Tag Archives: shorts

Writing Naked

And now for something completely different…

…Writing Naked.

Is there a better way to write? I don’t think so.

I can’t be the only way who likes to do it, in fact through a few conversations I know I’m not. I reckon every writer must have done it at some point even if it’s not a regular thing. There’s just something about it right… right?

I’m not saying I always do it, or can always do it for that matter considering how often I write in coffee shops (my favourite of all clichés), but there’s just something about it. I find it almost helpful. Freeing might be a bad word to use here, but I struggle to think of another way to say it (Although I’m sure if I got naked right now I would come up with several better words).

The words just flow that little bit easier. Maybe it’s because it really is just you and the keyboard, or because of some vulnerability or freedom. Or because you’re at your most relaxed or it’s fucking cold and you just want to get the word count complete so you can get dressed. But I don’t know. There’s just something.

I’ve practically written whole scripts this way. I know a musician who told me she wrote her whole album that way. It just gets the creativity flowing. Maybe it’s just being in that natural state. There’s just something. You know.

I haven’t done any research on the subject which maybe I should as it interests me enough to write a blog about it but I’m sure there has to be some biological or chemical reason for it. It just feels right. It can’t be coincidence that I can get some of my best work done this way. That others have too. It’s not like it works with everything I’m sure, but with writing it’s like it’s meant to be done this way at times. Right? Right? You get what I’m meaning right? Just something… Something 😉

There are draw backs, especially when writing on a computer in that way. You’re only ever a click away from some form of distraction. And getting up to make a coffee can be a struggle, especially if you share the house as getting dressed and then undressed doesn’t feel as right. Like it breaks the naked momentum or something. So it isn’t always practical even in the comfort of your home. But these are minor setbacks I think.

Surely the creativity and word count created by the state far outweigh’s these drawbacks. Maybe I will do some research. Like I said, there must be a reason it works. Or am I crazy and it’s just me. But like I said I know others, but they’re also slightly crazy. But then most creative people are crazy so it can’t just be me. But it doesn’t sound normal at first. But it does feel normal. Natural. I don’t know. Where was I…

… Oh yes. There’s just something about it…

 

Stephen.

(Working out what image to use for this blog was a struggle).

 

Making Worlds Greatest Zombie Hunter: Part Two (Inc Series)

(First part here)

As I’ve touched upon before in a previous blog (That’s been deleted) pre-production and production didn’t really go to plan.

I advertised for the lead role on Shooting People and got a pretty positive response. Auditioned several actors via Skype and met a few local ones for meetings as well. Narrowed the list down to three people and went with the more experienced who I have to say was fantastic.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out there. After several long delays because of other project he was working on things just kind of fell apart. I won’t go into much detail but it was clear at this point that he wasn’t what I wanted and I’m sure he felt the same about me.

So that wasn’t great.

While all this was happening several different locations fell through and my co producer had to pull out due to personal reasons. Which just left me with a completed script and not much more.

I contacted another choice on my short list and he was very keen for the role. I’d known him through him working with someone else I knew a few years back and was glad I was able to give him a chance. He was the most enthusiastic and I was really looking forward to working with him. (and will work with him plenty more in the future).

So actor sorted.

Knew I was going to shoot on the iPod so that was sorted as well, but then I probably made a bad choice. I decided to shoot it at my house.

Initially we planned to shoot it in a cellar or a shed or something that we could turn into a den and the location would evolve over time along with his outfit and his outlook. Was all going to be a line of development that worked alongside each other… I really should have stuck with that. It just made sense and was something I could build on. Could start out pretty sparse and end up looking like Dr Horrible.

But I shot in my house instead.

For me personally, the house just doesn’t work.  I like some of the shots and love the framing through the stairs but I could have got better elsewhere. Just felt very amateurish which is the vibe I was going for, but I think I shouldn’t have gone full amateur. It was sloppy.

By this point I just pointed the camera really. I gave some thought to the setting but not much. Spent some time with the lead to get what I want but the shoot was rushed and I knew it. Was shoot over a few hours across two days I believe but more could have been done.

The production had gone so wrong so many times that I had moved on by that point to another idea, honestly I should have shelved it and came back to it but with all the delays I just wanted it done.

I shouldn’t have treated it like that and never would again, but I can tell watching it back that my heart wasn’t 100% into it. Forget how much less I knew back then I can go back several years before that and watch shorts and 48 hour competition films I made that had a lot more going for them. I fucked up and I know it.

For me, it was a big learning experience though. The short film I shoot before that had technical problems with the sound being awful, but I learnt a lot working with a crew, this one I learnt a lot from the pre-production standpoint. Things go wrong, that’s just always going to happen and this experience made me realise that a lot more and toughened me up.

I love a chance one day to set things right and maybe make a much improved second season but have a lot on. If I ever do find myself pining to go back to it though I will, and like I said, this time my heart would definitely be in it.

Below is the complete season. All 11 episodes. It’s probably my worse work but I still like a lot of the script and plenty of the performance. Will always regret not using a better location but I did have zero money and was shooting on an iPod so maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. But still…..

