Monthly Archives: November 2012

This thing is working already

First I tell you not to expect anything and then I post twice in one day? What kind of fucked-up game am I playing with you, gentle reader?

Alas, this will but be a quick update for those of you who care how I get on in my endeavours, as I’m pleased to inform you that my relinquishing of the daily post target has reaped dividends: I wrote five new pages of Scars today, completing all of the new scenes for the second draft. Huzzah!

This doesn’t mean it’s finished; far from it. I still need to rework the old scenes I hadn’t thrown out according to my notes and go through these new ones at some point to ensure they’re progressing the plot, keeping the characters consistent and generally being quite entertaining and not just festering piles of elephant dung.

So there’s plenty of work to be done, but this is still an important milestone, not least because I enjoy reworking existing material (i.e. scenes that have already been written but just need to be made better and/or shorter) so, SO much more than doing them for the first time. Ergo the next few weeks shouldn’t be as teeth-grindingly frustrating as the last couple of months.

Well, fingers crossed anyway.

– M

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So here’s the plan

You all probably saw this coming way before I did. Naturally, because you’re all very intelligent and stunningly beautiful. Did you do something with you hair? It looks great!

Yes, I’m calling time on the blog, at least for this year. With most of my belongings still in cardboard boxes or in another town and my job(s) swallowing up my time until after Christmas, my life doesn’t exactly allow me the free thinking/typing space to be able to keep this up every other day, let alone every single bloody one, and it’s only going to get worse the closer we get to the big C. I could go out on a limb and get something out every single night, but a) it likely wouldn’t fit the bill I set for myself a few weeks ago because it’d be much less work to just pick a random topic out of the air, and b) I really wouldn’t be happy with what I’d written and neither would you.

To this end, I’m only setting myself one hard rule: At least one (substantial) post a week until January, when the shittier job ends and I can do a big (disclaimer: will probably not be that big) relaunch. Just to let y’all know I’m still alive and that.

Which isn’t to say that I’m giving up on writing entirely for the whole month. Not writing anything at all tends to be just as bad as having tons to do but no time to do it well, and my main problem has been having the mental weight of over a dozen different posts to catch up on along with the Strange Bedfellows stuff and B3K reviews, not to mention that, uh, new feature draft that was supposed to be done a while back. Having all that bearing down on me – with more self-imposed blog guilt piled on every day – kind of made me unable to get my hands on the wheel, let alone switch gears between all that nonsense.

So I’m bringing it back to basics, and just focusing on the screenplay for now – with the exception of things that actually need doing for other people – which I think is a fairly sensible plan. Actually, the most sensible part was probably telling you all this so I don’t keep feeling like a flaky schizophrenic every other minute.

If you’re a regular reading, thanks for coming along (and well done for getting through more than one of these). I know I apologised for the disruption in the last post, but I’ll say it again: sorry, folks. When a person or organisation leads an audience to expect something and they don’t deliver, they always owe the people an apology, or at least an explanation. I hope this has achieved both.

Oh, and one more thing before I go: If you’re a more productive person than me – and really, who isn’t? – who hates to see blog space go to waste, I’m more than happy to put up guest posts. Feel free to send anything you think might be of interest to anyone to markpeteralllen90@gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter and we’ll talk.

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks again for reading.

– M

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Catch 64

I didn’t mind having a dead-end job so much when it was really just a sideline to something else. Like, say, my gap year spent cheerily serving dubiously cheap cider to obvious terminal alcoholics, or the year and a half of my university tenure in which the cinema became less of a burning passion for me and more of a burning pit full of oiks, snobs and incensed fathers who are happy to let their kids piss on the carpet but get uppity when you tell them that the popcorn’s still the same astonishingly unreasonable price it’s always been. That I could deal with because it wasn’t my life. My life was somewhere else, in the future or to the side, waiting in a lecture hall for me to turn up ten minutes late and rush to my seat all embarrassed so my life could continue in a timely fashion. My future, mercifully, lay not in the service industry.

Until last week, that is.

I’m certain I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks so I won’t bore you with unnecessary details, but as most of you are aware I’ve returned to York – the place I had just left when I began this blog a few months ago – permanently, and the thing with living somewhere permanently that isn’t owned by close relatives is that there’s rent to pay.

So I got myself a job at a supermarket, as you do. I actually got two jobs, but we’ll get to that some other time. This first one wouldn’t be so bad on the surface – it’s just stacking shelves with booze for eight hours a day. I’m not exactly in the coal mines and I don’t have to work a till, so it’s already theoretically the best crappy job I’ve ever had (aside from that summer I spent on the docks with bunch of sailors…Why are you looking at me like that?), but it dawned on me as I came home that first night that four days a week of this might just be the worst thing I could do to myself.

