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I am a screenwriter, script editor and author, which is really just a fancy way of saying I am obsessed  with words.

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I have written a novel, three theatre plays, two of which have been performed before the public, eight feature length screenplays. The first three listed have all at one one point been optioned by production companies. One long-form TV drama series that has twice been in devlopment with production companies and one two-part TV drama.

They are:

Novel:

  • DA VINCI’S LAST SUPPER: THE FORGOTTEN TALE. When Leonardo da Vinci is commissioned to paint ‘The Last Supper’ he believes it is an act of destiny that will seal his reputation as the finest artist in Italy. Yet all does not go as planned. The Papal Emissary, Father Rodrigo of Salamanca accuses Leonardo of blasphemy over his decision to choose a lowly peasant (Alessandro) to be his model for Jesus Christ. Initially, the impressionable Alessandro’s delusions of possessing a unique connection with the divine, cause Leonardo few concerns. However, as Alessandro takes on quasi-religious significance for the populace of Milan, both artist and model become entangled in a journey of sex, violence, religious and political upheaval, eventually leading to their climatic confrontation.

The book will be published early in 2019.

Feature Films:

  • JESUS OF MILAN – My magnum opus. Fintan O Higgins is credited as a co-story by. It is a feature length adaptation of my novel that has in the past attracted a lot of attention and been pitched to the likes of Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures and Working Title. Until recently it was in development with the award-winning Hurricane Films. The screenplay revolves around the life of Leonardo da Vinci, during the time he lived in Milan and painted the iconic ‘The Last Supper of Christ.’ It centres around the tumultuous relationship between Leonardo and the man he chose to paint as the face of Christ, a humble weaver by the name of Alessandro, whom the peasant stock of Milan confer quasi-religious belief that he is some personification of Christ himself. It is a rich tale of religious and political intrigue, bodice-ripping, violence, betrayal, death and redemption as Leonardo must confront his own insecurities if he is ever to complete this most influential of paintings.
  • THE LAST CHRISTMAS TREE – co-written with Yoav Factor.  A family friendly Christmas animation that has previously been workshopped with Disney writer David Reynolds (Finding Nemo, Toy Story 2.) He said “You have a great tale here Paul, one that is well-written and would make a great Christmas animation. I wish you well with it.” In short… In the not too distant future, all the earths Christmas trees die out as a consequence of global warming, that is apart from one, dramatically rescued and kept for safe keeping by Father Christmas in his secret kingdom of Lapland. Katy, a socially awkward child believes in magic and after receiving visions, she embarks on a ‘hero’s journey’ overcoming trolls, witches and various others who stand in her way until she is deemed worthy to return ‘The Last Christmas Tree’ to the real world and with it revive the true spirit of Christmas.
  • FALLING FOR FRANK – A whimsical, off the wall romantic comedy set to Northern Soul music, with just the odd dance off. Alice has breast cancer, and her wish is to find romance for her socially inept best friend, Frank. Due to the chemotherapy the boundary between reality and fantasy is blurred as Alice conjures up a fairy godmother, cupid and a general in an attempt to succeed in finding Frank a girlfriend. But Alice’s endeavours back-fire and Frank unable to drag himself to be ‘romantic’ flees to India after declaring his love for Alice, which fell on deaf ears. Can Frank ever find love? With the help of a hippie mystic Frank finally overcomes his fears and embarks on the path to true love.
  • TRAPPED IN SPACE – An assisted story by credit goes to my son, Sam. The eight people aboard the RELIANT (5 men & 3 women) consisting of a pilot, a co-pilot, a guard and five high-profile prisoners are on a routine transport to a penal colony on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. For the first part of their journey they are each in a cryogenic pod, which activates at a given date. The crew awake to find that rather than being on route to their destination, a deliberate navigational sabotage has sent them a short, but significant, degree off course and into deep space. To further compound their dilemma, the pilot, Don Swarfiski (Aged 46, American, a jobbing pilot and alcoholic with no career aspirations) awoke from his induced sleep with space sickness and soon dies, leaving the inexperienced co-pilot Heidi Blum to meet the demands of the survivors, find the means to feed them, but more importantly figure out a way to return to Earth.
  • THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS – Adam Wedgwood, a British SAS officer is wounded and captured by an Islamic Terrorist group in a covert operation in an undisclosed middle-eastern country. Because he was initially assumed dead, both government and military sources deny a British SAS Officer has been captured and held prisoner by an Islamic Terrorist group. The plot alters between events in Adam’s home county of Yorkshire and the Middle East in this fast- paced thriller, which has more than one twist up its sleeve.
  • SKIN – A feature length horror screenplay. Matt is a medics student with the world at his feet. His fiancé, Grace is a pampered young lady and something of a control freak. Matt is unhappy in the relationship and sleeps around. Grace finds out and sets off to confront Matt, however she drives too fast along the coast road and careers off the bridge at Whitby and into the sea and drowns. Her body is never recovered. Almost immediately the women whom Matt had cheated with all die in gruesome ‘sea related’ accidents. One, a nurse is attacked by maniacal seagulls, another takes a bath and jellyfish come through the faucet and she dies of anaphylactic shock and so on, until only one woman with whom Matt has slept with remains alive. Furthermore ‘skin’ from each of the victims is removed from their bodies. There is a chase to solve the mystery of who the murderer is with a classic Hammer House of Horror twist at the end.
  • THE KIELDER CONSPIRACY – A feature length horror of a ‘Cabin in the Woods’ type jeopardy tale. A group of students from Leeds University head off for some star-gazing at the renowned Kielder Observatory and hire a wood lodge. Unbeknown to them the previous night an alien spacecraft crash-landed in Kielder Water. Now, two relentless aliens are on the hunt and will kill everyone in their way, including our students. Hemmed up in their lodge with no means of communicating to the outside world, they are reliant upon their wits and every tool at their disposal as they fight for their lives.
  • WHITBY – co-written with Robert Endercott. What if Dracula, in Bram Stoker’s original fable, had remained in Whitby rather than fleeing back to Transylvania, and instead became the ‘master’ of a travelling troupe of Victorian freaks? In this post-modern gothic tale, the story of Dracula is given a revamp (pardon the pun) only to prowl once more the famed streets of Whitby, where blood and mayhem ensue until that famed Austrian Van Helsing once more comes to the rescue.

