In this post, I’m actually going to write about the first film that I saw that made me understand the power of writing and film making has on reflecting how society can quickly go wrong.

I was a way too young to have watched the first Mad Max film when I did, but the memory of this movie has been something that has stuck with me in my life as a writer.


Mad Max poster - source:


Though this movie seemed like a cool concept, last cop standing vs a biker gang, I found it truly terrifying at the time that I couldn’t complete it and ended up several aborted attempts to try and watch it.

Even to this day I find that this movie is more terrifying than actually horror movies with ghosts, slashers and hordes of un-dead.


So what is it in this that has really influenced my writing?


What Mad Max did so well for me was that


  • it made me feel that we’re not too far away from this actually happening
  • the violence in it was so visceral and palpable


If you haven’t seen the original Mad Max movie, here is a trailer for it – yes there is something about a low budget movie that means the stunts actually have to be real, that the actors, in this case the biker gang is an actual biker gang, not a group of trained actors trying to get into the mindset of a biker gang member for 60 minutes between coffee breaks.



I wanted my writing to reflect things that are not in the too distant future, don’t get me wrong I like Star Wars and Blade Runner as much as the next person, but I never got as emotional involved in the fear that the danger those characters were in as much as here – the line between the villains and the weak in this movie is so thin, the danger and violence in this movie very real, in fact much of it was shown off camera which made it even more real.


Here is Oliver Harper’s excellent retrospective of the movie.  I have to warn you though, this is not for the feint of heart, unlike the 2015 remake, this is not a high budget piece of Hollywood glamorised fake violence- this is very real.


Press the play button at your own discretion.



This is also a case when this actually happened and there were actually fuel protests in the UK.  I remember in 2000, after the fake computer crash that didn’t happen (though many millionaires getting minted out of Y2K did happen) there was the first major protest that I actually saw and impacted me.


The first major protest in 2000 was primarily led by independent lorry owner-operators. One group of lorry owner-operators from the South East of England formed a protest group called “TransAction” that protested at oil refineries and fuel depots in Essex. Protests and blockades of oil facilities caused widespread disruption to the supply of petroleum products. The aim of the protests was to secure a reduction in the fuel duty rate on petrol and diesel, which the government refused to enact – source:


I, like everyone else made a bee-line to the petrol station at the bottom of the road I lived in at the time, I would say it was about 300 meters away, on a normal day it would take less than 2 minutes to drive or about 4 minutes to walk to – not on that day.


Related image


I couldn’t get the car out of my own road, such was the queue to try and get a right turn onto the main road.  The main road itself was backed up as two lanes were trying to get into the entrance – the exit to the forecourt became and entrance and polite British queuing etiquette was literally thrown out of the window.


I kid you not, there were fights going on as panic ensued that the unthinkable might happen – drivers might be without fuel for a couple of days.


The fuel protest in 2000 didn’t go on for that long, but in the short time it did run, neighbour turned against neighbour, petrol stations rationed fuel allowances and had people siphoning other people’s fuel.


When someone gets punched, kicked or beaten up, they don’t just get back up – they really hurt, their behaviour and the subsequent story changes because of this.


It’s this visceral nature that I wanted to bring into my writing, I wanted the violence and action scenes in Digitopia to feel real, not overdone (there’s no superheros catching dropping buildings), not Hollywood violence but more real world violence, where a punch or a kick really hurts.



I never want to use violence in my work without exploring the reason why it’s on the page.  Jay doesn’t just recover like nothing happens, he is properly beaten up.


Bruised, beaten and battered, Jay is at the mercy of the gang.  The two bikers holding him are bot Kickstarter backers who pledged to the book.


There’s many films and comics that glorify violence, here in my book I want to focus on the victims of the violence, I want to explore the fallout and effects it has on their lives.


Following up on the idea in the sequel


Like a couple of other franchises, the sequel was actually better than the first movie.

The second movie I thought was great too as it expanded on the idea of the first one and there was more budget, but not too much, that the filmmakers could still focus on the story rather than all the cool things they could do with the extra money.



My own theory is that when these types of trilogies (which then spawn even more movies) come around organically (i.e. the filmmaker didn’t intend for there to be three movies, but just started with getting the first one completed), that they do the best they can on a shoe-string budget, which is why they are able to stick to and focus on the ideas and concepts of the first film.


A shrewd executive at a studio may see there’s a future in making this into a franchise – I hate that word franchise when it comes to film or book IP, which is why latter attempts fail, because ownership of the writing and film making decisions transfer from the writer/filmmaker to an executive who is more interested in graphs and spreadsheets than characterisation and story development.


At the time of writing this article, the 2015 Mad Max movie ‘Fury Road’ has also been named Empire’s Film of the century (big praise, but let’s keep it in context, it’s 2020 as I write this so there’s a still a lot of the century to come).



Image result for mad max fury road empire



So, I hope that was an interesting read, keep going through the web comic, below each page I try to put a short blog post that I hope takes you deeper into the story.


I’d really love to stay in touch, below is a form to join the mailing list and keep in touch with how the project is developing.  As an extra bonus when you join the mailing list you’ll also get a free Digital Art preview of the book emailed to you within minutes of confirming your email address – let’s stay in touch please.