Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Too much reading...

...Not enough writing.

So I had settled on a basic structure for my screenplay and have been trying to sort it out in my head. Unfortunately, progress has slowed to a crawl. Although I have a rough idea of opening, ending and major plot points, I am finding it somewhat difficult to organise the linking scenes and sequences. Of course I have never written anything like this before (unless you count my contributions to Dave and Tom's as of yet unfinished sit-com) so it is all a bit trial and error.

So here I am, once again reading "The definitive guide to screenwriting" and trying to get to grips with developing some kind of structure to my writing. Scattershot is all well and good, but it is awfully hard to mould disparate ideas into a cohesive whole. Thankfully I have been working a lot of twelve hour shifts in my projection cave and have been afforded plenty of time to think things through whilst tutting to myself that films like "The Pink Panther 2" should be so popular. Of course I should put a stop to such tutting; at least films like TPP2 have made it to the cinema and have found an audience.

Oh well, for now I shall treat my attempts at writing as a means of stopping my brain from turning to mush and exiting through my ears. Producing anything of merit will purely be a bonus.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Research started. Pen put to paper. Incredibly general plot structure decided upon. Crikey, at this rate I might actually manage to write something...but dont hold your breath.

That is all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Final Draft...prepare to be used!

After several days of loafing around the house looking through the notes I had made for my long-in-development sci-fi noir novel "13th Earth", I have decided that the whole premise needs a serious overhaul if I am ever to get around to finishing (...or is that starting) writing the bloody thing in any format accepted by publishers.

I have too many pages of (often conflicting) notes to give up on the idea totally, but I need to lay it to one side for a while and remember how it feels to write. So I am going to fire up Final Draft and have a go at getting a screenplay off the ground. It may well turn out to be shite, but at least it is practice. I feel a contemporary reimagining of some video nasties coming on!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Baader Meinhof Complex

I have had a taste for German film ever since I saw "Run Lola Run", so I was looking forward to this film in quiet anticipation.

Having thoroughly enjoyed Uli Edel's previous film "Downfall", I was expecting a dose of the same bleak, yet personal film-making. There was bleak aplenty, however, one never truly feels like one understands the passions and beliefs that drive the members of the Baader-Meinhof group (part of the Red Army Faction).

However, all is not lost. deeper exploration of the group psyche gives way to a faithful and expansive re-telling of the events that shook Germany throughout the 1970's. Indeed, I haven't seen a film exhibiting attention to detail on this scale since "Zodiac".

So what we are left with is a sporadically violent, episodic trip through the paisley clad West Germany of the 70's. Many people - authority figure or not- are riddled with bullets and although we never find out what motivates any of the characters on a deeply personal level, it is made plain that although the film follows a specific group of "commandos", we should not focus on them, but rather on the politics that fascinated and terrified the globe in equal measure.

I have tried not to give too much away about the film (even if you have read the book on which it is based), I want you to experience it for yourself. Try not to get inside the mind of a terrorist, it is much more interesting to put oneself into the same situations. You may be scared by what you start to believe.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The name's Bond...

...James Bond is back and bigger than ever. Warning some minor [SPOILERS].

After much deliberation over whether I liked the new Bond theme, I was still undecided...until tonight.

Yes folks, I have just returned from watching "Quantum of Solace" the 22nd James Bond film and the news is predominantly good.

As you may have read, Quantum picks up almost directly after the final scene of "Casino Royale" and it proceeds to throw the audience right into the action with a beautifully orchestrated car chase. The term "beautifully orchestrated" might not be the first to come to mind when describing stunt sequences, but Marc Forster (Director) and his stunt team have got these sequences down to a fine art. Not only that, they have succeeded in creating sequences that not only tie Casino and Quantum together as one film but are also reminiscent of Bond films from the past. All of this and only five minutes of the film have passed (in an adrenaline pumping blur).

