions Ltd debit cards and cheque books. I like to sit and stare at these when I have nothing better to do. I have been doing this a lot over the Xmas holidays. I know that some of you - those who know him - are worried that Owen might have already withdrawn all our funds and spent them down the pub, but I can assure you this has not happened, as his debit card is still sitting here in my house - I haven't given it to him yet. He can have his card to flash about but I'm not going to give him his PIN. Never share a PIN with an actor. Not even their own PIN. I have learned this through bitter experience. 


Owen is, however, going to be sourcing and costing the merch. The merch will be going live on this site as soon as Owen has sourced and costed it. Oh and as soon as Colin has set up a STORE section of the site, from which to sell it. (Colin, basically, does everything). This is a bit like a task from television's The Apprentice, don't you think? We're going to start with t-shirts, mugs, headbands, car stickers and cordial to begin with. The cordial simply to get Owen traipsing around whoever the fuck makes elderflower cordial, taste testing. Making notes. Buying 1000 litres. Making labels. Maybe not the cordial after all, eh? This has got disaster written all over it. 


The cordial, I mean. 


Mentorn (Elder movie making-of documentary-makers) have supplied me with a video camera. With this I have been instructed to film 'routine video diary updates', 'some footage of you working on the script', and 'perhaps Owen interviewing you about how it's all going'. As well as 'having the camera set up to cover any telephone conversations to potential production partners, or conversations with journalists etc'. I will of course do all of this - it should be good fun - and I will also use it to practise shooting on; to get my eye in, as it were. How hard can it be? It's a sodding camcorder.


I have, this afternoon, had a little practise and I can now turn it off and on again. 
I'll record my first video diary segment tomorrow. 
Soon I'll be filming myself blogging about writing the script which I'll be writing at the same time, with my other hand. 
But what will my foot be doing?? 
My Left Foot.


BACK ON THE HORSE. 
ASLEEP IN THE TRAP.

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