Chris Cooke
Chris Cooke: Director's Diary 7

Hello again. Really sorry for the lateness of this diary, it's been weeks since the last one. When you left us last time we were writing, I think. And this time...

It's just writing, writing, writing I'm afraid. Steve Sheil and I don't see much of each other these days. He is in his office all the time working on the script for our regional wrestling opus, World Of Pain, and I am working from home on a workshop document for the road movie Where We Come From.

It's an incredibly unvisual and dull subject for a video diary: Typing. But here you go... your chance to watch two people typing away, a study of the writing process: a bit like The Shining, but not as violent... or as funny... or as good, for that matter.

But as they say: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

Apparently Stanley Kubrick typed up every one of those pages of Jack Torrance's novel in the film, so that each page was totally different... thousands of the things! That's why it took years to make - thank god for cheap desktop publishing!

Anyway, this still doesn't make the life of a writer an interesting one... though well over a year ago I did fly out to the Alps to do some research for the road movie script. Since then I have sat at home and typed, endlessly.


I wish I had been flitting about on a plane from one continent to another as I make some major deal or meeting someone or other abroad who is really, really important (not really though as I am terrified of flying), or had some fascinating insight on the world of filmmaking to offer here in this brief intro, but nothing interesting EVER happens to me, I'm afraid. Nothing. Ever. I just sit at home. Typing.

Anyway, I was reminded that my pathetic life was worth living the other day when I learnt the American release dates for Land Of The Dead, George A Romero's fourth chapter in the Dead story. He is something of an inspiration for me and no doubt many thousands of independent and politically-minded filmmakers everywhere. If not he should be.

Night Of The Living Dead and, weirdly enough, John Russo's book The Night Of The Living Dead Filmbook are the biggest influences on my filmmaking that there can be.

George A Romero's Night Of The Living Dead I was just bowled over by the skill, dedication and vision that Romero brought to the screen, but what really made the difference was the tenacity that he has shown in getting films made. He is a true independent.

His films remain so firmly within a genre and are so strongly political, allegorical and powerful. He always attempts to speak to his audience as if he was on a level with them.

Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead (NOT that horrible, shaky remake with its "We gotta save the dog!" plotting) and Day Of The Dead got me through my shy teens, Polytechnic, and then long-term unemployment respectively.

Now Land Of The Dead can get me through writer's block. I hope. Though not until the end of the year, it seems. Oh well.

Next time is our last diary. To some it will be a terrible and sad parting, so bring a box of tissues to your computer - er, maybe you already have one there - just in case.

WATCH: The seventh of Chris' video diaries. View it here

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