Saturday, March 1st, 2014
It feels right to be writing this on a Saturday. When I was a kid, on Saturdays I used to get up early and watch a bit of Ghostbusters until there was movement upstairs. Every Saturday.
I’d sit on a chair with legs because I was worried a Terror Dog would burst out of the armchairs or couch. Then my parents would take us to Huntingdon and do the food shopping, leaving me in the library. There I’d repeatedly research the myths and legend section so I could pretend to be Egon.
It feels right to be writing this on a Saturday. And yes, I’m currently watching Ghostbusters. These are my favourite 5 Egon Spengler moments.
5. That’s a big Twinkie!
“Let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie… thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.”
It’s the way he eats the Twinkie afterwards.
4. Woah woah woah. Nice shootin’, Tex!
Even though the little green ghost has long moved on, Egon is still relentlessly firing his Proton Pack at the bar full blast. Innit lovely seeing him out of the lab!
3. VENKMAN: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon… what’ve you got left?
“Sorry, Venkman, I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.”
…he says completely deadpan.
2. Your mother!
I’d probably seen this film several dozen times before I noticed this. After the Ecto-containment system is shut down and chaos breaks down, amid the chaos Walter Peck tries to have the Ghostbusters arrested. Egon leads the fight that gets them taken in, leaping at Peck and bellowing ‘Your mother!’
(I hope at least one of you reading this had never noticed this before.)
1. Doh… Ray… Egon!
Always the quiet one.
. . . . .
I know Harold Ramis was so much more than Egon. I think Groundhog Day was his masterpiece and he was, of course, a much loved real person and talent. President Obama said:
When we watched his movies … we didn’t just laugh until it hurt, we questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings.
Then Obama went on to throw in a Caddyshack reference for good measure. I don’t know too much about Harold Ramis himself, but his daughter Violet said:
He was like the campfire that we all gathered around for light and warmth and knowledge.
Which, I guess, is everything I assumed.
PS - But John… what about the ‘I collect spores, moulds and fungus‘ scene with Janine? That’s not one of my favourite Egon moments. That’s just one of my favourite moments of film.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
The first draft of my horror feature ‘Small Town Demons’ is complete. Shelly, a lost-in-life twenty-something visits her tiny hometown for the first time in years, only to find herself caught in nightmarish game of cat and mouse through the once-familiar streets with a demonic figure who slays anybody Shelly asks for help…
Today I had a happy morning sitting with a red pen and scribbling over any weird phrasings or obvious typos and have just sent that slightly polished draft off to my first round of kind volunteer reader chums who I’m sure are looking forward to taking me down a peg or two.
Until then, although it’s very much a first draft, I’m quite chuffed.
A few stats:
- It’s 102 pages long (which means I should hopefully be able to easily trim 12 pages for this sort of story).
- How many killings? 15 (several offscreen or implied)
- It has taken me three months to write (working on it approx. 2 days a week with time to write a comic, script editing another film and going on Honeymoon in the mix too)
- I didn’t know what the ending of the film was when I started. Just an idea for the epilogue.
- In hindsight, the ending was already, inadvertently, quite well set up.
- And then, when I got to the epilogue, I didn’t know how to write it.
- I really like the new epilogue.
- The bits that will probably be the creepiest on film are currently the dullest bits to read (Any suggestions for good scripts that feature protagonist on her own for big chunks very welcome!)*
- There are four main characters (five, if you count my monster)
- Four of them are female, one of them is male (and he’s not the monster)
- My favourite supporting character is ‘Pajama Man’.
- The script is set in my own hometown even more than I realised.
- I have nicked a scene wholesale from another script of mine because patio doors still freak me out and I am determined to express that on film!
I’m probably going to use a tweaked version of ‘Small Town Demons’ as my script sample for Hopscotch Films’ Horror Competition (deadline mid-December) with a different psychological horror pitch I’m currently putting together.
