Friday, 29 March 2013

Amazingly Annoyingly Awesome

We’re busy getting ready to go to this year’s Cannes International Film Festival and needless to say it’s exciting!  The thought of sun, sea and the chance to meet and greet and celebrate what we are doing really is a treat.

2 years ago I’d only been there 5 minutes when Johnny Depp walked past and Brad and Angelina were in town on my last day which was cool as was having breakfast on the terrace with the executive team whose film had just stormed that year’s Oscars.  

This year I’ve signed the script off for Benedict’s Brother after it’s official second draft and we’re getting some great feedback on it from the industry.  More investment has been made in the project and I’ve had some amazing meetings with some amazing producers, agents and directors.  Everything has moved forward wonderfully.

However, this is the post where things are going to get a bit annoying I’m afraid as I can’t actually mention the names who we’re currently in conversation with . . . but enough to say that if you were a writer like me you’d want these people involved as they have supported some of the most successful writers in the world. 

And if you were a filmmaker like me you’d want those people involved as they have helped create some of the most successful and memorable films of all time.

And if you were looking for an actress to play the lead in your film you’d definitely want her because she is so incredibly talented not to mention an international star and awesomely beautiful.

I am sorry . . . I told you it would be a bit annoying . . . 

But I will keep you posted, we will go for gold and I promise I won’t scream like a groupie this time if Brad and Angelina walk past . . . I promise . . . 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Big Wheel Keep On Turning . . .

I have signed-off the official second draft of the script! Yay!

After agreeing the first draft by scriptwriter Jess earlier in the year, the team brought in the additional expert help of a top level script developer and editor.  She created a fantastic hot-house of creative and high-level energy which was brilliantly challenging at times but an utter delight and has lifted the script to a beautiful place.  We all loved working with her and Jess did a fine job of incorporating all the intense work, the thrashed-out ideas and the amazing expertise into her subsequent drafts.

We clarified genre, we clarified Benedict's journey, we honed the dialogue, we honed the main characters' journeys and I confirmed the story I wish to see made on screen.  Benedict's Brother came further to life.

I have now signed-off that draft officially and I am in a series of meetings with producers, investors and key industry contacts to take things to the next stage.   There is a director's draft of the script to look forward to yet and the thought fills me with great excitement.

I continue to be bowled over by the level of industry support and interest in the Benedict's Brother film project.  The introductions to acting talent, to directors, to production teams and to investors continue to come forward and inspire.  All are taking the project to the next exciting level.

Thank you at this point to the original investors whose passionate support and long-term belief in me and in Benedict's Brother have helped bring things to this stage.   The "big wheel' that is this movie-making project keeps on turning and I am loving it.  A film cannot be made without the investment that allows creative energy to be realised and I am so lucky to have that.

Special thanks too at this stage to the dude that is Julian Friedmann of BlakeFriedmann and to "Mr" Martin Spooner of Invest Dorset for helping to bring all this together.  Awesome human beings both.

We are well on the road to production and my heart and my soul is with this film all the way.

More soon . . . T x

(With thanks to Tina Turner, J.C. Fogerty and "Proud Mary".)

Friday, 20 July 2012

A Bit of Bill Nighy on the Side . . .

Progress continues on the film development for Benedict's Brother and it does feel now we really are making a movie.  

I signed off the first script draft which was a key milestone and we then brought in a leading script developer to shape it up further.  She is fabulous and has worked on some stunning films and major British successes.  I can see why!  She doesn't pull any punches and she is lifting things to a new level.

It is amazing to be working with her on my work.  There's been some key creative decisions I've had to make while learning exactly what it is that makes a film script fly.  The process of identifying the core story has been fascinating but the day we nailed the genre I knew we'd come home.  

I can "see" the film.

Finance continues to come forward too and I've now taken an active role as producer which I'm enjoying and is a tremendous and exciting learning curve.  Who'd have thought?

Introductions have started for casting agents, acting talent and the production contacts made on the first recce to Thailand have become further established.  They are going to be great to work with when we get out there.

For now though, at this stage, the script is King - or Queen depending on your choice.   I'm feeling a real sense of progress and joy as a strong screenplay and fabulous characters emerges and Benedict's Brother comes to three dimensional life.  

