Goin’ South: BraineHownd Shows Code Grey

It’s been a while since I visited a film night. Nice to get out every once in a while.  Continue reading Goin’ South: BraineHownd Shows Code Grey

Yesterday’s Today: X&HT Watched Super 8


The nostalgia at the heart of JJ Abram’s Super 8 is both the reason for it’s existence and completely pointless. The film could very easily have been tweaked for the modern day. My experiences with Straight 8 show that there’s still a vibrant 8mm community out there that love and appreciate the format’s idiosyncrasies. The film-making kids that make up the prime cast could have very easily shot on new stocks with a camera they picked up cheaply on eBay. (even the yummy Eumig that does such sterling service as the hero camera in the film.)

But then, of course, we would not have a film that panders so deeply to our fanboy love for the 80s films that built the foundation for the modern summer blockbuster. For Abrams, Spielberg and films like ET and The Goonies are not just the starting point. They’re the engine of the film. They’re pretty much the whole point.

Continue reading Yesterday’s Today: X&HT Watched Super 8

Everyday Heroes

Shooting People, the organisation that brings together like-minded film-makers across the country to collaborate on film projects, runs a film of the month competition. This month, it’s themed around Straight8. I’m very happy to report that the NO. 1 slot is currently filled by X&HTeam-mate Fiona Brownlie with her frankly astonishing superhero film Everyday Heroes. You can check the leaderboard and watch the film here.

You should bear in mind that everything you see here in Everyday Heroes was done in camera, in sequence, with no second takes. Yes, even the animation. It’s a remarkable achievement, and one that deserves your attention and applause. You may also notice that leading Man Clive has a cameo in the film. He’s the one in green spandex. I’ll repeat that. Watch this film and you get to see leading man Clive IN GREEN SPANDEX.

To vote it up you need to be a member of Shooting People. This link will help that process out somewhat. Go. Watch. Vote. And above all… ENJOY.

Life After Nano: and then this happened

First things first, then.







I hit 50, 000 words on the evening of November 29th, which is slow by my standards, but perfectly acceptable in the scheme of things. As ever, the moment when I upload wordcount to the Nanowrimo site (painfully slow on the first and last couple of the days of November, a phenomenon we refer to as “the robust nature of the nano servers”) to get redirected to the winners page is a bittersweet one.  You expect fireworks, or a party, and what you get is… well, a very nice round of applause from the Nano staff, and a couple of downloads. But then the point is not to have the world fall at your feet at the enormity of your achievement. If you’re anything like me, the end of Nano is not the end of the story. Nowhere near, in my case. Ghosts is dangling on a massive cliffhanger. The casual reader may consider that I have written myself into a corner. Not the case, kids. But if you want to find out what happens next, you’re going to have to let me know.

Work on Ghosts will now continue behind the scenes. The first draft will stay up until the new year, at which point it’s being pulled into Scrivener so I can start work on the second draft. As for the first part of the story, Pirates of The Moon – well, I have plans for that, which I’ll share with you in due course.


On the same subject, you can now view Simon Aitken’s brilliant Blood + Roses on a rental pass at the all new revamped site. I can’t recommend it enough, and I’m not alone. Critical Film called it “a turning point, for the better, in the constant evolution of the modern cinematic vampire”, and I agree. This is a great opportunity to support an acclaimed independent horror, and you should run, not walk (well, metaphorically speaking, as you’re no doubt reading this at home in your slippers with no intention of budging off the sofa) to the site and check it out.


Finally, a little self-promotion that I can’t believe slipped through the gaps. Time Out is now available to view at Raindance.TV, at significantly improved quality from the YouTube link. Those who sniff that it was only shot on Super 8 in the first place are so very missing the point it’s not even funny. Go check it out, and witness the glory. Also, we get a tiny morsel of cash for every view, so that’s nice, isn’t it?

Right, back to work. The twist I have in mind won’t write itself…

About Time Out

Finally, at last, and about bleedin’ time. Excuses & Half Truths is delighted to present a film by Rob Wickings and Dominic Wade, shot in one day as part of the Straight 8 screenings of 2009.

The story of the shoot is here. The story of the screening and it’s aftermath is here.

Obviously the film has been tweaked and titles added, but at heart the story remains the one we shot back in March last year. A tale of modern life, and how escape from it can be all too easily permanent.

We couldn’t have done it without our most excellent crew. Without Whom awards go to Lewis Shelbourne as general camera assist, and Hayley Jannesen as AD (and it’s Hayley’s voice you hear at the end).

But it’s Kiki Kendrick who makes the piece. Her performance is extraordinary. And she forced Dom and I to up our game, think things through and generally sort ourselves out. We’re better directors because of her. Kiki, we don’t have the thanks. Her show “Next!” is tearing up the Edinburgh Fringe – if you’re there, then go, and be ready for a cracking piece of theatre.

Ladies and gentlemen. TIME OUT.