So fingers crossed the first reviewers think it’s worth doing a second draft of. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything feature length and even longer since I just sat down and wrote to see where the story wanted to go.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing where it goes next!
*seriously, good visual horror script recommendations very very welcome!! Ta.
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
I’m about ten pages from the end of my ‘Small Town Demons‘ script (Shelly is just discovering that a silent town might be the lesser of two evils her home starts to wake up) but, in the mean time, everything else on my mind at the moment is strangely radio related.
First up, for writers in the North, the brilliant Alfred Bradley Bursary Award is back. We have until the end of January to submit our polished scripts for an afternoon play. My plan is to adapt my own anthropomorphic comedy drama ‘I, Object’ that I had the chance to write for Slung Low’s 15 Minutes Live earlier this year (which I don’t think I’ve shared on here so please have a listen!)
And speaking of 15 Minutes Live, Slung Low’s new 15 Minutes Live is being performed at Holbeck Working Men’s Club in Leeds on Sunday 10th November. I’ll happily be playing the role of old-time radio announcer to introduce the plays but, beyond that, I’m just plain looking forward to enjoying the show!
And finally, it’s the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ WAR OF THE WORLDS radio broadcast. A talent, a personality and a voice that I will always aspire to. You can listen to the whole thing on BBC iPlayer for the next few days so, if you’ve never heard it, only heard of it, do have a listen.
My favourite bits will always be when they cut to some light music from ‘Ramon Raquello and his Orchestra’ amid the ensuing invasion.
No one would have believed…
Friday, September 20th, 2013
I’m now over 60 pages into the first draft of my horror script ‘Small Town Demons’ (woohoo!) and am very quickly starting to realise what I’m actually writing about. I’m resisting the urge to go back to the start, instead focusing on getting to the finale. When my heroine Shelly takes on the darkness stalking her, what is she really fighting? What are you really watching?
(And, perhaps more importantly, how do I add that extra level of audience connection without being all arty and pretentious and stuff?)
When Sidney shoots the masked killer that’s threatening to kill her (A-plot) she’s also dealing with her painful past that’s been stalling her life. Sidney can’t process that her mother was an adulteress. Billy can’t accept that his parents broke up (because of Sidney’s mother). While the B-plot plays this as Sidney’s sexual reluctance, Billy’s inability to deal with the theme leads to the A-plot to begin with. Kevin Williamson did much more with Scream than clever in-jokes!
The Ring turns it back round with the theme of parental consequence, as two investigative parents thoughtlessly drag their son into peril just as parents of the past created the monstrous Samara through their own fear and thoughtlessness. All very Frankenstein-y. Again, it adds an extra level of tragic connection to our monster as well as expanding the character dynamic of our main characters.
I’ve had a lot of disagreements about the central theme of Jaws. Man vs. Nature? Okay, but how does Brody’s conflict with the Mayor tie into that? From my point of view, Brody’s story is all about him taking control. He’s not happy with his new home or position, his mayor walks over him, people keep telling him the best way to get rid of ol’ chompy.
What I love about Jaws is that every character is focused on what is that shark going to do to my life – but the film kicks into gear when a pissed up Brody and Hooper take matters into their own hands and cut open the Tiger Shark in search of Alex Kitner’s remains. Every move from then is Brody learning from all of the many mentors around him until he can defeat Jaws and return to the home he wants to. Yay!
Dredd and Brave are two recent films I really enjoyed. But while I applauded that the female leads didn’t simply have easy, tacked on romantic sub-plots to explore the story in a different way, my slight issue with each film is that both then felt they were missing anything at all in that B-story space. Their themes to an extent were their premise (although I knew very little of Brave before seeing it so there were some terrific surprises! )
On the other hand, to me, far worse is the seemingly ‘tacked on’ sub-plot supposedly included to compliment a theme but that gets lost in the shuffle (*cough Jeff Goldblum’s daughter in The Lost World cough*)
I’m now looking at ways that both my A and B (and C) plots, the relationships and the events can all be addressing the one central thematic question. In the case of Small Town Demons where Shelly is answering ‘can you go home again?’ as she gets stalked round her estranged hometown by a demonic darkness and encounters old flames foes en route to trying to save her sister.