 

Stephen

 

What I’m Working On

So as it’s still the beginnings of the new year I thought I’d do a quick update on what I’m currently working on, and what I’m looking to do in the near future.

Recently I finished a new horror script that I’ve gotten proof read and am handing it out to a few people to read. I’m a little uncertain whether it’s finished yet (which means it isn’t) as there are still two scenes that I think I could do a little more with. Maybe just be a case of putting it to one side for a month then going back to it with fresh eyes as have worked close to non-stop on it the last several months.

Alongside this I’ve been working on a feature script that I’d love to direct myself, maybe next year. It’s definitely a simpler script than my previous, but also more dialogue based so a little more challenging for me. Have had this idea in my head a long time and completely failed at the first draft many years ago, but have since worked it out. Feels like my most personal script and definitely one that I would love to me my first directed feature. A long way to go with it yet, but it’s starting to take shape and is something that I will work at through-out the whole year.

That said I’m looking to have a little break from feature writing come February and work on a few shorts instead. One is very far along, the other just starting, but would like to create a bit of a slate for myself. Want to direct 2-3 shorts before I make the feature film as not only practice, and a showreel, but because I love the ideas and feel the need to make them. All three are slightly different but carry similar tones to the work I’m looking to do so in a perfect world (I Know) it will all come together nicely.

Have an idea for a web show of sorts that I’m working on with a friend as well but for the moment that’s more of a hobby. Will see what drafts I can get written in my spare time, or down time (Because I’m so addicted to writing that’s also how I spend my down time) and reassess it probably at the end of February.

So plenty of writing ahead over the next six weeks and beyond but progress is being made. Want to have another good crack at trying to sell a script in March and the proceeding months but for the moment I’m in writing mode.

Have learnt over the years that when I get into a rhythm of writing every day and feeling good about the work to not interrupt it and just keep it going as long as I can. There’s definitely other projects and things that I would love to give some attention too but now’s not the right time. For the moment it’s all about the writing and I will never have a problem with that.

Stephen

 

Writing and Directing Short Films

Been working on a few short film scripts of late and has felt nice. When learning to write I’d write short films all the time and used to enjoy it, even directed a couple and had some play at festivals around the country. Was a great experience going to showings and seeing people enjoying my work up on the screen. Then after a failed short my attention turn to writing feature scripts, after all, that’s where I wanted to be.

I’ve been writing feature scripts and TV pilots for a while now. Have 4 feature scripts completed, another one close and have written countless drafts of others which I’m sure at some stage I’ll go back too (Two are very advanced and probably only one good draft away). Along with this I have 2 pilots ready and have written another ill-fated one a while back which I still love the concept but cringe anytime I read it and stop after the first act.

So shorts have kind of taken a back seat, but are always on my mind. Which is why of late it’s been really good to get back writing them. Writing The Moment a few years back and seeing it take off as part of London Screenwriters Festivals 50 Kisses Project really got me back in love with shorts especially after having some success with one I’d written just before that as well. Since then they’ve been part of my life again never more so than now.

I have a handful of shorts fully written and ready and another couple well on their way and am deciding really what to push forward with and direct. With my aim being to direct a no budget feature in the next few years shorts seem like a great way to get the necessary directing experience especially when I’m enjoying them so much at the moment.

The trouble I had back when I started features was that I’d done so much work on my shorts that they ended up becoming feature scripts or TV shows. Two of the four feature scripts I’ve completed  started life as shorts and the one i’ve almost finished started as a similar concept to the first short I directed. (Unseen short as was a practice shoot with City Eye). Alongside this one of the two pilots was also a short, one that I was very close to directing until I decided that the idea could be a lot bigger. So shorts where constantly being overshadowed by longer formats.

This seems to have changed recently. Now the shorts I’ve been writing have really been ideas more designed to be shorts than anything else. I’m sure I could work and expand the shorts a lot but there’s no real appeal in that when I already have such a long list of feature ideas anyway. Plus they work as shorts so why change that.. I think it’s something missing from my work in recent time and could help me a lot.

I like the idea of having a few shorts I’ve directed once again playing at festivals especially now that I have the feature script work to back it up. It seems like the short and longer format have both been part of my life for the last 10 years or more but have never really co-existed. Now seems to be the right time for that.

So whats the plan…

… The plan is to direct some of the short films I’ve written. To work with some of the people I used to work with and enjoy meeting and working with others. I have a few similar ideas where I might need to choose one or the other, and have a few idea’s that don’t really match the genre I’m working with in the longer format so will need to make some decisions there, but the idea of getting behind the camera and writing, directing and producing shorts gets me really excited.

Simply put, It’s something I feel I need to do for both my future, and something I greatly overlook at times, my present.

 

Stephen

 

(Have several older shorts on a separate page to my blog at the top of the page so feel free to check them out. Or here’s the link if the scroll up seems to far which I totally get after the last two weeks I’ve had)   Old Shorts