writing

  • 25 May

    Excelsior! I’ve Signed a Deal to Write a Book About Stan Lee

    Hello world.

    I am thrilled to announce that I have been commissioned by Pen and Sword Books to write a shiny new book about Stan Lee.

    In case you didn’t know, Stan is one of the most important creative forces of the twentieth century. He helped shape pop culture as we know it. The cavalcade of flawed, multidimensional characters he co-created for Marvel Comics (including Spider-Man, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hulk and Black Panther) still resonate with millions across the globe.

    His work helped spawn the most successful film franchise of all time; the Marvel Cinematic Universe has collectively grossed nearly $20 billion – and counting. Not too shabby.

    On a personal note, Stan’s iconic work has been a constant in my life. From being an excitable kid prancing around the house in a Spider-Man costume and the hundreds of Marvel comics still gathering dust in my mum’s attic, to bunking off work to catch a 9am screening of the first Avengers film (sorrynotsorry Comedy Central) and now sharing these film with my son, his vibrant imagination continues to excite me no end.

    This is a dream come true for a grumpy ageing fanboy such as myself and I can’t wait to get stuck into the next chapter of my career.

    I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Hannah George, Marc Burrows, Dave Jackson, Matt McAllister and Kate Bohdanowicz for their help in making this happen. Now all I’ve got to do is write the damn thing. Because as the Man says, with a small amount of power, comes a small amount of responsibility. Or something.

    More updates on this, including release dates, to follow. Watch this space.

     

  • 02 Jan

    Hooray for Hollywood

    Hello world,

    2012 is here. This year will prove very interesting, not least if the Mayans are right. Still if they were that good at pinpointing the apocalypse, surely they would have foreseen their own demise…?

    Sadly astral charts and ancient predictions are less likely to bring about the downfall of modern civilization than the current economic meltdown which shows no sign of abating, but I know precious little about the ins and outs of it all so I shall say no more.

    What I will say, is that last year ended for me on a career high when a sitcom script I co created and co-wrote with dear friend James Devonshire is being sold to a major Hollywood studio. As several people have asked me to explain further on Facebook or Twitter I thought here would be a better place to do so.

    The idea was simple enough – a recession comedy about a man who has everything, loses everything and has to return to where he grew up and start again. Not particularly original I’ll admit but what me and James wanted to do is recreate that fast-paced, zingy dialogue that those Yanks have been doing so well for decades, but which is somewhat lacking from British comedies. Think Howard Hawks over Roy Clarke and you’re on the right lines.

    It seems the script had proved a bit too much a storng flavour for the British producers we’d so far shown it to, but on reflection it makes sense it would appeal more to the US market. Sure enough we gave it to a producer now working over in California (who also happens to be a gloriously wonderful, kind, thoughtful woman – a rare thing in this game) who read it, liked it and felt her boss would like it too.

    We’d never heard of her boss, but a quick google search revealed him to be the former President of a major US TV studio. This is when it all got very exciting. further probing revealed that during his tenure, he had a hand in developing and sustaining, among others, Cheers, Frasier, Seinfeld, Friends, ER and The West Wing. This is when it all got VERY exciting. Talk about a proven track record.

    This man did like our work and talks began with a view to develop a US version of our script which, despite the aforementioned dialogue style, was very much a British beast, picking apart and subverting the traditional view of rural English village life. More The Wicker Man than The Vicar of Dibley but without the surreal grotesque overtones of the former that inspired the brilliant League of Gentlemen. In short, village life can be pretty grisly and that’s what we wanted to capture.

    Fortunately for us, America has hundreds of equally grisly rural backwaters and so our script struck a chord over the Pond and as we move into the new year, with any luck we’ll see a pilot being filmed. At the moment I am keeping everything crossed and touching an enormous amount of wood. I ask you please to do the same.

    Hopefully this blog entry won’t have jinxed development, but I always believe that if I had the power to negatively affect the outcome of a future event by merely vocalising my desire for everything to go well then this must make me some sort of demi-urge. Rest assured, I know from my tussle with a minor stomach bug over the festive period I am not a god. Merely a frail, overly-delicate mortal, flesh and blood and full of wind.

    So that’s it. Forgive the vagaries – I felt it best not to mention names (apart from James of course) and I’ll keep this site updates with more news as and when it breaks. If, on the other hand, the Mayans turn out to be right about 2012 then I suggest we all stock up on the ham in the tin and start building that bunker in the garden.