A Humbling Saturday…

Sanyu‘ means ‘Happiness‘ or ‘Happy‘ in the Luganda language (so I’m told, but of course, open to correction), spoken by about 2 million people in Uganda. It is also a name that can be given to either a boy or a girl. Today, it took on a new, unofficial meaning in the life of this writer… ‘Humbling‘…

Even before we took off from London for this adventure, we had it in mind to visit an orphanage to provide a donation of clothing.

As our Uber pulled into the gated compounded of the Sanyu Babies’ Home, none of our group of 8 people knew exactly what to expect. Sure, we knew there were going to young people ages 1 day-5 years, and that it may make a few of us sad, encouraged and even broody, but the experience itself was something that could not be quantified.

Indeed, it was overwhelming for many of us.

For reasons of privacy, we were not permitted to take photos of the children (and quite right, too) but we were able to capture the home itself. Below is just a couple of those taken:

After the donated items were deposited with the staff and accounted for, we were sat in an area of benches and given a brief talk about the home, and its history. Of note:

-The home was founded in 1929 by Milnes Winifred Walker, a nurse, in response to the high number of children being left at the hospital she worked out.

-It houses up to 350 children aged 1 day to 4 years old.

-Those who do not find a new home by that age are moved to other homes for older children.

-It is a non-profit organisation.

Once that was completed, we cleansed our hands and was taken into the home… and it all hit us.

We were blessed to see babies, toddlers and young children, some crying, some unsure how to react to this group of 20 to 30-something’s and some were actually excited to see us. One particular young man is going to make a real impact when he is older, such was his outgoing nature.

What I didn’t perceive, however, was a sense of abandonment or profound sadness in the children, mainly because most of them have only known that existence. And it has been a well-run, organised and loving environment. That is encouraging in a way, because should they be blessed to find a family home, I can only hope they feel an increased sense of love and being wanted.

I cannot praise the establishment enough for what they do, and I have an elevated appreciation for them and the volunteers who drop by daily.

If you want to know more about the home or even make a donation, please see visit their site at:

http://www.sanyubabies.com/

(Or if you wish to do so local to you, please make those enquiries)

This post is not a comment on the reasons the children come to be in orphanages (as they are unknown and likely complex) or on the David Lammy/Stacey Dooley debate earlier this year, but just a personal experience.

One thing is for sure, which that I bemoaned before today means virtually nothing after this humbling visit.

Thank you for reading.

An Epic of Cyclone proportions…

Good morning to you all from rainy Kampala, Uganda💧

The welcome sunshine, and heat that made the hotel swimming pool a popular gathering spot for our eclectic, modern group (and I 🙈) has given way to heavy rain and flooding that caused cars to get stuck in the road and the mosquitoes to mobilise, due to the relative heat. I might as well have conversed with a couple of them when I went down for some air in the early hours.

It has caused us to not only re-evaluate our plans for today (which involve taking clothes to an orphanage, and a fashion show, in which men are, thankfully, not invited 😜) but to take a closer look at an item of news that barely registered- certainly with me- when first posted in our WhatsApp group yesterday, and will likely have a major impact on the rest of our time in Uganda (and East Africa)…

https://allafrica.com/stories/201904260048.html

Yes, Cyclone Kenneth is due to hit Tanzania and Mozambique* this week and Zanzibar later on in the weekend.

The Zanzibar Maritime Authority have suspended all their ferry services, as of Noon yesterday, and more pertinently ‘until further notice’… so not exactly the ‘few days to a week’ some readers may be used to when services are cancelled. Then again, it is a Cyclone, so I’m not going to be silly about it.

But why is this important to us? You may ask, and you’d be right to, given the bare minimum I’ve given you so far.

A smaller group of us were due to fly from Entebbe Airport next week to Tanzania, and then take a ferry to Zanzibar.

Obviously, that’s up in the air now. Dare I say, severely in doubt, due to safety concerns as well as potential physical effects it could have on Tanzania, Mozambique and Zanzibar.

And spare a thought for Mozambique, who were devastated in March by Cyclone Idai, killing hundreds and totalling 1000 in Southern Africa.

I will keep you posted on what occurs on that front, as well as the safari we are due to go on 🤞🏿

Thank you for reading.

*Edited in draft- Cyclone Kenneth appears to have already hit Mozambique at the time of publication.

Yeah, and the rest (and relaxation)

Greetings from sunny Uganda. It’s glorious outside. We are 2 hours ahead of the U.K. (and many more than that ahead of the United States, and greetings to those reading from there 👋🏿) so I’m still trying to time my commutations properly 🙈

Yesterday was both exciting and nerve racking, as I was doing what I have been reluctant to do for a while and really put myself out there for all to see, by way of launching the Indiegogo campaign for ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Done

And I won’t fib you, dear reader, the reaction has been mixed, but still positive. In amongst the broadly congratulatory messages of support (with a few quiet promises to pledge), those with vast technical crowdfunding experience offered feedback and advice that can only make the page/campaign better.

