Thursday, 24 December 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Promo Art - Final product (25/12/2015)

And here, on Christmas Day, is my present to you. The Finished Series promo art, featuring the leads:

This terrific little gem I owe all thanks to the loyal Luke Ceranic. Be sure to check out his stuff here:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Promo Art - lineart and colour test (10/12/2015)

So, now here's the finalized lineart of the sketch from last time.

And here is some colour tests Mr Ceranic is doing. So far, so good.

Yes, very brief, but you'll see the results soon...

Thursday, 3 December 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Promo Art sketches (3/12/2015)

So, the much valued Mr. Ceranic has produced a more promotional sort of image on top of his pieces of concept art. I wanted something that could serve as a sort of poster or banner to the show, setting the tone and style.

First, the rough sketch, influenced in no small part by E.P. Jacobs classic cover for Blake And Mortimer: The Yellow M:

Now, the cleaned up lineart:

Monday, 16 November 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Video update on pitches (17/11/2015)

So, been a while, huh?

Well, while the much esteemed Luke works on more concept art, here's a quick and easy video on what has been going on with me, covering what has happened in recent months as well as trying to get the pilot episode off the ground and talking with companies:

Hopefully next time, I can provide some meatier. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Revised Main Cast Bios (13/10/2015)

In line with the retooled pilot and bible, I wish to update the bios for our four main characters.

Dan Clancy: Our protagonist; a self-styled man of action, the ‘coolest guy in the room’ sort, and armed with a fine and adept mind. Sporting a wide brim hat and a flowing leather coat, he is clearly a hero cut from the mold of Eastwood, but with a bit more in way of spark to be expected from your standard cartoon action star, as well as a sense of wit.  

Underneath his brashness though lies a fierce intelligence, strong concern for those around him, and a manic desire to see right be done. However, all this bravura hides a secret that even Dan himself is not fully aware of, and to which he owes his unique abilities, and one that will permanently change the dynamic between him, Risa and Heidi as it forces him to re-evaluate who he is and what he stands for, and comes to terms with a tragic event that made him the man he is now..

Risa Velton: Dan's partner, herself a new member of Britain’s regular secret services. She is very spirited and feisty, but is no one’s fool, certainly not Dan's by any stretch, and a dab hand with technology. She's a fast thinker, an active girl but with a definite sweet tooth as identified by her love of cakes. Of course, her drive for justice is partly brought by a less than tender past with her own family that has incited in her a ferocious desire for self-sufficiency, as well as that need to think on her feet and be dependable in a way her own parents could not be.

Heidi Clairemont: The stern woman in charge of the Bureau and former field agent/companion of Dan Clancy, with whom she has a seemingly relationship, being rather lacking in tolerance for his flippancy. Despite her matter of fact exterior and fierce desire for efficiency and effectiveness from her agents, she still harbours feelings for Dan, with whom she has many fond, even personal, memories that will soon come back to haunt them.

Rucard: Dan's brother and the primary antagonist for Season 1. He is a supremely intelligent and conniving criminal mastermind who is also rather unnerved by his brother’s lack of ‘remembrance’ in the first episode, and decides to set that straight in his own vicious, cruel way. Suave, sophisticated and well dressed, Rucard is all class, as well as a dab hand with technology, a fiercely commanding showman, and utterly ruthless in pursuing whatever his goals may be.

Friday, 9 October 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Writing complete, New submission (9/10/2015)

So after a good few weeks of work and polishing, and the occasional anxiety and bit of doubt, I finally have 'Time of Miracles' as well as the series bible retooled, revised and ready to go. In fact, they're already gone!

The contact that I've been alluding to over the past few posts I have been engaging in a dialogue over the weeks, detailing my plans as well as the place of the show within the current animation landscape in the UK and the competition out there from abroad. Today, I sent both the new pilot and the new bible off to him for evaluation. There's nothing settled or signed just yet, but who knows what this could lead to. Needless to say, I'm very, very excited!

