Computer Notes VS Pen and Paper

Started writing a new draft for a no budget script this week that I’d love to direct myself sometime in the future (Hopefully within next few years). This is the first script that I’ve ever fully written the notes for on my Mac rather than pen and paper and have to say I think the notes have gone well.

I finally decided to give Scrivener a try using their 30 day trail and found that I could organise myself well on it. I’ve always preferred pad and pen because I’m quite instinctive with notes and tend to write out plenty of streams of idea’s rather than anything to precise, but the problem always comes with matching notes up to older notes as the process moves along. Searching through hundreds of pages for one thing you wrote at some point isn’t the easiest but the pro’s have always out weighed the cons.

But as I think more and more about travelling, and as it gets harder to search through my wardrobe full of note pads and folders, I’ve come to the conclusion that like my photography its better to have everything on the computer and backed up via Dropbox and iCloud. That news article the other week of the writer rushing back into his burning home to save his novel could so easily be me. (Well, probably not, but why risk it).

For me Scrivener works nicely as it doesn’t fill to formal. I’ve always found it harder to delete sentences on the computer than rip out a page from my notepad (No idea why) but with this I can link together ideas and colour code things and it just seemed to flow. I doubt it’s for everyone but it suited my style of note writing well. Part of me still wants to just sit there with a notepad but it doesn’t feel practical. Like I’d have to just write them up afterwards anyway so why bother.

Every time I look at the 50 plus full folders in my cupboard I wonder how I’ll ever find what I’m looking for. I’d love to turn all them notes into PDF one day (Maybe when I can afford an assistant) but that’s just not happening anytime soon. The other day while looking for a photo for Viewbug I found what I was looking for in minutes despite the photo being 10 years old and It just occurred to me that the same should happen with my writing. I spent a few hours looking for some script notes not too long ago and it involved moving around and searching through about twenty folder. That’s just too much hassle now. Would rather just have folders on my computer and Dropbox.

So I think i’m going to stick with writing notes on the computer for my next idea after this one and see how it goes. This current script is a second draft from an idea that’s a few years old where my next one is a brand new idea from scratch. Will be interesting to see if it works the same way for me coming up with all the initial ideas and story beats and characters. Hopefully will be fine. I’d miss pen and paper but as long as I can match the quality of my previous notes it just makes sense to move forward and use the Mac and obviously is much easier for backing up and never having to run into a burning building.

Stephen

 

 

New Page for Old Short Films

Just a quick blog. Been meaning to do this for a little while and now finally have. Have got together a lot of my old DV Mission shorts along with a few other bits including a link to my award-winning 50 kisses film and have created a page for them.

Is located at the top of the blog next to the about page or linked here:

Old Shorts and New MV

Will try in the future to do a blog on each project but that will be over a fair bit of time I imagine and will also see if I can find any other work to add.

Stephen.

(Is hard to believe that my short film Accidental Death is 8 years old.)

Scripts on the go

It seems I’ve had a few older ideas whirling away in the back of my brain for a while now as solutions for the problems in these scripts are bursting out my head at every opportunity. If I was a cartoon I’d have little epiphany lightbulbs circling me as I walk.

What this has led to is what I sorta, maybe, kinda, possibly promised myself I wouldn’t do and that is work on several scripts at once, again.

The upside of this has always been zero writers block in any form as I just move onto the next thing, but writers block hasn’t ever really been a problem. The other upside is suddenly I’ll have loads of finished work at once again which works better for me this time as I already have completed work I’m sending out so it’s not like I’m waiting around to finish.

The downside is I don’t sleep and I won’t probably have anything finished for a while. That and it will bug me that I have three scripts on the go at once again.

Luckily I don’t think it affects the quality of my work as it’s always been the way I’ve written. It’s more the fact that I was trying to be a one script at a time person like I know I can be with paid work.

Think I just have to many ideas in my head that I want down on the page. Nothing wrong with that especially now I have more time to write, is more that I was hoping to finish another script this year but that feels unlikely with three on the go.

Flip side to that is I’ll have 3 new finished scripts in the first half of next year.

Think I just need to accept that this is how I write spec.

Stephen

 

Sharknado Trilogy (Sorry 4th isn’t on Netflix yet)

So I finally watched the Sharknado films. Long overdue. Anyone who knows me will know my opinion on them straight away, kinda loved them. I wouldn’t exactly give them high ratings, but as entertainment they’re great.

And they just get dumber, somehow. You would think the initial premise is dumb enough and hard to beat, but no, they go that little bit stupider every time until you end up with Sharks in Space.

Kinda reminded me a little of the Phantasm films the way they expanded the world. (That’s not for a second to say they’re as good as Phantasm because they’re not close). But they are fun and I like the way the characters are coming along and all the cameo’s that are in the Sharknado universe.

