Category Archives: General news

Feature film Bed Ridden gets its first table read

Writer/director Grant LaHood and producer, Alan Brash, were delighted to hear Grant’s charming comedy/drama come to life at its first ever table read at a Girl Guide hall in Takapuna yesterday.

Many thanks to the very talented Alison Quigan, John Sumner, Rachel Forman, Ryan Richards, Andrea Kelland, Adam Gardiner, and first-timer, Scout Maclachlan (brilliantly inhabiting the role of a cocky 14 year old farm girl). Big thanks, too, to Jackie Clarke who had the most to do reading the directions!

We learnt heaps and we delighted and humbled by the talent and generosity on display. We have some great feedback to take into our next draft which we can’t wait to dive into!

Thanks, too, to the New Zealand Film Commission for the Early Development Funding that helped make it possible.

Bed Ridden table read May 2019 - 1

L-R: Jackie Clarke, Alison Quigan, John Sumner, Andrea Kelland, Rachel Forman, and Adam Gardiner at the start of the table read

Bed Ridden table read May 2019 - 3

Adam Gardiner offers script feedback while Rachel Forman looks on

Bed Ridden table read May 2019 - 4

Andrea Kelland offers script feedback while Rachel Forman and Adam Gardiner listen

Bed Ridden Table Read

Clockwise from bottom left: Rachel Forman, Scout Maclachlan, Grant LaHood (writer/director), Jackie Clarke, Alison Quigan, John Sumner, Andrea Kelland

Sweet and quirky comedy gets NZFC development funding

Shoot First Productions is delighted to be working with the incredibly talented writer/director, Grant Lahood, on his new feature film Bed Ridden. Lahood is a highly experienced film-maker who has twice won jury prizes at the prestigious Cannes short film festival. Bed Ridden, a charming, quirky comedy/drama in the vein of Calendar Girls and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, received Early Development Funding from the New Zealand Film Commission in late 2018. Grant_Lahood_-_PIC_268x182.jpg.540x405

Grant brought the project to Shoot First Productions in 2017 and he and producer Alan Brash fine-tuned the story before successfully submitting it to the NZFC in late 2018.

Renowned UK-based script analyst, Karol Griffiths enjoyed the story, calling it “a charming script with strong atmosphere, engaging characters/relationships, authentic dialogue and a genuinely fun premise… it was a true pleasure to read.”

Lahood has just completed the latest draft of the work and Alan looks forward to bringing the project to market in the coming months.

Melbourne workshop & showcase for new theatrical work

Look who dropped by our incredible theatre workshop last November…

We had a truly fantastic week and were well looked after by the folks at The Alex Theatre, in St Kilda Melbourne. We learned a lot, the work improved tremendously over the course of the week, and we had a great turn-out on Saturday (21/11) when we showed an hour of material from the show to Australian theatre movers and shakers (and friends & family of course). We’re now working hard to capitalise on that buzz as we move towards an out of town production somewhere in Australia (location TBC) in late 2016 or early 2017.

Huge thanks to Paul, Jonathan, Patrick, JR, Gemma, Nick, Missy, Amanda, Jeremy, Natalie, Dan, Mark, James, Toby, Josh & everyone else – too many to name – who helped make it happen!

I can’t wait to announce details about the project as we lock down the dates and location of our first public performances.

Stay tuned…

First photos from new music theatre production workshop

An amazing day with an incredibly talented bunch of people on Friday (May 22), workshopping a new theatre project. Feel very privileged to be a part of it. A huge thank you to everyone who took part – we learned heaps. Looking forward to revealing more details as the project develops!

In the meantime, many thanks to: Amanda, Amy, Ben, Colleen, Debbie, Gary, Hamish, Heather, Jonathan, Karel (for the photos), Kyle, Mark, Patrick, Ryan, Shane, Todd. (Also Sam, Diana and Tina who couldn’t be there, and Erica and Shannon for the moral support!)

Stacey Parks represents The Last Resort at European Film Market

Sales and distribution guru, Stacey Parks, of Film Specific will be representing The Last Resort at the European Film Market in Berlin later this month (February 5 – 13). Stacey has recently come on board the “unconventional rom-com” as Executive Producer, joining Australian co-producer, Lindy Taylor. Stacey brings many years of international sales and distribution expertise to the project and her involvement has already opened doors which are paying dividends. Lindy has many years of production and development experience in Australia and the UK. We’re very excited to have them both on board. We’re looking forward to making an announcement very soon about an Australian executive producer who’ll be joining our growing team. (For those with an IMDbPro subscription, you can also follow the project’s progress on IMBd Pro)

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!

“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.

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