My workshops at the Epsom & Ewell Arts Festival in June

I’m delighted to be part of the inaugural Epsom & Ewell Arts Festival this June! There are oodles of activities to choose from including music, art and literature.

I’ll be running a couple of screenwriting workshops. One for children, one for adults.

First up for the kids…

THE HERO’S JOURNEY – YOUNG SCREENWRITERS’ WORKSHOP

 

screenwriting workshop mgso4 arts festival
Event date:
Saturday, 25 June 2016 – 11:30am
Artist:

Author and screenwriter Mark Stay

Venue:
Epsom Library, Ebbisham Centre.
Ticket price:
£6.50
Book now

Join professional screenwriter Mark Stay for a fun workshop where we’ll look at the ‘Hero’s Journey’, how one page of script becomes a finished scene, and we’ll create our own story using ideas and methods explored during the session. .

Mark Stay wrote the screenplay for the film Robot Overlords, released in 2014, starring Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley.

Robot Overlords is set in a world where Earth has been invaded by an occupying force of robots from another world. Every citizen has an implant in their neck that alerts the robots if you step outside. You get one warning… then you’re vaporised!

Suitable for ages 10-12.
Epsom Library, Learning Centre.

Mark will be signing copies of his original novel Robot Overlords after the event.

Event access:
Wheelchair accessible
Then, for anyone 13+ …

‘FROM PAGE TO SCREEN’

WRITING WORKSHOP

 

Mark Stay MGSO4 arts festival 2016
Event date:
Saturday, 25 June 2016 – 4:15pm
Artist:

Screenwriter Mark Stay

Venue:
Bourne Hall, Ewell
Ticket price:
£10
Book now

Join professional screenwriter Mark Stay for a scriptwriting workshop and fascinating insider look at the development of a screenplay. Discover how one page of a screenplay becomes a finished film via storyboards, rehearsal, pre-viz, shooting, VFX, scoring through to the final scene.

Mark Stay wrote the screenplay for the film Robot Overlords, released in 2014, starring Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley.

Suitable for ages 13+.

Mark will be signing copies of his original novel Robot Overlords after the event.

Event access:
Wheelchair accessible

“You’ve got bread on your nose…” Favourite comments from comic-cons 2015

It’s been a hell of a fun year, and one of the highlights has been attending a record number (for me) of festivals and cons to plug and pimp the ROBOT OVERLORDS film and book. If I was lucky enough to meet you, then thanks for taking the time to chat, if you bought a copy of the book, then you have my undying love, and if you torrented the film, then I hope your tiny genitals shrivel and die 😉 winky face!

The year ended with the biggest one of all, the MCM Comic Con at the Excel Centre in London. I was invited by fellow author and all round gentleman Kit Cox to join him selling and signing books for the whole weekend. Make no mistake, this is a huge event; the footfall on the Saturday alone is over a hundred thousand people, and they’re all eager genre fans, many in wonderful cosplay, and the feeling of belonging and bonhomie is infectious. I started keeping a tally of how many books I sold, but then started jotting down some of the comments made by those who visited my stall. It’s a brilliant snapshot of the kinds of people who come to cons, and I’ve broken them down into three sections: THE WONDERFUL, THE BIZARRE and THE HUMBLING…

THE WONDERFUL

Comments to make an author’s heart swell…

“Such a cool film, there’s nothing like it.”

“You had me at Robots and explosions!”

“I sell your book in Israel!” A passing Israeli bookseller.

“He’s buying this because he torrented the film after I recommended it!” A punter making his friend buy a copy of the book.

“I’d better get some cash!” A punter, after I pitched the book to them… and they actually came back and bought it!

“I’m Chris Lunt’s agent!” Chris is the show runner on the TV version of Robot Overlords!

“This is our first comic-con…” A slightly overwhelmed father and son (who bought a copy of the book).

“Can’t remember the last time I bought a book…” And he bought a copy!