I enjoyed the hammy performances, liked the main Fin character, Tara Reid is getting more fun as the films go on. Nova is a cool character and kinda want to see her have a spin-off somewhere in the Asylum universe, that would be cool. Have always been a fan of the company since watching all the rip offs of the big movies back in my blockbusters days so cool to see them hitting it big with the Sharknado series.

I’m definitely up for their being more after I watch the 4th, could easy handle another few but no idea where you’re going to go from here. Bet the writer is enjoying himself coming up with ideas though, he surely has free licence to just do whatever crazy shit he can think off. Fun job.

Have notes somewhere for a stupid shark movie myself, maybe will have to look into that again one day, although going to keep my premise under wraps until I do. (Although have told a few people about it). Always have a soft spot for disaster films and throw them together with monster movies and you have my attention and Sharknado definitely did.

All in all, good fun and enjoyed watching them back to back, felt right.

Stephen

 

The Train – Music Video

So haven’t managed to get the MV up anywhere online yet so have decided just to put it here for the moment until we do.

Was fully shot and edited in a day with a vibe in mind and that’s about it. There’s a couple of things i’d change but think it’s a decent start and only going to get better at making them with the more we do.

The song is,  The Train by Paul Jennings

So hopefully here is the first of many. Let me know what you think and have my fingers crossed it works proper.

Stephen.

 

 

Horror Movie Day

Ever have them days where you wake up and think, I’m going to watch horror movies all day. I do, a lot. Having done plenty of five or more marathons before I decided this time to do a little mini review of each. Nothing to in-depth. Just my feelings on each film.

In the past I used to rent 5 for £5 for 5 days at blockbusters, grabs some snacks and watch them all in one evening, but blockbusters is long gone now, and so are them sort of nights so have just started in the morning and going to see how many I can get through before I end up writing a little myself.

Reviews may contain minor spoilers.
First up  Emelie


Directed by Michael Thelin, Written by Richard Raymond Harry Herbeck and Michael Thelin

I really enjoyed the start of this film, the first half had plenty of intrigue and Sarah Bolger had a real good mystery about her on the screen but the film totally lost me in the third act. I liked the games with the kids and the fact that she was mentally torturing them, it felt different in a genre that’s had plenty of films down the years but once the lights went out in the house it became more familiar but at the same time confusing. Was hard to keep track of what was happening and rather than build suspense it lost me. I liked the horror being there for all to see and didn’t feel the lights going out added anything. Overall I liked the film but just not enough considering the start 5/10

 
Next up Charlie’s Farm


Written and Directed by Chris Sun

I love the whole teens getting hacked up by slashers genre. Stick a bunch of teens in the woods and unleash hell on them and I’m good to go. This is exactly what this film is. The gore and kills are pretty awesome and the aesthetics of the Farm are great. I don’t think they overly cared about the build up to the teens getting there or developing any kind of character or relationships within the teens, they just wanted blood. Personally I prefer to care about the characters at least a little before they’re massacred but this was more of an effects and gore show reel. That said it was pretty fun and I knew what I was getting when Tara Reids character was the smartest. Bill Moseley cameo was great, always a fan and the Jason in jokes with Kane Hodder where kinda fun if not a little telegraphed like everything else. But like I said, was enjoyable. 5/10

Rogue

Written and Directed by Greg McLean

As I’m a fan of pretty much every horror it won’t come as a surprise for me to say that I love monster movies. Have an idea for one myself but that’s for another time. With a good director and strong cast I expected a fair bit from this one and wasn’t disappointed. It took its time to build the characters and then ramped up the tension as the Croc arrived. The set pieces where cool and had a good mix of kills. The last 20 minutes got rid of the tension is favour of a pretty typical ending but can’t overly fault it for that. I liked it and would easily watch it again. 7/10

Next up White Settlers

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Directed by Simeon Halligan, Written by Ian Fenton

So this one wasn’t to subtle with the theme to put it mildly. They even put it on the poster which I can’t say I’ve seen to often. That said home invasion movies always scare me and this one was no difference. The build up to the invasion was really well put together, kept me on edge and really gave a good feel for the characters. Maybe because of the theme it was good to see one of the couple actually being a bit of a dick as well. When the cat and mouse stuff kicked in it was pretty cool but kinda done already with things like Eden Lake but overall I really liked this one, despite being English. 7/10

Holy double home invasion bill batman, next up Hush

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Directed by Mike Flanagan, Written by Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel

So was told about this movie not to long ago and wanted to catch it. Horror films are often a mirror to society so it’s no surprise that more films about disabled people or people with mental problems are coming out. Think it’s very close to being a sub-genre into itself with Don’t Breathe ruling the box office and this sounded like a great one.