Cue title sequence. Another blend of contemporary and old-school Bond. Lots of images of sand reflecting the arid landscapes depicted throughout the film. And as Bond aficionados may spot, the return of the Walther PPK, Bond's weapon of choice up until it was replaced by the P99 in the Pierce Brosnan movies. The title song "Another Way To Die", as performed by Alicia Keys and Jack White did not immediately strike me as a typical choice for a Bond theme, however, it blends seamlessly with the images of bullets and scantily clad, undulating dancers. The only problem I have is that the wire-frame globe motif used throughout somehow reminded me of something I once saw in "The Man From Uncle" (another franchise screaming out for a contemporary "re-imagining").

Already the film had succeeded in grabbing my full attention, I was riveted. Some people have claimed that this film has less depth than Casino, but I am inclined to disagree. In a film with so much action it would be inadvisable to break up the flow of the film with extended, introspective shots of a brooding, bleeding-heart Bond. Instead Forster chooses to cut the excess expository dialogue in favour of a few brief shots that manage to easily convey the emotions of most of the primary cast. Amazing considering Quantum is a good 35 minutes shorter than its predecessor. These differences in style can be attributed to Casino and Quantum having very different directors. By simply comparing the back catalogues of Martin Campbell and Marc Forster it is plain to see that audiences should expect a different visual style to the one they became accustomed to in Casino. However, I find the two films work best when considered as one. Casino is a film created to show Bond's flaws and emotions. Quantum was created to show the aftermath of a mans breakdown and his re-emergence into the world, albeit through bloody, violent revenge.

And be warned, it is violent. I am somewhat surprised that it passed as a 12A.

Another issue that has been brought to light is that the character of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) is simply not threatening enough for a Bond Villain. Tosh! Greene is a leading-edge villain fit for the modern age and the current political climate. He has no need for a facial disfigurements, white cats or caricature-esque hench-persons (I won't say henchmen, who could forget Bambi and Thumper?) to make an impact. Although he does share many character traits with Messrs. Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Elliot Carver insofar as he is a man of great influence and ambition who will do anything to succeed. I still haven't completely ruled out the return of Blofeld in a later film. The Bond slate has been wiped clean so to speak, the possibilities are boundless. Or that might just be my inner geek wishing out loud.

It seems that this film is bursting at the seems (or is that scenes) with sly little homages to past films in the series. Most aim not to specifically recreate past scenes, but do create a familiar ambiance that Bond fans will appreciate. Some of the choices of shots alone led me to believe that Sean Connery could burst onto screen at any moment. There is however, a single scene, that will either delight or disgust due to its (intended) similarity to a particularly memorable scene from 1964's "Goldfinger". You know the one.

So, lets complete our James Bond checklist. Car chase's: check, Bond girls: check, speedboat chase: check, obligatory tuxedo scene: check, M in a bad mood: check, Felix Leiter: check, explosive (and I do mean explosive) showdown: check, numerous product placements from Ford (extolling the virtues of hydrogen powered cars...remember this, hydrogen cells play a part in the penultimate scenes) and Virgin: check, Bond getting revenge and the closure he so desperately needs...well I'll let you discover that for yourself.

In conclusion, this was a truly excellent film. The juxtaposition of retro and contemporary worked a treat. The stunts were jaw-droppingly amazing and the dialogue tight and concise. This gradual insight into the mindset of Bond should leave audiences longing for more. Roll on Bond 23!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lack of review. review of HSM3 as promised. Sometimes I really need my deadlines to be enforced. I would probably get many more articles written for when I promise them if threatened with a suitably Victorian punishment.

Speaking of deadlines, I am still trying to fine-tune my application to the Beeb. 24 hours and counting until that particular deadline. The consequences for not meeting this deadline may not involve antiquated forms of discipline, however, the psychological damage could potentially be far worse. I am tired of my potential laying dormant due to my fear of rejection. Every writer has been turned down at some point. This should not be used as an excuse to give up, but rather as encouragement to improve and progress.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A little surprise...

I have just returned from previewing a print of "High School Musical 3" and my brain feels like it is ready to leak out of my ears. The film wasn't as terrible as I had assumed it was going to be, but at two hours long it felt like it was never going to end.

A full review will probably appear when I crawl out of bed at some point later this afternoon. Although hopefully I will have finished refining my application to the BBC for a journalism apprenticeship by then.

Oh, and the little surprise. I have just received an e-mail from the lovely creator of to tell me that I now have a photo in the beards of the world gallery. How cool am I!