The end is nigh. Thankfully, it’s just the end of 2016 but this year has felt pretty bleak with its constant doom and gloom. Luckily, on the work side of things for me, this year has been a lot more positive. Let me pick out some highlights, I won’t keep you long.
This was the year of Nutmeg as our debut feature film Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? went into select cinemas across the UK (after its world premiere at the London Film Festival last October). We arranged most of these ourselves, while some were OurScreen (cinema on demand) as well as a few festival screenings to boot (Cinemagic in Dublin and Zlin Film Festival notable stand-outs). The cinema run was a bit of hard work from our point of view – as we had no money for publicity or marketing – but it was worth the effort to see Nutmeg on the big screen. Tim and I did a few Q&As at these screenings, and ended up doing one of our workshops at BAFTA as part of their Bugsy Malone 40th celebrations.
On the UK Scriptwriters Podcast, highlights included our interview with Brendan McCarthy (co-writer of Mad Max: Fury Road) and an epic chat with TV writing maestro Tony Jordan. I was involved in the Red Planet Prize again, helping them whittle down the list of entries, which is always a treat and a neat reminder that there’s a lot of untapped talent out there (or, it’s important to write new scripts and continue to try to raise our game!).
Tim and I did a lot of work together this year mainly with Nutmeg and developing our next projects. To that end, we hit the Croisette in Cannes for a few days to schmooze the film industry and regale them with our family film plans. You can read all about that here, and our special industry report here.
To facilitate a lot of this schmoozing around, I wrote a handful of episodes for the brilliant Hey Duggee, which recently won a BAFTA for Best Pre-School Animation. I wrote on a few more children’s TV shows, some of which are brand new so I can’t say anything about them yet, but they’ll pop up in 2017 no doubt.
I also rewrote a horror script called Quail Hollow (even while I was in Cannes, see above link). I haven’t said much about this project on the blog as it’s all been in development last couple of years but it was announced recently that the film goes into production next February. It’s produced by Templeheart Films; they hired me to rewrite a script they liked but wanted to go in a new direction. It’s about a young woman who investigates the suicide of her twin sister at a renowned mental institute but in doing so she uncovers the deadly secrets of the staff which begins to threaten her life, as well as her sanity. I had a lot of fun writing the script and am excited to see what they do with it.
In amongst this work and the children’s TV writing, I also managed to write two new feature specs (with Tim), and even a novelisation of Nelson Nutmeg (shur, why not). All of which makes it looks like I’ve been busy, and I guess I have, but ironically it feels I could have done even more. It’s definitely preferable to be as proactive as possible and to always have a good few writing projects on the go (spec or otherwise).
We rounded off the year with a cheeky Christmas short film, which you may have already seen, if not check it out here and, going forward, my agent Jean Kitson is going to represent myself and Tim as directors.
I started a newsletter for this site (which features content not published on the blog) so if you want to keep up with what I’m doing in 2017 and receive exclusive writing/filmmaking tidbits, then follow the link. I use my Facebook page as a way to share writing opportunities that I see, and I check Twitter regularly (but alas, I’m not very good on the platform; I enjoy some of the links and repartee but I get disconcerted by innocuous conversations turning into acrimonious disputes).
That’s me for this year. Here’s to a cracking 2017. Let’s get busy, stay positive, and write like there’s no tomorrow, which let’s face it, could be any day now.