Monday, 1 September 2014

Irish dance-themed film script BORN AGAIN seeks producers

The script for my low-budget Irish-set drama, BORN AGAIN, is complete.   A full outline is below, but it features a frustrated and lonely middle-aged male Irish dancer, who has a final shot at happiness when a Russian woman and her son comes into his life.

At time of posting, the great Irish dancer COLIN DUNNE, (Riverdance, Out Of Time, Dancing On Dangerous Ground.) is considering playing the lead if we can only find a production company.


                                                      BORN AGAIN

                                               A Screenplay by Andrew Hawcroft

                                                                 Outline


PROLOGUE

Red dawn.  Saturday.

15 year-old John Nolan wakes up alone in his tiny bedroom.  The calendar on the wall has days crossed off until today, circled in black.  The Big Day.  The day when John finally becomes worth something.  Today, John will get his first crack at an Irish Dancing World Title.  Then he will matter.

He really is alone in this though.  His father, Arthur Nolan, a cleaner, cares nothing about it.  His vague daily aim is to finish work and get to the pub early and join his surrogate drinking ‘family,’ of similarly broken and hiding men.   
His son, through sheer grit and focus, is showing character traits that Arthur never bothered to develop. He’s becoming something Arthur can only sit in the shadow of, and that rests badly with Arthur.  Thus he rarely misses a chance to complain about, or take a crack at, his son’s ambitions and achievements.  Yes, John is going to do it quite alone today.

But the hardest childhoods often make the most interesting children, and John is driven like no other.  He finds the money for his dancing, his fees, his shoes and his transport himself. He disciplines himself. Trains by himself. He will become Somebody in his life by himself.   When he turns 16, he will be out the door and into a bedsit.  He will live alone and he can’t wait.

Then, on the journey to the World Irish Dancing championships venue, riding with a friend, their vehicle is blind-sided by a drunk driver.  Both his legs are broken, an arm, his collar bone...

End of. 
For a long time...

TODAY

A red dawn.  Saturday.  

John Nolan wakes up alone in a small flat in a small Irish town. Eerily similar start to the day perhaps, only this time John is 45 years old.

The last 30 years have been a cavalcade of drive, huge ambition, hard work, near-misses, almost-success, failed ventures and failed relationships.   Somehow, incredibly so given his great self-discipline and determination, John has not managed to achieve any of those childhood dreams and ambitions of a global dancing career, and is ending up effectively living his worse-case scenario.

John owns a very small Irish dancing studio high in the Connemara hills.  This Saturday morning will involve a series of junior classes, teaching (too) young children baby steps while hard-lipped parents look on.

And there aren’t even enough of those, as the bills on his studio doormat show.  The economy has played its part.  Too much of the town is on Welfare, including his father, who remains alive but is just a vacant shell of a man whom John doesn’t speak to at all.

But before the day’s responsibilities take over, John will have precious hour or so to himself.  As he warms up, he struggles to recall, and to return to, that primal thrill that Irish dancing gave him as a boy.  The creativity, the expression, the venting of things repressed,  the drama, the adventure and pleasure that came from choreographing his own steps.   As he dances more and more, we see the barest hints of this fire begin to flicker in his eyes.
Then too soon, the cars begin to pull up and the classes begin.

So John Nolan’s life goes on, day after day, living for those stolen hours of expression until two things happen.

1)       A giant, gleaming glass-and-chrome monstrosity of a dance school opens up in town, All styles catered to.  Kid’s crèche.  In-house Starbuck cafe.   

2)      A 13 year-old Russian boy, Kasian Karalli, and his mother, Tatiana show up at his studio.

The first of these occurrences is a punch to the gut for John’s business.  

The second, following shortly after, will go a small way to remedying his pain.    The reserved, wary, but quite stunning beautiful Tatiana Karelli would like to pay private lessons for her son to learn Irish dancing. They have recently arrived from St Petersburg. Although she remains tight-lipped about their background, she has come to live in Ireland just to help her son advance.  It seems her son’s passion for Irish dancing means as much to her as to him.

Whatever.   John now needs the money badly, and God knows, proud mothers pushing their ‘talented’ children forward is nothing new to him.   But he will soon find out how wrong this cynical presumption is.  In fact he will find out he is wrong about a lot of things concerning this quiet, polite, and strangely compelling mother and son.

For one thing, Kasian is a prodigy. An incredibly gifted dancer, blessed with a natural musicality, athleticism and dedication that no teacher can instil.  Entirely self-taught from video-tapes in Russia (it transpires,) he has all the drive, discipline and focus that a young John Nolan had (has?) but without the over-reaching need to prove himself, coupled with the love of a devoted parent.

As Kasian progresses alarmingly quickly, John finds his own passion for dance...and for life... being re-ignited.

