Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

Words will get written here and some videoblogs will appear. You don't have to look but it would be nice if you did.

Another Collaboration – But Online With @Gerryhayes March 15, 2013

I’ve been working on a thing, yeah another thing. Because I like being busy, but also because I like exploring different avenues of creativity. And I’m a sucker for coaxing people into a collaboration to make them think differently. And one of my victims/co-collaborators is the delightfully grumpy yet loveable Gerry Hayes. Gerry and I got chatting to each other on Twitter many years back now, and were also contributors to an online magazine called Metazen. Whether we found out about each other on there or vice versa has yet to be remembered. We shared mutual writers that we spoke to online and also a sense of humour, which is what Twitter used to be about (!) and since then we’ve embarked on a project that has kept us tinkering away the last couple of years. It’s not a whole wealth of work we admit, but the idea is that the work actually exists. If we hadn’t created this project then nothing that is held within it would come to fruition. So there. Check out the link below for the work that’s been done so far (and obviously keep checking back, we’re both very proud of each one of our nuggets.)

The Beloved Box – an online collaboration between Gerry Hayes & Katie McCullough


The Beloved Box

The photograph that kicked it all off and gave the project its name.

But excuses aside, that’s the very point of this project. It’s unfurling at a deliberate pace because that’s how the project works. These projects never have an end goal of a timeline, it’s meant to breathe and wheeze in and around real life. The Beloved Box was pitched to Gerry by email in March 2011 and as you’ll see by the time stamps on the website, sometimes we’re flowing quickly and other times we’re taking our time. It’s about creating the time and space to fail but also flourish. It’s a creative exercise to keep the brain ticking knowing that there will always be a response but an unpredictable one.
Gerry is a brilliant photographer and has a keen eye for capturing visuals that I find exciting, lyrical almost. After email discussion we decided on keeping the theme open so we didn’t restrict ourselves and also really explored the content we could create. The idea was that we would respond to the other’s piece of work and it could be in any medium – photograph, film, sound, text – but each offering had to have a title and this was as important to the project as the content itself. The title comes from the first photograph that kicked the project off, taken by Gerry.
So this has become The Beloved Box which is a fluxing sprawling narrative based on what has been offered up before. A creative tag-team, a more inventive wordplay game passing on the creative beacon. With Gerry based in Ireland and myself in Hertfordshire, we’ve been in contact by email passing on our creative responses. Gerry kindly created the website and updates it as and when our new works are finished.
What I personally enjoy about this project is that it’s not demanding, it’s a creative stimulus that pops into my inbox every so often and I have the urge to reply. It’s part of a bigger project but I’m focused on the pebble sized chunks and it’s keeping my brain ticking over. This is the main reason why I start these projects with other people – you have the incentive and necessity of not letting someone down and in return produce new work. Everyone’s a winner.
[The above has also been posted by the author Emily Benet on the Mslexia blog here.]


Visual Update #1 (of how many I don’t know) January 7, 2010

Just in case you didn’t realise that the UK has snow of varying levels all over and have forgotten what my forlorn face looks like.

In other news I’m beginning to get back some of my own time and am investing it into “I Still Get Excited When I See A Ladybird”. The photographic evidence below shows that I now have two 95% finished monologues out of eight. I would give myself a pat on the back but it really fucking hurts and I don’t know why. Guess I better go back to lying in the middle of the floor.

Gerry Hayes pointed me in the direction of this Polaroid app for the iPhone that makes everything look lush. And I miss being able to use my real Polaroid so from now on expect grainy nuggets like this from me (but not necessarily of me, that would be tedious).


I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday… January 3, 2010

Well not quite. But what I’m trying to get at is a little bit of time travel and a lot of your generosity. But let’s start at the beginning. In a manger not far from you a website was born called Metazen and three kings who were more than slightly tipsy on the wrong stuff and some shepherds that told their sheep to go wander elsewhere were asked to bring gifts for this shouty baby. And they did. And they begat-so-and-so and they begat-so-and-so and this child of all things Christmassy and whispery notions crafted a Christmas publication which you should go and have a butchers at. It was published on Christmas Day but time slipped away from me and someone spiked my sensibilities with red wine and a stonking cold. And let’s be honest Jesus was probably high on his own supply but nonetheless I want to plug it as Frank Hinton (obviously that was baby Jesus’ real name) put it together with a lot of effort and Christmas time to arrange it all and he’s a Lovely fella.


