Monday, June 21, 2004

The Cassandra casting conundrum continues

Well, it's not all that much of a conundrum, but you'll have to excuse me my choice of words - I currently find unnecessary use of alliteration an amusing novelty. If it was a conundrum it's rapidly becoming less of one. Last night I got an email from one of the actresses I'd approached saying a house move and her wedding precluded her taking part in the film, putting her alongside the two actresses who have apparently vanished off the face of the earth after expressing mild interest and another with whom we had creative differences (I didn't see that as a problem, but she clearly wasn't happy with the situation, which was fair enough - I made a mistake in the way I pitched the project and the character to her and that's something I have to learn from in future).

Right now we're down to one actress who still appears to be very enthusiastic about the project (despite reading the script and talking to me on the phone) and a few more who I'm awaiting feedback from. No leads as yet on actresses local to Leeds where we're likely to be shooting these scenes, but the natural habitat of the actress is London so finding one as good as those we've talked to further North is akin to spying a Golden Eagle nesting in Penge.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


I made a resolution today to try and set some hours of the weekend aside for actual work. Seeing as I manage to get things done during the hours of 8am and 5pm during the week when the things to be done are things I struggle to find enthusiasm for, I figured adopting a similar ethic for my days off might throw off that idleness I've been cultivating recently.

I started drawing storyboards at about one o'clock and I've just finished putting up some pages for a new website and it's now twenty to eleven. Clearly I over-compensated.

Anyway, the very rough result can be found at Dragons Fandango.

Scene 16-iii - Tyler, with phone, running past a couple of harridans.


Okay, okay, I've finally got something done. Apart from tweaking the script again (and adding a complicated to realise coda that, provided I can figure out how to do it, will provide another excuse for internet reviewers to say 'great end credits, shame about the film') I have started sketching out some of the storyboards.

I don't have a scanner at the moment so I had to make do with using my digital camera to capture the pictures, but I have posted up some of the work here. You may be able to tell that my practical side lost out to my aesthetic side during the draughting. My practical side told me to keep each shot simple - a static camera, or something that could be achieved easily on a tripod. Instead every shot currently requires expert use of a steadicam, which we haven't got.

My one concession to practicality so far has been omitting mention of cunning focus pulls. Suffice to say I still want to do them, but somehow I doubt we're going to be blessed with a cameraman who can pull them off.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It's far too light in the mornings at the moment. Roll over in bed to face the window and the inconsiderate brightness of another Summer day burns through closed eyelids to conduct a strenuous argument with the hind-brain in order to convince it that it is time to get up and get the serotonin pumping, despite all the physiological evidence to the contrary which is dismissed in favour of a counter-argument along the lines of: 'screw you, it's not seven o'clock yet, I ain't getting up'.

I might have to dig out the sleeping mask I kept from the goodie bag handed out by Qantas on my flight back from Australia.

In other news, I spent some of last night searching for actresses to play the part of Cassandra in Bad News. Only some of the night mind, I can only do professionalism outside of office hours for so long. The rest of the night was spent playing Transformers on my PS2 (Autobots, roll out!) and reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K.Rowling may not be the best writer around, but I've read few other books that provide such compulsive reading, despite the agony of identifying with a character who, for the majority of the book, experiences situations along the lines of: ... Harry realised with growing horror that he was responsible for casting the spell that, through a series of unfortunate coincidences, led to Gary Neville missing the final penalty against Portugal that dumped England out of the 2004 European Championships. The guilt tore at his insides - he was responsible for the dashing of a nation's hopes. The only consolation he could take from this was that it took his mind off the 57 essays he had to complete by the end of the week and off being flayed alive by Lord Voldemort's underlings as he hung from the ceiling of the abandoned Church. His lightning bolt scar was giving him gyp too. The mental and physical anguish was draining away the last of Harry's will - he found himself at the bottom of a black pit of despair from which he feared he would never escape. It was round about then that things suddenly got a whole lot worse...).

But I digress. I was searching for suitable actresses, like I said. A job made more difficult by the nagging suspicion that I was overlooking acting ability in favour of good looks. Well, I say difficult, it wasn't exactly taxing looking at polished professional pictures of pretty actresses. However, I am keeping in mind the thought that thespians, by and large, are mentally unbalanced and, seeing as this actress's scenes will probably be shot in my flat, beauty and acting talent will come a distant second to concerns about whether she's stable, co-operative and house trained.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Been around the world and I, I, I - I can't find my muffins ...

Right, after three weeks abroad in Australia I am now back in the UK and ... well, I'd like to say full of enthusiasm for writing and filmmaking, but I'm still in the grip of the lethargy that took hold of me around about November 2002. It's scary to think I actually started writing my latest book way back in July 2002 and after four months of pretty solid writing I've relegated it to dribs and drabs here and there ever since.

I should have been writing last night. I could even have been drawing storyboards for Bad News. Instead I messed around on the internet for hours. I did make contact with another filmmaker up here in the North-East whose work is rather more accomplished than anything we've done and that might help Bad News, but achievements are always undermined when you admit they were accomplished in the name of procrastination.

Suw has also revealed that with her current workload she'll have to cut back on much she can do on the film in a producing capacity. Of course, Suw having work is unequivocally a good thing, but equally me having to do any more producing than I absolutely have to is unequivocally a bad thing. Which reminds me, I should contact Carl about whether his friend will let us use his office and visit my local flower shop to ask if we can shoot there ... y'know, life will be a lot easier when we have mobile phones plugged into our foreheads sending out thought-texts to save us the hassle of actually going out and talking to people.

Speaking of which, I actually got around to sending off an enquiry about upgrading my mobile last night (something I'd been meaning to do for ages, but as it had fallen below 'finishing my book' on my list of things to do it meant it qualified as an acceptable form of procrastination). I'm quite taken with one of the Motorola's, a swish little clam-shell with all the requisite gadgetry like cameras, MP3 ringtones and buttons. None of which I'll actually use (except maybe the buttons), but having a cool phone will concordantly make me cooler, quid pro quo I will have girls throwing themselves at my feet just like if I was a London Underground train driver.

After all that you might be mistaken for thinking that there is actually no news on Bad News and this post has merely been procrastinating away something else I've planned to do. And you're partly right - I'll get around to resolving world hunger tomorrow - but you're wrong in the sense that there is some news. Shooting on Bad News has officially begun. While in Australia I filmed two scenes with my brother and his step-daughter. I also decided while out there that most of the material I agreed to cut out during the London meeting I'm going to put back in again. I haven't told Suw yet and I get the funny feeling she won't readily agree with me, so best keep this between you and me for the time being.