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Cameron Walker
Cameron Walker

Very Cool Christmas (2004)

Clive : "Well, firstly, it was great: it was what I had wanted the first Abarat tour to be and wasn't. It was the audience, it was the new audience, it was the children, it was the young people - I shouldn't say 'children' because that sounds weird - they're not children, they're not even kids they're just young fans, you know? And the first time we went out, when we went out with the first Abarat book, there was a lot of ambiguity in people's responses. I don't know if they hadn't figured whether this was something I was going to stick with, whether I really meant to make a bunch of books like this; because it was a very elaborate piece of work and was I going to have a second one any time soon? And there was also a sense that I thought Abarat might prove disappointing to some of, let us say, my harder core readers - though I've been contradicted in the pages of Rue Morgue since saying this, so maybe it isn't true; I opened it and there was this really cool letter saying, you know, 'Don't worry about that, I'm having a great time with Abarat.'"But the second tour brought out the younger readers and it brought out the first audience with a big old smile on their faces because there was a second book and many of them who'd read it already were coming to the signings already having finished it - because they'd got a readers' copy or because they'd bought it earlier - were grinning from ear to ear because the story had, if not finished, had given them what the first book had not, which was a character arc, or a series of character arcs which concluded. They could put the second book down and say, 'Oh, OK, now I know what this reading experience is going to be like; there's going to be more of it but it's going to be fulfilling on a character level, not just in terms of how many monsters can Clive cram into one page.' "

Very Cool Christmas (2004)

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Clive : "That was very nice, I really liked that. It was really nice of them to support the book in that way. And then I did a painting in front of people, as it were, at the West Hollywood Book Fair which was fun, real fun. Because it was a five foot by four foot canvas and I was just going to it! And people were having a lot of fun with that, so that was nice. And then the other thing we did was this 'paint-in', shall we call it, in Chicago, where I was teaching I suppose about thirty-five kids, ranging from the youngest was probably six, the oldest was probably sixteen. And I was thinking, 'How am I going to teach this range of very smart people something useful about art in an hour?' What I ended up doing - some of the parents joined in because they thought it was going to be fun, which it was - so we had about forty people in total and I took forty pieces of paper, I numbered them and then I drew a huge drawing on the forty pieces of paper laid out on the floor so everybody knew which piece of the puzzle they were going to take away. I then passed the pieces of paper around to everybody and said, 'OK, here's your piece of the puzzle, go to it. Make it as weird or as strange or as bright or as dark as you want then we'll put the whole thing together at the end. And it was very fun because it was like a jigsaw and each of them was making a separate piece of it and at the end - I wish we'd had more coverage of this - we only had a couple of parents' cameras there, but unfortunately I hadn't the sense to bring a camera of my own - but it was kind of wonderful to watch the kids as I called out each number, look at their painting and come and lay it down next to each other. So eventually, there was this huge painting which was painted by diverse hands and could not have been more diverse in style but still had the unity of design."And then, of course, everybody got to take away their own piece of the painting with, hopefully, the memory of having joined collaboratively in the endeavour. It was very successful, it was very fun; I had a great time and I think the kids did too. I mean, I think nobody was allowed to feel any better or worse than anybody else at Art. It wasn't a question of, 'Oh, you can draw a house and I can't.' It really was about, 'Let's have fun with colour and go do whatever you want to do with your piece and don't bother what the person next-door is going to do.' And then the assembling of the jigsaw, as I say, was just tremendous fun. So that was all, I think, very good and it was really great to see the kids come and look at the paintings because, particularly for little tykes, the little six year-olds, standing in front of, say, the triptych which is, what, twelve feet long and five feet tall, I guess. You've seen it - it's pretty dense, and there's all kinds of stuff which a reproduction can't show you. And they were - particularly, actually, after they'd painted for a while, they came back and looked at the painting again - I want to say with fresh eyes, I hope with fresh eyes. And so, that was very cool, that was very nice, though I have to say, because the paintings are home today, I didn't realise I would feel such separation from them as I do. I was excited that the truck was outside the house - my children in it! Safe and sound!"

Clive : "So... I finish all the drafts for Universal and the people I'm dealing with at Universal are really cool people and one of them says, 'I don't think we're going to make this movie,' and I said, 'OK... Why?' and they said, 'Because I think we're going to have to make another movie with demons in it and we don't want to be making two demon movies...'"And, you know, I've been this way before, there's no use trying to persuade somebody, I mean a corporate decision is a corporate decision. But what I do have is a lot of people around town who would like to make this movie, so my hope is that between now and Christmas... though Christmas sort of starts early in L.A, it's amazing how it almost seems to slosh together [with Thanksgiving]... There's not going to be any problems heading it up, is my sense, and the work that Universal had me do on the various drafts was work that I am pleased to have done. I mean, sometimes a company, an executive, will push something in a direction that you don't really want it to go and you'll think, 'Shit, this is getting less and less like the picture I want to make,' and luckily that didn't happen. The man we've been dealing with at Universal, his name is Dylan Clarke, is extremely smart and I think respects me and respects the kind of horror I like and all he was eager to do was to get more of that into the movie. So I said - you know, I was very happy to have that happen. I want to make this thing as scary as possible and so all the drafts have done is, I think, upped the scare quotient - it's a very hard R movie, it's not one of these wishy-washy PG13 things. And so, I think the movie's in very good shape, the script is in very good shape and speaks well for itself and I think if people want to make a movie with me right now, that's the movie that's right there on the table. The guys at Universal have treated me extremely well, this is just corporate - Dylan Clarke is an A-OK guy and so is his boss. There are so many other things going on in my life that if for some reason or another Tortured Souls did not happen in the next six months, frankly it wouldn't be the end of the world."Thief of Always is coming on amazingly well - I'm producing that - we're turning the script into Fox next week, which is very exciting and there is great enthusiasm at Fox for that. Midnight Meat Train's very close and so there are my producorial duties to be taken care of, you know, even if I don't direct Tortured Souls right now. And perhaps even more importantly, there are a lot of Abarat paintings to be done. I reckon another 160 paintings to come. And so there's a bit of work there and there's also - you know I'm doing this Hellraiser story, the Scarlet Gospels one, which began as a modest little tale... It's now 90,000 words and counting! And so it's now actually a short novel, by definition a short novel." 041b061a72


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