This is a bit of festive fun from Vultures, the bloopers and gratuitous corpsing from our very first episode The Kris Kringle Konundrum, which went online December 24th 2007. Enjoy and happy Christmas!
This is a glimpse at the title card for the episode, as designed by Paddy Dunne. Suitably 70’s paranoia thriller, it gives a nice taste of the kind of vibe we’re going for on this one. This is our North By Northwest / The French Connection aping episode. Hopefully keeping the adventure to the forefront along with the comedy. I’ll quietly say it’s the best one we’ve done so far but don’t take my word for it.
Here’s the newly Youtubised version of the Episode 5 trailer. Please do take a gander when it goes online Sunday.
Here you’ll find all the remaining clips from Devious Theatre’s production of Trainspotting from June 2008. It gives a good insight into our production and the spin we put on the story. And of course, the word cunt is used a lot.
(This is taken from the chapter in the book entitled ‘Strolling Through The Meadows’)
Road To Nowhere:
(A particularly chipper sing along to the Talking Heads tune by Begbie and Renton)
(Taken from one of the book’s most infinitely disgusting passages.)
(Not as conventional as a drug deal by any means. But it’s got praying)
No, not deleted footage or extended footage or extra scenes. Bonus is the word we’re using. Hell of a word, really. So fun and bouncy. As opposed to anything that might sound like we’re really stuck for stuff to show people.
We have amassed quite a few Vultures scenes that were cut from episodes but generally they tend to not be much cop. This however, is something we liked. And it’s a whole cohesive sequence.
It got cut out of Episode 4 ‘The Case Of The Poisoned Dates’ due to time constraints. But we kind of wish we’d left it in. Mainly because the episode was long enough anyway. What’s another 4 minutes when you’ve already given us 40? Amen.
Here is the full sequence of the V.P.I. detectives getting ready for the night out scenes that culminated the fourth episode:
I’m gonna do some shameless plugging for a good cause here. Eddie Brennan (Fred Bass on Vultures and master builder extraordinaire) is going to Uganda in June for two months and he’s organising a fun filled 80’s Nite on Friday 3rd of April in Cleeres on Parliament Street, Kilkenny.
This is also an excuse to show off the lovely poster by Paddy Dunne:
The night is described as ‘an awesomely radical bitchin’ and bodaciously tubular fresh, wicked and gnarly night of 1980s nostalgia to the max.’
There’s no cover charge in the door and all donations are appreciated. The money raised will go towards the building of new schools and much needed facilities in Uganda.
As of yesterday, January 3rd, we began filming Vultures Episode 5 and Episode 6, back to back. Like the way proper sitcoms are usually done! The shoot is going on throughout January and February, with a lot of actors and a lot of scenes and a lot of tea powered work to be done. I’ve bought thermals, I’m clearing the evil demon of alcohol from body (for a while at least) and I bought a new multi nib pen and plastic folders. I am fucking ready!
I’m not at liberty to mention anything about the details of our low budget webcom shoot. But all I will say is that we’ve got a brand new updated crew on board, a rather large and varied cast of characters and that direction duties are being concurrently handled by myself (“Uh, I think you need a longer pause”) and the currently one armed but ever resilient Ross Costigan (“Uh, that needs to be reframed…wait, yeah, that’s it”). So on we march! More updates and info as we have them. We’re still in the edit for ‘The Case Of The Poisoned Dates’ so expect some sort of date for that to materialise for that soon. Here’s me and Dave and Suzanne using our acting in it:
A happy new year to all!
My resolutions are pretty much:
1. Finish Vultures.
2. Get Vultures out there. Where, I don’t know.
3. Finish Bansheeville. Needs more banshees.
4. Not write any more plays or low budget web sitcoms for a long, long time.
5. Take a holiday.
6. Finally get the time to use the car I bought back in 2007.
7. Eat more things with green in them.
8. Watch a lot more plays. And films. And read things.
9. I’d like to learn some sort of new and practical dance.
10. Save enough money to send me to South Africa in 2010. I’m also going to tie this resolution into having an excuse to go to South Africa in 2010.
Back to the grindstone.
A series of splendidly designed and expertly photographed profiles for the main detectives of Vultures have just gone online. And about time as well. We’ve spent the past few months updating all the supporting character profiles, accidentally neglecting the shit out of our central characters in the process. They’ve kept the same dull, drab pages we’d initially flung up for them in 2007. Well, no more!
Ross took a great bunch of photos in front of our lovely office and Paddy went off and used his expert Photoshopping on them. So here they are. The gentlemen detectives of V.P.I finally in full technicolour glory:
Meet this well groomed, moustachioed, lady fearing, wooly hatted, most gentlemanly of detectives at http://www.vulturespi.com/McGrain.html
Meet this polite, dog loving, well fragranced, accident prone, most professional of investigators at http://www.vulturespi.com/Tennyson.html
There’s good reading in them. They might have caused us a shitload of problems with retroactive continuity but damn it, there’s good reading.
After a long night in the studio finishing the sound mix, Vultures Episode 3 ‘The Mystery Of The Night Time Refuse‘ is pretty much done, bar the few teensy bits of tidy ups here and there.
