The Permission Scream.

I’m finally surfacing again after doing a full-time job at the same time as producing The Just So Stories for the last couple of months.

There’ll be a full update about me-me-me shortly, but in the meantime, why not feast your eyes upon the new trailer for upcoming British horror flick Stormhouse:

Stormhouse is written by the lovely Jason Arnopp, directed by the lovely Dan Turner, and has music by the lovely Sam Watts.

It’s entirely probable that everyone else who worked on the film is lovely too, but I can’t speak to that.

I was lucky enough recently to attend the test screening of the film. You can read more about what happened that night over at Arnopp’s gaff, but there’s one moment I want to talk about in particular.

About five or ten minutes into the film, there’s a big scare. It’s the first of many, but this is the one I want to concentrate on.

It made me jump in my seat, and it made the woman sitting behind me let out a loud scream.

Now, if you’re ever doing standup comedy – and especially if you’re the first act on or you’re doing the whole thing yourself – one of the first things you need to do is to get a laugh out of the audience.

It’s called the Permission Laugh.

The first laugh tells everyone: it’s OK. You’re here to be entertained, and this person can do it. You don’t have to just sit there and smile wryly at the gags. It’s OK to laugh out loud. You’re in safe hands.

Once you’ve got the Permission Laugh, all of the others are easier.

So as I fell back onto my seat and heard the woman behind me let out a loud scream, I thought:

It’s OK.

I’m in safe hands.

Go on, say hello.

I’m off to Cheltenham next week for the Screenwriters’ Festival. You can find my thoughts on previous years by checking out this handy-dandy magic blogspot tag thing.

Executive summary: it’s excellent, and well worth the money. You can still get tickets from the festival website.

If you’re going to be coming along too and it’s your first time at the festival, you might be a little nervous about meeting people, especially if you’re going on your own.

Fortunately, we have a solution.

The lovely and talented Michelle Lipton, Jason Arnopp, Phill Barron, and myself will be holding our now-traditional go-on-say-hello-what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen networking do on the Sunday night.

By which I mean:

We’ll be down the pub, and we’d love for you to join us.

You’ll be able to find us in the bar of the Queen’s Hotel on the evening of Sunday 25th October from about six o’clock onwards.

It’ll be a chance to put names to faces and get to know people before everything kicks off in earnest on the Monday.

Hope to see you there!

The Beckley-Arnopp Cheltenham Scribomeet

If you, like Jason Arnopp and I, are going to the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival this year, you may have several things on your mind.

Like “I don’t know any of these high-powered people. How will I get over my shyness and speak to anyone?”

Or “Whose round is it?”

Fortunately both of those questions can be answered at the same time by coming to the inaugural Beckley-Arnopp Cheltenham Scribomeet. Or possibly the Arnopp-Beckley Cheltenham Scribomeet. Whatever floats your boat.

It’s a non-threatening chance to meet other writers the evening before the festival kicks off. That way you’ll have some friendly faces to talk to over the next three days.

It will begin at 6pm blunt on the night of Monday 30th June in the Harvester pub next to the Cheltenham Travelodge.

Which should make it nice and easy to stagger home to your bed either there or in the Thistle.

Come along.
Say hello.
Drink beer.

Or we will destroy you with our giant floating hands.