Tag Archives: Hollywood

A day in the life of a producer…


Today I experienced my first taste of dealing with US agents from a producers viewpoint.  To say it’s not easy is an understatement.

The day was a roller coaster as it was; and it was almost like a Hollywood screenplay with highs and lows.

It started when I received an e-mail from a powerful financier who decided that their company slate was full but at least gave me the option to re approach when we have a screenplay.  That’s fine by me.  Early development funding for SPELLSINGER was always going to be the challenge and traditionally the small money is the hardest to come by.

Besides this company was only one possible piece of my puzzle but I have lots of other options.

We know that we have to get ahead and the only way to do that is to start packaging the project even to make it attractive for the early investors.

Now I have heard so much about “Packaging” and read so much about it. The idea is to get a director involved and piece it together from there.  We want the director involved from the get go. I have read about Pay or Play and scoured the internet looking at all sorts of stories and ideas and ways to go about development.  I have a library of books that all have very different ideas.  This is not rocket science.

All roads led to the directors agency.

If the director liked it we might get the agency to package it.

I asked a few rather prominent producers if they would go to an agency before money or distribution was attached. “Sure” they said. This was a relief. A little bit of homework is always a good way to prepare beforehand.


Time to make the call.

I was immediately directed to a very friendly assistant.

Everything seemed to be going well until I learned something.

Unfortunately the agency had a policy that loomed up like an iceberg.

Unless I had a track record with dealing with them, they would not deal with me.  I had to know someone who had that record and they had to refer me personally.


But I completely understand why they have such a policy rather than look at the merit of the story.

After all they have a right to protect their clients. It’s not just a chicken and an egg scenario.  it’s about protecting clients from an army of time wasters.  Time is so important in this game it’s like gold.  It’s valuable.

I was just caught off guard.  I knew about unsolicited scripts.

It’s the same principle.  So I played it cool and ended the call on a very positive note.

I was glad that we were not alone.  If I had no leads or contacts I would be in a worse position.

I would be in no position.

But I have a good lead who is not just entertainment royalty in Australia but a consultant on the film.

I e-mailed my consultant and the response was immediate. If the consultant dealt me a hand in poker it would be 5 aces. BAM!!

So I called back and the assistant was even more receptive but asked if my consultant could call personally.

I told the assistant that my consultant (Who is doing everything with the flu) could not call today but I had a rather lengthy e-mail from them.

The assistant asked if forward the e-mail.

When I sent the e-mail I felt great. It’s like making it to another level of a video game!!!

Looking forward to that follow up call on Monday!!!

I learnt a few valuable things.  It’s an exhilarating experience. Highs and lows. But determination and changing your approach must be a part of the plan when facing what are seemingly insurmountable obstacles!

Here is a song I listen to a lot


Our first Vblog

Hi guys!

Here is our very first Vblog, done on the fly on holiday in Melbourne.

Please post your video responses either directly onto our youtube channel or our  facebook page


We look forward to all video responses!


Why I like Spellsinger.

Gawd, my readers must be thinking.  It sounds like a high school composition, like What I did on my Christmas Break.  And it may do but it’s important for you guys to understand where my passion for SPELLSINGER came from.  It’s not something that happened yesterday.  And if you think I’m some suit in LaLa land that’s been pitched a book to make a movie then you’d better read on.

About  23 years ago I was in my local library in Ipswich Queensland and was starting to expand my reading horizons by looking at  more adult fiction.

I had discovered Don Pendleton and his one man war against the Mafia Mack Bolan when I was about 14 but that was as far as I had gone.

My parents were into Wilbur Smith and James Clavell but I just couldn’t relate to them.  Their writing did not resonate with me.

At 16, It took me 15 attempts to read Shogun. And to my developing adolescent mind ,God it was boring.

I’d tried reading Lord of the Rings but the language did not connect with me. I found it stifling but I liked the fantasy elements.  I’m not a scholar and I don’t pretend to be.  I like being entertained when I read.  I much preferred Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth and The Narnia series by CS Lewis.  I loved to escape into other worlds and completely immerse myself these fantasies.

From an early age I preferred non fiction accounts because I could relate more to real stories than the stories that adults tried to tell to each other.

I have had copies of The Great Escape and Colditz Castle since I was 10.  After I read the Wooden horse my brother and I started to dig a tunnel under the house which was discovered by my father when he stood on the entrance and promptly sunk up to his navel.  Mum reckons you could hear him screaming down the street.  Poor bastard was a Vietnam vet and probably thought there were pungi sticks waiting at the bottom.

