Tag Archive: filmmaking
Oh blog! How I have forsaken thee! Whence forth the tides of life do raiseth up to claim my lungs as mine mind’s lagoons for which to drown within these eyes do turn asunder and let decay claim this monument to thine outpourings.
Or some such shit.
Time for a story. Way back when it was 2010 (or was it 2011?), maybe sometime around this here autumnal season (although, frankly, it feels more like fucking Winter right now) a coffee house did open in yonder city of Ayr. An independent coffee house called Su Casa. With very tasty coffee. A treat it was to stumble upon and GOD DAMN do they do fine coffee. Upstairs I did wander to find a group of people muchly chatting. Full of awesome espresso I did introduce myself and join in – struck with a rare moment of sociable as I was. After all, the exchanging of conversation and ideas and the meeting of people are what coffeehouses are famous for, going all the way about to the first one in London in eighteencanteen. I wrote a piece on this subject in fact, one which I never finished, which I was going to gift to the owner of Su Casa for promotional purposes (I wanted to help, see).
Of this group of ragamuffin artists and students and general peoples there was one sat alone at a table, a laptop before him, working away at some video editing software. His name was Alberth Mg. We got to chatting. Alberth was a film maker. Alberth had forgone film school. Alberth had a vision.
At that time in his life he was spreading his time between Ayr and London making promo videos for bands and solo artists. A good way to pay the bills I would say. Personally, I was between shitty temporary jobs at the time, but not yet at the point of self-immolating desperation as to my prospects of finding employment. Plus, I had my mysterious novel going on. Still, I envied Alberth. He’d managed to hobble something together and was going for it. We exchanged details, followed each other on facebook and went on our merry ways.
Our paths didn’t cross much in the really real from then on but I kept abreast of what he was up to with his company Elgato Film Productions and various other projects via the book of the face.
So, now it is now, and Elgato are really ramping up. They have a short film, Reflections, due to be premiered next month. A shiny new website. A ragtag production team. A force to be reckoned with I reckon.
And now, in time for Halloween, A sketch called The Girl Who Is Sitting Next To Me.
Friend and film-making associate Darren Douglas threw this together with some friends in poland.
Once upon a time I used to make films. I’ve been a little lapse in that regard the past few years, focusing on writing and what not, but I’m sure I’ll get back to it eventually. This short is an interesting example. It was left unfinished at a youth project in Cardiff and I was asked if I’d like to finish it off. I added a few touches of my own to make the protagonist more interesting. It was a great exercise in what can be done with something in post-production.
This started off life as an orphan project. A rough edit had been completed and a draft of a voice-over script. I completed the editing and, starting from scratch, wrote a script that added new depth to the original idea, further developed the protagonist’s character and took it in a somewhat different direction. Referencing an old victorian etiquette manual found on the Gutenberg Project I re-imagined our hero as having a somewhat schizoid personality.
Here it is on vimeo:
And if your device cannot handle vimeo, here it is on youtube:
To coincide with South by Southwest, journalist Scott Kirsner is making his 2009 book Fans, Friends & Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age available free, in digital form, for the duration of the festival. You can download it here.
Lots of folks you’ve seen at SXSW are featured in the book, including artist Natasha Wescoat, pioneering videoblogger Ze Frank, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton, Burnie Burns of “Red vs. Blue,” comedian Eugene Mirman, documentarian Curt Ellis, DJ Spooky, and plenty more. And, if you’re at SXSW this year, Kirsner will be conducting a “fireside chat” with Ze Frank on Saturday.
The ever useful Raindance, who are all about the film and film-making, have recently thrown up some insight into why too much film education can hamper you actually making a movie. I’m of the school of thought that you need a bit of knowledge, a bit of understanding, but apart from that all you really need is tenacity and a good story. Of course, i went to film school so it’s easy for me to say that. Remember though, Peter Jackson didn’t go to film school. He just rolled up his sleeves and got his hands dirty. By the time I get around to making a feature it’s going to be like learning anew by doing anyhow.