The film itself, Loved it. Just an inspiring movie really. Minimalist in ever since. Barely any dialogue or characters and shot in a single location yet everything felt so incredibly well put together and clever. I don’t want to see too much about the film as think it’s best just to go in not knowing much but I don’t think any one will be disappointed with this film. Would love to read the script. 9/10

Next up Invoked

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Director Humberto Rosa and Thairon Mendes, Written by Humberto Rosa and Aaron Gibson

Pretty by the numbers this one, seen it all before, but in fairness it was made for no money whatsoever. Grave Encounters for me will always be the top film in this found footage abandoned building genres and this one like many others tries the same sort of things and while the scares are decent at times the characters are all pretty annoying. Once again if you care about the characters everything else feels that bit scarier and sadly running around for an hour asking if each other is doing this doesn’t really work. But for no money whatsoever they gave it a go and I always like seeing that 3/10

Lastly Starry Eyes

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Written and Directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer

I could probably write a whole article about this film as I do love these sort of movies and the themes so I’ll try to keep it short. I think they done a lot right with this film and look forward to seeing what they come up with next. The last 3rd got a little lost in slasher territory, and possibly was a little preachy depending on point of view, but before that I loved the whole Mulholland Drive meets Rosemary baby thing they had going on. Reminded me as well of an Anime I love, Perfect Blue. Think the story could have been a little tighter like the films I mentioned above and can throw Black Swan into the mix as well but I really did like it a lot and thought Alex Essoe was great. 8/10 for me and really am looking forward to whats next from these guys.

Ok one more… can’t help myself, Holidays

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Written and Directed by a whole host of people. (Anthology Film)

I’m a sucker for anthology horror films so had no choice but to watch this the second I noticed it. As always was a mixed bags and my favourites are probably different from others. For me the stories I enjoyed the most where Valentines Day, Mothers Day and Christmas. Have to say though I thought the quality was pretty high through-out and can see myself watching this again  7/10

So turned out to be 8 films in the day with an all day marathon. Wasn’t quite going for that but couldn’t stop.

Not sure if I’ll do one of these type blogs again or not, might see the reaction for it first but do know either way I’ll be doing more days like this in-between writing and working.

My favourite film of the day was Hush. Second Starry Eyes. All in all a good day of film watching.

Stephen

 

 

 

Musical ambitions, Without being able to play anything… At all.

As the last blog seemed to go down so well (Thank you so much for all the support) I’ve decided to write another one (or probably another few) about the work i’m looking to do with music video’s and band promotion in general.

So the other day along with making a music video we also recorded an interview about our influences in the Taiwan indie music scene, how we got into the bands and what we’d like to do. This blog is a slight expansion of that, along with a few other thoughts.

I love music from Taiwan, from Hong Kong, from South Korea and Japan. Asian Indie music and folk music is just top of my list of things to listen to at the moment. I’ve always been a music fan, but never more than at the moment. Just so so many Taiwanese Indie bands that I love and can’t get enough off.

So with that in mind I started watching a lot more music videos, and really caught the bug for wanting to do some myself and started to consider whether it could be a career alongside my feature script writing. I started watching acoustic sessions and mini documentaries and live gigs and looking at gig photo’s and just wanted to be a part of all of it. And think I can.

I’ve worked seriously hard of late at bettering my skills and learning new ones and know that I have a way to go, but am trying every day towards that goal. Any time i’m not writing, or watching films, Music takes over and its beginning to be a huge part of my life. These bands and songs just connect with be in a way other music hasn’t and ideas constantly run through my mind of what I could do with them in an MV. It’s like the film part of my brain and music part of my brain have come to some sort of agreement that theres enough love their to share my passions.

I’ve never been able to play an instrument. I dabbled a little and owned a drum kit once but when the choice arrived on what to really put my mind into writing won out and that time set aside for learning to play was replaced by watching every film I possibly could (as my blockbusters account would prove). I would have loved to write songs but having a terrible voice closed that idea for me and again it was all about film.

But now in life I find myself in a position to focus and enjoy it all so music is definitely back in a big way and sharing equal billing of late (Although you can’t stop the signal, I will write every day forever) and dreams of moving to Taiwan and spending time in other areas of Asian seem very plausible.

I’m working hard to get myself in a position where that can happen in the next year and making sure that the time I spend earning money and clearing debt is also used to sharpen skills and learn new ones, all the while discovering new bands, making new videos and loving the music every day.

It seems the more creative I get, the more ambitious I get and the more I want to do. But I truly believe I have room for it all and definitely have the passion and energy for it all so it will happen.

No plan B, Just a lot of plan A’s 🙂

Stephen