Millionaires Anonymous

Millionaires Anonymous

Another long gap since my last update, but I’ve been very busy. From the beginning of the year I have concentrated on two projects. With my play Millionaires Anonymous opening in July, I knew I would have to switch focus onto that around April time, so I dedicated the first three months of the year to really knuckling down and getting a full draft of my novel completed. And I did! If anyone has heard of Parkinson’s Law, then it definitely applied here.

Basically, Parkinson’s Law states that any task will expand to fill the time it is given for completion. So, if I told myself ‘You’ve got a year to finish the novel.’ I would take a year. If I gave myself three months, which I did… it would take three months. Which it did. Great. I learned the term while reading a book called ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss, which I can’t recommend enough. I’m a sucker for self-improvement, and always like to balance reading non-fiction in the day, with fiction at night (to help my mind switch off), but Tim really makes a lot of sense in this book. I’ve started listening to his podcast too. Very interesting and worth a listen.

But I’m veering off a little here. The novel. I finished it. Okay, okay, I know, it’s not finished finished. Just finished. As in, someone could pick it up and read it from start to finish with only minimal grammatical errors (or so I think). Is it ready to hand over to people? Not on your life. But that’s my next deadline, which I’ve set for 31st July. Now, I originally planned to shelf the novel for a few months before going back to it, but I didn’t, though I gave it a couple of weeks at least. This was the time I was gearing into theatre mode. And so started THE PLAY.

So… I had a stage manager already lined up, a good friend, Sonia, who stage-managed my only other foray into theatre directing back in 2012 (Glengarry Glen Ross, just before I started this blog in fact) She knew about the project a while ago, but as it took so long to get the theatre booked I had to contact her and remind her. So I sent her the script and we got together and went over the broad strokes of the play and what would be required. First things first, and that was auditions. Half of the characters in the play had already been temporarily cast as I had actually written parts for them; friends and people I’d met through the past few years doing the local theatre circuit. Great actors too, which of course helps. So I only needed to fill 3 roles and advertised them primarily using

We got a good response for one of the roles; the character a woman between 30-40 years old. The other two characters were much older, in their fifties, and the response wasn’t so good. I think the main issue is the older people get, the more responsibility they have, and being an unpaid part, older actors are harder to find. Still, we had enough to run an audition, which we did a week later and lo and behold the play was fully cast that night.

I’d always been a bit scared of auditions. These strangers turn up, waiting for me, the “director”, to tell them what to do and what to say. And with it being my own words too, and the fact that I’d hadn’t heard a single person read any of it out loud to me, it was quite terrifying. But the talent that showed up astounded me. I mean, I wish I could have cast them all.

With the play cast it was time for the read through, which we did it round at my flat. It was the first time I’d heard the play read out loud in its entirety, and I kept thinking it was going to sound awful, trite, and not funny. But it was great! And my confidence was suddenly restored hearing these people putting life into the words I’d written over a year earlier.

I’d originally cast myself to play one of the parts. I thought ‘hey, it’s my play, I’ve written it, I’m directing it, I’m paying for it… so why can’t I have a part too?’. After all, acting is the fun bit. But once the read through was done and I slept that night, I just started to feel that I wouldn’t be able to get a proper perspective on the play as a whole if I was acting in it. So I made the decision to fire myself, and looking back it was a very important and correct decision to make.

Who would fill my part in a short space of time? Well, the person popped into my head the second I had the thought. I knew him from Twelfth Night; he played Feste the Clown opposite my Malvolio. A superb actor. I contacted him, he said yes, and the rest is history. I couldn’t see anyone else playing the part now. Or anyone else playing any of the parts for that matter.

Rehearsals were scheduled for every Wednesday and Sunday evening, and we had a couple of venues to use… from a dance studio we paid £10 a night for, to a few pubs in the city that had free function rooms to offer. One thing I remembered about Glengarry Glen Ross was that I got very annoyed with not having a definite rehearsal space. This time I didn’t want that to happen, but unfortunately it did. Only up to about half way when our stage manager sorted us out with a permanent and FREE rehearsal space. It needed to be free. I asked around at various places about hiring them for a few hours, twice a week, and most of the cost ranged from between £30 and £90. Multiply that with 20 rehearsals and it’d cost more than the entire production put together.