Also, enjoy the final bit of concept art, featuring our two leads, from Mr. Ceranic that you'll be getting for some time, as he is tied up with other work.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Coming soon, writing update (27/9/2015)

Another draft for Time of Miracles is underway, the series bible has received a makeover, and well, I do have a few new tidbits that may bring me one step closer to getting the series off the ground.
Watch this space folks.... things are about get cooking.

Monday, 7 September 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Back to Fighting Form! (7/9/2015)

Right then, returned from my holiday in Northern Spain greatly re-energised and roaring to go! Of course this begs the question, go where? Well as I briefly mentioned last time, after straining my mental faculties to great length, I came to the conclusion that Town of Miracles simply needed to be rewritten to cut down elements I felt inappropriate or lackluster rather than scrap the whole thing. I feel the different atmosphere and mood while abroad has given me some distance, especially given the rather poor luck that V.S.T. has endured in recent times as you may recall, to think my options through properly.

Now re-titled more fittingly as The Time Of Miracles, the pilot is the process of going through its sixth draft (first of this revised incarnation) and that should be completed by week's end, with possibly a seventh shortly thereafter. Changes will include toning down the morbidity of the subject matter, as well as up the ante on the action and thrill factor, and punching up the banter between Dan and Risa. I'll also be tweaking the series bible as well, changing up and expanding the episode count and variety which I felt, upon reflection, was very repetitious and samey in style.

Fingers crossed, more news is to come, as hopefully will be more fun concept art courtesy of the amazing Mr. Ceranic!

Monday, 24 August 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Major Pilot Update (24/8/2015)

Ladies and Gentlemen, after much brainstorming and the ingestion of ice tea, Town of Miracles has been restored to the status of series pilot, but it will be undergoing some rather large overhauls in the coming weeks. More news coming very soon...

Sunday, 2 August 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Concept art for 'Rucard' 2 (2/8/2015)

First, here are some face tests we did for Rucard when trying to nail down a certain size as well as eye type.

And now, here we have the finalized sketch of Rucard.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Concept art for 'Rucard' (28/7/2015)

Okay, time for concept sketches. Here are some tests for the main villain of Series 1, Rucard.

Really wanted Luke to push up the elegance, but also dial down the, ironically, cartoony megalomania. I also wanted him to be less youthful and more mature. So he went in, and did another version.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Summer Break and A Re-evaluation (11/7/2015)

Sometimes, things don't go according to plan. Sometimes, there are forks in the road, and sudden shifts in the proverbial weather. For me, this has proven to be a whirlwind of a summer thus far, especially in both regards to the series as well as my personal life. I feel this post is important to make to any young and upcoming creatives reading.

The redrafting the series pilot has hit a snag: each new idea I develop ends up having some kind of shortcoming that, despite an outline, treatment and then getting into the writing, can't be circumnavigated. The first replacement for Town of Miracles was to be a two parter called The Wasting, which dealt with a mysterious dark mist that threatened to swallow an English village. This was an idea I was very keen, deciding to take part of Town and re-engineer it to be more like a Hammer Horror story (for kids, naturally), but upon review and a bit of consultation, a two parter was felt to not be the wisest as a means of pitching the series, as it would push up producing costs and be seen more as an inability to tell a compact and accessible story to introduce the series.

So, I went back to basics and whipped up The Stormcloud Man, which saw Rucard, once again in disguise, using a mysterious umbrella that could dangerously alter the weather in London to tempestual levels. Getting it about half done in a first draft, I found the idea perhaps a little too silly for the sort of tone I wanted for VST, being more like a plot from Dangermouse. So that got scrapped and I tried one more time with The Pandora Machine, which would've seen Rucard invent a mysterious machine that foretells great disasters. This one lasted even less, barely getting halfway through the first act before I stopped and said to myself, 'Oh I'm sure even the children won't be able to figure out what is really going on with the machine's strange powers. This premise is so utterly watertight!'.

Trying to turn the series around and having to start from scratch following the collapse of my prior collaboration with Keith has proven to be more of a headache than I had originally anticipated, and combined with the humid weather as of late, and anxieties about my own future, creativity basically smashed into a huge brick wall. So, I decided to put it to bed for the moment and clear my head. Once summer is done, I intend to resume, refreshed and willing.

