Tuesday, 27 December 2011

New Year's Aberration

By the bum of Zeus, it's been a long time since I last blogged!

I've made a proper, grown-up, totally-not-to-be-reneged-on decision to blog at least once a week in future. I've currently got several working brain cells left after the traditional Christmas Sherry Trifle Spelunking that goes on in our house, so I've determined to put them to some sort of use in the coming year.

But let me make this clear though; IT IS NOT A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION. Making promises to oneself that are arbitrarily attached to the flipping over of the calendar are generally doomed from the outset, in my experience. Zum Beispiel: 'Oooo, I'm well proper gonna go to the gym fifty times a week this year!' is oh-so-swiftly replaced with 'What?? The local KFC has a drive-thru now?? TO THE GREASE-WAGON!!'...

So instead I'm going to pretend it's July so I can legitimately intend to blog on a weekly basis without being in danger of 'kidding myself'. So, I'm off outside with an ice-cream and some ill-advised Bermuda shorts... *is immediately frozen in a block of ice to be discovered by future civilization and displayed as 'Specimen of 2011/12 Idiot'*

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My Thoughts on Why Behaving Like a Dismissive Arse Is Not the Best Idea.

Recently I've been speaking to a number of people involved in drama production, development and script editing. They have offered support and advice to me while I'm working to expand my portfolio as a script reader. They've all been wonderfully insightful, generous and encouraging, and gone far beyond what I could reasonably have expected when I initially contacted them in terms of mentoring and assisting me. These people, I seriously like. These people, I would consider myself honoured to get the chance to work with in any capacity.

BUT...

One other person I encountered (not in an official 'meeting' setting, thankfully!) was exactly the opposite. As I approached and politely offered a few introductory words, I was quickly cut off with an abrupt and somewhat derisory sneer. As a result, I will remember this person just as clearly as those who have treated me kindly, but of course in an entirely different light. I will remember what their company is called, what sort of things they are likely to be working on, their name, and what they look like. Behaving hurtfully toward someone who is approaching you because they respect you and your profession is extremely low.

I don't bear grudges, so that's not the purpose of my remembering the way they treated me. I will bear this person in mind because, in years to come, I may fabulously lucky enough to be in a position to choose between working on two equally excellent projects; but this person is attached to one of them. I will, of course, count this as a strong reason to select the other project; not out of bitterness or spite, but because it's sensible to want to work with people who are personable and easy to connect with. I wouldn't want to go out of my way to put myself in a position where I had to spend large quantities of professional time with someone who was interpersonally difficult. This actually applies within any industry I can think of; not just film/television.

It's like these people are participating in a strange activity I like to think of as 'anti-networking'; the philosophy behind that being 'why create a positive acquaintanceship when I can put someone down and piss on their chips?'

While I accept that people have bad days, and not everyone wants to be bothered with young hopefuls badgering them for tips; in this case I hadn't even managed to ask a pertinent question before I was cut off. From the speed of my dismissal, I can deduce that I wasn't the first to be treated in this way by them, nor would I be the last. So this person has probably alienated a decent number of people before their careers have even fully taken off. So it's not just me that will have that bias against this person hidden at the back of their mind...

And I bet that'll come back to bite that dismissive arse on the... um... arse...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mewvies

I'm in a good mood today. Possibly because I'm off my skateboard on coffee, and also because my hair is bright pink again. This is after a few months of trying to be a bit more 'normal'. Didn't work. Maybe because dark purple was as 'normal' as I could be persuaded to go... Sometimes I manage to disguise my inner loon - I'm like a stick of Blackpool rock, with 'LOON' running all the way through the middle. However, I admit that I'm happiest when the word 'LOON' is also written all over the outside as well.

ANYWAY, I was saying that I'm in a good mood. So I'm going to write some random, attention-deficit drivel about movies that has popped into my head :-D

WHY CAN'T THERE BE A FEMALE MICHAEL CERA?

You know, cute & quirky, but not exactly pinup material. A girl you can cast in indie (or at least indie-style) flicks aimed at audiences in their teens to early thirties. The reason is that there are not enough PROPERLY FUNNY women that aren't totally butt-faced, the formula isn't tried-and-tested for profitability, and there are too many middle-aged male executives who think they know exactly how today's 'geek chic' set of young men think. 'Cheerleader types appeal to EVERYONE!' they cry. I ask them to note the number of men my age who secretly fell for Jessica Hynes (Stevenson at the time) when she was in Spaced.

