We’re thrilled that Shocking The Donkeys has been put in the line up for the London Greek Film Festival (Screenplays). There are more details coming to their website soon, http://www.londongreekfilmfestival.com/index.htm and here is some of the message that I was sent:
We are glad to inform you that your screenplay has been selected and will be presented in competition in the festival. Soon the presentation of your script will be in our website. To promote your work online (i.e. via social media or email), just copy and paste the relevant URL address from our website.
The Audience Award, which offered by members of the Greek Film Lovers Club, will be dedicated to a film, but also to a script (especially for the script competition). Your friends who wish to register in order to have the opportunity to vote and join and other benefits of the club, they must register online, in our website www.greekfilmlovers.comRead More...
A quick update. This story has not gone away! There is now a stage version of Shocking the donkeys available. You can message us for more details, if you are interested in mounting a production. The same hot topic, Gay marriage in Greece, the same tears and laughter. Requires a mixed cast of 21 performers.Read More...
Shocking The Donkeys update: There hasn’t been much news to report in recent moths. Due to the current financial climate in Greece and elsewhere, the project has been put on hold.
This means that the script is up for grabs and if any other production company is interested in discussing with us, then all you need to do is drop a line. Meanwhile the situation regarding civil partnerships and same sex marriage in Greece remains the same, the country remains behind many in its stance on gay rights and this killer script remains available for production.
If you want to help the GLBT cause in Greece, help civil rights in the country and help get this film made, then now’s your chance.
We can confirm that “Shocking the Donkeys” is currently scheduled to be shot in Greece in the late summer of 2012 (probably September/October) with a view to release either late 2012 or early 2013. The project is in pre-production with that timetable in mind, and already has an outstanding director attached who has already had a considerable impact on changes to the script.
The budget is £500,000 (ideal) but the movie can be made on £200,000. We are about to enter the funding stage, and in the autumn of this year will be actively seeking the investment needed. While we intend to raise some of the money from traditional film investors, we also feel there should be a strong social element to this – a kind of “vote” on the importance of the issue, if you like. We will therefore be launching, this autumn, a special website aimed at securing so-called “crowd” or “social” funding to help finance the movie. This will be an opportunity for people in the LGBT community both internationally and especially in Greece to say: “This is a very important issue and we want to see this film made in order to put the question of LGBT marriage and other rights in Greece firmly on the table.”
Until the website is up and running, you can email us for a personal discussion about how you could help. EMAIL HERE
Just a quick note this morning, to ask if any of you very clever bilingual people out there would like to help a donkey or two.
The production company who are keen to produce Shocking the Donkeys are putting together a website to start the fund-raising process. This is going to be in Greek and English. The English is not a problem, but they tell me that they need real people to correct the computer translations for the Greek pages. If anyone feels up to the task and would like to help out, please drop me a line via email and I will put you in touch with the website guy. Click here to send an email. Or use the online form here.
There are not huge amounts of pages and text, but if there were a couple or a few people willing to do a couple of pages each that would be great, but if anyone wants to volunteer to check the whole lot, then that’s fine too. Sadly there’s no payment involved as yet, as they’ve not stared raising the money and can’t until the website is live, but you will probably get a credit in the credits when the film gets made.
If you know of anyone who might be willing to lend half an hour to help out, please pass this message along. And, as an example of how the online translators don’t always quite match up, here is the same post translated by one of them.
Ακριβώς μια γρήγορη σημείωση σήμερα το πρωί, να ρωτήσω αν κάποιος από εσάς πολύ έξυπνη δίγλωσσο άνθρωποι εκεί έξω θα ήθελε να βοηθήσει ένα γαϊδουράκι ή δύο.
Η εταιρεία παραγωγής, που θέλουν να παράγουν Συγκλονιστικές τα γαϊδούρια βάζουν μαζί μια ιστοσελίδα για να ξεκινήσει η άντληση κεφαλαίων διαδικασία. Αυτό πρόκειται να είναι στα ελληνικά και αγγλικά. Η αγγλική γλώσσα δεν είναι ένα πρόβλημα, αλλά μου λένε ότι χρειάζονται πραγματικά οι άνθρωποι για να διορθώσει τις μεταφράσεις υπολογιστή για την ελληνική σελίδες. Αν κάποιος αισθάνεται μέχρι την εργασία και θα ήθελε να βοηθήσει, παρακαλώ ενημερώστε με για γραμμή μέσω e-mail και θα σας φέρει σε επαφή με τον τύπο ιστοσελίδας. Ή χρησιμοποιήστε την ηλεκτρονική φόρμα εδώ.