So, what does this mean for the blog? Never fear, more concept art is on the way.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Concept art for 'Heidi Clairemont' 3 (8/7/2015)

And now the last and most recent bits, courtesy once more of Mr Ceranic. Firs tup is a finalised design of the older Heidi.
 And now, for some more tests with her younger self.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Concept art for 'Heidi Clairemont' 2 (5/7/2015)

Some more pieces, courtesy of the loyal Mr Ceranic. These are some cleaned up drawings of Dan's superior, Heidi, following discussion after the initial test versions. We went in the direction of the third version, as well as doing a trial version of what her younger self would look like.

Friday, 3 July 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Concept art for 'Heidi Clairemont' (3/7/2015)

Some more art, courtesy of Mr Ceranic. These are some test drawings of Dan's superior, Heidi. I wanted a character who was opposed to Risa: someone who has clearly seen better days, and is not an action heroine. We toyed with the idea of weight, as you can see, as well as her formal attire.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Pilot Overhaul and the immediate future (23/6/15)

And now that I've had my time to mourn Keith, who will be very, very deeply missed, I'm doing what he would most wish me to: get off my backside and back to work! And, as you've gathered from the title, it's quite a doozy...

The Town of Miracles, along with the original second episode, Coney: Island of Secrets, have been scrapped as the openers for V.S.T. The decision was not made lightly or without hesitation, as a lot of work went into both and I had a great deal of enthusiasm and hope for them. However, upon re-evaluating them, as well as weighing up my present options for trying to get them produced, or at least pitched, in some capacity, they just don't cut it. Subject matter wise, they may be a little too dark for children (the first episode deals heavily with death, medical care and resurrection, while the second deals with underhanded property development, vagrancy and, as you've guessed from the name, freaks), as well as the American locale of the second episode being a bit of a betrayal of the series predominantly British setting and roots.

This is not to say I want to dilute or dumb down the series: my mission statement was to create a kids show with an edge, a 'meat' lacking in a lot of the more light, bright and zanier shows on the airwaves right now. I still want a show to both excite and even unsettle the young audience a little, but I feel Town and Coney are no longer up to the job. I currently have a few ideas and outlines tossing about as replacements for the two, which should not only prove to be superior, but more appropriate and viable.

Also, it's not all doom and gloom: aside from the fun and challenge of retooling the show again, my good bud Luke Ceranic is currently working on more concept art for the series, which will be posted up here in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

I made a promise to Keith, before he passed, that I would see this project through to the bitter end, and I can assure all of you reading this entry, that my resolve has never been stronger or more determined. If you want a dream, go out and get it.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

'Very Strange Things' - A Tragic Loss (20/6/15)

Today, my creative project, and the many who have helped shape it, were dealt a sudden and terrible blow with the death of my premiere collaborator and all around good guy, Keith Matthews (1960-2015). He was found in his flat this afternoon, departed from our world.

He was a hard working man with an infectious sense of humour and a strong, determined voice, never afraid to speak his mind on anything or about anyone. He ran the Kentish Town Oxfam bookshop like the smoothest ship imaginable, always being kind and courteous to staff and customers, while still making time for friends, many of whom shared his passion for the arts. He had enjoyed a life in the theatre, working up as an assistant and runner back in places like Notting Hill Gate and Edinburgh across the 70s and 80s, and had over the years acted and directed in an assortment of plays in a variety of styles and genres. He also wrote a one off BBC Radio comedy series, produced within the bookshop itself, called S.O.S, as well as his own nonfiction book detailing the history of popular radio series Just A Minute. Heck, he even got to meet the likes of Peter O'Toole and Kenneth Williams over the course of his life.

Heck, he even made it into local news with a landmark find concerning the HMS Titanic. See for yourself here:

He was a tremendous inspiration for me, helping me get over my many nerves and doubts as a budding creative and always pushing me to go out and pursue my dreams, no matter the odds. He was greatly invested in this project, and my one regret, no matter how successful V.S.T. ends up becoming, will be to not see him enjoying the sight of it or being a part of it. As of now, the audio recording is disbanded, and a beacon in my life has gone out.

