Friday, November 17, 2006


Things have been moving up a gear for “Deliver Me” – we’ve been crewing up, finding locations, I’ve started shot-listing, storyboarding and shot designing and we’ve got a casting director on board. I’ve written before about how I find casting quite weird – so it’s good to be working with someone who can feed into the process and provoke me to think about different options.

Script-wise, I think we’re there – as far as having a shooting script goes. We had another meeting with Paul Welsh the other day which was entertaining and confusing simultaneously (confutainment? ). Honestly, there was a 15 minute period where he was trying to explain to me where he thought the script could go - he seems keen on me rewriting up until we shoot –(which kind of happens any way as a byproduct of casting, story boarding, finding locations and rehearsing) - and I still have no idea what he was suggesting.

Maybe it’s me – maybe I lack some specialist auteur apparatus that allows me to interpret mime - “at the moment the script seems to be doing this” – a hand heading diagonally down – “and then does this” – the hand heads up, like a big tick. Certainly, there seemed to be an implication that I maybe wasn’t pushing story as far as it could go – “how much further can you do? How much further do you want to go?”. It might be me being paranoid, but I do get the feeling that I’m not being “real” enough – that because I essentially think the film as a genre piece that it’s going to be hokey and idea-driven rather than “true”.

This a similar point of view to one expressed by Lenny Crooks, the new head of the Film Council’s New Cinema Fund who did a meet and greet in Nottingham a couple of weeks ago. He began his introduction about the kind of films he wants to fund with the words “I’m interested in truth, I’m not interested in genre.” “Red Road” (interestingly marketed as ‘a thriller’), “London to Brighton” and “This is England”, were all films he cited, which sounded like – at least for the New Cinema Fund – “truth” equates with a certain kind of dirty realist drama. Horror would only be acceptable if it was in a David Lynch/David Cronenberg arthouse vein - and even then, I very much doubt they would fund another “Shivers” or “Eraserhead”.

The meeting just made me think, “well, this isn’t for me then”. Which is fine – at least I know. But it’s weird to think that whole genres of filmmaking can be discarded for being more “untrue” than others. To me something like Andrea Arnold’s Oscar/Bafta winning "Wasp" is more unreal than “Suspiria”, precisely because it presents itself as being “reality” rather than an entirely fictional construct. At least “Suspiria” acknowledges that it’s a story. Which maybe makes it more honest.

The American poet Marianne Moore once had a great phrase about poetry being “real toads in imaginary gardens”. And surely that’s all that counts – regardless of the setting, you can create a truth for your characters. Is not as though the minute you start writing horror films you have some kind of creative lobotomy – although the amount of people who ask me “why do you like horror, is it because of all the guts? “ or similar suggests that there is a very pejorative view of horror fans and makers – in fact, I think it’s the opposite – it frees you up to think in new ways. Obviously there are bad and cheap and shallow horror films, but there are also a bad and cheap and shallow realist dramas. Realism doesn’t equal truth – is just another kind of fakery.

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