The story so far…

(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…) 

If I had more time and was more technically skilled, this would be an easy take to write – collating all the VT footage and press cuttings from the last month or so, to put things in to perspective and to conclude 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. Now that the film, The Impossible is about to open in the UK, no doubt a more public story will follow if the press this weekend is anything to go by and the posters that are plastered all over London and on every other bus.

Every actor's dream
Every actor’s dream

How do I feel about it all?

This 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, over five years if we include Billy Elliot – I have London bus the impossiblenot 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, 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, I didn’t give much thought to how the film would be received and more importantly how Tom might be judged. At the time, it was just an extraordinary opportunity for him and for his whole family and regular readers of this blog will know why.

And given the attention that the film is now getting – adverts at half time when we are all watching the football – I feel lucky that the film has been two years in post-production. This has allowed Tom to have two years of being back at school and the chance of being a normalish kid again but also because he is now 16, he is much more able to cope with how things are now.

The theme underpinning this blog – the difference between father and son certainly continues in the Holland household. 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 to my other twin, Harry. I sat there with twoxmas dinner losing hands which was funny in itself and then even funnier when I saw that Tom had won both of his pulls, left and right. Typical. ‘Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll let you have the jokes,’ he said, ‘you might need them.’ It is lucky that I can laugh at myself and also at other comedians.  Comedian’s are notorious for not celebrating the success of their peers. One of Tom’s stocking fillers is the latest Michael McIntyre DVD which I am sure is bloody hilarious and we will sit down to watch together and no doubt, we’ll both roar – although the 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 has been my annus horribilis – although it

Scooters are dangerous in the hands of an idiot
Scooters are dangerous in the hands of an idiot

ends with much promise as I have 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-fiction 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 – that none of these items were available for the Christmas market. I am launching instead in mid-January – when traditionally, nobody has any money and people are fed up with buying tom holland eclipsed his dad

It is vital therefore that I have a crack marketing machine that can kick in to action – garnering TV appearances, radio and press interviews. Er, no. I just have a 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, that I have not given a moments thought to publicizing them.

And all of this while The Impossible is everywhere with pictures of Tom and kind comments about its young lead – who really has no need of such publicity. Not really. The notices are very welcome of course but whether the film is a Box Office smash or not is of no real concern to him. He doesn’t get paid any more, plus he doesn’t need any money anyway because he lives with me and I pay for everything.

The piece that ran in the Evening Standard is particularly noteworthy for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I was asked to write 350 words about my story, Eclipsed, to go alongside the interview with Tom – only for it be dropped due to a lack of space. Typical. The piece that did run though was well written and kind to us both. Firstly, it referred to Tom surpassing his ‘famous’ dad which is flattering and a helpful boost to my self-esteem plus it refers to me as a comedian and a ‘screenwriter’ which strictly speaking is only half correct. Finally, in the piece, Tom thanks his parents for giving up so much of their time to chaperone him – but with trips to Thailand, Spain, NY, LA and most recently in big seats – don’t mention it Tom, it was our pleasure, really.

What's jet lag?
What’s jet lag?

In this piece, one photograph featured Tom in our hallway and a few mates called to ask where was all the mess 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 to Front Row many times but without success. I’ve been close a couple of times, but this counts for little. As almost featured on Front Row…  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 or texts all weekend. ‘Dom, have you seen The Sunday Times? Tom’s in it…  The Observer, Empire Magazine, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The LA Times… and loads of slots from local television in America…

Whatever I do with any of my projects, I 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 Tom does that I know not to try myself…

Like a glutton for punishment, for some reason, we bought our boys a table tennis table for Christmas.

This is definitely a bad move. The last time we played was Thailand and I won – just. But not for long and no doubt, my twins will soon be beating me as well.

Next year, Tom will pass his driving test and if I allow him, he could afford a nicer car than me. And so on this theme – one thing is certain for the year ahead, I am not going to play him at golf.  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.

Worth it?

I bloody well hope so.





12 thoughts on “The story so far…

  1. Kirsty Whiteoak says:

    I lost my cracker this year what is bad for me because I won all my cracker last year every won my dad’s cracker i also not been eatting right I’ve been skipping meals I been I’ve been skipping meals for 7 mouths now I’ve been eatting one meal a day is that bad

  2. Valchess says:

    Hi Dom,

    I happen to remember the very first moment when you publicly announced your intention to write “Eclipsed” (at “The Wright Stuff” on 8 March 2011) :
    [“…I am going to blog it as a sort of real life diary of the Holland life. My life against Tom’s… It will end in Los-Angeles next tear when Tom…”
    Matthew Wright: “… will disassociate himself from his dad!” (laugh).]

    Now you finished it… and it became a fact of a real literature to remain with some of us, not just fleeting diary. Mixed emotions for those like me who get used to follow that really amazing journey every week… Well, probably I should stop my rather obvious reflections.

    As to “marketing machine”, it’s curious to observe how the number of Tom’s Wiki article viewers has been steadily increasing lately and now is over 1500 per day. Of course, this is reflection of that torrent of publications (now I only add to the Wiki text the most important references and citations – too many to mention them all). By the way, there were a few days lately when the number of visitors of your own entry (which is not in the great state) reached 250 per day – five times up comparatively with your “normal” Wiki traffic. As I said before, I’ll be happy to help with your Wiki article – just let me know.

    • Dominic says:

      thank you for this kind comment as ever – wikipedia is something I am completely remiss about – and if you would like to help with this, then please consider yourself hired (pro bono only I am afraid) – thank you for your help and support to date, best, dom

  3. Brad says:

    Well done Dom. As always, loved the read. Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to catch up on all the posts and I must say it is amazing all the news posts about Tom’s performance in The Impossible – he has eclipsed you there that is for sure. I still remain faithful to the notion of longetivity. While I am quietly confident that Tom is going to blow you out of the water, you have the runs on the board and it is always harder to chase the total !!!!!!!!!
    I know it’s hard work for you – but please keep us entertained with the posts – I do so look forward to it. Hopefully I will be back in Engalnd in late 2013 and hope to catch one of your shows – you had better be bloody funny or else!!!!!!!! lol

    • Dominic says:

      thanks brad – you’ve been a great support – and the site will continue – only the posts will change now that the movie is out – which is something of a relief because the idea of chronicling Tom’s entire life and mine is terrifying –
      I’m on the ebook also – which if I say so myself is better than the blog and I am working hard to get it on the site as soon as…
      HNY, Dom

  4. Ciaran McCarville says:

    Hi Dom,

    To think that Tom went to the same school as me is amazing and he has come along so far and what a brilliant actor he has turned out to be.

    As soon as The Impossable came out we went to see it, it was amazing and the cinema was fully booked.

    I wish the best for his future

  5. Mike Menzel says:

    I’ve worked as a special effects man in Hollywood since the early ’80’s so I know a bit about how things work in the business. Tom is already a star, otherwise he wouldn’t be sought after as he is. I’d ask people like Naomi and the “A list star” where he should land, agency-wise, before making any decisions because when your hot you’re hot and when you’re not, self-serving agents won’t even return your calls.

    • Dominic says:

      thanks Mike – sentiment neatly summed up in my book which I have spent 14 hours on today alone – publishing on monday is the plan. thanks for your kind words of advice

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