The e-book is free to download over at Metazen but donations are most welcome. More information on where your Lovely pounds, dollars and cents go to are detailed here and to be honest it’s heading in the right direction.


Metazen Christmas Book


It features an array of writery peeps who deserve a round of festive/New Year/anytime applause including the rather delectable Tania Hershman, the delightful Gerry Hayes, the rectified Boudreau Freret, the soporific Finnegan Flawnt and My Good Self.



Sidestep to Screen, Step Back to Theatre June 25, 2009

The video cut out before I finished saying what I needed to… so basically it was me saying that I’ll post the link to Theatrix for those of you in the Hertfordshire area who would like to come along and see these kids in action. I may have written the words but it the astounding talent of these kid’s acting ability and their use of timing and comedy that really make it.

I’m perpetually knackered at the moment so I’m either going to go lose some hours by lying down or I’m going to crack on with the scripts I need to read for my next script meeting next week. And I’ve just realised I’ve dressed myself as if I’m in an Ibsen play, how rather dashing of me.

As promised links to all those I’ve mentioned and as I’ve said in the video please let me know if you read this and are entering so I can add you.

Gerry Hayes
Michelle Goode
Neil Baker
Allen O’Leary
Penny Mayhew
Robin Kelly

And this be the Boss/Friend/Mentor/Extremely Lovely Person I mentioned who does indeed have a blog as well. Linky be here: Ben Blaine


CBBC and War June 16, 2009

Ooooh hark at me I’ve gone all multi-media what with talking and writing. (Sometimes Katie forgets that these are natural ocurrences in real life, but humour her please). I’ve added these tidbits from the CBBC Q&A last night at the Royal Court but I’m pretty sure people elsewhere (notably here ).

These are the bits that stuck out for me either because it’s stuff I already knew but dressed up differently or because it was simply put:

*We need to further expand the minds of the future generations; we need to provide them with something that keeps them talking about it in the playground or in the pubs years later.

*A fresh perspective and engaging storytelling – we need it to be relentlessly exciting.

*Get into children’s head; nothing is always as it seems. They have worries too like adults but we have to not talk to down to them. They’re clever and we need to give them more credit.

*Keep scenes tight as well as dialogue. By law children cannot work long hours so to keep in line with production they need to have maximum effect in scenes they are in and give them strong short dialogue. Not only will it keep pace up but will be extremely brilliant for kids to deliver.

*Remember to keep it child centred AND child driven. If problems arising in the script are solved by the adults no one’s going to keep watching… It’s called Children’s TV for a reason, stick to it.

*Rooted in the world of the child. Remember the emotional core of the characters – this can run parallel with the fantastical.

*Writers need to have a clear sense of wanting to explore a character or arena/theme. This will filter through into the writing and make your work more solid. Give the reader characters they care about, it’s only human. Characters you hate or love, anything to provoke a reaction.

*”Cliche can be your friend” – we and the audience need that familiarity in comedy. “Cliche can be your enemy” – In drama it falls flat and adds no texture.

*Beware of shorthand stereotypes. Make them different to what’s gone before and don’t make that the essential crux of your character.

*Five genres that kid’s TV falls into: Action/adventure, modern morality, classic, comedy, multicultural.

*Keep cast small.

*With regards to character descriptions make sure what’s in your head is on the page, don’t leave the reader doubting their setup or character motivation.

And probably my favourite group of analogies to motivate me (horribly paraphrased courtesy of yours truly)….

“We’re after something as magical as waking up and seeing the world cover in white, the first experience of snow. Thrilling like a brilliant rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers and exciting like Christmas Eve awaiting Father Christmas”.

Now… I write.