Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en, Samhain and NaNoNoNoNo

Today, I have been tripping over a mini version of Vlad the Impaler whilst preparing my delectable fright night basket of trouble for those brave enough to bare their souls on entering the Tenacious Towers Gateway.  I adore Hallowe'en as I love scaring the sh*t out of the little sh*ts who try to scare me! Foiled again, you darn pesky kids!  I get the feeling The Kid loves Hallowe'en too - he looks super cool running around with his swishy, black cape on.  

On a less witchcraft-like and more craft-like note, I have decided to take up the challenge of NaNoWriMo after checking up on the dates for the Digital Shorts scheme. I really didn't want them to clash because if I do get onto DigiBytes/Digital Nation, I need to keep my head crystal clear and full of screenwriter and directorial info for the process, but luckily nothing solid will happen until 1st December or thereabouts.  So that leaves me a month.  A big gaping 30 days in which I have nothing to do except complete the submission for CBeebies, outline and finalise a Docudrama format, have a few of meetings here and there for research purposes, run around after The Kid, oh, and write a load of tosh which will be lovingly referred to as a novel.  And it'll probably end up like a 50,000 word blog post.  

However, I have a slight problem - now I have made the decision to actually take part in NaNoWriMo I can't get onto the website to register.  Ain't that just Sod's Law?  I guess the whole world (?) is logging on and registering but I'll keep trying.  If I succeed I hope to stick up some of their pretty stat counter thingies so you can see how bad my word count is by the day/week!  Ha!

In addition to Hallowe'en, after sundown today, it is also Samhain - marking the end of the Summer, the last Harvest and the beginning of the dark half of the year.  It's a time to take stock, develop and make tacit moves towards new, fresh goals - a good time to start making sketchy plans more solid. Onwards ever onwards and all that, so, I do hope I get to register for NaNoWriMo as it would be an appropriate start to my Celtic New Year.  

Happy Hallowe'en/Samhain!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just a Couple of Things

We are now back to normal at Tenacious Towers. Having basked in the tawny sunshine for most of today, the snow drifts which had accumulated in the shaded areas of the grounds have now melted, adding quite a lovely water feature to the heather embankments. There are still a few icicles here and there in the North Wing, and although I found myself fighting through a blanket of my own breath whilst bringing the hounds in for the evening,  all in all, the log burner and Aga are doing a sterling job indoors.

Now where was I? Oh yes. Novels.

I have been toying with the idea of entering NaNoWriMo because like my Naughty Nun colleague, I don't really have much to do. Basic deduction tells me if I worked at an average of 5.8 pages a day I could reach the target of 50,000 words - but do I really have that time? I am not one to commit if I don't think I can give 100% and life is too short to beat oneself up for falling short. 

I have precisely one day left to decide and so I shall ponder the situation in my slumber.  

On a completely different note, if you are a lizard expert get yourself over to Sir Arnopp's place and have a nose around THERE while he's away - he's got a strange specimen 'pickled' in a bottle in the second last photo and if you can correctly name what it is then you'll win the fantastic prize of...a Tenacious North Wing Icicle.  Oh, come on what more do you want? Blood? A novel? Tsk.

Ta-ra for now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Snowing...

As I watch the fluttering snowflakes falling outside, this seems a very appropriate moment to carry out the tag order served by Elinor...

List the top five ways you distract yourself when you should be writing and then procrastinate some more by sending it to all those other writers who should really procrastinate more often (so we can all catch-up!).

Here they are:
  1. Watching snow falling/drifting (if not outside my window then via Alpine webcams) - a creative, visual release
  2. TV - could be seen as indirect research
  3. Gardening - it does actually help me rationalise plot holes/issues
  4. FaceAche - doesn't help anything
  5. Doing these memes/tags - ditto
Anyone who is reading this, hasn't completed the task and wishes to procrastinate - consider yourself tagged.

As for me - having been gardening most of the day and now in front of the TV completing this tag, I'm just going to check into FaceBook and then watch the snow fall again. :0)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One 2 Go!

