Wednesday, 25 August 2010

It's Been A Long Few Weeks

Between the day job and filmmaking I've barely had any down time this last few weeks. Im cream crackered. But.... it will all be worth it one day - so I keep getting told. It's easy to say that when you're not the poor filmmaker in question!

I am enjoying a bit of a rest day at present before getting back to the day job for a few days then heading to London for a music festival. I've scraped together my pennies so I can have a little fun and accept that I may be eating toast for the remainder of the month.

As well as filmmaking I've also managed to talk my way into writing for another film-related website - I shall be writing reviews for the site as well as some original articles for my current series of articles and blog title - The frustrated Ramblings Of An Aspiring Filmmmaker. I shall be digging through my thoughts and feelings on everything film and attempting to salvage a few hundred words for my new weekly section with the site. A few hundred words a week and then a long article once a month is the thinking. I shall also continue writing an article every month for flickeringmyth.

Also - today I recieved an email from the good ol' Beeb about my interest in the new opportunities arising at BBC North due to the current wave of relocations from London. I registered my interest last week and recieved an email today inviting me to undertake an online test as they felt my curriculum vitae had some promise. The test took about an hour or so and was pretty gruelling in places. Fingers crossed I did well enough. I've been yearning to get the hell out of 'The Port' since I was 15, but always end up coming back. Perhaps relocation with a solid job can keep me away as well as allow me to build my career. Working in fiction film is fun and I love being on set and Ading, but it isn't paying the bills at present. Proper, paid work in the industry would see me opening doors and affording to live.

But first of all - I may just have a snoozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dirty Goods -'Millionaires'

Sunday and yesterday I directed my first music video for Dirty Goods and enjoyed every minute of it. This was the band's first attempt at acting and they weren't entirely comfortable with it so I just tried to make experience as enjoyable as possible for them. The budget was absolutely zero and we used equipment borrowed from our fellow filmmakers as well as the crew and cast offering their time for free. It isn't going to be a masterpiece, but then we never intended for that anyway. Shot on a basic camera it will look a little grainy and the lighting is minimal. However, the intent of the video was for the band to experience making a narrative video, for Scratched Print and the band to work together as well as to make a video that would entertaining and a laugh for all involved. I think it will give people a chuckle and if released on youtube it will give the fans a chance to see the more comical side of the band.

It will look cheap and cheerful, but I think we will have a fun little video.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Filmmaking Update

After doing a good job of 1st Ading 'On A Knife Edge' last week I was offered the chance to 1st AD a music video on Thursday, but have agreed to work my day job that day due to the store manager and assistant manager being away leaving me to look after the shop. I'm gutted because it's pretty much the same crew I shot with last week and I enjoyed it. The band look pretty promising also.

I was also offered the chance to 1st AD another masters student film in September and I'm due to discuss the details with the director.

I am also very looking forward to shooting my first music video for Dirty Goods on Sunday. It's a narrative story with the music video over the top of it. There's a simple and funny little story running through it and I think it's going to make a great music video. Due to it's extended length though we will probably be shooting it in two parts leaving the easier to shoot interior parts for sometime next week.

I was disappointed to find out the producer of Sunday's video hasn't done anything in the build up and I had to sort the cast and crew myself yesterday, but we are still shooting and on track for a good day.


The short film that I have written, based upon an original story by David Lord, and shall be directing has been put back until September.

Russell Howard's Good News

I was looking forward to watching some new comedy, but BBC2 are now running the series that was first shown on BBC Three several months ago. This doesn't make any sense as it's a topical news show where Russell discusses the major stories of the week. The week was in March. It's now August. And I've seen it before.

I'm switching over.

Shooting Stars - Last In The Series!!!!!!!

I was absolutely gutted to find out that tonight's Shooting Stars is the last episode in the series. Tonight Vic and Bob were joined by Louie Spence and Paloma Faith on Jack Dee's team plus James may and James Buckley on Ulrika Jonsson's team. They were joined, as always, by the oddly entertaining score keeper Angelos. Cue random hilarity!

