Destination: Hollywood Takes To The Stage!

June 22, 2017

At the beginning of 2017, I was asked by Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society if I would like the opportunity to direct a staged reading for their drama programme – an invitation to which I replied to with, “Yes, please!”

When asked what I might like to direct, I proposed the idea of adapting one of my screenplays, Destination: Hollywood for stage – that way I would have the opportunity to see some of my own work come to life in full, which, of course, is every writer’s dream!

The drama committee were a little reluctant to the idea at first, especially as the screenplay has numerous car chases and action sequences – including a chase scene on horseback through Monument Valley... Okay, okay, so that does sound a little too ambitious, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge!

With a little persuasion, the committee agreed to trust that I could pull this off and take a chance on me. I decided that the performance should build on the traditional format of a screenplay reading, with actors reading from scripts but, instead of just sitting at a table, the cast would act out all of the action using minimal set and props. Anything that was ‘too big’ for the budget or stage would then be read aloud by a narrator who would set every scene and fill in the stage directions that couldn’t be handled by the actors.

I’d directed a few friends in a film piece I made back at University, but this was my first time directing anything of this kind of scale... and I quickly found out that as long as I knew what I wanted and kept on top of everything, directing can be really fun and rewarding!

I always knew that this would be one busy two hour show. It didn’t take me long to find my cast of seventeen actors – Mark Barnikel took the lead role of Clyde, with Michael Taylor playing his best friend Brendon, and Sophie Manarin as kick-ass girly ‘sidekick’ Annie. The three did me SO proud, leading the show with so much energy, vigour and originality. I couldn’t have asked for better performers to take the lead roles. We managed to pull the whole show together in just ten rehearsals, which was an amazing feat, especially as some of the chase scenes were quite complex in their staging. I am extremely thankful to the cast for their commitment, enthusiasm and hard work to make sure that everything was in place for opening night.

Performances took place in the Bentley House Studio Theatre on Friday 16th June and Saturday 17th June, to two (very nearly) sold out audiences. A heat wave that week saw temperatures rise in the theatre to around 35 degrees but that didn’t stop the cast performing with everything they had.

I wasn’t sure how people would react to the show, especially as the format would be so different to anything they’d ever seen before, but I couldn’t have asked for a more positive audience response. It seemed that the general consensus was that it was so great to see a new piece of theatre that felt modern, fresh and relevant. Others said that they really enjoyed the staged reading approach to a screenplay and felt it was something I could market to other theatre companies and theatre colleges. I was also thrilled to have some industry guests in the audience, who all said that they thoroughly enjoyed the show and that we’d talk further regarding my career – which is always a wonderful outcome!

I’ve been working in theatre for over twenty years now, but putting Destination: Hollywood on stage has by far been one of my favourite experiences. I’d thoroughly encourage other writers to do the same, not only for the opportunity to have their work performed and produced, but also for the experience as a director. I am so thankful to Hertford Dramatic and Operatic Society – especially to drama committee chairwoman, Cheryl Nicholson – for taking a chance on me, and for being a forerunner in helping young creatives to get experience and exposure in the arts. 

 

Green Door Pictures & Lionsgate TV Shortlist 'Blink!' For 'Write To Green Light' Initiative

September 29, 2016
I had an exciting phone call last night from Green Door Pictures informing me that 'Blink!' is one of ten scripts shortlisted for their new 'Write To Green Light' initiative!

These ten scripts will now be read and judged again by execs at Green Door and Lionsgate UK (who are running the initiative) then three projects will be chosen to move forward as finalists for an industry performance and possible option. Even if I don't advance I'm already taking this as a massive win as my script will now be read by Idris Elba! 

To make the win even sweeter, my friend and fellow Imagine Talenter Dominic Carver is also among the shortlisted writers - great day for Imagine! :)

'Blink!' has always been a passion project of mine so it always means just that little bit extra when the industry acknowledges it and loves it too - hoping to take it all the way!
 

Angelique Pretorius and Gillian Harker Join 'Beauty'

September 27, 2016
Things are moving slowly but surely with 'Beauty', the short film I wrote for Flickerhead Films. Gillian Harker has joined the team to co-produce with Henry Coleman and we have cast actress Angelique Pretorius in the lead role of Elle.