“Where does the food come from? Where’s the booze? Can you imagine a completely dry country? It’ll never work!” A punter trying to pick holes in the premise. He bought a copy after I reassured him that we’d thought all this stuff through and that there was plenty of illegal hooch in a Robot-occupied UK.

“Dystopia is, like, my favourite, evah…” A wonderfully stereotypical emo teen.

“If it’s rubbish, I’m coming back.” A punter after buying a copy. He didn’t.

“I auditioned for this!” Young actor John Otteson!

“That little guy freaked me out.” Job done, Craig Garner!

“I’m downloading it right now.” Someone who bought the audiobook from Audible right in front of me!

“I love your film!” Several people. I love you, too.

THE BIZARRE

From the adorable to the baffling…

“Do you mind holding my bow while I go for a wee?” A Katniss cosplayer.

“If he finishes it, he gets fifty quid!” A father determined to get his son reading books. Who am I to argue with this carrot-on-a-stick version of parenthood?

“Everybody’s sucking Chinese dick.” A fellow writer/illustrator on the current state of Hollywood film production.

“I hate to be the person who asks where another table is…” Several people who mistook me for an information desk. I was happy to help…

“Oh my God! Monkey Magic!” A punter who was distracted mid-pitch by some fantastic Monkey Magic cosplay.

THE HUMBLING

Comments to bring the ego down to Earth with a bump.

Now, bear in mind that these comments came from folks standing right in front of a table with two showcards featuring the book, big piles of the book, and a bloody great quad poster of the film shouting ROBOT OVERLORDS in big shiny, silver letters with the release date stated plainly below…

“Is the film out yet?”

“Are they going to make this into a movie?” You never know!

“Are you the writer?”

“I think I’ve heard of this…”

“And that would make you… Mark?” A punter squinting at the showcard, then the book, then me…

“That’s a bit of a cliché, isn’t it?’ A kid on the title. I somehow resisted clipping the precocious little nerk around the ear’ole… Too many witnesses.

“I can’t finish long books.” A young boy. Try writing them, mate.

“When is this in cinemas?” Sorry mate, you blinked and missed it.

“Doesn’t look anything like her…” A punter looking askance at Gillian Anderson on the poster (who clearly hasn’t seen her in anything since The X-Files).

“Free book?” No. Buy one or fuck off.

“I haven’t got any cash!” from a punter after I spent a good five minutes pitching the story.

“I only brought thirty pounds!”

“I don’t read and I’m broke.”

“I’ve run out of money!” Everyone after 5.30.

“You’ve got bread on your nose…” My son, who pointed out that I still had some of my lunchtime sandwich attached to me after I spent a long and futile five minutes pitching the book to a couple who, perhaps understandably, spent the whole time looking at me funny.

 

I had huge fun at these cons, and sold a ton of books. I’m surprised the major publishers don’t have a presence at these. Certainly plenty of indie authors do pretty well, and I hope to do more in the future. If we should meet, don’t hesitate to ask about the film’s release date, plot holes, the state of Hollywood’s sexual peccadilloes, or where the manga books are sold, just don’t boast about torrenting the film, because I will have to kill you with the bow and arrow that nice lady asked me to look after while she was taking a whizz.

GollanczFest will be virtual, too!

Want to enjoy GollanczFest, but don’t have a ticket, or can’t make it to Manchester or London? Then fret not, my friend, Gollancz are laying on a fantastic virtual GollanczFest that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own jimjams featuring the likes of…

Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, Ben Aaronovitch, Paul Cornell, Pat Cadigan, Carrie Vaughn, Al Reynolds, Anna Caltabiano, John Hornor Jacobs, Elspeth Cooper, Michael J Ward, C Robert Cargill, Nalini Singh, Charlaine Harris, Michael bleedin’ Moorcock and Ursula blimmin’ Le Guin!!

 

Click on the images to embiggen…

Friday...
Friday…
Saturday and Sunday...
Saturday and Sunday…

I’ll be at the MCM Comic Con, London 23-25 October – come and say hi!

