Friday, October 30, 2009

Good Week / Bad Week

As the title suggests it was both a good week and a bad week, in equal measures. It start off good. On Tuesday Thomas and I finished the first draft of 'Night', now retitled 'Iscariot', so we were both very happy about that. The script has been about 2 years in the writing! Very unusual for us, we're usually pretty quick.

Thomas came up with the idea 2007, I was in LA at the time. I was on the bus going from Sherman Oaks to Hollywood and he was here in Drogheda and we were texting back and forth (Cost me a bloody fortune!) But he told me his idea and I thought it was great. I was a little jealous to be quite honest, we were actually work separately at that stage, disillusioned by several years of rejected scripts lead us to go our separate ways for a time.

So I went about my business, when several months later, June 2008 in fact, Thomas and I met again at my Grandmother's funeral. We got talking at the wake, asking each other about what the other was working on, nothing really, so we decided that perhaps we should give it another go and see if we could write something new.

We met a couple of weeks later to talk about it. Thomas had a new idea for a short film. I thought about getting back to work on 'The Anatomist'. We figured trying to make another short was a waist of time. For the amount of time and energy that would go into it we could, should at this stage, make a low-budget feature film. And 'The Anatomist' would be a huge amount of work for no return. I mentioned Thomas' idea, 'Night', I said if you're up for it we could write that. Thomas said yes.

He had the start of the script, and a vague idea of how to get to the middle and, and the final scene and that was it. But it was enough. We sat down for two weeks and mapped out the story, we changed the entire centre piece of the film, the main action, added new characters, took a couple away and crafter the story, while trying to keep the feeling and atmosphere that existed in the original idea.

We blasted that into script form in the following two weeks. So by the end of the summer '08 we had a script to work from. Neither of us had any idea in would be another 14 months before we could call the first draft done. Life got in the way I guess. Thomas got busy at work. I ended up shooting Slán and 140, while Thomas started prepping an ill fated animated short called McBride. But nowhere along the line did we ever think we wouldn't finish it. We just took our time with this one. Let it breathe.

So it's in the hands of a few trusted people at the moment. We'll see what they think and figure out our next move after that. Hopefully it will be a step in the production direction!

Then came Wednesday. I was suppose to by shooting this week. I have a paying gig which is being delayed and delayed. Largely due to access to a camera, but also the weather. I finally got the camera, but it hasn't stopped raining since. Incredibly frustrating.

Same day I got word from Network Ireland Television their UK distributor was in town and they wanted to rush through a contract for Bill, For Short and get it onto their Documentary presentation DVD. Great news! But it also meant they needed a Beta. I don't have one! Unfortunately with cash being the way it is I couldn't afford to pay someone to transfer it. So I scrambled, to no avail, to find something. They then told me a mini DV would work for the time being - great I thought, I have the camera, no worries - you would think...

But I had tech issues on both computers and for some unknown reason and could not output the film to tape... maybe the firewire cable I have is out of commission, I don't know, but after the initial thrill of getting signed, I spent most of the day banging my head against the desk thinking it wasn't going to happen. Luckily they agreed to take a hi res .mov file on disc for now. But I still need to organise the Beta. That's a headache for another week!

Yesterday and today were washouts for filming, a week wasted on that job. The distraction of getting Bill, For Short organised and a few other things meant I didn't get a chance to work on the final cut of 140, so I'm a week behind on that. But I did get a call from Dermot O'Mahony, the composer, who popped in to have a look at the film, he liked it I'm happy to say and liked the situ of his music. Later that day he provided me with 2 new, and awesome tracks, with more to come.
Today was spent paying bills and posting films. I bought a cool toy chest/bench for the babies room fro next to nothing and a second biography of Sam Speigel for €3! Hurray! I also rented Drag Me To Hell for tonight in celebration of the season!

