Monday, June 29, 2009

A Couple of Days Off

I had a much needed break the last few days. After the mammoth task of organising 140, sending out emails and notices and replying to as many questions as quickly as possible I found I was often chained to my computer hours on end and well into the night! The ol' back suffered! A new chair is most definitely needed for the edit!!!

This mornings deliveries, now the postman is starting to get unhappy!

So, once Sunday was over with I decided to take it easy while waiting for the clips to come in, and catch up on some much needed physical labour! I'd been promising my wife I'd finish a paint job I started a year ago on the hall, stairs and landing! So that was my week. It was fine though, took my mind off things, one can get a bit overwhelmed with the internet! It's nice to get away from it (he says as he writes a new blog!)

Happy wife with newly decorated Hall and baby in belly!


At the moment I have 27 clips in. They look great. I'm really happy with the standard. There are a few themes emerging already, which I thought might happen. It's great, already gives me options for the cut. But I wont make any decisions yet, I still have over 100 clips to come in after all!


I'm hoping work can begin again on Slán agus Beannacht (Goodbye and Blessings), which was sadly abandoned when 140 picked up. But I started the grade and was happy with the look of it, so I'm looking forward to getting back to work soon. Some sound effects, a bit of music and I'm done. Hopefully I can release it in the next month or two and hit the festivals.


I'm trying to get to my new script too, Angelina, which was also delayed, but I'll be able to start it again this week and I'm confident, finish it this week and get off to a waiting producer! (It's coming Dave, I promise!!!) I love the story, it's quirky, romantic and fun.

Set in Paris, it's about a young couple trying to save their relationship without much success, until something magical happens. It's an idea I came up with in Paris while on my honeymoon. My wife said "No business! No Blackberry! No scripts!!!" - fair enough I thought, it'll be nice to have a break. Day two, we're in a restaurant and this idea walks fully-formed into my brain, it took every ounce of will power I could muster not to ask the waiter for a pen and start writing on napkins!


Tomorrow I'm meeting Thomas again, we've managed to carve out some time to work on Night, which has been great. it's going really well. We've addressed alot of issues from the first draft and injected some soul into the piece. Hopefully we can get some important work done in the next two days. Then we have another break and hopefully after that we can get back to it and finish it. There are plenty of people waiting to see it.

I really like this one. I think it's probably the best thing I've ever written - that might not be saying much though! ;) But writing this I felt like everything I've learned about screenwriting over the years has finally come into play, I was able to draw on a store of skills and experience. It's a solid piece. It's the kind of film I'd be excited to see in theaters, and probably buy on DVD as soon as it came out... before waiting for the sales! - Provided there were plenty of extras of course!!! Better have a word with the director.

Taking stock

At the half way mark of 2009 I can look back and say it's been a great year so far, kicking off with a reading of my feature script Ghoster, the premiere of Bill, For Short coupled with my first photographic exhibition Old Shoes and Broken Walls, which was picked up by RTEs Nationwide (yet to be aired.) Then the idea for 140 came along, but before any of that happened I had the shoot for Slán agus Beannacht, which was great. Then came 140, we all know what happened there! And somehow, amid all of that I've managed to write a lot, Angelina, Night and Adam with Caroline Farrell... though you would guess it from all the blogging, emailing and twittering I've been doing - but it's like that old saying - "You want something done, ask a busy man."

For the rest of the year I'm looking forward to finishing Slán agus Beannacht and getting it out there, editing 140, shooting Adam and finishing scripts Night and Angelina - oh yeah, and becoming a father! Small detail! So it should be a busy time ahead. Better get on with it then...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Clips still coming in

There's been a steady flow of clips this week, not enough to make the post man mad yet, but enough to keep me smiling each morning! 20 clips so far. To see who has been quick on the draw go to the FAQ page and check the list of names, those in red have been received. Thanks guys.

And as for the rest of you, get a move on... I'm just kidding!!! ;) I'm looking forward to getting your clips in due course. When I have all 140 the edit can begin. So the sooner the better!

Many people have emailed their clips, which is acceptable, there are many ways of doing this, one option is via email - check Snail-mail is still good!

