Thursday, 31 March 2011
I'm a big fan of the trilogy, probably because they are each incredible in their own way. With a triptych style group of films, I usually find myself only liking one or two. Almost always I will find one of them doesnt touch me in anyway. But Vengence is different. The first movie instantly became an enduring favourite for it's contemplatative attitude to violence even as it engrosses you in it. Lady Vengence is evocative in about a thousand ways and increasingly satisfying the more you watch.
But Oldboy is... mental? Yes, Mental. In a good way of course. However it was my least favourite of the three for one simple reason - I didn't really love the ending. Or at least, I felt instinctively that the relationship aspect of the ending, I wouldn't have gone with. It didn't stop me loving it generally, just made me notice the absence of that purist sense of satisfaction you get at the end of a perfect film.
But that was before I read this: South Korean Cinema Violence article
Now I'm wondering. That's the sort of cultural allegorical stuff I'd usually jump all over as an example of superior interpretative writing, but clearly my poor retention of historical facts made me miss this bit of correlation. Should I rewatch? Hmmm
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
So I thought I'd better break it down and introduce it as a new blog theme to be regularly added to every week or so. I guess I should leave this until next week because calling it Masturbation Monday would probably make the most sense, but since it's not a Monday, let's just call it my Rolling Porn post.
Yes, porn: I will be writing about porn. Sometimes just about porn there out in the world, sometimes about how Ant has been involved in making porn, and how I almost got involved but never crossed that line cos it was never quite right, sometimes about the philosophical perspectives people argue over, sometimes just plain old criticism, and stuff like that. I am welcome to any and all arguments of any kind, and anyone's own experiences.
First let's start small; let's us begin:
Monday, 21 March 2011
I don't get podcasts.
I really don't; can someone explain it to me?
Maybe it's because what I most do on the internet is read stuff, so if I have one page running a podcast while I read other pages, I find I don't 'hear' the podcast cos I'm hearing the words I'm reading instead. Furthermore, I usually listen to Spotify while reading loads of tabs on web, and listening to music makes me reader faster and more focussed, so the idea of opting to listen to people talking when I won't listen to what they are saying if I do something else, and there's not much I do that lends itself to just listening to a bunch of people talking. I honestly would rather reading peoples' writings about something on a page while listening to music than listen to them chatting about something I'll probably stop paying attention to.
Is it because I don't really like the concept of radio, and something has to be really engaging for me to listen to it sans visual when it's just voices. Blue Jam totally rocked, but I view that as an exception.
This applies to me as well; before I did A-Levels I was on a BTEC Media, which I failed. I personally wasn't bothered I didn't finish, because I thought the course sucked - in the Production Module part, they make you do a project where you make up a production budget. Why I didn't like that? They literally wanted you to make it up... there was zero requirement for you to use any realistic references, if you wanted to educate yourselves in real world knowledge through the module (such as where you get information on the costs of hiring equipment or sets, costings related to health and safety issues or permits, limits relating to working hours or pay to cast and crew, how to relate this to shooting schedule, etc) you were actually discouraged from going into that sort of detail, instead told to just... you know, make up a bunch of numbers about equipment, paying people, locations, then a random number of days to do it, add it up and call it a budget. I wasn't particularly interested in wasting my time of what is fundamentally just a mathematic equation, so I didn't bother. But the bit that did bother was the radio module - I hate my voice, and I can handle that in general conversation, but my voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me so thinking of it on it's own, not bodily factor, freaks me out, and then we had to do a show that was really broadcast across South Wales. I wrote most of it, sorted out a load of the production stuff, picking music, preparing, all that shit, but I didn't get a grade just because I didn't speak on it!
Anyway, back to the podcast.
I really can't see why anyone would bother, and I never have. And it's not just because most of them are nothing more than some people talking to each other, often in a really boring, uninformed way; there are many little 'to camera' editorials I've watched, I've nothing against people choosing to add a really basic video to youtube just to say why they think *some* of the Indiana Jones movies are pure unadulterated genius, but there's something about people doing it as radio. Not exclusively, but ESPECIALLY if it's about films or filmmaking.
Is what I'm missing that most people who listen and promote podcasts are people who, unlike me, do a lot of stuff that requires looking or physicality but doesn't require listening to anything that would distract from the voices chirping in their ears? I mean, I wouldn't listen on the bus or train, because (same as above) my brain works better listening to music, I mostly want to stave off travel sickness and drown out stupid people talking around me or screaming at their kids. I guess if you were a environmental photographer who was so busy they needed to fill all their time with education and networking listening to a podcast while you wade through a forest looking for a squirrel would be a good idea, or you were preparing to rob a bank and for a week all you had to do was sit on a bench and log the times the staff came and went, but generally I can't think of many times I'd choose to listen to one.