Episodic TV Drama:

  • AT RISK – A procedural TV drama set in the world of Social Workers and the lives of children deemed ‘at risk,’ and placed on the Social Work register.  The stories revolve around the various caseloads of four social workers and their female boss (Clare) who doesn’t play by the book. The idea was developed while I was a student at ‘The Northern Film School’ and from there it was picked up by a producer from Tiger Aspect, with whom I spent a year developing eight episodes. The producer met with the BBC who showed some initial interest, but they eventually passed, primarily down to the perception that social workers do not make sympathetic characters.

Short form TV Drama:

  • DYING FOR LOVE – A two-part TV drama centred around three heart-broken women of different ages and backgrounds who feel they can’t cope with the hardship they have had to endure from the men in their lives. They all meet late one night on the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle with the intention of committing suicide and how meeting each other changes their lives, but not necessarily for the better.

Theatre Plays:

  • BALLS UP – First entered as part of the National Student Drama Festival while I was studying Performing Arts at Darlington Technical College. It is a comedy drama that follows the life of a dysfunctional family who win the lottery.
  • FABRICATION – A black comedy that revolves around an allegation of rape. But did she cry wolf? Is it a set up? Are the victim and perpetrator in cahoots and if so who is being conned and more to the point, why? This too was entered into the National Student Drama Festival.
  • FATHER BRYAN’S BOYS – A dark, harrowing theatre play about four men who reunite thirty years after they were separated following abuse both physical and sexual in a Children’s Home run by the domineering paedophile that was Father Bryan. Reunited they learn to conquer the skeletons they have long buried and find a way to finally move on with their lives.

As a Script Editor I have script edited four feature films, two of which have had a theatrical release. Script Editor, they are.

  • AHLAAM – ‘Ahlaam,’ was the first feature film to be shot in post Saddam Iraqi. It has since been nominated and won over twenty awards in major film festivals around the world. For further information contact Human Film.
  • REUNITING THE RUBINS – A black comedy. The film had Timothy Spall cast in the lead role and also stars Rhona Mitra. The film was released in the UK and USA. For further information contact Factor Films.

In addition I have supervised, or script edited Northern Film School projects, too numerous to mention as an additional writer, script editor and tutor.

Alongside the animator and film maker, David Bunting I have been involved in two education projects for young people, both of which won awards.

In the past I have also been a script reader for Premier Films, formally known as Great British Films. Responsible for assessment of scripts as viable commercial vehicles for Premier Films.

 

About

Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated with words as a means to express myself through the medium of storytelling. At Primary School my teacher Mr. Baldridge allowed me to direct the whole class in a short story I had written about explorers in the Amazon jungle. In my late teens I formed an amateur drama group along with other young people from various churches in my home town of Darlington. We performed in churches, community halls, fetes and even some street theatre. The majority of the material was either written by me or adapted from other sources.

When myself and other members of the group got married we drifted apart, but I continued to write short drama sketches that the youth at the church I attended performed on special occasions. Then came a big leap forward…

Not long after turning thirty I was approached by local Christian organisations to form a Theatre in Education company to tour local schools and take Christian themed assemblies, Religious Education classes and various workshops. Over a seven year period we regularly visited 20-30 schools in an academic year and had contact with 10,000 plus children and young people.  We used a variety of mediums; puppets, drama sketches, magic tricks, visual aids, story boards.  Again the majority of the material we used was either written by myself or adapted from original sources.

Following a career as a social worker, I returned to college to take a diploma in Performing Arts and studied acting, dance and singing. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the course, as a side-line I wrote two drama plays ‘Fabrication’ and ‘Ball’s Up’ that were entered in consecutive years as part of the National Student Drama Festival. They were both performed before an appreciative audience and I remember both of my drama tutors having words with me on separate occasions, both said “you make a better writer than an actor.”

From there I was accepted onto the MA in ‘Screenwriting for Television & Film’ at the ‘Northern Film School,’ Leeds, UK. I immersed myself in the art of screenwriting, the medium I am most comfortable with.  To assist with the cost of my MA I was given a bursary by Channel Four for students who demonstrated industry potential.

Since graduating I have been supported by the former UK Film Council, Northern Film & Media and the multi-award-winning TV production company Tiger Aspect. Of the eight screenplays and two TV drama series I have written, I have been optioned six times and have had the privilege to have my work in development with several production companies including Factor Films, Hurricane Films, Jeep productions and Rotunda Films and met on my travels and various meetings some truly inspiring people.

To date I continue to write and hope to see the publication of my first novel, ‘Da Vinci’s Last Supper: The Forgotten Tale’ early in 2019. The novel is based upon a screenplay I wrote, and after being persuaded by industry friends that the idea deserved a novel I adapted the novel from the screenplay, fully aware that in most instances it is the other way around. Without giving too much away the story is based upon Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting ‘The Last Supper.’ The story is a heady mix of religious and political intrigue, bodice ripping, violence, murder and redemption.

Contact

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