Sharing Is Caring…

Happy New Year to those who visit this page. Don’t think it’s too late 🤣

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, as I personally seek to improve and get better all year round.

And that includes my writing, of which I’m going in one or two different directions in the immediate future. Watch this space.

One of those different directions is the sharing of this passion of mine.

I hope I won’t need to link to this too often but just to keep you abreast of this development.

https://www.fiverr.com/s2/d7b8d3351e

I’ve created a profile on the freelance site Fiverr, and hopefully, for a small amount, I can help those who wish to have story outline or script created.

… So, my writing didn’t feature ðŸ¤¦ðŸ¿â€â™‚️

So as to tie up the dangling thread of my journey to Thailand, I’ll state that it was such a great experience that a long post on it with a smattering of photos will not do it justice.

And, as emphasised on a mentally-draining, confidence-smashing, but potentially rewarding professional course last week, people simply don’t have time to sit and ingest one person’s thoughts, however it is written. So going forward, my posts will be shorter and punchier.

I’ll save my words for something else 😉

Back to Thailand, the weather was largely great, having just missed the monsoon season upon arrival. Visits included a Buddhist temple, an elephant sanctuary- specifically chosen because they were rescued, were not chained or flogged, and riding of the magnificent animals was not permitted, but we fed, muddied and washed them- and Phi Phi island where your’s truly snorkelled (for the first and probably last time), rode on a speedboat and took in a mountain of traditional food.

Not that you’d believe it to see me now 🤣

So, a combination of that plus relaxing and enjoying the hotel meant there was shockingly little time to write.

I did make an action plan of what I wanted to do creatively and I will soon have a few interesting things to disclose…

I also took time to meditate on ALL other aspects of my life, where I am now and where I want to be. And it looks like I have a few tough (and one or two very easy 😉) decisions to make…

Till next time, thanks for reading…

Because you couldn’t get enough of it last time ðŸ˜œðŸ˜‚

I genuinely thought my next post would be waxing lyrical about the existence of both ‘Calls’ and ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out’ as a complete and viable (though the latter is to be determined) short films.

Perhaps it was going to take a peek into what’s to come, both in terms of prose-writing and possibly more short films.

Or maybe even touch upon the issues that really matter… Premier League, finally seeing Toy Story 4, and the importance of the ‘Real Housewives’ franchise as a commentary on… see, couldn’t even finish that sentence 🤣🤣🤣

Instead, I post from Thailand. 2 6+ hour plane rides, sporadic eating and now a 7 hour advance on the U.K (and 11+ on the United States).

Given how well received my posts on my Uganda exploits were, I thought I’d give it another go.

Of course, I don’t go anywhere without my notepad and pen(s), so hopefully more of the writing features over the next 9-10 days.

Until then, thanks for reading…

The answer is to follow. What is the question?…

…Now what?

That was what came to my mind after I submitted (and tidied up) yesterday’s reflective post.

I’d worked most of the year towards turning one of my scripts into a short film, and ended up doing 2.

In that time I’ve made friends and connections I’m hoping to help as much as they are willing to assist me, for which I am immensely blessed.

So, examining what had been achieved, I looked towards the end of the year and what I’d like to accomplish.

Some of it is personal, but by stating the writing-related items here, I am making a commitment to realising them:

*I’ve already started developing some of my ideas, and turning them into short stories. It’s my aim to have them in some kind of publishable form by the end of the year.

*It’s repetitive but necessary to mention that Inivitabilis, increasingly taking the form of a novella, is gathering pace, certainly in terms of formatting and structure. It’s complex/convoluted enough that it requires that attention. Also, because I’ve never written down the subsequent part(s) and I wish to include that. This I am particularly excited about.

*And finally, Christian fiction. I have a couple of ideas pottering around but am unsure of the best way to format them or even if to do them. The reasons are more than one. I would have ideally presented them in script form. However, the immediate platform I have to present them have clearly-defined ways of delivering to a clearly-defined audience, so my storytelling style will not resonate.

Secondly, I’ve been advised more than once that doing Christian fiction is a first class ticket to pigeon-holing. Christians will only expect that from me going forward and non-Christians will immediately disqualify me going forward.

