Category Archives: films and tv

Proof that one letter can change your life. #OnEdge20

OnEdge20

#OnEdge20 is a series of posts commemorating 20 years since I rolled cameras on my first short film.

DAY 1

Today is exactly 20 years since I rolled cameras on my first short film as writer/director, On Edge.

I don’t like looking back so much, I’d much rather keep my focus on what’s ahead. But 20 years does feel like a pretty significant anniversary, so…

To commemorate each day of the film shoot I will be posting about the making of the film, starting today (24th July) and concluding on the day we wrapped (28th July). I have trawled through the archives to find artefacts that have never been shared online before — until now.

And the first of these is a letter.

A single sheet of headed A4 paper, bearing the logo of Soho’s The Creative Partnership, and the signature of author Christopher Fowler.

It’s a letter that changed my life.

Twenty one years ago, I was studying for a Masters in screenwriting under the tutorship of guru Philip Parker. One of our assignments was to adapt an existing story into a short film script. Around that time, I had become aware of an emerging master of the short horror story, British author Christopher Fowler. I had already devoured a couple of his early novels, including the brilliant Roofworld, and was hungry for more, so I invested (very wisely) in a copy of his collection Sharper Knives, which included a blackly-comic, dental horror story called On Edge. I sat bolt upright in bed and told myself that this story had to be made into a film.

With my homework assignment as further impetus (I always work best to a strict deadline, to this day) I set about adapting the story. The assignment brief meant that the script had to be around 30 pages long. The story was at most going to come in at around fifteen minutes, so I created a subplot in which the impatient patient, Peter Thurlow, was set up for a painful fall by his estranged wife. I also opted to include a bit more detail about Doctor Matthews’ background. Visualising his ‘difficult’ schooldays via flashbacks, i intercut these with the main action culminating in some horrific business with a sharp pencil in an exam hall. (The gory escalation was intended to mirror the horror occurring in the dentist’s chair.)

The homework assignment was a success, but I knew that the film would be incredibly expensive to make at 30 minutes long. As a rule of thumb, at that time it would cost around £1,000 to produce each minute of finished film. To explain this further, I was determined that we were to shoot and deliver on 35mm Cinemascope, to present as cinematic experience as possible — an approach very much shared and supported by my producing partner Joseph Alberti at Robber Baron Productions. On Edge was to be our calling card, and we were confident if we got it right, we might get a feature film project off the ground.  So, in order to make the film realisable on a budget, I immediately dropped the spousal revenge subplot, cutting the script back to around 18 pages. (Still too long, but further edits were to come, as they always do.)

In a fit of youthful exuberance / pure madness, i decided to send a copy of the script to the author of the short story, Mr Christopher Fowler himself, begging him for the rights to make the film. He replied, and you can see that reply below. I have never shown anyone outside of the production this letter (and I wrote to Christopher last week to ask his permission one more time —  20 years after first doing so — but this time via email, and this time requesting permission to publish his letter on my blog, which I’m happy to say he granted. Thanks again Mr Fowler!).

I remember tucking the letter inside my copy of the shooting script, as a memento of the journey to getting the film made, sure, but also as a reminder to my future self — the future self who is writing this blog entry today — that all it takes sometimes is one person to see some potential in what you are doing, to give you a break, and ultimately to change your life.

Making On Edge changed my life in so many ways. It taught me a lot about directing, screenwriting, and of course the process of adaptation. I have since worked on many screenplays and films as a writer/director and a story consultant, and have published short stories and novels of my own.

Proof that one letter can change your life.

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Tune into the blog tomorrow for more #OnEdge20

Watch On Edge
on Amazon VOD
and DVD

Check out the On Edge
screening history & list of awards
here

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#TheStayMovie wins Best Short Film Award at Changing Face International Film Festival!

It’s my very great honour to announce that THE STAY picked up the Best Short  Film (Sci-Fi) Award at the Changing Face International Film Festival 2017 (Sydney, Australia).

TheStayBestShortCFIFF

See all the Winners and Finalists here.

A huge thank you to the Festival organisers from the cast & crew of THE STAY!

Watch THE STAY on Amazon VOD here.


Stuck for something SCARY to watch this Halloween?

FrazerLeeHappyHalloween

Check out my article on ‘The Scariest Horror Movies you’ve probably never seen‘ over at Higgypop.com.

I can guarantee a few nightmares…

🎃 HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 🎃


Win a copy of Remastered social network horror PANIC BUTTON – released on DVD & Digital today!

Panic Button DVD and download re-release 23 October 2017 - Frazer Lee

Don’t um Panic, but on October 23, 2017 (today!) – “Ground-breaking, hard-edged psycho-cyber horror thriller” PANIC BUTTON gets a remastered re-release on DVD & Download (from Trinity Films).

And you can WIN a copy thanks to the fine people over at Masters of Horror. Click here to enter, and hurry! The closing date for entries is October 30.

The Remaster includes all-new extras including audio commentary from yours truly, and a host of other cool features.

You can see the new trailer that PromoteHorror is calling “Hard-Core” here:

SYNOPSIS:
Four young people win a trip of a lifetime to New York, courtesy of their favourite social-networking website – All2gethr.com. On board the private jet, their mysterious host invites to take part in the in-flight entertainment – a new online gaming experience. But this is no ordinary game. Trapped at 30,000 feet, they are forced to play for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. They are about to learn that putting your life online can have deadly offline consequences and that there no ESC key…

Panic Button, made in 2011, was one of the first British horror films to explore the dark side of social networking and the perils of sharing too much information online. Played out in a claustrophobic, almost real-time situation, the film taps into pertinent social issues that now have a universal significance in the digital age. Themes such as social media crime, identity theft, cyber bullying, voyeurism, peer pressure, child safety and terrorism all come into play, at a time when iPads and smart phone apps were in their infancy.