That's what The Kid says at the top of the stairs before launching himself into my (thankfully) outstretched arms.  But it also lends itself beautifully to this weekend...I seemed to be waiting for "three" and then suddenly - the weekend was gone.  Although my geeky iPhone application reliably informs me I only have 60 sleeps until Christmas I am still smarting over the fact I got an extra hour in bed but feel no better for it. Ho ho ho. Sparkly baubles with bells on to you, sleep deprivation fairy.

I have not managed to complete any work over the weekend as my hands have been rather full with The Kid and his headstrong ways, (not really sure where he gets that from...) but I have been toying with a new idea, which - if I can rationalise in my nonce - would be jolly good fun for all those taking part. But perhaps more on this another time. 

Whilst lazily floating around the Scribosphere today, I noticed quite a few peeps have been partaking in a Drawing Personality Test.  I thought: well it's Sunday night, all's quiet on the western front, so let's have a go.  Scary.  Not sure who it is describing but it couldn't possibly be me.  Here's my titchy doodle:

drawing personality

And the analysis:
You are driven and ambitious and tend to make radical moves to reach your goals.
You are a thoughtful and cautious person. You like to think about your method, seeking to pursue your goal in the most effective way.
You are creative, mentally active and industrious.
You have a sunny, cheerful disposition.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blogging is Good For You

I don't know if any of you listen to Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 5 Live but I generally like to try and catch up most days with who is promoting their recently released book/film/album etc.

This Wednesday, RTD and Benjamin Cook were talking about "Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale" - which I haven't yet read, but I think I may grab a copy (or ask Santa nicely) - but I digress, and that's really unusual for me on a Friday (Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday...). Anyway, if you listen to the interview, about half way through RTD not only recommends the BBC Writers Room for getting your stuff read, but also checking out the Blogosphere and the writer/bloggers online who are all in touch with each other - better known to us lot as the Scribosphere. So you see,  this blog malarkey is not that bad a procrastination tool. Honest.

If you want to listen to the interview (or others from this week) there is a listen again facility for the past week's programmes and also podcasts of the main 'arts' interviews (which I think are available to download for a week after the tx?).  The RTD/Benjamin Cook podcast can be found on this page.

I bid you all a good weekend - personally, I'm going to get on with the Kiddie TV Project interspersed with autumn garden tidying, so catch up soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fancy Being a Judge?

Just a very short post about this year's Costa Book Awards.  Although this isn't necessarily something many of you may be interested in doing, you may know someone who would. Of course, as with anything, check all T & Cs but make it quick - closing date is 31st October 2008!

If you fancy having the chance of picking a winner and having a say in which book is named Costa Book of the Year, "...all you need to do is submit a book review and give a good reason why you'd make a good judge.  If you win, you'll attend the gala presentation awards ceremony in January 2009 and brush shoulders with giants of the literary world."

Full details HERE.

Good luck and if you win, mine's a double macchiato.  Ciao. :0x

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's in the Post

Well, that's that, then - half a ream of paper filled up with my words, observations and nonsense is now pounding it's way to Screen East in Norwich.  

I started printing this morning and have only just managed to get to the Post Office, but this was mainly down to my printer not playing ball well enough when it came to the mock-up posters I had to produce as part of my submission.  

After a few arguments with myself about quality control, I went out to my local printy-place and the nice man printed my posters off. As I was admiring how posh they looked, he was looking rather confused at the poster for Brad Pitt's Pants - one of my screenplay subs.  I asked if there was a problem and he replied he couldn't remember modelling for me.  Funny man.  In your dreams.

When I returned home, Cat had been having a brilliant time playing with her sparkly toy balls. Unfortunately for me, she had obviously been running after her toys at top speed, couldn't stop on the wooden floor and had slid straight into my neat little piles of Screen East printouts on the floor, scattering everything everywhere.  After a few choice words, and fishing her toys out from the papers, I then had to reprint six story outlines which had been screwed up against the desk and/or slashed by her claws.  Little f*cker. 

Anyway, it's all gone now and as I said, that's that.  


Ah, yes, had a meeting yesterday about a new kids TV series which I am really looking forward to collaborating on - that'll be taking up a bit of my time from now, but at least I have practically finished my Christmas shopping: I gave myself the weekend off, remember?!

