Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Making movies

One of the most common things I hear other authors say is that their ultimate dream is to see their books made into films. I should know, I've said it often enough myself.

Now much as we would all like to convince ourselves that we've written the best story ever in the history of the world, I think even the biggest fantasists would concede that it's unlikely that Spielberg's going to come on the blower any time soon. In my case, I could claim to have connections as I went to school with Sam Mendes. When I say I went to school with him, I mean that he was in the sixth form when I was some snotty, irritating 12 year old who he would be extremely unlikely to remember so it would be really pushing the boundaries of "the old school tie" to get him on board.

To date I have concentrated my efforts on putting out good quality. well written and edited novels that people want to read. Which it seems they do, which is very nice. Having written four in less than two years I do now find myself at a bit of a crossroads. It's not that I've got writer's block or I've run out of ideas, but I think I do need to give myself a little time for the creativity to return rather than putting out substandard work.

So I have been wondering what else I could do with my existing titles and I got to thinking about the whole movie idea again. Is it a pipe-dream, or something achievable in the modern world with all the tools at our disposal? After all I did it with the books. If I hadn't bypassed the archaic traditional publishing world, I'd never have got anywhere. I'd still be reading rejection letters from snooty editors. So I went down the independent route and have never looked back.

You may recall from a past blog entry when I referred to myself as "The Indie Man" how much I love all things Indie. From my taste in music from the 1980s onwards through books and films, I've always enjoyed rowing away from the crowd. Away from the mass produced fodder lapped up by the masses, there's real originality and creativity to be found. And to be fair, a lot of rubbish as well, but part of the fun is sorting the wheat from the chaff.

So if I can do it with books, why not films? I'm lucky enough to have the acquaintance of some of Bicester's up and coming talent (yes there is such a thing) who I've had dealings with on a number of projects - the most recent of which is that I write a regular column for their Bicester magazine. I may also soon be being interviewed by one of them live on his new TV chat show on That's Oxford (Freeview Channel 8). Watch this space. These lads have achieved a huge amount in the last few years, not only launching the magazine but also the Bicester radio station as well as involvement in numerous other film and media projects. I've been in discussion with them about the film idea and it seems we are on common ground. I won't go into great detail here, suffice to say that our skill sets complement perfectly and between us this could be something awesome.

Of course, making a film is not like publishing a book. The costs associated with that are minimal. Yes, I paid for cover designs and proofreading up front on them, but many self-published authors don't even do that. Pretty much anyone can publish a book at virtual zero expense these days. With a film it's somewhat different. Films cost money, even on a shoestring.

So if (and it's a big *IF*) this project ever gets off the ground it's going to need funding. But there are ways and means. We've all heard of crowdfunding, that's one avenue, but there are others than can be explored. I'm still looking into it. A film, even a low budget film, has to have a budget. Neither of us wants to put out something amateurish.

On the plus side, we've both got proven track records - myself with the book sales and reviews and my director with all the projects he's brought to fruition. We've got a good team on board. Will it happen? No idea, but I'm going to give it a good shot.

Where does one sell a film? Well, there are lots of avenues out there, just as there are for books. Amazon's equivalent of the Kindle store is Amazon instant video, but there are plenty more. And who's to say with the right media attention we can't get a local cinema to premiere it? Stranger things have happened and we already have plenty of contacts in the media.

I know it all sounds pie in the sky and there will probably be those out there who will pour scorn and say it will never happen. But if you don't try, you never find out and I have never been afraid to shoot for the stars. I'm off on holiday shortly so will have a few weeks to mull it over - when I get back, I'll start making some serious enquiries. I shall also get on with the not inconsiderable task of turning The Time Bubble from a novel into a script.

Coming soon to a cinema near you...?

Why have I chosen The Time Bubble? Well the others have some quite considerable budgetary constraints. For example, to make the Global Cooling we'd either have to wait five years for a decent snowfall or fly the whole production team to Norway. And I don't quite think even with the most enthusiastic investors in the world we would be able to afford that. The Time Bubble is set mostly in the current decade, using local locations and is the first book in the series. It just makes sense.

A quick footnote on an earlier blog entry. I mentioned we were seriously considering moving to Lincolnshire a few months ago. It seems now that this won't be happening - largely for family reasons. So this was one plan that didn't happen, but there was no harm looking into it. Rather than sitting around moaning about Bicester and doing nothing about it as many do, we gave the move some serious thought and consideration.

Ultimately it didn't happen, and maybe the film won't either, but if you don't make the effort to try and make them happen then they certainly won't. It's also vital to consider all the angles before you decide yay or nay or you may end up making the wrong decision. I know I'll only commit to this film if it absolutely ticks all the boxes - if it doesn't, then I'll have had the fun at least of looking into it and planning it, and there's no shame at all in not going ahead with a project or a move if it's not ultimately going to work out.

Time will tell, it always does. Spoken like a true time travel writer!

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