Δεν υπάρχουν τεράστια ποσά των σελίδων και του κειμένου, αλλά αν υπήρχε ένα ζευγάρι ή μια λίγοι άνθρωποι πρόθυμοι να κάνουν μια-δυο σελίδες το καθένα που θα μπορούσε να είναι μεγάλη, αλλά αν κάποιος θέλει να εθελοντής για να ελέγξει το σύνολο της παρτίδας, τότε αυτό είναι εντάξει επίσης. Δυστυχώς δεν υπάρχει καμία πληρωμή που συμμετέχουν μέχρι στιγμής, καθώς δεν έχω κοίταξε συγκεντρώσουν τα χρήματα και δεν μπορεί μέχρι την ιστοσελίδα είναι ζωντανή, αλλά πιθανότατα θα πάρετε μια πίστωση στη πιστώσεων, όταν η ταινία παίρνει γίνει.
Εάν γνωρίζετε κάποιον ο οποίος μπορεί να είναι πρόθυμοι να δανείσουν μισή ώρα για να βοηθήσει, παρακαλείστε να περάσει αυτό το μήνυμα. Και, ως ένα παράδειγμα του πώς η σε απευθείας σύνδεση μεταφραστές δεν είναι πάντα αρκετά ταιριάζουν, εδώ είναι το ίδιο μετά μεταφράστηκαν από ένα από αυτά.Read More...
You may have thought everything on “shocking the Donkeys” had gone quiet, but in fact there has been a lot of activity behind the scenes, much of it too boring to write about, but essential next steps.
I’m talking about the building of a website designed especially to raise international awareness of the project, and, most importantly, to secure funding.
The actual launch of the site is still a few weeks off, but I can tell you something about it.
First of all, it will be bi-lingual. Visitors will have the option to toggle between English or Greek versions of any page. And we’re looking for kind volunteers to check out the Greek translations of those pages. Google Translate is OK up to a point, but it can also provide a great deal of unintended amusement.
Secondly, the site will reveal details of how the producers plan to raise the funds, and we’ll be writing more on that in later blogs.
Thirdly, there will be a lot more information about the story, the characters, and the team making the film, such as the director, as well as an invitation for people to audition for parts.
The actual launch of the site will coincide with a news release which will go out to the Greek and international media giving them an update on progress. We hope this will direct a lot of traffic to the site and that those interested will sign up for the newsletter.Read More...
We nearly have the ‘crowd funding’ website ready to launch – you will be able to be a part of this film. Actors, crew, angels, backers, or simply fans, everyone can get involved and everyone will get a reward.
Shocking Facebook - go there to like us!
We are soon going to have a website ready for fundraising and need someone to check and improve the Greek translations. Anyone interested to help? Please contact James Collins. Thanks!Read More...
Recently, while we have been waiting for the funding process to move along, we have had several letters and emails of support for this project. Not all from the lesbian and gay Greek community, though there has been a lot of interest from there; and from the Greek press. This is clearly a film that will cause a great deal of interest in Greece and through the world as the LGBT community keeps its eye on Greece’s reticence to allow gay civil partnerships.
Here’s a kind of general reply to the letters of support that have been coming in, which also acts as an update for May.
James Collins has passed on to me your kind email, and first, let me say how much we appreciate your comments and support. I’m James’s writing partner and his co-author for “Shocking the Donkeys” and other film scripts on which we are currently working.
James lives in Greece and I’m based in the UK. “Shocking the Donkeys” is currently in the hands of a couple of production companies who are teaming up to produce it. A director has been pencilled in and we have so far been re-drafting the script to meet his ideas, and have now reached the Third Draft which is pretty much as he would like to have it. He’s quite a well known name but we’re not yet able to say who, and he’s really excited about being involved.
The current situation is that the producers are in the process of doing initial costings and working out likely budgets so they can draw up a business plan to put in front of potential investors. They will be attending the Cannes Film Festival where they hope to find the investment they need to take things to the next stage.
So the producers have not yet reached the stage of thinking seriously about casting. But what I have done is pass your email on to the producers so they can keep you in mind and let you know how things are progressing.
