This is amazing, considering that for a good number of years, it has been sitting in a folder on my hard drive and forgotten – after a previous abortive attempt to submit it to major festival, which somehow left me thinking that it wasn’t really worth continuing to submit to festivals any longer. And now it’s picked up three awards and ranked as a semi-finalist at a 4th festival. It’s already done so well!
I’m very happy to share that my WWI short script ‘GAS!’ won “Best Short Screenplay” award at the September 2020 Reale Film Festival. It’s awesome! Great news. And as it got selected and awarded on the same day, it was quite the surprise!
It’s confirmation to me that I was right to dust it off and try my luck at resubmitting it to festivals. I only wish that I’d thought of doing so sooner. In fact, I’m beginning to think about revisiting some other scripts for potential festivals. But mainly I am thinking about finally achieving my long term goal of getting one of my existing feature scripts up to spec and a worthy festival contender.
However, long term readers would know that the reason that hasn’t happened is lack of time. lol. So don’t expect that goal to be achieved too soon. But don’t think I’ve forgotten about it either. And I’ll have more news soon re feature scripts…
For now, let’s forget such dreams and goals. And enjoy the fact that the GAS! poster now has 4 laurels. Sweet.
I haven’t forgotten my promise to print some t-shirts (When I said, if it won such an award: “I promise to print some limited edition posters of Karen Keslen’s fantastic art work, and get some t-shirts made – if people are interested.”). So when this is all done, I will indeed do such a thing. Who cares if it means some people wearing a t-shirt for a film that might never get made?
I am super excited to announce that GAS! – my first world war script about a mustard gas attack is now an award winning script! I found out yesterday that it won an “Outstanding Achievement” award! That’s amazing, seeing as it is the first official selection, and first festival of it’s new incarnation. many thanks IndieXFest.
Previously, a different earlier version of the script, did get to Semi-Finalist at Shriekfest I believe… but memory is hazy now. But it’s nice confirmation that the changes I’ve made, have improved the script. And I’m keen to see how it fares at some of the other fests.
In honour of its win, I’ve listed it on IMDB, only to attach awards to it – HERE. But I won’t personally be producing, as I don’t have the resources / budget to pull it off. Although I’d love to do a real war movie like this, I’d rather get it to other potentially interested parties / be content to use it as an example of my work. But if it wins a “Best Script” award, I promise to print some limited edition posters of Karen Keslen’s fantastic art work, and get some t-shirts made – if people are interested.
We’re very pleased to share that COMFORT HIM had its first official selection – at the Venice Awards. Nice. 🙏 – well done team! Thanks to Karen for updating the posters. And already, as a result a few more film festivals have generously reached out and offered discount codes to submit the film to their festivals, so such results do pay dividends.
We will be releasing some behind the scenes (BTS) materials soon, about the making of the film. So stay tuned for that.
This happened just before we hit 7K views. Nice. So our micro short has begun its film festival journey and people are also enjoying it – well apart from 1 dislike on YouTube and 1 dumb comment on Twitter, but that’s still not a bad success rate if you think about it 😉 .
Breakdown of views across different platforms – 1 month after release:
= 7016 views
We are very satisfied with the results. It’s a great start. Let’s hope people can continue to like and share it! Because remember:
Liking helps these films get picked up in algorithms, for more people to see them and help us attract more views.
And more importantly, sharing is caring! If you share the film, more people will see it and this will inspire us to make more films. 😉 – thanks to everyone that has already done so!
NEW MICRO SHORT FILM: Hasse and I have officially begun pre-production on our next comedy horror short, called TUMBLE DYING. We’ve started asking people to donate socks, we’ve been gathering props and finalising the shooting schedule, with a date earmarked for the end of August.
THREE PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT: We have some exciting potential projects in the works. But we can’t really tell you much about them. Sorry – but soon as I can, I will! Two of them are feature projects earmarked for possible development in 2021, and one of them I am working on at the moment. But there’s also a new short, tentatively titled called HEAR SOME EVIL, that I can’t wait to tell you more about, when it is ready. It’s a return to form of more in-depth and ambitious short films. The reason I am so excited about the latter, is that it’s the second script that is being written after all of the work I’ve done forcing myself to plan scripts and to become a plotter, instead of a pantser. However, all three projects are collaborations and so in time, I’m hoping my improved approach to plotting helps bear some impressive fruit and be able to firmly embed this new approach in my ways of working.
DESEO EQUIVOCADO: Darwin is off in Barcelona, shooting this latest short film without me sadly, although my gear is there and helping him get it in the can. But good luck to him and the team. The film was originally going to be done earlier in the year, but with it being shot while I’m back at work, and while I’m sick, and have no money for the trip, it’s not really an option for me at the moment. And with things being the way they are with the virus in Barcelona, it was a bit too risky overall. But I can’t wait to see it when it’s edited.