Often people will do course after course on writing (or directing, producing or any other area of filmmaking which you care to mention) and will moan about how much there is to learn and how its so hard to write a film. What these people have forgotten is that no course will tell you how to write. The only way to learn how to write is to sit down and do it. Education can give you the tools with which to learn but it can’t replace old fashioned practice. If you take classes without ever picking up a pen, or a camera, then your film will not get made no matter how many classes you take.
MPEG-4 part 2 compression was “when the internet truly became a viable A/V platform/medium. This is when storing hours of video that looked good enough to watch and keep became viable to store online locally i.e. on your hard disks, not on external discs, etc. on personal computers. No other single aspect of the evolution of entertainment has done more to change how I consume it.”
Yeesh, what day is it? Wednesday?
Weekends are a time of relaxation and alcoholic recovery. Then you have that Sunday, the sunday before your girlfriend has to go back to work, and everything is laconic and foreboding. With the coming of Monday the Death of the Weekend is made official with a return to activity.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been being inactive, not entirely. I’ve done… Stuff. Bits of housework. Web reading. Plus, I’ve been in a rather thrilling email exchange with my friend Merryn.
Sometimes you need a distraction. Sometimes you need to take a break, to change focus.
I’ve been tortuing myself with a novel recently. It’s my first. It’s troublesome. Most writers get nowhere with their first novel. Sometimes they’re abandoned. Not this one. I refuse. It will be finished and it will be good enough to catch someone’s attention and get published. I don’t even think i want to go down this particular genre path but i’m loathe to let it lie. The sooner it’s done the sooner i can get onto the next one.
But i’ve tied myself in gordian knots over this thing. My head is a tangle of confliction. I am on the verge of a mental breakdown. Or, I was. I saw the edge, it was pretty. If i hadn’t stepped back i could’ve happily gone over. But i did step back. Unconsciously, i guess i knew what needed to be done. The unconscious was just waiting for the opportunity.
I didn’t get into this novel entirely on purpose. Originally it was just going to be a short story mash note for my girlfriend, a gothic fairytale inspired by her, but things soon started growing out of control. The characters were too interesting to let go, the setting too perverse not to let grow. So I kept going. It starts off being completely in one characters point of view. It stands as a kind of prelude, a microcosm of things to come. It totally needs rewriting but i’m reticent to go back without reaching the conclusion the first. If i go back now then surely it will require even more editing further down the line as ideas and imagary wax and wane. So i keep at it, heading for roughly marked out points along the narrative timeline, seeing things being born that I never knew to be. I guess at the end I will have to look over the entire manuscript and deconstruct it, see what needs to be made more explict, what needs to be toned now, and which bits need to go all together. I’m stuck on this course now and I refuse not to see things to their conclusion.
But as i mentioned, I’ve gotten myself terribly uptight about the whole thing.
I have lots of ideas for stories and focus has always been a problem of mine. I used to flit from idea to idea, go so far and then let my interest peter out. Worse still, my attention is torn between the novel and the film as medium of expression. I chose to go to film school as apposed to studying creative writing and it has fractured my vision. This isn’t neccersarily a bad thing but it sure does complicated my thought processes. I chose to focus on the novel above and beyond all else simply out of a desire to stick to something through to its conclusion. It does mean though that I’m plagued by other ideas veying for my attention. I’ve been trying desperately to keep them at bay but the motherfuckers are persistant. So persistant that one of them went off in Merryn’s memory which caused it come up in our email exchange over the novel. She’s enthralled with it and offers a few opinions about things which add an interesting angle. Soon we’re in a back-and-forth over the narrative, characters and themes. There are possibilities forming.
Merryn is an academic by trade. I met her whilst she was studying for her critical psychology PhD (or something) at Cardiff university, but it’s not like she hasn’t done other things in her life, not like she doesn’t have other interests. Things in UK academia aren’t looking very cheery at the moment and she has taken to viewing this film project as something more tangible than a possible full-time academic position. That has to tell you something about the post-PhD employment scene as well as just how great this film idea is. 😉
We’re still just spawning ideas, not quite onto the outline yet. Thinking is very much caught up in marketablity whilst balancing creativity. I’ll keep you updated.
So, I’ve taken a holiday from the novel, trying to make it feel like a real holiday by keeping my head busy with other things instead of feeling guilty about doing nothing. I’m building up my reserves of eager.