Introducing the great team bringing graphic novel State’s Evidence to life

Cover of graphic novel, State's Evidence

State’s Evidence

I’m really proud of the awesome, talented team that’ll be bringing this action/thriller graphic novel to life over the next few months. Click the links for these guys if you don’t believe me: Mukesh Singh, Giuseppe D’Elia and Shawn DePasquale – from Mumbai (India), Salerno (Italy), and Los Angeles (USA) respectively. Given I’m in Auckland (New Zealand) we could hardly be more international if we tried. Somehow appropriate for a story concerning illegal immigration and racial tolerance!

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“Sophisticated rom-com that’s fresh, funny, and subversive” – Billy Mernit

I recently approached Billy Mernit to do a script assessment on one of my current film projects – THE LAST RESORT. Billy wrote ‘Writing the Romantic Comedy’ (Harper Collins, 2001) so you could genuinely say he “wrote the book” on rom-coms. He’s also served as a story analyst for Universal Studios, Paramount, and Sony, and has taught half a dozen courses at the famed UCLA Extension Writers’ program.

Writing the Romantic ComedyHe was incredibly positive about the project, stating “I’ve told a few trusted people of its rare nature (i.e. a rom-com project that I do think will get made), and I look forward to my prediction coming true.”

And he was kind enough to say the following about it:

Alan Brash’s ‘The Last Resort’ strikes me as an exceptional entry in its chosen genre: it’s not often that one can read a romantic comedy and be genuinely surprised by how it plays out. So kudos to Mr. Brash for constructing a truly adult, sophisticated rom-com that’s fresh, funny, and subversive – it should delight a contemporary audience that’s hungry for something new.”

Billy gave me some awesome notes to improve the script which I’m currently working through. I highly recommend Billy’s services. While he’s best known for his work on rom-coms, he consults on scripts in any genre. If you’re in need of a consult, you can find him here.

Jennifer Garner & Fox Stole my TV Series!*

(*If you’re a litigious Fox executive and you’re reading this, then this comment is made in jest. If you’re a friend or family member: “It’s true! It’s bloody true!!”)

As my eagle-eyed former Unitec screenwriting student, Sam Brooks posted on his facebook page, Jennifer Garner’s production company has been given a put pilot commitment by Fox for a TV series about male stripping – The Whole Shebang. (A put pilot being a pilot that the network is obliged to air or face financial penalties).

While none of the articles, like the ones at The Wrap, Deadline Hollywood, or Variety  specifically say that Garner will be starring, one assumes this is likely the case.

Jennifer Garner Strip-Club Drama Lands Pilot Deal at Fox

Jennifer Garner who MAY play the lead in The Whole Shebang

But here’s the thing: We made this show in New Zealand over 10 years ago! It was called The Strip, it was made by The Gibson Group, and it was devised by yours truly.

I mean, our lead actress, the wonderful Luanne Gordon (see below) even looks like Garner!

(I shouldn’t be too unkind: we gave women the vote in 1893 and it took America another 27 years to catch up there, so maybe they’re closing in on us… just like they are in the America’s Cup – arghhhh! But I digress…)

Luanne Gordon and strippers: The Strip

Luanne Gordon and strippers: The Strip

Here’s the very brief precis according to media reports of the new series The Whole Shebang

The one-hour drama revolves around a newly single soccer mom who inherits a rundown male strip club and unexpectedly finds herself at the center of a dysfunctional, makeshift family that helps her take charge of her life.

Here’s the synopsis (edited) taken from The Strip‘s home page – Melissa is a top corporate lawyer in her mid-thirties… whose life is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for his gym trainer.

Through the emotional turmoil that follows, Melissa wonders where it all went wrong… Looking for solace, she heads to a “Hen Night…” There, with a male strip-o-gram doing his thing, she has an epiphany and decides… [she’s]  going to get out of the corporate rat race and set-up the country’s classiest male strip club!

[She decides to buy a former client’s] sleazy establishment – transforming it from a hang-out for the raincoat brigade – to the Germaine Greer of strip clubs.

The series follows Melissa as she tries to balance her new role as a male strip club proprietor, with the demands placed on her as a mother, daughter, friend and lover.

hashtag – deja vu anyone? (Oh, sorry – One’s a working mom; the other is a soccer mom…)

And I happen to know for a fact that the company with the US TV right actually pitched The Strip to Fox back in 2009. Apparently they initially  “thought it sounded great” but later decided it “wasn’t for them.” Hmmmmm…. (hashtag – spooky coincidence…)

Good thing I detest conspiracy theories…

Short Films Short-listed by NZ Film Commission “Fresh Shorts”

A few weeks back I was delighted to learn that two of the three films I applied for production funding for have been short-listed by the New Zealand Film Commission. The short list can be seen here on the NZ Film Commission’s website.

The films were ‘On the Day I Love You More Than my Phobias’ written and directed by Sam Gill (left) to which I’m attached as producer

and ‘The Last Moa’ directed by Alan Parr (right), written and produced by me. (Alan Parr and I share the story credit as the initial concept was his wonderful idea.)

Alan (Parr) and Sam are two enormously talented guys and I sincerely hope we get the funds so we can shoot these terrific films. We eagerly await the final decision which will be announced on August 30th.

Sadly, Alan and I missed out making the shortlist with another film project we submitted – that one, an animated project. However, we believe in its potential absolutely and are working away on it so that it’s ready for the next funding round.

NZ screenwriting honour for short film and other news

I know I’ve dropped off the internet radar…

So what’s been going on? Well, I’ve pretty much done the rounds of the film festivals with my debut short film ‘Be Careful…’.

I was heartened that it was honoured as a finalist of the Screenwriters Awards of New Zealand (SWANZ) last year. And while it ultimately missed out (hats off to Dianne Taylor for her win!) I was pleased to be in such illustrious company. Considering the film was entirely self-funded, it was nice to see it honoured at this nation-wide ceremony.

On an entirely unrelated note: I see I’ve finally made Wikipedia as creator of the TV series, The Strip! The funny thing is when you clicked on my name, you got taken to my late grandfather’s Wikipedia page! I was named after him – he was a Presbyterian clergyman. But despite (or perhaps because of) his many talents and fierce intellect, he never created a dramedy about male strippers! Think I’ve now fixed it so you get taken to this website instead.

Anyway: Hopefully I’ll soon be updating this site with more news of the many projects I have in various stages of development, including graphic novel State’s Evidence, screenplay Sex, Vows and Jellybeans, and one or two theatrical projects I’m working on.

Stay tuned…

Short film wins an award

I’m very proud to announce that at the sold-out screening for my short film “Be Careful…” (and others) where I ran a scriptwriting workshop and was the key note speaker, my film won the Best Director category of the self-funded section at the Magma Short Film Festival in Rotorua, New Zealand.

I had a great weekend there and extend heartfelt gratitude to the fabulous organisers!

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