Once we were in the swing of rehearsals, I dedicated my morning time before work to editing/polishing my novel. I felt that the time was ‘extra time’, so it wouldn’t hinder my focus to the play for the rest of the day. So for the next stage of the book I went through and split each chapter into its own document. One reason for that is Google Docs is VERY slow when editing a 120,000 word novel. The second reason is I could concentrate on chapter individually, and get a better understanding of its reason for being, if it was any good, what was wrong with it if anything etc. It just made the whole book more manageable. So I now have 60 separate files (yes, 60 chapters!), and as of writing this blog I’m currently editing chapter 21. I’m confident I’ll hit my targeted finish on July 31st.

So now here we are, just less than two weeks until Millionaires Anonymous opens at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool. Ticket sales have been okay so far, having sold 119. But there’s still 300 to go. If we can sell 250, we’ll break even, but to be honest I’m not worried about losing money, I’m worried about empty seats. Having been in Noises Off last year, I realised how an audience can really affect the performance. For three days we had half-full audiences, and they giggled and snickered through the show. Was it just not funny? Hard to tell. On the final night it was sold out, 120 people in the audience, and they were in hysterics through the whole thing. I hadn’t experienced anything like it, and I think it was one the main impetus for me to write my own comedy play.

Selling out would be great, and we’re really pushing the marketing, having had leaflets and posters printed and handed out/stuck up anywhere we can think of. Myself and one of the cast, Dave, were on Vintage Radio ( a few weeks back, and last week two more cast members were on Wirral Radio ( talking about the play, and next week myself and Neil, who plays Mark in the play, will be recording an interview for BBC Radio Merseyside. We’ve tweeted. Set up a Facebook group with (as of today) 110 people. I’ve spread the word in my work, where at least 20-30 people have now bought tickets. The marketing will continue right up until the 7:30pm on Thursday, and even then we’ll continue to push for the Friday and Saturday shows, if there are tickets left. The marketing itself is almost a full-time job, and ticket sales were slow last week but I’ve been assured that they’ll pick up and gather speed (hopefully exponentially) leading up to the shows.

I’m going to try to blog a bit more from now no too, adding smaller but more detailed articles instead of these monster catch-up ones, because I’m undoubtedly forgetting a lot of things. In a couple of weeks I’ll be able to talk more about the reaction to Millionaires Anonymous, and then it’s back to the book full-time (well, as much full-time as I can working full-time elsewhere), and then kick starting my next project which I hope to be a web-series filmed at the end of the year.
Stay tuned!

Millionaires Anonymous is on at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th July 2015, 7:30pm.

Tickets are £10 (£8 concessions) and can be purchased online here:

Millionaires Anonymous, Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th July @ The Unity Theatre


Been a long time since my last update again, but better check in to document where I’m up to especially as 2014 is coming to a close. Looking back, it’s been a very productive year creatively. I’ve starred in 3 plays and written 1, starred in 2 short films one of which I wrote and directed, and… as always, continued writing my novel almost every (working) day of the week. I want more next year please, only improving each time.

To recap what I’ve been doing since my last post: After coming back from Twelfth Night I had a couple of weeks off, where I just wrote my novel and relaxed. getting back to normality was a nice break, and I had a week in Cyprus with my girlfriend in a lovely health resort, where all we did was relax, read, eat excellent food, meditate and do yoga. It was amazing, and while I was there I read the Tony Robbins book ‘Awaken The Giant Within’. Now, I’m a bit of a sucker for self-help books, because I love personal progression. If I can improve any area of my life, then I’d happily read a 600 page book even just to glean one nugget of information that strikes a chord with me. Well, this book struck about a million chords. It was spectacular, and made me realise that I needed to get back to my roots. I needed to get back into film making.

Ever since I was a kid and saw films like Back to the Future and Terminator 2, I wanted to make films. I started out wanting to be a stunt man, because the best bits in films for me were the action sequences where the main character was flung through a window as a bomb went off. What a fun way to spend the day doing that? As I got older, I realised I wanted to be an actor, because it was the actor who was the person’s story I was following, and they were the ones having all the fun, really. Older still, I realised the story wasn’t that of the actors, but the director’s. They made all the decisions and told people where to stand. That’s what I wanted to do. And eventually, having drilled down to ground level, I realised it was all to do with the story, and the writer was ultimately responsible for the exciting journey that people go on as an audience. Anyway, this love came back in full force while I was in Cyrprus, so when I got back I went online and bought myself a Black Magic Pocket Camera.

