Tag Archives: York


I’m writing some copy for the Jorvik Group’s blog and during my research came across this sentence:

“…learn about Vikings through the exciting archaeology of volcanos and weapon x-rays, in partnership with…”

I had to read that about four times before I realised they weren’t talking about Wolverine firing laser beams from his claws.

Perhaps I should have eaten something this morning.

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That’s Infotainment

Today I think I just had my first experience of those pangs work-for-hire writers get when editors or producers start crossing out pages and THE BEST WORDS YOU’VE EVER WRITTEN DAMMIT.

Except they didn’t cross out that much. And they were far from the best words I’ve ever written. And they’re not paying me.

So I’m still doing some work for the York Archaeological Trust (I mentioned that before, right?) and I’ve been asked to write a short educational video that’ll play at one of their tourist attractions, an old medieval house (as opposed to a new one yada yada) on a TV in the corner. So that’s what I’ve been doing this week, researching the place to find out what the hell was interesting about the place.


This charming slice of 15th-century life was but one of many examples.

Turns out there’s quite a bit, and with enough weird and entertaining tidbits for me to get a bunch of jokes in there and turn the video into that oft-misunderstood medium infotainment! For example, did you know that the expression ‘red letter days’ comes from people using red ink instead of black in important letters or announcements? I didn’t until the other day, but that might well be because I’m an ignorant yutz.

So I finished my first draft for the video today, printed off a copy and handed it to my supervisor, deciding that was the perfect time to go for lunch so I didn’t have to sit there like a lemon while he tutted, clicked at and  – worst of all – crossed out all signs of my hack work. I’d come back and there’d be a not unhealthy page (well, half-page at most, surely) of notes waiting for me with a smiley face and a cookie to soften the blow, and I could process all the cuts and apparent failures at once – better to take the shotgun blast full in the chest rather than have a new stab wound every ten seconds, no?

I came back an hour later and the guy hadn’t read a damn word. He sat next to me with six sheets of paper and a pen while I wondered how I was going to hold back the tears when he emptied his third pen on my closing ‘FIN’ (yes, I finish scripts with FIN, because it’s funny and quirky and who am I kidding I just hope they smile and it’ll make me forgive them for wasting their time).

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. He made a few suggestions for different topics, cut a couple of lines and rephrased a couple more but didn’t even touch the first half of page one, which was a tiny triumph. I wonder if I could get a job writing the first half-page of movies?

Still, I can’t say it didn’t sting when a line got rewritten in front of me (does anyone take that well? Okay, yes, apart from those with humility), often arbitrarily rephrased, which I realised at the time was pretty odd, because it wasn’t like I had any real personal or emotional attachment to the subject matter (though I am somewhat fond of the illiterate peasant girl I made up for the script).

I guess that’s the thing: as soon as you put your stamp on something, even if it’s just taking down notes or doing maths sums out of a textbook, you feel a kind of ownership of it. Think about when you got homework back and there were x’s instead of ticks next to your equations; it wasn’t that the sums were inherently wrong and you were seeing that objectively, it was that you had gotten them wrong. Y’know?

But I got over it, made the changes and finished for the day. I’ll come back to a set of new notes tomorrow and make the thing better. As long as it’s all making the thing better, then I’m cool with it. I’d like to think I can spot a bad note pretty easily.

But yeah, that’s me this week so far. Jack and I wrote a new Panel Discussion for Nerdly that went up the other day and both weighed in on the new all-girl X-Men series from all-guy Brian Wood & Olivier Coipel, which is a great read and a fresh change from the stagnant mess that are Bendis’ All New and Uncanny books. 

I also watched Season 7 of Dexter at the weekend, so my review of that should be up shortly.

That’s it for now. I had fun doing this with you. Hoping to be back soon (and briefer).

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Street Farts


Hoo boy, those days after the nights you don’t sleep sure are doozies. Today’s involved a resurgence in productivity, an unexpected reconnection and a renewed lust for creativity and Making Good Things. Guess you can still accomplish a whole bunch even when your body’s telling you it’s not planning on standing up properly for the next ten hours.

The above image is part of some street art project I discovered attached to a bridge next to a description of the project and a qr code linking to a site. I’m not saying I particularly like the piece all that much, rather that I just think it’s better found in isolation and its sister productions discovered accidentally so that you can start to make your own connections other than what the artist wants us to see.

I dunno. Maybe the others are really good. It’s hard to tell whether this one is right now in my current state. All I know is I tried peanut-flavoured ice cream from Licc, the best place in York, and it was all kinds of awesome.

Damn, I’m tired.

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So last summer I produced a lovely little short film (written, directed and edited by Jamie “I Am Tim” McKeller) which was released on YouTube in October. Why am I telling you this now, you yell risibly into my bleeding ear canals? Well, there are two answers:

1). I plum forgot to blog about a single part of that process, bewilderingly. Yes, I’m that good at this self-promotion business.

2). It was screened a couple of days ago at the Up North film night at the White Cloth gallery in Leeds, to an apparently packed house of about 200, AND it won the inaugural People’s Choice award.

Which is pretty neat. The award’s no Picard-headed statue, but it’s got a certain rickety charm:

Unfortunately I wasn’t there to see the reaction, but it was either train fare to Leeds or eating this week, and I do so love the bittersweet taste of life.

