Friday, July 11, 2014

LeakyCon 2014 schedule update

I'm attending this year's LeakyCon in July/August (details with links here), and the schedule has just been posted - you can see the whole thing here, and use it to make your own schedule of stuff to see, like a serial killer plotting crimes in tiny handwriting in a Notebook of Death (note to police: I totes don't do that).

If you want to see the bits I'm doing, all on one page, just click here! I'm on several panels, doing signings, and other things.

Don't forget, there will be a screening of Crazy For You, the short I wrote and directed, starring Arthur Darvill and Hannah Tointon, on Sunday August 3rd at 11am - I'll do a Q&A after it, so stick around. I'm also hosting a screening and Q&A for Cockneys Vs Zombies, Sunday August 3rd at 12pm. Crazy For You has some violence and gore (it's a romantic comedy about a serial killer), but CvsZ is full on blood, gore, swearing, and gratuitous violence, so bring the kids! No, don't.

And on Saturday August 2nd at 4pm, I'm doing a workshop thing, called "So you wanna be a TV writer" (although it applies to film and TV). If you want to get an inside view of how my writing process works, from idea to finished script, come along and join in. I'll be taking random ideas from bad local newspapers, and we'll all work on them together to brainstorm, outline, and form a complete movie/TV story from start to finish (obviously we don't do the script stage, we'd be there for months).

Yes, I said "we". It's interactive. I've done it twice before, it almost went wrong both times, due to the live, unplanned nature, so hey, maybe it'll be third time unlucky! Come and watch me panic and possibly cry. And at the end, one random attendee (names in a hat) gets sacrificed to Satan and eaten by the others gets to keep the scribbled outline and notes! Unless it's a whiteboard, in which case you can take photos of it, or something. Actually, you can all take photos of the board. But the random winner gets, er, I dunno, a free pen or something. DON'T QUESTION ME

I'm so excited to be attending, and can't wait to meet you all. Say hello! I'm evil nice!

Further update: Gaming! I will be tabletop gaming with you a couple of times, in the Gaming Area (Marketplace) - Friday 2.30pm to play Resistance, and Saturday 10am to play Ticket to Ride. I've never played either, so come take advantage of my foolishness, and leave me a blubbering wreck!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Convention in Rome

Friends! Romans! Convention-goers! Lend me your beers!

Yes, I'm coming back to Italy again, for another event. It's in Rome this time, and I'll be available to meet on the 13th and 15th July - click here and here for details. So if you're in Rome, or near Rome, or passing through Rome, come along and say hello!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The end of VS Comics

It gives me no pleasure to say this, but we're closing down VS Comics, and shooting all the creators. Wait, we're *not* shooting all the creators? Okay, that's good, I was a bit worried about that part, because I'm one of them. But we're still closing VS, sadly.

There's a blog post on the VS site here explaining the reasons, but to summarise: too many costs, not enough sales, lengthy story development, and difficult third party sites. Please read the post, it goes into more detail.

To elaborate on the Graphicly situation (more info here and here): we took a major hit in our very first month when we went with them to get our first issue out there. They cost £150 up front, put the wrong price on (much lower than expected), and launched us on Christmas Eve for some reason. Due to their, er, interesting sales tracking, we couldn't even tell how many we'd sold through them, and they were quite rude any time we emailed, so we stopped using them from issue 2 onwards, moving to our storefront and PDF system, which worked very nicely. We still haven't had any payments from Graphicly, but hey, neither has anybody else! Some of the Graphicly team have moved to Blurb, so you might want to be cautious about using them too, given past experience. If they'd like to respond to any of this, or even pay us what we're owed, we'd love to hear from them.

Getting onto Comixology would have really helped a lot - but they'd have taken 50% of sales, after Apple's 30% cut if it sold through Newsstand. Oh, and there was a 16 week wait for approval. For *each* issue. So that wouldn't have really worked for a monthly.

If you want to read more about how we ran the monthly operation, I wrote a post over at Den of Geek explaining all the ins and outs of it, including our sales tools and how to set up an automatic storefront - if you're selling your own stuff, it might be useful.

But! We put out a year's worth of quality tales, I'm really proud of what we all achieved. We had fantastic reviews & feedback, and an open submissions policy that brought some amazing talents to us. It was some of the most creative, fun work I've done, getting to tell a story with no limitations, helping others tell their own stories, and working with clever, brilliant people. I wouldn't trade that for anything - you should only regret the things you don't try, and I learned a lot from the whole experience.

There'll be a collection of some of the stories later (see the VS website for details), so if you missed out, you'll be able to grab lots of them in one big book. Until then, I'm planning some shorter form comics, and intend to finish Day & Night with Patrick (the artist), Nathan (the colourist) and Mike (the letterer) - the full, 12 episode arc is all written, Patrick has done the art for episode 6, and is working on episode 7 now. That will be printed separately when it's all finished, but now we don't have to hit a monthly target, I can stop shooting bullets at Patrick's feet and he can stop screaming. Although that part was fun, I can't deny it.