I digress.

Forward wind back to the library and I’m looking at the Adult Fiction section and I see a book called SPELLSINGER.  I liked the title immediately and picked it up to have a look but the cover tells me nothing.

So I turn to the back and start reading.

Here’s this stoned Uni Student brought to this world that’s totally under threat from a strange alien source. I read quickly and as Jon Tom arrived at Clothahumps for the first time, I was hooked.

It was brilliant like a dark adult Alice in Wonderland without the old English and with quirky Characters that spoke right at you through the pages.  I loved the vividness of the world and like my favourite children’s books it connected me with the fantasy immediately and I hadn’t even arrived at the Spellsinging!

It was the only book I borrowed that day. And by the end of the week I’d read it twice!

Now at the time I was 17 going on 18. I loved Rock Music and lived in what I feel was the best time for music since the 60’s.  The 80’s!  ACDC, Bon Jovi, The Choir Boys, Van Halen, Def Leopard, Iron Maiden Wasp, I liked all of them, much to the chagrin of my mates who could not believe that I liked The Cure as well.

The Spellsinging and Flor and Talea (Ie Girls and Rock and Roll)Really resonated.  I liked both.

I was a huge fan of Minder (UK TV Series) and Mudge reminded me of Terry with a bit of Arthur mixed in. I loved the little fuzzball.  His deviousness made me laugh.  I have an Uncle that’s a bit like Mudge.  He’s a stand up guy and always looking for a way to make a quid.  When I was 9 we met my Uncle outside a topless bar where he gave a dog that I had for the next 25 years (Chihuahua’s live forever.  They must have inspired the ever ready bunny)

The Spellsinging was another thing entirely.  Thank You Alan.  You introduced me to Jimi Hendrix. My folks were more into The Beatles, The Stones, Deep Purple, Cliff Richard and Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd.  By the 80’s The Beach Boys had done Kokomo and I think that might have just come out because a lot of their classics were being played on the radio as well.  Mind you like the Stones, The Beach Boys Music was also used in countless adds as well.  So the music even though it was before my time, was universal. It was timeless in a way because it still stands up, even today. Have a look at The Beach Boys.  They are reuniting (How peacefully I have no idea) after 50 years.  I watched Mick Jagger dance and entertain for 2 hours and he’s over 60! Amazing man and better than a lot of people younger than him too.

The coolest thing was that Jon Tom made the music into magic.  It was this spiritual connection with his music that I liked and the Gneechees and the fact that he had no idea what the results were going to be!

Action, Music, Strong Females, A Devious Otter, Magic and a Socialist Dragon in this amazing wonderlandscape.  You cannot ask for more.

To my delight, The Hour at the Gate was like a roller coaster ride which I did not want to get off!

In a few short months I read all of the books at the time and followed Jon Tom and Mudge’s adventures with interest.

My favourite book in the entire series is The Day of the Dissonance.  I love all of the Aussie Elements ACDC, The huge demonic Kangaroo, The Koala landlady.  But I love the story and especially the irony of the Aspirin and Jon Tom surfing on Roseroar!

So there you have it.  Now I have been reading this series every year sometimes twice a year for most of my life  over the past 23 years and yet I find something new in it every time I read.  The experience is awesome.  I can’t think of another fictional book that has had this much effect on my life. Other than the non fictional account of The Great Escape which I devoted Four years of my life to to make a documentary, only to be pipped at the post, SPELLSINGER is the only fictional work that I am truly passionate about.

That’s why I like SPELLSINGER.

Now tell me, what is it about SPELLSINGER that you really like?


Yesterday was amazing.  I woke up and started working at 6:30am.  The first thing I did was check the blog because this is the first time that I have blogged twice in a day. I was surprised to see that the counter was crawling towards our best visiting day which was 3 months ago.  We were 16 people off that record and something in me said “We can beat this!” And for three hours I hit  facebook and twitter.  We climbed and climbed and so many people read our blog that in an hour we had passed our record and by the third hour had more than doubled it. We really tripled it but the stats carried into another timezone for some reason and cut us off!  It didn’t matter.  We were stoked beyond belief.

Because we connected.

Yesterday was a record for tweets and retweets and twitter traffics.

Twitter blitzed Facebook by a country mile.  But how can this be?  Sure ,We have 400 people connecting with us on Twitter and only 152 on Facebook and yet in the past Tweeting had really minimal results.

