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SYS Podcast Episode 017: An Interview With Writer Director Martin Gooch (transcript)

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 017: An Interview With Writer Director Martin Gooch.


 

Welcome to the episode 17 of the ‘sellingyourscrenplay’ podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Myers, screenwriter and blogger over at sellingyourscreenplay.com.

In this episode’s main segment I interview writer/director Martin Gooch. Martin is a hard-working film maker who has completed two feature films in the last 18 months. We talk about the details and the realities of being an independent film maker in 2014.

He’s got a very interesting story and when I love about it is that he’s succeeded through his own will and determination.

If you find this episode valuable please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or if you’re watching this on YouTube please give it a like and leave a comment. I want to improve this podcast so some honest constructive feedback is very much appreciated. Please, also, share these podcast episodes with anyone who you think can get some value out of them.

I’d like to thank Rod Wilson and Constance Noun who left me some nice comments over on YouTube.

A couple of quick notes:

–              Any websites or links that I mention in the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes

–              I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on

–              You can find all podcast notes at www. Sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcasts

–              Also, if you want my free guide how to sell a screenplay in five weeks you can pick that up by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide; it’s completely free, you just put it in your e-mail address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide; how to write a professional  LOG ON COVER LETTER; how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material; it really is everything  you need to know to sell your screenplay-  Just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide to pick that up

A quick few words about what I’m working on. So as I’ve mentioned on the last few episodes of podcast I did finish my limited location/horror/thriller screenplay and I began to aggressively market it. I thought I’d just run through all the various things that I do when I finished this script so that people can see what my current marketing plan looks like.

But keep in mind: this is a fluid plan with each script, I altered it a little bit, I tweak it, and I’m always trying new things and I’m always trying to get new things into this plan. Just, see what works and if I see any light at any of these things that I’m doing I really try and push card into that direction.

So, the first thing I do is polish the log line. I always write the log line before I even write the script so it’s pretty easy, it’s just a matter of tweaking it a little bit and making sure it’s as good as possible. Then I write one to two page synopsis – I’ll need that for my website, other sites where I to upload the synopsis, like ‘InkTip’ and in some cases producers will ask for the synopsis before they agree the read the whole screenplay.  So it’s good to have a synopsis written and ready to go ‘cause you probably will need it. But I don’t include that in the query letter.

I then write my query letter, and, again this is pretty easy. I mean, a lot of it is just copying and pasting. I’ve written so many query letters. My bio section, my query letter hasn’t changed dramatically. So it’s just tweaking and cleaning it up, again – pretty simple, easy bit.

It’s, the query letter is basically the log line, a quick pitch of a screen play and a short summary of my screenwriting credits. So, right after the log line I pitch the screenplay. In this case I’m pitching it – as hostile meets deliverance. And then I have a sentence where I talk about the fact that the script is only 85 pages long and has a limited cast, a limited location so it can be shot at a very limited budget. This is the real selling point of the screenplay so I want to make that absolutely clear in the query letter.

So then I go to the WGA website, and I register the script with the WGA. Eventually, I would sent ot the Library of Congress too, but in the short term I just get the WGA registration.

Some producers, when I do this blast, they’ll ask me to sign a release form and you’ll need the WGA number for most of those release forms.  So you want to get that as soon as possible. And it’s a good idea, just to protect your script, just in general, but you definitely want to get it to the WGA, and again, I do recommend sending it to the Library of Congress, but not in a rush to do that right now.

I then upload the log line, the pitch and the synopsis to my website. You can look at that at ashleymyers.com if you’re curious to see the actual information.  Again, that’s www.ashleymyers.com.

Then I upload the script to ‘InkTip’ replacing the script that I have listed in their database. They have a variety of services, but one of the services is you can list your script in their database and then the producers can find it and you tag it with a bunch of, you know, genres and keywords and that sort of thing. So, the producers can search through their database and find stuff. And when you upload something you seem to get a good number of hits so it’s good to just constantly put something new in there.  You can do this for as many scripts as you want. I typically, only have one script at the time and I just keep replacing that listing.

Then after ‘InkTip’ I uploaded the script to the Black List site.  You know, you pay for one month and I also paid for one review, so it’s 25$ for month host and then one review is 50$, so that’s 75$. My thinking here is – if I get a good first review I will buy a second review, but if the first review tanks, I probably won’t bother.  I did interview Franklin Leonard a couple of episodes ago on podcast so if you have questions about the Black List podcast or the Black List website rather definitely go back and listen to that where we really went into nuts and balls of that.

So then the final thing I do, I use my own e-mail on facts blast survey and in this I’ve decided to go ahead and do a blast to my agents-manager’s list and also my producer’s list all in the same day. The responses started to come in almost immediately.

One thing I noticed, and this is, kind of a, it’s a little bit of a mistake that I made – I did the blast the Monday after Easter and I got a tone of automated vacation replies and I think that’s gonna hurt me. My fear is that when people get back from vacation their inboxes will be so full they won’t give my query letter much of a look because they’ll be trying to just jam through a tones of e-mails.

So, that’s one lesson I learned. Try and stay clear of any and all holidays. People do take, you know, extended days of in and around those holiday weekends.

Anyway, I then usually let the responses pile up for a few days, usually until Wednesday or Thursday so if I do a blast on a Monday or Tuesday I’ll let the responses just pile up for one or two days until Wednesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And then I’ll run through them all and reply; just I’ll run through them all in one big batch, in one big session. It’s just a little more efficient this way then to oncey or twosey the responses off. You will have to fill out some release forms and just doing this, onceis and twosis can be time consuming, but doing them all as a batch is just a little more efficient and I don’t think it’s a big deal to wait a day or two or three days. So that’s not a big deal.

So that’s actually what I’ve done. This is actually what I’ve doing before recording this podcast. I was just finishing up, submitting back the script to the people who requested it.  So now, it’s just a matter of waiting for a few weeks and seeing if anything hits.

The one other thing I did, I forgot to mention this; one other thing I did right before doing the e-mail and fax blast – I e-mailed a list of about 15-20 producers or development, you know, executives who have read some of my material in the last few years and showed genuine interest in one or more my screenplays. These I people I sent the screenplay to. They responded : ‘We like it, but it’s not quite right’. And it’s generally – sometimes people like it, but it’s not quite right and really that’s a way of saying ‘we didn’t like it’.

