Saturday 23 November 2013

The Slate, November 2013

I'm not entirely sure where the phrase 'the slate' came from, but these days it seems to refer to the list of projects which a film studio is either working on now or planning to work on in the near future.  I thought this would be a good time to publish my own slate (or M.C.Media's, depending how you look at it) - so here goes...

Current project: Papercuts Production Block C (Episodes 5-7)

I've got a trio of scripts which came together around late summer, comprising the show's first two-parter, written by Tim, and a one-off episode by me.  Dialogue recording is complete, and the photography and editing stages are well underway for all three instalments.  The production block also includes some additional material: a short prologue to Episode 5, and a vlog showing the filmmaking process for Papercuts, specifically following the progression of work on a single new set which needed to be built for Block C.

 A moment from Papercuts Episode 5... coming soon!

The prologue was originally going to be the opening scene of Episode 5, but I felt that it wasn't necessary for the story and was slowing the episode down; initially I was going to tell Tim to just delete it, but then I decided I actually liked it in itself despite it not really being needed for the overall story, so I thought I'd go ahead and film it anyway, and release it separately as a prologue (inspired by the 'prequels' which Doctor Who has been doing for the last 2 or 3 years), under the pretext that it's a marketing thing.  It's finished, as of this morning, and you can see it here:

The production vlog will probably be the next thing I release, followed by Episode 5 itself.

Beyond the release of Episode 7, I don't really have any fixed plans for Papercuts; I'm open to doing more episodes in 2014 or later, but it all depends on getting scripts ready.

The next few projects: Fifteen-Minute Fortresses, Inanimate HD and The Murkum Show Series 2

This part is subject to change, but here's what I'm currently thinking in terms of my next work beyond Papercuts 7:

First up, you may or may not remember a little video I did earlier this year, titled The Fifteen-Minute Fortress?  Well, I might do a couple more of those.  Revise the parameters of the exercise, but still keep it broadly similar in spirit.  Watch this space.

Meanwhile, thinking even further back, you might recall my five-minute live-action short Inanimate from 2006.  This summer, armed with a vastly better camera and a friend who knew how to make said camera behave itself, I staged a remake of the film, now in shiny HD and starring Tim.  At some point, I need to knuckle down and edit the thing, and once the edit's complete, I'll take the logical next step and release the film.  Inanimate HD is rather more definite than Fifteen-Minute Fortress II, mostly because it's already been filmed, but the editing process could prove to be rather slow.

 Tim Johnston in the new version of Inanimate

And finally, the third and probably biggest thing on my near-future-projects slate is a second season of The Murkum Show.  The first was a lot of fun to make, and there's a lot of momentum building up for the second: I've already got a good idea of what the set will look like, and got seven episode scripts lined up (fun fact: all four of the people who wrote for Series 1 have already got scripts in the queue for Series 2).  It's very unlikely that Murkum Show S2 will see the light of day before next year, what with the work that remains to be done on my current projects, but I'm 98% sure it'll be happening in the first half of 2014.

Doctor Murkum in a recent adventure - expect more in early 2014

Other stuff that may or may not happen next year

I've got a few other bits and pieces on the go.  These include Improbable (a very odd little cel short, which I released a teaser clip for several months ago), Empire of the Pond (a remake of Fishy Business, a 2003 short whose storyline I thought was alright, but whose animation was so embarrassingly bad that I'm never going to let you see it), and a perhaps-over-ambitious CGI production titled Golden Cube, about a robot who works in a strange, futuristic dolly-mixtures factory.  No particular release schedules for any of those yet, but since I'm publishing the slate, it seems only fair to mention that they're on it - albeit down at the bottom.

 No, it won't start making any more sense when you see the finished film.

- The Colclough

Quite A Weekend

23 November 2013: yesterday, someone assassinated President Kennedy.  The papers are full of it.  Somewhere in a back column, they mentioned that writers C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley also died yesterday - but of course JFK is the bigger news.  And somebody told me that BBC Television will be starting some new science-fiction show tonight - science fiction on television, of all the strange things to do!

Well, fast-forward by precisly one-half of a century, and the dead guys are still (surprise, surprise) dead.  The balance of attention between Kennedy and Lewis' death-days has levelled out a bit, which I'd say is a good thing, as Kennedy may have been 'the most important' on a materialistic scale but Lewis was far more significant from a spiritual perspective.  Ultimately, though, they're both still dead.  As is Huxley, but I know very little about him really.

