In 1994 I, an 11-year-old idiot, walked into a rehearsal room in the Old Athenaeum in Glasgow and was welcomed by the fucking Sheriff of Nottingham in a voice which made the room tremble. We sat down and my audition started, reading straight off the page dialogue so unavoidably brilliant that all you needed to do was read it straight off the page.
I did not get the part.
I was too young.
I did, however, receive a long, hand-written letter from Joyce Nettles, the casting director, thanking me for auditioning and expressing regret that it hadn’t worked out. The only time this has ever happened. I think Alan may have had something to do with that.
Two years later he was back, looking to cast the same parts in the film version of the same play. Now I was not too young and in the Winter of 1996 I spent two months (off school!) in the beautiful East Neuk of Fife, making a goddamn movie directed by Alan Rickman, written by Sharman MacDonald starring Emma Thompson, shot by Seamus McGarvey etc etc etc, working with all manner of brilliant people, some of whom are close friends and occasionally colleagues to this day. Just sickeningly lucky.
When I left school and wanted to try and do this sort of thing for a living, Alan arranged a meeting with his agent.
The first audition that agent got me was for Harry Potter.
When I arrived at Leavesden Studios for the first time and met David Heyman for the first time, he told me he’d just had a call from Alan telling him how wonderful I was and that he’d be mad not to hire me. He hired me.
When we got on set, (That set. That fucking glorious world of Jo Rowling’s mind brought to life so that we could walk around in it and touch it and be part of showing it to the entire world.) Alan introduced me to practically every great British actor I’d ever heard of. Telling them, “this is my boy.”
When I told him how much I’d enjoyed the production of Private Lives he was in, he invited me and my best mate to New York to stay with him for a weekend and see it again. He booked shows for us to see every night, he took us on boat rides, he showed us the Big Apple.
When my friend Donny wrote a play that he wanted me to be in, I sent it to Alan, hoping for some advice on where we might get it put on. He received it when he was stepping on a plane. When he landed he emailed me back, having read the whole thing and loved it. Two days later we received a printed copy of the play with mountains of suggested edits, cuts and thoughts scrawled across it in his handwriting, and a two page letter with praise for Donny and advice on who to take it to.
He did the same for the next four drafts. This. Never. Stopped. In twenty years, all my experience of Alan was like this. He’d be on a mad press trip round the world, having just finished a broadway show and be about to start shooting a film – with several other projects as an actor, director, writer, board member, mentor bubbling away in the background – and if I needed anything he would immediately spend hours of his time helping me. AND, amazingly, I know of at least a dozen other people who had this same relationship with him. He was our fairy Godfather. He was the whisper in the right ear at the right time. He was the reassuring message when he sensed, always correctly, that we needed it most. He was new head shots or carpets or travel money when times were tough. How he found the time, let alone the will for all this is a mystery to me. He was the most generous, wise, supportive, talented, charismatic, empathetic person I think I’ve ever known.
The last time I saw Alan he had, unbeknownst to me, been in hospital for the previous ten days. He got out that morning…and kept our theatre date. In a strange way I’m glad of that frightening episode, as it made me realise that even he was a mortal of flesh and blood and a certain age and he might not always be there. That evening when we parted, I hugged him and told him I loved him and I’m very glad of that now.
On monday morning I will start rehearsals for a new play. It will be the first time since I was thirteen years old that I have engaged in such a project without being able to call on Alan for advice and support and I am utterly terrified. I can only hope that enough has rubbed off that I’ll be able to take it from here. I’m honestly not so sure…
Goodnight, Alan. I will miss you every day.
Sean Biggerstaff (via kayleyhyde)
no, you’re sobbing.
Mary and Henry have crackling chemistry (although if you watched him Finn Polmar-ing it up on The Good Wife, this is not a surprise), and Henry and Tom have really good chemistry too, although I doubt the Crawleys will get that progressive.
Yeah, I turned “Finn Polmar” into a verb.
This is an update for our backers and players, covering where we’re at with Storium’s public launch.
When’s the launch?
Since my last update, we’ve been working on our task list pretty much non-stop. We’re making great progress but there are still some outstanding design and technical issues to address. We’ve also been getting a lot of helpful feedback about our plans for paid memberships, and based on that feedback we’ve decided to make a few course corrections to ensure that Storium is financially accessible to as many people as possible. That’s all for the best, but it means a bit more engineering work is needed on that front, as well.