Rest in Peace you silly old git. You deserve it.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Rewrites and New Avenues (14/6/15)

Hello all you wonderful people out there. I apologize for the lack of updates in some time, but like many things, it's been a slow burn with regards to the project (plus I've just graduated University and my brother is due to have a child soon, so that has been something of an time occupier). However, I am really, really happy to report some good news with regards to future plans for V.S.T.

First, the readthrough is more or less on track, now that Keith has been able to conduct individual readthrough with the demo cast, so fingers crossed, we should have a complete cast read set up within the next month. He's been working tirelessly on this, and I cannot be prouder to have him as a collaborator.

Second, having sat down for a heart to heart, I can now begin to look into exploring alternate options as to sending out V.S.T to potential companies, as well as conducting any additional rewrites on the pilot. Initially I didn't want to as I felt that if I did try and pursue other potential options and offers, it would diminish and even insult the contribution of Keith and his actors. However, his attitude could not be further from the truth, and he wholeheartedly encouraged me to keep my eyes peeled, having the audio version more ass a backup in the event that other plans feel apart.

And third, my good buddy and budding animator Luke Ceranic (killb94 on Deviantart, as you recall), who contributed the concept art you've seen on this blog, finally has some free time from his other commitments and has expressed interest in whipping up some more artwork, so I greatly look forward to what he has in store for me.

So, looks like fortune may be smiling on me at last! Stay tuned to this blog, because excitement is just around the corner...

Saturday, 25 April 2015

'Very Strange Things' - First Read Through coming soon (25/4/15)

So today had a good sit down with Keith and we discussed where things were going, given that there's an indefinite delay on the recording of the audio version of the pilot. On top of some welcome reassurance of the enthusiasm of our chosen performers, as well as a potential back up in the event we cannot gain access to CRC, he also stated he would like the get a first read through of the script with the cast and myself in attendance in the coming month.

Naturally, this is good news, as it will be both fun and very educational for me as a practicing writer to be able to hear my actors perform and maybe experiment with my script, as well as bring us one step closer on the road to this show seeing the light of day in some format. Of course, given the uncertainty of this and the final recording, updates will still remain sporadic unfortunately, but well, that's the nature of the creative arts for you.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Apologies and Recording Update (11/4/15)

Hello, hello everyone! Apologies for the lack of updates in near three weeks, but as I did stipulate at the beginning of this blog, there would be dry periods when there wouldn't be much to discuss, given the slow nature of any type of media production when starting out. However, I can now add some clarification:

One of the cast members is presently tending to family affairs, following the operation of a relative, and will not be available to record for a yet unknown time to look after them. Naturally, I extend my best wishes to him and his family, but what this will mean is that the planned April release of the audio recording of the pilot will most likely be delayed until possibly May or even June. Sometime, life can deal a unfair hand at times upon many people, and this is one of those times. Oh well, chip up!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

'Very Strange Things' - The Interim Years between 'M.I.4' and 'V.S.T' (21/3/15)

So, I´ve talked about how this whole shebang started as a Deviantart serial called M.I.4 Adventures, and then how it fizzled out and was resurrected in 2014 as what would become Very Strange Things. However, something I hadn't addressed before is what happened during the downtime between the two versions of Dan and Risa.

The truth is, really, not much: I was busy with college getting my BTEC in media, as well as preparing for University and considering a career in regular filmmaking as opposed to writing (at that point, my career path was leaning more towards director and editor). However, the show would pop back in my mind every now and then, usually in a rota of about three, four months give or take, often focusing on perhaps reviving it on DA. I would have a few thoughts on maybe finishing the Splinters arc and give the series closure, and then it would fade away.

I did try to re-enter serial writing with a new series in 2012 called War's Toybox, but this only lasted a prologue and the first chapter before pressures from University and a lack of faith in the material (little more than a tacky hybrid of V for Vendetta and Mad Max in a steampunk world), and would not enjoy the surprising longevity that M.I.4 had wrought. Frankly, all these years later, I´m still amazed my younger, less attentive self had so much patience to be able to write a good two and half seasons of material without much of a break. Who says all teens are lazy?

