Writing that difficult second book

Christopher Lambert

It was back in 2015 that I last posted on here, writing about the publication of my first book, Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors – I’m pleased to say the reviews were positive, the fans enjoyed it and sales are still ticking over.

But one book is never enough, and it wasnt too long after taking a breather from writing Seeking Perfection that I began considering another one, and it was during a podcast interview that I mentioned a book on the Highlander films could be a potential project.

Fast forward to June 2016 and I was interviewing one of Highlander‘s stars on the red carpet before a 30th anniversary screening of the film here in Edinburgh. I spoke to Clancy “The Kurgan” Brown about his time shooting in Scotland, before speaking to him in more detail a day or two later.

That interview sealed the deal for me and since 2016 I’ve been gathering interviews with cast and crew while delving back into the history of the British film industry in the 1980s.

Those inerviews include conversations with director Russell Mulcahy, actor Christopher Lambert and actors Beatie Edney and Roxanne Hart. Plus around 45 more cast and crew (you can see a photo of me and the main cast above, taken at a recent event in Birmingham).

I’ve also visited a few libraries to search for news articles and clippings and I’m building up what I hope will be a fascinating picture of filmmaking in the 80s, the work of Russell Mulcahy and the music of Queen.

It’s a fun process, though I don’t have quite as much spare time to write this book as I did for the first when I was self-employed and able to spend the odd quiet day transcribing interviews or writing. This time I’m getting up early in the morning and using some of my weekends while working as a Communications Manager the rest of the time.

I’m posting the odd update on my Facebook page and Twitter feed, and I was also interviewed recently by a Highlander podcast, Blood of Kings, where I discussed my progress and plans for the book’s release in Autumn/Fall 2019.

Unless I lose my head between now and then…

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New book now in stores

SeekingPerfectionlorescoverJuly2015

It’s been four years since I first considered writing a book, and two years since I actually started researching it, but today saw my first tome, Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors, hit online stores.

Following the publication of my first feature in the UK’s SFX magazine back in 2011, I decided that there was more to say on the 1990 horror/sci-fi/comedy/western film, Tremors, and I mulled over the idea of turning 1200 words into 90,000.

Now, after carrying out around 55 interviews, spending 100s of hours researching, writing and editing it (and travelling to Los Angeles for a screening of the film), I’ve finally unleashed the book into the world.

It’s been a steep learning curve – who knew there was so much editing required when you’re writing about five films and TV series? – but it’s been great fun and I’ve met some amazing people along the way.

The book is on sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, as well as various other stores, with brick and mortar shops soon able to stock it – full details are over on the book’s website.

I’ll be doing some proper promotion in the coming months ahead of the release of Tremors 5: Bloodlines in October 2015, and I’m open to interviews should anyone wish to get in touch.

New challenges for 2015

Hard to believe it’s been almost four months since my last blog post, during which time I’ve been busy being busy: finishing my first book, leaving behind the freelance world for full-time employment and planning new projects for 2015.

On the book front, a few unexpected occurrences – including the announcement of a fifth film in the Tremors franchise – led to me missing my over-ambitious December 2014 publication date. The book has been pushed back to later in 2015, which should allow better promotion and some extra content on Tremors 5.

Work-wise, as much as I enjoyed the freelance life, which allowed me to travel to France, work with the Screen Machine, create some iPad magazines and be involved with numerous other interesting projects, the opportunity to get my teeth into a longer term project arose and I couldn’t say no.

I’m now the UK Community Manager with the fast-growing online arts and entertainment site, WOW247, who I did some work for in June 2014 as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I’ll be helping to grow the number of contributors to the site and increase its reach, while writing some content (including a new film column).

One personal project that finally came to fruition in December 2014 was a special screening of archive TV at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, which saw a couple of dozen people congregate to watch Hogmanay classics from the STV vaults. The event followed on from a 2013 event I organised with the BFI, and I hope there’ll be more screenings in 2015 – head over to the Facebook page for updates.

Here’s to a great 2015, hopefully it’ll be a memorable one for all the right reasons!

 

Big screen debut in A Dangerous Game

A-Dangerous-Game

That headline is perhaps slightly misleading, in that I’ve not appeared in Anthony Baxter’s latest film, A Dangerous Game, but some footage I filmed has. Let me explain…

Between 2011 and 2014 I was lucky enough to be involved with Scotland’s finest cinema, the Screen Machine, a mobile unit which takes films to some of the most remote areas of the country. It’s a brilliant concept and I helped raise awareness of the venture, win sponsorship/funding, start an education pilot and carry out a few other tasks before funding ran out in April this year.

One of the films we screened was Anthony Baxter’s explosive You’ve Been Trumped, which investigated the Scottish Government’s decision to change environmental laws to allow US tycoon, Donald Trump, to destroy some of the Scottish coastline to build a golf course. The millions of pounds he promised to invest never materialised and the story of Trump’s intimidation of the residents made for compelling viewing.

As part of my job, I filmed the cinema in action around the country, most notably on the isle of Mull and on the islands of Coll and Tiree (you can see the videos below). When Anthony got in touch to ask if we had any footage of the Screen Machine for his latest film, for a sequence illustrating where the first film had been screened, I was happy to send over my raw footage.

Some of that footage has ended up in A Dangerous Game, which is now being released in UK cinemas. Admittedly it’s only a few seconds, but I’m happy to be part of the film, which looks at where things are now with Trump and his Scottish investments. I also spotted my name in the credits for “additional camera”, so that IMDb entry can’t be far behind.

Find out more about the film over on the official website and watch the trailer below, before having a look at the Screen Machine in action (and if you’re ever heading to the Highlands, visit the website to see if you’re anywhere near it, tell them I sent you):

Anton Corbijn interview on BBC Radio Scotland

One of the finest films I saw at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival was the latest John le Carré  adaptation, A Most Wanted Man, starring the late, great, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Director Anton Corbijn was in town to carry out some interviews and I was lucky enough to speak to him on behalf of BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Studio. It’s on the BBC iPlayer (starting around 37 minutes in) for the next seven days and I’ll upload to my Audioboo page soon.

Covering Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has been and gone for another year, 11 days of premieres, special events and assorted film madness that I’ve been covering for both BBC Radio Scotland and WOW247.co.uk.

As in previous years (it’s my seventh as press), I’ve been trying to see as many films as possible before interviewing members of the cast and production teams involved. I appeared live on the BBC Radio Scotland Culture Show on 19th June, with two packages being broadcast on the 26th June. My interviews with Cold in July director Jim Mickle and Braveheart star, Brian Cox, will be on iPlayer for a few more days.

I also filmed a number of videos for entertainment website WOW247, a spin-off from my old haunt at the Edinburgh Evening News. As well as attending the opening night film, Hyena, I spoke to Brian Cox about 20 years of Braveheart, met an ex-Hobbit by the name of Elijah Wood and spoke to Don Johnson about his latest film. Those videos, and a few more, can be watched via the website.

Tremors book cover and trailer online

A few months ago I announced that I was writing my first book, Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to the Tremors. Now the cover and trailer are online.

The cover was illustrated by the very talented Ben Morris, while the trailer was animated by Kayla Stuhr, with music from Emília Rovira Alegre. The book is on target for a December release, and you can follow its progress on the blog.

You can also read a short interview I gave to the horror magazine, Fangoria, over on their website.

Seeking Perfection cover
Watch the Seeking Perfection trailer on YouTube.