But sometimes I get extended conversations with people, sometimes I actually meet the people, sometimes I talk to people on the phone. And I kinda try to create a list of people and in gmail you can just create a folder or a tag. And I tagged these, you know, as people who show the genuine interest in my writing. And as I said, right now, I have sort of 15-20 people which I correspond with frequently, some of the people I’ve met. But I genially  think that they generally like my writings.  And so, I went to them out first, and I really should do more of this, sort of cultivate these relationships but in most of the, I mean, obviously I’m taking a step back. This is more just my custom e-mail, this is not my pat query e-mail I send to them. I custom write each mail, you know, mentioning that we’ve met or talked on the phone or mention the other script that they’ve read and liked.

Nearly, all of these people will read the script, because, again, they’ve shown genuine interest in something I’ve written in the past so it’s a pretty good way to jump start, your sort of, marketing for your script.

So that’s basically what I’ve done to market this first screenplay. I hope we’ll have an update in near future with some good news.

So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I have an interview with writer/director Martin Gooch. He’s a very hard-working determine director who’s managed to get two films produced in just the last 18 months.  So it’s pretty impressive. Here’s the interview.

Ashley: Welcome Martin to ‘sellingyourscreenplay’ podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show.

Martin: Yeah, it’s fabulous to be here even though I’m not actually there.

Ashley: So, you have two feature films coming out this year. Congratulations on that.

Martin: Thank you very much.

Ashley: Sure, and, could you give our listeners just a quick overview of your career? Sort of how you got to the point where you are now, really taking us all the way back to the start?

Martin: Yeah, sure. A very, very quickly one. When I was a little boy, I went to the cinema. My aunt took me and I fell in love with the movies when I was about 5. And we didn’t watch TV and we hardly went to the movies so it was a real special treat to go to the movies. And I realized that I wanted to do that, you know,  I sort of got that – I wanna make movies at a very.., before I was ten.  But obviously, at the 80’s, in UK, my mum and dad who are brilliant people but not film makers. How do you get into the film industry? No internet, no DSL-s, no flip cameras, no nothing – so I couldn’t.

So I actually became an archeologist and I went to work at _____ service in California. I worked in ____ County, in a beautiful town called _____________ near Mount Chester. Anyway, it was wonderful and I’m still in touch with that guys.

But I wanted to be a film maker and I re-applied to the UK and I got into the art course so I came all the way back. I actually went to LA the day of Rodney King Riots when I was 19 and I thought : ‘Why are there tanks here? I don’t understand.’ And then someone said: ‘There are riots. You need to go’. SoI left.

I did the ——– film. I got a job as a runner, a visual effects runner on ‘The Specialist’, the Sylvester Stallone movie in 1994 and shot it. So the very first job I got was on the biggest film ever been made in the UK at that time. It was pretty amazing experience and I went back to college and I realized there was nothing more to learn at college from my tutors ‘cause I’ve already made a movie and they hadn’t done anything. Although I had a lovely time at college, I recommend : Go to college kids. It’s good.

Ashley: That sums up my college experience as well.

Martin: I started of there and before I finished college I was there and my tutors, lovely people, but they’re tutors. Then I became a cat-loader which is second AC in America obviously and I did a whole lot of films and I went to Australia and I did whole lot of films in Australia as AC. Then I came back, and I was really lucky enough to get on some really great films like ‘Trophets of Muppets’,  ‘Treasure Island’ and bits of ‘Harry Potter’ and did the —- matches in Harry Potter 1 as an AC and then lots of other films, lots of dreadful films you’ve never ever heard of quite rightly so.

Ashley: But you’re getting a good technical background. You’re building up this sort of technical film knowledge all throughout this.

Martin: Yeah, and on set the call room: how to behave on a feature set is essential and I teach you know, screenwriting hilariously, having just slacked off a lot of educators –something else I do. And I find that a lot of students today and they come to a film set, they don’t know how to behave. And I find that, that’s ‘cause nowadays, you can get a DSLR and go and shoot something and become a director on day 1 – you didn’t learn the path. And I think that being an assistant, even just on one movie, is the best education you’ll ever get ‘cause you’ll see top of the game, heads of department, scripts, make-up people,  scripts supervisors. You know, all those wonderful people doing their job at highly professional level and then you can work out where you fit into this.  And if you’re lucky you’re working with the director who is good.

I mean, the funny thing someone said to me the other day : ‘Which directors you worked with were really good?’ And I went : ‘Ughh, I can tell you which ones are really bad’. And then I had to really think ‘cause unfortunately, good directors, a few and far between, if you think how many films are out there and how many individual director have their individual print on the film then it explains everything unfortunately. But, that’s rock and roll.

And then, I made a lot of short films. And two of them got selected for Best New Director for BBC. I got two years in a row which is really cool. And the BBC phoned me up, asked me : ‘Hey, we’d like to give you a job,’ and they gave me a job directing this day-time drama called ‘Doctors’ which is like the English version of E.R. but much, much smaller budget.  And that’s been on telly for 10 years and really learnt my on -set directing skills ‘cause you’re doing 28 pages a day on scripted drama.

Ashley: Wao!

Martin: Yeah, you shoot hour and a half in TV. 3 episodes in 7 days. And it’s really, really fast. It’s as fast as you can go and have a good quality. Any faster than that and you start getting lamp stand, you know, …

Ashley: Yeah.

Martin: And then I got another job on the back of that called ‘Holios’ which is really popular, sort of English version of ‘Beverly 90210’. And I didn’t do that for a long time, I was there for off and on, for one year. And then, I did my first feature that I had been shooting like little video, like pop videos and short, like 20 short films. I did a lot of short films that you can edit all together and that’s a feature film. It may not make any sense…

Ashley: Yeah, yeah.

Martin: And it’s lots of fun and you know, to use a cliché, at the end of the day I loved being on the set working with actors and crew and camera man and having a reason to go to work. Whenever there was a lol in the paid work , you know, if the phone wasn’t ringing then I’d say that we’ve got all these skills we need to go out and just shoot stuff.

And we shoot a lot of stuff and I shoot an Actor’s real for a friend of mine, and she’s now in Hollywood on a three picture deal.  Fantastic, yeah, she’s doing really well and the little we shot because we were bored is the work that she took to Hollywood.

Ashley: Yeah, you know, what I find is that so many people want to run before they walk and your story is the really perfect example for someone who took the time to learn from the craft, as you say, doing the shorts, doing just the assistance work, all that stuff from top to bottom.

Martin: Totally. I’m a great believer in practice. I mean if you want your car fixed you take it to the garage first.  You don’t just take it to your next door neighbor and say just : ‘Look,  can you fix my car?’ And there seems to be this thing in film making. The first time you do it it has to be right and perfect.  You write a script and you just write 90 pages and it’s done.  Or you get your friends together, you go out and shoot a film and it’s done and I think – you got to practice.