Ulrika-ka-ka she's a Swedish OAP,
Ulrika-ka-ka when she laughs she has a wee.

Jack, with your face like a soft boiled fart.
Jack with your face like a new born kitten with a winning pools coupon.
Jack with your face like a two shilling hand job.

Unfortunately the show didn't end on a high and it wasn't a classic packed with jokes. However, the winner's challenge saw james may have lay underneath a topless tramp and endure having the tramp's beard rubbed in his face in oder to win a length of rope - which made me laugh.

I think I'm going to miss Shooting Stars. No, I'm definitely going to miss Shooting Stars.

That Mitchell And Webb Look

I'm not gonna bother watching next week. Absolute shite.

John Bishop's Britain

Last Saturday Bish had a unique look at work with the input of celebrities and normal people as well as aided by sketches.

I'm a massive fan of Bish and I think his new show is fantastic at times. It's had it's weak points, but overall I really like it. He began Saturday with the story of the time he sat his kids down to tell them that he had been promoted to a Sales and Marketing Director at a pharmaceutical company. Once Bish had finished his proud announcement his middle lad belted out that Billy's Dad drove a digger and the other two were well impressed. Bish continued that he sat him down with a powerpoint presentation, but still nothing. A nice story with a good little gag on the end.

The next big story that followed was Bish's story of the time he was selling Kirby cleaners in a cult like group of middle aged men who sang 'we sell Kirby cleaners' every morning. The accompanying sketch of a young Bish in 80's clothes and surrounded by the oddest selection of men I've ever seen throwing their negative energy out of their window is hilarious.

Then followers another hilarious story of Bish having an interview for a job at the Adelphi tea rooms and losing the change from his last fiver because he didn't want to pick it up and show the guy interviewing him that his borrowed suit doesn't fit. Either Bish is very very good at making up stories or he has had one absolutely hilarious life. either way I'm sure he would be awesome to have a beer with.

As with every week Bish has a selection of some of the countries oddest people to share their experiences by video. One of which likes to put a sticker on an elderly employee's back saying 'I like muff'.

I shall defo be tuning in, or Sky Plussing it, next week.

Would I Lie To You?

After working all the hours god sent last week I've finally caught up with my TV. I've just finished last week's Would I Lie To You and it wasn't bad. Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell were joined by Ben Fogle, Craig Revel Horwood, Kate Silverton and Hugh Dennis.

A few decent gags and lies, but not laugh out loud funny. There wasn't much to report in all honesty.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

From Paris With Love

I thought I would lay back and watch a movie before I hit the sack and so I chose From Paris With Love off of Sky Box Office. This is quite possibly the worst and most pointless film I have seen since....... Taken. Another Luc Besson film. He created the story for From Paris With Love and produced both.

From Paris With Love, just like Taken, has absolutely no point or integrity to it. The story just sets up a series of pointless and ultra violent events that see the main characters, Rhys (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and Wax (John Travolta) shoot everyone and everything that moves within their sight. So many incidents that occur just so happen to be massively coincidental and lead them to something or someone they are after. Travolta just shouts and shoots - literally that is it. It is ridiculous.

The story is chocked full of cheese from start to finish and the majority of it, even the the character development, is implausible. Really - how do these films get made? I thought Luc Besson was an integral filmmaker? Leon, The Fifth Element and Angel-A were all good films and he's been involved in some great productions in some way, shape or form, but From Paris With Love and Taken are horrific.

The ultra violence is glorified in both films yet they do not seem to come under scrutiny from the same people who scorned Micheal Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me. I haven't seen Winterbottom's film, but from what I have read the violence is bone chilling. Winterbottom shows violence as it really is - shocking, sickening and of all things violent, but his film was received with disgust and some classed it as glorification of violence. Yet as Travolta guns through body after body with no remorse and a thumping sound track no one batters an eye lid? It doesn't seem to make sense to me.

Mr Besson has gone in my estimations.

