Cleghorne hasn't stopped laughing for the past half-hour. He's talking
about his experiences as a scriptwriter, in addition to illustrating
story books and holding gallery exhibitions of his work.
LA. Liverpool... LA. It's a tough choice!
and booming with a Barry White baritone, he reels off one anecdote
after another, leaping between tales of lucky breaks and hard-won
opportunities. With his first feature film in the pipeline I ask
how it all began, so that others might shuffle tentatively behind
was a member of the Liverpool Playwrights Group," begins Vinnie.
brought anything from radio plays to film scripts each week and
we'd discuss the structure behind it all; the why and what and how
behind the creative process.
I won a competition to make a short film with Mersey Television
I decided to write a feature length cartoon myself. I put together
the designs, wrote the scenes and character descriptions, mocked
up a movie poster and jumped on a plane to LA. I had nowhere to
stay, no plans or contacts but decided to look for an agent anyway.
I was out there for three months.
closer, you might spot a celebrity!
tough for anyone used to walking from one place to another. Los
Angeles isn't designed with pedestrians in mind. Going from one
company to the next was like walking from Land's End to John O'Groats!
helped that I was from England. My accent was definitely a golden
ticket in terms of charming receptionists to let me see top executives.
I was admitted into the best agencies without any appointment and
even met with the Vice President of Fox amongst others."
his concept didn't get any further, Vinnie's tenacity was rewarded
with a bulging contacts book and his own LA agent. For the next
three months he lived in style, with cars arriving to chauffer him
to parties and daily phone calls from major studios apologising
for not having got back sooner - a far cry from the non-reply and
curt refusals of their UK equivalent.
Dean Stanton starred in Alien as 'Snack in baseball cap'.
ended up house sitting for the sister of a friend who lived on Mulholland
Drive [fancy LA district]. The actor Harry Dean Stanton (Alien,
Repo Man, Twin Peaks) lived next door, where he's become a bit -
let's say, eccentric - in recent years. From time to time
I'd see him sat in a tree in his yard, wearing only an open bed
robe and feeding squirrels!"
home, Vinnie decided to send a fresh script on spec to Elliot Grove,
founder of the Raindance Film Festival in London and writer of 'Write
and Sell the Hot Screenplay' - the bible for wannabe scribes. He
waited, like so many others, for the phone to ring.
this time it really did.
[Elliot] asked me to come down to London and attend a course led
by John Truby, perhaps the biggest script guru there is. So I did,
not knowing what to expect. After everyone had filed in and settled
down, Elliot stood up to explain that he receives over 2,000 scripts
every year, but that one had stood out from all the rest.
to bother you, but can you tell where the turn off is for the
just like to ask Vincent," he said, "Who is sat in the
audience today - can I produce this film?"
the working title of 'Vampires
The Rough Guide', it's a horror
set in Manchester that pits regional bloodsuckers from across the
UK against cock 'o the graveyard, the fearsome Vampire Premiere
and his team of elite assassins.
vampires' families have no idea that these guys are now among the
undead," enthuses Vinnie.
stop by for a visit after dark and their Mum will rip into them.
come you never eat anything anymore? Why do you look so pale?"
a wacked-out script if I say it myself."
under option, this means that Grove and his team pay Vinnie a nominal
amount to retain the sole rights for an period of 12 months. An
option for a different project lapsed when the producer in question
secured funding to film one of his own scripts instead. Vinnie remains
just the way it is. It was for a freaky script called 'Banshee'
set in Ireland, about a retired rock star who inherits an ancient
mansion - but there are plenty more in the works, and I don't mind
too much because it looks as though Vampires
start shooting later this year."
now, Vinnie is busy polishing the script and nurturing his latest
batch of ideas. It seems that self-belief, enthusiasm and excitement
are key elements for anyone determined to follow in his footsteps.
you'll need binoculars to keep up with Vinnie as he sprints toward
1. Photo by Robert Penn - © 2003 Twentieth Century Fox. All
2. Copyright 1998 New Line Cinema Productions: 'Blade 2'