All of the guys that are really, really good they might have made two or three or four pictures that are bad and the famous quote is : ‘ You learn from your mistakes’. And you shoot a pop video, and it’s not so great – why isn’t it so great? And I shot some videos that are pretty bad and I just don’t show them to anyone.

Ashley: No doubt. So, let’s talk about the shorts. I’m a bit proponent of doing shorts and there’s a, I find there’s this mentality where people find that if it doesn’t go viral and get you some sort of deal at Sony than there’s been a failure and my whole thing with shorts is that you get a beginning, middle and end of the entire film making process so it’s a great way to start as a writer, as a director, as a producer.  Maybe you could speak to that.

Martin: That’s my short DVD, available in the shops eventually, in some..when I finally finish doing it. So, you even get the stuff on the side, look at it.

I think, sometimes people make shorts, because they say it’s the trailer for the feature and I think : make the trailer, don’t make the short. But it’s like my previous answer – if we’re film makers then we should make films. And we can’t afford to go out and make a feature every weekend.  But we can afford to gather our friends together and our fellow technicians and make a short film. And it’s great fun and you could practice.

Because if you’re doing a big feature, like when I worked on the big films, the director is constrained by many other interests, not just the financier, but by the producer and the screenwriter.  And if you have a high level actor they might want to have a lot of input as well. But when you’re doing a short it’s one of those rare times when you, as a director, have total autonomy and purity of control.

And I’m not saying that because I’m a control freak, quite reverse. I very much welcome my cast and crew input because if they say something that’s cool, well I’ll take it and make a better film. I never say no. I mean I was – people say a lot of stuff that is bad and you have to be diplomatic and say : ‘That’s an excellent idea. I’ll write it down.’ And then do something else.

But, with shorts it’s your film. And you may not get that chance, because if you made your little short film, like I made this film – offers amazing things years ago. I made that one, tara – there it is.  And it did very well and the BBC liked it and they called me up, and then of course I got the job I was talking about.

But in that job I’m just the director. I don’t have anything to do with the script, I have a little to do with the locations, I don’t get casts because the actors are already established. You just get casts of the day. You’re just doing episodes. So, the funny thing is – they hide you because you’ve created the whole film and you wrote it to the world and they just want you to be the director so you suddenly just have a one role.

Ashley: Let’s dig into that a little bit! So first of when you this Arthur’s Amazing Things, how many shorts had you made before you made that one?

Martin: Well I did two shorts at university, at college which were just practice and then I did one, so that was the third short I did.

Ashley: Ok! Maybe you can give us some sort of actual logistics. How did you get that to the BBC, how did you actually get it so that it got seen and got some success? What did you actually do with it?

Martin: Well I mean this is a few years ago. This is 2002 I made that and I showed it on 35mil and I went to all these labs and I said, “Can I have your short ends?” Because I already had a relationship with them as a loader, as a second AC they gave me loads of short ends so we shot the whole film on a minute of film and then two minutes and blah blah.

And then it took a while to do obviously. We have shot on movietech cameras, wonderful cameras and when it was finished, this is as I said ten years ago there were less festivals and I didn’t know anything about film festivals at all. I was completely ignorant but obviously I knew of the BBC and the BBC were running this thing called ‘BBC Talent.’ I don’t think they still do it. And you sent in your film. And if they liked it, they invited you to a special screening in Bristol at this lovely film festival. I strongly urge you, if you ever get a chance, brief encounters for short film festivals are one of the best in the UK and possibly the world. And we went down there and I didn’t win, I came second but that got me the intro to meet the guys who employed people. So I didn’t make the film with the intention of getting a job. I just wanted to make the best film I could make. You see! And I _______ people make a film just to get a job but I think that’s a showreel. Do you see what I mean?

Ashley: Sure sure!

Martin: The great thing about making a short film is you can have the purity of your own stories. You say ‘This is the story I want to make and I am going to make it.’ And obviously you have got to raise the money!

Ashley: So one of the things that intrigued me about your story was that you wrote, produced, directed and found funding for these two feature films that you have coming out this year so let’s dig into some details on that. Which one was first death or..?

 

Martin: ‘Death’ is first.

Ashley: So ‘Death’ was first. So let’s just, as I said, take a step back and dig into that. What did you do to go..

Martin: There it is!

Ashley: Perfect! And this one is screening in Boston right now.

Martin: This one is available on DVD.

Ashley: Oh ok ok!

Martin: You can find that on DVD in America. It’s called ‘After Death’ in America and ‘Death’ in the UK for reasons that are far too dull to go into.

Ashley: So let’s dig into the logistics of the film. So you wrote the script, you have all these connections in terms of knowing the crass people that you need for the film but how did you go about raising the money?

Martin: Well I originally wrote a screenplay called ‘Werepig’ which is all about a girl who turns into a pig like a werewolf but a pig. ________ . And we thought it was great and we wrote the script and we went everywhere. We went to the BFI and the film council at the time and I spent ten years trying to get the money and I came up with nothing. Absolute zero! I think that I had one penny and that was it. So I felt very disheartened and I thought I might give up but I couldn’t.

Ashley: And what kind of budget were you looking for ‘Werepig?’

Martin: About a hundred grand.

Ashley: Ok so not a huge budget!

Martin: A hundred and fifty thousand dollars that sort of thing. And I just couldn’t get any money and so I wrote another script and another script and I had written quite a lot.

Ashley: Now at this point had you done the directing like on these two TV shows, so you had a career at this point when you were trying to raise the money, it wasn’t just like you were a total novice when you were going out to try and get the money.

Martin: Correct! Yeah! Absolutely! I had a track record and I did a Masters in Screenwriting later on. I mean I graduated and then thirteen years later I did the Masters and so I thought I have got to write a script that is cheap. It’s the classic low-budget premise, you know you’ve got one location to shoot everything. How many films are there set in a bunker and how many films are there set in a cabin in the woods. Because it’s cheaper to make that you know you get all your crew in one location and your cast and you can house them and feed them and they are there the whole time and if you want to film a little bit later in the evening they are not all going to go home because there is nowhere to go. So you have kidnapped your cast and crew. ____ did it. All sorts of people did it and so I was trying to think of a story and then a friend of mine invited me away through a weekend. He had hired this stately home. And I went there and I arrived, the day I actually drove there I was late at work and I drove in the darkness and there was lightning and rain and the trees were whipping around like something out of Frankenstein. And I just thought this place is awesome.

Ashley:  And you said he hired this place that means he rented it for a weekend just for fun?

Martin: Yeah!

Ashley: Ok!