Most people who love podcasts, or think their careers would radically change if they made and promoted podcasts, why do they love them, and how do they listen to them? I'd rather a video or text everytime? Explain to me!
Saturday, 19 March 2011
When I was younger I was told that I might have mild dyslexia, but I didn't bother thinking much about it. Reason 1) is that they were wrong on the first piece of 'evidence' - they told me the lateness with which I learnt to write (11/12) was a sign that the lack of specialised teaching forms for the condition meant I was at a disadvantage compared to other kids so I learnt slower. This is wrong, I was illiterate until I was 12 because I was never in school during the first year you learn to write, then when I came back I was shoved in Special Needs as soon as they noticed I couldn't do any of the basics, and since the cirriculum in Special Needs contains about 10% of normal learning per year I never caught up in school. As you can imagine for years I continued to not learn to read or write. Truth be told my best friend ratted me out to my mother that I didn't know how to read at all, and over a summer she taught me at home with Roald Dahl books.
Yes that's what I said; my mother taught me everything I needed to know about reading and writing in one summer with the dark humour of Roald so that I was more than able to keep up with my fellow students when I went back to school, so my mother had closed a five year gap in about two months. What a statement about the Welsh Primary Educational System is that? Because of her choice of teaching method I still don't really know the alphebet, but who gives a fuck about the alphebet anyway? I can promise you that all that learning the letters in order is wasted education. Learn on fun books and you will see all them letters eventually...
Anyway, the basis for telling me that I might have very very very mild dyslexia is I had a real problem seeing words and letters the right way, but only a few combinations, which is considered really mild. You're only classed as having dyslexia that needs specialist teaching methods if your lack of recognition of letters or words applies to all combinations, even if only occasionally. If your occasional visual problem only affects a small group of combinations, that's liveable, I was told. And I completely agreed. When I was a teenager and in the intervening years it's just been seeing Ss the right way, remember which way p goes, same for d vs b, and I have a weakness for never getting my O words right. Or or Of for example - often type or write them wrong, can't seem to help myself.
But this week - for some reason I've gone haywire! I can't stop writing my theres' type words wrong. Especially I keep writing their, regardless of which version I need. And tenses, have been having big problems with tenses - keep writing a present tense when the rest of the sentence is a future or past, it's a pain in the arse.
It's one thing when you write something, give a quick reread and on the perusal they jump at you, but this week I can't see them... Theres probably a bunch in this, but I aint seeing them if so...
So in keeping with this I think I'll take a break from the blog for about a week. Might have been spending too much time writing on the net. Might clean my house and go break into a bunch of closed down hospitals... x
Friday, 18 March 2011
The hospital was amusing. Despite the fact that on a day to day basis I mostly feel a bit run down, bit tired, not loads of energy, it's odd to go there and have them tell me I have to have loads of stuff done to check that a load of stuff isn't going wrong. Today they told me I about the follow referrals:
1) Must see the head rheumatologist about me not being able to rotate my left shoulder, mostly meaning I can't lift the arm above my head, which though irritating is not that hard to compromise around day to day if you have to.
2) Must see a liver consultant specialist about why the toxicity that might have led to liver damage hasn't completely returned to normal after drug reaction. What else is not right affecting the liver? They ask me this but I don't know do I.
3) Have I had my bone density check? No - Did I get the letter and just miss the appointment or has it not been scheduled? No one's mentioned it one way or the other. Apparently that should have been done already. I assume because my pills lead to some bone density problems.
4) Have I seen a skin specialist yet? Also no, but at least I'm familiar with this one - the pills I'm on, given that they make your immune system mostly incapable of recognising what stuff is alien in the body and fighting it or pushing it out, it no longer recognises all those sun rays as bad. Apparently even though we're used to being told how easily the sun affects us, it's still related to the immune system and a lot more tries to damage the body that it averagely does. On immunosuppressants body stops trying to stop some of it messing you up, you become much more likely to get skin cancer.
That one I'm actually ok with. Back in ye olden days when they were introducing me to the transplant information I thought I was told that recipients are very likely to get BONE cancer. My heart honestly sank. The medical team didn't know about my extreme unhappiness for several weeks because I didn't tell em, I let them do all the usual transplant things; put me on the waiting list, start discussing possible donors, doing more tests, but deep inside that was the only time I felt a completely hopeless about the situation. In my head I was picturing a future of either regular dialysis for the rest of my life, or transplant but with regular discovery of bone cancer and the treatment that goes with it for the rest of my life, which didn't sound much better.
