Friday, July 25, 2008

Mother and Dad

I've spent most of the past couple of weeks writing in one form or another. We've been having a few meetings with people to try and get development funding to make another film, capitalising on the fact that a lot of people in the industry have now seen 'Mum & Dad'. We've had a really good response to the film, but there seems to be a consensus that horror is 'a hard sell' at the moment. (Never a good thing to hear when you're trying to sell horror films). I don't know why this is - although one person said to me that in these credit crunch times, people want to see 'escapist, upbeat' films (citing 'The Dark Knight' as an example...) - but maybe that's just in terms of mainstream box office crossover. It's quite an interesting process, talking to people in the business of selling films, because you get a lot of idea about the potential options available to you as a filmmaker - whether you want to carry on writing and directing (pros: more control, more 'auteur' cache; cons: it takes time to write a film, so taking you out of the loop for a year or two), if you want to try and score a worldwide (including the US) hit (pros: you can make more money, get a 'bigger' career; cons: you probably won't be able to make many films in Britain, with British actors) or if you want to stay in the horror genre (pros: you love horror and it's great fun; cons: 'horror's a hard sell at the moment...').

Anyway, we ended up in one meeting pitching a few ideas, one of which is Empire of Flesh (which I've just re-outlined after getting script notes back) and two others which up till now have only really existed as a bunch of notes and a pitch. One's a science-fiction idea, the other one is a drama/thriller. I've spent the past week trying to work both of them up into short outlines, with the hope of maybe getting some kind of development deal.

At the same time, myself, Chris Cooke and Gareth Howell have been planning the next Mayhem Horror Film Festival. After initially forswearing the idea of applying for funding, we have now found ourselves in the position of actually putting in an application (I don't know what happened - i think I was out of the room at the time...) which led to us huddling round the form for three hours the other morning. None of us is a natural form-filler (there was a point where I saw a small portion of Gareth's soul die (it was like seeing the leg shrivel on a balloon animal) - so we ended up dithering and task-avoiding. Hence these lovely drawings, each bit drawn by one of us without reference to the previous drawing:

I don't think it was a fair game - the other two have both got Arts degrees (as I'm sure you can tell.)

The festival is coming together, though - we're hoping to show a few previews and get some guests along, as well as have a cracking party on Halloween itself, possibly with a repeat of last year's haunting.

In the next few weeks, I'm hoping to get to see some films, both at Frightfest and at the Fantasy FilmFest in Germany, which I'm hoping to be able to visit. (One great thing about this festival which I forgot to mention is that Dario Argento's 'Mother of Tears' is also playing, which means that on every site that lists the programme, my film and his get put next to each other, which I know is a really fannish thing to be excited about, but then I am still a fan...)

It's just weird to have spent so much time watching someone's films, then to find yourself showing alongside them.

Oh, and for anyone who is interested in trying the same route, the next round of applications for the Microwave scheme is now open. Good luck to anyone who's applying...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"meurtres et perversions"

It's only been a few weeks and already Edinburgh feels like some weird fever-dream involving cars running on blood, Sean Connery's tattoos and Abu Ghraib photos.

Things have been moving on with the film since the festival - on the day after the second screening (and with a fearsome hangover) I took the train down to London to attend a screening of the film for Sales Agents and Distributors (I went back to Nottingham the same night, very dazed and smelling like a man who has been on hot, crowded trains for nearly 7 hours). We had a good turn-out and it seemed to go down well, resulting in a couple of immediate offers and some requests for copies of the film for further deliberation. Since then, Lisa has been fielding all the interest that we've had, and hopefully we should have some deals sorted out in the next couple of weeks...

I also got back to find that the 'Mum and Dad' trailer and info about the film had suddenly started appearing on loads of American horror sites, as well as on sites in Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Lithuania, which was a very weird sensation - it was like the box had now been opened and suddenly everything was exposed to the air.

The film is also going to be showing at another couple of festivals. It's been selected for the German Fantasy Filmfest next month, which plays across eight German cities over 12 August - 10 September, and on 22 August it's going to be playing at FrightFest at the Odeon West End in Leicester Square in London, which I'm really looking forward to.

While everything's kicking off with 'M&D', I'm still scrabbling away, trying to get some more projects off the ground. I've re-outlined 'Empire of Flesh', started trying to put together a basic set-up for 'Katie Cruel', as well as running up a brand new outline for a kind-of-slasher-film called 'Red City', for which I've cannibalised an old idea and mutated it into a new one. (Or rehashed an old script, however you want to put it...) I really want to get moving on something soon - it's been well over a year since we shot 'M&D' and I'm worried that I'll forget what to do...