I promise success will not change me…

A sunny Friday afternoon in Cambridge. Thinking Girl’s Crumpet Clive and I are in town for the Super 8 festival, where for reasons that remain pleasingly unclear, Code Grey is in competition.

Always up for a party if nothing else, we’ve met up with Doco Domsy and set ourselves up with booze and grub. It’s the perfect afternoon for slightly beery chat about films and film-making, and the three of us indulge fully. At the back of my mind, the thought that there is a Q&A at the end of our screening that I maybe should not be head-dribblingly drunk for raises a tentative hand before getting shouted down. I’m far more eloquent after three pints or so. I’m a goddamn raconteur after five.

We wander through Cambridge, Dom taking photos for an imaginary press kit. I feel a little bit like a rock star, and a lot like a drunken twat. I can’t really give the camera love, but I do a mean growl. Which’ll do, apparently.

One last beer by the Cam, and I start to get the giggles. And I don’t feel drunk at all. Just nervous. But ready. This isn’t like a Straight 8 screening. I know exactly what’s being presented. There’s no fall back now. This is a film that’s had some hard work and a lot of heart and soul poured into it. It’s grown up now, and it’s ready to strut like a player.

I poke my head into the screening room a half-hour beforehand to announce my presence (resisting the urge to bellow “L’auteur est arrive” – alright, it was six pints by now) to be greeted by Simon, one of the organisers, who was so pleased to see me that he did a little dance. More people should do that. I might have to insist on it.

The room fills, and we settle in for the programme. Fifteen films, a strong European presence, and a fearsome sense of the quirky and surreal. Code Grey feels positively mainstream amongst the art pieces, documentaries and animation on display. We’re just a dumb little shuck and jive show with a neat little idea at it’s heart. We’re on last, and don’t quite get the reaction I was hoping for. Chuckles rather than belly laughs. That’s the problem if you make a comedy. There’s no such thing as an appreciative silence.

After the films, the Q&As. It’s a room full of directors, and they’re all erudite, amusing and interesting. I, on the other hand, have had six pints and am a twitchy mess. I gabble through my questions, pointing out Clive and trying to namecheck everyone, trying to crack a few funnies, and doing the one thing I really didn’t want to which was to out myself as a colourist. I don’t like to talk about the day job when I’m being a film-maker. Especially as I knew at least one person afterwards would make the joke about a colourist making a black and white film.

This did indeed happen, and the smile I gave was indeed as thin as you’re imagining.

Two minutes or an hour and a half later, depending on where you were standing, I sat back down. I was shaking faintly. But I was assured by Clive and Dom that I had indeed been charming, witty and erudite, and that people had laughed at my jokes. However, in a headrush of unprovoked egotism I’d given myself full credit for the idea behind Code Grey, which was all Clive’s.

I took shit for that for the rest of the night, and deservedly so.

Unfortunately, there seemed little opportunity to meet with the other directors after the screening, as the other bar at the University Student Union was hosting a members-only darts night, and seemed unwilling to let us stick around. Shame, as I’d genuinely wanted to congratulate the guys that made it down to Cambridge on a job well done. I’ll try and dig out some links to my faves over the next few days.

After the screening, there was little to do but eat and drink more, and chat about films and film-making until the early hours, which we did at the very excellent Cambridge Chop House, and our digs for the night, The Portland Arms. These places are both most worthy of your patronage.

We left Cambridge the following morning, Clive to his acting classes, me to the Reading Beer Festival, which was another afternoon of beer, food, and yakking. Really, I’m going to need a diet and a vow of silence after this weekend. Twitter has documented my feelings on that one, so check the status bar off to the right.

Turns out if we’d stuck around for the final night, we would have been around to receive our award for best UK film. I had the email with that nugget of good news while starting this post. It’s a result far above and beyond what I could have expected, and proof that there is life after Straight 8. I’m sending massive hugs out to everyone involved in the making of Code Grey, and urge you if you’ve not watched the film yet to check it out.

It’s officially worth your while.

WANT.

No idea why, as I’m no kind of furry (and following the link trail on YouTube will quickly lead you down The Yiffy Path) but I have to tell you: these are freakin’ COOL.