Martin: And he invited about a dozen people, we all went over there and we all had a great old laugh and I just thought this place is amazing and it’s like an artist’s retreat so it’s not like hiring a hotel. You just hire the room out there ____ the building and you have to cook and do everything yourself. I don’t know what you call that in America but like..

Ashley: No yeah there is certainly that kind of a thing, a house rental.

Martin: That’s it and because it’s like an artist’s retreat, a writer’s retreat it’s not very expensive. I mean it’s not cheap it’s not expensive. And then I went away and I thought of the story and I got some actors together and I worked out the plot. And I decided on my characters and I wrote very very detailed character profiles for each of the five key characters and then I hired a rehearsal space in London and I cast five actors. Four I knew and one who had come to me and said, “I’d like to work with you” and I said, “Come and do a day for me for free and let’s see if we get on.”

And she was excellent. And we work shopped and I hate that term but we works hopped the five scenes which I call ‘The Temple Scenes’ in the movie, the beginning of the film, the end of Act 1, the middle of the movie, the end of Act 2 and the end of the film so the five key moments. And we works hopped for a long evening and I filmed everything on a little flip camera and then I went away and I wrote up every single word and you know exclamation and ______ they said and gave me forty-eight pages of pure dialogue and I started stripping it away and working out which is good and which is bad and then I put that in the story plot arc that I already had. And I knew it was all set in the house because I had seen the house and that was my story. And that was my script and then I wrote it and it only took about two weeks once I had it mapped out. And then we went to the location for a long weekend to practice the whole film, rehearse the whole film and we had a couple of extra ________. It sort of organically came together.

And because it was all one location that was the only big expense was the hiring of the location and getting it from there and all that sort of things. And virtually of the crew and actors were either people I had worked with before or my friends. I wasn’t asking anybody who I didn’t know to come along and work for me free because I think sometimes low-budget filmmakers feel that they have a devine right to make films and if they make _______ people will come like Kevin Costner but Kevin Costner is not going to get as paid. __________ for that matter and quite a lot of money I hear. Whereas I am not asking anyone to turn up who I don’t know. You know like on the weekends you might go down the park and play football with your friends. You don’t ask people to come and play football with who you’ve never met.

Ashley: Sure so what did the budget end up being?

Martin: Well we didn’t have any money. Same old thing! And I thought sorry I am going to make this film whether or not we get any money so I know three very rich people and I went to each one of them and they all told me to, sort of, _____ they wouldn’t give me anything at all and I ___ “My God I had more in a week than I do in a year and they wouldn’t help, just wouldn’t help and I almost begged and I thought I can’t beg for money. That’s wrong! So I scratched my head and my friend Jeff who is the guy who took me to the house in the first place he said, “Look! I know someone so we asked him and they gave us two hundred and fifty pounds which is nothing. We thought, ‘Hang on!

What if we ask everyone for two hundred and fifty pounds.’ And this was, you know, when people weren’t really crowdfunding three years ago. Now everybody crownfunds all the time but it wasn’t really at its level it is now so I said ‘Ok’ so I asked every single person I knew within reason for two hundred and fifty pounds and _____ and I raised a lot of money. But it never came in in one lump, it would be I’ve set up a business and I’ve set up a bank account and blah blah blah. And two hundred and fifty quid would come in and then three hundred quid would come in and then a thousand pounds come in and nothing would come in and then two hundred and fifty. And then just money sort of trickled in and I don’t think we ever had more than three thousand quid in the bank at any one time. But I set a date ______. I thought 31st December 2011 I said we’ve got any money in the bank account, this brand new ____ bank account on that date we will make the film and if we have no money in the bank account, I’ll give it up. It’s God telling me don’t be a filmmaker, go back to the forest service and be out of sight. And I woke up in the morning I remember ___ I typed in the code and I opened the bank account and it had zero. Not a single one of them and I was gutted so I got on the phone and at the end of the day we had three thousand pounds in the bank account because I just had to go and hard sell it and that was the most amount of money we ever had.

Ashley: And you say ‘hard sell it’ it’s little like calling your friends and saying ‘Listen can you put two hundred and fifty? It’s nothing special.

Martin: It’s like Bob Geldof said, “Give us the money.” And I think a lot of people two hundred and fifty pounds you know what’s that four hundred dollars, it’s a lot of money it’s not an insignificant amount of money but you could get fined for a tax evasion easily or a car problem or you know your car breaks down you get a bill. It’s not _____ but you can cope with it.

If I was asking people for a thousand pounds they’d say ‘No way!’ People are very generous, you know, and people would say, well I can’t give you any money but I can give you this and lend you a camera or a tripod or an actor would come along and say look I’m going to waive my fee and stuff like that. And planning, I mean I used to work on really big films multi-million pound films and you just see them piss away money left, right and center. Any film that’s ever been made by Hollywood could have been made for half the budget if they didn’t take stick their hands in their pockets the whole time and I mean you see just endless crew standing around and doing nothing all day and you think ‘well why are they there.’

You know and I say as a technician who has stood on a film set doing nothing for many an hour and taking the money, thank you very much, but when it’s your film you can plan and if you plan successfully, you can save a huge amount of money by just ____ being an idiot and you know the amount of times I’ve seen ____ they were only going to shoot for one day and then they do an eighteen-hour day and then they pay for taxis for everyone to go home because they miss the last bus and they miss the last tube. Well they’d just spent two hundred pounds or quid or dollars on taxis. Well you should have shot for two days and spent two hundred pounds on everyone’s expenses and food and a bus home. That sort of logic, this thing that ‘everyone’s here we’ve got to do everything now. Chaos!

Ashley: So you have all these technical production skills, I’m curious on something like ‘Death’ what is your experience with post-production, the editing, sound editing, all that stuff, how did you get that done?

Martin: Well I’ve never edited anything really. I have Final Cut Pro on my computer and I had edited some pop videos and some shorts. I didn’t feel confident about editing a feature film because there’s so much more going on. There’s various arcs and ____ and stuff and just a data wrangling. I means hundreds of slates syncing up all that, it’s a headache and you could lose files and disaster so I was lucky I sort of asked around and I found this brilliant editor Peter Davis who edited three James Bond films. He edited the Roger Moore James Bond films twenty years ago and he was available and he’s a really nice guy and he said, “I’d love to help” so he started cutting but sadly I ran out of money. A famous story for all filmmakers! I ran out of money and even though Peter was doing it for almost nothing, we just couldn’t afford to keep him and which is a great shame and he had cut the whole film on Avid and I was cutting on Final Cut Pro. I tried to import the whole Avid sessions in ____ and it cannot be done. I mean it probably can be done but I couldn’t do it. And we had a total meltdown with the edit, and I lost about three months time, because I had to redo every single synching in Final Cut Pro.  It’s boring.

