Not So Super

16 12 2015

Film Reel

During the first semester of my final year at University (about 1 year ago now), I was still studying Creative Writing and Screenwriting at the University of Central Lancashire. In my third (or 4th overall) year however it was very different, as for the first time I was doing Creative Writing Major and Screenwriting Minor, where as in the 2 previous years I had done them both joint. I decided to go down this path because in year 2 I enjoyed Creative Writing far more than Screenwriting, and wanted to do more of that, even though I was getting some of my better marks in Screenwriting. During my first semester I took part in my last screenwriting module, wherein we had to write Monologues. Now my monologue did change here and there, but the subject remained the same throughout, that of an ageing, retired super hero who just wanted to be left alone. As the development progressed, it went from a sad story of youth in my first draft to eventually a super hero talking about how he has to do work for charity events. Well eventually one thing came to another and before I knew it, it had been selected along with two other monologues from the group to be made into a short film.

Casualty Logo

At first I was surprised, but could not understand why mine was chosen. I was certain of other people in the class being better at the course than me, and so for a few days I was just at a loss to understand, eventually though I came more round to it, and began to get a little bit more excited. It was to be directed by my monologues tutor Anita who also writes scripts for Casualty, and produced by two of her ex students. I attended a meeting about the short films late December, and we talked about what they were hoping to do with it, and suggested actors to play the parts. They suggested for my film for the character to be played by Rev actor Tom Hollander (where as I thought of Tim Piggott-Smith). Anyway, that’s how it got started.

Rev TV Series Logo

In the next few months, news was scarce as to what was going on, but eventually come around February I finally heard news of what was going on. The plan was to shoot mine first out of the three and show it off at festivals. But the big news was who the production team managed to get to star in the short film; John Henshaw. When I first read that I was completely unaware of who that was, but when my Mam found out, she nearly shouted in shock and surprise. I was still unsure until I went online and found a picture of him in Google. I best know of him for appearing in Early Doors, but his filmography is much bigger than that with appearances in The Cops (which Anita also worked on), Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, and lots of other things I can’t currently grab to mind. There was also an idea for me to have an appearance in the film with him. Well, this big news was very exciting, but then about a month later I found out more detail. It turns out that John Henshaw couldn’t do it anymore, and was replaced by Shameless actor; Mark Sheals. Another person I did not know much about. However I was aware of the actress Alice Barry (after seeing a photo of her online), but instantly recognized her as someone who was in Shameless (haven’t seen it) and Phoenix Nights. Soon after that, I was given details about the film’s Facebook page where some photos from filming had already been posted and then invited all my Facebook friends to come and like the page.

Shameless Logo

So, Filming was still going ahead, but I had no idea when, until one of the producers phoned me up, and invited me to come down one day during the Easter Holidays, to Salford where it was going to be filmed. It was the Tuesday (I think) just after I got back from that year’s Saved2Serve. Anyway I turned up, having read the start of Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness on the way down. I arrived, waited for a while to be picked up, and then was, along with someone else who was waiting around at the same station. We went to one of the first sites and waited in an office for a time, only to find out we were not going to be able to film there, so we went to another site, had some lunch and I watched some of my film being filmed. The plan was that at the original location I was to be filmed with the star, but sadly it couldn’t go ahead for some reason. Anyway, I was there, watched it being made, didn’t get to have my scene, but still it was nice, was then given a lift back to Preston before journeying on to Lancaster.

Monsters Of Men (Patrick Ness - 2010)

Time passed some more after that, and I was hoping to receive a copy of the film before I went to Roothill that year so I could show it off at the camp concert. Sadly that did not get to happen, but during the previous July, I was asked to go down to Manchester, to Gulliver’s Bar, where a showing of the film was going to be put on, along with some other films that were made by some of the film’s contributors. Before that though met Alice Barry, was sitting less than a couple of metres from John Henshaw who came down to watch, and said a brief hello to Mark Sheals again. The films were all nice to watch; my particular favourite was Going to Mecca which was just really funny. But then my film came on. It was very dark and hard to see much, but it was nice to finally watch it. However I did not feel all that much strongly for it. It didn’t look or feel like the monologue I wrote, it just felt different. Out was the retired superhero who wanted to be left alone, it just didn’t feel like my work, but my Mam pointed out that it was the case that it was adapted from my work, and I may not feel as strong to an adaptation when I was so close to my original piece. Since then though I have watched it a few more times, it has been uploaded to YouTube, I have shown people I know, and I have grown a bit more strongly towards it.