You are right in saying the film has a “mission” because we hope very much that it will help to change attitudes in Greece towards LGBT issues and especially gay marriage. You may know that Greece, because of the very strong influence of the Orthodox Church, has the highest surveyed rate in Europe of people opposed to gay marriage, something like 85%, which is way ahead of most countries in the world. This project (‘Donkeys’) has the backing of the Athens Pride Committee and LGBT community leaders in Greece generally. They feel the film could help bring the issue more into the public arena for debate – Greeks generally tending to prefer sweeping such ideas under the carpet and pretending they don’t exist.
So, “Shocking the Donkeys” is a comedy but with a serious message about allowing people to live their lives and find love as they choose, without having to bow to cultural and community pressure.
We are also working on other gay theme projects – “Other People’s Dreams” is a gay thriller/suspense script set on a luxury yacht cruising the Mediterranean – as well as a mainstream comedy set in London.
James and I were interested to see that you were new to screenwriting and had just completed a script of your own. If there is any way you feel we can help you, even if it’s just discussing techniques or things generally about scriptwriting, please feel free to ask. We’re very happy to help out in any way we can.
Just a quick update: For everyone who is following the blog and the progress of Shocking The Donkeys, the current news is:
The production company who have taken the script (Andzoo Productions) are now in the process of arranging finance for a production. This could take some time, as these things are never ‘over night’. There is great interest all round for the project, still, and what is really needed at this stage is a Greek film company to come on board. As a writer I don’t understand all the workings of the production side of a film project so I won’t guess at what it means to have a Greek film company involved, but we are of course, hoping that one comes forward to get involved.
It’s going to be a great opportunity for any film company as the theme and subject matter of Shocking the Donkeys is so new, and slightly controversial in Greece, that whoever puts in will, we hope, get a great deal out. We expect eyebrows to be raised, and things to be said once the film does come out. A gay wedding in Greece? Illegal still! Two men kissing on TV isn’t allowed in Greece so how will people think about it happening in the cinema?
Meanwhile I was contacted by the STAR TV channel recently and asked if I would do an interview about gay weddings in Greece – obviously ‘Donkeys’ news is spreading far and wide. I wasn’t able to get to Athens for the show though (and I couldn’t afford it) so I had to turn in down. But that’s just another example of how much interest our little project is generating. All a good grounding for a Greek Film Production company I imagine.
So, that’s where we are. Waiting to see what happens with raising the money. And, if you would like to know more and get in touch, if you’re a Greek film company who is interested, then go to http://andzooproductions.com/ and take a look around, and use their Contacts page to get in touch.Read More...
Hollywood, here I come. Well, maybe. But here’s an interesting development. The people that flocked to cinemas wordwide to watch “Sister Act” when it first came out will likewise flock to see “Shocking the Donkeys”. Really!
That’s what we’ve been told. Or rather, that’s what we’ve been told will happen if we carefully position the script towards that demographic.
Which is why we’ve been hard at work on yet another draft. I can’t believe we completed the original script (now the first draft) at the end of November and here we are, just over two months later, with a completed third draft. And each draft is quite different.
To recap: the first draft was sent to a director who is very interested. We can’t name him yet because nothing is signed. But he loved the story and had a list of improvements. So by the end of January, we had a completed second draft, which took on board all these suggestions.
And that’s where Whoopi entered. Or rather, “Sister Act”. The producer (someone else we can’t yet name) spotted the “Sister Act” potential in the second draft. In other words, he could see a large number of similar dynamics that, with some careful re-writing, could put “Shocking the Donkeys” in the same league. The director agreed.
If we have succeeded in appealing to the “Sister Act” audience, it should mean the project is more attractive to investors who want to be involved with that kind of success. And maybe we can afford to tempt Dame Maggie Smith to take on the leading role.
When we first started this project, we always hoped it might have a bit more to offer than just being another niche gay market movie that went straight to DVD. We rather hoped it would have a broader audience appeal, but we never dreamed it might be in the “Sister Act” league.
This doesn’t of course mean that we’ve swapped our cast of characters for a bunch of Greek nuns and stuck them in an island convent to be inspired by a vamped up version of Nana Mouskouri to create “Sister Act 3: The Greek Odyssey”. I’ll explain, next time.Read More...