Tag Archives: Film Making

New Blog Started.

Over the last week I’ve been working on setting up a new blog to record the next chapter in my life. While I’m still very much in a holding pattern at the moment, and everything is feeling a little static, it felt like a good time to at least start the blog and begin to look forward.

I’m hoping with this new blog that I can create something that I’ve enjoyed as much as writing this one and hopefully be able to expand on more topics and show off more work. While this blog has changed a little over the year it’s been up the new one allows for more scope and expansion.

I intend to keep this one going and hopefully still update it often but if I have cross over posts I’ll more than likely put them on the new one as that’s more where my long-term blogging future lies.

I love this blog, it’s been the first time I’ve really had success in keeping a blog regularly updated and read, but now feels like the right time to divide my attention to something bigger. Come the end of my latest renewal at the end of the year I will see where the two lie and whether its better to just run the one or keep both going.

For the moment please check out and follow my new blog. Have links to all the social media on there as well as some work up on YouTube which by the end of the year should contain a hell of a lot more.

kettleontravels.com

Thanks

Stephen

 

 

Joanna Music Video’s

So after my last blog (Music Video’s I Love Vol 2)  I got some feedback from one of the artists asking why there wasn’t any words about her video so this blog is to make amends (And stop her moaning about it) 😉

Joanna’s music videos are crazy. Like completely crazy and I love them. Having seen some of her older work that’s  pretty normal on the sanity scale (but also very good, especially wild world) this makes the latest ones even more nuts.

I’ve taken part in plenty of 48 hour film challenges and this is what her videos remind me off. There’s skill there, but its the resourcefulness and creativity  that really excites me. Most of the video’s look there there’s no budget there at all, or at least low-budget, and that just seems to encourage more and more funnier solutions to certain parts of the different music video’s.

While isn’t it exciting is my favourite because off its pure energy and execution of the idea the rightful heir video features my favourite moment with someone being thrown down the stairs. With no budget for stunts they use a clever cut away instead and it just lands perfectly for me. My sort of humour, and the sort of thing that always got a great laugh at these 48 hour film challenges. Film making at its most fun.

Other video’s like Truckin’ everyday make ‘full’ use of green screen and captures her craziness perfectly. Reminds me of a Lexx episode I once saw and makes me wonder whether she’s ever seen the ridiculously awesome Canadian German Sci-Fi. Alongside that is another video that looks like it was made while setting up the Trucking video which again as a film maker I can’t help but love little things like that. I wonder whether it was planned or spontaneous it’s that well done.

There’s just a certain energy level and weirdness that’s always there that just works. I feel it has to be very genuine as could easily be cringeworthy or to insane, but isn’t at all. It’s just fun, every single time. She’s clearly someone who loves the creative process and backs up my theory that Music Video’s can be more than just promoting the song. While that will always be their main purpose there’s definitely room to tell a great story or a fun sketch within them and watching these doubles my belief in that.

So I hope this blog makes up the last for her and that she continues to make such incredibly fun music videos that always make me laugh and smile and somehow not turn away from the screen cringing. Don’t know how she does it, but just works, and would love to one day work with her and see the craziness unfold live. Would be a lot of fun.

Here’s some more examples of her work below and plenty more can be found on YouTube and as she doesn’t seem to promote her own work will mention that her latest album House of Bullies is also out.

 

Stephen

Proof Reading

I hate it. I hate doing it, and I hate that it’s necessary. I mean I get it. Completely. But it’s just something that I’ve never been good at and find boring.

Back in school every single parent teacher night, every single report card, every single marked paper made some comment about my spelling and grammar. It was something that stuck with me through first school, middle school and high school. Even in college. Although by college i’d somewhat stopped caring. There was just always mention of it.

I get it’s important, I really do. But I worked hard to improve my spelling and grammar in school and while I could pass most spelling tests easily enough, that was just more memory. When I had to write an essay or story that’s when it showed and that’s when I’d get comments on it.

The problem  was that I wrote quickly. I had idea’s, stories, and I had to get them out. The quicker I write the more appalling my spelling becomes. Has just always gone hand in hand. It bothered me, I wanted to be better. But the improvement was never great enough. I’ve always been interested in writing. I wouldn’t say it became a big passion until around 16, but even before that I wrote all the time. Any chance to put pen to paper I was there, and I can tell you right now it wasn’t for drawing because my stick men where worse than my spelling.