Bone cancer and skin cancer, not much in common. Bone cancer = happens invisibly in your body, effecting, ahem, every bone you have, one of the most painful things anyone can experience. Skin cancer = you wear big hats and go without bikini at the beach for the rest of your life, you wear sunblock on any exposed skin, and check your skin regularly, get used to what it looks like and report any change in pigmentation, or shape n size of moles. And, crucially, if you catch any changes, you go to the hospital, they take it out. Once I realised that's what they meant, I was happy as a clam in high water. I mean, I'm really pale so I don't do sunbathing anyway, and even if I did I'm not exactly Rhona Mitra, so it's not my scene. And I like hats.
And on that note (Rhona, not hats), the other consultation is to see a dietician (referral 5!) so I can discuss the best ways to lose weight, tone up, build muscle. You know, the whole scientific attitude to body building? I want to do that!
Yes, I am throwing myself wholeheartedly into becoming one of those people who knows about all that crap, the stuff to do with eating protein before a half hour after your exercise session has past, about slowly working your muscles for the first half hour of said session because in that time your muslces are loose enough to effectively work, about when you'll be burning muscles instead of fat, blah blah blah.
Pretty girly :D I blame the massive photo file we found last week. I was looking through all my printed photos, about 3000 photos on one harddrive and then Ant managed to pull some stuff off a broken harddrive and we found another 4000. We were mostly looking for the Japan pictures (obviously, like everyone, it's on our minds) but I found some of me I haven't seen... in a long time. And I've always been either thin and scrawny, or swelled. For a couple of years as a teenager I was really strong and fit, but it soon went. Then during all this stuff, you get that wierd effect of your body weight having nothing to do with stereotypical eating stuff, and you realise when the issue becomes what you're eating and how much exercise you're doing that in comparison that should be so much easier to control. AndI think I'd quite like to try toned, and between the doctors telling staying trim is always good cos transplant patients have a higher chance of getting diabetes, my muscle mass is crap because of dialysis, I'm definitely twice the size I used to be and I felt better when I was on a no sugar diet, I think if I start obsessing at least I can argue it's all grave n important, not girly n insecure...
Thursday, 17 March 2011
"Dude, most anyone who just goes out and makes films regular, they are by their very nature's 'proactive' and a 'filmmaker', you can't copyright that shit."
And it didn't stop there; their blog is full of stuff about finding the strength to be a filmmaker, having faith in blah blah blah and about if they get a five figure amount to start there production company it will be the beginning of a revolution. And yes, that bit is true... this blogger was one of those people who talk about starting a style/production/format/ethos revolution. Like they're planning on building new cameras that actually connect 10 people together, zap all the thoughts and imagery in their heads out via cables, moosh it together and they projects a load of random shit at a wall and call whatever discernable narrative that might pop out a movie.
That sort of thing really gets me thinking about self promotion. It's been on my mind anyway since the time to make a shift in one direction or another is on the brink, but this blog really got me pondering. I think it's really pretentious, really going into the sphere of ignoring a sense of your proportionate place in the industry, comparing yourself and a realistic assessment of whether you are a big deal or not compared to everyone else who are also talented and productive. I personally think that the work should be the focus of promotion, not the hollow choice of words describing the word as important. But then again, I noticed the blog, and had enough of a reaction that I thought about and wanted to write something. It may not be much use to the filmmaker in question since I think it's pretentious but I noticed. It wasn't films by the blogger that got me enthralled, it was just the self promotion. Imagine how much attention, and maybe money and work, they are getting off people who bought into that crap, who didn't just want to bitch about it. They are visible.
Self promotion is kind of like that Izzard joke about clothes n stuff. Any Izzard fan will know the 'looking hip, looking cool, looking groovy ... looking like a dickhead' sketch. It doesn't go like that obviously but the point is that looking cool and looking like a dickhead are polar opposites but on a barometer cycle they are right next to each other as well. Some people don't self promote at all, some self promote accurately, some frame how they present their work a little more impressively than their work and skills deserve but not to an embarrassing degree, some seem to frame their work so impressively that you wonder if it's a case of their don't know how little they don't know, and you want to pat them on the head for only seeing the tiny bits of skill and technique they currently know. And some self promote to such extremes you're in awe of them if they have the talent to back it up, and with the people who don't, you wonder if it's some piece of satirical genius living performance art.