Sounds pretty lame, I know. I have to pay the rent somehow, and the pay’s not completely shit, but four days of heavy lifting in a row leaves you unwilling to do any kind of thinking until your second day off, which is when I’m writing this, and then it’s only another day until you’re back at the grindstone. I haven’t worked on the feature since I started, and the two days I did on last week’s I Am Tim shoots weren’t particularly fun for me purely because I didn’t have the energy to put my heart into it, and I’d much rather be poor and able to do what I actually enjoy and fulfils me than become one of the solvent walking dead.

…And that’s when I stopped writing this post a couple of days ago, shortly before discovering that Nintendo are releasing a new console this week.

Fucking hell.

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Where this whole thing stands right now

So yeah, Monday was something of a bullshit estimate. Turns out I won’t have an internet connection in my new house until next Wednesday AND I started a 4-day-a-week job yesterday, so that screws things up a little. I’ve been using phone internet (stolen from new housemate/hetero life mate Dr. Quinn) for a couple of things but that’s a very limited solution. I intend to write a few catch-up posts and head to a pub with a decent wi-fi connection and do a batch dump.

That sentence was a lot less disgusting before I wrote it down.

So with all that in mind I’ll hopefully be posting again regularly by Wednesday and be fully caught up at the weekend. Sorry if you’ve enjoyed some of what I’ve previously written and are missing more regular content. Yes, all three of you.

Anyway here’s my recollection of last weekend’s Thought Bubble comic convention I attended in the guise of an intrepid (read: slightly hungover) reporter for B3K: http://t.co/94X8O1tF

That’ll have to tide you over for now. See you next time!

We Interrupt This Programme…

At Thought Bubble in Leeds today and tomorrow, so expect normal service to be disrupted (moreso than usual) til things settle down on monday.

Now to get to the midshow party and trying to become mates with record-spinning idolised comic folks. Admit it: this is definitely the coolest blog you read.

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Other People Do Cool Stuff Too #3

In keeping with catching the hell up to this damn blog’s regular schedule – blame house-moving shenanigans and poxy end-of-uni kerfuffles – here’s Wednesday’s post:

Johannes is a photographer, writer and filmmaker I went to uni with for three years. He’s German and is therefore straight talking yet philosophical and introduced me to the wonderful world of Werner Herzog impressions.

He’s got a great eye, which is one of the reasons I’ve worked with him as cinematographer on a couple of productions.

Jo has directed a few shorts – along with great things like this:

and I look forward to the day when a producer gives him enough money to make a feature, because I’m certain it’ll look gorgeous and be filled with quirky Teutonic humour and existential musings. All good things.

He’s back living in Germany now, which makes me sad, but he’s been up this weekend for graduation, which has mitigated said sadness somewhat. He tells me that he’s been working various roles on a couple of feature productions and he’s been doing some promotional work for a company that essentially provides the same service as that in ace David Fincher flick The Game

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, wonder no more:

If you already did know, you’ll understand how bloody excited that makes me.

Also a little terrified.

Anyhow, Johannes (Cornelius to his friends) is a pretty swell guy and you should get to know him better on his professional site, Flickr, Vimeo and blog.

Hiatus is a difficult word to shoehorn in to a title (or) Saga is a comic that I really like and I think you will too

Saga starts again this week with issue 7, picking up from the two-month hiatus since #6. If you don’t know what that is, you really need to find out. It follows the adventures of a newlywed, interracial – and I don’t mean black/white; think more wings/horns – spacebound couple as they defend their newborn child in the most promising sci-fi/fantasy story since, um, the first season of Lost maybe? That might not sound like a great thing, but once you take into account that I’m a huge Lost fan and it’s an easy connection since Saga‘s writer Brian K. Vaughan wrote for its later seasons…shit, I’m really not selling it, am I?

Okay, so here’s the real pitch: it has all the wonder and possibility of A New Hope, the action and invention of an intelligent blockbuster and the wit and emotional punch of a Joss Whedon story. Vaughan’s a proven master of long-form comics with Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina, and the art from Fiona Staples puts all other R-rated space operas to shame because she makes it look so fucking good. All that plus the fact that the budget is considerably lower than, well, any movie and the potential for where this story could take us is pant-wettingly exciting.

And if you need any more than that (as if it weren’t enough) to shift that couple of quid a month from your moth-housing wallet? There’s surely enough swearing, violence and boobs to keep even the most deranged comic lovers satiated.