And very luckily, a friend of mine from years ago, Eddie Hamilton, who edited Kickass and Kickass 2, things like that, I bumped into him in the street.  I was walking through Soho in London, and I went, “Eddie?”  And he went, “Martin?” We went over to cutting X-Men, the last one Changed everything out and took it, and it saved my life, because I’d already spent three months and gotten nowhere.  And Eddie fixed it in one day.  And then I recut our film our film, shot by shot, to match [?] stuff.  And that was hard.  Really, really, really hard.  But, because I was doing it, and I don’t pay myself a wage, it cost nothing, you see.  That famous triangle: quality, time, money.  I’ve got lots of time.  I haven’t got any money.  So, I did it myself.  And by doing that, I learned how to edit, and every time I had a problem, I’d just go onto YouTube and type the problem, and there’d be some little bloke, who could say, “Ah, you need to do this.”  And I learned how to edit from YouTube.

So when I came to do The Search for Simon, winner at this year’s Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival…

Ashley:  Nice, very nice, congratulations.

Martin:  Thank you very much.  We won last night, so it’s all fresh.  I cut it myself.  Because I learned to cut.  It’s like everything, it’s a series of random events that meant something happened, and if Peter had been able to edit all of Death, I probably would never have learned to edit properly.

Ashley:  So that’s probably a good segway into The Search for Simon.  Is that a similar story?  How did you raise the money for that?

Martin:  When we finished Death, after Death, I was trying to get into Film Festivals and sales agents, and I just got no, from every single UK sales agent.  I went through them alphabetically, A-Z, and every one of them said no.  And a lot of them said no very rudely, as well.   They don’t just say no, they say no, and go away.  Which is kind of heartbreaking.  And I went to the Cannes Film Festival, I went to Berlin Film Festival, I went to the Feel Good Film Festival in LA, which was wonderful, and we got nominated for a whole lot of awards.  And I came out of the screening on Search for Simon – on Death – and I got offered a sales agent.  Which is great.

And he actually turned up to watch the film and blah blah blah.  But I’d spent so long on post production on Death, and doing the paperwork, and the accounts, so I was sick of it.  And I wanted to be back on set.  I felt like I just didn’t want to be a filmmaker anymore.  I wanted to be a first AC again, so I could be on a film set.  So I thought, I’ve done it once, let’s do it again.  I’ve got all the stuff, I’ve got a little box of red head lights, a little camera, little tripod.  You don’t actually need anything else.  That’s all you need to make a film.

And I thought, I’ve got to have an idea that costs almost nothing to shoot.  And that meant I had to be in the film.  Because if I’m in the film, then there’s one less actor.  And because I can operate a camera, and I know how to light, then I don’t need a DAP.  And I don’t need a cameraman, because I can shoot me doing it myself.  So I’ve got this logic, if it’s about a man who’s making a film about something, not found footage, but someone making their own film, then that is a caveat for any bad focus issues or camera blah blah blah, or cockups.  It doesn’t have to look a million dollars.  And then we have those tent pole scenes that I talked about.

We have a big opening, a big closing, a big bit in the middle, and the end of that too [?].  So I wrote those, and a friend of mine came along, Simon Burkes, and helped craft the film, the script.  And then we had the script.  And I’d already shot a whole other piece with the camera myself.  We ended up doing the whole thing for twenty thousand pounds UK, which is about, well it’s one point six-six exchange right now, so thirty thousand dollars.  And then we have a tax rebate at some point, so it’ll be less than that.  That was doable, because I took that decision to be in the film.  And the last thing I wanted anyone to do was think it was an ego decision.  It was purely a financial decision.  When the film came out, I didn’t even put my name on the poster.  I’m not even credited as an actor.  And there’s no picture of me.  I wanted it to be seen as a film I directed.  I happened to be in it, but I’m in it for financial reasons.  But luckily, no one has said that I’m shit yet.

Ashley:  So, let’s dig in a little bit, once you’re done with the film, how many festivals did you submit to?  And I guess we start with Death, since that was the first one.  How many festivals?  Because one thing that I think people fail to understand, and maybe filmmakers don’t like to talk about it, but I know my film that I did in 2008, I think we submitted to maybe twenty festivals, we only got into two or three.  So there’s a lot of rejection, even for films that are seemingly half way decent.  How many festivals did you get into before you got the one where you got the sales agent, you started to win some awards?  And are there any tips about submitting to festivals?  How did you choose which festivals to go to?

Martin:  Oh yeah, I mean, the festivals, it’s a whole other skill.  You can be a focus pole [?], you can be an actor, director, whatever, and the festival submissions is an entirely different skill.  And it can be hellish.  You’ve got to develop a rhino skin, so when those rejections come, they don’t hurt.  You’re getting water off a dog’s back.

You open your, first thing in the morning, you think, “Oh, what a lovely day!”  Turn it over [?], it says, “Sundance have told you to fuck off.”  And it you let that bother you, it will crush you and crush your spirit.  But the thing to remember is when a festival is programming, they have hundreds of things, and an average festival only has fifty films in it.  A weekend film festival, fifty films.  Well, they’re getting, first of all, they’re going to program all the films they’ve made, then they’re going to program all the films their friends have made, then they’re going to program any films that they get sent and have famous people in them, and then you find that they’re actually only looking for two films.  And if you think of it like that, you think, they’re going to get five hundred submissions, the chance of your film getting in, good or bad, is suddenly reduced.  It hurts less when you get rejected.

And there’s all sorts of other things.  If it’s very specifically a horror festival, and your film is a comedy horror, they might just not want it.  And they might think it’s the best film ever, but it doesn’t fit in their schedule.  Or if it’s a very broad festival like the London Film Festival, they show all sorts of films, if your film is seen by the wrong person, they won’t like it.  If somebody sent me Great Expectations by Mike Newell, I would throw that in the bin and set fire to it.  Because I thought it was rubbish.  Other people will think that it’s absolutely brilliant.  It’s just like handing your script out in the first place.  You’ve got to go through that process again.  Your script got rejected a thousand times, your film is going to get rejected a thousand times, for no reason that makes any sense.  But the way I deal with it , don’t tell anyone.  Because there’s no point in saying, “Oh, I went up for this role!  It was brilliant!  It’s Roman, it’s centurion, I’ve got sideburns.  I’m perfect for the role.”  And they’ll go, “Oh, that’s great, that’s great, that’s great, that’s great.”  And then you get rejected.  And then each one of your friends will say, “Did you get the role?”  And you go, “No, I got rejected.”  So you actually reject yourself each time .  If you don’t tell anyone your mum, when you do get a role, and you tell everyone, “I got a role!  I got a role!”  Everyone thinks, he gets a role every time he goes up for something.  That’s awesome.