Like the Izzard joke. Doing it really well and doing it really badly are both so noticeable they're pretty close to each other on the barometer despite being polar opposites in effectiveness. None the less they both get you attention. Ironically the doing it subtly, not embarrassingly and not impressively is somewhere in the middle, the part where you don't look awesome, you don't look stupid, but you also don't look noticeable.
The hard thing for self respecting people to get into about self promotion is that you might feel like a dickhead for saying stuff or doing stuff in the self promoting process you'd be embarrassed for your friends to notice, but if you don't are you completely invisible to anyone who might make a difference changing your career in a timely manner?
Either way, something promotional is on my mind which will be discussed soon. It's been on my mind for about a month or so, but I think it really is something to get out in the public sphere, an area of experimentation possibly. But more next week.
Anyway, this is a much shorter post than what I are wrote before this about different attitudes to self promotion, and how honesty, proportion, pretense and careful framing play into it, and then decided not to post. So that's an improvement - I'm self censoring. I'm sure some people will think that's an improvement :)
*I'd like to reiterate that 'Proactive Filmmaker' wasn't the term in question; me saying I don't want to lead readers back to the blog in question wasn't a double bluff or the like - if anyone does find someone talking about the words 'Practive Filmmaker' like they need a patent on some blog, that's an unlucky accident* In fact, the real term that was being used was even less interesting, original and useful than that!
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
This, other than being very interesting for research, just made me realise something I should have realised soooooooo long ago;
If I'm trying to get an audience to care a little bit about how my characters have to spend a substantial amount of time focussing on the ridiculous practicalities of dialysis, how they can't miss even a little bit of treatment because of the grave ramifications of lack of treatment, I can't just lead into that with how bad total kidney failure is - I have to include a character who just dies! Not really developed, just really body-shape changingly sick, and then just dies.
Of kidney failure I mean. Not of being set on fire, not shot, not run down by an angry mob, just the organs going kaput on their own. I know this sounds probably a tiny bit abstract, but other than abstract a little bit obvious. But really, it had not occurred to me that I couldn't just frame what the death would be like in conversations, charts, photos, I HAVE to show it to fully and efficiently make plausible the lengths to which the characters will go to keep focussing on it.
This is a clear cut example of someone being so close to what they're writing that they don't see the most important thing right in front of them. To me, how bad a kidney failure death would be is ingrained in my mind, because when I was put in hospital I was ten days from being dead, and I remember very clearly how bad I felt. It wasn't just easy for me to gauge incrementally how much worse I would be two days from then, five days, then the tenth day. The swift progress of feeling a bit ill to feeling like what I was (being, basically, poisoned by my own body) was incrementally obvious to me over the month before, so I had a pretty good sense that the last ten days must be pretty horrifying.
But an audience doesn't know any of that. No conversation could ever make you really picture what that's like. You have to show it. Obviously, showing it doesn't make anyone know what it's like either, but seeing something horrible is the closest thing we get to feeling like we know it's horrible, and being really glad we aren't feeling that. Seeing and hearing the infamous lil bit in 127 Hours is most definitely nothing like actually going through it but it's the best we got.
I better start finding out from the hospital quite what the worst death from kidney failure can be, and the combination of organ problems that come from it...
Saturday, 12 March 2011
But that doesn't stop me being a bit jealous of the people who can lead their normal lives, have jobs and big social lives, lots of hobbies and side projects and tastes, and yet somehow everyday they also know everything that's going on in the world, everything that's happening in technology, and everything that is considered popular by the whole planet on a given day. I went to Uni years ago to learn about Human Rights partly because I knew that the Political history of different countries and their interconnectedness would be covered, and I really wanted to understand the history of so much in global politics in an attempt to understand what is happening now. It didn't work :p
The best reason was no matter how much I read, watched, listened to, discussed, archived, organised, whatever, even spending most of my days learning about the politics of the past and reading the papers everyday I still didn't effortlessly take it all in, and it was practically a full time job. To also be great at knowing what's hot in a casual sense as well, what the geniuses and nimrods of the world alike are obsessing over in a day to day sense, I don't get how anyone can remember it all. And the people who use that to keep themselves at the forefront of their field with constant relevant knowledge, getting exposure to the globe for yourself and how your brand your image? Irritated by and still a little jealous.
Well today I finally saw one of those illusive (to me) ways that people simplify the task on the net. I started reading What the Trend. Now see, being slapdash about whats going on in the world, as the above pertains to, I do read the places and hear the stuff about the best websites for this or that utility that might or might not initially seem like the most useful thing in the world, but I usually end up dissatisfied. The website isn't a breakthrough, the blog doesn't have that much insider knowledge, the new technology being treated like one of the tablets the ten fucking commandments was chiselled into isn't actually that great, and already usurped by some other crappy bit of tech.