Can you go home again? Should you try? (I’m still working on the ending so hopefully we’ll find out soon!)
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Yep. As half of twitter seemed to delight in pointing out, it’s like a live-action version of The Simpsons Movie. (Stephen King started writing the book decades ago and The Simpsons already did this joke back when the book came out though so keep up, guys! )
The other half of twitter don’t seem that bothered at all about the show though, which, two episodes in, I feel is a shame. Speaking to some folks whose opinions and reviews I really value seem underwhelmed.
The thing is, I don’t disagree with any of their problems (for example, see the always excellent Dan’s Media Digest for thoughts on the first few eps or SFX Magazine’s 3 star review of this week’s second episode), I’m just still enjoying it. So this is just my list of what I’m finding to be the good that outweighs the bad.
1. It IS like The Simpsons Movie.
To me, one of the things I would have wished for in The Simpsons movie is seeing more of the evolution of Springfield’s general populace/supporting cast when trapped, er… Under the Dome. Sure, they’re not the title characters, but whether for comedic or dramatic reasons, watching a bunch of characters trapped in a single location (albeit an entire town) usually leads to good stories.
2. Changes From The Book
I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome shortly after it came out and it kicked off the Stephen King catch up read-a-thon that I’m still on a few years later. And yet, even a few moments into the pilot, I genuinely don’t know where a few of the multiple story strands will end up.
Most significantly altered is headline character Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara (Mike Vogel) who has been introduced in both UK episodes so far in a less than salubrious way (not in the book) before his good guy instincts shine through in action later in the episode. It’s not that we don’t know whose side he’s on – we just don’t know what the sides actually are!
3. Big Jim Rennie
No one’s saying Under the Dome is in Breaking Bad’s league, but they do share one fantastic actor in Dean Norris. But here, he’s the bad guy. Or is he? Well yes, but in the two episodes we’ve seen so far, Big Jim’s schemes and lies have all been done – as far as Big Jim’s concerned – for the greater good of the town. In Big Jim, perhaps more so than the book too, we have a great example of an antagonist who thinks he’s the hero!
(FUN FACT: When I first read the book I actually had Dan Aykroyd playing it dark and villainous running through my mind!)
4. All In Good Time…
A chief bugbear seems to be that the Dome descending didn’t instantly cause widespread panic and chaos among the townsfolk about the finite power, food, water or even air. I think this is fair enough. However, with so many other shows picking up after the apocalypse, I’m happy this show is taking its time to get there.
I don’t know if this is intended, but the way the episodes are titled encourages me to think of the show as a series of (for now) near-standalone ‘what if?’ stories with some serial mystery elements. I like that the A plots (for now) are what if a community trapped under a dome faced this challenge, what if a town trapped under a dome faced that challenge. There’s definitely a suspension of disbelief there but, for me, it’s one that allows for interesting gradual apocalyptic storytelling. There’s plenty of other shows and movies with cataclysms!
Following on from point 4, anyone who enjoys Stephen King enjoys must enjoy a story that takes its time to tell. But it’s not just Stephen King but Steven Spielberg on the exec producers list too. Along with Brian K Vaughan developing the adaptation, these are storytellers who create worlds I love to live in – monsters and all.
Possibly this show would/could have been better as a finite miniseries (similar has been said about my other favourite TV show this year, The Returned) and there’s no doubt that ‘hey, maybe we can make some more money from this?’ thinking has definitely been in there – so how far can they stretch it?
The writers have already stated they plan to change the end of the book (including the explanation of the Dome’s presence to begin with!) which is fine with me. Not because I (against the flow) thought the ending was bad but because, for me, it really was about the meandering.
The first two episodes of Under the Dome are available on 5 on Demand.