Still really happy with the standard, and there's loads to work with. Interesting to see certain themes coming through already... but I'm not telling what! You'll just have to wait and see!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hold your footage till release!

Hi all,

I had a couple of questions with regard releasing your clips before the film is finished, ie. posting your clip on a website, or you tube.

I think it would be better for the film if everyone held back. I know it's tempting, and it's exciting to be part of something like this, so you may be eager to share it, which is cool, but I would simply ask you not to broadcast it or release it online.

I would like to build the anticipation for the release of the film and not give anything away, also to allow it be a surprise for everyone who took part, to see all the other clips for the first time upon release and to see their own side by side with everyone else, in context with the over all theme of the film I will strive to build in the edit, with the final mix, grade and score.

You should also know that film festivals will not accept films that have been previously released on the internet, so I don't want to risk our chances of touring festivals, which will probably largely be where the film will be seen.

I hope you all understand. I should have pointed this out prior to this! My bad! But I hope you can all bear with me now and hold your excitement for the final film!

Many thanks guys! I promise it wont be too long to wait - and then we can go mad!

Mission Accomplished!!!

Well, everything seemed to go off without a hitch. 5 months of planning, thousands of emails and even more tweets and we arrived at the crucible. 
I was standing on a river bank, miles from anywhere, along a worn trail on the edge of a forrest, a place my Dad likes to take his dog for a walk, and place that has meaning and significance in both our lives. There with him, my wife and our dogs. It was quiet, peaceful and thrilling!

Knowing the 139 eager and anxious filmmakers were waiting for my call, I held my mobile phone in my hand and typed the word 'ACTION', then clicked send and off it went - into the world, to 5 different continents, 28 different countries, 100 cities, 139 filmmakers. With it followed a flurry of action. Camera's started rolling, adrenaline started rushing, and for 2 minutes 20 seconds, or should I say - 140 seconds, we all joined connected in a film experiment unlike any other before attempted. 

Before I knew it the time was up, that was it, it was done, mission accomplished, well - almost, I still have to get all the clips in and edit it. But I think we achieved what it was we set out to do in those 140 seconds. 

All across the world we visualized and planned and synchronized for something we believed in and felt inspired by. Using this tool, the internet, and a social media phenomenon that has been much criticized, a new concept was created and the citizen of that global digital village created something very real, tangible and worthy. 

I was thrilled by the whole thing, and felt a great sense of connection, pride, achievement and honour on Sunday night. Walking back toward the car, along the path by the river, I thought to myself about the all the other filmmakers around the world opening the minds, hearts, homes and ideas to this project and I was simply blown away by it. Knowing that people had committed so much time, effort and energy to this idea.

Now comes the tricky part, organising, email, twittering, filming, all that was easy (not really) but now I have to edit everything. I'm still not sure how I'm going to do it or what the end product will be. I guess I wont have any real ideas until I get all the footage in. So far though it's been great, I'm really happy with it and if this standard keeps up then I know it's going to be good.

The filmmakers to have sent footage so far are: Iulia Regina, Ryan Little, Damien Donnelly, Steve Gatlin, Chris Ford, John Lawlor, Paddy O'Shea, Robert Zappia, Mairtin DeBarra, Caterina Monzani, Noel Farrell and - Oh yeah, me!

So thanks to them. And I look forward to seeing everyone elses! 

Then we'll see what we have?!?!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Open Letter of Thanks!

Hey Everybody!

Apologies for the slight delay with this. As you can imagine, I've been inundated with emails, congrats, press and clips - it's been whirlwind since Sunday. I was actually convinced today was Monday! But it's not, it's Tuesday, and my thanks come late... However, more heartfelt they could not be.

I think we've all done something pretty unique and special here. I know I felt it on Sunday when I sent the word "ACTION" via twitter on my mobile (cell), while standing on the bank of a river miles from anywhere! I was with my Dad and my wife, and our dogs, it was a beautiful and warm summers evening, quiet and still, and we were all alone out there, but I felt completely connect to all of you. I could feel the frantic rush of adrenaline as you all fired up your cameras and started shooting. Although it was quiet, and personal, as I'm sure it was for many of you, it was exciting and thrilling too.