So all in all a week of ups and downs. But I guess more ups then downs. I still have lots of work to do before the baby arrives, domestic and film-wise. So hopefully time doesn't get away from me and I can get 140 finished and out to the filmmakers for their screenings. A week of ups would help!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Slan agus Beannacht Premiere

(Pascal Scott, Me & George "Bosco" McDermot at the screening)

A successful night last night. We had a good crowd, a full room. Everyone seemed to enjoy the film, good comments afterwards. Everyone involved in the film, cast and crew, seemed happy, so that made me happy! It was certainly a relief. So now it's out in the world. First public screening done!

It will be interesting to see where it goes next and on what journey this film takes me. I'm sure there'll be a few surprises! From passed experience I imagine it will take a couple of months to bite, maybe in the new year, then hopefully it will start rolling.

My thanks to everyone who attended last night, I appreciate you turning up and to everyone who came to the pub afterwards... especially the brave (drunken) souls who stayed on till 4am! Ouch! I was fine this morning I must say, I was secretly watching what I was drinking! I know a couple young Cork lads had a tad more and certainly paid for it this morning, if they hadn't told me I might have guessed from the grey tone to their complexion! - safe home boys! Thanks for making the trip.

Special thanks to Mark Kearns for the use of the space and helping to organise the event. And of course to my beautiful wife Maryann who spent all day preparing the food and then served it and the wine at the event, she was on her feet all day - and at 8 months pregnant that's no easy thing!

One surprise was how complementary people were of the song "Rest" at the end of the film, alot of people really liked it, some more then the film I think! So thanks again for the kind words! So here it is again for your listening pleasure ;)

There are a list of people I need to thank, so here they are:

Fundraiser prize sponsors:
Salthouse - Picturehouse Mural Design - The Wine Buff - Frames Unlimitied - Beulah Print - Kodak Express - Droichead Arts Centre - Free Spirit - Fox Jewellers - Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill - Stockwell Artisan Foods

Jason Byrne

Paddy McArdle

Robbie Bonham

External Sounds

Drogheda Burrough Council

Dom Wilton

Briege King

Sharon Tuohy

Dundalk College Nursing Department (not right name)

McHughs Pub Drogheda

TP McHugh

Sandra Gough

Richie Quinn - Donnation

Marie Mulligan – Scholars

Shcolars Townhouse Hotel Drogheda - Accomadation

Anne O’Brien

Gary Delaney

Johnny Thornton

Patsy & Anne Fagan

Darren Thornton & Collette Farrell at Calipo Picture & Theatre Company

Camille Donegan

Mark Lebenon

Caroline Farrell


Eoin McGlaughlin - Lighting

Maryellen Darby - Make-up Artist

Sue Downey - Sound Recordist

Graham Newcombe - Sound on Last day

JJ Rolfe - Director of Photogrpahy


Paschal Scott – Pat

Tony Leddy – Office Manager

Rory Mullen – Liam

Elaine Reddy - Ann

Noel Kelly – Brian

Ann Russell – Mrs. Smith

Gerry Shanahan – Charlie

Frank Kelly - Bartender

Gary Clinton - Himself

Teen Gang

Shane Murray Corcoran – Paddy

Eric O’Brien – Anto

Conor Branigan – Freddie

Andrew Gallagher – Tom

Office Staff

Anne Lawlor

Eamon Lawlor

Wendy Tinsley

Maryann Kelly

Dom Wilton

Other credits

Sandra Tuohy – Medical Advisor

Dom Wilton – Production Assistant

Maryann Kelly – Production Coordinator


Eddie and Macka for help with equipment and Mark Kearns for the space for the screening.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inspiration in the Heartland

I just wanted to mention the Heartland Film Festival, which begins today.

This festival changed my life, no question. It was great for me professionally, it lead to the sale of my first film and inspired and fueled me to carry on making films in difficult times.

