INT. Bedroom, evening.


           The scene lingers for a few moments on the quiet, darkened room of BASIL BARADARAN. The main source of light is a tall, precariously bent desk lamp, the sort that makes you think briefly of the Pixar logo. It emits a warm glow to the otherwise black room.

          Hunched over the desk, silhouetted against the orange glow in front of him, Basil sits at the desk. He thinks about what to write. He types a few words, considers them, and then deletes them. A minor stroke of inspiration hits, and his face lights up. Silently, he cracks his knuckles, hurriedly types several lines on his keyboard and, with the sort of grunt that is more associated with manual work and heavy lifting and most certainly not sitting idly at a computer and flailing your hands across a keyboard, leans back to appreciate the work he has just finished.

That'll do.



Lately I've been getting quite into screenwriting. Well, I say lately, I mean, like, forever. But I mean as in lately I've written a fair few - most importantly, one Simpsons spec script which was part of the requirements for applying to the Nickelodeon Writing Program, which I am incredibly psyched for. I've no idea how many people they're thinking of taking on, but with any luck my script is good enough to make it. For those curious, I was very keen on trying to bring back some of that everyday-family struggle that the Simpsons used to do so well (and seeing I wrote a whole article on it not too long ago, it seemed like a logical choice). The episode was about online privacy and how it affected the citizens of Springfield when a new phone begins sharing content to the wrong contacts. Meanwhile Bart gets trolled by someone intent on ruining the El Barto name. I feel like it could have done with some polishing but the deadline loomed way too quickly, and before I knew it it was the last day to get it finished. 

Still, it was pretty good I think. If I don't get in I might just post it here for the laffs and/or giggles. And then write something better for the following year. Shame it takes so long to know if you got in or not - August is when the semifinalists are announced and September when the winners are.

In the meantime I'll keep working on other projects. Editing a short story script from Chipped Productions currently, the animation ident I worked on just last week. This reminds me - with all the new work I've done lately, I think I should change my site to reflect the work I've done, and also to showcase it. the showreel on there is still from 2 years ago and while it certainly needs updating I've worked on stills, screenplays and other things on top of animation, none of which I can put into a showreel. When mine and Wilson's comic comes together, that'll have to be included too.

Essentially it's gone from a writing blog, to an animation site and now I'm thinking of making a comfortable inbetween. 

Going to cut this short, this entry, mainly because my mind has gone blank and mainly because there's a new episode of Better Call Saul and I can't wait.


The Red Forbidden City

Here's another quick extract from my upcoming story, concerning a previously established character:


The setting sun bathed the entire city of Qang Chu in red, or rather, more red than it already was. The light hit the red flags hanging from the red temples, and the red market stalls with the small red lanterns. It was, it appeared, the colour of choice of the people of Qang Chu, or even the entire county of Chu.

   Which was why Po-Zhen was wearing green. Red was an imperial colour – you couldn’t forget that. If he had worn red, he would have been spotted immediately and taken to the prime minister and, with all probability, killed.

   No, no one actually wore red, not unless they worked for the royalty. If you wanted to blend in, you wore yellows, greens and blues. And blending in was exactly what Zhen wanted. It was bad enough that he didn’t particularly resemble anyone else in the country, but he tried his best with some makeshift makeup which would have made for great entertainment back home. He had changed his hair colour to black, after realizing he was the only with red hair in the country. That and it was probably illegal to have hair the imperial colour.

   He called himself Zhen as his full given name had meant Flame Beard, which probably wasn’t the right way to go if he wanted to avoid attention. Zhen by itself didn’t mean ‘flame’ and in fact could mean anything from ‘stone’ to ‘boysenberry’.

   A lot of words had more than one meaning here. That was something he had to learn quickly.

   He looked around the rapidly-emptying marketplace. The sun was quickly setting, and people weren’t too bothered about staying around market square at night where there was no light and nothing in particular to do.

   He ducked in a back alley which he found to contain old wooden boxes filled with old food scraps and animal remains, and stayed until the square was silent.

   It was almost completely night when everyone had left. There was a curfew on, soon, as well, he knew. Shouldn’t be too many guards around, he thought, but if they spot me they’ll drag me up, and they’ll figure out who I am and all this will have been for nothing.


   He figured there would only be two hours before curfew hit, so he didn’t have long before guards would start strolling around. He could hide, and carry on when they weren’t there and might just have to.

   Trust me to find it in the middle of the most occupied area of the city, he thought. Well, at least it’s not in the palace. That would have been a laugh.

   “Time to get to work,” he said.

