Time and Currency and Fangasm

HI all,

Time again for an update.

First of all, the sad news.

Regular readers will remember the superhero short film PASS ME BY that’s been in the pipeline since the first year of my MA.

Sadly we’ve had to make the decision to close off that project. Everyone involved has a number of different projects on, but I’m absolutely certain I’ll be working with Mike O Connor et al again in the future, I’ve had so much fun developing PASS ME BY with them it’d be a shame not to!

The wheel keeps turning, and I wanted to write a bit about time.

More specifically, what it’s been like being a part time writer.

Getting a foot in the door as a writer means putting in a lot of time without being paid any money.

But having a lot of time to put in has had the curious effect of making me feel more like a writer. Making me feel more comfortable in my skin as an artist.

And one day I’ll get paid actual money to back up the job title of Scriptwriter.

But the wonderful thing about having time is that getting paid to be a writer will just be a lovely biproduct of having the time to write.

And will subsequently give me more time to write.

It’s been brilliant.

So what I’m essentially saying is that being a writer, to my mind, has to predate the paycheque. Time is not money. Time is currency. You spend time on the things you’re passionate about.

So the obligatory project update;

– I’ve written the pilot episodes for two original TV dramas.

DEFENCE is about a world where people habitually erase their memories, and a police officer trying to investigate crime in a world like that. This is more of a one off television drama with scope for follow ups, but should be pretty self contained. Really enjoying working on this one. It’s like Dollhouse combined with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind combined with a crime thriller.

SPOILERS is a long running TV drama idea. I basically wanted to write my equivalent of Buffy; A group of ordinary people with extraordinary abilities that we stick with for 5/6 years and see them grow and change. And these extraordinary abilities are powers that spring from the popular culture they’re a fan of. A girl that’s into detective fiction is imbued with a Sherlockian brain. A 70s horror fan kills people ostentatiously and is able to keep up with them without breaking into anything above a foreboding walk. A fantasy enthusiast can cast magic spells at the roll of a dice.

The opening episode is written and it has robots and superpowers and a cameo appearance by Mister Hyde. It’s been an absolute joy to write.

– In the more immediate future TONIGHT I’m performing a monologue based on Wrath at a fundraiser for Leftfield Theatre Company based on the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s happening at Gwdihw cafe bar in Cardiff from 7:30. Should be a good night!

On Saturday afternoon I’m very pleased to be working with actors workshop again at their event Rough Draught. It’s happening at 4pm and there are tickets available online.

It’s a script in hand showcase of 10 minute plays and I’m very pleased to announce my 10 minute hit man play CERAMIC is having its premiere performance!

So what else?

Emailing agents. Submitting scripts to competitions.

Oh and just the most incredible anticipation and excitement regarding Marvel films this year.

So THIS arrived today;

I know very little about the Guardians of the Galaxy. But a prison break movie about a bunch of misfits being formed into a super-team, said misfits including a talking tree and a gun toting raccoon, is something I was wildly curious about until I saw this trailer. Now I’m positively rabid with anticipation. Can’t wait.

And of course there’s THIS to look forward to;

And THIS;

And THIS, which we’ve planned my Best Man’s Stag Do around!

This is going to be an incredible year for Superhero films.

And I’ll continue squealing like a fanboy on the sidelines.

Until someone lets me in to write one myself.

Pretty please.

New Beginnings

So since a new year has begun since I last posted I thought it was time for an update.

I ended up with a Merit on my Scriptwriting MA and graduated on December 16th, which I am incredibly pleased with! I cannot emphasise enough how strongly I feel equipped as a writer by my experiences at Glamorgan University over the past two years!

Previous things I mentioned;

– Sadly due to circumstances outside my control I was unable to perform at Word4word in October, getting back into the spoken word scene is still on the agenda! I wrote a monologue entitled The First One Hundred Years which I absolutely love and will get out there somehow!

– Suburban Horror was a massive success. We turned all the lights out in a house, gave our audience members torches, and proceeded to try to give them the screaming heebie jeebies with horror monologues I’d written.

We could have sold out the event three times over so we’ll definitely be putting on Suburban Horror 2; The Return of the Killer Suburban Horror in October. That’s probably not going to be the title.

– Performing my horror monologues at Techniquest was also a big success. I think the actor in me will always want to be involved in performing my work, no matter how much I project myself as a “Writer”!

And I also got married! The new Mrs Quantick and I are very much enjoying married life, and are adjusting to… The new thing.

As of November I left one of my jobs and am officially a part time writer two to three days a week. It’s feeling more and more like my primary job and having the actual time to write is so incredibly freeing.

I’ve submitted scripts to BBC Writers Room, submitted a spec script for an original TV drama for another competition, and written a monologue based on one of the Seven Deadly Sins that may be performed in February, I have a meeting later this week.

