Friday, 30 September 2011

Ten days is a long time ...

Either in politics or real-life.

A lot's happened in the last ten days - I've catered for 100 Live-Action Role Players (with two helpers), ran the third class in my eBook writing course, spent another day on a film shoot, read about thirty entries for the Meridian Writing autumn competition (plus doing all the associated 'paperwork') and written a 6-page short for a newly graduating film director (Director of Photography, from a script call on Shooting People).

The LARP catering was for Herofest at the Candlestone camp site near Bridgend, South Wales.The kitchen there is pretty basic and the oven decided it wasn't going to work from Friday afternoon. Nice. Still, in a Heath Robinson way, we managed to produce two evening meals, two full breakfasts and one lunch for 100 people. Saturday was a seventeen hour day for me.

On Monday evening I ran the third of my eBook writing classes at Queens Park Centre. We had three no-shows from previous weeks (two of which I knew about) but one returned from week one, and two new people.

On Tuesday I returned to the set of The Polka Dots at a village hall, just outside Great Missenden. This was for the shots that the crew ran out of time to do during the mammoth shoot a few Sundays ago. We met at 1pm - filmed a short sequence for another film, by Chris Hughes - then set up for the re-shoot. What was supposed to be a 9-hour day turned into another 12-hour.

I had Wednesday off. Almost.

Yesterday I caught up on paperwork and contacted a guy called Jonathan Flint, in respect to a script call he placed on Shooting People. He's a 3rd-year film student (DOP) at University of Creative Arts in Farnham. He sent me the premise for what he wants and it sounded interesting, so I spent most of yesterday afternoon/evening writing a 6-page script. It's called Anti-Thought Crime and centres around a new drug being used to make recidivist criminals feel the emotional impact of their crimes. He supplied the central idea and one or two scenes but left the rest open, to develop. I introduced a sub-plot surrounding the real reson why the first inmate was chosen to be subjected to the drug and the effects of what happened after.

Regardless of whether he likes it or wants huge changes etc etc (as is common with this sort of thing) it's another good learning exercise for me - to be able to produce a script, and one that I'm happy with - in a short time-frame.

So today I am mostly taking it easy.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

eBook writing course - Week 2

The second week of my eBook writing course at Queens Park Centre went ahead last night - and I had most of the six that came on week one come back!

One lady couldn't make it for personal reasons (but her husband attended), one of the guys was a no-show and we had a new woman. The guys from week one managed to do the homework I set them - pretty much - and I was really quite pleased with what they managed to produce. One of the ladies - who wants to write and illustrate a children's story - revealed that she was slightly dyslexic, and was so 'frightened' about letting me read what she'd written, she was actually shaking. But she managed to produce a really interesting premise which has good scope, so she left with a broad smile.

The homework was for them to do a first draft of their story. Pretty daunting, but as I won't get it back until week three it doesn't leave much time to help them with it before the end of the course.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Dragon's Den - UK Riot Special

Sometimes genuis is created from terrible events. The recent UK riots that caused so much damage and harm to London and a number of other cities seemed to only have a negative press, with probably justified reasons.

However, another comedy/spoof has been created by using the riots as a back-drop, and been loaded onto YouTube.  I've seen a number of mash-ups like this before - MasterChef, etc - but this one is pure genius. The 'story' and editing is just superb. These guys should go on to make a full-blown comedy series.

But be warned - there is some strong langauage and bizarre expressions (as Theo is demonstrating).

Monday, 12 September 2011

Ok. The first of my eBook creative writing lessons at the Queen's Park Centre kicked off with a pretty good turnout, considering what I was given to believe might happen.


Thanks Steve (or should that be Mr Austin?) but that's just six, not six million.

I think it went pretty well - for the most part they seemed to be interested and got involved when prompted. The fifteen-minute writing exercise produced work and they all appeared to be taking notes and asking questions.

I guess I'll see if it was as good as I hope it was if they all turn up next week. Fingers crossed.

Andy Whitfield - RIP

'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' star Andy Whitfield has sadly died at the age of 39, from non-Hodgkins Lymphona. The Welsh-born actor died in his Australian home in the 'arms of his loving wife', Vashti.

Andy shot to fame in the title role of the Starz 'Spartacus' production and won a legion of fans and admirers due to his acting ability as well as his physique.

Some critics dismissed 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' as a poor 300-like imitation (I was one of them, initially) that hid behind gratuitous violence and nudity but on closer viewing it was a fine character-driven drama that only happened to be set during the Roman Empire.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

eBook Course at Queen's Park Centre

The six-week eBook creative writing course I'm running at the Queen's Park Centre in Aylesbury starts tomorrow night and I've just put the finishing touches to the Lesson Planning schedule. This'll be my first course at the centre and I've been fine-tuning what'll be in each of the hour-and-a-half lessons for a while now.

Without knowing how many students will be there (the Centre tells me there will definitely be some ...) I'm not sure how much discussion time there'll be, so determining how much content to put in each lesson - particularly the first - has proven difficult. But I'll find out tomorrow.

It'll either be tumbleweed or extra seats.

Cliff Robertson - RIP

With all the down-beat news regarding the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, news has come out of Hollywood that Cliff Robertson has died at the age of 88. He passed away on Saturday - the day after his birthday - from natural causes.

His career spanned over 60 years, was one of Hollywood's most recognisable actors and owner of a very distinctive voice.