Fig. 1 Jeremy Irvine (War House) and Dakota Fanning (loads of films) on Seaford Head looking towrds the Seven Sisters.
This gem of a film is also from the director of "The Magnificent Marigold Hotel.' Dakota Fanning is a 17 year old dying of cancer with a wish list. Her performance is wonderful and she totally credible as English.
What's odd here is that the bench is pointed away from the view towards some gorse bushes and lacks a dedication which all such chairs have up there. I know because I walk the dog here often. Today I stumbled upon the largest camp of film lighting, catering, wardrobes and other support services I have yet seen. Are they filming Iron Man IV down there?
I have thus far stumbled upon the filming of a scenes from Atonement, what I was told was an Eastenders special, a TV commercial and picking up shots for Harry Potter (It's where the World Quidditch game is played).
Do you live next to a regularly used film location?
As a boy we had Alnwick Castle up the road. Long before Harry Potter they filmed something called 'King Arthur and the Spaceman' in which I was an extra all one summer. I was 16. I was the 'King's Guard Special' to Kenneth Moor's Arthur.
Fig. 1. Twister
From time to time I give this a flick - usually when I should be concentrating on an assignment (I am). I just desire to take my head somewhere else for some light relief. For each quadrant put in each of: sport, cooking, fiction (films and novel) and visual arts (drawing, photography)
Today it is the film 'Groundhog Day' - so a bit of fiction and visual arts in one
This has relevance to learning. There is a moral tale. It even promotes the idea that as a result of effort over time you can be anything. OK, he is an arse for a good while, but then Phil Connors (Bill Murray) learns all kinds of things from 19th Century French poetry to ice-carving, he is a doctor and classical and jazz pianist.
If you know the film, download the script.
This is revealing as it gives a half dozen more twists to Phil's antics (good and bad) and gives away the basis of the film - The Frog Prince. He gets tattoos and some biker chicks, carves in stone as well as ice, studies philosophy as well as literature, the drums as well as the piano ... robs a bank as well as the security van and has a long relationship with Nancy until he gets bored with it (and her).
Not that any learning instution has the funding to produce a movie that cost many millions. I wonder though how an executive producer might exploit the assets in this movie, certain scenes or still images for example. I like to paint and draw so the way it is illustrated in film fascinates me, in this film, shot with the eye of a Dutch Master we get some key moments in the creation of a film demonstrated, from first inspiration, to the initial presentation, the first layers and the art of mixing paints. On this score which films do I rate as showing what it is to be an artist and which do not?
Titanic. Kate Winslet - Rubbish La Belle Noissease. Emanuelle Beart - Brilliant One Summer. Liv Tyler - OK
There are many, many others. I'll add to this list and fix any inaccuracies as I go along. Please do offer your suggestions.
Back to the use of narrative, a story well told, that is memorable, relevant and inspirational. This takes craft skills that producers (production managers) and clients (sponsors) need to be reminded cost a good deal to get right. It matters that the words spoken ring true, that characters are cast with imagination, that the direction is subtle and professional. Even with a photostory scripting requires care if it is to appear authentic, and we must remembered, as shown in 'Girl with a pearl earring' that we communicate a great deal through facial expression and body language rather than by what we say.
The production company is called 'No Money', sadly, the obvious lack of a budget to do the film got in the way. They could have done with it to finish the film; the third act is rushed/truncated.
The story though is both simple and compelling: a guy retires, needs the paperwork from former employers 30 odd years in his past. Serge, nickname Mamuth, played by an obese, but loveable Gerade Depardue sets off to get the affidavits he requires. He meets some odd people, in some odd ways.
It could have turned into a series of sketches : the men all crying in the hotel restaurant, Miss Ming his niece, the metal detector, the 'Thelma and Louise' moment for his wife and he friend.
It inspires me: low budget films can be made. Hollywood should do a remake NOT with Depardue, but perhaps Kurt Russell or even Jack Nicholson, with a cameo from Lady Gaga and Elizabeth Taylor (especially as she's dead).
The print was fare easier to view and the subtitles to read at Lewes. The Lewes Film Club in the All Saints Church is more intimate. There were more belly-laughs, with some people drifting into periods of chortles and constant giggles. There are a series of moments that tickly you, especially his first day of retirement (which is perhaps how the idea started out?)
The current generation will be able to begin to achieve a fraction of this if they please; all I have to go on are diaries I stared in March 1975 and efforts since then to recall all the events, feelings and dreams of my life to that point.
This alongside photoalbums, scrapbooks and sketch books, with lists of books read and films seen, maps of places visited and a complete extended family tree ought to offer a perspective of who or what I am.
Does any of it impact on how I think and behave?
Without my mind is it not simply a repository of typical memories and learning experiences of a boy growing up in the North East of England?
Blogging since 1999 there are like minds out there, though none have come back with an approximation of the same experiences (its been an odd, if not in some people's eyes, bizarre, even extraordinary roller-coaster of a ride).
It's value? To me, or others?
