Author Archives: Richard Dutton

Have you read my new Broken Melody book yet?

Broken Melody by Joseph KielMy latest novel, called Broken Melody, was released last month. It was in fact set on the very day that it was released, February 2nd. I didn’t realise in my planning that this was actually Groundhog Day, and curiously I made a reference to that particular day in the book! Maybe it was my subconscious working there. But anyway…

So what is Broken Melody about? I decided to try something new with this book, different from my Dark Harbour books, that is. I know vampires have been done to death, but I thought what the hell, and went ahead and sank my teeth into that genre (see what I did there?). I injected this with a lot of twisted and adult humour, so if you do decide to take on Broken Melody, please be advised you may need a strong stomach!

Shadows of a Stranger movie posterAnother thing I did with this book was to set it in the same story world as my film Shadows of a Stranger, just for the hell of it. Although we’ve never planned a sequel for the film, we have made plans to ‘expand its universe’, something we talk about in the upcoming directors’ commentary, so this was one way of me doing that, to see more of the characters I’d created for the film medium albeit in cameo-sized roles. This book has a bunch of new characters (and vampires!) leading the narrative, winding their way through the streets and places that were conceived for the film.

Vampires of MeridianAs ever with my stuff, the responses to Broken Melody have been quite the mixed bag. Although there’s only a couple of Amazon reviews so far, I seem to have bucked the trend in that the American audience has appreciated it more than the UK audience. The UK review complains of no coherent story, even though I aimed to get the story firmly going from the opening page on this one… You can never win! Maybe I caught them on a bad day, because the US review, on the other hand, says that it is a really good read. Another review, which was on a fellow author’s blog, says it’s a full-action book that is refreshingly British and that it’s “darkly funny, intriguing, and strangely emotional”. So far it has scored higher than my other novels on Goodreads. All in all I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going down.

I’m looking forward to more responses appearing, even if they have seemed to have ground to a halt at the moment. So if you’re reading this and have already read the book, then please do leave some thoughts or a rating (a 5 star one, of course) on Amazon or Goodreads, no matter how brief.

The book is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback form. I hope you enjoy it!

The Return of the Red Jumper

Recently I had the honour of being involved with another Christmas song project. You may remember that six years ago my friend and fellow filmmaker Chris Clark released his Christmas song, Christmas Number One. On that occasion, myself and our friend Ben went into town one morning and filmed Chris prancing up and down the Sleaford high street as he serenaded the bemused townsfolk with his festive tune.

Well, this year he wrote another Christmas song, this time for a Sleaford primary school, The William Alvey. It’s a certain school that I once attended so I have a bit of a soft spot for the place.

William Alvey ChristmasWilliam Alvey ChristmasAt the end of November myself, Chris and ‘Deck the Halls’ Dan dusted off our blue screen studio and began work on a music video, filming members of the ‘Christmas Club Choir’ in such set pieces as riding a guinea pig-drawn sleigh and hopping on board the William Alvey Express train. The song was released on Amazon and iTunes at the start of December, just after the kids performed the song at our town’s Christmas Market. Since then it has gone on to feature on our local radio stations (Rob Hammond of Lincs FM is going to play it in full on Christmas Eve!) and after making a bit of noise, BBC Look North even came over to film a piece on it.

Instead of going for Christmas number one, the hope was more realistic this time as the aim was to just to get the single to chart inside the Top 100. The town has really got behind it, inviting the children to perform it at various events and at supermarkets and churches. It has even had some celebrity support with TV stars like Andy Crane tweeting it. You just need to look at the reviews on Amazon to see the reaction it’s got from people and with proceeds of the song going to children’s charities and future projects, the children really have done so amazingly.

On the first filming day I said to Chris that I may as well film a bit of behind the scenes material while we were at it. I didn’t have anything particular in mind and didn’t plan it or anything. When I came to editing it, I didn’t realise quite how much material I had. We’d had such a fun time making the music video and the kids were just so full of exuberance that it was a joy to see the process unfold and so I had just kept on filming. I managed to come up with a 23 minute edit which I thought was rather long but somehow it scored about 1000 hits after a week of being uploaded. It just goes to show what a joyous project it was and I am pleased that I was able to capture it.

So please check out the music video and the ‘making of’ documentary (and also the Look North report). See if you can spot one of our Shadows of a Stranger locations in the video!

So maybe the kids didn’t quite make it into the charts but it wasn’t despite our best efforts, campaigning the likes of Radio 2’s Chris Evans, and Chris tweeting every celebrity in existence. I even sought advice from that guy who got Rage Against the Machine to the top spot ahead of the latest X Factor winner. The William Alvey kids did actually hang on to some high positions in the Amazon charts for a while, beating off the likes of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, but whatever. I’m sure it’s going to be on a lot of Sleafordians’ playlists for many Christmases to come. And who knows? Perhaps next year we might be back with another Christmas song…

Shadows of a Stranger Emerges from the Shadows

It’s a day that some people thought would never happen, but our film Shadows of a Stranger is soon about to get a release…

August 27th 2017 is the date for your diary, and it’s a significant day because it was on this very day 8 years ago that the journey essentially began. I had just turned 30 back then, wondering what I should be doing with my life, when I embarked on the start of our own feature film production. That was the day that I met up with Chris and another filmmaker friend Brad and we set up a green screen in a pub in Swineshead.