Black Magic Pocket Camera

I’d been looking at one of these babies for a while, but never pulled the trigger mainly through a fear of spending that much money (approx £700 for just the body), but also because if I did buy it I’d have to actually do something with it. But coming back, reenvigorated with a desire to film again, I went ahead and bought it, along with every other piece of kit I needed to make a short film. I spent just over £2000 in total, and started playing with my new toys straight away. The only problem was, I didn’t have anything to film. Cue me digging around in my old script folder.



A couple of years ago I’d written a comedy sketch for me and my mate Dave called ‘Ready?’ about a couple of world war 2 soldiers about to go into battle. I dug it out, dusted it off and read it. It wasn’t bad. The ending needed changing, but everything else was pretty decent. Quite funny, I thought. It was a very static short, being a sketch, so the shoot wouldn’t have been a complicated one. I got in touch with a friend, Chris, who I met on Twelfth Night and is an editor/cameraman. I asked if he wanted to shoot it and he said yes. I got in touch with Dave. He said yes. I asked my mate Martyn to be the boom operator. He said yes, and within a week we were on schedule to shoot ‘Ready?’ … and we did. I won’t go into detail here, maybe save it for a later blog post but the shoot went well, and the final cut is… READY. I’ll be entering it into film festivals as of tomorrow (1st Jan).

Ready Filming

Ready Filming


Other things I’ve been upto are:

1) I registered a production company, Typecast Productions, which all my latest offerings will come under (website:

2) I got confirmation of the performance dates of my play, Millionaires Anonymous, which will be performed in the Unity Theatre on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July 2015. Still a way off, but plenty of time to prepare.

3) After filming Ready I also took a small part in a short film by Purplecoat Productions (whom I’ve done my last 3 plays with) which was filmed over 6 weeks, but I was only needed for a couple of days. It’s a com/zom movie and great fun to be part of as always.

As for my novel? I’m still writing it, almost 70% of the way through my second draft and it’s really coming together quite nicely. I was on target for an xmas finish, but it will most likely be spring next year now with all the other stuff I’ve been doing.

My main problem is now I’ve got all this camera gear, it’s staring up at me like a begging dog. I’ve also got an idea for another short, I just need to find the time to start writing it. Soon, laddy. Soon.

Tis but fortune.

Been a while since I posted here. I actually wrote a very long piece a month ago, but there was a problem submitting it and subsequently it vanished from existence :/

Anyway, I’ve just come back from a UK tour of Twelfth Night with Purplecoat Productions, the theatre company I did both Noises Off and Caretaker with. What a superb time. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, even the lack of sleep, eating when I could, sleeping and shitting where I could. It was great. We started off in Dublin, playing in a theatre called Smock Alley. After that it was back to the hostel at midnight, bed by 1am, up at 3am to catch a flight to Birmingham. Once there we got a minibus and it was straight to the next theatre, which was called the Crescent Theatre. Nice black box space. That was where most of us caught up on sleep on the theatre seating. After that, back to the hostel for a nice lie in and a short drive to Stratford-upon-Avon.

This was the day where we probably had the most time, so a lot of us went out onto the streets flyering for our play, which was a new experience but I quite enjoyed by the end. THe theatre was called The Attic, in a lovely 17th century building that apparently housed the wood that Shakespeare’s house was built from. In Stratford we were lucky enough to stay in a Travel Lodge, but we were up the next morning and back to Liverpool to set up in Calderstones Park. A lovely sunny day, and a nice space too. We had 130 people come see us and it was definitely our most fun and interactive audience. After that, we had one night in our own beds before a very long (10 hour) journey to North Finchley in London, where we just chilled out for the night.

Sunday was our last day, and we performed in the Arts Depot Theatre, which was a lovely big theatre. The audience weren’t into it as much as others, but they picked up in the second half. There were only about 30 of them. Then we were out for a few drinks, ready for the coach/train/planes back to wherever we were all going next.

As I said, it was so much fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I met some great people and hope to work with them one day, but knowing how these things go (the nature of theatre), it’s more likely I won’t. I’ll miss them.


