• staying focused

    It’s Halloween. Today I cleaned my desk. It seemed like a good day for it. Out with the old, and plenty of space for the creepy crawlie ideas to scuttle into my brain where they can transform into grotesque tales of fantabulous creatures. This last week has been busy. I’ve completed a story outline for a new full-on horror/action screenplay. I’m excited about writing it. I was informed that the script I co-wrote with my mate Brian made it into the initial shortlist for the RTÉ Filmbase Short Script Awards. That means out of 130+ scripts we landed in the top twenty. Alas, we did not make the top ten,…

  • books to read and TV to watch

    While at Octocon at the weekend I had the chance to catch up with friends, and participate on several panel discussions. It was an enjoyable convention: relaxed, friendly, and with a good buzz. I bought the latest book by the supremely talented Michael Carroll, one of the guests of the convention. It’s the second novel in his New Heroes trilogy, and it’s called Sakkara. Attentive readers might remember me praising the first book, The Quantum Prophecy, back in the mists of time known as January. I’m going to be away for a number of days of intensive writing, and all I’m bringing with me are my laptop, sketchpad, and Sakkara…

  • one for the calendar

    IFTN mentions an event that should interest Irish screenwriters, playwrights, and film aficionados. A new play by New York playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Alive) will debut in Ireland on Thursday 26th October at the Abbey Theatre. The Tony-winning play is called Doubt, and is set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964. Following the premier of the play there will be a free post-show event, which will start around 9.30pm. Oscar nominated Irish writer/director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) will be “In Conversation” with John Patrick Shanley, and the two men will discuss the play, Hollywood, and filmmaking. It should be an event well…

  • RIP

    A friend of mine, Dave Stewart, passed away early this morning. He had been battling oesophageal cancer for a year. Dave was very well known in science fiction and con-running circles in Ireland and the UK. He championed Irish conventions, and was always trying to get people involved. He was full of energy, enthusiasm and good humour. I remember him haring around at Worldcon in Scotland in August 2005 where he was in charge of promotions, and the main liaison for the media. He was a technology journalist, and a native Galwegian, which meant we had a lot in common. His family have my sincere condolences. This weekend at Octocon–an…

  • reflecting the real

    September was a strange month. There were distractions, taxes (bleurgh), interruptions, and yes, some time-wasting, but I was also very creative – just not so much in the writing department. I added another monster to my sketch collection on Flickr: Bela Lugosi as Dracula. With the arrival of October I have turned the corner. I’ve another submission out a-courting. I wonder if its flirting skills have improved? I’ve goals set for this month, and I plan to make them. In the middle of the month I’ve a weekend away at Octocon, which should be good fun. Irish horror fans should plan a trip to Dublin for the Halloween weekend so…

  • a long post about a frightful weekend

    There is always a period of catching up that is required after any trip abroad, no matter how short. Just sorting out my email can take half a day. As usual I had a brilliant time at FrightFest in London. It was my fourth year attending the genre festival, and it was the strongest programme, and the best facilities that they’ve organised thus far. We were in the Odeon West End again this year, but in the 800-seat theatre downstairs, which has comfortable seating, air-conditioning, a big screen, and a thumping sound system. Many of these elements are essential when you’re sitting on your ass for four days in a…

  • moving on

    Today has been productive. The fourth draft of the collaborative script is done and the script is officially complete? for the time being. I’ve enjoyed the writing partnership with Brian. We’ve produced a simple but lovely script, and since I hadn’t scheduled this project it brings the pleasure of an unexpected gift. One thing I enjoy about writing with another person is that there is a continual, and external, pressure to push past the clichés and lazy writing. There were a couple of scenarios in the third draft of the script that were passable, but Brian echoed my own thoughts about their obviousness. So, instead of letting them slide we…

  • and the living is easy

    The Darklight Festival is running in Dublin from Thursday, June 22 – Sunday, June 25. It describes itself as “Ireland’s premier festival for filmmakers, animators and artists whose work explores the convergence of art, film and technology.” It looks like a lively and interesting programme of events, and if I wasn’t going to be away I’d be attending. The third draft of the short script on which I’m collaborating is finished. Mostly, we’ve been addressing issues of tone and smoothing the transition between scenes. The latter part of the script is fine. Much of what we’ve been working on is how the story begins and our protagonist is introduced. Overall…

  • deadlines loom for the Fleadh

    I notice from the Galway Film Fleadh web site that a number of deadlines are approaching that screenwriters and/or filmmakers in Ireland should note. Applications for attendance at the 2006 Galway Film Fair are due by June 2nd. The fair co-ordinates pre-scheduled meetings between film-makers with projects in development and invited Film Financiers, Distributors and Major Producers. Last year, the Galway Film Fair organised 500 meetings over the course of two days where 55 Irish and European production companies pitched 80 projects to the 40 financiers who attended the Fair. Confirmed financiers for this year’s event: Beyond Films, Future Film Sales, High Point Film & TV, The Works, Moviehouse, Magnolia…