DVD EXTRAS:
• Audio Commentary with writers Frazer Lee, John Shackleton & David Shillitoe
• Trailer Galler
• Gag reel
• Outtake/deleted scenes
• Making of, Gallery
• Guerrilla Filmmakers Masterclass
• Flight School – How to get a film off the ground

Available from –

Amazon

HMV

iTunes

CREDITS:
PANIC BUTTON is a MOVIE MOGUL PRODUCTION,
starring SCARLETT ALICE JOHNSON JACK GORDON MICHAEL JIBSON ELEN RHYS and JOSHUA RICHARDS.
Costume Designer: SIAN JENKINS, Hair and make up by VICTORIA NORTHBROOKE Production Designer: TIM DICKEL, Director of Photography: SIMON POULTER, Edited by JOHN GILLANDERS, music by MARK RUTHERFORD, Line Producer: GARETH I DAVIES, co-producer: DAVID SHILLITOE
Written by FRAZER LEE, JOHN SHACKLETON, DAVID SHILLITOE & CHRIS CROW
Produced by JOHN SHACKLETON & directed by CHRIS CROW
Read PANIC BUTTON the official movie novelisation by FRAZER LEE on Kindle

 “The Social Network of Shocks” ☆☆☆☆ (Alan Jones, Film4 Frightfest)
“British horror at its bloody best” ☆☆☆☆ (Sky Movies)
“Nail-bitingly terrifying” ☆☆☆☆☆ (Abertoir Film Festival)
“Just excellent” ☆☆☆☆ (Screenjabber)
“Totally terrifying!” (Billy Chainsaw, Shock Horror)


#TheStayMovie selected for Starburst International Film Festival 2017

UPDATE: The Starburst international  Film Festival has been rescheduled for 2018. More details when I get ’em!

#TheStayMovie Starburst International Film Festival

Thrilled that my award winning short film ‘The Stay’ is in official selection at Starburst International Film Festival 2017.

Starburst Magazine says, The Stay (Directed by Frazer Lee who wrote the screenplay for Panic Button), shows us a nightmarish holiday for one lone female. Broodingly creepy, this short is very much in the tradition of classic TV show Tales of the Unexpected.”

High praise indeed! And being selected by this festival has an extra buzz for me. Starburst was my first ever magazine subscription when I was a young monster kid, dreaming of making my own movies while poring over its full colour behind-the-scenes photo spreads.

The Starburst International Film Festival takes place in Manchester, UK across the Bank Holiday weekend August 25th-27th. Tickets are on sale now, and further details about the fantastic line-up are at the festival’s official site.

Check out a trailer for ‘The Stay’ starring Daniela Finley, below.

 


#TheStayMovie wins Best Story Award at Things2Fear Film Fest USA!

the_stay_best_story_award_frazer_lee

Not so long ago, in a little cottage in the Cotswolds, I worked with some amazing people on my latest short film, The Stay. Our mission statement was to keep it simple, to keep it ‘do-able’. And so, our tale was about a character, a location, and a spooky “what if?” scenario.

With the support of our producers and crowdfunders (and many other supporters who gave of their time, skills and enthusiasm to help bring the project to the screen) The Stay had its World Premiere at the 25th Anniversary World Horror Con, in Atlanta USA. And the movie has been playing at film festivals ever since, picking up the Best Atmosphere Award at last year’s Independent Horror Movie Awards, along with nominations for Best Music and Best Original Concept.

Now (drum roll please…) I’m delighted to announce that The Stay has won another award!

My thanks to Festival Director Dionne Jackson and all at the Things2Fear Film Fest for including The Stay in Official Selection, and for awarding the film the brilliant accolade of ‘Best Story’. And I’d like to congratulate all the selected filmmakers, awards nominees and winners on their work – you can see the full list of 2016 award winners, and learn more about the festival here.

Cheers!
Frazer 


The Lamplighters: Book Pipeline Finalist

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.20.06

The results of this year’s  Book Pipeline Competition, for writers with material suitable for Film/TV adaptation, have been announced and (insert fanfare here) I’m thrilled to announce that my novel The Lamplighters is a Finalist!

It’s a real thrill to have The Lamplighters make the selection from over 900 entries.

Congratulations to Grand Prize winner Zach Fortier with I Am Raymond Washington. It sounds like a fascinating book and I am looking forward to reading (and seeing!) it.

Here’s the complete list of Book Pipeline 2015 Finalists and Semifinalists. Congrats to all who were selected:

Finalists

Executive Outcomes by Nick Bicanic
A Fistful of Clones by Seaton Kay-Smith
The Lamplighters by Frazer Lee
Stranded by Douglas Wentworth
The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans
The Wet Woman by Alejandra Mattoni

Semifinalists

Do Not Resuscitate by Nicholas Ponticello
Jubilee by Jennifer Givhan
Just a Theory by Annie Wood
Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash
The Virus by Janelle Diller

What does this exciting news mean for The Lamplighters?

Well, in the coming weeks I will be consulting with the Book Pipeline and Script Pipeline development team to discuss the screen adaptation potential of my work.

I’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Thanks for reading,
Frazer

Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for Best First Novel,
The Lamplighters is available in ebook and paperback from:

Samhain Horror (publisher website)
Amazon.com (kindle)
Amazon.co.uk (kindle)
Barnes & Noble (nook)

and wherever scary horror novels about The Skin Mechanic are sold.