On A Knife Edge

I am so tired it is unbelievable. Since Tuesday I've been first ADing 'On A Knife Edge' for a Masters student film from The International Film School Wales. We wrapped early today and I was home at 6pm after leaving at 7am, but Tuesday and Wedneday were 13 and 14 hour days. I've got another 7am start tomorrow and another Saturday.

The film is going quite well. I've not worked with the Red camera before and I'm quite impressed with it. Looking through the monitor it looks beautiful and I'm told that it can look even better on a higher quality screen.

As for my work - we are on schedule and getting the coverage, but we did miss a key shot yesterday. The director hasn't got a shot list to work from and so I'm having to ask how many shots we need from each scene as we shoot it and it is difficult to keep track.

I'm watching a film now and then it's early to bed.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Grandma's House

I've just finished watching Grandma's House written by and starring Simon Anstell. It's in the same mould as The Royle Family except the family is from London and middle class, instead of Northern working class. The show tries to capture the comedy of the average family, except Simon plays himself at the centre of it all.

As Simon debates whether or not to continue with his show it to look for true love his family attempt to persuade him otherwise. In this episode he also meets his Mother's new fiancé - who is extremely annoying.

The comedy feels a little staged at times and it doesn't flow as naturally as The Royle Family. There were several dynamics all going on at once between the different family members in an attempt to keep the show from getting stagnant, but I'm afraid it wasn't successful everytime and at times it felt repetitive.

I'm sure if I'll be tuning in next week.

Football Returns

The new season began this weekend and life began to make sense again. The Championship kicked off Saturday with some suprise results and Sunday followed with the Community Shield.

I began the day by heading down to watch Cardiff City play Sheffield United at the Cardiff City Stadium, which is possibly the least imaginative stadium name in football history. After Sheffield United went 1 - 0 through Ched Evans they tried to strangle the game and play it out for the 1 - 0 win. The keeper took an age to take goal kicks and they failed to do anything with any haste. The game changed when United were down to ten men after a straight red for Lowton. Cardiff dominated, but took 30 minutes to equalise through Jay Bothroyd and then failed to score a winner. Sheffield United were very bad losers and bad sportsmen from start to finish as they tried every trick they could to ruin a good game of football. However, I was entertained and it was worth a watch.

Then it was into Canton to watch Man Utd vs Chelsea in the Community Shield. The pub was rammed and I couldn't hear the commentary over the muffled sound of a hundred drunken voices, but at least I was bang in front of the TV. Dave the Rave was with me and suffering for his sins the night before as his hangover got the better of him. My sore throat and lack of voice was worsened by the shouting on the terraces of Cardiff and so we barely spoke to each other throughout the game.

The game itself was decent. Sometimes these games are dull and boring as it's only a glorified friendly with a trophy at the end. United looked sharp and played with pace form the start, but Chelsea looked a little lacking. United's new signing Javier Hernandez or Chicorito, or his shirt say, looked a good little player and I'm confident he will settle into our team. He didn't look nervous, played his usual game and seemed at ease with being thrown into life at the deep end. Valencia put United ahead assisted by Rooney before Chicorito grabbed his first United goal for 2 - 0. Chelsea pulled one back through Kalou and looked a better team, but Berbatov rounded off the game with a stunning chip over the Chelsea keeper.

A satisfying 3 - 1 for United saw them took first blood against their main rivals Chelsea and with how United were playing I'm confident this season can be successful and trophy filled.

A cracking day of football. This season promises to be tight in the Premiership and the Championship so I'm expecting some great football after a disappointing World Cup.

John Bishop's Britain - Episode 2

I wasn't fussed on the previous week's episode as I thought it was a little boring, but this week saw a return to form. Bish explored the world of sport this week and commented on everything from school sports day to professional football.

