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29
Jan
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Good afternoon.

It might look like nothing has been happening here at the Elder movie, but OH, it has. I have been spending the last few weeks working on the latest (fourth) draft of the screenplay (and, ahem, avidly digesting William Goldman's immense 'Which Lie Did I Tell?'). Yes indeed, didn't we all think our script was FINISHED?!?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA H HA H h H N H an H HnNnHnNmMMsnMzndn

(It's NEVER finished. At some point it just stops getting rewritten.)

When I got to the (initial) end, back in November 2012, I had a quick cup of tea and a biscuit and then went straight back and started again from the beginning. As a result we now have a script which is shorter, tighter, and gleams like a bright, polished horse show. Hoses now. Oh don't we all love predictive type. HORSESHOE. IT GLEAMS LIKE A GOD DAMN HORSESHOE.

Why did I even choose the word HORSESHOE? Oh God, my iPad is now automatically capitalising the word HORSESHOE. I couldn't write a lowercase HORSESHOE if I wanted to. Horseshoe. Panic over.

So we have a working script! A script to send to people! Who should we send our script to? Obviously my first thought was Tommy Shaw from Styx, but in the end, I emailed Doc McGhee (KISS's legendary manager) politely requesting a meeting with Gene and Paul, in order for us to pitch the movie project in person. Doc very courteously replied the next day saying he'd circulate my email amongst the guys and hopefully get back to me ASAP.

This was two weeks ago now. Should I be nervous?

It's not as if KISS are planning a massive WORLD TOUR or anything at the moment, which begins, in Australia, IN A MONTH.

Yesterday I sent a reminder.

Next I'm thinking that final scene in Se7en.

But with this script now in my hands, I feel like I have magic powers. Like a magic shield. Like Jason and the Argonauts. Whoever that guy with the Minotaur was. Jamie and the Magic Torch. Can somebody please edit an education into this blog post for me? Jesus Christ.

Oh and I'm holding fire on attempting to get a new producer on board as I figure if KISS do want to get involved, the fewer people hanging off this project the better, so far as they're concerned. They might want their own producer, or cheese board, or anything. So let's keep this clean and loose and just get this script over to em, pitch the project, and then see what happens. There's not much more I can do right now. My work is kind of done, for the time being. The script is as good as I can make it (until the next draft, as you sadistic bastards never tire of reminding me). I'm incredibly proud of my screenplay. It's a great story. It has great characters. There's no flab. It races along. It has twists, turns, and a tasty reveal at the end. IT'S A FILM. IT'S A GOD DAMN FILM.

Please, if nothing else, let's all drink to that. We have a script. A workable draft. And it's THAT which is going to open all these doors. Or at least aggressively bark HELLO? through an intercom.

Right, Doc?

Doc?

19
Dec
Print
Written by Seb Hunter

The Elder original script 

Merry Christmas to you, one and all, from the Elder movie.

Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum and last year's Dick Advocaat sitting forlorn and norovirus at the back of the cupboard.

Here in December 2012, the Elder movie project is just over a year old. In this year we have gathered together a fantastic team of UK independent filmmakers (PLUS supplementary expertise from all four corners of the globe), written, shot, edited and launched our trailer (28,000 views and counting) and almost finished an original feature-length screenplay. I am about three-quarters of the way through this, its fourth draft. Yes, FOURTH DRAFT. My god, it's boring. SO BORING. I AM SO BORED. I HATE IT.

So it's going well.

This is the nature of the beast. It is a human nature. It's nature is 150-odd pages, which must be boiled down to 120-odd pages MAX HEADROOM. And sixty-six.

Lets all RAISE OUR GLASSES to how far we've come in a single year. From nothing to something - something real, tangible, something that's really going to happen. Maybe this time next year we'll have shot the film? What a strange thought! But an exciting one.

As usual, I have been contacted by various fascinating, interesting and frankly mad people over the last few weeks, all with tales to tell and/or expertise and/or enthusiasm and/or cease and desist letters to bring to the table. One of these communiques was from Mr Brian Brewer from Chicago, Illinois, which is in America, or so they say.

In 2000 Brian attended a KISS auction, and, wise and perceptive man that he is, made a unique and somewhat exhilarating purchase. It is the only known example of this legendary item, knowledge of whose very existence caused me to gasp out loud. Brian bought a copy of the original, complete, feature-length Elder movie script! Who knew there even was such a thing?! Not me!