Of course, there are some actresses who get cast in these roles, and play them well. Kat Dennings in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, for example. But I want more of them, and I'll bet the nerd-boys do too! The nerd-boy set loves watching movies, the possibility of a convincing (ie - not an obvious cheerleader-in-glasses type) nerd-girl who gets them, and hates feeling patronised. Difficult chemistry to engineer, but Spaced got it right... if only more movies could do the same...

CAN EXPOSITIONAL DIALOGUE PLEASE BE MADE ILLEGAL? LIKE, PRISON-SENTENCE ILLEGAL?

It makes me want to run up to the projection booth at the back of the cinema and barf on the actual film itself. You know the type of dialogue: "Why can't you TALK to me?? I'm your WIFE!" or "Things haven't been the same since Mum died..." or even worse, "I AM your SISTER, you know!" Seriously, do you know anyone with such a specific type of brain damage that they feel the need to announce their relationship to those around them whenever they speak? If so, my heart goes out to them, because NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T DO THAT. It's the kind of dialogue that is lazily put in to explain to the audience what is going on by having the characters literally explain it out loud. It's unnatural and completely breaks the flow of the movie by causing us to cease to believe in and relate to the characters. It's like drawing aside the curtain to reveal that these people onscreen, with whom we've empathised and invested our emotions, are nothing more than mechanical automatons created for the purpose of pushing the plot forward. Which, of course, they ARE. But there's no reason to make that so obvious that it's offputting! If a filmmaker can't make plot advancements and inter-character relationships evident visually, or in the WAY they speak to each other rather than what is said, they have committed a fairly epic fail, and need to look at doing a bit of rewriting. I say 'filmmaker' rather than 'writer', as there are plenty of people sticking their oar in when it comes to a script in development. So stuff like this might end up in there at the behest of a well-meaning (but completely mental) executive, rather than as a result of an inept writer. If I wanted to wade through a retarded bog of clich├ęs and poorly-handled storytelling, I'd... well, I can't finish that sentence, because I can't even IMAGINE a scenario where I'd want to do that. So I'd like it if there wasn't any of it anymore, please :-)



Okay, that's all I've got brainspace for right now, am off to read a screenplay. Hope there's no expositional dialogue, or I might eat it! :-D

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Laws of The Cinema

Bloody Nora, it's been a while since I've posted! Apologies for that; I've just been taking a mad-load of script reading and development courses lately as part of the career master plan... between that, full-time work and frequent hair-dyeing, I did not allow time for blogging *hangs head in shame*

Since I'm looking to get involved with script reading, I've been watching even more movies lately. I've always loved watching them, but lately I've really been taking advantage of my Cineworld Unlimited card, to shove as much nutritious movie goodness into my eyeholes as possible. While I love that I can go to the movies as often as I like for a flat-rate monthly fee, the slight downside of cinemagoing is that THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE THERE. I assume that there are other people out there somewhere who, like myself, simply want to enjoy a newly-released movie on the big screen with lovely digital sound. UNINTERRUPTED. However, I am yet to encounter such people at the cinema. Whenever I visit the Magical Moviehouse, I seem to be surrounded by gibbering morons who are intent upon shrieking/gurgling/snorting/mooing their opinions on a bi-secondly basis. I find it interesting that they have misinterpreted human society to such an extent that they seem to firmly believe that they've paid the insane sum of £8.10 for the privilege of having their loud, 2-hour conversation in a nice, dark room for a change.

So I've prepared a short (by no means exhaustive) list of LAWS of cinema etiquette that should, in this ranter's opinion, be enforced by rabid badgers with chainsaws instead of legs:

1) GO AWAY. This is aimed at all people. Please get away from me. If I wanted to spend upwards of 2 hours sitting right next to you despite the infinite quantity of empty seats far away that you COULD have chosen, I'd break into your house at night and sit on your bed while you sleep. See, it's not nice, is it?

2) SHUT UP.

