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I’ve done it! Casting is completed and what talented folk I have in this show. 🙂

I ended up casting myself for the moment as Finn – unfortunately the only actor of the appropriate age just didn’t suit the character.

Still a bit nervous about taking the role, but it should be fun and a good challenge. Now script development begins in earnest.

One of the more difficult aspects of script writing is figuring out what needs to be said or shown. Time is at a premium and sometimes the more natural scenes can run too long.

Currently I am working on a scene set prior to a party that sets up Finn’s motivation to go to the party. However the scene is becoming a bit indulgent with Max, Finn and Ryan’s conversation.

I’m realising that the scene kind of hinges on a simple joke and then just drags on afterwards. There is also a humorous prologue that isn’t feeling funny enough.

So the question I am asking myself is how much of the funny dialogue could just be moved to the party? Much of the exposition could probably be moved to the party sequence.

I want each episode to run 10 mins maximum, so I can’t have too many locations per episode.

Hopefully I can develop this more tonight after Dark Heresy. Anyway, I’m at work now, catch you all later.

Conan

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It can tale time to flesh out a creative project, especially when you have to work at “repurposing” the project.

I had intended to complete my rewrites of Setting it Straight by now, however I have been a little blocked for the actual story.

I’m also working on casting. At the moment, shock horror, I’ve been toying with the thought of taking on the main part myself, mostly because I’m yet to find an actor who I feel could provide the right “tone.”

The thing is that I kind of don’t know if I’m as good as I might think I am. I haven’t acted professionally since I was 24 or so. I also tend to think it’s a bit up myself.

I could end up choking big time. 🙂

The other consideration is that it would make directing a challenge. While acting I’d be struggling to keep an eye on everything else in the scenes I’d be in.

I think what I will need to do is run my own audition, and be bluntly honest with myself about my ability. I wonder if I know someone who could be an unbiased party who could give me a second opinion.

Here is hoping I hear back from a couple of the actors who contacted me. 🙂

Conan

Today I am taking annual leave as I have a specialist’s appointment tomorrow in relation to the strange pain I got a month or two ago.

Last night Nick and I watched The Grudge 2 – Japanese version – and spent a good part of the evening scaring ourselves silly. The director of The Grudge really knows how to wind his audience up.

I do feel that the best horror builds on your fears by faking you out. The Grudge franchise is all about the fake out. It is a sign on the director’s skill that even knowing what’s coming doesn’t protect you from being freaked out by creepy reflections and cruel misdirection.

In other news, just as I was planning to shelve Setting it Straight, another actor contacted me regarding the show. I’m still fleshing out the changes – but it looks to me that everything will still be go.

I’ve been having a bit of an inner struggle recently regarding dating. Some of you may be aware that my last date was nearly a year ago. I seem to suffer from perpetual fussiness and a but of low self-esteem lately.

Not super depressed, just not feeling that I’d be that attractive to the kind of guys I’m attracted to. Le sigh.

Last night kind of brought these feelings up again, because as much as I do love Nick’s company, sometimes you need more than a mate to shoot the shit with. Would have been nice to have someone to snuggle up with while watching a great horror movie. 🙂

I think part of SiS is my way of showing what it’s like to be gay and single in your early to mid thirties. Lots of guys my age either want younger bfs or want to just settle for whatever they can get.

Love seems to be not based on the person, but the exterior or physical need.

Maybe I am over thinking it all. Wouldn’t be the first time. 🙂

I have to admit, walking in from home everyday is helping. I feel fitter, and I am losing weight, which is good. Not quite ready to return to the gym, but making baby steps to get there. 🙂

Anyway, I’m in town now- catch you all later.

Conan

This is my first mobile blog post ever! I am writing this in KFC on my iPhone while I wait for the weather to clear up enough to walk to my Sunday game.

I recently got into a discussion about my latest project – Setting it Straight- and I had ended up getting into a discussion about genre.

You see, for the last 25 years or so I have been fairly genre bound in my writing. I have always written fantasy, scifi or horror. Never broke out of those genres.

But SIS is none of these. It’s a comedy-drama firmly rooted in the real world. The surprise to myself while working on it has been that it feels like some of the best work I’ve done to date.