   First step, I need to get some measurements.

   He worked for a few hours, but gave up. In the darkness, it took much time and his eyes were starting to hurt. He had been up for way too long.

   He decided to quit and made his way back through the more derelict parts of town, occasionally ducking out of sight of guards which had begun to roam the streets. They always started in the poor parts of town. They liked to think that’s where all the trouble was. And for all he knew it probably was.

   He arrived back at the shed behind a run-down café he was letting from someone who in all likeliness didn’t even own the property. It was small – barely enough to fit a bed and a table and looked like it was going to fall over at the slightest breeze. It wasn’t much but it was home.

   Ack. No.

   He didn’t like thinking of it like that.

   It wasn’t home. It was a base of operations. He hated to admit it, but he probably didn’t have a home anymore. He didn’t like the thought of that at all, but for the moment that’s how it was. Maybe once everything was finished with he could settle down here.

   He needed sleep now. He had to be awake at the crack of dawn tomorrow, for Mr Pang, who didn’t know who he was or really cared for all it mattered. Mr Pang paid him money to deliver things, and Zhen did so.

   The research can wait, for the moment, he thought.

   He took off his clothes and put everything that was in the pockets on the table, which rocked on its bad leg.

   He lay down on the bed, which resembled a psychiatrist’s chair more than anything else, pulled the blanket over himself and fell asleep.

Three Square Imaganiums

My list of things to do has been completed and I'm rather pleased with myslef. I can't remember the last time I have fully completed a to-do list without making stupid compromises. Fifteen things done in like 12 hours, which isn't bad considering I've spent seven of those hours playing Tekken or doodling. And now it's half twelve and I'm forcing myself to convince myself that it's late. I have a weird feeling that the rest of my life will comprise of me battling myself over what time is acceptable and what time is stupidly late. I've gotten to the point where 4AM isn't. That's not good.

Oh drat, I wanted to do some writing before I went to bed (shouldve put it in my to-do list). I might do Wanderer instead. That needs to be written, still. To be honest I have no idea where to take it now. I'm writing an issue to be released (or whatever) before my original first issue, but it's reached the point where I've got all these plot twists,  new characters and stories and shit in my head and it's hard to write anything without accidentally slipping anything in there and thus confusing the audience. Originally the Wanderer was going to have a big ol' coat and hat (he still does), but hid his face for the entirety of the first issue ... because apparently seeing his face would have been bad. Seeing I can't hide his face in this one, I'm scrapping the idea, wondering why it was even a good idea in the first place.

Or maybe I could type up my notes from classes this week. I have a visual culture and representation class which, basically, is looking at pictures and films and analysing the shit out of the pretty pictures, integrated project with the world's greatest film producer COLIN PONS (here's his IMDB...) who's given us a choice of three themes: Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, or the Showroom Cinema. For those of you who don't know, the Showroom is in Sheffield, just down from Sheffield Hallam. Gee, thanks again for your wonderful contribution to our education, Colin. How could we ever have passed the course without you (he's the guy I was talking about in this post here).

You just wonder if he was just sitting in his office, wondering what to pretend to teach us and then looked out the goddamn window. There's amoeba who could teach us better animation.

Then there's our claymation class which no one bar three others attended on Friday for unknown reasons, which was fine because it made everything easier considering the room is about the size of Colin Pons's imagination. (That's three square imaganiums, for those calculating imagination in metric)

Ho hum. I'm going to go find something to write about. Ciao world. I'll leave you with pretty pictures of WANDERER I drew some time back


Parsely sauce and creeping people out

Today has been odd, for the sole reason that I actually began continuing writing things I started days, weeks and months ago. There's hope yet. I'm now sitting down - or rather, hunched over my desk with the happenstance of being rested on the seat - , cup of tea on the side, two monitors scarily close to my face and the Dresden Dolls playing Missed Me with Amanda Palmer attacking that piano like it had just raped her daughter (very odd. Just as I typed this Amanda just sang the words "it serves you right for kissing little girls"). The lighting is very limited. This desk lamp is facing the wall and is about 10 watts away from being as bright as a birthday candle. I should probably go to sleep, but that's no fun anyway. I don't dream interesting things. My last dream was I was set up on a blind date with Harley Quinn and forgot she hated parsley sauce ("Mr Joker never forgot I hated parsley sauce"). My dreams are shite. The bloke in a room on the opposite side of this courtyard doesn't like us in this flat, we've decided. Either that or he's shit scared of us, which wouldn't be a surprise. We've nicknamed him Richard, or Red Shirt (because he always wears a red tshirt, except for when he doesn't). We decided to do this very nice thing and post up a huge notice on our window that reads "What is your name?" which wouldn't be so bad if, when we looked outside, didn't look like some sort of obscure ransom note. By the time we got all the letters realigned, he was probably scared of us, which is understandable. He's caught us looking at him through the window, which probably doesn't help. That's not weird, right?