I love the way Bish uses interviews from normal people and celebrities, mixed with stand up and sketches to take a look at sport in general, but also his own experiences. I was in stitches when he told the story of the first time he took his wife to be back to his parent's house for Sunday dinner - aided by a hilarious sketch. The usual Sunday was Bish, his Dad and his Brother watching the football with his TV in front of the TV with the his sisters and his Mum sat in the kitchen. However, when his Wife to be went to his parents she got her dinner, followed the boys into the living room and sat with them to everyone's shock and awe as Bish's Dad asks him why he's brought home a lesbian. The accompanying sketch of the entire family in 80's tracksuits and with bad hair is the icing on the cake. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

Another gem of comedy gold was Bish's story of about the time he attended the manchester 10k run
and on the advice of one of his mates he filled out his expected time as 28 minutes. When he arrived on the day he was given a different colour number to his mates and was pushed to the front next to three Kenyans. It turned out that 28 minutes is regarded as quite a time for 10k and they thought he was an elite athlete. He launched himself off the line full pelt for 100 metres and was then over taken by over 24,000 other runners and a massive chicken.

John Bishop is such a genuinely funny guy and always has a classic story to tell. I think a night on the town with Bish would be hilarious. A good return to form after last week's slip. I can't wait for next week.

Would I Lie To You

Friday's 'Would I Lie To You' was absolutely hilarious. Host Rob Brydon and team captains Lee Mack and David Mitchell were joined by Stephen Mangan, Keeley Hawkes, Professor Brian Cox OBE and Kevin Bridges.

Watching celebrities, comedians and TV personalities trying to lie, make up things or conceal the truth is always funny in my opinion, but Friday's show was phenomenal. The stand out star of the show was Kevin Bridges. He had everyone's brain totally pickled with his explanation of how he once thought he was renting a horse whilst on holiday, but had instead bought it. As David Mitchell and his team attempt to question Kevin the story gets more and more bizarre, he seems not to know what he is talking about and even his own team think he is lying. David Mitchell seems to take everything so literally and gets infuriated by the many huge wholes in Kevin's story and concludes that it was a lie. He was in fact telling the truth to everyone's amusement.

I can't wait for next week.

You Have Been Watching

On Thursday night I Sky Plussed Charlie Brooker's 'You Have Been Watching' and I think it's becoming my favourite show on TV. This week was the final episode in the series and Charlie was joined by Armando Iannucci, Josie Long and Rufus Hound for a crime special.

Charlie, with the assistance of his panel, ripped apart some of the best and worst crime shows that TV has ever seen. Possibly the worst being 'Poochinski' - a crime show about a cop who is reincarnated as a talking dog and solves crimes with his astonished former partner in between licking himself inappropriately.

'Murder She Wrote' was another show that came under scrutiny, but the peak of the comedy was clip of the show's star Angela Landsbury in her 'Positive Life' video. Watching Lansbury rub her wrinkled body with cream just before she discusses sex after menopause whilst having a sensual bath was gut wrenching and hilarious in equal measures.

Mr Brooker's dry humour is comedy gold in my opinion and I laughed out aloud constantly throughout the show. With the series drawing to an end I'm going to have raid the 4OD site and watch the first series.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


After a semi lazy day yesterday I decided to catch up on some of the stuff on my Sky Plus. I seem to have a load of TV shows and films clogging up the old memory and usually no time to watch it. Last night I decided to plough through Money from BBC2’s 80’s season a month or two back.

The two-part TV show has been adapted from Stephen Amis’ novel about a successful British TV commercial director who goes to New York to make his first movie. John Self, played by Nick Frost, is a lazy slob and an alcoholic with unhealthy relationships with almost everyone else around him including his Father and girlfriend, Selina Street (Emma Pierson). As he staggers drunken through the surreal world of American filmmaking lead by the unheard of producer, Fielding Goodney (Vincent Kartheiser) life becomes weirder and weirder. As Self struggles with his loneliness in the states, his lusting for an old flame – Martina Twain (Hattie Morahan), suspicions of Selina’s infidelity back home he also has to battle with ultra ego actors as well as always searching for the identity of his Mother.