While the show is far from being fully written, I have found the tone and style so quickly and I love the dialogue. The work I’ve written so far feels so natural and I have enjoyed writing it.

It has made me realise that one of the best things a writer can do is challenge his/her habits and break out of that comfort zone so many writers fall into.

While I can be occasionally witty when talking to people, I have always been uncertain that I could write a consistently funny comedy. Yet here I am looking at breaking out of genre and style, and I feel that it is better than a lot of stuff I have written before.

Next weekend I’ll be running auditions for the show – being freed of visual effects means I can get the show filming much sooner than it took the Winding City. Here’s hoping that the casting goes well.

Of course I have a lot of the talent from the Winding City showing up, so I shouldn’t have anything to fear.

Conan

Well it has been a while since I last updated this blog. The Winding City is coming along nicely and I’m arranging a meeting on Friday with a potential composer for the series. Woot!

I still need to explore the hosting aspects as I have no idea how to set up a site for the series… at the moment I’m considering just doing a blogspot site, as there are no copyright issues on my own materials. But I’ll keep looking. If anyone is able to offer help with setting up a website and hosting it, please get in contact with me. 🙂

Last weekend was the 48 hour challenge, and for a change I was not involved. Basically the last team I was in couldn’t do it – Margie was in Rarotonga – and Jenni’s team is so large now I didn’t even want to ask about being involved.

But I did spend the weekend working on film stuff. Firstly, I did rewrites for Setting it Straight, and I even managed to slip in a conversation with Nick Cole about Winding City 2 while we were waiting to go in to Star Trek at the Embassy.

Now I was going to talk more about my thoughts on making 48 hour films, but I still haven’t quite solidified them yet. I have some observations based on my experiences so far – especially regarding time management, how to plan ahead of the weekend and so on – but I still don’t feel that I have thought these through to completion yet. 🙂

On another note, my feverish imagination has come up with another series concept – putting my current list of ideas after Winding City and Setting it Straight at 4 confirmed series concepts. I already have an idea of what I want to take on after Setting it Straight – but that will depend on whether I can develop it enough to be satisfied with starting it or whether I’ll be involved in some other project by that point.

As Camille Landau and Tiare White say in their book “What they don’t teach you at Film School” – “If you want to make films, make films”

I’m planning to live by that creed. I want to be making shows whether someone recognises my work or not. Just like a writer always writes to improve their craft and skill, a film-maker does the same. If I seriously want to be producing, writing and/or directing as a career – I need to keep making films to learn, grow and improve. 🙂

Hence, I will be working on projects for some time to come. And if you think The Winding City is the best I can come up with, you haven’t seen anything yet… 😉

Conan

For those who have been somewhat out of the loop or are not big followers of this blog, I’ve been slaving away at a web television concept since the end of the 48 hour film challenge last year.

This has been a real eye-opening and strengthening experience for me. Firstly, I have a new found respect for the amount of trouble and time that goes into producing a show and I really now understand why some shows can take decades to be produced.

One thing that has always bugged me about producers is that it is never really clear what a producer does and how they go about it. Well the reason is because a producer really does a little bit of everything and has to spend a lot of time looking at the real logistics of a film.

It does surprise me how many people I have met who kind of think that saying “oh I want to be in a film” don’t realise how much work making a film is. Like I said – new found respect.

I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but it is very much a case of herding cats. Particularly when you are making a production on a zero-budget. Relying on volunteers means you have to be skilled at balancing compromise with control. You need to get everyone together and keep them pumped about the project, but at the same time you have to make it as little hassle as possible for them because they are not getting paid for the work.

You can’t rely on the promise of “if this becomes big…” you really need to make sure that the people involved are as committed to the vision as you are.

For me the big challenge isn’t so much the compromise, nor the frustration when people aren’t available – these are par for the course and I expect those things. It’s about me being able to give the design, director and actors room to interpret my script and world in a way that works for them.

This is tough when you’re trying to stay true to a vision, but also be open to new ideas. And it is one I find I constantly berate myself over. Sure, there are important things that I want to ensure make it into the series, but I have to make sure that everyone is enjoying the project – and they need to be able to express their own creativity when doing this. Which means I have to be willing to say “cool, not what I really wanted, but let’s go with it.”

Like I said – compromise.