But things are not all that they seem.   Tatiana and Kasian have their own shadows to run from, and shadows have a bad habit of sculking in the background until somebody turns on a bright light. 

John Nolan is going to be that bright light to Kasian and Tatiana, and in the process, certain things he might have once called ‘impossible’ are going to happen...










Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Hungarian review of 13th YA novel, FORCES.

The following is a coped-and-pasted review from a Hungarian lady, Tunde' Nagy, who very kindly went to the trouble of painstakingly translating her review into English for me. (Her idea. I wouldn't dream of asking her to do such a thing.) While a few language errors are obvious, her points and feelings are clear enough, and my deepest thanks for her consideration and efforts.
- Andrew Hawcroft



HAWCROFT, Andrew, Forces.

"What does it take to change the nature of a person?” (3) – asks the narrator right on the

first line of the novel. It is not easy to answer to this complex question and we can find many

similar questions in Forces. Hawcroft wrote his novel for teenagers, but I am sure that adults

will not be bored during reading his artwork either.

Forces takes place in the time of BBC News, Wikipedia, Youtube, in the time which is

known by everyone, in the time, when the technology, television, mobile and smart phones

conquer the human mind in such an extent that people hardly can make relevant decisions,

keep a family together or simply be happy for their life. It is not a coincidence that the author

uses and emphasizes those channels, since the narrator not just place his story in a relevant

decade as a background (which is close to us and we know it as the back of our hand), but he

uses their functions at the same time. The BBC for example helps to show, what is happening

in the wide world, out of the Red Corners.

The main character of the story is John Clay, he looks like an ordinary hero. He lives his

early adult, late teenage life and this two „lifes” perfectly reflect in his behaviour, since he is

the leader of the Red Liners and also the son of Sherry and Ted Clay. He is absolutely suited

for the leader position both phisically and mentally, however sometimes we encounter the

vague and desperate little boy who feels the danger of this lifestyle and he knows that people

cannot live like this forever, because there might be serious consequences. This is one of the

reasons why John has a huge fear of getting into jail. He even consideres to join the police

which would provide him safety and protection, but he is too afraid that they might discover

his past and in the end his nightmare would become reality.

John has two families and as a matter of fact he has a leader position in both. His

biological family is somewhere at the bottom of society, their house smells from cigarette and

alcohol, they might have never seen healthy food and they entertain themselves in front of

the television watching idiotic tv-shows. They literally live next to each other. Despite of all

John’s reprehensible acts, he seems to be the most normal character, since he is not interested

in tv-shows, he likes to think about more important things, hundreds of thoughts crosses his

mind constantly and he would like to break out of the bubble. As the leader of the Red Liners

he takes care about the gang and he always finds something to do with them. Even though

they steal and rob, they never hurt anyone and avoid any drugs. He chose this „family” and

they stick together instinctly, protect and watch over each other, even when they make jokes

or tease others in the gang.

The story has an interesting turn of events when the members of the Red Liners break into

the Carrington’s museum and all of them steals certain things. Not just the life and destiny of

the gang changes but whole London becomes a part of an apocaliptic vision and everything is

on the bum. John, the confident leader slowly becomes a desperate teenager, his weeknesses

show themselves and that is when PC Haines and Rupert appear. They are the completely

positive representatives of the adults, John himself is also suprised by them, since he is not

used to normal adult people. The officer and Rupert help John to pull through the crazy events

and find a solution to the problems.

Forces examines many important questions which appear in all areas of our lifes, but I

think, the most crucial subjects are the ones regarding lifestyle. Readers encounter many

times with people’s comfortable life which simply got used to the triumvirate of „work-sofa-
television”. Due to the apocaliptic events this picture starts to change. Joe’s diatribe shows

this, when the members of the Red Liners start to slowly disappear. He shouts to John that he

would like to do nothing else but calmly sit on the sofa watching the television.

I could underline many valuable thoughts from Forces, since both the genre and the story

shows the complexity of the novel. In this fast-paced world, in the tangled web of events,

we might really need an apocaliptic boom to see the important things in our life and what we

need to appreciate and value day by day. Andrew Hawcroft reveals the importance of the tiny

things which we just go by every single day and if we had a chance to understand and notice

them we might never let them out of our hands.

Friday, 16 May 2014

New one-hour version of FRIENDLY DEMON TV drama pilot script

Hi all.

I have just completed polishing the pilot script for FRIENDLY DEMON, family fantasy TV drama series, originally written in 2009.    Series synopsis below.



                                   FRIENDLY DEMON

                                                        By Andrew Hawcroft

                                                              Pilot Episode:

            ‘A FETISH FOR BACON FAT’


In the Sheffield borough of Bluegate, in a charming little semi-detached on Merrydale Street, it is a very special day in the lives of the Leader family.

