The Question Is…


Over the last little while I have been talking to a lot of people. Not with just one aim in mind you understand, but as a result of having so much on the go at the same time. Regular readers of this page (I am assured there might be as many as two of you) will know that I do tend to bang on about politics a bit. Not as much as I used to, but a bit.

Combine that with a media career and what you get is someone who talks to a lot of people about a lot of different things so when somebody asks me that question; ‘What are you up to lately?’ I hardly know where to start.

So, I’ll start at the end. Which is where things sit right now…

Amongst the many ideas on the slate at the minute are;

A comedy short

As proof-of-concept for a comedy feature. If I say the words Baseball bats and Scotland – it’s exactly not what you think it is. We are putting together a kickstarter for that short and all I need to do is sit down and write the thing. If you liked Electric Man, you’ll like this. And no, it isn’t in the style of Ronnie Corbett. And neither am I. And now I’ve put this photo in here I do somewhat regret it. Moving on….

ETA: Filming after the summer holidays

Thriller/Action Feature

I have had a first draft of this ready for a while and since we are heading to London this May for a few meetings I shall be putting this out to a single trusted reader to get it in shape for May. We spent ages talking to industry figures at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. My wife thinks I just go for the cake and wine and I do, but the talking is also work, trust me.

Anyway, this year we are going full on – we want to get some film making done no matter what – of course this isn’t the perfect  project  given that it is set in three different time periods in Venice, Lyon and London. So, you need to go where the money is. Glasgow is lovely for meeting people and it gives you no guarantees when you get a meeting in London but at least they might actually read the script and as a writer that’s about the best you can hope for.

ETA: Meetings in May


Half my week this week has been talking to people about a documentary we want to make. And to be honest this can be both uplifting and infuriating.

I spent three hours being told what kind of documentaries we couldn’t make in a meeting with STV at Film City in Glasgow but you never know we might be able to get a good story together to fit in between episodes of Coronation Street – I wish I was joking but you need to make it half an hour so that it fits between two episodes. I will keep you updated on that. I didn’t even know that there were two episodes in one night. Is the second one a kind of, after-the-watershed, fifty shades of Corrie?

Anway, the STV opportunity is open to people who have had publicly shown documentaries at festivals or on TV and you can find out about it at the Scottish Documentary Institute. They are worth checking out if you are that kind of film maker even if you don’t currently feel like making a half hour programme that suits viewers of Corrie.

So Friday was kinda frustrating. I went in with three ideas only to discover that of those three only one of them stood even half a chance. Hey ho, that’s the business. I go in for lots of things and get about 1 in 10. The next day was better though.  Our documentary idea is about the future and how that future need not be the dark and bleak thing everyone seems to think it’s going to be. Having just begun the research (fitting it in between other jobs) I am more hopeful than I have been in ages.

A few weeks back I spoke with Professor Colin McInnes from University of Glasgow. You think you are clever until you start talking to people like him. He’s an expert on solar sails and holds the James Watt chair currently. He said something that I hadn’t thought of before. In a conversation about the future of the planet he said ‘Artists are all doom and gloom, engineers are all optimists’ because…

Give engineers enough time and money and they’ll fix anything

Now, he’s an engineer and so I thought he might be a bit biased. Then yesterday  I went to talk to Mark Stevenson: this was just a chat and he wasn’t talking ‘on the record’ or anything but I hope he won’t mind me plugging his show a little bit. He’s just written his second book and that’s great but he also makes a living talking to organizations and governments about the future. Because he sits and thinks about it whilst they generally don’t. I have started his first book and I heard the talk and it cheered me up no end.

It takes him an hour to tell you that we might, just might, be not-fucked. The future can be beautiful if we just let it be.

Highlights were…. people are making diesel from air, the next generation (and some of this generation) should be able to live healthy lives and reach 120. Oh, and there is no need for famine at all. The books are seriously worth checking out. I wanted to make a documentary about how there is a possible future that isn’t a shitstorm – then discovered that there are people all around the world actively inventing it at a rate that would bamboozle you. The talk was the first event in a long time where I walked in feeling one way (a bit meh) and walked out feeling like there was a reason to smile.

ETA: Documentary – who knows. part 1, this year.

ETA: The future – Sooner than you think.



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