(welcome to any readers from mumsnet – I hope you enjoy this post and feel inclined to delve in to this extraordinary true story of parenthood…)Â
If I had more time and was moreÂ technically skilled,Â this wouldÂ be anÂ easyÂ take to write – collating all theÂ VT footage and press cuttings from the last month or so, to putÂ things in to perspective and to concludeÂ a two year family story.
I formally finished the story of eclipsed on the red carpet in LA (take 119) where I thanked the key protagonists responsible for it -namely, Tom and his mum, Nikki.Â Now that the film, The Impossible is about to open in the UK,Â no doubt a more public story will followÂ if the press this weekend is anything to go by and the posters that are plastered all over London and on every other bus.
How do I feel about it all?
ThisÂ the question I am most commonly asked, and surreal is the best answer I can give – unsatisfactory though it is. But there it is. For as long as this story has been running,Â over five years if we include Billy Elliot – IÂ have not yet got used to how things are. And still, none of it feels real.
One of my twins came home from school last week. How was your day Sam? Yeah, ok,Â pretty normal. No wait, it wasn’t all normal. I got on a bus today with Tom on it. That was pretty weird.
When Tom got the part of Lucas in this film,Â I didn’t give much thought to how the film would be receivedÂ and more importantly how Tom might be judged. At the time,Â it was justÂ an extraordinary opportunity for him and for his whole family andÂ regular readers of thisÂ blog will know why.
And given the attention that the film is now getting – adverts at half time when we are all watching the footballÂ – I feelÂ luckyÂ that the film has beenÂ two years in post-production. This has allowedÂ Tom to haveÂ two years of being back at school and the chance ofÂ being aÂ normalish kid again but also because he isÂ now 16, he isÂ much moreÂ able to cope with how thingsÂ are now.
The theme underpinning thisÂ blog – the difference between father and son certainly continuesÂ in the Holland household.Â At Christmas dinner yesterday, we were 9 people around a table – and with no starter, crackers were pulled immediately. I lost to my youngest son, Patrick on my right and then turned to my left and promptly lost again toÂ my other twin, Harry. I sat there with two losing hands which was funny in itselfÂ and then even funnier when I sawÂ that Tom had won both of his pulls, left and right.Â Typical.Â ‘Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll let you have the jokes,’ he said, ‘you mightÂ need them.’ It isÂ lucky that I can laugh at myself and also at other comedians.Â Comedian’s are notorious for notÂ celebratingÂ the success of their peers. One of Tom’sÂ stocking fillers is the latest Michael McIntyre DVD which I am sure is bloody hilarious and we will sit downÂ to watch together and no doubt, we’ll both roar – although theÂ cutaway to the crowd shots (12000 people) will amaze Tom but will be tough for me.
With my broken leg (July, 3 months) and my earlier calf injury (March, other leg, 5 weeks) – 2012 hasÂ been my annus horribilisÂ – althoughÂ it
ends with much promiseÂ as I haveÂ completed three very long term projects for which I have high hopes – as ever. My first ever DVD stand-up show, my first novel for 10 years and my first ever non-fictionÂ book.
It is no secret that good timing is the weapon that no successful comedian can do without.
My timing for these projects has been brilliantly comic and pathetic – thatÂ none of these items were available for the Christmas market. I am launching instead in mid-January – when traditionally, nobody has anyÂ money and people are fed up withÂ buying things.
It is vitalÂ therefore that I have aÂ crack marketing machine that can kick in to action – garnering TV appearances, radio and press interviews. Er, no.Â I just have aÂ web-site – this one and that is it. I don’t have people. It’s just me and I have been so busy trying to finish these wretched things,Â that I have not given a moments thought to publicizing them.
And all of this while The Impossible is everywhere withÂ pictures of Tom and kind comments about itsÂ young lead – who really has no need of suchÂ publicity. Not really.Â The notices are very welcome of course but whether the film is a Box Office smash or not is of noÂ real concern to him. He doesn’t get paid any more,Â plus he doesn’t need any money anyway because he lives with me and I pay for everything.
The piece that ran inÂ the Evening StandardÂ is particularly noteworthy for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I was asked to write 350 words about myÂ story,Â Eclipsed, to go alongsideÂ the interview withÂ Tom – only for it be dropped due to a lack of space. Typical. The piece that did run though wasÂ well written andÂ kind to us both.Â Firstly, it referred to Tom surpassingÂ his ‘famous’Â dad which isÂ flattering and a helpfulÂ boost to my self-esteemÂ plus it refers to me as a comedian and a ‘screenwriter’ which strictly speaking isÂ only half correct.Â Finally, in the piece, TomÂ thanks hisÂ parentsÂ for giving up so much of their time to chaperone himÂ – but with trips to Thailand, Spain, NY, LA and most recentlyÂ in big seats – don’t mention it Tom, it was our pleasure, really.
In this piece, one photograph featuredÂ Tom in our hallway and a few mates called to ask where was all the messÂ that normally chokes up the threshold to Chez-Holland? Most notably, shoes, school bags and a build up of mail that I am putting off from opening.
Front Row on Radio 4 is the flag ship arts show on radio. As such it can pick and choose what it reviews, previews and who it features. I know this because over my career with my various projects, I have tried to squeeze myself on toÂ Front Row many times but without success.Â I’ve been close a couple of times, but this counts for little. As almost featured on Front Row…Â So one night last week, it is fitting that I should be editing my novel, The Fruit Bowl (yet again) and I get a tweet from someone I don’t even know telling me that The Impossible and Tom are being featured on Front Row – and I didn’t even know about it.
And I have been receiving similar Tweets orÂ texts all weekend. ‘Dom, have you seen The Sunday Times? Tom’s in it…Â The Observer, Empire Magazine, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The LA Times… and loads ofÂ slots from local television in America…
Whatever I do with any of my projects, IÂ will certainly be playing catch up to on the publicity front. And although I will attempt for a similar array of limelight – there are things now that TomÂ does that I know not to try myself…
Like aÂ gluttonÂ for punishment, for some reason, weÂ bought ourÂ boys aÂ table tennis table for Christmas.
This is definitelyÂ a bad move. TheÂ last time we played was Thailand and I won – just. But not forÂ long and no doubt, my twins will soon be beating me as well.
Next year, Tom will passÂ his driving test and if I allow him, he couldÂ afford a nicer car than me. And so on this theme – oneÂ thing is certain for the year ahead,Â I am not going to play himÂ at golf.Â He has never beaten me at golf and so if I never play him again…
You see my point and how desperate I have become.
I began this post lamenting my lack of IT skills – I hope this post has been entertaining for those who get to the end of it – and I wonder if it is worth signing off with the information that it has taken me exactly four hours to complete.
I bloody well hope so.