The film’s called Hooped, and it looks a bit like this:

Hope you like it.

A giant chunk of the credit goes of course to Jamie and the film’s two stars, James Rotchell and Anna James, who all took a fun idea and made it not only hysterical but also (I don’t care if it’s corny, I’ll say it) heartwarming, but it wouldn’t be the same thing without the contributions of everyone involved, who sometimes get pushed aside when the accolades come a-callin’.

Michael Howe and Sebastian Synowiec (who makes an unfussy but enjoyable cameo the eagle-eyed among you may spot) kept us all on track as relay assistant directors – just when you thought you’d gotten rid of them, another comes out of the woodwork to make sure you’ve finished the job you’re on ten minutes ago. Delicate souls, them.

Chris Atkinson, who had a large part in getting Dead Man Working made all those moons ago, did a great job of capturing the summery, sepia-tinged feel Jamie wanted as our director of photography, and the ever-dependable Natalie Roe was on hand for camera assisting and general cheeriness. Who doesn’t want that on a set?

Nat was there at the screening along with Jennifer Jordan – I Am Tim‘s Anna (she was also in a little-known work called Pieces Falling Into Place), general stand-up gal and inarguably the main reason for Hooped‘s success that night, being that she was the one who submitted the film in the first place. I suppose it helped that it’s a cracking little movie as well. So yeah, thanks, Jen – you rock.

And me? Well, I did what any producer does to get the film made, really: buy people drinks and say things like “We definitely don’t have that in the budget”.

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Watch this.

And this:


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Those cats over at ace York-set web series Zomblogalypse have been hard at work writing their feature [adaptation? follow-up? reimagining? who the hell knows/cares?] of/to the series over the past eight months, recently completing the eighth draft.

They put this video up to talk about the process and share some juicy deleted scenery:

My favourite bit’s when they all segue onto egg and chips.

And Tony’s hair, natch.

If you haven’t a clue what’s going on in this post, FRET NOT! For I have links that will satisfy your intense desire for enlightenment.

Here’s the Zomblog site, here’s MilesTone Films’s YouTube channel (which also hosts a veritable smorgasbord of videographic delights) and the obligatory Twitter and Facebook plugs. Check ’em out.

A few months ago (it was probably a lot longer) I was involved in a photo shoot to promote the movie in Cannes (snoot snoot), one of the results of which is thus:

Spot the blogger. Think Oceanic.

[Courtesy of friend, enthusiastic camera boff and beard-owner Dave Beveridge’s ace spinner. He’s in the yellow. I forget who pulled the cord. Sorry!]

So yeah, I’m pretty excited about this thing. As I am for the other two films these guys have got coming out before this’un.

It’s almost enough to make a guy feel like he needs to catch up or something.

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The Escape Plan

I need to get out of here.

After recently wandering out of the muggy and cloudlike state that holiday consumption of rich, free food and 300% more alcohol per week than usual, I kind of realised that it’s time I hightailed it back to York.

Now, I’ve gotten some work done here, made great progress on the screenplay redrafting, in fact. But remember when I said I wanted to get it done by the new year?

Yeah. Can’t exactly ask 2013 to hold off for a few more days.

The thing with being in Scarborough is that it inspires a unique idleness in you (an infamously idle fellow in the first place) that results from a lack of responsibility and an overabundance of free food and old movies on tap that can usually only be broken by a drastic shift in equilibrium like the death of a former teacher or, say, moving back to the town where you actually get shit done.

I reached this realisation some time on Thursday around 3am in local hive of scum and villainy Vivaz as I failed to get drunk enough to null my senses to the point of being unaware that I have fewer friends left in this town than morons who want to pull me into their insipid self-made dramas as though we were anything more than former classmates who are even vaguely aware of one another’s lives in between jaunts back to the swamp.

[I get homesick in the worst way.]

A lot of which turns up thematically in the movie, coincidentally, so my grief is offset by the rationalisation that “it’s all research”.

Regardless: I’m Yorkward bound as of tomorrow, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t got this draft licked in a week’s time.

I’ll let you know if I make it over the fence.

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I Directed Tim And All I Got Was This Lousy Redshirt

Today I directed something for the first time since Pieces Falling Into Place, way back in the misty days of November. It’s the sole episode of I Am Tim that I’m helming, and rather unsurprisingly it revolves around a conversation filled with tosh and nonsense.

Not that there isn’t a healthy dollop of gore and gratuitous sex still to be thrown in the mix.

(“Phew!” I hear a few of you sigh, deep in your underground caverns of disturbing masturbation.)

The scenes we focused most attention on took place in a bedroom. Two men, the taking off of clothes, an endless barrage of Labradors and just a dash of urine were all thrown into the mix.

It’s weird to be back. Yet I have no-one to blame but myself because I also wrote and produced the episode in question. And we still haven’t gotten to the REALLY strange bits.

I won’t spoil it for you. All I can tell you is you’ll never look at the Spice Girls the same way again.

I’m suddenly painfully aware that a few of you (out of the already scant few there are) might not know what it is I’m blathering on about. By way of introduction to the series I’m working on, why not watch the first episode of I Am Tim from the comfort of my blog?

And then consume the rest in your own filthy pit.

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