The Mad Tree – A Ghost Story In Ten Silly Minutes

 

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that my writing partner, Jim Eaton and I have been working on a new short film over the past couple of months. Well here it is.

The Mad Tree is our homage to the ghost stories of M. R. James, with a little bit of our own silliness plugged in for good measure. It is the story of Mr Darcy Woodwind, a writer from London who falls afoul of a malevolent shrub. No real departure from our usual brand of daftness then.

The film is our latest attempt to inflict ourselves upon the 2 Days Later Horror festival. It’s the 10th anniversary of the event so it’d be really lovely if we get picked for the screening. I shall keep you posted on how things go.

As is often the way the edit was a total pain in the bum and after blowing a firewire port and having to run all over London, searching for someone who could capture the footage, I finally wrapped the edit up at 6AM the following morning. As a reward we’ve taken this week off from writing but we’ll be back into it after the weekend. The subject of the new project…radio. More soon.

As a final side note. It’s worth mentioning that Jack Gavin (who plays the lead role in this film as well as several of our other projects) is getting married today. Our best Bunker wishes to him and his lovely wife-to-be.

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BTB Film – The Devil’s Fork

Another film by Jim Eaton and me this week. The Devil’s fork is a comedy horror, produced for the 2 Days Later horror competition 2010. It stars Joshua Broadstone and Jack Gavin as a pair of regular guys who are menaced by a sinister toasting fork and its ghostly owner. It also features some lovely camera work by Steve.

Devil’s Fork was Jim and I’s first proper film project together and it remains one of my favourites. The film went on to win Best Screenplay and Best Popular Film at the competition, which was a nice bonus!

Hope you dig it.

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Oh and if you’re so inclined, you can watch the outtakes too.

BTB Film – A Comedy of Edits

A Comedy of Edits is the story of William Shakespeare’s meeting with his play’s financial backers and stars Joshua Broadstone and Jack Gavin (of Devil’s Fork fame) as well as Ryan Brannon (one half of comedy duo, Cold Callers). They’re all good friends and it was lovely to get a chance to work with them all again. It was written and directed by Jim Eaton and myself and expertly shot by Paul Wade (who also did the post production and very cool titles).

It’s the most recent film we’ve done (depending on when you read this) and was produced back in April of this year for the 2 Days Laughter Competition. The sketch won both best film and best screenplay and has led to several exciting projects for Jim and I, so we’re pretty happy with it.

Enjoy!

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A Comedy Of Edits Wins Best Film Award

If you follow me on twitter then you’ll already know some of this, but I wanted to wait until the official press release was out before talking about it too much. Last weekend Jim Eaton and I took our new film “A Comedy of Edits” to the 2 Days Laughter Short Film Competition in Kent. We liked the sketch but it was a really strong field this year so we weren’t really expecting to walk away with any awards, turns out we were a little wrong about that.

Me (left) and Jim Eaton (right) with our awards.

The film ended up winning Best Screenplay and Best Film as well as picking up a nomination for Best Director. It’s our second Best Screenplay prize (our script for The Devil’s Fork won in 2010) but we have never managed to bag the coveted Best Film prize until now. The judging panel includes BAFTA award winning actress Brenda Bleythn, BBC Television and Radio comedy writer/presenter Jon Holmes, and Time Out comedy editor Ben Wilson, so it’s a really nice bunch of people to be given the nod by.

The night was tinged with sadness however as we learned that this could be the very last 2 Days Competition. Creative England (the body that replaced the UK Film Council) has withdrawn funding from the project (as well as pretty much all film projects in Kent) and unless the Council agree to pick up the slack, this week will mark the final time that 2 Days Laughter and its sister festival 2 Days Later run. It’s a very sad end for a competition that has has generated over 650 films and worked with over 3000 film makers since 2003. I honestly can’t express how much of our current work (possibly even Moon itself) owes its existence to 2DL and to see it become a casualty of the current war on arts is pretty infuriating. We can only hope that Beeping Bush are able to find a way to continue their great work in some fashion going forwards.

The good news is that while this may be the end of 2DL, it is most certainly not the end of mine and Jim’s film making partnership. We’re meeting up in a week or so to look into new festivals and places to create work for and I have a feeling that the best stuff is yet to come.

So, I guess the only other thing to do is to introduce you (or reintroduce you) to the “award winning” sketch: A Comedy of Edits. Hope you enjoy and as always, thanks for the support!

