Well, I have finally decided on my next film. I've been going back and forth for the last few months. But it has landed. It is a horror story, well, more like a ghost story with fairy tale element, called...
I was hoping to buy the rights to a book I loved, and very nearly did, but it proved to costly in the end. I started to think about what else I might do, old ideas came back, new ideas appeared. I gave them all their due, but none really lit a fire in my belly.
In the meantime I was waiting to hear back from a couple of people on co-writing projects. I was like a dog in the traps waiting for the gate to spring open. But it never did, and I started to get antsy, agitated, impatient, frustrated. I started to do weird things. I deleted my facebook page. I considered going off-line altogether. Becoming a woodsman. Living off the land. Up a mountain. Beside a lake. The animals would be my friends. They would know as Sumbabo, the leader of the animals...
So I was going a little mad.
A couple things occurred to me during this time. One, I need to be working on something. I don't do well if I'm not working on something. Two, I need to concentrate on my own ideas and my own work, instead of going after other people's work, taking on other people's work or co-writing with other people.
That's not to be egotistical or arrogant, I do love working with other people, and I'm very inspired by other people's work. It's just that when it comes to that crucial stage, the inception, the beginning, it's such a precious time that if you don't fan that spark it's libel to go out.
There's so much to play for, so much to lose, so much time that passes. I've lost out on two big projects in the last two years by going after other people's work. I wish they had worked out, I do. But they didn't and it was a huge amount of time and energy wasted. I learned a hell of a lot by going through that process, but perhaps a lot more by having them fail.
I was emailing with the author of the most recent book, Philip Reeve, lovely lovely guy and I'm so glad I got to know him over the last year. While I think we'll stay in touch, the email was a full-stop on any chance of working together for now, unfortunately, and I do hope we can do something in the future. But in an email I started talking about one idea I had a few years ago, and as I was writing about it, there was a familiar spark. As I wrote, the spark began to glow and then broke into a flame and soon a fire was licking the walls of the hearth in my belly. And there is was, my next film, I knew at the end of that email what it would be - 'The Wolf of Nevermore'
If you've been following this blog for a long time you may recognise that title. It's a script I wrote over 5 years ago and an idea I've had for a lot longer. It was the next thing I wrote after Emily's Song. I had always wanted to do a ghost story. Something haunting, fairy-tale like, soaked in atmosphere, with a sense of dread. I found it difficult to write. I probably failed in the first few attempts.
It was widely rejected by everyone who read it, and even those who didn't. They just didn't like it. The Irish Film Board rejected it for First Draft support. I gave it to a producer who just didn't think it worked at all. I told my writing partner about it and he just scoffed, saying "Well that sounds depressing."
I knew they were all wrong, but I also knew I wasn't communicating what was in my head well enough, because I knew it could work. So I can't really blame them. But I can't listen to them either. Finally, I'm going to listen to my instincts, that have reminded me again and again, over the last 5 years, of how much I love this story and that have never let me forget the vision I had when I imagined it first.
I can't tell you very much about the story yet. But it is a horror, a ghost story with fairy-tale elements, especially in it's structure and characters. I want to create a haunting piece. I'll be concentrating a lot on the design and tone of it, more so than I have on anything else I've done to date. I'm going o give myself the time it needs to be done. It wont be rushed.
Chances are too it will be shot in America. If everything goes according to plan I'll be moving there next year. So I'm not going to get anything new start here. I'll use that time to write.
This is the very beginning. As Derelict reaches completion and is about to go out into the world I'm beginning a new journey all over again. One more. One bigger. 'The Wolf of Nevermore' begins it's life. A tiny flickering flame in a dark abyss. But enough to warm the hands that will build it.
The journey continues.