Yes, I have meetings now.

I have time for meetings!

In the midst of all this I was offered the great privilege of going along to a read through of Bluestone 42 series 2 last year, which was fantastic. James Cary and his co writer Richard Hurst were very welcoming and I was able to sit through the notes sessions on every script. Long day but an absolutely brilliant experience. I highly recommend Bluestone 42 as well, extremely brave sitcom about a bomb disposal team in Afghanistan, and it’s also spectacularly funny.

So here’s to the new year and all the new beginnings!

And if you’ll excuse me, I have a forty minute play to write.

Yes.

I have time to casually sit and write a forty minute play.

I love life.

Closed Loop

So I’m sitting in the car park outside the Atrium.

Partly because I just paid £2 to park for 5 minutes and by gum I am going to sit here and write a blog post and get somewhere close to the up to 2 hours I’ve paid for!

But mainly because I just handed in my final project, a stage play entitled Simon Dracula. The story of a man who finds he’s descended from vampires, but discovers that he isn’t one.

I’ve had this idea in my head for years and years, and to finally give it the opportunity to take shape was absolutely fantastic. Most of these characters didn’t even have names a year ago, and now they exist!

So I’ve called this “Closed Loop” because I have finished my Masters Degree in Scriptwriting. My Scriptwriting MA is closed.

And it has been absolutely terrific. Ian Staples, Wyn Mason, Catherine Linstrum, you should all be so proud of the young writers you’ve participated in the journey of.

And Gruff Jones, my personal tutor in second year who sadly passed away earlier this year. Thank you for being a reassuring presence at every turn.

And Jesse Schwenk, the last minute tutor who replaced him, I am so grateful.

So that was two years of my life. I was given the opportunity to write projects I’d always wanted to, flex my writing brain and make it stronger, meet some of the most wonderfully creative people (Yes MAvengers, you!) and have emerged a better writer with a bigger portfolio and enough ideas to keep me busy for years.

And this is the “loop” of the blog title.

I will always write. The MA is complete but it’s on to the next projects!

So what is next?

Well.

– On October 8th I’ll be performing at National Theatre Wales’ Word4word event. I’ve been rather absent from the spoken word scene for a bit so I can’t wait to step back in!

– On October 21st, as part of the Made in Roath festival, I’ll be putting on an evening of horror stories entitled Suburban Horror with a number of very fine actors I’ve worked with over the years.

– And lastly on October 31st I’ll be performing my ghost stories at Techniquest’s After Hours event. I simply cannot wait!

And in the midst of all that I’ll be concluding preparations for my Wedding, another life event that cannot come soon enough!

So that was two years of my life. Here’s to the next two, and probably more than two after that.

Flicker

Hi all,

Regular readers will remember that I wrote the screenplay for a short film called Flicker with Jay Murray, a very talented visual effects artist, and he’s uploaded an unfinished preview version onto his vimeo channel! Observe;

Really really pleased with how this has turned out. Watch this space too, when the film is actually, fully finished it’ll be found at the exact same link.

Enjoy!

State of grace

Hi all,

So it’s been quiet, I know. This is mainly because since I last posted my girlfriend and I got engaged, which is very exciting indeed and means wedding planning has taken the entire front row of my brain recently!

In the midst of this I managed to finish the first draft of Simon Dracula, my final project for my Scriptwriting MA, which I’m very excited about!

So I want to share a secret with you…

This year I’ve watched two of my favourite films (Drive and The Cabin in the Woods) with a very dear friend of mine.

And he didn’t really like them. And I wasn’t able to explain away some of his problems with them.

Now this wasn’t a friendship disaster, it did lead me to this secret:

You know that film that you love?

The one you’d defend until three in the morning on internet forums?

The one you could happily watch more than once a week and still love it?

Well it’s flawed.

Sorry.

But it is.

And I don’t mean “flawed” in the subjective sense. “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but surely not flawed flawed?!” Yep. I mean it is, objectively, flawed.

Because art exists in a state of grace.

I didn’t have answers for some of the flaws pointed out to me in The Cabin in the Woods.

I just don’t care about them.

And in your favourite films, no matter how stupidly the characters act, or talk, or make decisions, no matter how nonsensical the plot or contrived the ending… If something in that film ignites something in you, you might not even notice the flaws.

And when you are confronted with the flaws and they are, undeniably, flaws?

You forgive them. And you enjoy the film anyway.

There are those rare occasions where someone will successfully change your mind about a film.

But if you really love it.

You forgive it.

Around the World in Eighty Days review

Hi all,

So many thanks to everyone that came to see Around the World in Eighty Days! It was a big success and I was very proud of all the guys at PNG, really did fantastically!

