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Greek Island’s executive producer

August 1 2010  Categorized Under: Pre Production  Add Comment
marcus schenkeneberg holly davidson matthew john

Marcus Schenkeneberg Holly Davidson & Matthew John

Although we’ve mentioned it in the section Investment Opportunities (see tabs above) we’ve not yet talked about it in the blog. So we thought we’d tell you something about Matthew John, our executive producer.

The executive producer is responsible for bringing the whole project together. That means finding all the funding and then sourcing the various people involved in the whole production, those who do all the planning, those who shoot the movie, the actors, the post-production team, and the distributors.

At the moment, Matt is bringing together the funding, and has already interested two international wine companies in sponsoring the finished movie round the all-important film festivals circuit. He’s also got someone working on the business pack for interested backers, and he’s got a major distributor interested. So things are coming together.

Matt is credited with resurrecting the British Hammer House of Horror tradition (see review at Brit Films.tv). This is based on a movie he made in 2006 called Perfect Woman, starring Caprice, David Prowse, Toby Kebbell, Angelica Bridges, Marcus Schenkenberg, Holly Davidson, and Naomi Campbell, and filmed on location at Thornbury Castle, a suitably gothic pile near Bristol.

You can find production details for this on The British Films Catalogue website. Although that production cost a million pounds, Matt has been asked to remake it for a major studio at many times that cost, and while bringing that project together, and various others, he’s also working on Greek Island.

I should point out that Greek Island is about as far away from Hammer House of Horror as you could get.
Links:

Brit Films.tv
British Films Catalogue
Perfect Woman

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Let us learn from Mamma Mia!

July 30 2010  Categorized Under: Day to day  Add Comment
Greek Island harbour

Symi, the port of Yialos

I’m quoted in the Greek national evening newspaper Ta Nea as saying that whichever island becomes the location for our movie project can expect the same kind of publicity that Mamma Mia! brought to Skopolos.

Of course, I’m not expecting Greek Island, our film, to be anything like as much of an international blockbuster as that Hollywood production, so the scale is probably different. But I have read about what happened on Skopolos and realise there are lessons to be learned.

Skopolos (according to your viewpoint) has suffered or enjoyed a massive multi-billion euro surge in tourism, especially marriage tourism. It’s done wonders for the economy there. But the downside is that a massive surge in “Hollywood” tourism means a massive number of people clogging the streets, and, in this case, singing Abba songs and seeking out the church and other key locations shown in the film.

The Mayor of Skopolos complains that people are looking for Hollywood’s version of the island, which simply doesn’t exist, and are forgetting that the island has a history and beauty of its own that is worth visiting.

Many tourists feel they have been duped because once inside the church (where some were hoping to get married), for example, they found it bore no resemblance to the set created for the film.

Although Greek Island is inspired by Symi, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be filmed here. But if it is, then I hope it will bring a lot of good to the local economy. If Symi features, we will ensure it is faithful to the island’s traditions and environment so that anyone wanting to visit because of the film will find it meets all their expectations. And we won’t be using sets, but genuine locations.

They certainly won’t be terrifying the local population with their close harmony Abba songs, because there won’t be any in Greek Island.

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News is spreading

July 29 2010  Categorized Under: Pre Production  Add Comment

Found out today to my surprise that news of our romantic comedy movie project is rapidly spreading through the Greek gay community, courtesy of various websites.

This may have been started by Ta Nea, the Greek national daily evening newspaper mentioning it in their article on me and Neil last Saturday, or maybe the Daily Telegraph in the UK, which has also mentioned it. But the gay websites seem to have a great deal more information than the papers carried.

I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised. We’ve already been told by Matthew John, of the UK film company Olympus Productions, that industry professionals have tipped Greek Island as a potential big money spinner. He’s been talking to people in Los Angeles who love the idea.

Matt is currently compiling a business pack for the project which he will be putting before potential backers. He says the project will certainly appeal because it’s low budget and low risk. That, apparently, doesn’t mean low quality, I’m glad to hear.

It’s low budget because it can be filmed mostly on location, on an island like Symi, but it will be a very high quality production. It’s low risk because the audience potential is wide and romantic comedies are very popular.

Matt thinks it’s the kind of project that should appeal to a gay entrepreneur looking to break into the film industry. He’s talking to people in Europe and the USA but personally I’d love it if someone in Greece took it up. Someone with a real interest in seeing this project boost the economy of the islands. Someone who understands our vision for making this film work for Greece in these difficult economic times.

I’m beginning to sound like a Greek version of Gordon Brown. What a nightmare!

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Population increase on Kalados

July 28 2010  Categorized Under: Day to day  Add Comment
Greek Island traffic

Traditional transport

The population of Kalados (my fictional Greek island) has boomed in the last 24 hours. In fact, it’s now gone up from one (Menni) to four.

The computer wants more characters, so what the computer wants, it gets, it seems.

I decided a reporter would be nice. If the gay marriage is going to cause a great issue on Kalados, then it needs a good old hack to stir it up and sensationalise it. At first I thought he was a man. But I now realise she has to be a woman, or the movie will be in danger of having too many men.