MR CLEAN – the short – has had a few rejections recently, sadly. It’s bound to happen, especially with the increased number of film festivals that are cancelling, or having to cut down what they can show during virtual / online events. But there are many more festivals that have delayed and still yet to decide its fate. We’re still very positive about its chances after such a positive start to its festival journey. But it’s always dispiriting when one of the choices was quite a key one to wish for.
MR CLEAN – the feature – is still sort of on hold. I failed in my task to get it done during the summer. I ended up writing two shorts, planning another two shorts, shooting NO TELL, and working on another feature project, and allowed all of those things to get in the way. Work is ongoing, albeit at a slower rate. I am very conscious that I am at a crossroads, re which direction I choose to take with it. As soon as I wrestle it into place in my mind, I will be much happier to proceed at pace. I just have to fill in an important blank for the middle of the plot. But when i do it, I will let you know about how I’m going about it, as I’m using some interesting tools to help me get there.
And the only other news of note is that I am sick right now. I got sick two days into being back at work weirdly. I hope its not Covid, but I’m not sure what it is…. But I feel pretty rotten at the moment. And as usual work deadlines will and are already having an impact on projects. I do miss being on Furlough, although the reduction in pay was significant. But productivity has been high elsewhere.
We finally received the last VFX shot for COMFORT HIM on Thursday the 18th June. The relevant files were then dispatched that night back to Eric Lau for Colour Grading and to Luca De Sensi for the sound mix. And today we finished the subtitles for the three key languages: English, Spanish and Swedish.
So now it’s just a matter of time before COMFORT HIM is out there and people can watch it! Hopefully no more than a week. And hopefully people will enjoy it!
I’ve been trying out some new plotting tools and taking a deep dive into story structure:
I’ve greatly enjoyed the Screenwriters’ Goldmine course, by Philip Gladwin (sadly no longer live on the internet) – for the best explanation of a complete process to get from no idea, to finished script. It’s an eBook and Audio book combo (complete with example planning spreadsheet tool and beat sheets etc) and it’s good for both Film and TV screenplays – I only wish I’d taken it back when I bought the damn thing! And I wish more people could experience this course!
I’m re-reading lots of older texts, but I am also reading some new texts – pictures of the relevant books on my Instagram
I just bought a license to a plotting tool – Plottr – on the strength of the ease of use, the fact that it is compatible with Mac and PC and works with dropbox etc, helpful demo videos that they are currently producing and the coming integration with Scrivener, to then import your planning work into that program and take your work into the draft stages.
I’m nearly done with the Robert McKee Storylogue webinars, but they’ve been incredibly helpful in clarifying things that I had not properly understood when I first read his books all those years ago.
– Because I am very much in the planning stage of MR CLEAN the feature. I could have written the damn thing by now. But like the four previous feature screenplays and two novels, I would like to really plan this one out, firstly so that I can create the best screenplay possible, and ease the rewriting process – as opposed to my usual pantsing. But also, for when I consider adapting MR CLEAN as a potential novel. After all, a good friend just read an old script of mine and accurately nailed the structural issues that are preventing it being a top draw action horror script. These would have been easily identifiable if I’d not shirked the previous refresher into story. But yes, time is ticking. Got to get it done! I have one month left!
And lastly, we’re prepping our next short film. Another micro short. It’s tentatively called TVÄTTSTUGA (Swedish for ‘Laundrette’), but actual title to be announced soon. So I’ve been doing a great deal of storyboarding. Not easy with the heat we’ve been having and we’re currently in pre-production on it – and trying to figure out how to make this film, as well as how to make it during Covid.
I didn’t have high hopes and huge demands for this year. At least not when it began. Just having a functioning website was a key goal, after the last website was stupidly wiped out and needed to be rebuilt and repopulated… and I lost nearly 4 years of [luckily poor] activity. But beyond that… just getting through the year was also enough – well that and constantly expecting some epic global meltdown / armageddon. But thanks to SBC IT for sorting me out with a new website. Nice one. But this is the first year when I feel that I have properly used the website for what it was intended and used it regularly. Go me. And I think that this was a positive year creatively.
Loss – the previous years were overshadowed by loss and bereavement. So did I lose anyone? – Felix (my feline companion of 15 years), and a few friends sadly. That and some relationships ended… but I also gained some new friends and a new cat. Not a replacement by any means, but a welcome addition and helping to fill an empty space in our hearts and a great character he is. So not the best of years, but better than the preceding two years.
My health – could be improved. I’m still suffering daily with Shingles pain. However, I largely maintained the diet, despite my usual battles with depression. I’ve been mostly free of back pain, training smart and even got corrective foot insoles specially 3D printed to exactly match my feet and correct them, reducing some foot pain… but the last two months of MR CLEAN [colour grading] stress saw me drinking more than I’d like… But I made a point to get light every morning to help regulate and improve my sleep and it has been better over all.