As John Self struggles, searches and aspires to earn the big money to make it and set himself up Fielding convinces him he’s a genius as he woos investors, rewrites the script himself and the film gains investment quickly and smoothly. Fielding leads the way and sets everything up ensuring John that it wont be long before he gets the money he desires. Being stalked by a man who calls him regularly, but never shows his face Self seems unfazed, but as the film grows and takes flight Self finds himself laying off the booze and starting a healthy relationship with Martina. The only problem is that normality doesn’t feel comfortable for John.
When Selina comes back into his life to ruin his relationship with Martina John falls off the wagon big style. As he drowns his sorrows in a seedy bar and is told that his credit has run out he gets a call from the voice telling him to meet him in the lane. John is jumped and beaten by what looks like a woman, but turns out to be his Producer – Fielding. As it all unravels Fielding explains that every contract and agreement John signed was a cheque or expenses and he himself has been paying for everything, not a studio or investors. Fielding set up the entire charade from start to finish paying actors to play the role of investors and anything else they needed to drain John of every penny.

Self flees back home to find the successful advertising agency he built in the UK went bust when he left. He has his furniture and TV repossessed. When he turns to the one person he thinks may help, his Father turns him away telling him he isn’t his Father. A final reconciliation with his real Father sees him find the truth behind his Mothers leaving and receives the money that she had tucked away for him. John changes his surname to that of his real Father’s – People, not Self. He uses the money left him by his Mother to buy a pub with his real Father and settle into normality.

Money is a strange story of greed, excess and money. Self’s drive to earn money and his lust for the big time leads to his downfall and he loses everything he had. Not happy with what he has he always wants more – money, women, booze, and food. The more he had the more he wanted and it was only when he lost everything that

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Shooting Stars

Vic and Bob bring more random comedy to their celebrity quiz show. This weeks guests were Dominic Littewood, Cheryl Fergison, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Luke Pasquilino. The show follows the exact same format every week as it always has, but the jokes differ. It should feel a bit same old same old, but it doesn't. Another week of classics jokes, with my favourite being -

True or false? Daily Mail readers believer Poland is currently empty?

Followed closely by -

True or false? The vagina monologues were originally called the minge manuals?

Angelos was on top form again with his nonsensical ramblings. He should have his own show, although I'm not sure how that would work. I'd definitely watch though.

The show finished with Jack Dee partaking in the winner's game - face pain. Jack knelt in front of a bicycle wheel with crisp packets stuck to it as Vic spun the wheel so the crisp packets bit Jack in the face. The second wheel had bacon on it and the third Ulrika's pants. Classic. Can't wait for next week.

That Mitchell And Webb Look

Is it me or is the show getting worse every week!? Mitchell and Webb are both funny guys, but maybe their sketch show has passed it's sell by date. Shame.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Greatest Cities Of The World - Hong Kong

Griff Rhys Jones' series explores some fantastic cities over the course of 24 hours and this week it was Hong Kong. What an amazing city. It's so ultra modern, yet steeped in tradition.

Until 12 years ago it was still under British rule, but it is now back in Chinese control. The small city is stacked with huge high rises and sky scrapers that glitter and shine with bright lights in the dark night sky. There are more millions per square mile than anywhere else on earth and a huge player in the worlds financial markets. Yet, even the most expensive sky scrapers designed by world renowned architects have to consult feng shui masters to ensure that the building has good energy according to the ancient Chinese practice.

Hong Kong looks such an amazing and diverse city that despite it's lack of size it looks likely could keep you busy for longer than you think. I'd jump on a plane tomorrow if the opportunity arose, but with it being one of the most expensive cities on the planet I doubt my pennies would get me far.

Brooke Knows Best

Whilst in the gym today that horrific channel Viva was on one of the tvs. On that tv was Brooke Knows Best. For those that don't know what the show is about it is a fly on the wall show following Brooke Hogan as she strikes out on her own, but is seemingly followed constantly by her father - the one and only Hulk Hogan.

Brooke isn't the brightest bulb in the box and Hulk appeRs to not let her make any of her own decisions despite her living on her with a few flatmates near beach in Florida. Hulk pops by. Constantly.

I wasn't interested enough to listen to the audio from the show as the visuals were horrific enough with lots of frowning from Hulk and wide smiles followed by sulking frowns from Brooke.