Whilst I am thinking about it, I emailed a peep at the Beeb yesterday for info on the new "rolling commission" protocol they are introducing for CBeebies which will be coming into force in January 2009.  All subs will now be via e-Commissioning (all info HERE) and full guidelines on the rolling commission will be released early in the new year, so if you have any children's TV submissions then keep your eyes on the CBeebies Commissioning area.

Bye for now. x

Friday, October 17, 2008

Check, Check, Check

Four completed Outlines - check
Four 25WOL - check
Four Publicity Poster mock-ups - check
Three completed Screenplays - check
One Showreel - check
One Biography - check
Four Completed Application & Monitoring forms (one per film) - check
One full printer cartridge ready for 'The Mass Print' next week - check
Envelope (sturdy) - check
Minor adjustments aside: Weekend Off - check

Wish cyberpeeps a good weekend - check


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Have a laugh and help a ProdCo!

I promised I would post this info up for newly acquired blog follower, Owyn Stephens.

It's an unusual fundraiser on 23rd October at the Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill. Described as "a completely insane and unique, one-off impro fundraiser night to help get a new television and film production company on its feet. 'Go Dodo Productions' aim is to produce and encourage fresh, new writing, acting and directing talent - which can only be a good thing!"

So, if you fancy a bit of mad comedy, would like to mingle with a bunch of actors, writers, directors, casting peeps et al, then get yourself there.  Here's the info you need:


Hosted by Satan himself, come and see a ghoulish group of hilarious, professional impro comedians fight to save their souls in this fast paced battle of wits. A devilish mix of classic favourites and brand new, never-seen-before game mayhem. Plus a private screening of Go Dodo's acclaimed spooky short, STORAGE. With all this, music and private bar, you would have to be a saint to miss out!

DATE: Thurs October 23rd 
TIME: Doors open 7.30pm for an 8.30pm start
COST: £6 on the door
VENUE: Half Moon Pub, 
10 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, SE24 9HU

HERNE HILL STATION (Zone 2) is a 10 minutes train journey from Victoria or Blackfriars stations. Turn left outside the train station, walk under the rail bridge and we are directly on your right - literally thirty seconds from the station! The last train home leaves Herne Hill at 23.35 and arrives at Victoria Station at 23:44. (See for further travel and venue details)

For further info on Go Dodo Productions click here  

Monday, October 13, 2008

No Test Tube Required...

Yesterday, I spent the day with Lucy at her ICA Lab which is excellently organised by Deva Palmier. It was an interesting day (spent without wearing white lab coats) and I was fascinated to hear other actors' understanding of the screenplay, characters and structure.  It was really a very enjoyable day and I for one would definitely consider taking a script there for a read-through in order to both develop and 'test the water'.  

It was lovely to catch up with Lucy as we haven't seen each other for such a long time - apparently last time was Adrian Mead's course - but it was also great to finally meet Nun with a Gun Elinor!  The fact we just "picked up from where we left off", knew each other's business like old mates and in Elinor's case - had never met - was probably a bit too much for a some peeps whose vision of "cyber geeks" was obviously something other than us lot.

All that fun aside, I'm glad to say I fully utilised The Kid-free tube travel time there and back by hammering at my Mac keyboard,  rejigging one of my Screen East subs and rewriting my biography. Again. 

Apart from a few tweaks here and there, I thought I was pretty much done on my Screen East submission - wrong. On Friday, I re-read one of the outlines I had written and decided it was total and utter cr*p.  In fact, I was so furious with my lame effort, not only did I hand shred the outline into teeny, tiny pieces whilst shouting loudly at it, I then deleted the whole damn file from Mac.  

So I started again, and it's much better this time - although I'm still not finished, but I am on my way.  

I am going to fill out the actual application form and print everything off this week, then I shall put into play my very own personal OCD (Obsessive Checking Disorder).  Very soon, I'll carry the package to the Post Office like a swaddled baby - wondering all the while if everything is included - and place it carefully into the woven, grey, plastic large letter/parcels bag. But not before Wednesday. No sireeeee, not in a zillion years.  

You see, Mercury moves forward again on Wednesday after being retrograde for ages. Wondering where those "lost in the post" things have gone?  Why THAT email hasn't been responded to? When THEY'LL call back?  I guarantee after Wednesday things will start moving again. And the stock markets too. Mark my words.* 

Ta-ra for now.