Doctor Who, on the other hand, is very much alive and kicking, and since the beginning of this month or thereabouts, the entire BBC seems to have metamorphosed into a giant promotion-and-celebration machine for its own sci-fi brainchild.  I haven't yet seen Mark Gatiss' drama about the show's origins, An Adventure in Space and Time, but it's waiting on the hard-disk recorder and I'm rather looking forward to it.  Ditto The Science of Doctor Who.  But the big news, of course, is the 75-minute anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, which will be airing tonight, precisely 50 years after the very first episode went out on 23 November 1963.

I've seen that first episode, An Unearthly Child (along with the next 12), and it makes for an intriguing comparision - most of the major components are already there half a century ago, but on many other levels the thing has progressed and reinvented almost beyond recognition.  The acting has improved (thank goodness female roles no longer consist of "She sees the shadow of the monster.  AAAAAAIIEEEGHH!!!"), as have the set design, the cameras, and the visual effects.  It's not that the show has increased in ambition, necessarily, more that the technology has got to the point where the ambitions can be realised much more closely.

Tonight promises a huge, ambitious, monster-infested multi-Doctor story, and I for one am dead keen to see it.  May or may not blog again afterwards, if I think my reaction to it was interesting enough to blog about.

Until 7:50 pm, then.

- The Colclough

Saturday 16 November 2013

The Chainbreaker

I'm about to do a bad thing: I've been nominated for an award (namely the Versatile Blogger Award), and part of the rules stipulate that I should nominate another 15 bloggers.  Well, I'm not nominating anybody, because I know a lot less that 15 other bloggers, and the ones I know, I know are already nominated.

My nomination comes via Sam, so I shall start by saying: Thank you, Sam, and recommending that the rest of you go and have a read of

In the process of listing his nominations, Sam has not only handed me this thing, but also single-handedly rendered me unable to fulfil the rules, as the other people I'd have nominated myself - most notably Tim ( and Hannah ( - are already on Sam's list.  Does failure to pass on new nominations equal declining your own award?  I'm not sure.  But either way, I'm afraid I've got to break the chain.  Sorry about that!

- The Colclough

Edit, several hours later

I knew I was forgetting something: I was supposed to mention seven facts about myself.  So, um... seven things that I haven't already told y'all...


...*scratches head*... goes:
  1. I usually shave on about a six-day cycle.  Basically, I have a clean shave, and then don't get round to picking the gadget up again until my face starts itching, which tends to take six days or thereabouts.  I picked this as a fact to mention because I was in the middle of my nearly-weekly shave when I suddenly remembered I'd forgotten a chunk out of this post.
  2. I've collected several dozen special-issue 50p, £1 and £2 coins.  I don't know exactly how much the collection is worth, either in terms of its face value or what another collector might pay for it, but I don't really care, as the whole point in collecting them is that they're my collection, and not for sale.
  3. It's not that I don't like limes, but they don't seem to like me - at least not if I eat much of it in one go.
  4. I've never owned a car.  Since I started learning to drive, my parents have had four different Fords (a 1996 Galaxy, a 2009 Mondeo, and two different Fiestas), of which I have driven all except the Galaxy.  I'm in no hurry to break the family Ford-driving habit.
  5. I think all of the odd-numbered Star Trek feature films (including the 2009 one) and most if not all of the even-numbered Windows releases (including 98, Vista a.k.a. NT6.0, and 8) are rubbish.  You probably don't want to get me started on all the reasons why.
  6. My drawing career has embraced all sorts of different types of paper, starting with ordinary copier paper, side-stepping to take in that weird stuff with the tear-off strips up the side with all the holes in, which you don't really see much any more, then getting ambitious with enormous bits of wallpaper backing sheet, taking to a cartridge pad with great enthusiasm, and most recently dabbling with watercolour 'paper', which is actually more like a type of cardboard.
  7. My taste in computer games is rather specific: the vast majority of the games I've enjoyed are puzzle-solving ones, and many of them involve screwing around with physics (e.g. Antichamber, Portal 1 & 2, Quantum Conundrum and arguably QUBE).  The other thing that appeals to me most in games is humour (e.g. DLC Quest, and Portal again).  My most recent acquisition is The Bridge.