But What the Trend?
Maybe this only applies today precisely because I've hit that point where I do want to learn more about the real ways of gaining exposure (targeted and blanket) because Ant really deserves more attention for what he's done in the past and what we hope we'll be doing in the future, and we are hoping the next year might be the one for real exposure, exposure for something worthy of large attention, not just wistful fantasies about some day. Forearmed, Over-prepared, whatever, I believe in knowing the relevent areas like self promotion and PR, even if you plan on hiring someone to do it in the future :/ Ant really hates self promotion but at some point understanding it, even if he feels cheap and tacky (which he does) is going to be necessary, and even if I stayed in the background most of the time I want to understand it to be prepared for if that time came.
Now, back to the point. As I said, maybe I'm only seeing things this way today because it's hit the point when I'm thinking, in a genuine practical sense, of how this works, and why it works for other people. What The Trend today apparently shows that what the globe has most been talking about via the web is:
1) The tragedy in Japan. Regardless of fluctuations this is the main thing in many different ways, and I'm sure it will be for quite a while.
2) What people did before they had twitter. I would hope this one would disappear quickly but I guess it has something tangible at the centre because it's staying high for hours, not just a quickfire meme then.
3) Different Celebrities and Sports Stars.
4) teasing Jaden Smith
5) trying to figure out who said it was ok to do or say something.
Apparently that is what the world is most interested in today and yesterday and maybe the day before. This is literally the first time I've ever read a website designed towards definitively telling you what is 'trending' around the world. What, I guess, billions of people are bothering to communicate about today and hope to find many others to communicate with about it too.
Obviously the only one I'm interested in is Japan. However all of that information is useful if you were setting your public image, your career, your presentational brand on being in the now.
If you were someone wanting to get as famous as possible through being at the centre of the now every minute that the now is happening I guess you would have a blog, maybe several blogs, and naturally profiles on every social networking site possible, IDs for every comments board available, your own websites just about life in all current event senses of the word, and you'd be free to use this sorta stuff every minute to be at the forefront of each and every discussion until your ID is so ubiquitous that anyone behind you in the public profile stakes will be enamoured with your presence and assume you must be real important to know everything happening all the time before it happens.
What about, hypothetically, being a filmmaker who wants to get exposure any way possible. Say, you don't have much of a defined style of passionate direction? Again lets assume this type of person has profiles set up everywhere, accounts on every video site, etc etc etc.
You could firstly do a bunch of diary videos for your youtube about the crisis in Japan, how you feel about it, how much you care, how everyone should try to help; spam it everywhere so that even if it's so unnecessary (being just an emotive opinion piece with no real impetus to do something to make a difference) that it drops off the relevancy scale in minutes, you've spammed it so widely that you'll pull in at least a large chunk of the people looking for updates that minute. You could try to do interviews with some relevent people, or at least blog vigorously catching every link available to relevent places so your blog looks relevent even if you're just directing people elsewhere. You could keep doing this so that your blogging becomes something to return to and you get a rolling return of hits. In the background you could organise a benefit for the relief needs if you can't think of a way to film anything really pertaining to Japan (such as, going there and helping) and as soon as it looks like you have a real event in your area you can blog about that, about how you cared so much and needed to do something so the benefit will have artists, poets, bands, theatre, dance and all the money goes to Japan, but definitely mention that you'll be making a documentary out of it too, which people can donate money to download after, all proceeds for the relief of course. Through this you could go from looking like just another piece of hay throwing in a comment about how much you care, and move into showcasing your moral imperative, your passion and commitment, your lifestyle focus, your community ties, your networking skills, organisational and management skills, your filmmaking ability, your philanthropic nature and your production company.
Or, if you think that those 'add this to your status update and make your friends cut and paste it too!' things are any good you can repost and retweet and blog the 'Pray for Japan' thing over and over so many thousand times that you are at least genuinely spending real time on it, even if you can't tell whether anything useful is really getting to Japan.
Or if you are trying to shape the opposite image, say, someone like I really am - a right arsy, offensive, unpalatable cunt - you can focus on being negative. You can make yourself a hate figure and post opinion videos and blogs about how funny the tragedy is, how everyone is making too much of a deal out of it. Or even better, pretend you have a high horse to get on, act passionately inflamed and make it a conspiracy, ranting about how the emphasis on caring about these tsunami incidents is in sharp contrasts to how much people care about what happens on their own shores blah blah blah.
