Monday, 8 February 2010

Stuff What I Got Up To

I'd neglected to post a blog about our first shoot- a collaborative effort filming a gig by bizarre Rabbie Burns/Iggy Pop hybrid The Bum-Clocks. I'd been appointed the job of lighting along with Harry, although unknown to us the TPA class had already designed and built a lighting rig. All we had to do was turn up on the day, look through the viewfinder and see whether or not they were bright enough. Hardly the exciting start I'd hoped for; although I did manage to successfully callibrate the monitor on one of the cameras. WIN! I mostly felt like we were hanging about alot, unsure what we were waiting about for... Still, everyone has to start somewhere huh? However un-glamourous... I realised I have a perfect wardrobe for working in film though, since TPA sent us an email saying we were to wear all black on the day so we wouldn't get picked up by the cameras. Who'd have thought my goff-like tendencies would benefit my career in some bizarre way??

"Are the lights on, Harry?" *looks up* "Yeah". JOB DONE.

It had been a fairly quiet week in all, as we were off the Monday and Tuesday of week 3. Last week, however, we repaid our time off in dividends. Our wandering jet-setter Richard had returned from LA for three days of intensive writing. Brilliant, I thought. I'd been missing it; even Monday mornings were less of a chore when I was on my way to something I looked forward to. As nice as it's been getting a few hours extra kip, I've missed having a sense of purpose on a Monday morning, so I was most excited by the next few days.

We started off with a good ol' game of statues; where some of the class got up in pairs to arrange themselves in positions we could make stories from. It was good to get right back into the swing of things, and a good way to shake off the morning brain-fuzz. From then on we revised three-act structure and theme, which we'd covered before Christmas. That afternoon, we tried a game of 'consequences', with the difference being we could see what the person before us had written. It didn't make much difference- we'd have been as well not seeing it, considering some of the nonsense we came up with- a claustrophobic submarine captain (who hid in a cupboard despite being the most experienced on his sub), and a man trying to ciphon petrol to get to a hospital on time were some of the, err, stand-out examples. We actually sat unable to read half of them for laughing so much- but hardly condusive to a good writing sesh but helluva funny! We rounded off the day with a quick intro to visual storytelling and symbolism but by this point I'd started to flag a little- luckily for me I had a whole shift at work to look forward to, to perk me up. Yaaay.

The next day my effing bus decided to play silly beggars (calm....caaaalllmmmm...) but I got there in time to share the premises we'd come up with the night before. Mines were pretty rubbish- in my opinion anyway. It's things like this which make me worry I don't have the imagination to be a really good writer; a fear compounded by the feedback on my dire five-minute script. Still, we ended up choosing a really good 'un to write an outline for- a man brings home a lilo from holiday, of which his blow-up doll gets insanely jealous. Instantly I thought of psychotic killer blow-up sex dolls... hmmm. Maybe I should start watching a little something-something in the romantic comedy genre... just for a wee change of tone, no? It'll be really interesting to see everyone's interpretations of this premise- it really could go any way!
That afternoon, we covered character, and had to come up with random character facts like 'what's on their bedroom wall?' based on a photo. It was surreal how we could come up with so many different answers to the same questions. Just goes to show we're a creative bunch after all, huh? We skipped the photo of the fringe-y goff chick, though- I think it reminded people of someone...

Wednesday was one which we were all kind of dreading: we had to reveal three things we don't like about ourselves. It couldn't be anything physical, either. We couldn't say, for girly example, "Oh my God, I'm soooo fat". We had to say why we thought this way and where it came from. Scary stuff, no? Well, as it happened, no. I dunno if it's testament to how we've bonded as a class, but as soon as everyone started I didn't feel weird or uncomfortable- I was actually surprised at how common my self-musings were. Like, I'm not the only one who has the same doubts and negativity. As with the Post-Secret class, it was really cathartic and voicing my fears was a far less saunting prospect knowing pretty much everyone felt the same. Still, I was relieved to find there was consolatory munch afterwards too. (OMG Julia, thank you for introducing me to Caramel Buttons- I'd get fat for them).

We rounded up Intense Screenwriting 101 with a brief chat about dialogue and a clip from Don't Look Now. I later got it out the library- DULL. Not even the lovely Julie Christie could stop me needing to prop my eyes open. Anyway. We had tutorials about our five-minute scripts that afternoon. Sadly mine was not a stunning exercise in beautifully woven syntax and near-perfect structure; instead it was a bit of a jumbled mess that wasn't as sophisticated or even thought out as it could have been. Probably because it wasn't my first idea- it was a nice idea, so I was told, but a bit dialogue-heavy (which I knew- covering up for lack of structure mmmmaybe...?). Ah well- here's hoping Psychotic Sex Doll Lilo Lover yields better results.

We continued our foray into writing territory with a visit John Yorke- controller of BBC Drama Production, according to Wikipedia, I looked him up and everything. I love that we get industry practitioners coming to talk to us in class, it's one of the things I love about it- rather than just get boring old prescribed stuff like at 'actual' uni, we get people who are active in the film and TV industry who really know what they're talking about, and what they're looking for in terms of new ideas. I s'pose some of your luck in the industry depends on who you know, 'cause they can tell you what they're looking for and if you're on the right track, and we're really getting the best possible start. That afternoon, we had a crash course in Russian cinema, following up on our vieweing of Battleship Potemkin t'other week. I wasn't mad keen on the film, but we did learn about 'creative geography' which is apparently the most important thing we can know as film makers. It's all about audience trickery and making them believe objects and places are not where they are... I'm rubbish at explaining, but it's pretty simple. It's amazing how the most brilliant ideas are often the ones staring you straight in the face. I'm always over-complicating things I don't have to, hence why I never come up with any brilliantly ingenious ideas... yet.

Friday brought more travel complications (not now...) and I missed the first part of Chaplin's City Lights. Gutter indeed, I found myself really enjoying it despite the Tramp knocking on a bit in years. The romance between him and a blind flower-seller was really sweet and was a natural follow-on from Sunrise last week. I've definitely warmed to the ol' silent movies over the last term, and Chaplin's movies are definitely the most consistent and engaging. Shockingly I'd never actually seen any of it films before, and now I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can pick up City Lights from the library cuz I really want to see the start!


  1. City Lights is indeed in the library Ada. It was the library copy that was used for the screening and it should now be back on the shelves

  2. I bought a bag when I went to the pictures last week, never ate them and they were sitting in my room when I got in from work on Saturday. Best. Homecoming. EVER.