The net of all this is that we won’t be ready to launch in January as I had hoped. We just need a few more weeks, and a February launch looks very doable. Josh and I are sorry for the delay, and we both hugely appreciate your patience. We’re working as fast as we can (while also preserving our sanity).
What’s in the launch?
Here’s what you can expect to see included in our initial launch:
Right now, Storium is only visible to people who have logged in. After launch, anyone on the Internet will be able to browse Storium without being a user or being logged in. This means you’ll now be able to share links to your stories and people will actually be able to read along. This will also make it a lot easier for people to get a sense of what Storium is about without having to sign up. (Private games will still be private and visible only to their participants, of course.)
Free play and annual memberships
As discussed in more detail on our forums, after public launch anyone will be able to sign-up for Storium and play for free. Free users will be able to play characters in up to three games at a time. They will also be able to host as many games as they like, but those games will be limited to a single narrator, the “short story” format, and a maximum of three characters. Users who decide to become paid members will get unlimited access to Storium, with none of the above restrictions.
(As a reminder, every backer at the $20 level and up already has their first year of Storium membership, at no further cost. Backers at the $10 level will need to upgrade in order to become members, but we’ll apply their $10 contribution towards the purchase. If you decide not to become a member, that’s OK, too — you’ll become a “free” user, but your existing games will be grandfathered in.)
Our initial public launch will include roughly 40 of the 60 worlds funded by our Kickstarter. Our work with authors and editors and artists has been a long and complex process, and is still ongoing. We don’t want to hold up our launch by waiting until every single world is ready, so instead we’re going to move forward with what we have and then get you the rest of the worlds as they become available. Forty worlds is still a huge amount of content, and we think you’re going to be very happy with what you see!
Choice of game licenses
As also discussed in more detail on our forums, game hosts will be able to pick from three different licenses when they create their games. Our hope is that providing these options will help us even better balance protecting users’ rights to the things they’ve written with giving them flexibility in what they do with it.
What’s coming next?
There are a few things that will not be in the initial public launch, but will come as soon as we can get them done:
As noted above, not all of our Kickstarter-funded worlds will be ready at the time of launch, but a large number of them will be. Everyone who has purchased “The Deal” will see every available world immediately after launch. As new worlds become available, they’ll automatically be added! We’ll send out notifications so everyone knows when that happens.
Our library of avatar and story card art is close to finished but not quite ready. That said, every available world will have a banner (i.e. cover art) right out of the gates.
Storium’s planned “world marketplace” is a major project for us and isn’t quite ready yet. This means you won’t be able to share (and sell) your own custom worlds with other users at first. Rest assured that the marketplace is one of the things we’re most excited about, it’s a big priority, and we’ll be putting everything we’ve got into it.
Does public launch mean that Storium is “done?”
Not at all! Far from it, in fact.
Our public launch is an important milestone because it will allow us to grow the Storium community and generate revenue so that we can expand our team and accelerate our progress. But it’s not the end of the story.
We have much more planned for Storium, and our work continues. In some sense, Storium will never be “done.” We’ll always be working to improve it. There are many things still to come, including but not limited to enhancements to the game itself, better game/player matching capabilities, search, support for other languages, and our “Storium for Schools” project (which we feel has tremendous potential).
If you have any questions about the above, please head over to our forums for more in-depth conversation.
We appreciate your support as we approach this big moment for Storium. We couldn’t have done any of this without you.
—Stephen, Josh, and the rest of the team
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore order his coffee?
He probably orders the most complicated drink off the menu with about five changes to it (extra whip, three extra shots of espresso, etc. etc. etc.) and then has a few of them in a row and sits in the front by the window writing all day and stopping passerby to ask if they’ve read the Federalist Papers and to
ask themtell them their opinions on Thomas Jefferson and why he doesn’t have good taste in coffee, can you believe he just orders it black? And he doesn’t even go to Starbucks? He gets French coffee IMPORTED IN, from FRANCE, because he doesn’t understand America, and he probably has his slaves make it for him. Here read this manifesto I wrote about why Jefferson doesn’t understand coffee, politics, or how to be a decent human being. Laurens read it and said it was great. Eliza took away the Starbucks gift card Washington gave me for Christmas. I’m paying for these out of my own pocket now.
Burr is the barista and he’s been told that as long as Hamilton has a shirt and shoes on no, he is NOT allowed to forcibly evict him from Starbucks, no matter how loud he and his three “hooligan friends” get in the evenings after they’ve been drinking coffee all day.
That time when Curtis Granderson asked for TV recommendations and I ran to @bronwen as if it was her own personal bat-signal.