Or you can wrap yourself around the hate figures and hate on them. One of the trends of today has been the tiresome propagation of Godzilla jokes; you could easily do a bunch of fictional comedy shorts, design some memes to oppose the japan hating memes out there, of the just desserts for all these Godzilla jokers out there.
Ignoring the sarcastic presentation of the options provided above (I actually care about natural disasters and I love Japan, so the hollow focus in so many parts of teh tinternet is fucking me off, not that that's everyone, but it's a lot) it does help me see how, over months or possibly even weeks, you could get yourself at the forefront of public figures dealing with blanket awareness in any industry without actually being the first one to learn something and share it with the world, feet on the ground style. As a filmmaker, you could produce cheap, issue focussed films on a practically constant basis, if you were web savvy, you could produce a variety for each issue depending on target audience (as in, a personal to camera opinion piece if that seems to get you the most attention on youtube, a more defined piece of filmmaking production with a story for vimeo and all other filmmaking focussed sites, a community based documentary piece about public perception of grassroots activity for more community and charity based websites, and whatever works on presenting yourself on blogs). If a filmmaker was to tackle every issue that popped each week doing videos in whatever focus and direction that seemed the most appropriate, two things could be acheived. One, your image - very on the pulse, in the centre, knows whats happening before everyone else, a community leader. And two, you would make youself visible to the globe by so constantly taking advantage of what is most being looked for via all searchable sites, the keywording and spamming bringing people to your site making it higher in rankings etc etc, until you would rate very high on all search engines blah blah blah...
Interesting. Like I said I always knew this stuff was out there but didn't ever see it myself. 'Course I'm not hypothesising in order to do this, it's just interesting seeing *one* of the ways certain types of web users get so popular. Any filmmaker who would make films about anything popular just to be a name known to everyone should be thrown to the dogs. I might make trying to learn the genesis of certain trends a bit of a hobby though, just cos some of them seem so random I imagine I can't even picture the people who would spend their days on them. Like, trying to figure out who said it was ok to do or say something, who the hell started that? And was it intentionally supposed to become popular today, or are they so popular (whoever they are) that loads of other users would make it popular just to have a tenuous reason to reference them?
Prison Break, Script and Throat infections. (if you haven't seen Prison Break and plan to, here be SPOILERS up to middle season 2)
There's Mr Accountant looking a little more scruffy. Mr Accountant turns up in the second series. Ok, he's called William Fichtner, and he turns up in the second series. Between the two seasons it's like an american actor buffet; so many of the great character guys you see pop up in everything are in there - Paul Adelstein, Rockmond Dunbar, Silas Weir Mitchell, Peter Stormare for god's sake! Over the past four days I've gotten into the late middle of series 2.
And herein, I feel like I've been punched in the crotch.
Earlier this week I was feeling good. About films plans we're fleshing out for no budget stuff in the coming months. About urban exploration. About my script. Sure I'm not feeling as good as I was when I first fleshed it out, before I started getting distracted by any old thing, but still on Monday I was back feeling optomistic, confident again. I was certain without question it'd end up being an action packed thrill ride and a thoughtful, provoking piece hopefully about certain social issues that people think are a drag but they might subconsciously think more on so that out of pure adrenaline entertainment might come more considered thoughts. And I was sure that it was a strong mix of moral and immoral behaviour, good and terrible acts embodied by the same characters, dark and light pushed together, a mix strong enough to transcend a simple analysis of 'this character is the protagonist, and this other character is the antagonist'. I knew in many ways it was a new mix of different things, and a homage to others.
And then I got to episode 18 series 2 of Prison Break, and now I literally have the word D'OH lodged in my head on a loop. Prison Break is all of that, and then some, just about totally different things...
It's not the same themes. There's no apocalypse, the big cover-up is most definitely political and nothing else, and it's about, well, a FUCKING PRISON BREAK! Lots of Prisoners. FBI agents. Running around America. Doctors, people in suits, don't drop the soap, coded messages, road and railway blockades. Submerging an iron in the water while someone is tied up and being drowned in it to get information out of em. The works, and I loved it.
It's awesome. I mean, the first series - so fantastically written, and the lead actors, awesome. And the second season too. Different, but awesome.
But then you start to notice the character development. The shades of moral grey pulled in as certain characters do good and bad things in equal measure, the turns at which you identify more or less with them, and then less or more and back again. And then, they bring in a storyline about a fucking CHILD WITH KIDNEY FAILURE and what one character will do in the name of making sure that child can continue getting treatment without evil people taking it away from her in the name of leverage. And it's involving, and engaging and then heartbreaking. I had an extra lump in my throat cos of it. NOTE: I haven't seen the end of the episode in question, so maybe I'll change my mind if it goes in a funny direction.