I felt a huge sense of satisfaction and indeed achievement when I was finished filming! As I'm sure many of you did too. Almost immediately the messages started coming in,"Woohoo" "That was good" "Congratulations" "We did it" "That was exciting" from all of you! I was full to brim with joy!

Iulia Rugina from Romania gets the prize for being first in with her clip (I don't know what the prize is!) - it came in within hours! And I knew with in seconds of watching it, this was going to be a great film! Her footage was beautiful, honest, funny and heartfelt. It truly was what connected her to her home.

Then more footage started coming in and the family connection really started to come through, something I looked at too. I can honestly say I'm thrilled with what I've been getting. People really have opened up their lives and their hearts to this project and I'm completely blown away by it!

I want to thank you first of all for coming on board, for giving you time, energy, thought and talent to this. I want to thank you for your honesty and integrity, for you passion and love for what you do. I want to thank you for believing in this project and most of all, I want to thank you for trusting me, and for what I'm sure will be more, incredible footage. I promise to give you the best film I can, something we can all be proud of and share, us 140, forever.

Thank you.

Kindest, warmest and indeed, most supreme regards
Frank Kelly

your very humbled producer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Magic Number

139. Jos Meijers - Rotterdam - Netherlands

140. Mark Thimijan – Nebraska - USA

That's right, 4 days to go and 140 filmmakers reached. When I set the date at June 21st I had some doubts, I thought I might have to push the date back, but no, we did it. 140 filmmakers worldwide have signed up to a shared vision to film 140 seconds of what connects them to their home, to this planet. I don't mind telling you I feel a little emotional! :'[ 

I'm so excited by what we're all about to do. From an idea I had during a sleepless night to a global project involving so much incredible talent from people I admire and respect hugely. From old friends to new friends, people I've never met before to talent I've admired from afar. It's hard to believe it has reached this point, with all of you involved. 

I know the work you will all do on Sunday will be inspired and I can't wait to see it. I can't wait to start putting it together and give you guys the best film I can cut, something we can all be proud to be a part of. I know it's going to be easy once I see your footage! 

Here's to Sunday guys! And Thanks to you all for believing in this.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

New 140 Logo Design.

Designed by yours truly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who's up for some stylishly marketing?!

Some new filmmakers for 140:

135. Jong Park – Seoul – Korea

136. Ricardo Nobuo Shima – Hawaii – USA

137. Manuel Monteiro Grillo – Lisbon - Portugal

138. Alvaro Ron – LA - USA

Of course you see what that means?! 2 filmmakers to go!!! So looks like we're on target for the 21st! I never had a doubt!!! Secret to any film - Momentum! Set a date, strap yourself to the bolder and start rolling.

Here's a recent interview I did with Johnny Blank for his blog. Enjoyed it. It's honest and generally misspelt! Hope you enjoy reading it nonetheless!

Light T-Shirt

Also, I've set up a shop to help support the 140 project, I like giving people something for their donnations. So in return for a few bucks you can help stylishly market my film by the wearing one of these wonderful products!


Work progresses on Slán agus Beannacht. I started the grade yesterday and it's going well, I'm happy with how it looks. Spoke to Paschal this morning and he's eager to see it, so I'm eager to get it done to show him! I also want to organise a screening here in town, so more on that as it happens.

Thomas and I have started work again on Night. The excitement for this project has been reignited. The changes we've made have made the piece much stronger. So I'm looking forward to finishing it and seeing if we can get some one on board to help us make it. It's going to be an exciting, gruesome, thrilling and stylish piece, no question about it. I hope we get to make it. This is the kind of film I want to see on a Friday night, and I have a feeling a lot of other people would too.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Newest 140 Filmmakers

Below are the most recent filmmakers to the 140 project. That's right 134 filmmakers, so only 6 places left. I'm still holding out for more Asian, African and European filmmakers... the USA is well covered, as is Ireland, the UK and Australia, with a peppering in South America and Canada. 

I'll hold out until the end of this week then I'll have to close the doors, just to give the final members time to get organised. 