Welcome to my city

Welcome to my city. Population: somewhere around the better half of 500,000 I would think. I’m not really quite sure. Can’t keep tabs on everyone after all. It’s nice to see the streets so empty, especially with our city. Very peaceful, very quite. It’s a lovely city. No, really. You should see the view from my apartment; it’s facing the sea and everything. And climb to the top of Centre Tower – you’ll get to see the whole city from there. Absolutely gorgeous stuff. There’s Midpark too, but we don’t want to go there. Not at this time, anyway. A man got mugged and brutally stabbed last week whilst walking through it at night. Hmmm? Yeah, they caught the guy. Well, found him is probably a more appropriate word. He was found with a spit through him, half-charred over a large bonfire. It was absolutely ghastly but what can you do, huh? Caught the guy? Oh no, you fail to understand you see, it wasn’t a criminal who did that. See, a year ago we had a massive crime outbreak. It was awful. The police couldn’t do much and half the force was corrupt anyway and suddenly out of the blue sky comes our Hero, cape and all. He gets right down to business; he wants to make it clear he’s putting a stop to crime, so he goes all morose-irony on everyone. There was this hit and run on one of the corner stores a while back. Our Hero, he comes out of nowhere, like he always does and he fires at him, completely destroying the guy’s spine. The thief, he’s lying on the road completely paralyzed, almost dead but just hanging on. And our hero, he wants to hammer the point in – he’s only taken care of the “run” side, now he wants to do the “hit”. He breaks the guy’s arms in 4 different places. Then he walks away, never saying a word, and disappears. No one can find him; superheroes are good like that. His name? To be honest, no one’s quite sure what his name is. We call him the Watcher. He’s always around, always waiting, always watching. So a couple of months later and the streets are virtually void of any of the crime we had so much of not that long previous. It’s amazing of course, but without crime there’s nothing for our crimefighter to fight. So he starts finding whatever he can to put himself to use. A man was spitting on the sidewalk, this was a couple of weeks ago, then the Watcher comes out of nowhere and as fast as anything, slashed the poor man’s mouth Glasgow Grin-style. Watcher made him clear up all the blood and the spit. Don’t even ask me about the kids caught drinking… no. Awful. That’s why you don’t see so many people on these streets much. Leave? Not while the Watcher still watches. He’s our guardian. No one can find him, no one can stop him. Besides, I can’t leave- this is my city. Every city has its problems. We asked for a crime-free place and we got one. We have our masked vigilante. But the views here are great. And the Chinese food. Amazing. Wanna grab a bite? Yeah, come on. Watch out. Mind that blood there.


It's an extract from a children's (although I don't know about this part. The second half, with the Circus will fit more for children) story I'm trying to write right now. Not got a lot for it just yet, but I'm writing it on a "make it up as you go along and see how it all fits" kind of way. ---- It had an incredibly appropriate name. Gutter, the town was called - probably after the man who founded it, James Gutter, or maybe it was just named after the great big shithole it had become. It rained almost all the time in Gutter; if it wasn’t from the constantly-grey clouds that lingered above, then it would be the piss that people threw out the window. What did it mater who it landed on? In one of the many gutters of Gutter a rat swam in the mix of urine, spit, rainwater and last night’s bath. Sad to say that it wasn’t the worst thing that would be swimming down these streets. Its journey was stopped abruptly by the long sharp stick that had dug itself into the rat’s back. With one sad last squeak, the rat died. The owner of the long sharp stick, an old woman, almost bent double from old age, danced around happily and let stream from her mouth a quite extensive array of gibberish words. She took off the rag which she had been using as a shawl of some kind to reveal a small makeshift bag which had been slung around one shoulder. It stank of mud and faeces and some animal which she had forgotten to take out some weeks ago. Watching the shish-kebabed rat with wide, greedy eyes, she was about to put it into her bag when, out of nowhere a large hand pulled her back, and with a lot of force, slammed her into the wall of a nearby building. The huge man then picked up the rat-on-a-stick and smelled it with his hair logged nose. “Ooh! S’fresh!” he said. Ripping the rat off the stick and shoving it into the pocket of his tattered cloak, he ran the down the street.