But somehow we connected and when I saw one person retweet to over 200 friends I realised that it’s people like this that love  SPELLSINGER enough to hit a button  to recommend it to their friends that are truly the people that we want to connect with and create an experience for.

As most of you know this blog and our Twitter account and Facebook page is our way of starting to spread the word about SPELLSINGER and more importantly to prove to the people that we are pitching to and the Studios that SPELLSINGER still has social relevance and interest. With your help we are going to prove this beyond a doubt!



We are going to do everything that we can to connect with the people that truly matter to us.  The Fans.  So the first thing that we are doing is getting you guys involved.  Now what you need to understand is that we are offering an opportunity THAT NEVER EVER HAPPENS. Nobody gets fans involved this early.  It is not done.

The approach that is usually taken is insulated and films created from books are then forced upon the fan to accept.

The most popular and successful book series in history have had a lot of creative license.  Plots added, scenes dumped and changed and it leaves the true fan, the people that read the book left angry.  Yes they have paid to see it and I suppose that their patronage is the aim of the studios but at what cost to the brand?  I have seen fans smoulder in anger, cry in anguish and howl in frustration.  They have been made to accept a product fashioned by hollywood to their own purposes and it’s not a good experience.  It’s not our aim at all.

Our approach with SPELLSINGER must be different.  And it must be different from the outset.

We have been told that there is no current commercial interest.  It’s a poor comment considering the interest in older books in Hollywood.

Spellsinger might have been last printed in 1994  and even though it was recently re released electronically with much success, the feedback has not credited the electronic release nor has taken it into account.

We know that this is not the case. There is current commercial interest.

We know that there are thousands of fans out there and that these  people  share our passion.

So our goal is to connect.  Truly connect with our Audience and create an experience from the outset.

We will do Whatever it takes to connect with our audience.  And we need to take massive action.

What are your thoughts reader?

What can we do today to get out there and connect with our fans and show the studios that this awesome fantasy has a lot more life in it that they could possibly imagine.

Together we can prove them wrong:

With every like on our Facebook Page

With with every post on our page or your pages

With every interaction,

By passing on the word

By sharing on Twitter, on Facebook and Blogging.

Let’s get the word out!

Calling all cars!

We have decided to improve the whole experience of the FB presence while we are looking for support to get the movie made. So we are starting a Make The Spellsinger Movie Campaign.  We ask all of our true fans, the people who have connected with SPELLSINGER, remember the story well,  know all of the characters and want it on the screen more badly  than I wanted C3PO from Santa when I was Eight!  We want these true diehard fans to connect with us by posting videos of themselves on our page and telling us WHY SPELLSINGER SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE!


We fully intend to use these interactions to promote our film in every way that we can, to show people that SPELLSINGER has what it takes to be a hugely successful franchise.

It starts with you.  We have made our commitment and now we need one from you.

And yes.  There will be shirts!!!

Until next time

Rock On!




If Rolling Stone Magazine made a fantasy movie THIS would be it

Spellsinger has all of the qualities that encapsulates the Rolling Stone Magazine EXPERIENCE

It’s Adventurous.  The world, the fighting, the performances, the magic and of course riding down the river on a Dragons back!

Jon Tom, Flor and Talea are Hip and have real attitude and personality.

There are elements that irreverent

All of the fantasy elements are Funky and so is the magic of Spellsinging. I mean the first song is Purple Haze.  How much funkier can it get?   This film is  a real fantasy performance experience, not just another blase quest that have been done to death.  What makes it tick is the spiritual connection between reverent popular culture and magic.  Music is magic as we know it.  Performance by nature can be magical but creating  magic  from music?  THAT’S  COOL.

This man’s connection with his music and he ain’t no Hendrix to begin with, is all that stands between this world being taken over by an evil with a secret weapon from Earth.

So we are moving forward by incorporating all of these thoughts into our branding from today.  We are creating an experience that will reconnect people with this amazing story that held our fascination and will continue to.

Rock on!

The way back IS the way forward.

Have you ever felt like you were really close to nailing a presentation only to have it blown out of the water by an experienced Hollywood executive?

This happened to us this week when we presented our SPELLSINGER pitch to a very prominent executive in LA who has been around for years.

Thankfully we saw this person before we went anywhere else.

The executive was scathing and attacked everything from the pitch to the illustrations and the whole concept.  Nothing was spared.  Not one good thing was said about months and months of hard work,done by a heap of people.