 

Ranting lemonade label from embittered screenwriter

Ranting lemonade label from embittered screenwriter:

I feel this guy’s pain. Spotted by a Boing Boing reader, who picked up a couple of bottles of lemonade from a stand in Malibu, only to find this on the label…

THANK YOU FOR INVESTING IN MY MOVIE!

My name is Matthew and I am one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the television networks and movie studios don’t know that yet. As it stands, the decision of which films get produced are left in the hands of emotionally-immature, substance-abusing ex-lawyers who live in dread paranoia that everyone in the universe is out to get them. They spend the bulk of their time spying on their fellow executives, composing nasty counter-intelligence rumors and spreading them through their network of FA-BU-LOUS, yet cunning assistants.

Much of the actual work, like ‘reading’ is left to a gaggle of twenty-something interns who are all the product of George W. Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy. To these bimbos, nothing in the world existed before 1995, and the most reading they’ve done has been through text messages. They believe that good writing is something that fits into 160 characters, all performed with the thumbs. :)LOL!

Needless to say, I’m making my own damn movie and you just helped! All of the profits from this amazingly refreshing drink are going into my independent film. Why? Because I believe in the spirit of America – CONSUME AND DESTROY! POOR=BAD/RICH=GOOD! WAR IS PEACE! YOU-ESS-AY! YOU-ESS-AY! YEE-HAW!

Any-hoo, if you work in ‘THE INDUSTRY’ as a common below-the-line slob and would like to work on my film for less than you’re worth for no other reason but to satisfy my giant ego, send your resume to: malibu.monkey@verizon.net.

If you’re a producer with a distribution deal, somewhat sober, and capable of actually reading a screenplay by yourself, shoot an email to me as well. I’ll be happy to send a script to you along with your stupid submission release agreement boilerplate wank-rag.

If you are an actor, congratulations on making it this far. It’s a lot of words. Who’s a good boy? You! And you are very special. Plus, you serve specials at the restaurant. Special food served by special people to special people. Okay, I admit it. I’m just jealous because you are better looking than me and get all the hotties. Girls who go for me are all smart ‘n’ junk. Plus, they sag. And you’re in SAG. Isn’t that special?!

Agents, entertainment lawyers, managers and all other Pimps of The Antichrist can do us all a favor by simply killing yourselves. If you can, try to attempt a single moment of original, creative thought by finding an entertaining way to do it. Like performing seppuku with a champagne flute during the lunch rush at The Ivy. Or hang yourself from one of ‘O’s’ in the Hollywood sign with a noose made from your Kabbalah strings and rubber cancer-awareness bracelets. Either way, die bloodsucker! Die!

Cheers!

THANK YOU FOR INVESTING IN MY MOVIE!

(Via Boing Boing.)

How To Spoil Your Appetite In One Easy Step

Let’s get the apologia out of the way first. The London Street Brasserie in Reading is one of my favourite restaurants. Full stop. The service and food has always been impeccable, and I have never walked away from the place feeling less than deeply satisfied. I can recommend the place heartily.

Trouble is, I’m not here to review the restaurant. I’m here to show you the advertising hoarding that’s just gone up on my route into work for the place. Now, let me ask a simple question. Would you be more or less likely to go to the London Street Brasserie if all you had to go on was the recommendation offered by this piece of advertising gold?

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Who's For Dinner?

What the hell happened? If the mood the photographer and agency were after was “friendly and welcoming”, then they mis-stepped the mark by a pratfall and a half. The feeling I get when looking at this poster is “she’s about to drop the glass, crawl out of the hoarding and chew my bloody face off!”

Now, I’m prepared to accept that maybe the photo was taken on a bad day. Maybe that’s not a professional model up there, but a member of staff (in which case, my heart really goes out to her) who got caught in a poor pose. But that’s no excuse for a shot like that to make it through the editorial process, get printed up at great cost and put up as an image representative of the restaurant.

That, Readership, is an image representative of a Z-Grade cannibal horror movie. I’m sorry to have to share it with you. But I have to see it every frickin’ day. And it’s starting to get to me.

The London Street Brasserie Girl is in my dreams now.