And I look forward to seeing what the next 39 days of the campaign hold. Please continue to check for updates and share on social as you can.

As an aside, no-one should ever stick their neck out on their own work (or anything, really) if they cannot accept that they can improve further.

And that has not been more evident than the run up to this vacation I am currently on. And more specifically, in regard to the clothes I own.

I never really gave my sartorial choices a huge amount of thought over the years, but as I am now reminded on a daily basis, that good, unique choices serve as an ‘enhancer’ if nothing more.

So when the photos start to be put up on here- and they will- if I feature on them, I will no longer distract from the scenery on them 🤣

Lastly, I’m hoping to get through 2 of the books recommended in the ‘More For The Collection’ post 📚

Till then, thank you for reading.

Get In, Get Done, Get Out: The Indiegogo Campaign.

Greetings from warm Uganda, where the reasons for my visit have changed, but the determination to have a relaxing, but exciting and memorable time remain the same.

I’m angling for more of the former, but by and large, I know better 🙈

Photos and experiences may make their way to these humble pages, but that’s the primary reason for this one.

This is

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/get-in-get-done-get-out-short-film#/

The Indiegogo campaign page for funding to assist in making this short film a reality of quality.

I’ll be honest, I was reluctant to embark on crowdfunding as I initially felt it would be burdensome to seek such assistance when many people would have no reason to care about its success or otherwise.

But then I was encouraged to read up on crowdfunding and the benefits to both the owners of the campaign and those who pledge.

And it just about convinced me to stick my neck out and give it a go.

So, if you’re reading this, please follow the link above and see if it is something you’d like to contribute to. If not, or circumstances don’t permit, then simply sharing the link on your social media would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

Shining a spotlight on genius in the face of ill-discipline

I know, I know 🙄

I said my next post would be tomorrow to coincide with the launch of the campaign for ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out‘, and I’d usually be my own biggest critic for such ill-discipline.

But, I am reminded to spotlight the works of a good friend of mine. He’s an artist, family man and an all-round good egg.

http://www.deanwaite.co.uk/

If there is anything that interests you (particularly the purchasing of prints) please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Dean.

As you’ll see, the artwork is amazing and will brighten up any surrounding.

Thank you for reading. And catch you tomorrow from sunnier climes ✈️

A Seasonal Update Worth Getting Up For 🙌🏿

Obscure festive reference out of the way… Happy Easter (weekend) and hope it has been a good period for all…

Firstly, it is best to address the relative lack of updates over the last week, with the latter of the reasons dove-tailing nicely into what will be my next post.

The first reason is the previously mentioned overseas jaunt I’m about to embark on. The preparations and lead-up have taken on a life of their own, with twists and turns worthy of my own story. But thankfully, pretty much all is ready in that regard 👌🏿

I’ve been debating whether to share some carefully selected snaps or not, but in the interest of expanding this platform, I will do so.

I’ve also been attempting to get a hold of as many of the stories as I can that we’re recommend to me in the ‘More For The Collection’ post. Please feel free to recommend any more you can think of.

One thing I did do was to take part in some in filming for a campaign that I will launch on Tuesday 23rd April in the morning and publicise as much as possible. As a consequence, I was reminded of my voice and how it sounds to everyone who is not me 🙈 I apologise to all of you 🤣

In a previous life, I trod the boards of a drama class run by the legend that is Anna Scher, and to say I’ve retained none of her amazing teachings would be an understatement. Gosh, I wish I had more time to still sit under her learning tree… point being that it started off very awkward and unnatural but did settle into a sort of rhythm. You’ll see the results very shortly and can judge yourself…

Lastly, the aforementioned campaign is in reference to ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out‘ and the next post will coincide with its launch. Not just here but on social media. Keep your eyes peeled…

Thank you for reading.

Naming Challenge… of sorts 🤔

For the past couple of weeks, there has been a story (or at the very least a concept) that has been floating around my head.

Yes, that’s in addition to the prospective development of ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out’ and the time I need to give over to writing out ‘Cash Prize‘, as well as keeping tabs on ‘Three Knocks‘ and seeing if anything comes of ‘CALLS‘, which I have submitted via an opportunity listed on BBC Writers Room.

Not forgetting another (as yet not referenced) project that I’m hoping to find interest in.

But, yes, getting back to this other, newer story. Unlike the others, and rather unusually for me, it is a story that touches on, amongst others, a very modern, and very real issue that affects way too many people. But, typically of me, it doesn’t get there in a typical or ‘normal’ way. A way that tests the perception of both the viewer/reader and the main protagonist.

Cryptic enough for you? 🤣

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I used the expression ‘viewer/reader’. The reason for that, is because I’ve yet to decide if I want to write it as a short script for film or a short, prose-form story. I’ll provide updates on that.

The things is, it doesn’t have a name and I have been unable to think of one.

And this is where the ‘Naming Challenge’ becomes pertinent. Below, I’m going to post the ‘logline’ of the short, and see if anyone who reads this can come up with a name for it. Any considered ideas are welcome in the comment box below 👇🏿

The suggestion that resonates the most with the logline and the story will be selected to be name of the project.

