Edinburgh, FrightFest & The Like

Dean Fisher, Dan Turner, some bloke
A month after the last blog post, it's plainly time for another.  And there's a lot to tell you, so for Christ's sake stop molesting that swan and pull up a toadstool.

Oh yes indeed - my debut feature film Stormhouse had its world premiere at the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival.  Two nights, no less, at the Filmhouse1 cinema.  What an honour and a thrill.

In the picture to the left, you can see producer Dean Fisher, director Dan Turner and me, minutes before going into the first night's screening.  Notice the large gin and tonic clasped in my paw and the barely-concealed terror in my eyes.  We didn't know whether to expect five punters (including us) or 500.  Thankfully, it was way closer to the latter, with a really good showing.

While watching Stormhouse, the audience looked very much like the picture below right.  They jumped and often appeared to be hiding behind their hands, so I took that to be a good thing. They also applauded at the end.  (Afterwards, it was great to get feedback from Twitterers like @stefanw1980, who said: "Just watched Stormhouse at  and really enjoyed it. Not been scared by a film in a long time. A great independent supernatural horror!".)  We celebrated our relief by piling ourselves and our attending cast members (Grant Masters, Grahame Fox, Patrick Flynn, Frankie Fitzgerald!) into a couple of people carriers and enjoying a banging rave party for the premiere of Momentum Pictures' film Weekender.  God it was loud, but there were free cocktails and glowsticks.
Edinburgh Film Festival audience

That first screening wasn't quite loud enough, so we cranked the volume the following night.  I had to head home, but Dan assured me it was much louder and people were jumping out of their seats.  Lovely.  Thanks to the Edinburgh Festival organisers, who made us feel so very welcome.  No thanks, however, to Edbook Apartments.  I'd advise you to give them a wide berth if looking for accommodation in that fine city.  Ahem.  Onwards.

Yep, that's the next stop for Stormhouse!  Loving that.  I've been attending FrightFest since 2001, so it's pretty amazing to be there a decade later with a film I wrote.  FrightFest is, of course, the UK's biggest horror and fantasy festival.  They know how to do it properly, year after year, so I'm very much looking forward to that August Bank Holiday weekend.  Stormhouse will screen on August 26 at 11.30pm, tantalisingly close to the witching hour, on the festival's Discovery Screen.  You can see our FrightFest page here.  Shortly after FrightFest, there's another UK screening of Stormhouse, outside of London, although I don't know if I'm allowed to announce that yet.  So I'll keep my trap shut.  More Stormhouse news to come this Summer.

This was the second annual event thrown by the BBC Writersroom, and attended by various TV and film-writing types, as well as a variety of special guests.  As a big fan of BBC2's The Shadow Line, which recently aired, I was really pleased to sit in on a session with writer/director/producer Hugo Blick, as he talked about the process of creating it.  The man spent four months just thinking about it, before he started the actual writing.  Four months.  That's something to think about, next time your writerly excitement bursts forth like volcanic lava, forcing you to launch into a script which you haven't entirely thought through.

The Shadow Line creator, Hugo Blick
Other panelists include Jimmy McGovern (legendary writer with a frank mouth to match), Kudos' Jane Featherstone, BBC Head of Drama Ben Stephenson, Matthew Graham, Ashley Pharoah, Toby Whithouse, Bill Gallagher, Paula Milne and John Yorke.  The latter gentleman gave another fine semi-lecture, this year all about dramatic structure and scriptwriting gurus.  John's two main conclusions boiled down to this:

1) All those gurus are basically peddling the same structure (and yes, he was aware of the irony that many perceive him to be just such a prescriptive guru).  No matter which structure you adhere to, you can never escape the fact that the human brain has long been conditioned to need a beginning, middle and end.  It's hardwired into our psyches, just like morning, afternoon and night, or birth, life and death.

2) Regardless of whether you believe in structure, you use it anyway, consciously or not.  There's no escaping beginning, middle and end.  Unless you're writing something deliberately mad.  Or just mad.

I took a fair few iPhotos during the event, which you can see on my Tumblr here.  Once again, a brilliantly organised and useful affair.  Always nice to see a bunch of writers blinking against the unfamiliar onslaught of daylight and sociable behaviour.

Stormhouse director Dan Turner is shooting a new feature, right now, in the fine city of Newcastle.  It's called The Man Inside and stars Peter Mullan, Michelle Ryan, Bashy, David Harewood, Carl Barat and plenty more.  I'm pleased to say I script-edited The Man Inside, and am very much looking forward to seeing the results.

I'm among the writers on a forthcoming graphic novel anthology of zombie stories.  My story's called Consumed and is delightfully unpleasant.  Editor Mike Garley suggested an artist whose distinctive work I liked a lot and so I'm tremendously excited to see the finished product there too.  Comics are very much a medium I'm looking to sink my talons further into, so this will be a big step forward.

Film 2011 co-host Danny Leigh and I are special guests at an In Development gathering, later this month.  We'll be informally chatting to people about moving from journalism to fiction and how you can go about juggling the two, or making the jump altogether.

Right, I think that's you up to date.  I've probably forgotten stuff.  Follow me on Twitter if you'd like to keep up with everything, plus a whole load of nonsense which you'll regret signing up for.  I also just joined Google+ (profile here), but aren't entirely sure whether I'll settle yet.  Maybe see you there anyway, eh?

Coming up on this blog: an update on useful writing tools I've discovered on the iPad.

Stormhouse web page

Stormhouse on Twitter and Facebook

SFX interview with Dan and me, about Stormhouse

GeekChocolate interview with Stormhouse cast and crew


Me said...

Great news about Stormhouse. Apart from the FF coming up in August are there any plans to have it show elsewhere (outside of that London)?

David Lemon said...

This is all magnificent news. Loved 'Stormhouse' and looking forward to 'The Man Inside'.