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crowd-funding film-making indie authors promotional science fiction writing

Getting There…Slowly!


Almost a year ago, in February 2015, I began work on the promotional trailer for my science-fiction novel, ‘The Methuselah Paradox’.  February and March were spent writing the audition script and looking for voice artists to bring my characters to life.  Once the final cast member had been signed up, then it became about looking for artists and illustrators to add the visuals… a composer was commissioned to create original music… and then came the next challenge – crowdfunding. Working out how much everything else would cost, deciding which crowdfund site to go with, writing the pitch… and trying to get up the courage to go on camera and tell the world all about my novel and the trailer in person… and putting the final touches to the manuscript itself.

And as every writer knows, the more time you have to tinker with something, the more you will tinker, and tweak, and start to doubt yourself… have I really got a good story here? Will people want to read it, will they buy the book, will they believe in the project enough to want to donate money to help me make the trailer?

Well, I have asked myself those questions and many more, and have been deeply moved each time someone takes a leap of faith in me and makes a donation. To everyone who has donated so far (including those who gave so generously but didn’t want to be publicly acknowledged – which is why I now need slightly less than the totals given on the site!) I want to say a HUGE ‘Thank You’.  I can’t wait to start sending out the scripts to my cast and seeing it all come together!

There will be more news soon. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a message from actor Richard Oliver, who is the voice of Tom Morgan in the trailer:  A message from Richard OliverTHE METHUSELAH PARADOX COMPLETE CAST_1 (1024x576)

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writing

TRUE GRIT – OR, WHY WRITERS ARE A MINE OF USELESS INFORMATION…


I have become, if not exactly an expert, at least more familiar with the ins and outs of gritting lorries than I ever wanted or expected to be. Why, you might well ask… well, even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you.

This afternoon I’ve been searching, online, for images of gritting lorries, or ‘gritters’ as they’re often called. Not just any old gritter – that would be too easy. I’m looking for images of gritters, circa 1990… of the type that would have been working the streets of London in the latter part of 1990, to be more precise. It’s all in the interests of accuracy, for my book trailer, which I’m crowdfunding at the moment…

Did you know, for instance, that the winter of 2009-2010 was one of the coldest on record in the UK? I probably knew it at the time, but like most of us doubtless have, I’d forgotten. I do remember that it snowed quite heavily in December 1993, when my son was three months old: I left him and my husband in the snug warmth of our flat to drive a few miles to my cleaning job… and had to turn back after less than a mile. The local authority hadn’t gritted the roads; the weather must have caught them out.

So, searching for images of these gritters is proving frustrating, because of course, the only ones I have found are mostly of modern versions. Surely there’s a History of Gritters website?  People study trains, don’t they – why not gritters?   There’s even a ‘Pylon Monthly’** for goodness’ sake (Thank you, ‘Mock The Week‘ – saw that a few years back and it has stuck with me!)… But so far, no joy.

**Hands up if you looked at that and thought you saw, for a fleeting second, ‘Monty Python’. Yeah, me too. 

Researching something like this really forces you to think laterally.  Or outside the box. Or something. But all that  Googling ‘gritting lorries’, ‘history of gritting’, ‘gritters circa 1990’ brought up was a list of companies providing gritting services, and lots of interesting (or not, depending on whether you’re into gritters at all) news pieces about winter weather in the UK over the past couple of decades… but nothing about gritters in 1990. There’s even a brilliant website dedicated to the history of British weather, with emphasis on snow (when it did, when it didn’t) through the ages, invaluable if you’re writing a story set in the past and want to get the weather spot on (whether -ha ha- anyone would notice or care if you didn’t is neither here nor there to an author – the fact is that you will know it’s correct, should anyone ever take you up on it).  But nothing about what gritting lorries might have looked like in 1990.

I’m thinking of putting out an appeal on the Twitterverse – because someone, somewhere, must know someone who worked on the gritters in the ’90’s – maybe they’ve got a grainy photo of their dad/uncle/cousin standing proudly in front of one… they can’t all be dead, can they?  I hope not. (We’ll leave aside for a moment the idea that motorists, whilst quick to curse their Local Authority for not gritting during a cold snap, are often just as keen to whinge about the salt that bounces off the paintwork of their new Mercedes as a gritter trundles past in the opposite lane… there’s no pleasing some people.)

If I can’t find the image I’m looking for, I’m sure that my brilliant illustrator Catherine Archer-Wills will work around it – perhaps we don’t need to show much of the gritting lorry at all, maybe a headlight, the corner of a wheel… there are ways around it, of course there are.

But I’d still quite like to find that elusive image. So if you, or someone you know, ever worked for the local authority, and if you’ve got a photo of a UK gritting lorry circa 1990… I’ll send a you, free, an autographed copy of ‘The Methuselah Paradox‘ when it’s eventually published; and my undying gratitude.

And that is why writers are a mine of useless information…

EJ Jackson, November 2015

Post Script:

Success!  And here it is:

Forest Hill, London 1991, by David Wright - shared under the Creative Commons License
Forest Hill, London 1991, by David Wright – 
shared under the Creative Commons License
Categories
author creativity crowd-funding film-making

What’s In A Name? Novel and Trailer Update


‘The Methuselah Gene’ is now ‘The Methuselah Paradox’

This book has had more titles than I’ve had hot dinners!  Well, not really… but it started life as a short story titled ‘The Journey’, before becoming a full-blown novel called ‘All Our Yesterdays’; then it became ‘All Our Tomorrows’.  Following a massive rewrite during which the secondary plotline took over,  it became ‘The Methuselah Gene’ – however, I hadn’t done my homework properly, and it turns out there were already two books out there with that title! Cue much gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair… finally we have ‘The Methuselah Paradox’, which I have come to love and which I realise does better represent the story… hurrah!  I’m now at the editing stage (harder than the original writing in many ways!) and still working on the trailer…. talking of which:

Kickstarter

Putting a book trailer together is a fascinating process, and one that I am thoroughly enjoying! However, it has also been a very steep learning curve; an important part of which has been the realisation that quality does of course carry a price tag (in this as in all other things)…  my initial estimate of what it would cost to make my own three-minute trailer was woefully inadequate!  Having got as far as an initial script idea and having found a cast and composer, I quickly realised that if the end result was going to do the artists and  the material justice, I would need some proper funding.

So now I’m working on a Kickstarter treatment,  which will very soon go live.  Please do watch this space! And if you know of anyone who might be interested in learning more about it, please spread the word!

Thank you,

Elaine Jackson

HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO LIVE_1