Lastly, any fiction that does not represent or show the most uncompromising voices or hypocritical actors within the faith will be viewed as a puff or fudge by some outside of it, due to those people being given the most ‘popular’ coverage. And a few within the faith might question why I’m giving fair voice to those they do not agree with or judge and my possible choice not to inflict the worst punishment on the characters 🥵

I think I might have a solution to all of that, but to be confirmed…

Of course, that leaves my remaining short scripts, ‘(Un)Civility’ ‘Must Not Run’ and the half completed ‘Cash Prize’. ‘Must Not Run’ has clearer future potential in terms of actors and directors should I choose to produce it. The other 2 I will need to sit down and decide where their future lies.

That, and wanting to use my writing to do something lasting, nice and very specific for at least 2 people who mean the absolute world to me 🤫…

So, yes. What now? There’s 👆🏿your (and my) answer…

Thank you for reading…

No Reputations Were Harmed In The Making Of This Entry…

… at least not mine, anyway 😜

In my previous post, I referred to my most recently written short script, ‘Must Not Run’, which I was in the process of entering into the 6th Edition of the Making Films Zero Budget 1 Month Challenge.

Well, I did- but it wasn’t made. Though I received a good number of pitches, mainly from actors, as well as a composer and despite being put in touch with a director, one key component missing was crew (camera, lighting, sound, etc) and that was a hurdle that could not be overcome in time.

But there was still hope.

At the last moment, I also entered ‘Calls’ into the challenge. And that, too, received pitches. There was a little bit of crossover, in terms of those who pitched, most noticeably from a gentleman by the name of Alexander.

Quite possibly the busiest person I’ve ever seen in a networking environment. A literal force of nature and seemingly infinitely connected. He’s acted in both the U.K. and his native Italy and has his fingers in a number of pies.

I’ve spotlighted Alexander this way because like ‘Must Not Run’, ‘Calls’ received pitches from mainly actors but not much from directors. (Actually, I did receive one from outside the U.K. that I will get to a little later. It’s quite unbelievable…)

Such was the determination to get these scripts produced, Alexander sent them among his network of directors and I started to receive pitches and expressions of interest.

I chose one for ‘Must Not Run’ and one for ‘Calls’. The one for the latter is a lady called Julia, who I was excited to potentially work with, having taken a real liking to a previous short film she did.

She liked the script and the tone it struck, and wanted to work on it. I could already sense ideas were forming in her head. There was also a possibility that she had access to a camera operator, so the prospects were looking good for this.

On top of that, Alexander also got someone he had worked with before to pitch for the main female role. Her name is Eleonora, and she, too, is Italian. Having looked at her showreel, and having chatted with her briefly, I offered her the part. I could see they had on-camera chemistry and could bring it to the characters in ‘Calls’

Working with Phil and Cláudia on GIGDGO really taught me the value of good on-screen chemistry (even if the characters being portrayed are not romantically linked) so I was not going to pass it up.

There were a few components missing, such as a professional sound engineer, but thought that with a post or two in the main Facebook group someone could be found. That was lesson number 2…

Lesson number 1 was not assuming that everything would stick to plan. And was learned by way of Julia’s camera operator not being available any longer. The search for a replacement bore no fruit so the decision was made to film using smartphones. No worries, we decided. It’s something to tick off my non-existent bucket list 😊

Lesson number 2 is that you will have to be extremely lucky to find a sound engineer who is available on your shooting day, and is willing to participate in a zero budget challenge in almost every sense of the expression. And no criticism of that, as we’re all in the business of wanting to earn from our skill 😊 In terms of this challenge, we were not so lucky.

Fortunately, Julia had her own portable sound recording equipment, so again, we had potentially overcome another hurdle. We settled on a location that we’d film cleverly so it wasn’t obvious to all who saw it. And lighting was good there as well.