Meander with me
Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Do you like to meet the heroine/hero or the monster first in your horrors?
I’m blaming Spielberg entirely for my current dilemma. As mentioned in my last post, Top Gear-nightmare Duel is one of my big inspirations for the script I’m writing. It opens cold with David Mann (Dennis Weaver) pulling his red Plymouth out of his suburban driveway and setting off on… his journey. (Dum dum duuuuh)
I love being drawn into David’s world as he flicks unimpressed through an array of local radio stations as he moves further away from home. It’s quite intense. It’s all from the POV inside David’s car. It… doesn’t feature a scary truck for ten minutes. Also, Spielberg kinda mastered the ‘get the monster into the film at the beginning’ a few years later.
My original plan for my script’s hero Shelly (you can read the story logline here) was to introduce her first and then we only ever experience the whatever-it-is who begins terrorising her through her eyes. But would I be missing a trick?
Or, for a script where I intend to have Shelly in every single scene, would opening on a different character be cheating? Would or is that something only I’d be bothered about or even notice?
Scream and Halloween provide perhaps their most memorable moments in the opening scene. Candyman is one of the few examples I can think of where heroine Helen (Virginia Madsen) and monster Candyman are introduced simultaneously – albeit with Candyman introduced via flashback/fantasy sequene. Paranormal Activity and [REC] also go another way and first and foremost introduce us to the character of the camera.
I have attached the first draft of my Small Town Demons opening scene. It’s not long so please have a read! (re-read the logline here)
As well as our monster, the location and the character the scene (briefly) introduces will be relevant later on in the script. But right now, I’m just trying to work out whether my heroine or my monster are the best way to haunt and hook the viewer.
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
I’m writing a horror film.
Sometimes my scripts can lack strong antagonists. Far too often, theme overly barges its way into my plot and my characters get a bit soul searchy when they should be getting a bit more ‘how do we get out of this shark/supervillain’s way’ searchy. I figured after I can’t write a film about a character being chased by a monster with a strong antagonist, then I really need to think how I’m approaching stories!
This is my work in progress quick pitch for ‘SMALL TOWN DEMONS’:
Reluctantly returning home for the first time in ten years, habitual temp worker Shelly suddenly finds herself in a chilling, nocturnal game of hide and seek as a demonic figure hunts her through her tiny hometown’s once-familiar streets.
Every time Shelly seeks help, her supernatural stalker slays her would-be saviour… but leaves Shelly alive to run. Can Shelly drive her pursuer into a confrontation? And can she survive the encounter?
Any good? What’s missing?
Please feel free to criticise (constructively, preferably). I’m planning to blog my way through writing the first draft and be quite open about sharing plot points. It’s an exercise I’m setting myself to explore ideas around how we can always still keep adding to the horror pot to keep the genre fresh (as well as get me back into the habit of writing feature films in general). Tonally, these are my touchstones:
What appeals to me about this idea is the idea of the scary arena just being the deserted streets of your own hometown and the idea that you realise you every time you ask for help any gets people hurt. I realise an exterior shoot at night might make things trickier to film but, the idea of not being stranded on foot outside cosy houses as something gives chase seems nice and ‘Minotaur in the Labyrinth’ to me.
So I hope you’ll join me for my horror diary… and hopefully stop me from wandering off into the darkness along the way!
Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
That it’s taken me two months to complete this list (read my choices 12-7 here) isn’t due to the inner torment I’ve faced putting a beloved franchise in order of preference (although ranking 3rd, 4th and 5th on this list were definitely tricky!), but more down to the fact I didn’t feel like blogging for a week and then suddenly Star Trek Into Darkness seemed to completely vanish from the conversation.
(Rather than necessarily being a review of the new film itself, I think this is more an interesting example of over-crowded blockbuster summers and transient nature of what’s being talked about. For example, there seems to be far more chatter about what’s supposedly flopping like The Lone Ranger etc than what’s actually being watched* – but, as always, maybe that’s another blog post :D)
Anyway… let’s pick and tick my top six Trek pics! Not ‘arf.