Saturday, 14 March 2015

'Very Strange Things' - My Writing history (14/3/15)

So while more details are being sorted with regards to the April recording, I figured I'd use this opportunity to showcase more about myself. Naturally, some may look at this blog and say 'Well, this is all well and good, but do you have any other script writing experience, and in what?'

Well, you're in luck as I do in fact have several examples available for online consumption, and in different styles and genres. TV, shorts, animation and even a feature script, all cooked up within the last two years, and one of which is actually ongoing. They can all be found on my Deviantart profile, which is where the original version of the V.S.T pilot, along with the old MI4 stories that inspired it, can be found too. So, what do I offer?

DA Link:

First up are my short scripts:

- Eye in the Shadows: My first written screenplay, this was for an unproduced comedy short film that was an homage to 1940s films and filmmaking, combing film noir and big slapstick in the story of a movie buff who goes private detective to figure out if his girlfriend is cheating on him.

- Our Son (First draft): a cancelled project, Our Son was going to be a drama short dealing with parents who had a terminally ill child, and chronicling how their lives take a harsh downward spiral.

Next up is teleplays:

- MI4 Adventures (Pilot): the old version of V.S.T. Nothing more to add here as I´ve discussed it in past entries.

- Carnacki: Soul Hunter (Pilot, Unfinished): A modern update of the W.H. Hodgson supernatural mystery stories, the series was to center on paranormal investigator Thomas Carnacki and his efforts to battle the supernatural around England. Think, essentially, Sherlock meets a more serious Ghostbusters. The project was reconfigured into a new (still developing) show called Conjurers, which is a period piece dealing with a society of magicians.

- Black Butler II: Trancy´s Tale: My big ongoing project as of this entry, this 13 episode fan series is a re-imagining of the period mystery-horror anime Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji II, which was seen by many fans as a missed opportunity to expand the universe, and a retread of the first season. The main characters are Alois Trancy, a young psychotic earl and his demon butler Claude, who seemed to be the protagonists of BBII, only for the first episode to use this as a red herring and they then became the show's antagonists. So, my version aims to instead speculate as to what the series could've been like had they held onto to them as leads.

And now, for the feature script:

- The Lone Ranger 2, A Fan Screenplay: a 91 page collaborative effort, this was a amusing little experiment in cinematic 'what ifs'. I found Disney's oddball mega western to be an enjoyable and certainly interesting blend of elements: a Princess Bride style deconstruction of Western myths and hero origin stories. So, I and a good friend, also an aspiring writer, decided to fool around at first and just bounced the idea of a sequel between us.

We decided to get serious and began with a brief outline before diving into the writing process, which had a back and forth dynamic. I would write maybe five or so pages, ship it to him over email, and then he would write another chunk, and rinse and repeat. Between these, we would review and discuss the other's contribution, and it was an often fun collaboration that gave us a chance to stretch our writing metal, especially with the action set pieces.


And well, that´s about it for what is available. I have more scripts, both already written and being written as a part of new projects, but that will be discussed in a future entry. For now, you will hopefully have a greater idea of my skills and tastes in writing and what I can offer.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Recording update and Stage 32 Contest (7/3/15)

So, two pieces of rather good news: first, one of our main actors from the audio version of Town of Miracles has said that he is available during April, and he has access to additional audio recording equipment should the Camden Radio deal fall through. Now, Keith is working to get the other actors lined up for a date and we can soon set to work. God I´m excited!

And the second bit of good news is that Town of Miracles made it into the quarter finals of the Stage32 TV script contest, where it was submitted back in October, long before any sort of dealings with Keith or other plans.

No prize alas, but a well timed confidence booster after some of the unfortunate delays as of late, as well as a sign, if you´ll forgive my melodrama, that I may be onto something with this show and that there is strength in my novice writing skills to stand alone without other aids...