There was a 3rd lesson we were still to learn, but that definitely deserves more of a focus. And it’s tied in to the overseas pitch I received. Still to come…

So the day of filming arrived and we had a fun shoot. I enjoyed it and it was fun seeing my characters and words come to life again. I also attempted to apply lessons learned from the previous month’s filming that I’d just recovered from 🤣

Of the films in the challenge that Julia was dealing with, ‘Calls’ was to be most straight forward to film. It didn’t have special effects and the script set things out clearly. It did have a number of voices that would need to be recorded and inserted post-edit, and in the absence of other voice actors, a rather interesting solution was found. For those who get to see the finished product, it will make you chuckle.

Once the footage was shot, and the audio recorded, I created a very detailed document in relation to how we wanted to have it all put together and edited. And sent it to the editor we chose. And this was our 3rd, final and almost fatal lesson…

Earlier, I referenced the fact that ‘Must Not Run’ received a pitch from an overseas interested party, well it was from a man in another part of the world and no, I’m not going to give his name, or location, as I’m not here to damage it or his reputation) and the pitch was for him to take the script, film it using his friends local to him and produce it. I thought about it, but decided that I’d quite like to be hands on, so kindly declined his pitch, though very much intended to collaborate on other stuff.

For ‘Calls’, when I put an advert out for an editor, he answered it, and having seen some of the other videos he had produced, I offered him the role. His enthusiasm was infectious and I thought the edit would actually be the most straightforward part. The footage was clear, the audio captured and the production sheet thorough.

Barring a couple of format queries, he confirmed he had the audio and footage. The document was sent a day later due to a couple of things on my end. But unlike before, there were no positive e-mail responses. Nothing, in fact. I always factored in the time difference between here and his location.

Given the very quick turnaround required, I assumed he was editing, and all he required was my voice recordings. Once I got time, I shut myself away and did them.

Almost as soon as I sent them, I got a reply from him. To paraphrase, he said he would forward an e-mail he sent to Julia. That arrived a moment or two later and it essentially said that there were issues with the footage, particularly the audio synching and he was not able to resolve it. I learned over the course of the following day that the different software and ‘codings’ used can cause compatibility issues.

Understood.

However, I felt the provision of the audio recording could have covered that issue. I’m still open to be schooled on that.

But the thing that made me pause for thought was his offer of a resolution. To take the script, reshoot it (thus trashing what Julia, Eleonora and Alexander had done) and produce it locally with his mates. Sound familiar? I thought myself too suspicious 🤷🏿‍♂️ and have proceeded on a ‘face value’ basis 😊

Needless to say, once Julia offered to try a rough cut of ‘Calls’ my mind was made up, and we ‘parted company’ amicably.

That left Julia with a day, if that, to edit the film. It being fairly straightforward to do was a bonus. In any event, even if it missed the deadline for the challenge, we now had footage to cut into a good looking film 😊

As it happened, it just about made it, and rough cut or not. I took pride of place in North London a few days later to see it shown as part of a showcase. It turned out pretty well and got the story across.

There are absolutely things that can and will be improved on. I might even have to re-record my voices. Oh joy 🤦🏿‍♂️

But we have more than enough footage and audio to take our time and make it look and sound as good as can be. And I’m excited to be able to share it, and possibly even place it in festivals 🤞🏿

Not bad for the smallest scale production I’ve seen or been involved in. And I must thank Julia for pitching and bringing her technical skills to filming and editing.

Eleonora for bringing charm (and unexpected sass) to the character she played.

And to Alexander for not only his acting skills, but for bringing us all together through sheer force of will.

And ultimately, with me not identifying our erstwhile editor, no reputations were harmed in the making of this entry 🤣

Thank you for reading…

Eternal Shine of A Fortunate Find

https://lanrefiction.com/2019/04/14/naming-challenge-of-sorts-%f0%9f%a4%94/

Why do I post the link to another post of a few months ago?

Because some of its contents form the basis of what I’m about to talk about below- plus it gets a few more clicks 😜

In the midst of preparing for GIGDGO, the development of the idea/concept took a back seat. But given some of what was going to be covered, as well as the naming challenge, I knew it’d be one of the first things I returned to.

Then, a good deal of fortune befell this writer.

The Making Films 1 Month Challenge returned.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/118977802115701/?ref=share

Now, the chances of a script of mine actually being made are as big (or slim) as the previous challenges I’ve been in, but one thing it does is get me to force a new script. And it was no different this time.