Gladys and Gordon Leader, and, to a lesser extent, Crumpet, the unmotivated family mongrel dog,(sleeps on his back, legs apart) await the appearance of their eighteen year-old son for breakfast.  Not only is it his first day at Bluegate College of Further Education (“The first college man in our family!”) but eighteen is traditionally the age when a Duman (human with Demon aspect) can first manifest his Demon side.

With great embarrassment, the pleasant and handsome John Leader does indeed Manifest for his family and the couldn’t-give-a-hoot-so-long-as-he’s-fed-and-walked Crumpet.

Proud Mum and Dad have waited a long time for this moment, for there has been doubt as to whether their son actually is a Duman, as Gladys herself is a one but Gordon is not. (Theirs was one of the first inter-species marriages in Sheffield, but then that’s Gladys for you.)

Then it’s back to life as normal as Gladys heads off to her ‘Slice Of Paradise’ cake shop, and Gordon heads off to Consolidated Dairies, where he labours eternally in Sales, never quite getting that promotion.

John has been schooled in his unique heritage since he was seven, and knows how dumb most of the myths involving Demons are.   Demons are no more good or bad than regular people, depending entirely as it does on the nature of the Duman himself.  There are Friendly Demons ( a la The Leaders. Red skin with golden markings,golden Hellfire) and there are Unfriendly Demons (blue skin with green markings, green Hellfire.)   
 John has a dream that the day will come when the numerous Dumans of Sheffield (there’s quite a solid little community there,) along with Dumans of the world in general, can come out of the global closet and integrate fully into society.

John starts College as an Art Major, being a naturally gifted artist all his life. Although he is an outgoing and personable chap, his closest friend is a withdrawn Goth, Kelly Burton, who he has known since her family moved to Bluegate when they were both eleven. Her family are a world away from the loud-but-loving Leaders.  The upper-class Burtons are an unhappy marriage, too afraid to separate and go it alone, and the near-silent and troubled Kelly is their only offspring.    Introverted and rebellious, Kelly has dark purple hair, tattoos, piercings, industrial-strength eye-liner, and a preferance for wearing black. She projects a tough exterior but John knows she is anything but. 
In fact, it is John’s friendship and the affection of his family for the painfully-thin Kelly that has probably saved her from numerous serious teenage afflictions.   Certainly she gets no support or encouragement from her parents. Both work in banking. Both are rich. Both are cautionary tales in terms of parenting.

Kelly herself is studying Biology at Bluegate College to pursue her quiet hope of becoming a veterinary surgeon (and because John is going there.) Her love of animals shines out through the black leather and make-up, and she has a part time job at a local dog-kennels, where the adoring animals give her the affection she doesn’t get at home.

This is good for John, as dogs are the favoured pet of Dumans.  Cats on the other hand, seem to have a natural negative reaction to Friendly Demons, and are instead the preferred pet of Unfriendlys.   Both cats and dogs can sense the Demon quality in any Duman by some primitive instinct.

Life begins to take a strange turn almost straightaway for John as he embarks on his new life as a ‘College Man’.  A very becoming girl named Stephanie Stilton, who models for his Still Life art class, seems to be more than she appears.  Her attempts to befriend John mask a deeper motive, one that will hint at a darker underbelly to the Duman culture itself.   

John, mercifully protected from Unfriendly Demons all his life, is about to understand what growing into a man can really mean when, with a focus on the word ’Ignite’, the golden flames of a Friendly Demon’s Hellfire (which burns nothing that the Duman doesn’t want it to) flare into glorious golden being…

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

New review of NICOLAI'S PLANET

The following is a very kind review by Ms Gincy Heins of teen fiction review site LITPICK.


Heins

4:28 AM (14 hours ago)
to me
Hi, Andrew!

I didn’t want to e-mail you today until I could write this, I finished it! It was great! I really, really liked it! It moved at a good pace, the storyline was unique, I liked the characters, the descriptions were great, the planet was terrifying, it was exciting, parts were funny such as the manual of how to build a rocket in your living room, parts were moving like when Nicolai was in the aircraft by himself and everyone was waiting to hear if he was okay and told him to wake up and the ending. Really, Andrew I thought it was great and I really liked it!

How in the world do you think of a story like that?

Thank you so much for sharing your book with me!!!

Gincy

Saturday, 22 February 2014

LITPICK interview re "I FLY"

Below is the 6-Question interview conducted by LITPICK regarding my teen fiction novel, "I FLY".  Find it on their Facebook page.   Many thanks to LITPICK's Gincy Heins for her kind efforts regarding this novel.




1. How did you get started writing?
I started writing aged 7,writing short stories, but became a 'serious' writer at 13, when I wrote my first full-length novel and submitted it to a publisher.  I still have that first rejection letter in plastic. It was very kind and supportive, the kind you don't get as an adult.  It was also some time ago!  It ended with those magic words 'If you don't publish this novel, you will certainly publish something in the future.'  I'm 39 now. Still waiting...