I'm really excited about this and I can't wait to see what everyone does. It's hard to believe that we're almost at 140. Thanks so much to everyone so far for coming on board an believing the project. I know it's going to be something special... and I have a feeling this will just be the start of things.

121. John Lawlor - ? – Slovenia

122. Daniel Pellegrini – Lisbon – Portugal

123. Alex Anunciato – Rio De Janeiro – Brazil

124. Yarrow Kraner – Bozeman – Montana – USA

125. Charis Tobias – Yosemite – USA

126. Simone Fried – Toronto - Canada

127. Jan Borst - ? - Germany

128. Emilio Dante – Paris - France

129. Mark & Johanna – Cebu – Philippines

130. Kathi Carey – Hollywood – California – USA

131. Yazmin Ortiz – San Juan – Puerto Rico

132. Denis Rodríguez – Santiago - Chile

134. Paul Gitschner – Kitchener – Ontario - Canada

Also, Metro Newspaper recently ran an article on the project, for anyone who didn't catch it, you check out the digital version.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Give Me Direction - The Run Down

An interesting day all round yesterday. I can’t say there were any earth-shattering revelations, it was more of a refresher, but it was good to meet people again and anew – Jason and Cian among them!

(First off, apologies if I jump back and forth, I’m working of brief notes I took and memory!)

The morning kicked off with an intro by film board CEO Simon Perry and a lead into a discussion about Main Stream Vs. Art House, the difference between them and if there was a medium between the two – No being the eventual answer! They are separate and should exist separately, but I think we knew that! The feed off of each other and the difference and conflict is needed for both to survive.

On the panel was Eran Kolirin, Israeli director of The Band’s Visit, who was funny and charming and had some interesting observations. Mark O’Rowe, writer of Intermission, who’s answers seemed to meander and were often contradictory – so a typical writer then! Damien O’Donnell, 35 Aside and East is East, who had a much more solid and direct opinion of the industry and his place in it. And last, but by no means least, John Moore, Dundalk man and director of Behind Enemy Lines, Omen remake and Max Payne – in his own words “The token sell-out” of the panel. He was funny, irreverent and refreshingly honest.

During the conversation O’Donnell mentioned Surprise that scripts need to surprise the reader. It’s something that’s easy to forget and it ties into something what Tanya Seghatchian (producer) said later on about being attracted to scripts. It is often stated that you need to grab you reader in the first 10 pages. She points out that as a producer you are only required to read the first 10 pages as a formality, she looks for scripts that grab her on page 1. I found that interesting, I hadn’t really thought of that before, I often have something happening on page 3, but to pull the audience in from the beginning makes sense. She’s the producer of the first 4 Harry Potter films and the Head of the UK Film Council by the way.

The discussion turned to Authorship of a film and Genre. Is the credit ‘A Film by’ a valid one, most people thought not, that if it was a necessary credit that it only be given to writer/directors. Interesting that John Moore was against the credit at all and has fought against having the credit on his films, especially on The Omen, which was a remake. But it seems the DGA requires it. It also came to light that this title is not really about authorship and shouldn’t really be regarded as such, but is simply a marketing ploy. A Film by Martin Scorsese will sell a film to a certain audience etc.

On genre Damien O'Donnell called genre a lazy way of pigeon-holing a film, which I don’t agree with, nor did John Moore, it sparked a heated cross fire between the two, which was fun! And again the idea of genre begin a shorthand marketing tool came up, fair enough, we want our films to be seen, why not give them a shorthand so they know what they’re paying into. Many of the filmmakers on the panel seemed to reject genre, except Moore, I don’t know why? Cinema has a language, genre is part of it, why try to reject it?

They also brought up the question of why they make films, as you would expect the general answer was, to be seen. O’Rowe was honest here in saying it was to be liked, to have people appreciate and enjoy the work and to find personal validation. Which I agree with, when it comes down to it you want to be in a darkened theatre with people watching your work and see then enjoy it and know that it was you that did that. It’s a satisfying feeling.