MCM Comic Con 23-25 OctoberExcel – London – Royal Victoria Dock

MCM2015_London_webportal

I’ll be in the Comic Village at the mega MCM Comic Con at the Excel in London. Come along and say hi, ask me about the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Robot Overlords, and get yourself a signed copy of the book (or, if you’ve already got a copy, or a DVD, or Blu Ray, then bring them with you!) this will be your last opportunity before Christmas! (After this I’m having a lie down…)

I’ll be in the company of the splendid author and illustrator of the Union-verse books Mr. Kit Cox (who kindly invited me along with the promise of good times and tea and biscuits).

Now, here comes the complicated bit… I’ll be there all day Friday, Saturday afternoon, and all day Sunday. I won’t be there Saturday morning, because I’ll be here instead…

London Screenwriters’ Festival, Saturday 24th October, 9-10am (Yes! A.M.!).

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Join me for a post-breakfast panel (bring your own croissants!) – should be good fun. Here’s the blurbery…

Robot Overlords is an unusual beast: a British indie family science fiction adventure movie starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, with a hefty (for the UK) VFX budget.

Join co-writer Mark Stay to see how this idea evolved from a two-page pitch to a finished film that premiered at the London Film Festival and topped the home entertainment charts.

Topics Mark will cover in-depth include:

Writing pitch documents

Working and writing with a director

Writing for VFX

The perils of British distribution!

Read the script (available in the booking & submissions page) then watch the movie on DVD/Blu-Ray or digital download ahead of the session to get the very most out of this in-depth dissection of one of the most ambitious UK genre films of the year.

For more info click here.

GollanczFest 2015 – behold the awesome line-up (and, er, me!)…

GollanczFest 2015: 16th-18th October – Manchester and London

 

**STOP PRESS: LONDON AND MANCHESTER HAVE SOLD OUT, BUT THERE ARE STILL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE WRITERS’ DAY ON SUNDAY 18TH**

This is going to be awesome, with an amazing line-up of authors including Joe Hill, Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, Joanne Harris, Ben Aaronovitch and Sarah Pinborough, spread over four days starting Manchester and ending in London.

Day one: Friday 17th October, Waterstones Manchester Deansgate

I’m in the CLASS OF 2015 bit with Aliette De Bodard, Alex Lamb, Al Robertson and Tom Toner and it should be great fun…

Manchester - Room 1
Manchester – Room 1 (click to enlarge)
Manchester Room 2
Manchester Room 2 (Click to enlarge)

Day Two: Saturday 18th October, Waterstones Piccadilly.

This has officially sold out, but if you’re a lucky ticket holder, then I’ll be in the Class of 2015 bit again, with a slightly different, but no less awesome, line-up:  Antonia Honeywell, Alex Lamb, Al RobertsonTom Toner and Catriona Ward

London Room 1 (click to enlarge)
London Room 1 (click to enlarge)
London room 2 (click to enlarge)
London Room 2 (click to enlarge)

Day Three: Sunday 18th October, Waterstones Piccadilly – Writers’ day

This has just been added so grab your tickets now! If you’re a writer, this day is gold dust. If I weren’t already going, I’d be first in line for tickets. Top writers and agents (and, er me!) talking about their craft. Unmissable…

What a line up! (Click to enlarge)
What a line up! (Click to enlarge)

Friday and Sunday, Prince Charles Cinema screenings of Minority Report and The Prestige.

And after all that, why not kick back enjoy a couple of classic movies with introductions from Pat Cadigan and Joe Hill?

minority

prestige

Really hope to see you there. It’s going to be a blast.

 

The GollanczFest is a go-go!

gollanczfest

Gollancz Fest 2015: 16th-17th October – Manchester and London, events tbc

Not sure what I’ll be doing yet, but there will be an awesome line-up of talent (and me!), so you’d have to be some sort of weird anti-geek to miss out…

Last year tickets were sold out in three weeks, so to get yours click here.