Anyhoo, the storyline itself is NOTHING like what I've laid out in my story. That wasn't the point. I just had that intense moment when you see someone else take exactly the same issues you've been writing, and they frame in an emotional context you know you would never think of, and it's awesome. And even though on one level you are happy cos you're watching something fantastic and that's always good. But there is that other bit of your head, the bit (for me at least) that was thinking I really know my subject matter and I think that in the universe of what's emotional about it, *this scene that I'm writing* has the most punch to it, that is the epitome of what is heartrenching about it. And then you see someone else do something about that subject matter that's totally different from what you were planning and it blows you away.
Kinda sucked, that did.
Disclaimer of course, is... Well, I guess I'll just have to think about whether I'm actually so impressed with Prison Break because I don't like some of the stuff I'm writing. I mean, they are totally different things, what I've preparing for months is nowhere near similar to Prison Break, yet my head refuses to let go of the subtle character development similarities and the fact they include a kidney failure character, and it's really good. So yeah, that's makes me think I'm not bummed cos people will actually think I copied Prison Break (and I didn't: all I knew before Monday was that my mother really fancies the lead actor and that the actor in question had an incredibly small part in Buffy years ago, and about Accountant guy from Drive Angry). In fact I'm glad I've only seen the series this week instead of the five years ago that I could have tried getting my hands on it. Truth is, when you get rid of your TV you stop knowing much about what is on television, and when everyone you see and work with know you don't have a TV and you mostly watch movies, they don't bother telling you stuff about it all. I have no idea how many people years ago might have been watching it but no one I knew told me. My ma only recently saw it last year as well, and she didn't tell me anything cos she doesn't like to spoilerise. This way I know that most of my ideas for the script have come from other environmental stuff, what's actually been happening with me, what films have highlighted the genre gap out there regarding approach etc. If I'd seen Prison Break when it first came out, then last year when I first started thinking about this script my brain would be telling me all my character ideas for duality was just cos of PB, and how well it mixes good and bad actions.
So maybe me being bummed is mostly cos Prison Break is so free, so able to meander with narrative and character concerns that it does a lot of stuff I'd probably not even allow my head to flesh out because I honestly did think it was necessary to stick to certain genre things unequivically. Ant will think that's funny cos he said from the very beginning that just because it's apocolyptic in the second half why can't we fuck with all the genre conventions anyway. I said if you'll be throwing a lot of stuff at the audience that is totally unfamiliar to most people in a really outlandish sort of story (affirmative on that) then you have to give them a factor they can identify with, and I thought it should be the generic conventions. Now I feel I might have been wrong...
Anyhoo. When I feel less sickly and I'm back feeling like anything is possible, I'm sure at some point a feeling or vigor at the idea of meeting the challenge of 'beating' Prison Break, at least attempting to, will take over and I'll be feeling excited about taking inspiration from this issue. And I'll convince myself that all the ways this fucking script is totally different from PB rationally creates such a huge gulf that they don't seem even slightly similar, not least being the formatting factor that developing and exploring huge arcs is obviously easier in over, what? about 50 hours of screentime than in a less than two hour movie so obviously my characters wil be less developed. But right now, when so much skin has come off my nose that I can't touch it without hitting that nerve that makes your eyes water, and I've got a hankering for chocolate icecream with grated muffin that no amount of icecream or muffin can sate, and I've just watched over twenty hours of one show in a few days, I just feel a bit rubbish and inept, and childish and silly.
Maybe I should stop watching more than a few hours of any show per day regardless of sickly boredom to avoid this sort of thing ever again?
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Haven't managed to get this on any other site, so here goes...
'Speed Japan' -
A two-week holiday in Tokyo and Osaka (staying in numerous Love Hotels) condensed into 74 seconds. Shot on a battered old Canon XM1 during 2004.
This video contains (pixellated) nudity, so is N.S.F.W.!
Filmed and edited by Anthony Carpendale, and also featuring Hels.
Music - "Yellow World" - Written by Kousuke Ami & Go Misawe, Performed by J Girls.
Features on the compilation album 'Karminsky Experience Inc. Presents Further Inflight Entertainment'
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Hello blog reader. How are you?
My name is Ant, I am Helen's other half.
This is my first post here, and I am currently making films and such after a lengthy hiatus.
I'll soon add some of my own blah to this celebration of blah, but in the meantime here are 3 little films we made in 48 hours, during a chilly weekend in February 2011...