6. The Undiscovered Country - Actually, this was the most difficult film to find a place for on this list. I think it’s brilliant and definitely one of the better films in terms of quality, but for some reason it doesn’t quite hold me. Shakespeare-spouting Klingon Chang/Christopher Plummer is a brilliant baddie and I love the way that, by now in the franchise, all of the characters were getting a scene or beat to shine (Sulu captaining the Excelsior being the biggest example) – but whether it’s the corruption within Starfleet or Kirk’s proven-correct Klingon distrust, some of the aspects feel like a list of really good ideas instead of one stand-out story.
5. Star Trek (2009) - It is far from perfect, but I loved the energy and tenacity of this reboot that still keeps the past/future of the whole Trek universe in canon – even if in a different timeline/reality. Sure, I think Kirk’s rise from ‘not in Starfleet at all’ to ‘Captain of their best ship’ within the first hour could have been given more room to breathe and I’d have preferred the climax to not simply be a punch-up, but my favourite aspect of this reboot was that all of the captains we’re introduced to (including the 12 minutes of George Kirk’s tenure) show that you have to be incredible to be a Starfleet captain. Kirk isn’t the best simply because everyone else is crap.
In an industry where most big movies will be franchises and licenses, (and even if the sequel didn’t quite live up to it) JJ and co gave me hope that you could push the familiar in exciting new directions. Plus this trailer really is awesome: ”Your father was captain of a starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives. Including yours… I dare you to do better.” Challenge accepted!
4. Generations - When Heather and I went to Star Trek London (yeah, that’s right!) last year, writers Ronald D Moore (his incredible hair) and Brannon Braga admitted that they wished they’d let Kirk die on HIS bridge, not just A bridge. However, when you know this is Kirk’s final adventure, it makes it all the more poignant that what lures him away from the bliss of the Nexus is the sense of jeopardy and overcoming the odds. Good lad, Kirk.
There is a cosiness to this film that perhaps goes onto scupper the later TNG films, but I think what gives this the extra oomph for me is the antagonist of Soran. Not only is it Malcolm McDowell (giving Patrick Stewart the chance to go up against another Yorkshire thesp) but his quest of simply wanting to get into the Nexus (or ‘heaven’) is so driven after his loss to the Borg, he doesn’t care who he harms, kills or allies himself with to get there. A grand example of antagonist who sees himself as the hero of his own story and a nice variation in Trek movie bad guys.
3. The Voyage Home - Sure, I’ve grown up to be a very ‘Save the Wales’ kind of guy, but I always loved this film’s story simply because it showed how versatile the franchise was. You could have what is essentially a light-hearted time-travel jaunt with an ecological message and it not seem out of place. And I think that’s because it nails its tone perfectly, all fish-out-of-water/time mishaps without falling into self-parody.
I really like the completely alien nature of the threat of the jeopardy as well (I’d like to see more Crystalline Entities or weird sentient stars in a 3rd film please, Mr Abrams) but perhaps two things stand out for me. 1.) I love that Bones wears his own clothes back to the past, and still looks cooler than everyone in the world. 2.) Anyone who can’t find a hero in Spock Vulcan neck-pinching someone playing their music too loud on public transport is probably the sort of person who listens to their music too loud on public transport. :)
2. The Wrath of Khan - I’ve recently come to the conclusion that this really is among the very best science fiction movies ever. If Star Trek: The Motion Picture suffered from being overly-inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey and most of Trek gets overly compared to Star Wars (dude, it’s okay to like both!) then this film is simply the greatest example of its own thing. Would it have had such a strong antagonist if Kirk hadn’t already been facing his own Autumn year introspection? Is Genesis a great use of science fiction technology that doesn’t make the plot go silly? Can you honestly make it through that final goodbye without welling up? (Heck, it’s the music as Kirk runs down to engineering that gets me going!)