Well Played

I finished the first draft of my play yesterday. I’ve been very surprised at a few things, mainly how fast the whole thing came together. Obviously I’ve had this idea churning around in my head for a couple of years, and originally wanted to write it as a film, but once I got it into the play structure the pieces just fell into place. I only had the basic outline of Act 1, Act 2 and Act3, and everything I knew about those were on 1 page, but all I knew was essentially the plot. I knew nothing about the characters. And what I’ve learned, especially with plays, is that it’s all about the characters.

And that’s how this thing came together, because unlike my novel and screenplays I’ve written in the past, I didn’t outline heavily with this, I just wrote it and let the characters talk, evolve and the plot to move forward at its own pace. I’ve no idea how long this will act out on stage, but I’m a bit worried it might be too long for a comedy. I say comedy, Act 2 is definitely comedy with many farcical elements, but Act 3 is where the pathos comes in and gets much more heartfelt and serious, and hopefully not too sentimental.

I’m very happy with what I’ve got, and will give it another quick pass before I go away next week and I might move back onto my novel while the play simmers. I should find out July/August if I’ve got the booking at the theatre I want, and already have a production manager lined up. So things are looking good.



Listen, son. Listen, sonny… you stink.


Well, Caretaker is done. We did a Thursday night and a Saturday night and they both went down really well. Here’s a link to all the reviews we’ve had, including a 9/10 in the Liverpool Echo, which isn’t online unfortunately. But take my word for it. Honest.,-liverpool.html

The play was part of a double bill with another play called ‘My Mother Said I Never Should’ by Charlotte Keatley, which I saw on the Sunday. Great play. The four ladies cast in it were all excellent. Thoroughly enjoyable, well done to everyone involved.

Now that’s out of the way, what next? Well I’m still writing my play and am (I hope) over half way through it now. I’d say I’m closer to two thirds through it, and it’s been going great. I’m finding it quite difficult to balance pathos with comedy, because a lot of the comedy is outlandish, crude… and just downright silly. To throw in some depressing character history in amongst that sometimes feels a bit off, so I need to strike that balance well or it won’t work. That’ll come with time and revisions though.

I’m still chipping away at the rewrite of my novel too. I’ve got the prologue written to a level I’m happy with. 1 chapter down, a million to go.

I’ve got a hankering to do another play too. Typical.


Yeah, that’s me looking all ‘ard and stuff. The Caretaker is on in less than 2 weeks and I know all my lines, I just need to refine them and run the play a few times. Should be a cracking show, though. I’m really enjoying playing a mean bastard.

In the meantime, I’ve sent my booking form off to the Unity, so fingers crossed I’ll have some dates set for Feb 2015 for when my play can be performed. Speaking of which, I’ve written half of it now and I’m quite happy with what I’ve got so far. The second act is quite farcical, which I think just comes naturally to me.

I’ve also started slowly working on the 2nd draft of my novel. Every now and then I’ll just get the desire to start writing it, instead of my play, so I dip into it every now and then. That’s going well too. Re-reading some of my early prose is a bit like looking at old photographs of yourself and cringing, but that’s good in a way, I feel like I’ve developed quite well as a writer over the past 2 years.

Unity, Radio, Caretaking.

Just a quick update. I’ve successfully shelved my novel for the time being and you know what? It felt great. I think some times you can really let something get its talons on you and won’t let you go, but it felt very liberating to leave the book alone for a bit. So instead of writing that, I’ve been writing my play which is going very well at the moment. I’ve just about got Act 1 written, and then it’s onto the dreaded Act 2 (where most shit will go down, yo). But I’ve also contact the Unity Theatre, in the hope to book 3 nights there for the play. The thing is, they get booked out so quickly that their next slot is Spring 2015, but that’s okay… it gives me time to write the damn thing, then some time to shelve and come back before I need to cast etc.

I also have been introduced to the idea of writing comedy for radio, so I rewrote a sketch of mine into a radio format, and I’ve started writing the pilot of a sitcom which I’m hoping to get done to submit to the BBC mid April when they’re opening up for comedy scripts.

Maybe I’ve got too much on my plate, because I’m also heavily into rehearsing The Caretaker, which will be on the 1st of May and 3rd of May. The lines are a bitch, but if I know most of Act 2, just need to sort out the last act and I should be good to get on with actually learning how to act, and not just riffing lines.