Friday, 20 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: To remake or not to remake?

I'm finally going to get to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tonight. Now I love Fincher, always have since 7. Even when he misses it is still with so much style and verve that it's really captivating (yes The Game I'm talking about you). He really is one of the most interesting directors around. Generally I hate Hollywood remakes so it is with some trepidation that I am going but if any one can pull it off the Fincher can. I'll let you know tomorrow if I think he does.

The problem with Hollywood remakes is that they're taking something alien and trying to turn them into something palatable for American audiences. To me this means that they don't trust the audience to have a little intelligence, a little taste and so they always dumb things down. In doing so they always feel like something is lost in translation. Of course I am generalising here but you get the point (Wickerman anyone?)

A good example of this is Verbinski's take on The Ring. Now for a Hollywood film it's a really good film in it's own right but even so it can help falling for the old Hollywood tricks and as such it loses all sense of dread and terror that makes the original so scary. That sense of normality that made it get in your head and twist around your brain and squeeze the life out of you.

Also foreign films have their own unique tone and pacing depending on where they come from, some fast, some slow but all different. I love that sense of experiencing the world through a different set of eyes. I just think it would be very dull if all films were tonally the same as the boardroom suits would like. Mind you even films within Hollywood vary massively and long may that last.

My biggest bug-bear though is that they have to re-make them in English because they believe the audience won't go to see the original 'cos they gotta read, as if the audience are either too stupid or too lazy to read. Personally I like having to read subtitles it makes me feel like I'm experiencing a new world, a different culture something that is new to me or not quite understood by me and I have to keep up but maybe most people don't.

So what's your fave Hollywood remake? Why does it work? Does it maintain any sense of the original? Is it better?

Thank God they've decided to shelve the US remake of Akira is all I can say.

Bye-Bye for now

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: Rock 'n' Role

Been having a Back to the Future trilogy session over the last few nights. One a night. Its been great to see how the story ties into everything that came before it in the previous films and then pays off at the end.

What is really interesting is the role reversal of Marty and Doc in the 3rd film. In the first film Marty doesn't really pay any attention to the whole space/time continuum while Doc is constantly telling him he mustn't do anything that could alter the future but after the events of the 2nd film Marty learns his lesson and spends much of the 3rd film telling Doc he mustn't do things that will change the future. And of course like Marty in the first film he doesn't listen and falls in love with the always brilliant Mary Steenbergen. It works brilliantly and something I missed when I first saw the film as a teenager.

What is you fave film about role reversal and why? Is it Hanks in Big? Is it Indy and his son in Crystal Skull as a flip on Indy and his dad in Last Crusade? Is it Hoffman in Tootsie?

I really wish I had a hover-board...oh and a time travelling DeLorean.

Now why don't you make like a tree...


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: The horror, the horror...

My great friend Kev Moss and I have been working on the script for the end of Nightvision making it much more scary and terrifying. I love writing end scenes the most as this is the scene in which everything comes together, reaches a point and BANG explodes leaving the characters reeling.

This is the place where you really get to mess with your characters the most. This is the point where the worst that can happen does and they are left with the consequences for the rest of their lives (no matter how short).

This is where you feel like Laurence Oliver in Clash of the Titans (the original, not the crappy re-make) as he moves the little clay figures across his board...or like that kid rushing his Star Wars miniture people at each other for that last big face off with a firework taped to one of the Stormtroopers (or was that just me?).

The good thing about a horror script is that you can really put your characters through the mill at this point and that is lots of fun. The nastier the better. So with this horrid little thought in your heads....

What's the scariest ending to a film you've seen? What about it gave you the cold sweats or sent a shiver down your spine or left you unable to sleep for days? Answer on a postcard to....



Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: Starting over

So my monster movie script Evolution Cell is done and dusted and in the hands of the producer to work his what? Best get on with the next script. Back to my road movie The Long Road. Although I've already shot about 1/4 of it it's never too late to change it, refine it, throw it all out and start again.

With that in mind what is your fave film about starting over, learning your lessons and moving on? You could argue that all films are about that really. If your character doesn't learn anything then what is the change? No change, no story, no film. If a character ends in the same place he began then whats the point of what you're telling? So every story has to have some kind of lesson learnt and change as a result.

So what is your fave starting over film?

Bye for now

Monday, 16 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: The Transformed Man

Spent the day formatting my new script called Evolution Cell (working title, likely to change). This is always the most satisfying part of writing a script as this is when it feels like it's real and not just a collection of ideas thrown together in some random order. This is the part where you get to turn it into a PDF with a title page and page numbers and the right font and copyright logo at the bottom. This is the part where it feels proper - like a real script. This is the part where you have a warm glow inside about what you have achieved.