But how does it relate to the link above? I’m getting there…

Curiously inspired by (but not exactly connected to) the appointment of our own blonde, unfiltered premier, I decided to focus the short script on a local businessman who was about to act on his political ambitions, but was forced to think again.

So far, so basic. Then, I was struck by this idea I was about to revisit (and name either ‘Affliction’ or ‘Truth Calls’), and decided to merge it with this and turn it into an examination of the protagonist. As a consequence, and the element I had transposed, the ending changed also.

It still flows and I scripted enough movement so it’s not stilted, even if there is a lot more dialogue than I would normally write.

The result is ‘Must Not Run’ and it’s as heavy as I thought it would be.

I was not sure it would garner much interest, especially as the treatment reads as typical political thriller stuff, but so far it has, mainly from actors and a composer. Even after reading the script, which varies slightly from the treatment. All that is missing is a director.

So, as with ‘Calls’ and ‘Three Knocks’ before, we’ll see what happens.

Thank you for reading.

A moment to reflect…

Almost 2 weeks, more-like!

But given the fact that ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out’ has taken up the majority of my spare time over the last 6 months, in its various forms, I’m actually surprised I haven’t needed longer to get out of that head space.

Long nights, sleepless nights (or certainly reduced sleep), searching for a suitable location for part of the shoot, casting Phil while abroad on holiday, ensuring my car was still road worthy and road legal, designing, monitoring and constantly publicising a crowdfund for the 1st time ever (while at the same time taking a step back, and giving space to those other, more worthy and altruistic charity-inspired campaigns that were being run), and keeping in constant contact with the actors, crew and extras.

I worked with contracts and to a budget, while chipping in when required.

Props and costumes, oh the props and costumes. Without going into detail (through fear of spoiling the film for those who will see it) some of the props and costumes came at the very last moment, but they did come.

The day itself is worthy of its own post, but in the interest of drawing a line under the production of this short film, I will keep it here.

I was out of my place by 7:00am in the pouring rain (and it was bad) and at the studio to pick up the camera, sound and other equipment.

The weather improved and we found what turned out to be a prime parking spot in South East London, near the inside location. Rain and cloud challenged us but the external shoot actually went well.

Then we went to the other location, where the interior shoot was to take place, and there were more challenges.

I have a very perceptive and clever readership, so I’ll simply say that we struggled to stay as inconspicuous as I would have liked going into the day, but we got sufficient footage- and leave you to work out why I’m glossing over that aspect 😉

As we were open to ideas, suggestions and enhancements, a couple of things were filmed that were not a part of the script, but should help with the final product. Including an element I very visibly resisted at the time, but will keep an open mind on during the post-production process. My dear friend Marc (who I cheekily dubbed my unofficial Executive Consultant 😂), pointed out that it could work production-wise, so we’ll see.

After returning to the first location to conclude filming, at just before 9pm, those words “That’s a wrap!” were uttered, and I started to feel a sense of relief. I couldn’t dwell on it yet for a couple of reasons.

The first being that I knew the process of getting people to their various locations, stations, houses and studios was only beginning. I’ll come back to that later.

The second is one that I might reveal at a later date when it’s more safe to do so 🤭🤫😂 but suffice to say, I’m a little less concerned and ‘stressy’ about it now than I was at the time. But I’m taking no chances…

And at 23:35 on Saturday 20th July, I crawled home and into bed. I can tell you very little about that night or a lot of Sunday where tidy-up and residuals took place.

In the name of openness, I’m going to reveal that I returned to my car the following weekend to find it unlocked! It’s clear that someone had been inside it, no doubt trying to see what they could get but fortunately, I don’t keep anything inside it and I thank the Almighty for that.

Either I didn’t lock it properly on the Sunday when I came back or the heat that ensued during the week somehow ‘relaxed’ the car. Given how I was on the Sunday, I can guess which one it likely was 🤦🏿‍♂️

Lesson learned on that score by me and hopefully a lesson and reminder to all of you.

Before I end, I hope you will indulge me as I thank a number of people.

