Saturday, 14 July 2007

Driving diaries pt 4 - I had that Bill Nicholson in the back of my cab...

I had to pick up Ed Blum (producer/director of the very wonderful Scenes of a Sexual Nature) from the station at 806, take him to the hotel and then the festival, so I had a good old chat with him. Again, a really nice guy - He admitted the title of Scenes was a mistake (he said it should have been called Love in the Park or something that more accurately reflected the content), and he regretted self distributing, but even though it didn’t set the box office on fire the film opened a lot of doors for him.

He’d made a BAFTA nominated short, so I was interested in that as I want to get a short made. He said it’d cost £2000 - catering was the main expense (as it was on Scenes), and was made with friends and contacts (the writer of Scenes was also a friend of his - so it‘s who you know), and was a really good calling card.

Kate Leys - top script Editor and hero of the very understated and confident Potdoll - was next. She was impressed that someone was a) there to meet her, even though she had decided to get a earlier train (the benefit of our occasionally random list of pick up times!), and b) recognised her (the benefit of research!) She told Kirsten later that I’d given her “the best service she’d ever had” Which was nice.

It was interesting to find out that she isn’t a writer - I thought all script editors were also/aspiring/failed* (*delete as applicable) writers, but Kate said she has a rule - she never suggests story ideas. Those of you who have actually worked with script editors in the real will probably be sighing with envy here!

I wish I’d taken notes about everyone - not while I was actually driving, obviously - that would have been silly, but just jotted something down when I got the chance, but there always seemed to be something to do, and it‘s all a bit of a blur now!

William (Gladiator) Nicholson was supposed to be next, but he was on a later train, so Ashley Pharoah was the next job - had a bit of a chat about Ashes to Ashes - which he’d just delivered a draft on. Apparently Kelley Hawes (grrr!) is the new Sam, and it starts filming at the end of the month - which was news to me. The traffic was good, so didn’t get much time with him - however tempting it was, I didn’t string anyone out by taking the scenic route!

I eventually got to pick up William Nicholson, and he was worth the wait - he was probably the highlight of the festival for me - I got to spend quiet a bit of time because some random blagger had phoned asking to be picked up from the same train - and then never showed! (I won’t mention their name - but I’m grateful to her cos I got to spend more time with Bill, as I call him now.)

Some random recollections (note to self - use notebook more!) - He said it had taken him 15 years to start to earn a living at writing, though he started young - he was 35 when he first started earning (a good age!) He said it was good to get some experience of the wider world, cos what do they know of writing, who only writing know? (I‘m paraphrasing here - he works in Hollywood, so he‘s used to being rewritten!) Also he thought there’s a lot of writers who keep getting hired on the back of a great credit even when they’re no longer doing good stuff, and a lot of people who’ve written good stuff don’t get hired cos they haven’t got the credits.

He also said he’s working on adaptations of his Wind on Fire Trilogy of fantasy novels - obviously with Potter, Narnia and Pullman, that’s what Hollywood is looking for, but he’s not optimistic about them getting made - he said only about 50% of the scripts he’d written have got made. (Mind you, I wouldn’t complain about that sort of ratio!)

Great guy though, and I was really impressed that he remembered my name when I handed him over to the green room - I had trouble remembering the names of all the people I met. By the end of it I was having trouble remembering my own name!

South West Screen also launched a competition, with less fanfare than Tony Jordan, but the prize includes being mentored by Mr Nicholson himself, so all you fellow yokels check it out.

I got to see Mia Bays, and Bill - who’s well worth downloading when the podcasts come out - and I‘m not just saying that cos he‘s a mate ;) - then went for a rest before Pitch Factor - which was fascinating, even though none of whom were half as good as last years winner! Gotta admire their guts though!

I was going to have a early night, but after trying to get Sabrina and Izzy to do some networking with Ed Blum, I quickly popped into travelodge to see if Stuart Perry had turned up, and ended up there till midnight again with the usual suspects (and Helen and Danny) Then I sat up at the bnb for an hour or so with Valeria, Alistair and Anna - so much for an early night!

On Monday a 2for1 (‘cos I‘m planning to get back into the actual writing next week!) Thursday and Friday- the professional days.


Stuart Perry said...

Thanks for the posts, Martin. Even though the story has got more interesting now that handsome screenwriter Stuart Perry (!) has turned up, it's been very useful reading about the first two days. Between yours and Danny's blogs, I feel like I was there. Cheers.

Jason Arnopp said...

How much do I love the idea of you driving scripty VIPs around the houses for hours, purely to derive information from them? :)

That's the kind of story Stephen King would write. Famous author arrives in town for a literary festival, only to be kidnapped in a large van by a psycho scribe intent on dragging every morsel of knowledge from him. Splendid.

martin said...

I thought I'd add the Perry character cos I needed a protagonist with a compeling dramatic need - in this case a Kaftaesque quest to finally have a meeting with Lizzie Morgan Hemlock!!

Jason - the picturesque setting and the desire for INFORMATION - sounds more like The Prisoner. (I think the people who built The Village also designed Cheltenham's one way system too!)

Piers said...

Surely you mean yowrrr?

Lianne said...

Good stuff, Martin-with-Blog. Keep them coming!

I'm a Kate Leys fan too.

potdoll said...




martin said...

POTTERS - Are you trying to make out that there is something rude in that perfectly innocent quote.
Obviously LA's warped your innocent mind ;)

PIERS - no idea what yr talking about!!! But then I have only have a vague idea of what I'm talking about most of the time!

LIANNE - hello! Another thing Kate said - when she asked what I do I said "I'm an aspiring writer" And she said "don't say aspiring - You're a writer"