Seriously. If you only buy one comic this year (and that’s no way to build up your collection if you ask me), get this one. You can get the first six issues for like £7 on Amazon. That’s just over a pound an issue! Look, here’s a link so you don’t even have to type in the search bar! Things are just too easy for you not to get in on this. I wish I was getting paid to say all this, but alas that’s not the case. I just really like this comic, and I think you might too.

Independent comics – even really great ones from well-known creators – need a strong fan base in order to survive, so I guess this is me doing my bit to ensure Saga‘s future. Hell, pick up #7 off the shelves this week, just to see. If you don’t like it, just wait a couple months and sell it for a profit on ebay. It’s a win-win situation!

And if you do? Well, maybe I’ll lend you the rest, just to whet your appetite. I’m proper magnanimous like that.

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On being in the middle of Cloud Atlas

I’m halfway through Cloud Atlas and it’s blowing my mind.

Without spoiling too much – because it’s a story that deserves to be discovered rather than synopsis-ified – it’s a book about connections, shared experiences, the power of knowledge and the distortion of the past and future through the lens of the present.

And hubris. Yes, there’s rather a lot of hubris in there.

Most importantly, it’s brilliantly written by Mitchell, who embeds you miles deep within a world before drastically changing gear (and style) with barely a flutter of hesitation. The command (and understanding) of language on display here is staggering, and the book’s structure is one of the most ingenious and exciting I’ve come across in my life, compelling you to rocket through the pages while still soaking up every wry observation and sly joke.

If I wasn’t such a slow reader I’d have finished it by now, but with Cloud Atlas being 500+ pages it might take a tad longer. I thought I’d mention it now as it’s on my mind rather a lot and I have a feeling I’ll be talking about Thought Bubble next Monday in its aftermath.

It’s not like I would have spoiled it for you if I’d finished it by now anyway. Regardless, if you haven’t read it – read it. Add it to your Christmas list, because it will reward you enormously – not only from the first sitting, according to author Joe Hill who cited the book as one of his favourites and turned me on to it.

Take my word for it. Or you could borrow the book from me  when I’m done.

Though that could be a while.

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Red Flesh

Bob was going to have to do something about the sock.

He looked at it from across the kitchen as he washed his hands, velvet robe sleeves rolled up to the elbows: a long, limp tube with a tumescent bulge at the end, it looked like someone had sucked all the air out of a cloud before attempting to prop it up with a beach ball.

It sat in the centre of a dark puddle which flowed over the edges and dripped onto the pristine mahogany floorboards in stark contrast to the rest of the room – the whole house, even – which for months had remained spotless thanks to the tireless work of Mrs. Hernandez. Bob had let her go this morning, and the sight of an unmistakable stain with no-one rushing to clean it up was entirely refreshing to him.

He walked over to the table and picked the sock up gingerly. It was heavier than he’d anticipated, but Bob reminded himself that the last time he held it wasn’t a particularly lucid time for him. Besides, he was focused on more important things. Bob lifted it with one hand (it stretched downward) and reached inside with the other, focused as a man performing a piece of extremely unorthodox exploratory medicine. He produced a red apple and became confused by its colour as he returned to the sink, but the cloud lifted when a stream of cool water turned it green once again.

As the red dissolved into the clear liquid and swirled down the plughole, Bob knew he’d have to eat this apple. He took a seat in the lounge and turned the home cinema on; some atrocious action movie starring a pituitary case he had some recollection of firing from the set of Hot Bullets 3: Too Sexy To Die was playing. Bob chuckled to himself and dug into the fruit.

It was much softer than he had anticipated, but he wasn’t all that surprised; there was always going to be a bit of bruising. The apple’s juice was metallic and had a slight kick to it (must have had something to do with alcohol content) which Bob found rather pleasing, and as he chewed that first bite he noticed that the flesh was dyed completely red too.

The man stopped chewing for a moment and muted the TV. He stared at the fruit; it looked like a piece of pop art. He checked his watch – 3.30 – surely it wouldn’t too late to slide a meeting in? Felix had been at him for months about the studio not self-generating enough compelling product. Wait till he got a load of this.

Bob sat in the camaro, a fresh-pressed suit on. Adjusted the rearview mirror and smiled. He finished off the apple: core, seeds and stem.The boy in the trunk and the two girls in his bed could wait until the evening.

Bob had a movie to pitch.

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Making Excuses

Good morning!
For those of you wondering where yesterday’s story is, I’m going to have to apologise and say you’ll be getting it tonight at the earliest.
I have it mostly written but there was this whole job/life thing I have to deal with this weekend, which is an unfortunate but necessary part of not mooching off your parents forever.
Latest it’ll be up (it’s mostly there, I swear) will be Sunday afternoon, and normal service should resume then.
If that kind of thing’s important to you.

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