That is until you send it out and people start reading it and having differing opinions about what works and what doesn't, the part where all that sense of self-satisfaction comes tumbling down around your ears and actually this next part is the bit I like best, strangely. I love it. Because out of all that chaos and despair that you've written a steaming pile of shit you can start to rebuild and make the script stronger, better. From the rubble you can see its faults more clearly than you have in months. The script transforms into something new and hopefully something beautiful because of this process.

So what has any of this got to do with the Question of the Day you may ask? Well the Question of the Day is a great research tool for me to see what people like and what they feel works and I bring that knowledge into my next re-write. It enlightens and informs. It educates. It transforms. So today's QOTD is what's your fave character transformation? It can be physical, emotional, spiritual as long as the character changes into something new.

Adios Amigos

Friday, 13 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: Let's rock.

Had a telephone production meeting with Will from Scant Regard about making a short film/video promo for a song off his latest album. I've never really been into music videos where the band just swan about trying to look good. I much prefer something a bit more abstract and artistic. For me the video should be something equal and entwined with the music not just a collection of eye candy while the music plays. I think it should enhance the music and vice versa. Something a bit more challenging. Probably why I don't get many music promos.

So today I'd like to know what is your fave music related film? Is it watching The Band doing their last waltz or the neon drenched sweaty clubs of Purple Rain? For me I'd have to say The Wall by Pink Floyd as it really hit that early 80's punk/noir vibe I loved so much about Bladerunner. Ah the glory days.

Lets rock.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: They be bad boys.

Today I have been painting the fire surround ready for a log burner to go in next week. I know the warmest winter on record and we're getting a fire put in. Where were you last year when it was snowing...oh yeah didn't have the money then.

As I was painting I was mulling over the creation of a villain/monster for one of my scripts called Evolution Cell. It used to be a vampire but hey look what happened there (yes I'm looking at you Twilight, vampires that glow in the sun...WTF????) Now it's not as easy as you might at first think to come up with a really scary monster that is believable and terrifying. I think I cracked it and it involves Tendrils (I love that word).

What is your fave movie monster and what makes it work so great? Is it the charm of Hannibal or the sexual allure of Alien? Let me know.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Workshop QOTD: #soundtrack vibes man.

Ok so this thing is changing into it's own thing so who am I to stop it (theme of a script I'm writing called Evolution Cell, more to follow on that one), it's now becoming the Workshop Question Of  The Day or Workshop QOTD: as it's shorter title will be. Here's today's.

Listening to Movie Soundtracks as I set up a new edit desk for my wife. What's your fave movie soundtrack and what's so great about it? Is it that you'll believe a man can fly or does it chill you to the bone wearing a rubber Shatner mask?


Friday, 6 January 2012

Workshop Film Quiz: All the red tape

Today I am doing battle with the dreaded 3 headed monster called the Tax Return. Armed with my trusty white laptop, a calculator, a pen and paper (old skool) and a fuzzy rusty man-flu addled brain I'm doing my best to fell this filthy beast but feel like I'm bashing my head against an impenetrable grey fortress of paperwork.

So to celebrate the good fight I'd like to know what is your fave film dealing with bureaucracy and the dystopian future promised in Gilliam's Brazil. Let me know.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Workshop Film Quiz: Told you I was ill.

I'm suffering from Man-Flu today but will heroically force my self to get some re-writing done. So with this in mind (and it's the theme of my Road Movie) what is your fave film about dying young and beautiful? What is it about this film that touches you so much? What does it teach us? And will I ever be right again?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Workshop Film Quiz

Just flew back to London from Belfast. The flight was a little bumpy because of the winds but not as bad as the flight over. So today I'd like to know what is your fave flying film and why? For me it might have to be Airplane 2 just cos of Shatner. Top Dog, nĂºmero UNO, A numer 1.
Happy flying.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Workshop Film Quiz

The UK is being battered by gale force winds so today I want to know what your fave wind related scene is. Is it the flying cows in Twister or Dorathy's house splattering the witch or is it the camp fire/baked beans from Blazing Saddles? I'd love to know?

Thought the winds were going to rip the trees up at 3am last night. Kept me awake so re-wrote some of the Road Movie.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Workshop Film Quiz

As I am working on a re-write of my Road Movie script I'd like to know what's your fave Road Movie and why?
Let me know.