They talked about getting films off the ground, I suppose it as equally encouraging as it is disheartening that they seem to find it as difficult as we do (they being successful feature filmmakers, we being beginners.) Kolirin talked about how when trying to get the film made he came up against so many people who said it was not commercial and would never make any money. After it was a huge success, sold internationally and was nominated for an Oscar all of those people suddenly talked about how they always knew it would do well and they always believed in it.

My general feeling from the talk was that the business is a strange, paranoid, fickle thing, where in, no one knows the recipe for success and they are desperately seeking it. I had this image of headless chickens running around bumping into each other looking for their heads. No one knows why a film works or doesn’t. The general feeling was that you make a film because you want to tell a story and you try to make from as honest a place as possible… except for John Moore, he openly admitted he does it for the money! But he also talked about delivering excitement, which he feels is underrated and as valuable as moving someone to tears.

Interestingly he talked about how this is a good time to be sending work to Hollywood. They are hungry for new, fresh work. They seem to realise that they have blown up one to many things and now know that people want more. He also mentioned that it’s a good time for more down beat films, no more happy endings “If you have a script with a suicide at the end, get it out of the drawer!”

Next up was Charlotte Kelly, agent for Casarotto Ramsay (One of the top agencies in the UK) she represents many Irish talent, Ken Wadrop, Simon Fitzmorris, Tom Collins and more and is one of the few talent agents in Ireland (which was why she was surrounded by about 20 people at the end of the talk). Tanya Seghatchian, producer of the first 4 Harry Potters and the head of the UK film council. Kirsten Sheridan, who we all know and Tony Merchant, one of the Uks most success and prolific TV writers, The Whistleblowers, Mark of Cain, Crime and Punishment and more.

This was for me the most interesting talk of the day, especially with the advice given by Tanya Seghatchian, mentioned above. It was also interesting to see what attracts all these people to projects and to working with people, especially Tanya as a former producer for BBC drama and now the UK film council, and it is as basic as being passionate about a project and falling in love with it. Tony Marchant gave an interesting analogy about writing a script, which I think is true for how a producer approaches a script, that is - when you start a script it’s like going on a first date with someone who is going to become a long-term lover.

For us writers that’s certainly true. On the first draft you get that rush of excitement, flurry of passion, you’re unable to sleep and wait until you can get back to it. Then you settle down, being to work at it, become more familiar with the story, the characters, the flaws. There are periods where you wonder why you even started the damn thing and when something works you fall in love all over again.

It’s the same for producers and indeed agents, as Charlotte Kelly mentioned, the reason she takes on a client is being she falls in love with their work. She knows she must become passionate about it if she is to represent that passion when try to sell it.

Advice given for writers and finding a producer or an agent was to write, write, write and make sure your script is as good as you can get it before sending it out. Push the story, the characters and the drama and make sure it’s the best it can be.

Connor McPherson, when asked later about being a writer and self collaborator as writer/director and when he knows something is ready, said that time is a great way to find out, walk away from your script for a while. Mistakes you didn’t see when writing the first draft will become glaringly obvious two weeks down the road.

Interestingly Tanya answered a question from the audience about film funding in Ireland from the UK film council and seemingly it is possible, cool! It has to do with personell and money, but a film written and directed by an Irish filmmaker could be shot here with UK money and a UK crew. The question was also about making an international story, not indigenous. Something like Slumdog Millionaire, an India tale by British filmmakers. So something worth thinking of.

Unprovoked angry soapboxing was the order of the day for David Kavanagh, whose crass outburst from the crowd, although a valid point, seemed to me to be out of context and out of place, in my opinion. He took every opportunity he could to unload his politics. Quote of the day from him: “If a producer fucks you, and you don’t want to be fucked, that’s rape isn’t it?” - followed by a stunned silence and an embarrassed panel of guests trying to find their way back to the topic at hand. The phrase Time and place is a phrase that springs to mind.

Although I am member of the writers guild and glad there are people as passionate as David to speak on my behalf, I’d rather he not do it at an event where I am seeking inspiration and indeed direction from people who’s work I admire - embarrassing them and making the entire audience feel uncomfortable.