And it’s the same with the films.  When I got rejected, I never ever told anyone at all.  I don’t even tell the producer.  The only person in the whole world who knows is me.  And Withoutabox is hellish.  It’s like entering Dante’s Inferno.  And the further you go into Withoutabox, the more angry you become, and the more things you want to throw at your computer.  Because it’s owned by IMDb, so everyone’s going to go there.  It’s very user unfriendly, and because it’s a monopoly, no one’s ever going to change it, it’s always like that.  And one of the problems with IMDb is that there are lots of film festivals that are not on it.  And when you are submitting your film, a lot of people just got to IMDb, type in, and the list goes [sound effect].  And they go, oh, that’s in Vegas, I’d like to go to Vegas.  That’s in Spain, I’d like to go to Spain.  That’s in, I don’t know, Fukushima, Japan.  I don’t want to go there, because I will get radiation and die.  So I’m not going to that film festival.  And they just do it with Withoutabox.  But a Google search engine will come up with all of these other festivals that don’t even exist on Withoutabox.

Ashley:  That’s a good tip, because actually, when we were making our film, as I said, in 2008-2009, we did use Withoutabox, and we didn’t go any further than that.

Martin:  There’s tons of them.  And it is sad to say, I think you mentioned earlier about the different tiered film festivals.  Well if you look carefully, like I just said with the “they’re going to program this, they’re going to program that,” and you’ve actually only got two spaces, Cannes, Berlin, all these ones, they’re going to have the films with George Clooney in.  They’re going to do the big budget films.  And we cannot compete with Hollywood.  There’s nothing we can do.  We don’t have twenty million dollars to advertise and tell things.

And whatever, I’ve been to Cannes thirteen times, and whatever they say about it being fair, well of course it’s not fair.  If it was fair, then it wouldn’t be just big budget films that win awards, would it?  Has there ever been an Oscar film for Best Oscar that didn’t cost millions of pounds?  And have there been films that didn’t cost millions of pounds that are better than Oscar winners.  Well, yes.  Of course there has.  So it’s all bollocks, as we say in England.  But you’ve got to play their game.  Because they are, to use a Dungeons and Dragons euphemism, they are the Games Master, you’re just the players.  And you’ve got to come in and do your application and strategically think, will I get in?  And if I get in, can I afford to go?  Because there’s very little point in having your film at a film festival if at least one person from the cast or crew doesn’t go.  You’ve got to .  So if you’re applying for film festivals in Australia, can you afford to get there?  And if you have paid your hundreds of dollars to get into that festival, and you get accepted, and you can’t go, well that wasn’t really worth it.  We entered about thirty five festivals for Death, and we got into about ten.  So it’s one in three, I think.

 

Ashley:  And that sounds like pretty good odds, I think.  You actually did, probably, pretty well.

Martin:  Yeah, basically, I allocated a thousand pounds for festival submissions, and when I ran out of a thousand pounds, that’s it.  I put no more in.  But I have a terrible habit of coming home late and going on Withoutabox and spending money.  Some people go on Amazon and buy DVDs, some people buy exotic shoes, I enter film festivals.  And I wake up in the morning, the credit card bill is in your email, and you go, ohh.

Ashley:  So tell us about the one, it was in LA, you said you found your sales agent?

Martin:  Yeah, it was great, it was a really nice festival called the Hollywood Feel Good Festival.  It’s not running this year, unfortunately.  And they were really lovely.  I actually was a little bit reticent because the film is called Death.  And they’re called the Feel Good Film Festival.  And I thought, oh dear.  So I emailed them, and I said, look.  My film’s called Death, and it’s all about people who die, but it’s got a very happy ending and a positive message, and it’s uplifting, and it’s spiritual, and it’s all about what happens next.  And the woman sent me back an email saying, “I’m not afraid of Death!  Send your film.”  And we got nominated for best film, best director, best actress, best actor, and the audience award.

Ashley:  Very nice.

Martin:  Yeah, we did incredibly well.  Very exciting.  And our film was small budget, and we were up against multi million, well million dollar, two dollar, two million dollar films.

Ashley:  So I wonder if that’s not another tip, emailing the festival before you submit and sort of introducing yourself.  Because that might actually have influence on whether they accepted you.

Martin:  Yeah, totally.  If you can form a relationship with the festival programmers and the chief people, that’s essential.  I think the first time you go to a festival, it’s a reconnaissance.  So there are many festivals I’ve been to in the world, I’ve been to more than once.  And the first time you go, it’s like your first day at school.  You’re literally finding out where the tables are, where you can eat, who you can have lunch with, where the toilet is, and oh, it’s time to go home.  And the weekends go very fast.  You go to a festival, and it can be over like that.  So if there’s some way you can go to somebody else’s festival and meet the festival team there, then you’re going to be ahead of the queue.  And anybody who thinks that films are chosen purely democratically is wrong.  They’re not.

Ashley:  So you’re saying, go to festivals, even if you don’t have a film entered.  Just go to get the lay of the land beforehand, a year or two beforehand.

Martin:  Yeah, absolutely.  And also, festivals are fun.  I love going to them because you meet like minded people who want to make movies, and they may help you make yours.  In The Search for Simon, one of the actors I met in Cannes.  So I went to the Cannes Film Festival to do something else, I met an actor, and years later, cast him in my film.  So the danger of going to film festivals is going with a very specific agenda to achieve.  So you turn up on day one, and you think, right, I need to have a million dollar contract from Harvey Weinstein by the time I leave on Sunday.  You may be disappointed.  And if you turn up and go, I’m going to have an awesome time, meet loads of people who like films, then you’re going to not be disappointed.  And when you come back home, you’re going to go, that was totally awesome.  I had an amazing time.  Nothing happened, but I had an amazing time.  Next year, I know to bring handouts, DVDs, and money.

Ashley:  So how was the submission of Search for Simon?  Was that similar to Death?  How many festivals did you enter with that one?

Martin:  I had much less money.  I made Search for Simon out of frustration that nothing was happening, that I was in the office doing accounts, bored out of my skull.  I didn’t have the thousand pounds that I did for Death.  I spent a thousand pounds, I just spent all the money until there was no money left.  I didn’t have that, for Search for Simon.  So I first of all, I went back to all of the festivals that showed Death, and I said, I’ve got a new film out.  Within a year, would you like to see it?  And most of them never replied at all.  Some of them did.  We got into Rain Dance, which is the biggest festival in England, and Sci-Fi London showed it.  We had quite a few UK ones.  But I couldn’t afford to go anywhere, see.  And a Danish festival took it because we filmed part of the film, two important scenes are in Denmark.  And actually, they’re actually filmed in England.  But I lied.  “In Denmark!  Hooray!”  No, there is a little bit that I did actually shoot in Denmark, but all the bit inside the pub is England.  If you look carefully, all the cans in the background, on the shelf, they were all English labels.

