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Films

Whatever Happened to the (Bat)man of Tomorrow?

I love digital spring cleaning. I’ve just discovered Johnny Decimal and whilst I’m not quite numbering all my folders just yet, I am having a serious sort out of my files and (re)discovering some gems that I had forgotten I had.

One such gem is a folder of promotional photos/mood-board pics from when I was writing “Batman: The Exorcism of Bruce Wayne” (AKA “My Batman Project that’s Deader than Bruce Wayne’s Parents“). It’s made me quite nostalgic for what might have been with this project!

Yet again, I find myself wondering what I would need to do to get this cast back together… (especially this guy)

Goodbye, The Black Room. Hello, The Black Room.

Yesterday the domain I bought for The Black Room, theblackroom.co.uk, expired. It wasn’t asn admin error and I’m certainly not turning my back on The Black Room or any of its projects. So, why did I let it go? Well, read on dear reader…

The Folly of Domains

I have a lot of different interests and different projects, as you might be able to tell from this website, and I used to run a domain for each and every one of them. It was time-consuming, expensive, and ultimately pointless. Every domain needed content, carefully curated to avoid duplication between my sites but also written and built to take advantage of the overlap and link between my various endeavors. Domains would go through flurries of activity when I was busy in that particular area, then lay dormant for weeks or months whilst I was doing something else. Worst of all, when I would actually speak to someone who had been on one of my sites they would say things like…

“I went on your website but I couldn’t find your books.”

“Oh,” I would reply meekly, “Which one were you on?”

“It had a film on it?”

“Oh,” I would reply meekly… “Which one?

This is the great folly of buying domains for small projects and side hustles before they are fully formed and ready to exist as entities in their own right. We’ve all been duped by the Go Daddys and the 123Regs of this world that every idea needs a domain. The moment you conceive your side-hustle, whether it be cake baking or naked DJing, you need to rush out and buy the right domain for it before it’s too late. Because that’s how you stake your claim, right? There’s gold in them thar hills and if you don’t mark out your territory, someone else is going to buy www.nakedcakebakingdj.com, right?

Wrong.

Since I started my Big SEO Experiment I’ve pulled more traffic into this one, completely niche-less domain. I’ve had offers to work on projects, requests for interviews with podcasts and online magazines, and I’ve sold more books. So, here’s what I’ve discovered… you don’t need a domain for every little thing you do.

So, The Black Room’s carrying on?

Absolutely. You can still see the original pilot for The Black Room on YouTube and I’m still, when I’m not working on other things, working on more ideas for The Black Room universe. The biggest Black Room project of them all, OffWorld, remains in post-production and is inching towards completion day by day, week by week, and month by month.

As for any new Black Room projects, after my failed attempt at a Batman fan-fic-flick, I’m licking my wounds a little bit on the topic of projects where I’m reliant on so many other people and where things can fall apart completely out of your control. There is a purity to prose that I really enjoy; although it still takes other people to bring the books to market the actual creative process is entirely under my control and the only person who I’m relying on to make sure the story gets finished is me. Life has a real habit of getting in the way of projects and I don’t hold it against anyone when things don’t work out but it does leave you a little jaded when something you’ve poured your heart into doesn’t come to fruition through no fault of your own.

Having said that, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel for The Exorcism of Bruce Wayne. I recently discovered that there’s a very large community of people making Batman fan-fic audio dramas. Audio would certainly keep the SFX bill down…

My Batman Project That’s Deader Than Bruce Wayne’s Parents

I’ve only been involved in two Kickstarter projects so far (or three, if you count my short-lived feud with the creators of Comixwriter). One of those was successful and led to the writing, filming, and creation of OffWorld. The second, a fan-film called “Batman: The Exorcism of Bruce Wayne” wasn’t so successful. Although the project raised some funds and recorded some screen-test shorts, the main filming never got off the ground.