Today they were at Cape Canaveral doing summat to do with being astronauts. I didn't care why. However, what did capture my attention was the fact that Hulk Hogan, now separated from his wife, has a new girlfriend. And she looks alarmingly like his daughter Brooke. Isn't that a bit weird? A guy in his fifties going out with a lady who's a lot younger than him and a dead ringer for his late teens/early twenties daughter.

This thought perplexed me so much that I questioned why I didn't have anything more intersting to think about.

Top Gear - the final episode

Another series of Top Gear has been and gone - cue the several series DVDs a d at least one from each presenter.

The show finished last night with a nostalgic look at British sports cars and it was clear why the British car industry has gone down the pan. As Clarkson, Hammond and May willed on their British sports cars get did everything they could to keep bits from falling off them.

Last nights star in a reasonay priced car was Jeff Goldblum who is apparent tight as a ducks back passage. He was given a free mercedes in the early nineties and still uses it as his main mode of transportation despite earning a several million bucks since then. Buy a Ferrari you tight git.

The series finished with the three stooges agreeing that each of their british sports cars were as good as one and other and that was it. In my opinion it seemed a bit of anti climax to the series and it may have been better ending last week.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


I've not had the best sleep this week with my bad neck aching and my lack of exercise to rest my neck making my back ache also. Last night I felt exhausted by about 10.30 pm, but...... Christopher Nolan's Insomnia was on the Beeb and I was determined to watch it. With Nolan's last few films being so impressive I decided to watch Insomnia for a second time and take careful note of his techniques and style.

Pacino plays, Will Dormer, an LA detective who has been sent with his partner to help out an investigation in a small town in Alaska. The thing is that this time of year the sun doesn't set and Dormer has a lot on his mind. With Dormer worrying that his partner's part in an internal affairs investigation will lead to the digging up of all Dormer's old cases he isn't pleased. When Dormer accidentally shoots his partner when chasing the murderer of a teenager through the fog things become more complicated, especially as the murderer has seen him. As Dormer and the murderer Walter Finch, played by Robin Williams, embark on a cat and mouse chase trying to get one over on each other things become more and more surreal for Dormer as he struggles to sleep in the ever sunny town.

Insomnia is a great film because it's quite simple in it's themes and morals, but the story takes several twists and turns which complicate it, but ensure it is still easy to follow. Pacino is more than convincing as Dormer who struggles to deal with his conscious and lack of sleep over the space of 6 long days and nights. Williams is eery as the murderer Finch and the two of them work nicely together on screen as complete opposite characters sharing a common worry - being found guilty of murder.

It is evident that Nolan's slick style and trickery with the camera as well as his storytelling abilities are finding their feat in Insomnia and laying the foundations for his later run outs on Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and Inception.

Insomnia is a fantastic film and well worth a watch, but try not to watch it whilst tired. As I struggled to keep my eyes open to get to the end of the film I found myself empathising with Dormer so much that when I got to bed I struggled to get to sleep.

John Bishop's Britain - Episode 2

The second installment of Bish's new Saturday comedy show wasn't quite as good as last week.

It followed the same format and this week centred around growing up. Bish typically had a few little gems of comedy to share. He commented that with him having a brother his wife being an only child she doesn't understand the importance a dead leg plays in a sibling relationship, which got some chuckles and tickled me. However, the rest of the show didn't quite have the same poignance and resonant comedy as the previous week.

Hopefully it was a one off low point in a great series. I shall be tuning in next week with fingers crossed.

Dirty Goods

Friday Dirty Goods played a secret matinee gig for Border magazine in Newport City Centre. There was a tidy little turn out for the middle of the day and they went down a treat. It was only a short four track set, but the crowd enjoyed it.

Then Friday night they played the Border Live gig in Six Feet Under, Newport. I missed all the other bands up to Town as I was skulking around the various bars of Newport. Dirty Goods weren't on until nearly 1am, but it was well worth the wait. The usual favourites of Hollywood and Honest went down a storm alongside some newer tracks.

Big things happening soon for the band. Watch this space.