YouTube

In the end it was a fun little experience, and though while it had its hurdles with both production, and me and my work personally, I am glad I did it in the end and it is a nice little film. Nice thing to put on the CV (which it is, and I am currently unemployed), but also a nice thing to show my family and friends, and something nice on which to end my Screenwriting Course. Now here is your opportunity to have a watch, please feel free to comment, like and share…….…if you want to.

GENEPOOL

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Uncivil War: “Get Ready For War!”

12 11 2014

Uncivil War

Back in July/August when I was on work experience in Manchester, I was looking through twitter and discovered that The Escapist had a new show on their website. The show is hosted by the combined efforts of Jim Sterling who presents the Jimquisition, and Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw who presents the internet phenomenon; Zero Punctuation, to which both shows are shown on The Escapist. Jim and Yahtzee, both being originally from Great Britain previously co-hosted a show on the Escapist called Jim & Yahtzee’s Rhymedown Spectacular where they would each present a poem on a similar theme each week. The show went on for about a year, and was quite entertaining in the process; both showing their talent for poetry as well as write and perform poems about Video Game subjects.

Since the poetry however, Jim and Yahtzee have now changed direction and have started, once again co-hosting a new series on Video Games; Uncivil War. Basically each week, the two presenters play the same game, and make up a challenge which does not really exist in the game whilst also providing an awesome sounding name for the challenge and see who is better at it. For instance, in one show they played the new Watch Dogs game where the challenge was to run over as many in game characters who wearing the same colour clothing as the car that the co-host was driving and so therefore named “The Car-Clothing Colour Co-Ordinated Carnage Contest“. On a later episode, the challenge was a lot simpler as they played Left 4 Dead and challenged themselves in trying to be the first person to board the helicopter at the end of the ‘No Mercy’ campaign, suitably named the “Get To Da Choppa” challenge.

Uncivil War Title Card

The show is very well produced as the title card and intro for the show publicize itself as being like an old-fashioned boxing match with even a pumped up introduction in the opening sequence while simultaneously assigning a blue and red corner to each participant. The title card at the beginning of the show as well as on the video view slide also gives the impression of a fly poster on a brick wall somewhere promoting the fight. The show also has a brilliant opening theme produced by another Escapist; Gavin Dunne who creates the Miracle of Sound songs and videos (including the brilliant song; Gordon Freeman Saved My Life). The theme tune is actually really catchy and while short can be expanded for little points in the show’s soundtrack. The opening theme though begins on a strong point with the lyric “Get Ready For War” before continuing with the rest of the sequence and keeping the song going.

Uncivil War is a terrific Show. I like it for the part of the shows co-hosts as well as the theme and soundtrack; but what I like most about it is that it represents for me anyway of what multiplayer games should be. Not just a straight race, or death match, or anything along those lines. Games should have more daft, silly modes for the basis of multiplayer more often, and the show’s two brilliant presenters have shown that. These are the kind of little games I would like to play in multiplayer more often, a little challenge between players to spice up the multiplayer element that little bit more. I remember watching my brother and a friend play one of the original Need for Speed games and not race each other, instead they spent their time tipping over big trucks with their cars. It’s little games like that between players as to what multiplayer games should be about, having fun doing something a little bit silly every now and again as well.

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Murkum Show Episodes (Season 1)

6 08 2014

Murkum Show Titles

Some of you may be aware (thanks to some of my past posts) of my good friend Matt and his great talent for animation. I have spoken about this in the past particularly when he did an episode of Arbitrary Stopframe which was written by me entitled Monster Movie. About a year ago he did a small spin-off series around one of his characters called Dr. Murkum for which I also wrote a couple of episodes for and as the second series has just gone I thought I would look back at the first series and pick my Top 5 Favourite Episodes of The Murkum Show (for those of you who may have questions as to who or what a Murkum is and other pieces of essential information that may help you to understand what anyone in the following sketches are saying, please refer to the blogs from Matt and Tim).

Murkum Show 2

5. Drinkies – What is quite a quick episode has a real sense of slapstick that works really well. Murkum needs oil, someone goes to get it. Some one is getting drinks and Murkum orders a coffee. Original person comes back but Murkum forgets about the oil and drinks it thinking it is tea. It is quite interesting to note though that Murkum is supposedly a robot scientist yet oil is poisonous to him but this adds a sense of suspicion about his character and makes you want to find out more, even if it is just to see if robots like coffee.