To say that I was disappointed is an under-statement; I’d written a script I was really proud of and, in my own little corner of the unofficial Batman fan-fiction mythos, I really felt like I had an exciting story to tell. In retrospect, the script was incredibly ambitious – perhaps too ambitious in many respects. I’d written The Black Room to be filmed with basically zero budget. We filmed Offworld on a budget of just £10K (although we’ve subsequently raised, and chipped in, additional funds to push that project towards completion). Batman: The Exorcism of Bruce Wayne raised just over £2K, which barely covered the BatSuit.

Right now, even the screen tests seem to have vanished from YouTube…

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…which is a real shame as there were great performances in this little short, especially from John Varker as Alfred and Dannie Britten as Vicky Vale.

So, the first-ever Batman project I’ve really gotten my teeth into (albeit an unofficial one) is officially deader than Bruce Wayne’s parents. (Or is it? I’ve heard tell of a wonderous collection of people producing fan-fiction audio dramas, and might be just up my street crime alley)

In the meantime, enjoy my Kickstarter video, if you like that sort of thing…

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The Tantalus 2 flies again

I’m a little bit behind on Offworld and Black Room news owing to some other projects, but this was a little bit of news that caught my eye on our official Offworld Facebook page that I wanted to share for anyone not on the group.

As you may know, one of the biggest endeavors the Offworld team undertook was to build the flight deck set. Although it only features in the opening few minutes of the movie, it was a crucial piece to establish our credibility in the eyes of the viewer as a “real” sci-fi space story and not just “eight go wild in the country”.

Work commitments kept me away from much of the shoot and not getting to see, and sit in, the flight deck is one of my movie-making regrets. I’ve kept an eye on the fate of the flight deck ever since as it has been passed from one set of hands to another like some sort of giant MDF version of the One Ring.

The flight deck, much like the crew of the Tantalus 2 themselves, simply won’t die easily. The latest news is that, after a few years as a feature of a gaming centre in Birmingham, the flight deck is now in the hands of a gentleman by the name of Justin Andrews who is working with a team to refit it as a customised flight simulator for use at conventions and events.

It just goes to show you can’t keep a good ship down. I hope to see the Tantatlus 2 for myself some day soon!

New Offworld Video

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How incredible does this look? Every time we get some new footage from the team working on the post-production aspects of Offworld, the better the movie looks. There are a ton of shots here that have never been seen before (some were even new ot me) and it is so exciting to see the final version of the movie taking shape.

Huge thanks to everyone who has kept working on this project through 2020 despite the very difficult working conditions and the inevitable delays caused by lockdown.

New Offworld Poster Revealed

We’ve got a brand new promotional poster for Offworld! This is part of the promotional package that will be going out to US distributors next year. The film is nearly finished and we’re incredibly excited that the film could be hitting one or major channels or networks in the very near future.

This new promotional poster will probably also influence the book cover as well, so watch this space for updates.

Why movies aren’t a patch on our merch

One of the great things about working with Terry and Dani on projects is all the little gifts (or are they bribes?) that turn up in the post.

Today it was my official WOW THE MOVIE patch, ready to be mounted alongside my OFFWORLD patch when I finally get one of those puffy “director” jackets.

WOW isn’t like other projects I’ve worked on because the creative process is not collaborative with just the other writers and producers but with the many people already supporting the project. Terry and Dani are running regular live video chats over at and the supporters voices are genuinely being heard in terms of what direction the story is taking.

The only other project I know of that’s taken this sort of approach is Snakes on a Plane, and things worked out pretty well there.

But it’s new territory for me. I’m used to stories being built up in my head for a while before putting them out there and getting feedback. This isn’t like that. It’s a melting pot, a stew, one of those giant paellas you see on TV where the whole village comes and throws something in. It’s both exciting and intimidating from my perspective as the person who will do the second and third passes on the story and script.

For now though, it’s that glorious giant cooking pot, and I’m happy to adding another patch to my nonexistent jacket.

Looking back, and looking forward, to Offworld.

A lovely message from one of our Offworld stars, Dani Britten. I’ve yet to hit this part of the script in my work through to write the novelisation and I’d forgotten writing this scene until today.

A great science fiction story is never about the science, it’s about the people – the science is just a vehicle to create a situation for their stories to play out. Sometimes, it’s just easier to create a perspective from a world away.