I know Kirsten Sherdian felt the same as she then asked if they could end their session on something inspirational – quoting Stephen King’s analogy about writing begin akin to Archaeology rather the Architecture.

(Side note: if anyone hasn’t read Stephen Kings book “On Writing” I would highly recommend it, even if you’re not a King fan, and I haven’t read much of his work, it’s still a great great book.)

Tanya also talked about a script being both Deja vu and Jame vu, meaning: something you feel like you scene before, the setting is the same, the characters are the same, but it’s also something you’ve never seen before. Which I thought was interesting, and an interesting way to approach a script. I mean we all sit down to write a horror script, werewolves and vampires, or a family drama, brothers at war, a family torn apart… but what can we do to make it different, grab the audience from page one and make them feel that they have never heard this story told this way before.

After dinner was a rehearsed reading of Memorabilia by Kevin Barry, which although interesting, was not my cup-of-tea at all, and probably not a film I’ll be rushing to the IFI to see if it ever gets made. But from my own experience with readings I know it is a valuable exercise and I would recommend it to anyone to find out if their script is working or not. There’s nothing like hearing your script read out loud by actors to unlock the problems within.

Next was a conversation between Connor McPherson, I Went Down, The Actors, Roddy Doyle, you know him, and McPhersons producer Rob Walpole. McPherson passionately spoke about protecting the idea, keeping the original feeling and excitement alive through out the process and the importance of forming strong relationships. He also warned against the schmoozing love machine of Hollywood, and to be careful of succumbing to being pampered by them as they lube you up to be fucked!

I don’t know, maybe I was getting tired, but I didn’t take very much away from this conversation, sorry!

The last line up of the day was possibly the most impressive in terms of talent, Jim Sheridan In the Name of the Father, In America, Pat McCabe, The Butcher Boy, Paul Fraser, This is England, Roddy Doyle The Commitments and chaired by Lance Daly (Kisses) I found Lance’s questions to be a bit vague and not very inciting. The panel seemed to trail of into other points when trying to answer. Still, it was interesting to hear them speak.

The main theme seemed to be about finding a story and controlling it when trying to tell it. Paul Fraser, who honestly seemed tired, disinterested and like he wanted to be somewhere else struggled to answer questions and resorted to, what I’m sure were, much retold anecdotes of his career with Meadows, interesting nonetheless. He talked about their method and how they like to workshop their scripts until they’re ready and how they never stop changing, even during filming. You might wonder what then is the point of writing a script, but it was interesting to hear then that that was what happened with Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, that script was never really finished when it went into development.

I don’t remember much else of what was said. A lot of meandering points and retold anecdotes. To me their seemed to be no solid answers given because none of the filmmakers their really knew. Perhaps we can go back to that quote by William Goldman, “No one knows anything”, no matter how successful you become there is no real way to know how it happened, no clear answer and no secret. Or maybe there is a secret, and it’s this, you just have to work.

Keep writing, constantly perfecting scripts, pushing them out there, learning you craft. Stop worrying about what the other person is doing, what’s hot at the moment, what the film board are doing or not doing, whether there’s an Irish film industry or there isn’t and do it anyway, learn, write, work, make films.

As I mentioned above the day offered no great insight into writing or indeed the industry, but it was certainly food for thought. I’m not going to change the way I work or write. I will think more about getting page one right! I will put more thought into being fresh, original and surprising. And I will keep working and making films.

See full size image

The event was organised by Andrew Meehan and Sarah Dillon at theIrish Film Board.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Shane Fest - Cancelled.

Here's two people I don't like very much today:
Shane Meadows
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Interviews
Shane Black

Why? Because they cancelled Shane Fest!!! That's right, both pulled out of the Give Me Direction Seminar in Dublin this week! Meadows last week for no given reason and Black today (He was to talk tonight) apparently because his passport was out of date and he didn't notice until he got to the airport! Hmm? 

Both were the main reason I was going to the event, so needless to say I'm disappointed. 

The Film Board were nice about it, they gave me, and I'm sure everyone else, a phone call and apologised in person and they offered a refund for the Black talk and a full refund if people felt the need to pull out of the event entirely.