4. Cough Sweets – The second of two episodes I wrote. This one about people wanting something badly to get rid of a cough and will settle for anything hoping that it will cure them but not asking if said item will do more harm than good. This is the case here with supposed cough sweet delivery actually being the arrival of cyanide capsules, but it is all too late as Murkum is more interested in people getting better than safely reading the ingredients label, even if someone else has. This episode also works on the opposite side of most episodes of the show as most of them involve Murkum getting hurt in someway, while this one takes the approach of his actions causing harm to somebody else. In addition I really do like the use of sound effects in this one and Tim’s voice as Mephnar Senior.

3. Headlong Dash – Another great piece of voice acting from Tim here pointing amount the most obvious of things. This episode actually does show some of Murkum’s military might but Murkum has forgotten to open the door. His speech is also a bit lacklustre but this could be a way of showing how un-intelligent he actually is. When he finally get’s in his car and crashes, it’s the additional voice who points out Murkum’s mistake, which in turn is what is so good about this episode.

2. Shiny New Toy – Another one from me now. I like this one a lot (and not just because I wrote it) because instead of Murkum getting injured in some ridiculous way, here is just getting robbed/mugged. I also like the little jokes I made towards Apple and the iPad brand too by using the names Pomegranate and X-Brick as well as the reference to Angry Birds by saying Happy Pigeons. Murkum’s cluelessness as well to the format shows just how difficult such devices can be to people as well as people’s general ideas and names to such things/devices. Also one thing to point out is the idea as stated in Chris Martin‘s Book Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area: Driven Crazy by the Modern World? that people don’t really know what the point of an iPad is, with Murkum stating that it might “help”.

1. Boss Machine – This one I think is the absolute funniest of the bunch. Murkum has a machine that he thinks will help him brainwash people into doing what he says, however it is not quite ready yet and Murkum constantly asks the same person over and over again to do things for him bordering on the ridiculousness including trying to steal all of the man’s money to making him  sing while setting his trousers on fire. This eventually accumulates to the point that the thing that Murkum asks for finally is the one thing the man has been wanting to do to Murkum all along, that is to punch him in the face. From the moment that he demands money, this becomes such a funny episode and does not stop until the very end, and that is why it is my favourite (of series 1).

GENEPOOL





My YouTube Videos

9 10 2013

YouTube

For over a year now I have been uploading videos onto YouTube. Now while that is a statement that many people on YouTube have probably stated, I have been enjoying it and thought I would share some of My Videos on here. Please check them out.

Lego City Excavator – This was the first video I uploaded. After buying some Lego from Argos, I decided to try my hand at animating and so I made this quick video with the Excavator. This became the first of 3 animation videos so far. The second video made use of the drill attachment while the third used both attachments and the lorry. I would like to make another one soon but with the Lego Technic Crane I bought this past July.

Police Colour Sergeant – I uploaded this one just a few weeks ago. While searching for a picture to use for a Story on my Stories Blog, I found a really good picture of a character from The Bill. Because it was such a Good Picture I experimented with the editing tools in Microsoft Picture Manager and had a fun idea for a video where it could be done in several different colours. I have got plans to do some more with different settings. I also included the song Escape by Metallica so it does not look dry.

FC3 – This was made on the same day as the release of Far Cry 3. I did it because I was annoyed by the constant Updates that my Games get but also because the game was brand new and already needed an update, which to me sounded stupid. Far Cry 3 is a Great Game, no problem with the game as a game. I included The Island; a song by PENDULUM in the Opening and Credits because for me it represented how psychotic the game looked……….and was.

A Day In The Life Of Preston Updated – The updated version to my original A Day In The Life Of Preston video. I did this as part of my Creative Writing course. I basically went along the lines of a Jeremy Clarkson review, starting off talking about what I did not like and finished with what I liked, which turned out not to be much. It was a lot more enjoyable doing it like that because I could be Me on the video, instead of just doing the normal thing in a travel video where they appear to be pleasant all the time. I also added some Metallica music to this one for both the Intro and Credits, but this time I used Fade To Black.

Chieftain Tank – One of my most recent videos alongside FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). This video was taken at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset. Basically it is a Giant Museum filled with tanks and one part of it is the Arena where they demonstrate the tanks to the viewing Public. It was great to see the Titan Vehicle drive around, because apart from on TV, where else do you get to see a Tank actually moving around?