I’ll be at Nine Worlds this afternoon!

If you’re there too, come and say “Hi”. I’ll be revealing all the secret behind-the-scenes stuff about ROBOT OVERLORDS with a super-whizzy multimedia presentation.  I’ll also sign things, including books and posters and naked flesh… okay, maybe not naked flesh…

Here are the where and when details…

Friday 7th August, Nine Worlds and Geekfest:

Z1hrvM_G_400x400

Friday 7th August, 4-5pm, Room 16: Robot Overlords From Script to Screen. A behind-the-scenes look at how this independent British Sci-Fi movie went from script to screen.

I’m at YALC this Friday afternoon…

Friday 17th July, London Film and ComicCon YALC:

I’m delighted to be confirmed for a panel at the 2015 YA Lit Con, which is part of the London Film and Comic Con.

yalc2015

Here’s the blurb…

PAGE AND SCREEN: ROBOT OVERLORDS & GEMINI FORCE ONE

Friday 17th July, 4.30-5.15pm

What are the differences between writing for the page or the screen? Find out in this session bringing together co-creator of Robot Overlords Mark Stay with the team behind Gemini Force One, MG Harris and Jamie Anderson.

Mark Stay will be talking about his experiences of writing both film script and novelisation for Robot Overlords, and sharing some behind the scenes insights; whilst MG Harris and Jamie Anderson will discuss how they collaborated on their new series, originally devised and developed by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson before his death.

This should be great fun. The Gemini Force project is hugely exciting (especially if you’re a Gerry Anderson fan!), and YALC will be hosting panels with the best names in YA lit, including Charlie Higson, Malorie Blackman and Patrick Ness, so you’re guaranteed to have a great day!

Click here to get tickets.

Robot Overlords and Gemini Force at YALC: Fri 17th July 2015

I’m delighted to be confirmed for a panel at the 2015 YA Lit Con, which is part of the London Film and Comic Con.

yalc2015

Here’s the blurb…

Friday 17th July, London Film and Comic Con YALC:
PAGE AND SCREEN: ROBOT OVERLORDS & GEMINI FORCE ONE

4.30-5.15pm

What are the differences between writing for the page or the screen? Find out in this session bringing together co-creator of Robot Overlords Mark Stay with the team behind Gemini Force One, MG Harris and Jamie Anderson.

Mark Stay will be talking about his experiences of writing both film script and novelisation for Robot Overlords, and sharing some behind the scenes insights; whilst MG Harris and Jamie Anderson will discuss how they collaborated on their new series, originally devised and developed by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson before his death.

This should be great fun. The Gemini Force project is hugely exciting (especially if you’re a Gerry Anderson fan!), and over the whole weekend YALC will be hosting panels with the best names in YA lit, including Charlie Higson, Malorie Blackman, Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Ness, so you’re guaranteed to have a great time!

Click here to get tickets.

 

Robot Overlords screening at the Greenwich Book Festival – Sunday May 24th – now with added James Tarpey!

STOP PRESS!

Come and see a screening of ROBOT OVERLORDS this Sunday 24th May at 2.30pm!

As part of the Greenwich Book Festival, I’ll introduce the event with a ‘From script to screen’ presentation, followed by a screening of the film. I’m pretty sure this will be your only chance to see the film before the DVD release later this year, so do please come along!

STOP STOP PRESS!

I’m also delighted to announce that I’ll be joined by James Tarpey, one of the film’s stars! We’ll have posters to sign and give away to those who buy a copy of the ROBOT OVERLORDS novelisation.

Tickets are just £6 – click here for details!

The film is rated 12A, so children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Robot Overlords: From Script to Screen, plus a screening of the film.

Starts 2.30 pm – Presentation: 45 minutes (approx.), film running time: 90 minutes – should all be done by 5.30!

Old Royal Naval College

Queen Anne Building

Lecture Theatre 080

SE10 9LS London