Of course, more changes will come, but after a good few stagnant weeks, having a double dose of positive portence is greatly welcomed.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Writing for Animation vs. Live Action: The difference (28/2/2015)

So while there´s still some down time till the next major chapter in the series' journey (still chasing people up over at CCR), I figured I´d stop and answer a question that is probably on the minds of many in my position: okay, so I´m a writer, and I want to be versatile, so I´ll write for animation. What´s the difference from live action?

In all honesty, not that much. Most of the basic rules, like structure and format, are identical. Really, it´s more dealing with the nature of the medium i.e. animation has to do everything from the ground up. There´s a really great article by Ducktales and Muppet Babies veteran Jeffrey Scott on what the differences are, and he's pretty thorough about what you need to do if you want to go into the world of toons.

Go check it out here, it´s really good stuff:

Saturday, 21 February 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Recording Delays (21/2/2015)

Sadly, due to personal circumstances beyond the control of me and my collaborators, the much anticipated recording of the pilot script, Town of Miracles, has been delayed. A genuine shame as, if you recall from earlier posts, we were aiming to be rehearsed and recorded around this time of this month, and it was just not to be. Unfortunately, issues came up and meant that the redrafted script could not be completed, rehearsals could not be planned, nor could an agreement be reached with Camden Radio to sort out recording space, mainly down to a lack of time.

However, I´m still amazed this even got so far as to have such a committed collaboration and options, and I greatly look forward to getting things back on track now that said affairs are starting to settle down. Fingers crossed, we should be up and running again in the next month or so!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Series Pitch dry run (14/2/2015)

So on Wednesday, as part of a class exercise on my BA Film course, we were tasked with doing 5 minutes pitches. Originally, I was due to pitch a short script I had been working on, but since there was no restriction on the subject of the pitch, I decided to conquer some of my anxieties and do a practice pitch for the first season of Very Strange Things. Armed with only a few basic notes, I set to work before my classmates. I won´t regurgitate much, since most of the main information is available in past posts, so instead, I will outline how I went about my pitch:

  1. Quick hello and introduction to the audience, as one must. The title, premise and style.
  2. A lengthy discussion on the basic outline of the show and its characters. This covered the overall story arc, as well as the journey of our two leads.
  3. A brief bit on the ´why this and why you?´ Basically, why I felt so strongly about the show, and why I felt I was the best man for the job of bringing to written life.
  4. Short QnA, mainly focused on how I intended to bring this show to life, and how I would present a show with several themes and an emotional arc to the children who would make up its primary audience, trying to find the right balance of complex and accessible.

It felt really good to do a dry run of the pitch for Very Strange Things in class. Aside from the kind and rather receptive audience (bearing in mind these are university students and young filmmakers. Not always the most welcoming of balances....), it was the first time in a while I had to do on the spot improv and public speaking, which is always a good adrenaline booster and keeps me on my toes. However, I feel this test was more important because it finally gave me the means to exorcise a few anxieties I had about ´Wow, how the hell am I going to make this sound semi-reasonable or sensical when put into spoken words?!´ As you can imagine, pitching a mystery-fantasy-adventure series dealing with all sorts of weird and wacky things from alchemy to cybernetics to immortality to underworld freaks, and even pirates and cowboys for good measure!

It´s quite a relief, really, and it did help bolster my energy and confidence in the project as I feel that now, I know I can present it as well as it having legs beyond just my own desires and tastes.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Rucard (7/2/2015)

And much like the past few weeks, I offer yet another expanded profile. This time, for the last of the programme´s key players: Dan´s twin brother and the main antagonist of Season 1, Rucard.

Age: 30.
Gender: Male.
Species: Fox, Green.
Description: Suave, sophisticated and well dressed, Rucard is Dan's classy, as well as deadly, brother and archnemesis. He is a supremely intelligent and conniving criminal mastermind who is also rather unnerved by his brother’s lack of ‘remembrance’ in Town of Miracles, and decides to set that straight in his own vicious, cruel way. As evidenced also by Town of Miracles, he is a dab hand with technology, a fiercely commanding showman, and utterly ruthless in pursuing whatever his goals may be.