- What's it like? (130 pages!)

- Boring, said Brian.

- Boring? Boring how?

Descriptions Brian then threw in my direction included 'formulaic', 'typical early 80s' and 'B-movie'. The kind of words we might have been expecting. In fact he used the word 'formulaic' twice. That's how formulaic we're talking.

But it exists! A script got wrote!

And Brian is not going to sell it to you, you'll be pleased to hear. It's the cornerstone of his KISS Kollection, along with a handsome framed original Paul Stanley art piece entitled 'Purple Haze'.

Just for fun, how much do you reckon such a unique, one-off item might be worth? I know (because I asked) what Brian paid for it, and how much Bruce Kulick thinks it's worth (because Brian asked Bruce and Bruce told Brian and Brian told me, because I asked), and how much I think it's worth (in turnips), but how much do YOU think? Any suggestions above $100,000 please make immediate contact with Brian Brewer of Chicago, Illinois. And your psychiatrist.

Merry Christmas. We'll see you next year.

And the year after that.

20
Nov
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

So I have finished writing the Elder movie screenplay. As they say in Germany: ‘Ich habe schreckliche Probleme mit meinem Geranien!’ (Trans: “It's shit or get off the pot time.”)

So what do I do? Do I...do a...shit? Or....get off...the.....?

MOVING ON.

The script has now gone off to our various script editors, to get ripped apart like the haunches of a gazelle by a ravenous leopard. (Fear not, readers: if any of them dare say anything bad then I'll simply fire their sorry asses. I mean arses. Arses doesn't sound quite so...I don't know...) The subsequently, erm, replete leopard will then, erm, return the masticated, digested and hopefully now much, erm, tastier...flesh to....me (the gazelle) so that I may take my newly restored...plump haunches....back to the...grazing plateau....to meet some influential...zebras....at the....watering hole. Right?

What with everything else going on with the film project, like making the trailer, arguing with Owen, posting banalities on Facebook and not to mention bringing up two (real) small children, in the end the screenplay took me eleven months to complete. It was not particularly enjoyable. Creative work rarely is (unless you are drunk, but that's never a good idea, as 99% of the time, what you write when inebriated is total bollocks - although weirdly, I find, editing after a few glasses of wine is completely fine, much like operating heavy machinery). But I learned a lot from the experience. To take up some space, here is a list in bullet points about all that I have learned from this screenwriting experience.  

- It's very easy to expand your plot; to get carried away in your imagination in construction of a wonderful world of your own creation.

- Once you have done this, it is then necessary to pull it all together again at the end. This is considerably harder. All your previous glorious expansions have to then agonizingly contract and make sense and, indeed, justify their very presence in the first place. This is a complete pain in the arse, and makes you want to punch your six-months-previous self in the face repeatedly.

- Pare the dialogue RIGHT down. Seriously. You are not Quentin Tarantino, and even he overdoes things with the showboating verbal pyrotechnics. Pare your dialogue down to, literally, a few grunts. Then pare the grunts down to a few nods and shakes of the head. A blink or two. A vague twitch. Now delete that scene entirely. Then go to the pub and cry.

- I did not learn anything else. Except how easy it is to get distracted. But then, as a writer, I knew that already.

*ALT-TAB*

*several hours later*

So, erm....

Our trailer has now been seen by almost 24,000 people. Hello to you all. Or rather, hello to my mother pressing refresh.

Now we need a producer. With the greatest respect to Owen (not really - I just kind of have to say that), he is not a real producer. Which is why he has ‘stepped down’.

Anybody know any good producers?

Then it's time to pitch the script to KISS.

Then after that we'll try Bryan Adams.

If all else fails, Marillion.

05
Nov
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Friday October 19th, 2.40pm, I'm sitting in a cafe on D'Arblay Street in Central London attempting to eat a tuna sandwich and make polite smalltalk with friends and colleagues whilst peering anxiously out through heavy rain over to the entrance to the Soho Screening Rooms across the road. In 20 minutes we are on. People are due to gather to view - and subsequently brutally critique - the first fruits of our cinematic labours, our celluloid loins, the trailer of the Elder movie as written and directed by - oh God - me. My debut attempt at screenwriting and direction. And for some bizarre fucking reason I have chosen to exhibit these virginal fruits before a live and select audience of friends, family, cast, crew, journalists, international journalists, producers, actors, movers, shakers and KISS fans here today in, shit, 15 minutes and counting. And the very worst thing of all is that I haven't had a chance to test our physical mode of delivery to the big screen. We were here a few days before and couldn't connect the iPad (on which our 1080p HD version was primed and ready to go) to the screening rooms' control room, so here I sit, masticating tuna with a desultory, greasy memory stick in my jacket pocket with the trailer loaded onto it, desperately hoping that in, shit, 10 minutes' time, we'll actually be able to show the sodding trailer at all, as opposed to doing it all with shadow puppets.