At first I was really angry.  I felt that they just didn’t even care about the project.  It was like fronting up to a talent show unprepared with a terrible act and getting gonged. And a score of minus one as an afterthought.

But then I realised that there might be some truth to what had been said.  After all, this person had experience and they have had their own fair share of rejection.  Was I being precious?  Of course I was.

This experience was an amazing wake up call for us.  We decided to go back to the root of Spellsinger and what it was that really attracted us to the franchise from the moment that I read it.  I looked beyond the cool story and the unlikely group and the elements that the executive called cliché and daggy.

Then I found the music and it dawned on me that.

Spellsinger is MORE than just another fantasy adventure.  It’s a roving Rock and Roll concert.  The music of this creature is it’s life blood.  Its Soul.  Music is what makes it work, so it must be embraced, grabbed, nurtured and adored.  It’s a spiritual baby.  Music makes SPELLSINGER a performance.

The music, the spellsinging is what captured my imagination, the ability to create magic through music.  Through performance.  Think about all the incredible guitar performances from the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Van Halen, Angus Young, Kurt Cobain and of course Hendrix and how their souls connected to us through the music.  Add magic to the equation and that’s what really makes it for me.

“It’s as if his brain knew which of the words that catalysed the strange elements…”

So folks we are on our way back from the drawing board.  We have started with the Duar and have done some basic designs that make it look like the mother of all guitars, a living instrument which is what sets it apart from the rest of the guitar family!

Stay tuned!






I would like to thank everyone for their unbridled enthusiasm!!!  In the 3 weeks that we have had the Face book page we have over 100 followers and 350 on twitter.  Our blog has had numerous hits. 

This is a great achievement for a film which has not even reached preproduction.

I have received a number of comments regarding updates and I will say that when we have news, our supporters will be the first to know, through all three media.

If there is something that you would like to know or see , mae a comment and we will do our best. 

Right now we need your help to continue to build awareness.

If you could share the page with your friends on your facebook profiles or twitter  that would be awesome.

Undoubtedly we would like to reward support and will do so when we can make promises that we feel can be met. 

If anyone has any ideas about what they would like as a prize (please not too crazy!!!) feel free to make a comment.


What is Spellsinger about?

I realise that there are a few of you who have never read the SPELLSINGER series before and so I ‘d like to give you a concise rundown on the series and a longer synopsis on the first book so that you get a complete picture of what to expect.

SPELLSINGER is my favourite fantasy book series.  The reason that I like the series is because it has resonated for me for the last 23 years.  In other words it doesn’t get old, it stays fresh and I get something new everytime I read it and I read it religiously every year.

There are eight books in the series.  The first two books SPELLSINGER and the HOUR OF THE GATE are a two part adventure, originally written to be one book.

The movie that we are making is based on the first book .

Short Sentence 

If Rolling Stone Magazine made a fantasy movie this would be it!

Long Sentence 

Can an amateur musician connect with the magic in his music before it’s too late?

Short Synopsis

Jonathon Thomas Meriweather is a University student and amateur musician from LA.   He is magically summoned to another world in error and discovers that he is a Spellsinger, a musician who is able to use the power of music to conjure magic with unpredictable results.  He must harness this new ability if he is going to save the world from destruction and chaos.

Here is the long synopsis:

The feared Plated Folk, armed with an technology from the US military decimate a warmlander town and kill all of the inhabitants in a feast of gore.

The presence of their newfound technology has not gone unnoticed.  Clothahump, an elderly wizard has been troubled by it for some time and tries to summon an engineer from Earth to help them.

One minute Jonathon Thomas Meriweather is smoking a joint in his dorm room and the next he is lying in the Bellwoods and accidentally trips Mudge a five foot fully clothed otter who is hunting a lizard with a bow and arrow.

Mudge is unimpressed at losing his dinner and Jon Tom’s weird behaviour and stabs Jon Tom who thinks he is dreaming on a high from the pot.

When he realises he is not dreaming and is shocked by the gaping wound, he implores Mudge for help before collapsing.

When he awakes he discovers that Mudge has patched him up.  Jon Tom accepts that he is in another place.  Mudge knows Jon Tom has been “majiked” there and he knows it is Clothahump’s doing.

Mudge takes Jon Tom to Clothahump.  They are met by POG, a giant bat. POG is Clothahumps famulus.  Clothahump fixes Jon Tom’s wounds.  He tells Jon Tom about the world being in danger and how he tried to call up an engineer.