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A Comedy of Edits – Dan’s New Film

 

This is the final cut of the new film that James Eaton, Paul Wade and I have been working on, it’s also our entry for this year’s 2 Days Laughter Competition. Those of you who’ve followed us for a while will already have heard of 2DL as we do it pretty much every year but for the uninitiated, 2DL is a film making competition which challenges people to produce a 5 minute comedy film with a total production time of no more than 48 hours.

Previous efforts on our part have included youth TV spoof [Box] Fresh, Edd The Duck biopic Ducking The Past and our take on the BBC’s Springwatch as well as several other films produced for 2DL’s horror based sister competition, 2 Day’s Later. We’ve managed to score a shortlisting on every film we’ve put in so far as well as one or two awards, fingers shall remain crossed that our new baby fairs equally well.

A Comedy of Edits is the story of William Shakespeare’s meeting with his play’s financial backers and stars Joshua Broadstone and Jack Gavin (of Devil’s Fork fame) as well as Ryan Brannon (one half of comedy duo, Cold Callers). They’re all good friends and it was lovely to get a chance to work with them all again. It was written and directed by James and myself and expertly shot by Paul (who also did the post production and very cool titles).

I shall keep you updated on how the competition goes, but for now I hope you enjoy the film.

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The Lost Jedi: Master Govija Kaoli

Jedi Master Govija Kaoli (Jack Gavin) is a whip crack smart tactician who always gets every body killed. Always put at the sharp end because of his calm exterior, Govija Kaoli has only one true Achilles heel. His Padawan Mooba Choobi. Having been assigned an idiot nephew to the successful Hooba Choobi, Govija finds his path immeasurably blocked by the affable buffoon. Govija is a kind hearted warrior with almost immeasurable patience and a wry view of the universe but even he is uncertain whether his strong Jedi intuition and piloting abilities will help him survive alongside such an incredible idiot.

Jack Gavin doing a pose

The Lost Jedi: Part One

On May 4th 2007, the Star Wars Exhibition in London opened at the County Hall in Westminster, overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. With marble staircases and pillars, wood panelled hallways and shiny floors you could be mistaken for thinking you were walking the halls of Naboo (if you were a fan boy). Assembled at the opening were a group of actors who had associated themselves with Star Wars at Chessington. They were Tom Jordan, Seb Morgan, Alan Mandel Butler, Sydnee Howard and Jack Gavin. Also present was Marcus Sinclair, a man who had overcome considerable resistance from Lucasarts to become the Emperor in the Exhibition. 2 weeks later they took on myself and a number of actors to represent Jedi. Nicknamed on my first day the ‘Landlord Jedi’ by Alistair Reith (another actor), I managed to find a niche as Taaka Dahl (a Red Dwarf gag), Rebel Trooper.

It was made clear by Lucasarts that we couldn’t use existing character names and had to develop our own. While mine never developed beyond Sergeant in the rebel army (occassionally busted up to Jedi Master and in a particularly cool moment, a Tie Fighter Commander called Count Nefar the audiences never really got on board with). In the main hall, a high domed chamber like a grand circular court room the hourly (half hourly) show took place to the excitement of pretty much every kid (and adult). The Jedi School followed a rushed teaching of the way of the force to chosen Padawan (kids) in order to defend them from the newly apparent Sith. The Emperor would appear and threaten the Jedi Master and his Padawan as well as the assembled kids before the great set piece.

The Main Chamber - County Hall, Westminster

The lights would go out leaving only the flickering lightsabres at the centre of the room visible and three mechanical breaths would steadily sound. With the beginning of the Imperial March, the assembled characters, Padawans and visitors were presented with a familiar silhouette in the high vaulted doorway. Darth Vader would descend doiwn the steps with the music, the Jedi Master calling out orders to everyone assembled pointlessly over the noise and chaos. Some kid must have wet themselves with excitement at the sight of the seven foot giant striding slowly down the steps towards the Padawans. It was clear to me whenever I saw it that this was the stuff straight out of the movies. The divide between the two was seamless. We saw US versions with chubby American accented Obi Wan look a likes playing at Star Wars but the combination of the chamber and the lighting rig, the music, the english accents, the quality of the costumes (by Stephen Du Toit – mate to the Bunker), the master cast versions of the lightsabres that swooshed and lit up accurately, the real 7 foot Vader (played by official giant Daniel Vivien) and the atmosphere combined into something more real and engaging than I saw anywhere else. It gave me ideas….