And then, there’s the ‘K’ word itself. You don’t get to argue with what becomes iconic. It’s not just Khan’s pecs, the ear worms, not thinking three-dimensionally and a dying Vulcan hand pressed up against the glass that shows us how it’s done. Even though, Original Series ‘Space Seed’ is there for the watching, perhaps Wrath of Khan shows us that, with good writing, audiences don’t need to see a whole origin story to laboriously explain why the bad guy is cranky.
So, in first place, it’s…
1. First Contact - Simply put, I love this film. I love how perhaps the scariest villain in Trek is pitted against the spark of optimism that starts the whole Trek franchise to begin with. I love how Picard nearly loses himself in his hatred of the Borg but Lily (who has just survived World War 3) gets him through it (which leads to my favourite line when it comes to activating the Enterprise D’s self-destruct; “There’s plenty more letters in the alphabet”)
I love that the movie is split between the action onboard the Enterprise (which is a nice idea in itself) and the hopeful CDT project going on down on Earth. Considering Picard and Zephram Cochrane have very similar arcs, structurally it’s nice that they only meet in the very final scene when they’re both ‘ready’ (and even then, Picard is only an observer…albeit in a very cool coat). In general, I think this film does a lot with a little. It’s well plotted and paced. The characters do get a good share of story beats. And it just plain makes me happy when the Vulcans arrive at the end.
True, the lovely Heather walked down the aisle to part of the opening theme from this film. And, mushy stuff aside, y’know… this…
If I were being entirely analytical, this list might be very different in terms of which films I think are ‘best’. You probably have your own list (please let me know what it is – isn’t working out your fifth favourite, really tricky?!) But this list (and part one here) is just what I’d say if you asked me to put all the Star Trek films in the order I’d like to watch them again. Perhaps my final thought is that I really would very happily watch them all again.
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
With the recent sunshine, my thoughts have turned to that most traditional of Summer past times… sitting in a darkened cinema watching movies set in space. Yay!
Having seen Into Darkness, I’ve been asked several times how I rate it, not just against the previous film but in comparison to all of the Star Treks. Foof. Honestly, I’ve not encountered a Star Trek movie I didn’t like. I just enjoy Star Trek. For any fan of anything, that includes warts and all (and for any decades old franchise, there’s gonna be some warts!)
12. Insurrection – Genuinely, I don’t think Insurrection is the least good of the franchise, but it definitely suffers the most from ‘feature length episode of…’ syndrome. Jonathan Frakes directs with a really warm and engaging touch and I enjoy it every time I watch it, it’s just that all moments feel a little recycled and remind me of the first time I saw each element first (Picard tempted by love, Data’s childlike innocence, baddie Starfleet Admirals… ‘Badmirals’ etc) Plus Riker didn’t have a beard. Madness.
11. Nemesis – The messiest of the franchise? Lots of interesting ideas and stand-out moments (hence not being at number 12) but, cool opening scene with Jim Robinson aside, it takes too long to get going and never quite ties together. It felt like too many cooks were battling to blend a satisyingly ‘a generation’s final journey’ with a blockbusting ‘appealing outside of the fanbase’ and didn’t quite manage either.
10. The Search for Spock – I feel a bit bad putting this down here on the list. Christopher Lloyd is a great Klingon baddie but part of me still wanted the version with the Romulan scouting party on the Genesis planet being picked off by the rogue Spock like in Alien and our guys need to stop him before he starts a war. But it’s unfair to judge on ‘what could have been’. What there is is a strangely flat mish-mash. Kirk’s son dies but it’s sort of weirdly offscreen and Spock’s resurrection feels very ceremonial instead of celebratory. However, act one where the gang steal the decommissioned Enterprise to get back to Genesis is a real hoot!