*The Don't Blame Me If I'm Wrong Waiver: 
The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested. Therefore, you should avoid investing more than you can afford to lose.

Monday, October 06, 2008

If at first, the idea is not absurd...

...then there is not hope for it"  - Albert Einstein.

It's all busy bees and business here at TT, and absurd goals are the flavour of this week/month/year.

I am gradually working through my checklist of bits and pieces for my Digibytes submission. I have four screenplay 'submissions' I would like to get into them - each 'submission' consists of a story outline, 25 words or less synopsis, publicity poster mock up plus previous writing example, biography, showreel and application form. It's starting to feel like a celluloid matryoshka.

I have two completed screenplays, two completed 25 words or less, three completed publicity posters, one story outline (I never outlined the longer screenplays before starting as the ideas were both born and written up at top speed) plus all the other application paperwork. I make that three outlines, half a screenplay and two 25 words or less to go. 

I find myself stuck between a rock and hard place most of the time as I need to nail all the "completed screenplay" paperwork so I definitely have two solid submissions to send off, but I am desperate to finish off the half written screenplay! Although it has my usual trademark twist near the end, it is so vastly different from anything else I have ever written, it's been quite fun. I really hope I get somewhere with one of them!

Then there's the outline for The Book for Kids. It's driving me round the proverbial and has had to take a back seat of late. All the storylines seem too scary, too intimidating, Over the weekend I had a leaf through books aimed at a similar age group and decided they are actually a bit scary and intimidating but can be read on both an adult and child's level, so that's fine. I think it will also work for TV as well, so that's fine too.

All this packed into just two and a half days a week (plus evenings and the odd hour here and there). If I had a whole week, I could rule the world. Ho ho ho. LOL. 

Hope you are all gearing up for a fun and busy week. 

Right then. Back to outlines...


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Song Meme

I have recently been infected with the song meme by both luscious Lucy (who I think may have created this one?) and the contagious Mr Campbell . 

Instructions are as follows“Find a song that sums up what you think it means to be a writer and post the lyrics on your blog and why you've chosen it. NB: It doesn't have to be your favourite song, it just has to express how you feel about writing and/or being a writer. It can be literal, metaphorical, about a particular form or aspect of writing - whatever you want. Then tag 5 others to do the same (reprint these instructions).”

My original choice was "Right Said Fred" (Rudge/Dick) as there is nothing like popping the kettle on every two minutes when you're meant to be writing. However, not only did that Mr Campbell pass on his meme bugs, he snaffled my choice before I managed to write this post. 

Now, unlike Mr Campbell and other scribes, when I write I listen to music virtually all the time - the songs become kind of like a soundtrack to the piece I am putting together, I guess. But that didn't help me out with this meme, so I have really had to think long and hard about it.

I suppose my final choice underlines the depth of emotion with which I fall in love/in hate with the writing I undertake at any time - that all encompassing magnetic draw of pen to paper, fingers to keyboard; the waking dreams about scenes that work and the nightmares when they don't; the feeling of absolute hell-bent necessity to spend time with the words already on the page or cajoling those about to be written.  It's like the hottest of illicit affairs, and the product of all those long nights is the finished written project - the baby, if you like.  

Anyway, if you haven't done this yourself yet, then consider yourself memed, buddy.  Here's my choice!  

Over and out. x

The Man with the Child in His Eyes (Kate Bush)

I hear him, before I go to sleep
And focus on the day thats been.
I realise he's there,
When I turn the light off and turn over.

Nobody knows about my man.
They think he's lost on some horizon.
And suddenly I find myself
Listening to a man I've never known before,

Telling me about the sea,
All his love, til eternity.

Ooh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.
Ooh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.

He's very understanding,
And he's so aware of all my situations.
And when I stay up late,
He's always waiting, but I feel him hesitate.

Oh, I'm so worried about my love.
They say, no, no, it wont last forever.
And here I am again, my girl,
Wondering what on earth I'm doing here.
Maybe he doesn't love me.
I just took a trip on my love for him.

Ooh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.
Ooh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.

And here's the video: