Fela Birthday Show

September 30, 2010

Details of a Fela tribute show here. Also Tony Allen is touring UK at the moment. He’s playing at the Mac in Brum tonight. See tour dates here. Its a Punch Records tour so should be good.

Old Hollywood

September 25, 2010

Reading a book about old Hollywood mogul DF Zanuck. I’ve read lots of Hollywood biogs over the years, especially old Hollywood. Mayer, Thalberg, Minnelli, Goldwyn, An Empire of Their Own by Neil Garbler is probably my favourite and seems to be generally well-viewed as it quoted favourably in a number of the others. Originally it started as research for a project I was writing. I outlined the project (this must be about 8 years ago or so) but haven’t gone any further. It was also about celebrity so I’ve read more current biogs, Eastwood, Cruise, Spielberg, Scorcese but I always prefer the ones about Von Stroheim, Lang, Hitchcock, Peck, Grant. No doubt I will have read many of the anecdotes before but looking forward to getting into it.

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The Town & Versimilitude

September 24, 2010

Went to see The Town today. It’s an adaptation of ‘Prince of Thieves’ by Chuck Hogan. The Town is Directed and co-written by Ben Affleck. It’s basically a Golden Fleece movie (see Blake Synder’s genre descriptions) hidden inside a heist movie. What struck me was the language of the script. There were lots of moments where I had no idea what the characters were saying. It created a very good atmosphere and was good for characterisation and relationships between characters but I was struck by how script readers might fight to get rid of it as it created a distancing affect.
I think there has always been a pleasure in unpicking the ‘procedural’ language of drama with shows like C.S.I. making good use of this but one-off dramas like films and theatres always have this as a challenge.
Go see it if you get the chance and/or read the book. The print I saw was terrible with a muddy sound projection which didn’t help.

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September 21, 2010

Interesting article here from the Guardian website about Nollywood the nigerian film industry. The indsutry has periodic bursts of publicity here in the UK. Let’s see if Number 2 staus leads to more prolonged exposure. I suspect the production values of the fims and the lack of UK market won’t lead to uk cinema releases in the way that Bollywood releases have.

Save The Cat

September 19, 2010

Just finished Save The Cat screenwriting book. Although he wrote Stop or My Mom Will Shoot doesn’t mean Synder’s knows not of what he speaks. While I found myself arguing about the more prescriptive elements of the book I did find myself agreeing with a lot of it when referring to my own scripts. The book is published by Michael Wiese Publications. mwp publish the Judith Weston books On Acting and Directors Intuition which I think are fabulous books both of them. Synder’s book I think is a good guide as to how screenplays are ‘read’ by Hollywood execs so this might or might not be how one wants to write screenplays.

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php training/interactive video

September 16, 2010

Completed my php/mysql four day course today. I want to resume the projects I haven’t looked at since the completion of my Masters a few years ago. That is a site that approaches narrative from a non-linear, user-driven approach. It has some similarities with Manovich’s database cinema and Greenaway’s long-term project Tulsa Luper Suitcases. Ready to approach building the scaffold of the project once I consider the interaction types and architecture of the databases.

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Screenwriting Books

September 10, 2010

Recently I was invited (by Focal Press) to review a proposal for a book on screenwriting. The aspiring author  currently works as a Reader in Hollywood and brought this experience to bear in the chapter I read. The style was very direct, engaging and funny. There are loads of scriptwriting how-tos on the market but this one was closer in style to ‘Save The CatBlake Synder‘s book.

For it’s intended target audience the proposal I read worked very well. It was instructional but done in a comedic, no nonsense way that I enjoyed and felt appropriate for writers who need a shot of confidence to put work to the page and then have some sense of how to adapt and rewrite.

Don Quixote’s Words

September 4, 2010

Reading (very slowly reading) Don Quixote in it’s original Spanish at the moment. I speak Spanish, not fluently but well and can read it ok but I’ve never attempted to read something of this length before. It’s proving really interesting as I have to super concentrate on the words.
I’m reminded of the advice to all writers new to a form to read lots of existing examples of that form so as to be clearer as to how the writer approached the writing, to reveal decisions that underpin the structure. The same is happening with having to translate Cervantes. The only issue is the time taking to translate makes me forget the lessons learnt!!

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