Ashley:  So you went back to the ten festivals you got in with Death, you emailed them and said, will you take another festival, and you were hoping that they would not charge you the entry fee, that was the idea there?

Martin:  Correct, yeah.  But also because they’d met me, and we had a nice time, and I turned up with cast and crew, and I’d been an active participant within their festivals, I thought they would be up for it.  And a lot of them were.  Rain Dance are great, they’re supporters.  And the Isle of Wight Film Festival, we went down there, that was lovely.

But we didn’t get into quite a few that we’d already been to.  And then I applied to things like the Monaco Film Festival, which is not on Withoutabox at all.  And they loved the film.  They phoned me up at midnight one evening, and I thought, this is strange, you don’t get phone calls at midnight.  And they said, is this Martin Gooch?  We’re sorry to bother you, but we just watched your film, we love it!  We want you to come, darling!  So we did, went to Monaco, and we won the best film at Monaco Film Festival.

Ashley:  Very nice.

Martin:  It was fantastic.  It was very exciting.  We got to wear DJs and all that.

Ashley:  So as far as these festivals, there’s the first tier, the second tier, and then the third tier, a lot of them, I think there’s this misconception, especially the second and third tier, they don’t pay for all the filmmakers to go.  You had to pay for Monaco Film Festival, you had to actually pay for yourself to go, or they actually had a budget for you to come on in?

Martin:  Almost every festival, Cannes, Toronto, and Venice, you have to pay to go.

Ashley:  Only the top tier festivals will pay for your flight and stuff.

 

Martin:  I hate to say it, but being in London, we’re lucky, because we’re closer to so much stuff, and you can get a flight down to Monaco if you look carefully, for not a huge amount of money.  Whereas if you’re in LA, it’s a little bit more expensive to get to Europe.  But the other side of that coin is that every city in America seems to have a film festival.  Pretty much.

Ashley:  I think so.

Martin:  And to be honest, in terms of fun, the smaller film festivals, in my opinion, are the most fun.  Or I have had the most fun at the smaller festivals.  Because it’s nicer to be a big fish in a little pond than a microscopic fish in a ginormous pond.

Ashley:  So let’s talk about Death and the sales agent that you met.  How has that panned out?  The sales agent has then, he’s taken it out to distributers, and he has actually found some distributers, and you’ve started to see a good return on the film?

Martin:  Well, what happened was, we had the screening in Hollywood, and I came out of the corridor, and the guy was there, he said, “I loved your film.  I’m a sales agent.  Let’s talk.”  And in my head, I thought, never sign with the first person that you speak to, so I did actually say no.  Well, I didn’t say no, I said, hang on.  And six other sales agents offered to take the film.  But I actually went with the guy who came up to us because he was the nicest one.  And when you’re making a pact, not with the devil, but with a sales agent, this could be something that lasts for ten years.  Five years, ten years, twenty years.  So I think it’s really important to like the person that you’re doing business with.  Because if you’ve got to email them once a week, or phone them, and skype and stuff, if you hate them, you’re just not going to do it.

So I thought, I want a sales agent that I actually want to have a beer with and a chat when I see him.  So we were very lucky that the guy who came to us is a really nice guy, and he worked very hard.  And we had the film at AFM, not last year, but the year before, so 2012, which was great.  And I came over.  I mean, I had to pay for my own flight, but I came over.  And it was incredibly interesting at AFM.  It’s like a huge education in, I think it’s five days I was there, so I just learned so much.  But I really wanted a theatrical run, you see.  And my first feature, I was desperate for it to be in the cinemas for a bit.  And I sort of said, no, I don’t want to sign to DVD straight away.  I want a theatrical, I want a theatrical.  And the months ticked by, and then I realized that really, we’re not going to get a theatrical.  We just don’t have the money.  You need thirty thousand dollars minimum to do a theatrical run.  Or [unclear] waste of time.  And finally my agent sort of said, you’ve got to set a date when you’re going to say, ok, we gave up on the theatrical.  And I did.  And the second that that date passed, they got us some DVD distribution of VOD.  So they’d sort of been waiting for me to make a decision.  And then we came out on VOD – on DVD – on the 21st of January, just last month.  So we haven’t got any sales yet, any returns, because we haven’t done the accounts.

Ashley:  Where did you get these other five sales agents?  They were from the same festival, they saw the film at the festival too?

Martin:  That’s right, yeah.  They all came from the Feel Good Film Festival.

 

Ashley:  So on the festival in Los Angeles, do you think the reason there were so many sales agents there was because it was in Los Angeles?  Because I’ve heard, a lot of distributors told me, when I was submitting my film, that I don’t worry about the smaller festivals, they’re not going to do you any good.  But it sounds like there were quite a few sales agents at this festival, even though it wasn’t a top tier festival.

Martin:  It think there’s definitely an element of truth in that.  You know, you look at the world map, and there are certain centers of filmmaking, and LA is clearly, possibly the biggest center of filmmaking in the world.  So just by sheer chance of numbers, you’re more likely to get these people to turn up because they live down the road.  Whereas if you’re at, I don’t know, the Danish Film Festival, there’s not going to be any film distributors there because they’re not going to go there.  Things like the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin, of course they’re going to be there, because it’s actually a film market as well as a film festival, they’re two separate things.  Whereas AFM is obviously a film market primarily, and it has a little festival as well.  Whereas something like Rain Dance, which is a really big festival in London, very, very, very, very few distributors there at all.  They’re going to wait another couple of weeks and go to the London Film Festival.

Ashley:  I see, I see.  So let’s talk, maybe briefly, on your distribution for Search for Simon.  How did you get that set up, and how did that go?

Martin:  Well it’s the same old story really.  After Death, after I’d finished Death and got distribution with that, I thought it would be easier to get the next one.  But it wasn’t.  And I phoned up all the people who said no again in the UK, and I said, look, you said no on Death, that’s fine.  It went on, it won a whole lot of awards.  We’ve made another film, and we’d like you to have first look.  And they still said no.  Because they’re not interested, because it’s a small budget film.  And the sales agents, all they want is who’s in it, what’s it called, what’s the genre.  So if you can’t say Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman – well that was an unfortunate combination wasn’t it, but never mind – if you can’t say Tom Cruise or Kate Winslet.  But all the sales agents still said no.  I got a no, a no, a no, a no, a no, a no, a no, a no.