Kalados has to have a mayor and a chief of police, both of whom are bound to get involved in something like a gay marriage issue. The mayor is Takis and the police chief is George. I’m still thinking about the reporter.

That should keep the computer happy.

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Computers take over

July 27 2010  Categorized Under: Writing  Add Comment

Symi church bells, GreeceI’m being replaced by a computer, it seems. I always knew that one day the robots would take over.

But I exaggerate. Jack Rousseau, my writing partner in England, tells me he’s using some new computer software to keep track of all the structuring. I have no idea how it works and I am highly dubious about the whole thing.

‘You gotta trust me on this one,’ he says. I think he’s been watching too much 24.

Apparently, he feeds a certain amount of basic information about Greek Island in the computer and it then comes back with a whole range of deeply probing questions about the characters. Then you do the same with the plot. The computer then tells you what’s missing. And if you’re doing anything wrong. Something like that.

What’s happened to artistic creativity?

Anyway, I’ve decided that Menni is going to be both the protagonist (driving the story) and the Main Character (through whom the audience experiences the movie). So Jack can go and stuff that into the computer.

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Greek Island is Named

July 26 2010  Categorized Under: Day to day  Add Comment

A view of Symi, GreeceI woke up in the night shouting ‘Kalados’. I have no idea where that came from. I must have been dreaming about Greek Island. But somewhere from the depths of my creative sub-conscious the island has acquired a name.

Kalados it is. A remote, rather inaccessible and wholly fictional island somewhere in the Dodecanese. Of course, we all know that Symi is the inspiration.

Kalados is a lot less developed than Symi. In fact, I think that Kalados is suffering from a distinct lack of tourism. Maybe it was once a very prosperous island with lots of fishing, ship building and sponge diving.

Of course, Kalados will have a long an interesting history, but it’s only been a Greek island for the last 65 years. I suppose it must have passed to Greece around the time Menni was born. Maybe I could use that in some way.

I still need to decide whether or not Menni is going to the both the protagonist and the main character.

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Menni Wins

July 24 2010  Categorized Under: Characters  Add Comment

Symi island churchI’ve decided to make Menni the protagonist, not Petros. Greek Island is going to be her story. She’s the one who’s going to move the action along. This will make her a very interesting and challenging character.

What I need to decide now is whether she is also going to be the Main Character (MC).

You might well be wondering what the difference is between an MC and a protagonist. Surely they are the same?

Answer: No. The protagonist drives the story, but the MC is the person through whom the audience experience the story. Often the MC and protagonist are combined in the same player.

But look at Sherlock Holmes. The great detective drives the story, but we experience it through what Dr Watson writes. In the movie To Kill a Mockingbird  it is Atticus, the lawyer, who drives the story, but we experience it through his daughter, Scout, who acts as narrator.

We could see Menni’s story through the eyes of another character. More decisions.

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Symi photos, buildings

July 23 2010  Categorized Under: Images  Add Comment

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to put up some photos taken on and around the Greek island of Symi. These are to set the scene, to add some colour and background to the project, and to let you see some of the colours and sights that have inspired this screenplay. Here is the first.

Symi photos by Neil Gosling

All the images of Symi that you will see on this blog are from the island’s photographer Neil Gosling,
and are © www.symidream.com
 

 

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Characters Emerge

July 23 2010  Categorized Under: Characters  Add Comment

First thing Jack needs to know is who the main characters are. I’ve decided to call my Greek grandmother Menni. Don’t know why. Seems like a very Symi sort of name to me. Don’t know anything about her yet, except she doesn’t want her grandson to marry another man.

The grandson is Petros. He grew up on the island but left it for some reason in his mid-teens. He’s been living in the USA and is now in his mid-20s.

Alex is his American boyfriend. I chose the name Alex because it was gender neutral. I don’t know how we’re going to use it, but it helps explain why Menni so easily makes the mistake of assuming Alex is a woman. And we need Menni to have a real shock when she finds out.

Jack says we need to decide whether Menni or Petros is the protagonist, the person who drives the story along, the person with the goal. Need to think about that.

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Dividing up the Work

July 17 2010  Categorized Under: Writing  Add Comment

The next few blog posts, over the coming weeks, are based on notes that I made when we started on this project a couple of months ago. As the blog came after we started writing I am kind of backtracking for a while, so that we have a complete record of our thoughts from day one. So, the next few posts are chronological but were written a little while ago.

Symi a Greek islandOK. So I’ve promised to write a finished movie by next March about two men wanting to marry on a Greek Island. The idea came to me thanks to the civil partnership ceremonies that took place on nearby Tilos a couple of years ago and the outcry that followed. My first task was to contact Jack Rousseau, my writing partner in the UK.

We’ve agreed to run with my idea. I’ve given him more detail. It’s going to be about a Greek grandmother on the island who is over the moon that her only grandson is coming back to the island to get married.

She knows her grandson is marrying an American called Alex. But what she doesn’t know until the ferry actually arrives is that Alex … is a man!

Jack loves the idea.

We’ve agreed that he will spend the summer leading on structuring the idea. That will give me enough time to get on with the things I have to do on Symi day to day. When the winter comes, I’ll lead on writing the dialogue. Sounds like a good plan.

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