Lick My Crutch -
Close Up -
The Man Who Shouts At Seagulls -
Thanks for watching. More soon...
But that was before I took a look at that whole Stats page, with the sources n the keywords n the traffic. I get some traffic from a Russian furniture store. People find me through Scroogle. As far as keywords go, inception, talhotblond and catfish bring the most random traffic, along with Black Cocks Split Scenes...
Yes. You read that right.
Now honestly, I know I'm not easy to shock, or dismay. I am easy to disgust since disgust is a level up from hatred and I dig on hating irritating things. But even I feel a little queasy thinking about the type of person who would search for those words in that order. Let's repeat that: Those words. In That Order.
And I don't get why it brought them here!! I know I wrote about split screen, maybe I actually wrote scenes instead of screen, but I guess the regular use of the word scenes led to that. And sure I guess I might have said black and cock in some context, probably in the sense of saying someone is a douche. But now I'm thinking about the sort of person who searches for black cock split scenes.
They must have been pretty disappointed when they got here.
Monday, 7 March 2011
On another note I've been reading up on Toronto Underground Cinema's current Defending the Indefensible films; I love this idea, I can't get over how great it would be to do this here. There are some films I'd love to show under the guise of defending it, skirting the line between genuine debate and good natured entertainment. Maybe it's because I love a good argument, I love a situation in which arguing one side with both facts, details, citations as well as good old fashioned bias, opinion and unfounded passion is allowed, encouraged. Maybe it's just because I love alot of crappy movies, or movies maintained to be crappy that I still really love :D
I really do. This is no secret since I was a teenager. I watch lots of movies over and over; I am one of those people who'll watch a film I like dozens of times, and there probably are a few I've seen over a hundred times. The only difference between one of my favourite good films and one of my favourite crappy films is I'll have seen a little less than the good favourite. And often I'll have seen the crappy film I enjoy more than a classic I just respect. I've seen She-Devil, like, 10 times. I've seen French Connection once.
One film that everyone reviles that I would happily stand in front of a room of people telling me I've got no taste or I'm fucking crazy is Showgirls. I guess a film like Showgirls is so niche it'd never be included on something like that, but if it would I'd fight that baby right to the end! I won't go in to why much here, but suffice to say that yes, I think it's misunderstood, but no, not to the extent that I actually watch the whole movie regularly because each scene is so tongue in cheek that it's actively funny each and every time. The concept more than the scenes themselves are funny - it's almost socratic the way the production works. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for all the pre-production meetings leading up to a greenlight vs. the company response afterwards. They wanted a movie like a porno, but with no real sex so it isn't actually a porn movie and can be released mainsteam and get all audiences. Well, that's what they got, a movie like a porno but with no real sex - bad acting, bad character arcs, bad dialogue, bad dancing, bad everything, but without the one thing porn is designed for. Love it.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Finding that out about Pino makes me literally grin, grin my fucking face off - anyone who knows me well knows that if I ever had the chance, had the financial flexibility, self employment, freedom to travel whenever I want, I would happily move to Venice. Or at least spend at least a bunch of months every year living there, if I ever get any financial freedom that will definitely happen. There is no place on earth I'm happier than Venice. Of course I say that having not been in years because of the health blah, and in those years they've added that stupid bridge everyone apparently trips on, and then theres the billboards, which are an antithetical eyesore even if they are only draped instead of nailed to the walls in most places. And naturally the concern continues that in years to come there might not be a Venice to go to. But even if the Square and all the other tourist spots become the home of only fat American families, pigeons and unnecessary reminders that you can buy perfume and Cola drinks if you get bored of culture, history, chic nightspots, everyone actually born on the main island having run away to Mestre and the surrounding towns on the inland coast, hopefully Burano and the other tiny islands will stay the same and still be a refuge into the real culture of Venice.
The main Square, several years ago:
Burano, also years ago:
It's quiet and beautiful, it's tiny, idylic, simple, friendly, relaxed. And from what I know it's been left alone so far, since it's not a real tourist spot, in the traditional sense, and any stupid pigeon feeding tourists who accidentally turn up there often leave straight away because it's soooo small that what you see straight away is what you get, they tend to climb right back on the waterbus back to the Rialto. And now I know that it was Pino's home when he was young. Given that the island is so small the whole place should have a plaque. Maybe he still lives there - wouldn't that be awesome! I'll have to try to find out. Course, now there's this other part of my brain that automatically thinks since he's still working if we ever get the script finished we could ask him to soundtrack it, or at least the part in Venice if he was willing to consider it. But then again, given that I'm not working on it much is that likely to happen?