The comedy is currently set for a spring 2017 shoot - can't wait! :) 
 

'The Amazing Ava' Goes Into Production!

September 27, 2016
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the shoot of 'The Amazing Ava', a short film I wrote for Mobley Street Productions. It was such a rewarding experience! You really do learn so much as a writer as you watch people adapt your script to fit the restrictions of time, cost and location, plus... your script is being made before your very eyes! What could be better than that?! :) 

The comedy drama is directed by Laurel Parker and stars her daughter Edith Parker in the role of Ava. I can't wait to see the final edit which will be entered into competitions and the festival circuit. 

x
 

Listen To Bapou Goes Into Production

July 16, 2016
Exciting things happening at the moment!

Things are moving along nicely with my comedy animation series  "Listen To Bapou" which has recently gone into production with Banter Hawk TV. This online show is based around the character of my obnoxiously traditional Greek-Cypriot Granddad and explores some of the frustrations the older members of society have about the modern world. 

The character of Bapou will be voiced by Darren Altman, most recently known for his appearance on Britain's Got Talent, and I shall be voicing the character of Becky! Dominic Philpot is Producing.

Looking forward to sharing some clips and visuals with you all soon :) 
 

Create 50 Winner!

May 18, 2016
The winners of Create 50 - The Impact were announced yesterday and I'm pleased to say that my project 'Daddy's Fort' was one of the chosen scripts!

The 54 scripts in the final selection will now move forward into the filmmaking phase where producers and directors are invited to team up, chose a script and produce it. The best 50 films will then be selected for the final edit of the feature length movie which will be screened in UK cinemas.

Big congrats to my LSF friends who were among the selected - Can't wait to share a screen credit with you all!

x


 

Create 50 Finalist!

March 1, 2016
Excited to find out today that two of my short screenplays 'Plummet' and 'Daddy's Fort' have both made the finals for Create 50's latest project 'The Impact'!

Fingers crossed that one of these scripts makes it through to the final 50 which will be put forward for production for the final film :)

Well done to all the other finalists! Lots of talent in the group :)


 

A Quick Catch-You-Up...

January 22, 2016
So, I've just seen that my last post (from October) didn't actually post properly! So here's a brief run-down of the last few months...

LSF 2015 was brill. I met loads of wonderful new writers and producers! It's great to see the community growing year by year. Kudos to Chris Jones (as always) for creating and bringing the festival into existence :)

My Writers' Lab with Joshua St. Johnston was an enlightening experience, especially getting to hear how he put together 'The Enfield Haunting'. It was also great to revisit my project 'Leonard Of Mayfair' and get some fresh notes on it.

The script to screen for 'Jaws' with its writer Carl Gottlieb, was the highlight of my festival. Especially hearing his anecdotes about living with Steven Spielberg and what it was like to spend endless days at sea. What an experience! 

Since the festival, I've finished my one location teen comedy 'Those Kids Who Killed Ms. Hannigan' which, I'm pleased to say, is already generating a lot of interest. I've also finished initial development on a new children's web series named #instafamous, which looks set to be an exciting multi-platform project.

There are also a few more exciting developments on the horizon, but more on those when I know more about what's actually happening!

Until then... :)

xx

 

Pre-LSF 2015!

October 14, 2015
So, it's nearly time for the 2015 London Screenwriters' Festival! The line up this year looks totally fab - of course I'm mostly excited for the script to screen of 'Jaws' (Big Spielberg fan!)

I'm also thrilled to that 'Destination: Hollywood' has been selected for The Actors Table Read, and 'Leonard of Mayfair' has been selected for the 'Writing True Stories' Lab led by Joshua St. Johnston, writer of 'The Enfield Haunting'.

Can't wait! :)

x
 

Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest 2015

October 1, 2015
So, my roadtrip comedy feature 'Destination: Hollywood' has made it through to the Quarter-Finals of the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest! I'm totally thrilled be selected in the Action/Adventure category!

It's also great to hear that a number of writer friends have also made it through in other categories - Congrats to KT Parker, Darren Barker, Rebecca Handley and fellow Imagine Talent writer, Dominic Carver!

Fingers crossed that we all make it through to the Semi-Finals, which will be announced in the coming month.

x
 

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