9. The Motion Picture – Much like Alien, I wish I’d seen this on the big screen first time round. It plods, it meanders and it revels in having a big screen budget (even if the effects are actually a bit duff in places considering Star Wars came two years earlier) but I can’t help but think this is a fantastic premise for a Trek movie that could have been made a lot more of. V’Ger’s mania and motives could have been the set up for some real drama on the bridge, within Starfleet and with the Klingons turning up for more than just a shufty and some shouting/shooting. If new Trek movie is due a remake, I’d go for this one. But that brings us to…
8. Into Darkness – (SPOILERS – Just skip to number 7 if you haven’t seen it yet) I thought Into Darkness was a real cinematic treat that definitely lacked a bit of cohesion but which seemed to deliberately substitute it for pace and energy which it delivered on.
I think critics claiming the inclusion of Khan was just ‘fan-service’ is horrendously patronising, for starters I’d say Wrath of Khan is pretty much common knowledge – not just for Trekkies. But while I’d say the cast nailed their characters throughout (Zachary Quinto especially IMO) I didn’t ever feel the ensemble, Kirk and Spock’s love story or even Starfleet itself was quite established enough for the drama of various deaths, betrayals and corruptions to hit as hard as they could (as the first two X-Men films managed)
Again, I feel bad putting this so low down (and maybe after repeat viewings it will change!) but it’s just a token of how much I love all of the films above it. I loved this movie’s tone and adventure plus (like its predecessor) I felt the opening 15 minutes were perfect!
7. The Final Frontier – Perhaps a surprisingly high rank for ‘the worst one’, but – like The Motion Picture – this is another Original Series movie that I love the premise of. Famously knobbled by budget cuts, rushed into production to hit a slot and The 1980s Writers Strike, as well as trying to tackle theological stuff in a Summer blockbuster, this was always a tough sell. I have slight issue with the overt ‘hypnotised’ behavior Sybok’s followers (especially when the scene where he tries to ‘convert’ Bones is so nicely wrought and wrung) as well as not really having room to give us a sense of what religion is like in terms of Starfleet/The Star Trek universe (in the way Babylon 5 managed over a series format)
But all of the surrounding problems just made me enjoy and appreciate the characters all the more (not to mention that the whole film is inspired by William Shatner’s horror at Televangelists) and how amid all the sound and fury of the plot, some silly moments and some ‘pain-sharing’, the film’s enlightenment is actually found round the campfire. I am completely biased by fond childhood memories of this film. I know it’s not as good as I remember, but ’Excuse me, why would God need a spaceship?‘ still is
Each of these films has problems, but if they’re on I guarantee you I’ll stick watch and enjoy them. My top 6 Trek flicks coming soon…
Sunday, April 14th, 2013
Day 14 of #wpad.
Today I feel… over the moon*. Today I finished the first draft of a new script. It’s only fifteen minutes (although is definitely running over at the moment) but after a few recent wobbles, it’s so good to know I can sit down and actually enjoy writing again. Huzzah!
The script being only fifteen minutes as fine though as it’s for 15 Minutes Live – a hugely entertaining anthology of short radio plays directed by the triffic Alan Lane and produced and recorded in front of a live audience by the fantastic Slung Low Theatre Company.
There are some amazing photos – ie. not taken by me – of the last performances here. For the last two shows, my strange voice has finally proved useful as the old-time radio announcer (even though the plays are very contemporary), introducing the casts and each of the plays which has been an absolute pleasure (this is why one of the photos is of my giant nose wearing a tuxedo).
UPDATE: Slung Low have just yesterday put their last crop of 15 Minutes Live plays online so save yourself quarter of an hour and please have a listen.
The shows also feature music from a brilliant live band composed and conducted by that Heather lady I sporadically mention. While this is only a first draft and I could still easily be booted from the project if it isn’t up to scratch, I am hugely looking forward to working with Heather and all of Slung Low and hopefully producing something as good as these.
So yeah, today I feel… pretty darn good today, thank you. Hope you do too!
(* The Moon is the lamp in our bedroom by the way. The wise lizard atop it provides a different kind of illumination)