“Faced with the disappearance of his young family, and a menacing phone call, Barry is forced to confront not only the fate of his loved ones, but the very nature of his own existence”

The person who suggests it will receive a copy of the script/story as and when (or if) it reaches a more public platform.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to considering your suggestions in comment box below 😊

An Even Newer Hat…

(This ended up longer than planned 🙈😂)

As alluded to in previous posts, even though this humble blog has been on ‘hiatus’, my writing has continued- except for those periods when I was beset by the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. It has taken the form of the occasional monologue, the even less frequent poem (which I may be minded to inflict on you all- you’ve been warned) but mainly short stories and scripts.

I will touch on the short stories another time, but I want to focus today on the continuing saga of bringing my short scripts to life.

Even with the success of seeing my words- club scene-aside (and story re-direction) realised in the form of Judgement (still available on YouTube), the saga of Three Knocks left a sour taste in my mouth. So much so, that I withdrew from the pen to sort other things out in life. I’d even had my first go at writing something a little less serious- with ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out’, and it had been well-received, but still, I had checked out.

But more than couple of times over that period, and even after I picked up the pen to try my hand at the aforementioned poetry, that 11-page short kept popping back into my mind. Why not INEVITABILIS? With its 26 pages of atmosphere, anger, vengeance and unexpected moments.

Upon the discovery of a couple of writing and filmmaking groups on Facebook, I was able to put it out of my mind and focus my attention on linking with people looking to build experiences and their portfolio, so I can find someone interested enough to want to produce my work while I sat back and waited for the chance to see my work on screen.

I hope you can already see where the problem lay in my approach…

Over the next year, I attended two networking events after submitting a script each time (Three Knocks as the first, and a new script, named ‘CALLS’) and dealing with interest from actors and prospective directors alike networking and feeling great, as I fielded questions about my scripts and felt that my work was on the verge of being created, my approach still the same.

Seen where my approach may have been a problem? I’m sure you have, but just in case…

The practical questions would invariably come up- “Who else have you got?” “Who’s going to be the producer?” “What’s your involvement?” “Director?” “Location?”, etc, etc

Essentially, as good as my scripts and stories may have been (and as many people went quiet on me after reading the scripts following initial interest reading the loglines and synopsises) they have to be made and my approach of just giving it over to a director to go and utilise their contacts just did not fly. Even on monthly challenges where the budgets were low-zero.

And on both occasions, an inability to constitute a workable team meant I had to withdraw my scripts from the challenge. But something had changed. Personally, I was feeling more positive about the quality of my work and getting it out there, and not only that, but my approach was holistic. By that, I mean it would (and should) be about the team and not just seeing my name on the credits.

After the second withdrawal, I found I suddenly had a number of contacts and connections I didn’t have before and were interested in working with me. Particularly on the acting side, and this is where we start to enter 2019…

In ‘CALLS’ there is a delightful and charming anchor of a character named Dotty that caught the eye of 2 actors. I would have struggled to make a casting decision had the film gone to production (and planned to give the decision over to the director- had one been found and could commit) so with the script not being produced, I needed not make that decision, but did commit to working with the ladies concerned in a way that could show their strengths.

Then for the first time in ages, ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out’ came to mind and I forwarded it to one of them. It contains a character that I thought would suit her. And sure enough, ‘CALLS’ was a thing of the past and it was ‘GIGDGO’ that needed to be made. Not only that, but she knew of a director she had recently worked with who could be interested.

And he was…. He still is… And I’ll introduce him (as well as the actor, and others) to you in due course.

After a few months of minor script tweaks, meetings, and me taking a more hands-on approach to setting our ducks in a row, along with a decision about what we want it to be, I can happily say that it looks like ‘GIGDGO’ is going to be produced later this year.

How long I wear this even newer hat remains to be seen.

But just before we fully press ahead, there are a couple of matters we need to address and deal with… and we likely cannot do it on our own…

Thank you for reading, and more to follow…..

Stumbling into a new script… Oops 🤦🏿‍♂️

Don’t get me wrong! It’s no bad thing to be able to rattle off a very rough idea with little more than a screen cap as a stimulus. At all 😊

And it keeps my mind busy.

This is the ‘offending’ photo sent to me on Sunday. The brief is:

*No more than 8 minutes.

*No edits.

*1 take.

My initial reaction was to mentally dismiss it, but then mere moments later, an image of a smartly dressed individual and a microphone popped into my head and, thinking I was being asked to consider coming up with something, I articulated the fact something was bubbling.

After sitting on it, and allowing the image to develop into a number of characters and a short story, I shared it with the man who sent me the screen cap (and more on him to come) and after a reaction of ‘Hahahaha’ he said it was a great idea and that it ‘must be made’

Turns out the gent wasn’t seeking ideas, per se, so yes, I managed to stumble into a new script project.

… ‘Cash Prize’ (Working Title) coming soon…

Thank you for reading and have a nice day 😊