And I thought, ah, I can’t go through this again, it’s so, you know, rhino hide, so depressing.  Every time you turn on the computer, there’s a festival that says no, a sales agent that says no, a festival that says no.  So you just think, sod it.  So I went back to the sales agent who had taken Death in the UK and the USA, different sales agents, and I offered it to them.  And because they had taken the film before, and we have a relationship, they both said yes.

Ashley:  I guess the only downside is that especially since you haven’t been working with them that long on Death, if they’re not good sales agents, you are now tied with them for two films.

Martin:  That’s correct, that’s exactly the thought process I had.  How long do you wait?

Ashley:  Yeah.

Martin:  It’s a classic question.  You’ve made the film, you’re doing the festivals.  You don’t want the gap from finishing it’s festival run to coming out on DVD to be two years, because everyone will have forgotten.  And time moves on, and I might spend two years making a film, but a member of the public spends ninety minutes in my world, and that’s it.  And if they don’t particularly like it, they will move on and forget about it.  So you have to sort of keep that flywheel of film festivals going through the sales agent-y bit and the distribution bit to sales, so the reviews on the internet and in the papers – because people read a review and they like the film, they want to buy it.  Or go and see it.  If they read a review and then it doesn’t come out for two years later, they’ll have completely forgotten.

Ashley:  Sure, sure.

Martin:  You need to cash in on any positive press that you have during the festival.

Ashley:  So what’s next for you?  Are you working on another script?  Are you preparing to shoot another film?

Martin:  Oh yeah, of course.  I’ve always been writing.  I’ve written tons and tons and tons of stuff.  And the next one, because I wrote Death and I wrote Search for Simon with my friend Simon helped me on that one.  And I thought, I don’t have to write the thing I’m going to direct, because I used to direct telly, and I didn’t write any of those.  So the next film we are doing is called Alice on Mars, and it’s all about Alice of Wonderland and her further adventures on Mars.  She’s been to Wonderland, she’s been through the Looking Glass, but she hasn’t done anything for a hundred and fifty years, since then, when it was written.  So it’s time for her to have a new adventure.  And it’s based on Alice on Mars by Robert Rankin, who’s a famous British author.  And we got the rights.  But I haven’t got any money.  The script’s all done [?], and now I have to start the financial process.  And we have also got Deathtrap Dungeon, which is Lord of the Rings meets Tomb Raider, based on the hugely successful fighting fantasy game books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.  Ian Livingstone went on to mastermind Tomb Raider and the games workshops shops that you see in the high street.  And I approached him years ago and said, I want to write the screenplay on your game books.  And he said yes.  And it’s all done, and now we’re ready to try to get it out there to the world and have a decent fantasy.  I mean this blows of Game of Thrones out of the water.

Ashley:  Huh.  So it sounds like those are bigger budget projects.  What’s your strategy for getting some funding for those?

Martin:  Well I think, what I’ve learned, specifically for me, is I don’t need a producer, I need a financier.  And I think we get all confused that you need producers, and producers have this magical ability to do things.  All we need to make films is money.  I don’t need another director on set.  I need my actors, and that’s it, and blah blah blah, and certain things you don’t need.  And I thought, I’ve been looking for a producer, but I don’t need one.  What I need is someone who can get me money.  And I realized that that’s actually me.  That’s what I can do.  So, we’ve set up the company already, and now the UK government has favorable tax schemes for filmmakers, so we’re going to follow that route.  It’s very, very boring, and I would rather be on set [unclear] than doing this.  But I think to make a long term, sustainable film company, I’ve got to set up a proper financial structure.  It’s boring as hell, and my god I don’t want to do it, but this is the next twenty years of filmmaking.  Because otherwise we’ll be scrambling around on KickStarter for little bits of money until the ends of the earth.

Ashley:  Yeah, sure.  So you mentioned some of these movies are out on DVD.  How can people find them?  Do you have a website where you’re selling them?  Are the DVDs available on Amazon?

 

Martin:  After Death is available on Amazon.com, right now, and if you’re in the UK, it’s available on Amazon.co.uk, called Death, of course.  The Search for Simon will be out on DVD in time for the Monty Python reunion in July.  So we’ll be out on DVD in June or July.  And my website is really easy, it’s martingooch.com.

Ashley:  Ok, perfect, I can link to that in the show notes too, so people can learn more about you.

Martin:  People can also buy the book of Search for Simon, which is fascinating, and more excitingly, the book of Death, which is really nice.  It took me two years to write this, and I went through the whole thing, and it’s every single scene, annotated with a story of how we shot it and what we did.

Ashley:  So it’s a screenplay and then sort of the story behind all the actual filming of the scenes.

Martin:  Every single scene, yeah, and a lot of artwork.  And that’s the proofreading copy, so I’ve just got to go though it and proofread it, and then it should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Ashley:  Ok, perfect.  And those will be available on your website or also on Amazon?

Martin:  Hopefully on both.

Ashley:  Ok.  Perfect, perfect.  Well then, we’ll definitely direct people back there.  Martin, it’s been great talking to you.  You’ve been very generous with your time, so I really appreciate it.

Martin:  Thank you very much.  See you next time.

Ashley:  Just a quick plug, for some of my other services.  I recently taught a class through SYS Select about how to make your opening pages awesome.  The class was recorded and is now available on the SYS Forum.  So if you’d like to hear the replay of the class, you can check that out by joining SYS Select.  We now have seven online classes in the forum, covering a variety of screenwriting topics from how to choose your concept to how to pitch your screenplay.  The next class is going to be all about how to craft a killer Act I.  So keep an eye out for that.  Details will be in the next episode of the podcast.  In the meantime, if you’d like to take a look at all the past classes that we’ve done at Selling Your Screenplay, go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/onlineclasses.

 

In this episode of Writing Words, I want to reflect a bit on Martin’s story.  Is there anyone out there who just listened to that interview and thinks, man, that guy sure did get lucky?  The answer is, of course, no.  There’s really very little luck in Martin’s story, and to me, that’s very inspirational.  He’s not sitting around waiting for someone to tell him he’s good enough.  He’s out there making things happen for himself.  It’s not easy.  It’s a lot of hard work.  And if you’re afraid of hard work, this is probably depressing news, but if you’re not afraid of doing some hard work, hopefully you’ve been inspired to get out there and make things happen for yourself.  Martin is in control of his destiny, and if you’re willing to do the hard work, you can be in control of your destiny too.  You can get your scripts produced.  It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible.  Anyway, that’s the show, thanks for listening.  Good luck this week with your writing.