Travel – any interesting trips? – Barcelona twice, Tallinn, Hälsingland and Cornwall. Two for pleasure and the rest for filming / film related trips.
Filmmaking – editing MR CLEAN, doing the trailer and post production for the premiere was hard work. But a valuable learning experience. Then there was SVEN GUNNAR and LOVELY TO MEET YOU, two other films that we wrote and produced this year. I am also planning to film another short very soon as well as help a friend on a film in Rome. In the process of doing SVEN GUNNAR I learned how to use the BMPCC 4K and learned enough to shoot it for Darwin (first time doing Cinematography for anyone else). But I do need to learn Da Vinci Resolve and Colour grading as a goal, to get the best out of the footage myself without having to always rely on others. I also made 7 music videos – when shooting background visuals for MEIPR, a friend’s band, for their gig. 6 of them were made in a matter of weeks, back-to-back. I was impressed I got it all done! Despite the tough / insane tasks I set myself, I achieved everything that was within my power to do. Sadly only ZOMBIE MINTS didn’t get released. But it will be a side project. Also we did not get to do a Swedish premiere for the shorts. It’s bonkers. We have to crack this!
Writing – I wrote five short scripts this year and started work on rewriting an old feature script… enjoying the challenge of trying to work out what someone thinks they are trying to say in a rough form script and reinterpret it more to the goals of the narrative and polish it and fix it – more of a problem solving / jigsaw puzzle in some ways for three of them. But I also learned to take charge more, when collaborating, when the original narrative is not fit-for-purpose. Sadly I didn’t finish the feature script rewrite due to work and MR CLEAN getting in the way. It’s on the list for next year. But I still need to devote myself more to writing each day again.
Self-development – I completed quite a few training courses. And started some new ones. But MR CLEAN later stole a lot of my time there. I upped learning Swedish every day, to trying to learn Spanish also and devoting a minimum of an hour a day for it. but I have made good on reading every day and reading at least one script a week…. in fact, by my calculations, I’ve actually read 60 (admittedly 50 of them were TV scripts, so average 60 pages, rather than the usual 110-ish, but still…)… and I finished the entire John Connolly Charlie Parker book series, as well as the entire Stephen Hunter Bob Lee Swagger series. I also read my first entire book in Swedish, and in Spanish (although didn’t understand all of them) …as well as many more – how many books? Who knows, but it was a lot. But with the languages, I need to speak more and reading books aloud is really helping.
Workwise – I delivered my first course end-to-end entirely by myself, save for a few commissioned graphics… constantly wondering if under this economy I still have a job? Worst year financially for us over the last 5 years…actually demanding that my boss “just go and fire me already”, because I got so sick of wondering day to day about it. I still don’t know. But I’ve resolved myself to just focussing on me and letting what will happen with work just happen.
Temperament – Lost my temper a lot…. I still want to work on being calmer and appreciating my successes. I want to be kinder. Thank you to Bob, the dummy, for taking so many beatings and helping me stay calmer. But meditation will be a focus for 2020.
Visualisation – I built a ‘vision thang’ – a mood board to help me focus and it worked. I will construct a new one for next year, although mostly it will be the same – but new visuals will help me focus anew and help me to manifest something I actually want to happen.
The original premiere in May for DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE, and later for that film (post award) in December, as well as SVEN GUNNAR and MR CLEAN, complete with three TV appearances
DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE not only getting into 15 festivals, but also winning Best Narrative Short in Vegas
Getting a diploma for my work on DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE
Shooting SVEN GUNNAR and LOVELY TO MEET YOU and making some lovely new filmmaking friends
Releasing the trailer for MR CLEAN and finishing the film
Seeing the trailer for SVEN GUNNAR get 18K views
Spending two weeks with family and friends
Not doing my secret project
Seeing the MR CLEAN trailer get less than 1K views
Not getting ZOMBIE MINTS done and released, as planned
So what about 2020:
Obviously I’d like things to be sorted out around Brexit, one way or another.
Impeaching Trump, and unfucking the planet would help. Ok. Pls thx.
I want to do a Swedish premiere for MR CLEAN
I want MR CLEAN to get into some festivals if possible
I’ll release ZOMBIE MINTS
I want to finally make COMFORT HIM and SEPULTURE
I want to finish the writing of and make a feature film.
I want to sort out publishing my old short stories and get back to working on one of the novels.
I want to continue working with, but also repaying the kindness of those who helped me make MR CLEAN and our other films. So Rome will be first on that score
I will read other books in Swedish and Spanish and improve speaking more of both languages
I will complete my secret project.
There’s more, but that’s the stuff that counts….
Q – What are your goals? How did your year go in review?
If any of you silent, lurking readers do come back here and have been following me over the last year, thank you for visiting and I hope that you have the best year that you can in 2020.