We’ve recently been doing casting calls for the series – which has been a fantastic experience for me. Norman, our director, is really good at guiding actors and while he sometimes has different ideas about the characters than I do – he does a good job in auditions at getting the actors to try out ideas.

There is something cathartic as a writer to see people reading your lines and bringing the characters to a semblance of life – and it really helps to push me further with the project.

But the best part to date is how everyone who has auditioned has genuinely laughed at the jokes in the script and commented on how fun the characters are. I had some doubts about how humourous the script was going to be – but after watching some of New Zealand’s prime time “comedy” out there – I think our show is going to knock people’s socks off.

While we are still to finalise who is playing what roles, we have found some very talented actors who are keen to just be in the series and love the characters. Now, more than ever, I really find myself genuinely believing that this project is going to be something that people are going to talk about and want to see more.

That pushes me to work harder and get everyone organised and ready to shoot this sucker.

Why WebTV and not a short film or national television show? Well I have a bit of a strategy here. Firstly, Web TV doesn’t require as much in the way of resources to film and distribute. Secondly, every man and his dog in Wellington is shooting a short film. It’s easy to just get lost in the sea of mediocrity and fringe film. There is an increasing demand from television companies for local web based content. What we’re doing with our show is ambitious and has the potential to be news worthy once it is released. Thirdly, a television show allows for more time to tell your story and focus on characters. It also means you can release a feature length story in fifteen minute parts. I find this preferable.

Although it does mean that we are effectively filming six short films as opposed to one! 🙂

I am so excited! This is proving to be a very eye-opening and educational experience. It also has the potential to lead to some very big things, and that potential also excites me.

Love and Huggles

Conan

So tonight was when our heat was playing at the Paramount. *whew* It was a bit nerve wracking. There were a number of really interesting films, and some really not so good films.

All in all, it seems that everyone had a lot of fun making their movies – some will be forever burned into my mind (Supertran, I’m looking at you…) and others were somewhat forgettable.

We were fortunate enough to have a very slick but very pointless “horror” flick before our movie, so the comedy of Hypochondriacs – the Walking Goldmines really hit a mark. People laughed and it seemed that the entire theatre applauded at the end of our film. In fact I got the sneaking suspicion that we got the loudest applause of all the films that played. But that could have been my imagination.

The presenter certainly liked it and made a comment that it had something for everyone – and we got more raucous applause when we were asked to stand up. 🙂 So fingers crossed that we at least make it to the top 40 films to be chosen before the finals.

The film really managed to stand up well against the competition, and I was pleased with it – although I can see where we need to improve some things. Hopefully Project TWC will help us develop the necessary skills to up our game. 😀

It was hard to vote for films I liked – there were a number of great movies to choose from. I ended up choosing Supertran – for being a memorable GBLT entry, and for being kind of funny in parts. (That moustache did make him look hot…) My other choice was Oh Illium… which was an atrocious film but very funny. And there was a kind of hot guy in it. LOL!

I probably should have voted for Homekill, but the revenge seeking hedgehog was likely to get a lot of votes anyway… 😀

So yay! Here’s hoping that all went well, and that we get to the next stage!

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: iMovie HD the Missing Manual
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: All warm and fuzzy!

It’s my day off work today. So I’m chilling here with Uriel – what a sexy computer! – and planning out ideas for my Web Project. I wont reveal too much here, but it is going to be a kind of Insider’s Guide to Happiness with more of a humorous edge and a different approach to the surreal aspects.

It will, naturally, be a small budget affair. I’ll be looking for volunteers to help with the writing, acting, and production based aspects. The idea will be produce a series of 5-10 minute episodes (more on that once I’ve worked a bit more on the core concept) which will be shown on YOUTUBE.

I’ll then set up a website with higher definition versions of the episodes for download.

The idea behind the project is to get practice in with making a series of short films, and maybe even start a new web following. I have some cool ideas for the series – and with Fraser’s help I hope to develop them.

Today I’m looking at getting some footage of Wellington to play with and start building a visual library of Wellington shots for the series. There is also a gym visit and a few other activities in the works today. 🙂

Laters!

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Magnum Opus
Currently Playing: Exalted: Nexus of the Sun
Mood: Bubbly and Excited

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