Jon Tom is a sanitation engineer.  This greatly disappoints Clothahump.  Jon Tom wants to go home and Clothahump tells him that it could take several months.  He gives Jon Tom some silver coins and makes the reluctant Mudge his guardian.

Mudge takes Jon Tom to Lynchbany Towne where he is fitted with new clothes and a weapon, a staff with a spring-loaded blade.  Mudge takes Jon Tom to the Pearl Possum club for a meal and entertainment, being an erotic dancing Ermine.  Mudge asks Jon Tom what he could do to make a living and Jon Tom suggests busking.  His singing however incites a full-scale riot.

Talea, a beautiful but firey human thief, aids Mudge and Jon Tom.  She enlists them to help her out of a jam, namely a mugging that went violent.

After helping Talea, the three flee Lynchbany to the safety of the nearest Thieves Guild.

His new friends desert him and Jon Tom finds himself playing in a game of chance.

Trouble looms when he wins a sexual favour from a she-wolf and he declines. This creates an uneasy situation, much to his friend’s annoyance and the three leave the safety of the Thieves Guild.  When they leave they discover that their wagon has been stolen.  They decide to walk back to Clothahump’s.

On their journey back to Clothahump’s tree, Jon Tom finds a Duar, which is like a guitar.  Jon Tom plays around with the Duar and sings.  Talea asks Jon Tom if he is a Spellsinger.  After tuning the instrument Jon Tom sings the classic Jimmy Hendrix song Purple Haze.  Then Talea shakes him.  Mudge is now convinced that his new friend is a Spellsinger.  Jon Tom sees the last vestiges of a powerful luminescence slowly fading from the edges of the instrument, slower still from the lambent metal strings.

Inspired by his last rendition, Jon Tom sings for transportation.  He chooses Little Deuce Coupe and 409 by The Beach Boys. The duar begins to vibrate and glow mightily.  This time the luminescence spreads from the strings to encompass the whole instrument. Instead of a vehicle from his own world he conjures up a L’borean riding snake.  His friends are suitably impressed.

Despite his new powers, Jon Tom is reluctant to stay and asks Clothahump to help him depart for home.  Clothahump and Jon Tom do a ritual to replace him, with Jon Tom singing California Dreaming but instead of leaving Jon Tom stays.

He recognises the woman that he has conjured up to replace him.  Flores Quintera, a beautiful athletic Hispanic student from his University.  Unlike Jon Tom, Flor is excited to be there.  This is what she has always dreamed about.

Clothahump tells all of them about the impending danger from the Plated Folk.  Jon Tom and Flor volunteer to come with Clothahump to warn the biggest city in the land, Polastrindu and make their way up the River Tailaroam to enlist their support.   Mudge and Talea are sceptical but join them when they are informed that they will be rewarded.

On the way to the river Clothahump stops at a mystical place and summons a powerful spirit, M’nemaxa who appears in the form of a fiery winged horse.  M’nemaxa cannot tell him anything.  He leaves them with the terrifying vision of a towering ten-foot preying mantis talking to someone out of view.  It turns and sees them.  A huge vibrating shriek filled the glade.  It is the Empress Skrritch, the queen of the plated folk.  Their nemesis.

The party travel to the River Tailaroam and find a place to flag down a vessel bound for Polastrindu.  They are joined by Caz, a tall foppish rabbit who immediately has eyes for Flor.

Impatient with their lack of progress, Clothahump wants to conjure transport for them but does not have the spell with him.  Jon Tom volunteers and attracts the attention of Falameezar-Aziz-Sulmonee, a powerful fire breathing socialist dragon.  Jon Tom saves the group and Falameezar offers to take them to Polastrindu.

When they arrive at Polastrindu they are met with a corrupt captain of the gate and get nowhere until Jon Tom calls Falameezar.  Safely in the city, the party is kept in a barracks and decide to break out and explore.  Clothahump is left with Falameezar while the others go out.

A sect of Humans, who have signed a pact with the plated folk, kidnaps Jon Tom.  They want him to join them.  A plated folk disguised as a human is with them.  Jon Tom’s friends rescue him before the humans can murder him.

When they arrive back at the barracks, Falameezar has learnt that Jon Tom has deceived him and is wreaking havoc on the city.  In a powerful climax Jon Tom confronts Falameezar.

Well I hope that this post gives you a reasonable idea about the SPELLSINGER movie that we want to make.

If you would like to read the book, here is a link to the official download in the USA!


And here is a link to Open Road Media