Saturday, March 24, 2007

Why are movies so expensive to make?

Last year I decided I didn't know enough about the movie industry, so I signed up for a course in film making with Line Out in Leicester. We learned about lighting and sound and cameras and scene structure and how movies are put together. But the highlight of the course was the final weekend when we went out to make our own five minute movie.

Five minutes is a difficult length to write a story for. It is too long for a single punchline gag and too short to easily develop characters and relationships that the audience will want to follow. With those limitations in mind, I set out to write a five page screenplay. I was delighted when my story, Pictures of Andy, was selected for production.

Claudia WilsonThen came the filming weekend. Such an exhausting two days of sweat and effort! But the production team, including Gav, Bav and Alex (I'll write more about them in a later post) was excellent. The actors, including Haresh Sood and Claudia Wilson were superb. All the days of writing, storyboarding and planning bore fruit. When we sat down for our final 2 days of work on the film - in the editing suite - we were amazed to see the result taking shape.

Haresh Sood All that for five minutes of film? Now I start to understand why movies are so expensive to make. But was it worth it? All I can say is, I can't wait to do it again.

Our film, Pictures of Andy, has just been put up on YouTube. Unfortunately our attractive widescreen format film has been squashed to get it to fit YouTube. But it will give you an idea of what we were doing.

Friday, March 16, 2007

No Star on the Door

Last night I had the hugely enjoyable experience of visiting Derby's Guildhall theatre, seeing Michael Marshall talk and read from his soon to be published novel, and performing the story Blood Mother, alongside Clare Littleford and Sally Spedding.

I've lost count of the number of venues where I've given readings, talks or storytelling performances. Usually they are libraries or community centres or village halls. Each has been enjoyable in its own way - for me, at least. But last night was the first time in a good few years that I've had the pleasure of performing in a real theatre, complete with black drapes, stage lighting and a dressing room. (I can report that there were no stars on the dressing room door.)

And Michael's reading was spellbinding. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I can't say much - except that it was a masterclass in pace and impact.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Virtual spring cleaning

It is spring - according to the flowers and animals in the garden. No use telling them to hold back till March 21st - the official first day of spring. What better time of year to clear out the clutter with a physical, spiritual and virtual spring clean?

My physical spring clean has been hauling barrow loads of stuff (stuff that I can't compost) from the back of the garden to a skip at the front of the house. The spiritual spring clean is the Baha'i fast (a period of nineteen days leading up to the Baha'i new year, March 21st). And then to the real subject of this posting - the virtual spring clean - which has been a re-design of my website.

Please do visit it and let me know how it looks on your computer. The input would be much appreciated.