I also made many great friends while attending. I remember in my acceptance speech I was swept away with the emotion of the event and the night and said "I've made friends in this room, that I'll probably have for the rest of my life, I didn't expect that to happen." Afterwards I kinda felt a like I was being a bit hooky! But as it happened, I was right, I made many great friends who I still stay in regular contact with 3 years on. In fact 10 of the 140 filmmakers are past Heartland award winners. And of course co-pilot and good buddy Elliot Kotek, who has been a good friend and support these past three years, I met at Heartland.

On a personal level I did of course meet my wife there, Maryann Koopman, now Kelly! She was the film researcher and coordinator and the one who found my film. We communicated professionally leading up to the festival. I remember our first conversation, I actually thought for a second that the first call from Jeff, the president of the festival, was a prank! I have comedian friends who have on occasion called with phony accents! But then Maryann called to organise things and fill me in, phew! I had actually won something!!! But little did I now that the woman I was speaking to would be standing in that very same room today as my wife of one year and pregnant with our first child - due in 7 weeks!

Emily's Song won the Crystal Heart in 2006 and Bill, For Short was an Official Selection in 2008. I have remained in touch with the festival and hope to screen again there someday with a yet to made film!

The festival shows a diverse range of exceptional films that promote and celebrate the human spirit. If attending you are guaranteed to be moved, inspired, awakened and changed.

Best of luck to everyone at the festival, hope you have a great year. And to the filmmakers, enjoy! It doesn't get any better than this!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Last of the Rent Collectors

Here's the piece from Nationwide tonight. The sad story of the last of the Irish Rent Collectors, Bosco, the inspiration behind Slán agus Beannacht. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Week So Far

It's been a busy enough week. Didn't touch 140 after the Hatchfest screening, kinda needed a break, but I'll get back on it for the final run in. Should be finished in a couple of weeks. Then I can explore dates for the premiere. I'm thinking late November.

Tomorrow night Slán agus Beannacht features on Nationwide (7pm RTE), should be interesting. The piece they did on Bill, For Short was nice, so I imagine this one will be interesting too. Bosco's a great guy anyway. He was down here yesterday with a photographer for a newspaper article. I'm not sure what newspaper. It's a piece by a freelancer who's going to try to sell it to the Star, Herald or Mail... so we'll see - will post.

I set a date for the Slán screening, October 16th, for cast & crew and guests. I'm not sure if there will be further screenings for others to see the film. I'll post if so.

Not much else going on. Looking at editing a documentary about a man who ran around Denmark with a ladder on his shoulder for charity. Just looking at the footage now. Wondering how I might carve out the time to cut it. Might prove impossible, at least this year. Has potential though.

Night is still on the back burner. We've given it to our wives to read, check for typos and any minor or major plot holes we may have missed, and basically to get a general reaction before sending it into the world.

Meantime here are a couple of new items: Piece today on IFTN and an interview I did with 140 filmmaker Kellie Ann Benz for her blog, The Shorts Report.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

4000 miles

140 screened without a hitch at Hatchfest this week. It was quite nerve wracking on the day, even though I was 4000 miles away! Still, the idea that an audience anywhere was about to sit down to watch it was a scary prospect! Still, reports suggest they liked it thankfully!

(Some comments after the screening)

In other news, I'm back on Nationwide. This time with Slán agus Beannacht, my much delayed short film. It will be part of a piece about the man who inspire the film, Bosco, my old rent collector who was taken off the streets a placed in an office after 35 years of doing the same route. Sad really. Tune in at 7 on the 7th to hear his story and see some clips from the film.

I'm also holding a screening of the film on October 16th, 8pm, Boyne Books in Callan Artat Callan Art thanks to Mark Kearns, owner of Boyne Books, who is providing the space. Mark has been great, he has kept my Old Shoes and Broken Walls exhibition hanging for two months and provided the space for a recent Bill, For Short screening. Everyone should go down to Boyne Books and buy books from him today, he has a very unique selection of Irish history, literature and poetry - well worth a visit.