Recently, we went to see 'The Adjustment Bureau'. In front of us was a bloke we dubbed 'Reaction Man'. Every time ANYTHING happened, he would gasp, loudly comment on it, and elbow the girl next to him (they seemed to have been on a date). I would like to present her with an award for exhibiting restraint in this situation, as the logical response to this would have been to stamp on his crotch. She made it to the end of the film without doing this, though, and so must have been a cyborg or something.

3) NOISY FOOD = STABBY FACE. While your date might find it alluring that you're snorting and grunting in your haste to hoover as much popcorn into your face as you can before the previews end, it's actually a bit weird and makes you seem like a warthog wearing clothes. [DISCLAIMER: I MAY OCCASIONALLY BE GUILTY OF THIS. BUT IT'S CUTE WHEN I DO IT].

4) CHECK OUT A FILM BEFORE YOU SEE IT. If you're a complete pleb who can't follow a plotline that doesn't feature animals or cheerleaders, don't go to see a political thriller. However, your loud whinging that you 'don't get it' is actually quite useful to society as a whole, as it informs your date/boyfriend/girlfriend that you shouldn't breed.

5) PHONES. Of course, it's annoying when people don't switch off/silence their phones during a showing. But it's also intolerable when they pull the phone out mid-film and start arsing around on it, causing the backlight to PIERCE MY RETINAS. Piece of information for these people: In the darkness of a cinema, YOUR PHONE APPEARS BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN ITSELF. You might as well set fire to the seat next to you, as that would be about the same level of distracting. And everyone knows you haven't got a text, as you clearly have no friends.

Okay that's enough for now, I've got to go chew on something to relieve the annoyance now...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Flinging myself at the film business like a golden retriever that can smell a biscuit...

I have put my serious hat on for this post. No shut up, I have. Not literally, you understand; pretty much all of my hats are actually quite silly, and the vast majority have ears of some sort on them. Metaphorically, then, I have donned the cap of gravity.

I am embarking upon the confusing and frustrating task of attempting to gain a foothold at the base of a career ladder. One that offers some hope, eventually and with hard work, of serious advancement. Please, dear reader, do not misunderstand; I do currently have a job. It pays money and is convenient to travel to. However, I am an admin assistant in a tiny company where there is, sadly, no opportunity for promotion or personal growth. The job has been a boon in the sense that I have been rewarded with promotion for good work, to the extent that such a small company is able, and have gained 18 months' office experience. This can only be a good thing, as my previous job-hunting attempts without any sort of 'experience' could be conservatively described as abortive. So I wholeheartedly thank my current employers for the chance to gain this valuable asset. The time has definitely come to seek higher pay and lengthier challenges though. However I am fully aware that this will be a long and laborious process, as I have chosen to try to get into film/television production. The purchasing aspect of my current job has equipped me with some skills that would potentially be useful should I find a way into production buying, as would my various forays into props buying for amateur projects. My lifelong semi-obsession with creating weird and ridiculous movie shorts, occasionally featuring a hamster as a villain, and often with a healthy dose of the macabre, also pushes my heart in the direction of production work. Having grown up being frequently allowed to wander around film sets, I have always been struck with the complex nature of filming and, for want of a less gimpy word, the exciting 'buzz' of it all. Particularly on American sets, as a visitor you are always courteously offered a chair. I feel like screaming 'NO! DON'T GIVE ME A CHAIR! I don't WANT to sit down! I want to run around like a baboon with its arse on fire, distributing tea and call-sheets! And perhaps even getting paid for the privilege!' Unfortunately nobody read my mind and offered me a job and a green-card on the spot, so it seems it's now up to me to do some legwork. I have an intense curiousity about how everything on a set is organized, who is responsible for what, and how it all comes together. I would like very much to be a cog in this entrancing machine, and collapse exhaustedly each night knowing that, while I might not have saved lives or earned a fortune, at least I did what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing. So I've been applying for entry-level jobs and paid internships like a fevered mental, and have every limb and extremity metaphorically crossed. Metaphorically because I don't want people thinking I'm constantly desperate to pee.

There is a bottle of champagne waiting in my kitchen for the day I get offered the job that may lead to my utter, vomit-inducing and toe-curling happiness. Let's hope I get an excuse to drink it before the year is out...

UPDATE - Forgot to mention I'm also auditioning, and organizing props, for a play that's due to be performed at the Camden Fringe this year. Will let you know how that goes, O Cherished Reader-bean...