The South Wales Argus reviewed it, which I’ve pasted in below. I was a bit cheeky and corrected some minor errors!

“Traditional tales with an accent on adventure don’t come greater than Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. Big screen interpretations have always had much to live up to when transferring Phileas Fogg’s Victorian escapades from the printed page. However {Steven} Quantick’s stage adaptation has breathed new life into the story line injecting modern comedic elements while maintaining the stories original sense of spirit and adventure. Jordan Smith gives the role of Phileas Fogg a sense of flamboyance and control, while Timothy Hawken is Fogg’s manservant Jean Passpartout which requires him not only to perform large amounts of dialogue but also entail him to be knocked about a bit from time to time, something he does with ease.

Abbie Andrews as Princess Aouda / Penny and Emma Trott as American journalist Nellie Bly, both give delightful performances while retaining an element of feisty starlet about them.

Special mention must also go to George Wiseman who gives a frequently entertaining and energetic performance as the hapless Detective Fix who pursues Fogg around the world suspecting he is a bank robber, ably hindered by {Natty Niering’s} Miss Price.

A sinister sisterhood cult, an elephant and an unexpected appearance of a balloon are only a few of this productions highlights and are a credit to the combined efforts of PNG’s members under the direction of Emma Brunnock, Katie Harris and James Reynolds.

A unique chance to see some stars in the making, Around the World in 80 Days continues until March 30. Visit dolmantheatre.co.uk for ticket information.”

Pleased as the proverbial punch!

So what next… Well tomorrrow we begin filming on Flicker, a short film with Jay Murray. We’ve also cast the delightful Emma Macnab in the lead role, who avid readers will remember I performed with in Beneath the Cloak, so I’m very much looking forward to working with her again!

Pass Me By, the short superhero film with Mike O Connor, I am very pleased to announce is definitely going ahead in the Summer! The script is in better shape than ever and I’m looking forward to getting started on that!

I’m also still working on Simon Dracula, my final project play for my scriptwriting MA. Really, deeply enjoying writing this one, and can’t wait to share it with you all!

Dreams

So I’ve been thinking about the importance of dreams.

Not the suddenly naked in a classroom or that *awesome* one I had where I was Neo and I could fly and everything!

Not those dreams. Although those are *brilliant*.

It’s easy in an insubstantial industry like the entertainment one I and others like me seek to be part of to get cynical. The best definition of cynicism I’ve heard recently is that it’s self preservation to keep hope at bay. And as writers we need to hold tightly to hope. Otherwise what will we inspire in our audience?

But something far closer than our audience is at stake. Cynicism systematically shuts down your emotions, those same emotions we need to harness and express in our writing or we might quite literally go mad.

So yes. Dreams = Important. Glad we had this talk.

Here are some of my dreams:

Dream One: Superhero film

One of these days I want to write a Superhero film.

Specifically: I’d love to be the Mark Millar/Joss Whedon like creative controller of Spider Man.

Every Saturday morning I’d watch Spider Man’s animated adventures, and he is the first Superhero I can emphatically remember wanting to *be*. And Marc Webb’s version of him filled me with childlike glee as the Spider Man of my childhood was committed to film.

And I want in on that franchise.

Failing that I’d love to dig out a mega obscure hero in the Marvel/DC canon and give the little guy a franchise, gawd bless ‘im!

Dream Two: Trashy Horror Film

So I love deep and thinky horror. The Cabin in the Woods is in my top five favourite films ever, Psycho and Silence of the Lambs are absolutely indispensable to me when I think about horror.

But you know what? I love Slither. I love Black Sheep. I love Infestation.

I have a very strong desire to write a movie where a bunch of dumb and heroic people meet a big, gloopy, conceptually demented monster and get systematically nommed until only two or three remain. And learn something very important about themselves, each other, and big gloopy monsters.

The Mist actually bridges the gap in horror I love. Big, gloopy monsters and thoughtful psychological drama? Yes please!

But in the meantime: Would happily write my own version of Slither.

Dream Three: Showrunner

Very simple this one. Create and oversee and write lots for a long running TV show. Stick with a group of characters and stick with their world. Then kill some of them in ways that *matter* (Thanks Joss!) and bring their journey to an epic conclusion.

Dream Four: Write for existing shows

Doctor Who, Sherlock, SHIELD, Black Mirror… Here’s looking at you!

Dream Five: Reboot Sliders

Literally just thought of this one. Does it need a reboot? Or do I just want to play Quinn Mallory?

I’ll let you know when I’ve turned in the first draft.

Keep dreaming, because Blades of Glory is wrong: Dreams aren’t just for sleepy people.

Unless they’re the first kind of dream I mentioned. Then those are best experienced when asleep.