I didn't, I will go tomorrow. It's a full day and it has a pretty good line up as it is... who needs the stupid Shane's!!! 

Ah well, I'm it couldn't be helped, these things happen. Will have a report on the seminar next week. Happy weekend!

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's June!!!

Yes, it's June, 140 shoots in 21 days! I have still have 12 filmmakers to find. I haven't heard back from a couple of filmmakers so I may have to find more, it's hard to know if people still want to take part when they don't reply to emails, @ of DMs. So we'll see. 

I think I hope I'll have all the filmmakers by the end of this week. I'll have to push because I want cut off the application process soon, people still need time to think about what they're going to do. I need time to think about what I'm going to do! I have a few ideas, but I honestly haven't had time to decide. 

But I have confidence that it will all come together. It's going to be a hell of an edit job no matter what! But it's gonna be good!

I'm looking forward to this week because on Thursday I'm going to the Give Me Direction seminar in Dublin, organised by the Irish Film Board and the Dublin International Film Festival. It's a two day screenwriting seminar featuring Shane Black (writer/creator of Lethal Weapon, writer/director Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) and Shane Meadows (Dead Man's Shoes, This is England) among others. Should be interesting. 

I have to be honest though, I never really take much away from these things, in terms of my process. I have never changed the way I write, think about scripts, find stories - so Give me Direction is something of a condescending title, as if we screenwriters don't have a clue what we're doing. I have direction, I know what stories I want to tell and I know it's going to be bloody hard if not near impossible to get them done, so there's no need for you to tell me that. I just like hearing what other writers have to say, especially writers I admire and respect. And it's nice to hang out with like minded people, friends and see what other people are up to. I'm looking forward to it.

I should be working on the music to Slán agus Beannacht this week. Friend and musician Paddy McArdle will be dropping around a mic and mixer later today. I'm looking forward to that, I like but music together, clunking through some notes on the guitar and other instruments and then editing and mixing it all together to make it sound like I can actually play something! 

Then the final sound mix and grade and I'll finished. I've already started sending it out to festival, Cork, Galway and Heartland of course! So we'll see it goes. I found, from the last two, it's usually 6 months before anyone bites and then a few role in together. It's a slog getting it out there though, and being as broke as I am at the moment I really have to be selective. The cost of padded envelopes, dvds, case, ink for my printer and postage (anywhere from €1.25 a package to €4.25 depending on where it's going) all adds up. I tend to avoid festivals that have entry fees, usless it's a biggy and I think there might be a slim chance of getting in. 

It's hard to know how this one will go, if at all, whether or not it will connect with people on an international level the way Emily's Song did or the way Bill, For Short seems to be doing. It's very much an Irish story, but I'm hoping the theme of lose will be a universal one, the idea that things move on and change often leaves people spinning in the wind with no direction.

I miss writing at the moment. I haven't had a moment to do anything for a while. I need to be more disciplined. I have lots of projects I want to get working on, but I haven't settled on one yet. I'd love to find the time to finish my novel The Cats of the Crescent, even if just for me. I'm more then half way through it and I've been really enjoying writing it. I like the flow of ideas and not having any solid idea of the where the story is going, just a vague one, and allowing the characters to take me where they want to go.

I had an interesting incident when I stopped the last time. Emma, the main character, is involved in this war of sorts, she has been dragged into another world, but for a moment she finds herself close to her home. They all must leave as quickly as they came - fine I though, on we go - then I typed - "I have to get my mother," said Emma. Hang on a minute... that doesn't work! I hadn't planned her mother being a part of this story! No, no she can't go with her... but Emma wouldn't leave her behind if she had the chance to take her, which she does... Ah nuts! Prime example of a character telling me what to do! 

So that stumped me for a while, but I've had time with it and find it works and increases the dramatic intensity of the piece and gives them all more to deal with and means there is more at stake for the main character. So I'm looking forward to working on it again. 

Well, it's a glorious sunny day outside so I should hang up the keyboard and go get some Vitamin D. 

More on 140 as it happens. Hopefully new on Slán agus Beannacht completion soon. And expect a full report on the Give me Direction :b seminar. And hopefully some more interesting news too. Bye for now.