Shadows of a Stranger Showpiece Video

Filming the showpiece – Don’t we all look so young back then?

There we filmed a sample scene from my script (called just Strangers back then) and from that footage we created a ‘showpiece’ video that would serve as a test for us to gauge how to film the entire script, and also serve as a demonstration to people as to what we were trying to achieve. It was a great tool for attracting actors as they were able to see our vision.

Shadows of a Stranger Showpiece Video

A shot of the Joe’s Parlour cafe from the 2009 Showpiece video.

Shadows of a Stranger

And this is how that same shot turned out in the final film.

It was the following year, in 2010, when the main production of the film took place. We built our own blue screen studio (it was blue because the jacket that Chris wore in the film was green) in a farmer’s barn somewhere down the fen. The following years saw us painstakingly compositing all the shots, filming further pick ups, recording dialogue, recording sound effects, recording music, and filming even more pick ups – in fact, the actors that you see in the final film are spread across 5 different years. Because of the nature of our production, we could have people in different years in the same shot, sometimes interacting with each other, and sometimes it was the same person in the same shot because their appearance had changed so much!

Shadows of a Stranger

Strangers across the years: the guy farthest right and farthest left is the same guy (Ben) in 2013 and 2010, the foreground actors are in 2010, the couple at the rear are in 2012. The music video on the TV is from 2011 and only made it into this edit of the film in 2017!

To be honest, I didn’t think it would be a whole 8 years before I would be unveiling the film to the world – and by the way, by ‘the world’ I mean the UK, the USA, Japan, Germany and Austria, for those are the only available territories on our chosen distribution avenue. We’ve chosen Amazon Video for that particular purpose, somewhat an uncharted territory for independent filmmakers looking to get their work out there, but there’s potentially a large audience base there and it allows us control over everything. So we’ll soon see how that pans out.

Until then, please check out the new trailer for the film that I put together. And come August 27th make sure to search us out on Amazon and watch our long awaited production.

The Tale of the Night Shiner

The Tale of the Night ShinerMy new novel has now been published! A follow up to the book I released last year, and the second book of the Dark Harbour Tales, The Tale of the Night Shiner is about a brutal supernatural creature that is haunting the town and killing off all the losers and the wasters. Our antiheroes at the local vigilante organisation, Halo of Fires, are called upon to somehow succeed at the impossible task and slay the beast, but they’re not so keen to take on the job as they’re busy chasing down abusers and bad boys themselves. So yeah, a real feel-good story as you can tell.

The book is a cross between the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack and one of my all-time favourite films, Jaws, and I think it’s an even better read than my first book. A lot of the original characters return for the sequel, with even more twists and turns and surprises to be revealed. The series takes an even darker tone in this installment, so it’s a definite Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy.

Anyway, please check it out, even if you haven’t read the first one. I really think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written and I’m looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts on it.

Joseph Kiel by the ghost trainRecently I also recreated my author profile photograph as I stood beside a ghost train in a certain seaside town… Okay, yeah it wasn’t Dark Harbour because there is no such place (in our dimension), but can you guess where I am? It’s a certain resort that has inspired this series of books, and I make one or two oblique references to it. Clue: there used to be a cool helter skelter there.

Start spreading the news…

Ah yes, about time I made an update here… So recently I went to a mystery location in America which you’ll never guess, but here’s a visual clue to help you work it out:

Richard Dutton with a big apple in the Big Apple.

Richard Dutton with a big apple in the Big Apple.

Yes, that’s right, I went to New York. What you may not know is that I actually live near New York… the one in Lincolnshire, that is. I bet you never knew that, did you? That there is another New York somewhere in the world. I’m not sure how it got the name. I think New York City was already established by the time New York Hamlet was established, but it could have been named after York (of Yorkshire), whereas NYC was named after the Duke of York (so says Wikipedia). Whether some 19th century fen farmer was having a joke naming this tiny place after NYC, who knows?

Anyway, two weeks before we travelled to America, I was driving to Skegness with my partner and saw a sign to the hamlet of New York. I’d known about this place for ages but had never actually been. To be honest, there really isn’t that much there. It’s a hamlet. Hamlets are small. The antithesis of a metropolis. The two New Yorks couldn’t be any more different.

New York

I bet you’ll never guess which New York I’m filming in here.

Anyway, as we knew we were visiting the Big Apple soon, we thought it appropriate to visit the Small Apple too, so on the way back we stopped off there to have a look, for curiosity’s sake. Whilst we were there we also shot a little video, a guide to the sites and sounds of New York, which I intended to resume a couple of weeks later… The results of this video can be seen below. We shot this on the fly, so the sound isn’t great, unfortunately. And I rather did feel a tad self conscious talking all this Lincolnshire-related nonsense while I was over in the big city! But I hope you still enjoy it. It sure was fun to make!

Welcome to my new look website

It’s all change here now at and I hope you enjoy the new website.

You’ll find information about my films and books and other creative projects, as well as random updates and blogs, so stay tuned and something might happen here, hopefully more so than it did at the last place!

P.S. “stranger in the shadows” refers to the film I made, Shadows of a Stranger, not that I’m a creepo stalker… or am I? No, no, it’s okay. I’m really reasonably normal. Trust me.