 2. Who influenced you?
I have always loved authors who treat fantasy with a very realistic tone;  my favourite authors include John Wyndham and M.R. James, although the BBC TV adaptation of John Masefield's children's classic, THE BOX OF DELIGHTS had a huge effect on me as a child.
I'm not sure if it was ever broadcast in America, but I think you can find it in parts on Youtube.  I have the DVD and find it genuinely magical to this day, but I dread any Hollywood remake. Hollywood doesn't do children's book adaptations very well.  They seem to be all cold, synthetic CGI, and cast with bland, interchangeable 'hunks' with abs and Justin Bieber hair. (Shudder!)

 3. Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
Tough question.  What did I ever do to you?  John Wyndham's THE KRAKEN WAKES and CHOCKY would be two.  (Again, the BBC did a terrific adaptation of CHOCKY. See Youtube.)    My favourite subject would be the fantastic played out in a real environment.  I have repeatedly described my style of teen fiction as gritty 'reality-based fantasy.'  

 4. What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Understand that the writing industry has never been weaker, more frightened, and ultimately, more fickle and silly than it is right now. You as a writer, must have the courage and strength to stick to what you feel is right about your own work, especially if an agent or editorial committee at a publishing house starts leaning on you to make changes that feel wrong.  You have to live with yourself at the end of the day, and unfortunately, in the past, I went down that road many times, trying to please various people; agents, publishers, editors, film producers, TV producers, theatre producers...  It has, without fail, been a painful and degrading experience.  There is always an invisible yet definite line in the sand during this part of publishing or producing.  Yes, it's good to be reasonable, but don't sell out (ie mangle) your own book, just to get it published.  It's a sickening feeling to live with, it disrespects yourself, often imparts far too much respect for 'professional' industry people, who simply don't deserve it. Also, it often doesn't work anyway.  With many projects, I ended up with people who basically wanted 'cat' changing to 'dog' or similar meaningless arbitrary changes. Either that or they wanted me to change half the book. All the time, months of my life were passing.  Bottom line; either a person loves your book/script/play, and really wants to publish/produce it, or they don't.   You can sense it after a couple of decades!   Protect your integrity, and don't be part of any cheap and tacky 'trend-publishing', eg writing something in a certain genre just because it is selling well right now.  The last thing the world needs is more TWILIGHT and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY knock-offs.  Think of the trees, people! My God, it feels good to get that off my chest!


 5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I like to write in cafe's.  I am, at time of writing, single. (Ffffflip it!)  Writing is a very solitary career, and I like to write in the bustle of cafe's.  I also am a coffee snob, and love writing with a good cup of coffee to hand.   There a couple of cafe's n Galway, that I like. 

 6. What else would you like to tell us?
With the success of HARRY POTTER and TWILIGHT, too many people have gotten into children's/teen writing in some pathetic attempt to become 'rich and famous'.  Writing only works in any meaningful way (in the end) if you write even if you were certain nobody would ever read it; ie purely for your own pleasure.   We all have to pay bills, and yes, it would be great to write professionally full-time, but not at any price!  Don't sell out your work, and instead write for the love of it.  Anything else should be a bonus, although reviews of my work from members of the public are a wonderful thing to read.   It's taken a long time for me to think this way, but better late than never.  Thank you.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/LitPick/353944567963040



Thursday, 20 February 2014

New screenplay THE HAPPY ENDING PROJECT complete

Just a note to say I have completed a new, low-budget romantic drama screenplay; THE HAPPY ENDING PROJECT.   Outline below.  At time of writing, it is being considered by Falk Henschel at Pay It Forward Films.


 
    THE HAPPY ENDING PROJECT


 By Andrew Hawcroft





 Outline





A two-man documentary crew for a low-end American TV production company turn up at a motel room in Pasadena, California.


There they meet James Lantern, the Englishman with possibly only 5 days left to live before a potentially fatal heart transplant operation. The young man they have grudgingly agreed to document on his quest to try and meet a certain woman he has fallen in love with.


The woman in question, however, is a painted character on a science-fiction book cover.   A fantasy-figure by a local artist who has been known to use real-live models to paint from.


 The possibility that this beautifully painted character may be based on a real woman, is the flimsy foundation for this young man’s quest, a quest that seems as silly and impossible as the usual TV-lite tripe covered by the disillusioned two-man crew of Dan Prentice and Joe Chinelli.


Except, as the days and hours pass, and the two men discover that the woman in the poster does exist, it becomes a lot harder to remain coolly objective about James Lantern.


 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Trailer for "I FLY" novel

Find  here the Youtube link to a brief video trailer for "I FLY", first of my 13 'reality-based fantasy' teen novels.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nGfxAAb27U&feature=youtu.be