I hope everyone’s doing well. There’s been a lot going on – including the first Covid-19 vaccine dose knocking me for six. But let’s focus on the scripts and festival news.
MAGIC IS MURDER, the horror comedy script I co-wrote / polished last year, has made it through to the finals of the Beyond The Curve International Film Festival in Paris. It was a great test, to see if I had the chops to work on someone else’s feature screenplay and collaborate. Firstly, it was a good test to see if I could get it done before my birthday last year – and despite a heavy workload, it took me 5 weeks to do a complete rewrite. And it was a real pleasure to get to know the author and original screenwriter and producer Simon O’Kill and to collaborate on all of the changes. So despite it being a little unconventional, I’m chuffed for the team that this script has been received so well.
Next, IMPRINT, the very dark horror short script, has just made it through to the semi-finals of the Cairo Indie Short Festival and hopefully we’ll find out on June 10th if it progresses further in the competition. But super chuffed that there’s life in the project yet.
Lastly, I spent this weekend chatting with Hasse Brontén and Johnny Vikeväkorva Johansson – both of them the leads of the horror short SVEN GUNNAR, and although I can’t reveal what was discussed, or agreed, I can tell you that so far there are multiple people who are raving about the horror / thriller feature screenplay. So once the jury is in, we hopefully will have something to announce around that project. Perhaps the name may also change… although it makes sense to work on the back of the original, we do have some better potential titles which are more fitting for a feature project – to help attract fans and financing.
I am currently working on the plot for another horror feature. This is a new project that I’ve mentioned here before. I have 1/3rd of the plot sorted for it. I’m toying with the title BLÖDA (aka Bleed, formerly known as BLÖT), for this pagan horror feature. But nothing’s set in stone yet. But I am making efforts to bring this one to the screen asap and get this feature project off the ground this year – if doable. I’m already on the hunt for materials to make some of the props I’ll need. As soon as I’ve figured out the plot, I’m knocking this one out in script form.
One last thing… I’m currently evaluating whether I should do a Patreon site. The idea being that perhaps I can share more of my filmmaking journey, including lots of unseen BTS materials, give people early sight of screenplays etc, more information on filmmaking and screenwriting tools, techniques and information, in return for some support to help me keep at this filmmaking journey. Hopefully the idea appeals. Please let me know please if the idea of a Patreon does interest you!
For all those people who’ve been following the Blog long enough to know what SVEN GUNNAR is, I”ve got some great news for you. Well two things actually.
SHORT FILM youtube premiere – As the film festival run is almost complete. Darwin is releasing the short film on YouTube. Click on the link below to book a place for the premiere. It will also be released on Instagram and Facebook.
2. Feature film – secondly, there now exists a SVEN GUNNAR feature film script. At long last, after hinting at working on the plot for a while, and being blocked on it, I have a feature length script.
It wasn’t easy. For one, I had to write it around my day job. For another, I still had a massive gaping plot hole. But needs must, and I had to get this done now or risk pushing other planned projects behind. I almost gave up a few times, due to exhaustion, sickness, and work pressures. But it was important to see if I could get it done in 30 days and replot the end of the 2nd act and start of the 3rd act to make it work, to hit my self-imposed deadline of doing the script in 30 days. And I had to get it done now to clear the decks for other things.
I failed the 30 days part. Had to take a day off due to sickness, and then completed it on the 31st day. But it’s done now.
And it definitely feels like its grown beyond the original short proof-of-concept.
Future of SVEN GUNNAR?
Who knows. For now, I have to get well, then move onto other things, and revisit it when I have some clarity on what works and what doesn’t work from a structural perspective. But also, now I can wait and see what people think of the vomit draft, to see how much appetite there is to take this script further and to find out what people love about it and what doesn’t work / needs fixing. And to have a few discussions about when, if and how we’re making it.
The script is currently treading a fine line between Slasher film and Action Thriller genres. It wasn’t planned, but it’s how these things can sometimes change course in the writing – especially when your characters start getting inventive when put under pressure. It’s also completely beyond the original no budget roots of the original short above. It will require a reasonable budget to proceed as currently written. But I think the script definitely delivers plenty of thrills and spills, as well as an entertaining body count.
The other thing is that I have a good choice of 13 potential names for the feature. I was never really much of a fan of the name SVEN GUNNAR to tell the truth. It’s different. But it doesn’t really hint at the content / tone and genre of the piece. But we’ve got some corkers, with one potential strong contender / early favourite to consider for the future.
However, I may yet scale it back a bit, take it more into horror territory in the next draft. But for now, I’m happy that another goal has been achieved for this year. And that people can finally see the short above, and we can find out if despite its flaws, is there an appetite for a feature?
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Click on the link above and enjoy the short!
Also, SVEN GUNNAR – the short film – has been selected to two film festivals: to the Osaka International Film Festival Japan and to Kinosmena Short Film Festival in Belarus. This is great news, especially as I am 58 pages into writing the feature film version!
The short script for IMPRINT now has its 4th official festival selection, in a week where we also received some very positive but also confusing feedback from another prestigious screenplay festival (where the reader clearly didn’t seem to pick up on some obvious plot elements that other festivals had no issues with) the film has now been selected and also made a Finalist in the Hollywood Blood Horror Festival (where COMFORT HIM won Best Horror). This is great news for a short that I was doubting was too dark for most festivals.
Ironically it comes on the same day where MR CLEAN was rejected from another fest, due to high competition. So it’s all swings and roundabouts.
But this week, good progress has been made on a new feature film script. We’re officially 15 pages in writing SVEN GUNNAR the feature. 🙂
SVEN GUNNAR picked up its 2nd award in Cyprus yesterday! Congrats to Darwin Reina and the team! And many thanks to CYIFF for recognising that our short horror film is a great proof-of-concept. I couldn’t agree more.
It’s a really interesting award to be given, precisely because although it is a self-contained short film, SVEN GUNNAR is the feature film we wished that we’d been making – when we set out to make something more ambitious than MR CLEAN, with more characters and locations, but due to budget limitations etc we set out to do it as a short, but always hoping to later get enough interest to develop it as a feature. It is also one of the feature scripts that I am currently having fun developing, to explore how it will work as a feature film.
And in fact, one of the things that always concerned me about the short, was that I didn’t want to cut it down and weaken it. There was plenty narrative there to make a good long short film. So it’s not a huge stretch to open it up a bit. And we really suffered to get some of those shots, especially the damn mosquitoes which are rampant in Hälsingland. So to get more potential mileage out of it would be awesome.
And luckily there have been some reviews and feedback where others have also recognised it’s potential. e.g. this one on IMDB by Mikief. “…I loved the Tim character – that sweet innocent family guy- “No problem I take you”! and SVEN GUNNAR the fat character of the film so nasty, So weird! I also liked the whole Europeaness of the film – the location Sweden country side, that English accent, and overall a great flick! What I will give as a negative rant is that I really wanted to know more about the town where it was shot, and the Swedish people.…”
So watch this space. Soon we will announce something more tangible regarding the possibility of such a feature version. And congrats again to Darwin and the entire team!