There are some lovely, very hardworking and talented people in today's UK film industry and I'm lucky enough to working with some of them.  Loving working with my agent Julian Friedmann who is a beautiful man and an incurable romantic, with the legal team who make a serious job a complete hoot, and with scriptwriter Jessica Townsend who continues to put her heart and soul into every line.

I'm rooting for Carey Mulligan or Emily Blunt.  With maybe a bit of Bill Nighy on the side.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Benedict's Brother Film - the journey has begun

It's been an amazing year!  The development of Benedict's Brother as a film has taken me on a journey that I could not have imagined and has led to magical things happening that even as a creator of fiction I could not have envisaged.

In May I went to Cannes for three days to see the amazing show that is the most high-profile film festival in the world.  And it was amazing!  I met a number of film producers and industry people and witnessed a world of fantastic wealth on show.  Beautiful, stunning yachts be-strewn with beautiful stunning people and the awesome electricity-filled moment when Hollywood star Angelina Jolie unexpectedly turned up with her Hollywood star husband, Brad Pitt for the preview of his Palme D'Or-winning film.

Carried along with the incredible growing excitement and anticipation of the moment, I screamed along with everyone else!  It was a real taste of the joy and thrill this industry can create.

The next few months involved lots of drafting of contracts, meetings with prospective screenwriters, meetings with my wonderful agent, meetings with investors, meetings with business partners, meetings with my new media solicitor, agreeing contracts, agreeing terms and becoming familiar with a whole heap of legal terminology that has since become like a second language.

When all the meetings were done and the paperwork signed, my key personal moment was when I received my first ever formal professional payment for my writing and it tasted very very sweet indeed.

In July I visited York and in September Thailand for two weeks with inspiring and brilliantly entertaining screenwriter Jessica Townsend to research the locations for the script and to do initial recces.  A complete joy! I also met two potential producers in Thailand who would oversee filming there - one of whom it transpired went to the same school as my brother, the other who managed production in Bangkok for Hangover Part 2, one of 2011's most commercially-successful films

It was a fabulous and moving trip.  To re-visit all those places I'd written about so many years before, and for my writing to allow me to do it, was a dream.  I kept a video-blog of the trip to capture the whole journey and will continue to add to this as filming progresses.  The out-takes are pretty amusing too!!

I've since met the head of the BFI - and it turned out that we went to the same school  - and met the head of Prescience Film who was key to ensuring that the UK's most successful film of all time, The King's Speech, achieved what it did.  Both lovely people and keen to help in the future if they can.

We also now have one of the best script-developers in the business helping us to shape the script to be the best that it can possibly be - their past successes include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Train Spotting, The Full Monty, Girl with a Pearl Earring so we are in good company - and the LA-based British executive producer of Halle Berry's latest film is chatting to us.

The first draft of the script will be with me next week to read.  I signed-off the scene-by-scene outline a couple of months ago having been involved all the way through the creative process.

The journey to turn my novel into a film has well and truly begun and I'm relishing it.  What I wasn't expecting was to be given the opportunity to take an active role as a producer on the film of my own book but, having been given it, I'm relishing that too.  I find I like building the team and the creative content which will shape the whole process of bringing a film into being and it really is an opportunity of a lifetime.

There is long way to go yet before that moment when I see my story up there on the silver screen and there is a lot of work to do in the interim, but right now, who would have it any other way?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Benedict's Brother - the story so far . . .

I am an author and Benedict's Brother was my debut novel.

The book was written between 1997 - 98 but was rejected by the big publishers.  The manuscript languished in my bedside drawer for 8 years, burning a hole.

In August 2006 I launched the story on the internet in instalments. It received a loyal following.

In May 2007 it was launched as a paperback by a small publisher and instantly became Borders Bookstores biggest launch of an unknown author in the UK that year.

Six months later it was selected as a Top 3 Book of The Year in UK Publishing News alongside that year's highest selling and highest acclaimed novels.

It is now being developed as a film backed by some of the top names in the UK independent film industry.  And I am now represented by the agent of my dreams.

Benedict's Brother is the moving story of a young woman asked to scatter her uncle's ashes from the Bridge on the River Kwai.  She does not know why.  It is a story of love, death and Buddhism and the journey to meet a brother she thought she once knew.

Join me in my journey as my book is turned into a film.  The first outline script moved me to tears in three places . . . I am meeting the director and producer tomorrow . . .and I have been invited back to Thailand for a location recce. My heart is full of joy.