I could analyse it 'til the day I die. My goal is no longer to understand me, but to understand human kind. And to better understand the value of exercises such as this, not simply hoarding everything, but of consciously chosing to keep or record certain things.
For now I will exploit the tools that are offered. In theory anything already digitised on computers going back to the 1980s could now be put online and potentially shared. Can I extract material from a Floppy-disc, from an Amstrad Disc, from a zip-drive? Should I add super8mm cine-flim already digistised on betacam masters? And the books Iv'e read, beyond listing them do I add links even re-read some of them? And a handful of school exercise books (geography and maths) A'Level folders on Modern History. I kept nothing from three years of university, yet this is where the learning experience ought to have been the most intense. But I had no plans to take that forward had I?
My university learning was spent on the stage or behind a video camera.
Should I undertake such an exercise without a purpose in mind?
Do I draw on it to write fiction?
There is a TV screenplay 'The Contents of My Mind' that could be stripped down and re-written, even shared.
And all the fictoin, the millions of words.
Will this have a life if put online?
Is it not the storyteller's sole desire to be heard? To have an attentive audience?
The mistake risk takers make is to take too few risks
The dot com or e-learning mistake is to have only one ball in the air.
Like Cirque du Soleil they should juggle a dozen items, who even notices if one drops to the ground and breaks, there's enough going on to amaze.
TV production companies, docs and drama, film companies too, have to have many ideas in development if any are to succeed; when will web producers take the same approach?
28 projects on the go I understand is the figure
I've got four ideas, so seven other people with four ideas each and we're in business as imagicians.
Writing is everything.
I'd master it now. Keeping a blog is a sure darned way to do that. Handwritten is fine; find yourself the perfect pen.
Writing, or rather the ability to write.
It is the key to communication, to learning and to e-learning, and a great deal else besides.
On my passport it says 'writer, director.'
I like that, though I think of my skill as a visualiser and the writing and directing is rarely TV, but corporate and classroom training, desk-top learning, and product launches, change brand and change management. Still there can be drama in it, and tears, and death, and love, and life, and music and dance. We go underwater and scale mountains, enter shear caves of nuclear power plants and wade through sewers, track super-models along catwalks in Paris and record the last words of a man dying of cancer in Carlisle.
I see things in pictures.
Perhaps the MA in Fine Art IS what I should have started a year ago ... though I fear I may have missed out.
It's easy enough I find to get my 'hand back in' if I want to draw something as it is rather like riding a bike, or skiing in deep powder snow, or racing a Fireball, or pushing off a wall in Breaststroke and emerging from a legal transition half way down a 25m pool ... once you've put in the days, months, years (even decades) learning to do these things, barring ill-health and great age, you ought to be able to do them for some time to come.
Which reminds me, I want to crack written French in 2011.
Clients think of me as something in addition to writing and directing (I produce), but no. that's not it; there are words, voices, images, cut together and linked in various ways that form linear and non-linear assemblages, but to them I am 'a problem solved', a job delivered, with passion, on time, on budget (of course), sometimes as a team of one, but sometimes in a team of a few or many more. I do wonder if sometimes an email with the finally agreed Creative Brief is the end of the process, rather than beginning.
Today, once you've solved that you can invite everyone to come up with their own creative execution.
Now there's a thought I'd not heard coming.
All of this takes words, expressing and solving the problem and sharing this requires words. A fast, reliable typing speed helps too. So perhaps my Mum was right to get me a typewriter when I was 13 when I wanted an electric guitar.
Sometimes I find the problem for the client and share it with them in all its beautiful ghastliness.
This is what good writing means. And experience. And judgment. And belief. And your approach and thoroughness. And the write people around you. And sometimes conviction that £60,000 will deliver the job, but £600 will not.
Good writing is less about the words chosen and put on the page (unless you are a novelist or poet, and I am neither), no, good writing is a good idea, clearly expressed, in as few words as possible. (Which in due course requires editing something like this).
Who is it who said the selling is a good idea?
That all it takes to sell something, is to have a good idea.
Good writing has a purpose and the author knows how to put the words to work by addressing a problem, because you know your audience and whether you or someone else is the subject matter expert, it is your responsibility, even if the words are hidden by a creative brief, a synopsis, treatments and scripts, to get the message across ... like, with some or many images (photos, graphics, cartoons), or with the spoken words and/or similar images that move ...
A swimming club session plan written on a whiteboard to take a squad of swimmers can be beautifully written if it is magically composed, and serves its immediate purpose. The good swimming coach rarely leaves such things in the head. It is thought-out, it is planned, it fits into the scheme of things, it is the right session for that hour or two.
Good writing hits a chord; it too is of the moment.
I conclude that a good teacher, a good tutor, educator, practitioner of e-learning ... all have this ability to write well at the core of their being. They are confident with words, words that are as carefully chosen even if spoken on the fly, as a result of their experience and all the lesson plans or scripts, or class programmes, they have written in the past that bubble up to the surface when faced with a problem - a fresh student.
(My only caveat is the from the podcasts I've heard before an educator is interviewed they should at least have the wisdom to do some media training).
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