FIRST PAGE OF ISSUE 1 OF LOST JEDI. DESIGNED BY ME IN 2009.

In the Star Wars movies the one point in which there are Padawans and Sith is at the end of Part III: Revenge of the Sith. This is always the most interesting part of the story and at the time the one that Lucasarts had missed. That of the decimation of the Jedi and the New Empires pursuit of those that were left. Perfect conditions for a great story, Jedis as rebels and the early formed Empire doing all it can to hunt them down. In the same period all the actors had developed their own characters, each with characteristics very different to all others. The proud and confident Padawan Man El Perio (played by Alan Mandel Butler) stood beside the stern and irrascible Rial Shif (played by Alistiar Reith). As the Exhibition came to its end it seemed to me that the best way to celebrate my time there was to bring the characters to life in the only way available to me. Over the next few months, artworks were produced of every member of the cast with the addition of side characters and enemies. Each carried its own name and steadily built into a story that may never be told anywhere else.

Its a tale of Jedi on the run and a desperate attempt to circumvent the terrible fate of an entire galaxy by brave souls in difficult stuff. I’m convinced if it ever saw the light of day it’d be enormous but short of a phone call to/from George Lucas this is the only place you’ll be able to see it. The entire story exists and much of it will be realised with the introduction of the characters but the spoilers have been kept to an absolute minimum. All you’ll find here is the character art and their starting points in the tale. If you want to see more, call George Lucas and give him my number.

Cheers.

Moon – Official Trailer!!!

Moon – the comic about one astral body’s quest for revenge, justice and shandy – is finally here! To be one of the first to pick up a copy of the book you’ll need to get your pony loving backside to the BEYOND THE BUNKER LAUNCH PARTY this very month.

Please get this trailer circulating as much as possible. The book may be in print, but we need your help to get it into the hands of the masses. A book like this is only as good as its fans, which is why this comic is so badass.

Onwards and upwards, Bunkerites!

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NOTE: THE ARTWORK IS FROM MOON 1, HOWEVER THE LIVE FOOTAGE IS FROM THE VERY FIRST MOON PROJECT ‘THE DAY THE MOON GOT TOO CLOSE‘ BY DAN THOMPSON AND PAUL WADE AND ITS SEQUEL BY DAN THOMPSON AND STEVE PENFOLD (WHICH MOST LIKELY WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY) AND HAS BECOME THE COMIC AVAILABLE AT THE BTB LAUNCH PARTY. AH THANKYOU. SP.

Friday Film – The Devil’s Fork Outtakes

Every Friday we descend into the vaults here at Bunker HQ and dig out one of the many fine (and occasionally not so fine) films that we have produced over the years. Come join us for another instalment of cinematic silliness.

Got a little bit of fun for you this week. I was editing together the DVD of Devil’s Fork for the cast & crew and I thought I’d take a moment to share with you some of the outtakes. I know that you are all labouring under the impression that Steve and I are entirely infallible and that we nail everything on the first take, but allow me to set your minds at rest. As this video proves we are, at times, an utter shambles.

And no, I won’t explain that fucking “What did Councillor Troy say to her boyfriend?” joke again.

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Friday Film: The Devil’s Fork

Every Friday we descend into the vaults here at Bunker HQ and dig out one of the many fine (and occasionally not so fine) films that we have produced over the years. Come join us for another instalment of cinematic silliness.

When two friends discover an antique fork in their garden they think they’re in for a big payday. But when the fork’s ghostly owner comes calling they discover that all they’re in for is three prongs of terror!

(Warning: contains scenes of mild cutlery)

Fresh from its excellent showing at  the 2 Days Later Festival, here is The Devil’s Fork in all its glory. It’s a a collaboration with the wonderful chaps at Roughlee Films so please do have a look at their other stuff. I’m really happy with the end result of this one, I think it’s one of the tighter scripts I’ve done (albeit with a tonne of help from the fantastic J.T. Eaton). Please do watch it and pass it around to as many people as possible. It would be lovely to see its popularity to continue to grow at the rate it has been.

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Awards

2 Days Later Finalist Winner - Best Popular FilmWinner - Best ScreenplayBest Actor Nomination - Jack GavinNominated (Joshua Broadstone) - Best ActorNominated - Best Editor