Conception: Every worthwhile hero must have an equally worthy villian, and Rucard filled that role out nicely. While Dan is very dynamic, direct and yet still caring, Rucard is more educated, reserved and incredibly manipulative. I wanted him to serve as an inversion of Dan, and when their backstory is revealed later, that becomes all the clearer and more interesting. Furthermore, once their history is revealed and explored, it also allows for the opening up of a new dimension to their relationship, and how they, in the end, ultimately serve as a perfect counterbalance for each other and what they value. Rucard in  particular has  a very interesting view on his brother, and what their constant duels mean, which should be a lot of fun to explore and contrast as the show evolves.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Heidi Clairemont (31/1/2015)

And continuing from the past few weeks, I offer your dear viewers yet another expanded profile. This time, for one of the programme´s key supporting players: Dan´s superior and head of ´The Bureau´, Heidi Clairemont.

Age: 40
Gender: Female.
Species: Fox, Orange.
Description: The woman in charge of the Bureau and former field agent/companion of Dan (More on that as the series progresses). Despite her matter of fact exterior and usual intolerance of Dan´s slick routine as ´unprofessional´and ´reckless´, she still harbours feelings for Dan with whom she had had many fond, even very personal, memories.When he begins to remember, she is forced into an uncomfortable position, and has to revisit ´the day when it all changed´. But is she strong enough to let the wounds of the past heal?

Conception:While seemingly just another take on the ´M´style secret agent boss, gradually, Heidi becomes more and more the emotional core of the show, and her relationship with Dan ends up having a huge influence on how the rest of the series plays out. As I´ve mentioned before, despite all the action and monsters, Very Strange Things is, at its core, a show about relationships, with the related choices and consequence, both of which she and Dan have to face up to. Despite her age, she still has a very youthful quality, both personality wise as well as mentally, and there exist people out there, well into senior years, who have never fully faced up to past fears and doubts, which in turn gives the parents watching the show with their children something to chew on a little closer to them.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Risa Velton (24/1/2015)

And continuing from last time, we take a look at another expanded profile. This time, for the show´s second main character and Dan´s primary companion, Risa Velton.

Age: 22
Gender: Female.
Species: Fox, Yellow.
Description: Assistant to ´Very Strange Things´´ protagonist, Risa is herself a former member of Britain’s secret services for several years, the more regular ilk to be precise, and distinguished herself there. She´s no rookie or damsel, and is very spirited and feisty, willing to get to the bottom of the newest case even if she may not as first be on strong terms with Dan. Of course, this drive is partly brought on by a less than tender past with her own family that gradually comes to light as she must also aid Dan in his own internal struggle as the First Series progresses. What happens after the revelation truly tests their bond as she must adapt to what he truly is, and how she can cope with that.

Conception: Naturally, I wanted to make a duo to lead the show, otherwise it would be both awkward and cumbersome to have Dan constantly meet and interact with a new ´partner´ every episode. However, I was also weary and wary of a lot of the ´girl helper´tropes out there, and strove to have Risa not be a cardboard cutout, and to have some of her own legs and depth to stand on and make her a worthwhile presence. Plus, I didn´t want to cut female viewers out (daughters, sisters, mothers) and give them a strong female character to get behind, and the younger could look up to

Saturday, 17 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Dan Clancy (17/1/2015)

So, when progress on the recording and submissions is a tad on the slow side for my manic tastes, I decided to expand on an earlier element discussed in past posts. I decided to do some expanded character bios and conception for the core cast of the series, and who better to open with then, well, the main man, Dan Clancy.

Age: 30
Gender: Male.
Species: Fox, Green.
Description: ´Very Strange Things´´ protagonist, Dan is a self-styled, energetic and spirited man of action, fancying himself the ‘coolest guy in the room’ type. Sporting a wide brim hat and a flowing leather coat, he is clearly a hero cut from mold of Eastwood, but with a bit more in way of spark to be expected from a cartoon action star. Underneath his cockiness, though, lies a strong and deep concern for those around him, and an intense desire to see right be done, whatever it takes. And in his line of work, combating the incredible and the impossible, that´s not always the easiest of tasks.