GENEPOOL (Don’t forget to check out my friend Matt’s Videos).





Waldo’s People

6 03 2013

The Waldo Moment

Last week I finally got round to watching Black Mirror, a TV show written by someone whose work I am a fan of and a man who is an inspiration to me; Charlie Brooker. Black Mirror is a show that airs on Channel 4 and I have been wanting to watch since it started but I have not really had the time to get round to it. So for the final episode of the series, I made sure that I would watch it, so I recorded it. The following Wednesday I watched the episode entitled The Waldo Moment and I was terrified.

Charlie Brooker

Explaining the idea of the show to The Guardian, Brooker noted– “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The “black mirror” of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone”.   That is what Black Mirror in essence is about; it is about the addiction we all have to our technology, our gadgets. The trailer for the series shows and represents this in a way that is horrifying. In terms of how the series is structured Brooker also noted – “each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they’re all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy”. When the series’ first began in 2011 and I heard about this structure I thought it sounded a lot like The Outer Limits, where each episode is un-connected and different.

Black Mirror

Returning to the Waldo Moment, When I watched the trailer for the episode I was expecting some kind of deep underground government type thriller but what I got instead was the collapse of someone behind a mask. Waldo is a cartoon character-digital puppet who has a section on a late night program where he interviews politicians under the guise of a children’s TV show character. The man who is the puppeteer of the character is a failed comedian by the name of Jamie (brilliantly played by Daniel Rigby). The character is extremely popular with the audience and he soon gets his own show, despite Jamie being depressed and generally down with life as a whole. The Waldo Moment the title of the show suggests is a moment at a Q&A session with candidates at a local election when the Conservative Candidate verbally attacks both Jamie and Waldo. Jamie (as Waldo) returns fire and verbally attacks all the candidates. The incident gets put on YouTube and becomes a Smash Hit.

TWM

For me the Episode of Black Mirror was simply terrifying. Why you might ask, well; the topic of the episode had this sense of terrifying realism to it which made it incredibly believable yet scary as if it could actually happen. Waldo and the Waldo moment shows how much young people in particular can be persuaded by a character. The character appeals to them particularly in the politics sense because he is saying what they are all thinking, and so he connects with them on a psychological level. Waldo is also a gimmick, a fad, something that given a few years (or more likely weeks to months) will be forgotten. It is something that the young people can talk about, and spread through chat, emails, Facebook as well as through their phones. Something that is popular now that is their thing, their subject, the scene if you will and will remain that way until it runs out of steam, in which case something else will be sought out while the other thing will be forgotten quickly and only remembered by a few and brought up in conversation at dinner parties. But how does this topic connect with the Black Mirror; the Black Mirror is YouTube. YouTube did not start until 2005 and so when I was at High School the only way of watching Videos was the TV. During my time at High School several of the Students used to refer to songs that were in Adverts, and it used to drive me Mad, but they kept doing it and doing it and did not really stop until either the Advert stopped showing all together or a new one came out. I remember them all, Belly’s Gonna Get Ya, Birdseye Potato Advert, Mazda Zoom Zoom Zoom, What Sits On Your Wotsits and others. When YouTube did start the online world changed and within about 2 years it was worth $2,000,000,000. In recent years the term viral has become an established name for specific pieces of content. Viral meaning it spreads, like a virus. Possibly the most well-known of these in recent times being Gangnam Style.

TWM2

The Waldo Moment is a YouTube video which has gone viral, but the show reveals a terrifying as well as potential side of this form of media. The idea that people in Viral Videos could potentially rule the world (seeing as technology has technically already done that).  This idea is shown even more so at the end of the episode, (I won’t ruin it for you). The episode is about more than just a Cartoon Character or an Idea though. The episode shows strong emotional levels within the main character of Jamie. He starts off depressed and continually goes downhill until he reaches a destination, which results in one half of him flying off into space and the other going downhill.

Christina Chong, Daniel Rigby and Jason Flemyng

Altogether the episode is one of the most thought-provoking pieces as well as one of the scariest pieces of television I have seen in years. I look forward to watching more of Black Mirror, but I am also terrified to do so, why? It is so realistic to the world now that while the incidents in the episode may not be real now or may not become real at all in the future, but it is still a strong possibility.

GENEPOOL (You can watch this episode on 4OD)








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