So here’s the big thing that bothered me about it all. After being told how bad I was at it every year, I passed my English GCSE with ease. Very high B, 2 marks off an A. Turns out that at the time (Don’t know if it’s still true now) spelling and grammar accounted for about 5-10% of the actual exams. What the Fuck. So I was basically told my whole life how bad I was at English, but what they really meant was you suck at 5-10% of it. Why didn’t someone explain that better to me!

And that’s stuck with me. Now I think back on how well praised my stories where and how people found them interesting and wanted to read more. But that was always under the could do better in spelling part which was my main focus when reading my feedback.

So now as an adult (kinda) proof reading has become a big part of my life again. You can’t send scripts off riddled with mistakes or publish stories (something I’d like to do one day) with errors everywhere. It’s distracting and unprofessional.

The problem I have here is obviously the script should be judged on the story. Same for the book. Is it interesting? Do I care about or relate to the characters? Am I intrigued, excited, emotionally attached? When the film hits the screen no one can look for spelling mistakes. But at that point it’s not a written art as such. But again. I get it. Correct spelling and grammar along with formatting shows you’re professional and can save time for the reader producers etc. But as a writer being a storyteller and being great at spelling and grammar don’t just go hand in hand.

So what’s a writer to do?

For me personally I’ve worked very hard at it. But it’s not been easy. I get people I know who are strong at proof reading to go through my work for me after I’ve tried. (Luckily they’re kind enough to do it for free). I can see from script to script that I have far fewer errors than the last. My first script probably had about 10 a page. This latest one maybe one or two every 10 pages. Big difference. But that’s over a near 10 year period with the progress only really coming in the last couple of years.

I ignore spelling and grammar errors in early drafts because they’re only for me at the moment. When I have paid work and someone wants to see each draft as it’s done, that’s when I’ll be begging my friends to take a look, or paying someone because despite the improvement I’ll never trust myself to be perfect or even near perfect at all. I know there will always be mistakes.

It’s one of them skills in life I wish I can just do. Not sure why I can’t, I just don’t see the mistakes. When someone asks be what’s wrong with this and points to it, I can tell them. But I wouldn’t have spotted it on my own. Am sure there will be mistakes in this blog despite me checking it a few times over (And don’t tell me please, just let it be).

So I will continue to try. I’ll put in the effort. I always do. But I guess what it comes down to is I’ll always struggle and doubt myself when it comes to proof reading, have my whole life. But I’ve got a little better, and I’ve got friends who will help. So why not take advantage of them right 😉

 

Stephen.

 

Making Worlds Greatest Zombie Hunter: Part Two (Inc Series)

(First part here)

As I’ve touched upon before in a previous blog (That’s been deleted) pre-production and production didn’t really go to plan.

I advertised for the lead role on Shooting People and got a pretty positive response. Auditioned several actors via Skype and met a few local ones for meetings as well. Narrowed the list down to three people and went with the more experienced who I have to say was fantastic.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out there. After several long delays because of other project he was working on things just kind of fell apart. I won’t go into much detail but it was clear at this point that he wasn’t what I wanted and I’m sure he felt the same about me.

So that wasn’t great.

While all this was happening several different locations fell through and my co producer had to pull out due to personal reasons. Which just left me with a completed script and not much more.

I contacted another choice on my short list and he was very keen for the role. I’d known him through him working with someone else I knew a few years back and was glad I was able to give him a chance. He was the most enthusiastic and I was really looking forward to working with him. (and will work with him plenty more in the future).

So actor sorted.

Knew I was going to shoot on the iPod so that was sorted as well, but then I probably made a bad choice. I decided to shoot it at my house.

Initially we planned to shoot it in a cellar or a shed or something that we could turn into a den and the location would evolve over time along with his outfit and his outlook. Was all going to be a line of development that worked alongside each other… I really should have stuck with that. It just made sense and was something I could build on. Could start out pretty sparse and end up looking like Dr Horrible.

But I shot in my house instead.