He has served the ´Bureau´ for a good decade, an enigmatic division of the British government that is charged with investigating phenomena. Unlike however, your standard paranormal organization however, it is very much a one man show, and Dan sees no issue with that, despite having partners forced onto him from other branches of the Secret Service. However, all this hides a dark and disturbing secret that even Dan himself is not aware of, and one that will permanently change the dynamic between him, Risa and Heidi as it forces him to re-evaluate who he is and what he stands for, and comes to terms with a tragic event that made him the man he is now.

Conception: Naturally, what´s a good mystery show, especially aimed at children, without a charismatic lead? In this case, I wanted a strong and fun figure for the children to enjoy and get behind, assured that no matter how bad things are, Dan will ultimately triumph. However, I also wanted to give him more depth and a little more of an edge than your typical animated hero, and with a backstory whose full ramifications are the foundation of the show. I really wanted to give him a humanity and vulnerability you often don´t see from your typical catch phrase spouting main character in this type of series, and thus make him stick more with the audience as they grow.

In him, to loosely paraphrase Doc Savage creator Lester Dent, I combined the looks of a classic Western/pulp hero, the passionate drive of heroes like The Doctor, and the goodness of classic children´s icons like Willy Fog or Scrooge McDuck, who though they may not show it at first, ultimately will do the right thing in the end, and see to it that those around them get the best outcome possible.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Audio Update & Submission history (10/1/2015)

First off, not much new on the audio front. Keith is nearly finished with the radio-centric version, and we are waiting to hear back from a few people to determine when we can get to rehearsing.

And now, onto today´s little write up: submission history. This is easily one of the simplest yet also most frustrating aspects of being a first time writer. Sure, there´s the thrill of submitting your pilot to a big professional production company or competition, as many a success story has touted, and being accepted with open arms. Naturally, the reality is less glamorous: rejections, polite no thank yous, and then just straight up never hearing another word again. Ever. At All.

It´s easy to paint these individuals as the villains, but really, can you blame them for being so stringent? They get hundreds if not thousands of submissions every day, so that´s a lot of work for the poor old secretaries and clerks to have to sift through to find anything from a newcomer, if they even allow it in the first place. And well, let´s be frank: not everyone is destined to be the next Miyazaki or Lasseter, now are they?

So, how have my own efforts gone? So far, I´ve submitted the pilot, as I´ve briefly mentioned before, in an earlier form (The Black Bells) to the BBC Writersroom when they had a work opportunity for Children´s Television. The current version (The Town of Miracles) has been submitted to the Red Planet Prize, Stage 32 Happy Writers, and early discussions, purely about submission requirements, have been emailed to the likes of Cosgrove Hall (most famous for Dangermouse), Absolutely Cuckoo, Slurpy Studios and Qudos Animations.

Furthermore, thanks to a contact on the audio team, I have also sent off a complete package to another Children´s Animation production company this past Tuesday. I cannot disclose who they are right now, but they have had a hand in a number of beloved childrens´programming over the past decade, and I feel my creations would be in good hands with them. So right now, fingers crossed and break a few legs!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Happy New Year and MAJOR recording update (3/1/2015)

First off, wishing all those who´ve read and supported this blog so far a very, very joyous New Year of success and triumph in whatever your own endeavors may be. So, onto business then:

For the past two weeks, I´ve kept you updated on the progress of the Demo Cast Recording of the pilot script, which my collaborator Keith Matthews is now adapting for the audio format. Well, it was today revealed to me that he had engaged the aid of Camden Community Radio to help record the pilot using their equipment. The two had had enjoyed past successes with Keith´s own radio comedy show, S.O.S., some years prior. Right now, recording is projected for sometime in February.

Here´s their website for your curiosity:

This is simply tremendous, having professional facilities and backing to stage the first performance of Town of Miracles. I am incredibly excited for this opportunity, as it may also entail an actual broadcasting of the episode, and if not, I will have a very high quality recording with which I can build an animatic of the episode, as well as have something substantial to present in future business conducts and presentations. I cannot thank Keith or the good people over at Camden Community Radio enough for this, and I eagerly await it!

Not bad for just being three days into the New Year, eh?