I am also waiting for a beer barrel to roll past outside. Our event sponsor, Botley Brewery, have supposedly driven a barrel of their heavenly wares all the way here from Hampshire and I am sitting exactly equidistant between the NCP carpark and screening rooms and the barrel should seriously be rolling past any god damn minute now. Come on, barrel. Please, please, barrel. Instead my best friend Owen walks by, whistling.

'Owen! Get in here!'

He can't hear me through the cafe window. I bustle outside.

'Owen! Owen!'

'Oh hello,' says a nonplussed Owen. 'I found a guy who says he’s some sort of beer guy.'

I swing around. Shake hands with the beer guy. Thank God.

3.10pm, we have been open ten minutes and I still have no idea whether or not we're going to be able to physically screen our trailer. Lots of people are milling about in the screening rooms' lobby, chatting to one another and drinking the Botley beer and the champagne that Steve brought along, especially for the roped-off VIP section.

'Owen, get the hell out of the VIP section.'

'This champagne is delicious.'

'Stop drinking all the champagne!'

'Who else is meant to be drinking it?'

'Geoff Barton!'

'Where is he?'

'Errrrrmm...'

But all these people being here is great, people have come! Except that nobody seems to be as worried as me about the very real possibility that we're not actually going to have anything to show. I push through the throng to the control room and weakly brandish my memory stick at the, what, at the projectionist. The projectionist sticks the memory stick into his bank of blinking machinery, checks a few screens, turns to me and shakes his head.

'Nope,' he says. I start to cry. He removes the memory stick and shoves it into a different slot and then makes a sort of possibly, possibly sound with his mouth. Then, through the darkened window that opens out into Studio 3, our studio, the opening shot of our trailer bursts into life on the big screen beyond and my tears, different-flavoured ones now, continue to burst forth. I hug the projectionist, and he mutters something about mace spray, so I withdraw, walking on air.

We have trailer!

Everybody! We have trailer!

I am glared at with pity. More pity.

5pm. I stand in the screening rooms' lobby. Everyone has gone, except me and Steve and few others taking down our banner posters and clearing up the mess, the rotten vegetables amassed around the bottom of the screen and so on. But it is done. We filled the place, I introduced and that went OK, we showed Steve's own 'making of the trailer' documentary, which of course made the trailer which followed directly after look extra-specially amazing (only joking Steve!), and then, when the rapturous applause had eventually died down and I'd picked up all the roses we had a brief Q&A session, during which some pertinent questions were asked, and then the second sitting filed in and we did it all over again. Just like that. And then after that there was one more sitting, and yet more Hampshire beer was swallowed, champagne was quaffed and he'll never work in this town again was repeatedly mouthed, towards Owen of course, specifically with regard to his onscreen portrayal of Father Morpheus, which everybody agreed left something to be desired, by which of course I am referring to a motherfucking Academy Award, bitches.

Then the cast, crew and various ligging pals went on to the Crobar on Manette Street and all got uproariously drunk in celebration, except for me, as I didn't seem to be able to since the adrenaline was still surging around my bones, even at about 2am when I arrived home in Winchester, pained, drained and fundamentally rearranged. I would like to say that I then took to my bed for a fortnight, but sadly on Sunday morning I was doing a 30-mile sponsored walk, so I did that instead, readers. I did that instead.

www.justgiving.com/swvg-walk2012

But if you want to see our trailer: www.elderthemovie.com

And if you want to see Steve's doco clip from the trailer launch: www.elderthemovie.com/?wid=10

Before I sign off, I’d just like to offer a gigantic, sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to everybody on the team who has got us to this not-inconsiderable position already. Without you guys and gals I am nothing. All of you. You know who you are, and I salute you. I love you. WE ARE ONE. LET’S STAY TOGETHER. WE ARE DOING THIS. RRRRAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*mace spray*

I must also thank everybody who contributed financially to the making of the trailer via the site and our Indiegogo campaign, whose target of $1000 we managed to hit last week. Everything is now paid for - thanks to you. You guys underwrote this entire process, and we are DEEPLY grateful for your kindness, support and immense generosity. It's tough out there at the moment - it's tough everywhere. We do not take your contributions to this movie project for granted. You will of course all receive your finished DVD copies of the finished movie come the time, PLUS, of course, everything else that your own contribution gets you on our sliding scale of rewards. If you haven't yet joined our growing band of financial underwriters, then come and be a part of movie history right here!