For me personally, the house just doesn’t work.  I like some of the shots and love the framing through the stairs but I could have got better elsewhere. Just felt very amateurish which is the vibe I was going for, but I think I shouldn’t have gone full amateur. It was sloppy.

By this point I just pointed the camera really. I gave some thought to the setting but not much. Spent some time with the lead to get what I want but the shoot was rushed and I knew it. Was shoot over a few hours across two days I believe but more could have been done.

The production had gone so wrong so many times that I had moved on by that point to another idea, honestly I should have shelved it and came back to it but with all the delays I just wanted it done.

I shouldn’t have treated it like that and never would again, but I can tell watching it back that my heart wasn’t 100% into it. Forget how much less I knew back then I can go back several years before that and watch shorts and 48 hour competition films I made that had a lot more going for them. I fucked up and I know it.

For me, it was a big learning experience though. The short film I shoot before that had technical problems with the sound being awful, but I learnt a lot working with a crew, this one I learnt a lot from the pre-production standpoint. Things go wrong, that’s just always going to happen and this experience made me realise that a lot more and toughened me up.

I love a chance one day to set things right and maybe make a much improved second season but have a lot on. If I ever do find myself pining to go back to it though I will, and like I said, this time my heart would definitely be in it.

Below is the complete season. All 11 episodes. It’s probably my worse work but I still like a lot of the script and plenty of the performance. Will always regret not using a better location but I did have zero money and was shooting on an iPod so maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. But still…..

 

Stephen

 

Blog about the Blog

So this is a bit of a blog about the blog.

Have changed and added a few of the pages at the top and really am looking to change the direction of the blog slightly as well. Want the blog to focus more on all my creative endeavours and stuff I like, rather than just writing.

I know blog’s are meant to be more of a niche subject wise but just have too many ideas in too many area’s at the moment and am keen to do and share.

So I guess it’s slightly turning into more of a journal but will still have blogs about particular subjects or insights into past experiences.

Am hoping to build on the blog plenty this year with regular updates and new content. Am excited to share things in my future which I’ll go into when the time draws closer. Feel there’s a lot I want to achieve and this blog is a good way of recording some of them ambitions and sharing the experiences. (And hopefully offering some advice or transparency to things as well).

So yeah… that’s my super short blog for today.

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.)

Never Switching Off

So i’m not sure if this is one of whose things that just affect me, or maybe just affect a few, or if it’s every writer (or every creative person) but my brain just doesn’t switch off.

Like ever.

I mean I can function and stuff, can get through the day and perform tasks and all but idea’s and notes are just always running through my head. The quality may vary, greatly at times, but they’re always there. Just ticking away.

And sleeping, that’s just a different beast altogether. It’s not so bad on average but if i’m writing an actual script, just doesn’t happen. At least doesn’t happen in a way that is really that worth while. Is part of the reason I work the way I do. I generally plan everything out in note form first, end up with hundred and hundreds of pages before I sit down to write the script.

That way I can bang out a draft in under two weeks and get some sleep at the end of it because during the writing time I just tend to wake up and write more notes or edit. Sleep is a distant non existent second.

Have literally woken up in the morning hazily with pages upon pages of notes sitting on my bed. IS that normal? I should probably look that up. Or see how many people comment back to me that it is in fact crazy… or the norm.

Personally I like that my brain works this way. Wouldn’t swap it but it is one of the reasons I don’t drive. Actually does worry me that i’d crash because i’m thinking about how best to create tension in a scene or deciding how to show my characters motive.

Have tried taking a few days off after being non stop for 6 weeks capitalising on a bit of a purple patch and in my days off i’ve written up notes for the next draft of a feature and edited a whole bunch of photo’s and taken a 1000 more. That’s currently my brain taking a rest. Again wouldn’t swap it but even trying to watch some dumb movies hasn’t overly helped because i’ve just worked on other stuff through them.

Maybe one day i’ll find peace in some silent forest somewhere or something but in all honesty i’ll probably still be working out new ways for my slasher character to hack someone up, at best i’ll be taking photo’s of the forest with my fried brain.

This is the life I want though. So know it will never change, I won’t allow it. But maybe one day off at some point wouldn’t be so bad for me…

 

Stephen