I’m quite proud of it I have to admit. I guess the overall ojective with this episode was to show people that we were getting better technically, that there was a long term story plan in place (aka not making this shit up as we go along) and that we could deliver consistent laughs with a solid story and interesting characters. And I think on those terms, we’ve succeeded. There are obviously going to be qualms. And I got plenty of them! Which is par for the course when you have a budget that comes in under 200EURO! Considering the scope and ambition and sheer naivety we had going into this project I’d still really love to see what we could achieve with substantial funding. But hey, that’s a story for another day.
As it is, we’ve got a lot of people working really hard on this project and everyone is so damn dedicated. Which really is the heartening thing, when you’ve got actors and crew who not only enjoy working on a project but actively look forward to it. And hey, they’re doing it all for free too!
So yes, Vultures is definitely a labour of love and without doubt the biggest creative undertaking I’ve ever taken on in my life. And at the end, if I can stand proudly by 6 episodes of something that, with my friends and allies, had blood, sweat and tears poured into it, then yup, I’ll be a very satisfied mind indeed.
As it is, we don’t know how this episode is going to be received, we don’t know if more people will be attracted to the project, we don’t know if it will work. All we can do is have faith and plug on regardless. Episode 4 is currently filming and it’s been going great guns so far. So all we gotta do is keeping working hard (for free, yes) and try and somehow find the time to finish off Vultures in 2009. Fingers crossed.
We’re trying to use the trendy buzz phrase ‘webcom’ as much as possible too. Use it! Use it! It’s great and it’s trendy. And also, we’re sick of people saying ‘Oh, isn’t a sitcom supposed to be just half an hour?’ and we’ll get flustered and make lame excuses. But now, now we’ve got an answer and it’s this: ‘Webcoms are 40 minutes stupid!’. That’ll put the shoe on the other foot.
Episode 5 & 6 are currently undergoing their drafting process. It’s weird having planned a story arc for nearly 2 years to finally see it coming into shape. It’s making me and Paddy feel kind of JK Rowling-ish. And yes, everybody dies. And there’s a bit with a house elf.
All I’ll say is this, we couldn’t have picked a better time in Irish history for our long planned storyline to fall. If it gets labelled ‘The Recession Sitcom’ then I’ll be a happy man.
Sorry, sorry, webcom, yeah, yeah, webcom, yeah…
Vultures Episode 3 goes online Sunday November 9th exclusively on www.VulturesPI.com
All photos here are by Ross Costigan of www.oss237.com and the title card was designed by Paddy Dunne who really should have his own website but just doesn’t.
I’ve just finished work on the first draft of Bansheeville, the first play I’ve been commissioned to write.
I started work on it back in June and it’s been a great experience, especially when you’re working within the parameters of deadlines and being able to get top notch professional feedback too. Priceless learning curve.
After Heart Shaped Vinyl and Smitten, I was a bit nervous that my third play was a children’s play and would I be able to write something that wasn’t monologue heavy and full of foul language? But yeah, I think getting out of any comfort zones I had started to get into as a writer was the best thing for me at this stage of my writing life. Children are a very specific audience, not to mention a demanding one, so you really need to make sure that you’re telling a really good story that they can connect with. It didn’t take me long to realise that having written for Dreamstuff Youth Theatre for so long and worked as an actor with Barnstorm Theatre Company had given me such good experience in terms of seeing what works for younger audiences and I was able to apply this to Bansheeville.
I’ve had ideas for a banshee centred story for a long time and I never knew which form it would take but I think a children’s play is the ideal way to tell it. I’ve always had this weird slightly morbid obsession with banshees ever since I was a child. It started with all those old stories you hear, grandmothers stories about these old Irish myths and the banshee was the one that really stuck in my little head. The idea of this horrible, screaming wailing woman hanging outside windows and warning people that they’re gonig to die, is terrifying and as a child you just get entirely freaked out about what could be outside your window at night. Then I got really obsessed with that Disney movie Darby O’Gill and The Little People when I was young because it was full of leprechauns and Irish mythology and it had this flying, wailing banshee in it. Looking at it now, the banshee looks really dodgy with really lame special effects but as a child it just shits you up. The film also features a really young pre-Bond Sean Connery with a dodgy Irish accent and even dodgier singing skills. You really should check it out. For the laugh anyway.
So yeah, this is the banshee story I always wanted to write. It’s about a 13 year old banshee called Siona and she hasn’t found her scream yet and her hair is too knotty to comb and she lives in a colourful little place called Bansheeville. But even though she can’t scream she’s forced up into the big bad world because there’s a shortage of banshees in Ireland due to the War of Independence. So with her little comb and list of Wailees, she’s sent out to go and herald death. Which is obviously going to be hard when you can’t scream.
So yeah, the perfect ingredients for a cracking childrens yarn: Death, banshees and the Irish War of Independence.
But to be honest, I think they were the elements that got it commissioned. Because I think people always underestimate children’s capacity for subversive material and something like this could potentially connect…either that or I’m spreading my banshee terror to a whole new generation. I’m trying to make it as much of a fairytale as possible because fairytales are such an effective way for a child to be introduced to adult themes like death and sex and growing up and being responsible. Subversive see? So yeah, my inspirations for this are the works of The Brothers Grimm, Angela Carter and Terry Gilliam. So I’m hoping it’ll be a nice funny, dark little fable for children. And maybe one day it’ll make it up onto a stage. Early days yet anyway. But this is the first stage of the process completed and I’m really hoping to keep moving on with it.
And if you ever see a comb lying on the ground, do not pick it up.