If you want to follow the work of all the people involved in VS, go to the website to see all the artists, writers, and editorial team. It'll be like when a band splits up and they all go solo, but more fun. Thank you to everyone who read VS, and thank you to the creators for making it so cool.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

STICCON in Italy

Italian people! I'm attending this year's STICCON (Star Trek Italian Club Convention) from May 22nd to 25th, in Bellaria, Italy. Yes, that's next week. Yes, I should have mentioned it before. Yes, I've been working a lot.

It's partly a Star Trek event, but I'll be there in my general science fiction capacity, having written for other shows that have spacey and alieny stuff in. Other guests include Connor Trinneer, John Billingsley, and Bonita Friedericy, several special effects people from Star Wars, and more. If you're Italian, or live in Italy, or are an alien with the ability to beam down for the weekend, come and say hello!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kermode Uncut

I'm a guest on Mark Kermode's film blog this week, on the subject of whether critics pay enough attention to writers, and if, in the film industry in general, writers are undervalued. As you may imagine, I have *lots* to say on this particular subject...

It was great fun to do, and I'm very happy to have been invited on. The Good Doctor is one of the rare exceptions who will actually mention writers, and has been very nice about my work in the past. Of course, one day I'll write something he hates, and I'll have to fight him to the death on that spiked platform from Flash Gordon. It's our way.

Crazy For You at NYC Downtown Short Film Festival

New Yorkers! And New York-adjacent people! Crazy For You will screen at the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival, on Wednesday June 18th.

Tickets for the evening are available through this link here - they're $15, and you get to see 6 shorts including mine, and can attend a cocktail reception too. Go drink cocktails for me. Oh, and watch the film! Don't forget that part.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Eurovision online party

It's Eurovision time again! And that means Twitter is going to be awash in people live-tweeting the grand final tomorrow, including me. If you want to join in, I'll be online throughout the show, as will Jodie.

For everyone outside Europe, or those who have never heard of it: the Eurovision is an annual song contest in Europe, featuring wacky pop songs, insane outfits, and a massive arena filled with all the lights in the world. It's like a timewarp into the 1970s. It's fantastically awful, and fantastically brilliant. Some of the entries seem to be completely unaware of how far music has come in the past 40 years or so. The fun lies in seeing how terrible some of the songs are, how loud some of the outfits are, and what the latest gimmick will be (Russian grannies, ice skaters, etc). But then there are some genuinely great, fun pop songs and performances too - the sillier the better. Nobody wants to win, because it's massively expensive to produce (the winner gets to host the competition next year) and nobody can afford it. But everyone *desperately* tries to win anyway. The voting is blatantly, hilariously political. The UK always does badly, which always seems to come as a huge surprise to the UK team, as their waves to camera get sadder and sadder as the voting progresses. And soaring over it all like a beautiful bird, is Graham Norton, who provides the informative and gently sarcastic audio commentary throughout (taking over from the mighty Terry Wogan).

If you've never seen it, I can see why you might not be sold on it from my description. But there are few things more fun than watching the show with like-minded people, making jokes, being surprised at the good songs, and getting roaring drunk. You can't watch it sober. It would be dangerous.

If you're watching, and want to join in the Twitter madness, some details:

Eurovision grand final: Saturday May 10th, at 8pm. 

BBC One and BBC One HD.

For those without access to BBC One, the Eurovision website will have a live stream here: - it's at 8pm UK time, so be aware of the timezone difference.

I'm on Twitter as @jamesmoran, Jodie is @jodiekearns. I'll be using the hashtag #eurovision, but if you're following anyway that won't matter.

If you have no interest in seeing a bucketload of Eurovision nonsense in your feed, from me or anyone else, you'd be well advised to mute that hashtag during the show - most Twitter clients can mute hashtags or keywords. I will probably be tweeting about it a lot, so fair warning! There are always some bamboozled non-Europeans who don't know what's going on, and think I've gone mad.

Anyway. If you're watching and joining in, I'll see you online. Bring booze! Seriously. Trust me on this. You'll need it.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Crazy For You at SIFF

Crazy For You, the short film I wrote and directed, starring Arthur Darvill and Hannah Tointon, will screen at the Seattle International Film Festival this month!

It's part of the Suburban Gothic program, on Friday May 23rd, at 9.30pm. Details for Crazy For You are here, and if you want to see it you'll need a ticket for the Suburban Gothic screening here.

I'm very happy about this news, and have been wanting to blab about it since I found out. So if you're in the area, and want to see it on the big screen, please go along!