So what next for the movie project?

I finish the script. (This is about a week away. Have I possibly said this before??)

We get a new, established producer on board. (We achieve this with the finished script, alongside the finished trailer.)

We go and pitch the movie project to KISS (among others) in Los Angeles.

So it all gets pretty serious now.

As serious as cancer.

Because rhythm is a dancer.

16
Oct
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

Not enough blog updates, tell me about it. Hopefully, however, you realise the lack of updates is simply because I'm working so hard on film stuff that unfortunately the blog always seem to be the thing that suffers. For this I apologise. From the end of next week I should be blogging more, as Colin our webmaster is coming to stay and is going to finally show me how the Blogsy app he insisted I download months ago, actually works. That should make things much easier for me. EASIER FOR ME TO AVOID.

We're launching the Elder trailer this Friday October 19th at the Soho Screening Rooms on D'Arblay Street in London. This has been my focus for the last few weeks and, to be honest, months. In fact I am writing this blog on the train to London where I am meeting Owen shortly and we're going to check out the technical specs for the screening room and work out what we're going to need and where we're going to stand and what we're going to say and where we're going to put the beer barrel. On my lap with a bendy straw.

The big question facing this event has always been: are we going to have something actually worth showing? There has always been the very real possibility of complete failure on this, essentially standalone short film project. The thinking went that if we can't even put together a decent two-minute trailer, then why even dream of going for the full-fat 90 minute mofo? So the stakes have been abnormally high throughout this process, and as we finally approach our Reckoning Day, I guess I'm feeling pretty confident we've made something that stands up. I will happily stand in front of a room of 30-40 journalists in a few days' time and show our trailer without apologies or caveats. I'm proud of it. Our editor Mike Peter Reed has done a wonderful job under continual harassment and haranguing from yours truly, and for this and all of his hard work, I cannot thank Mike enough. OK that's enough thanking Mike.

I have another Mike to get down on my knees to offer thanks to, and that's Mike Dunn, who has composed and recorded the original music for the trailer. We decided to junk the Mozart in the end, simply because Mike is immeasurably superior. He also got a massive male choir to sing "MORPHEUS!!!" in super-The Omen-doom-style, and it's spine-tinglingly awesome, dudes. Mike managed to throw all this together in mere DAYS, so massive respect is due. The last time I saw Mike was when I was eight years old at boarding school and Mike was attempting to teach me geography (I appreciate this is quite weird). This project has a way of bringing people together, and this has to be one of my favourite instances so far. I am looking forward to actually meeting Mike again on Friday, for the first time in...33 years. Bloody hell. Ulan Bator.

I have also NEARLY finished writing the screenplay. As soon as this draft is finished I have a few more tweaks to make (MOTIVATION!! RAISE STAKES!! CUT WHOLE SCENE!! SHORTEN BY 30 FCUKING PAGES!!), before we start to think about tactical circulation.

Now we have the finished trailer and almost screenplay too, the time has arrived to get a proper nuts 'n' bolts producer on board the film project. Owen is going to continue producing, but in a lesser capacity in order to allow our new and, we hope, recognised producer the room to...produce. We then hope to be in a position to pitch the movie project to KISS in person, as well as to a few others from whom we have already received interest. So it's quite an exciting time. As of this Friday we'll be in official pre-production for the feature. And there is going to be a hell of a lot to do.

We have already sent the trailer off to our KISS contacts, so that Gene and Paul can have a look before we go public with it this weekend. We always try to send everything we do to them first, simply out of courtesy. Whether or not they actually see/read it, we don't know, but we know some has got through. The response so far has been positive.

Our trailer will be available to view in HD on the Elder movie site from 6pm GMT on Friday October 19th. The trailer features rather a lot of sub-bass, which you'll miss if you just listen via computer monitor speakers, so sticking it through a decent set of speakers is highly recommended.

We hope you enjoy it. Let us know what you think!

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