Firstly, the people who contributed to the crowdfund. Without your generosity, I don’t know how we could have got the film done. Individuals will be named in the closing credits.

To Marc, who gave me a steer during the entire process. From keeping the crowdfund simple and focused to the day of filming as well.

To Bálint, a very effective and clever Director, who I hope to work with again.

To Cláudia, who is pretty much the catalyst for turning this script into a short film, and brought more life to Peta than I even envisaged.

The same can be said for Phil, who’s portrayal of Elijah should have you smiling and shaking your head in equal measure.

To Emma, Jon, and Anoosorya, who travelled far and wide to be a part of this tiny project.

The softly spoken, positive and very effective Claire, who I met for the first time during filming, thank you for your steady hand and your ideas.

I also met Emel for the first time that day and I was impressed by her energy and drive and inspired the fact that she’s taking a gamble on herself. Her talent is clear for all to see, and I can’t wait to see what she does.

The very sweet Kyle is responsible for what should be very clear sound 🤞🏿 in the film. He also added suggestions and touches that should enhance the sound. He also took a principled decision and is betting on himself. So hopefully this gives him just bit of experience to find greater success.

And to you, the reader for following this journey and sharing this page and the crowdfund along the way.

The film is in post-production and by the end of the summer, it will hopefully be complete and ready for the festival circuit, as well as to those earmarked to view it. More details to come on that.

Until then, thank you for reading, supporting in various ways and for allowing me to draw a line under these last 7 months.

Now, here’s the poster and a production photo. Don’t say I don’t treat you 🤣…

Please continue to Like our page at Facebook.com/GIGDGO

The Business Race, finishing the Relay End, and other assorted, garbled sayings/things…

… namely, trying to put a date into a required field of a website and wondering why it wouldn’t let me move on, before realising that June doesn’t have 31 days 🤦🏿‍♂️

So yes, a good morning to you (“and if I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight”) and welcome to an update of sorts.

-Three Knocks is still shelved, but I will likely revisit that when we have concluded our current business. In the interim, I have uploaded it onto platforms such as Script Revolution, the BFI Post Room and others. It joins ‘(Un)Civility’ and ‘Calls’ as being accessible to all who wish to see them, and you never know what will happen, 🤞🏿

Platforming those scripts gets them off my computer and out there for people to see, feedback and possibly work on 😉 I’m considering putting them on here as well (like I did with ‘Inevitabilis’ years ago, and more on that to follow). It also allows me to draw a line under most of my current slate and look forward.

-We are at the ‘business end’ of preparations for ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Out’. We have navigated a drop-out (in a way I hesitated to agree to, but it should work out) and are pretty much ready location-wise, costume and prop-wise. Phil and Cláudia are regularly rehearsing, and have really got to grips with the characters of Elijah and Peta.

I deliberately didn’t give them comprehensive biographies of the characters (only the basics), as I wanted them to develop their own character chemistry, neither have I asked them to disclose what they have come up with to get to where they have. Neither of those scenarios will have a baring on how the film will turn out and they have been mostly faithful to the script (even with the leeway I’ve given them) and the mechanics of the story.

I think this will also give Director, Bálint, the opportunity to try things he has wanted to with his shots and angles. At least that’s the impression I’m getting from the conversations we are having.

Everyone has been a joy to work with so far, and I am already looking at ways to expand our professional relationship beyond this short.

Next on the list… the shooting of promotional and poster pictures, so be on the lookout for those 😊

I was unintentionally reminded of the importance of not allowing slips ups to occur in this process, by way of an anecdote from one of my colleagues who recently took part in a parents relay race and was hampered by the previous baton holder, who took a tumble, thus preventing his team from winning. Here’s praying we continue to mitigate challenges, and don’t slip, especially since we’re so close 🤞🏿

-‘Inevitabilis’ as a project is being revived. Not only that, but I am repurposing it as a novel (or novella). I took the decision a while ago, and following professional advice (from a writers group I am a part of online, called Bang2Writers), I’m reminded that the existence of characters, a narrative and dialogue, means that I have a ready-made template that can be tidied, amended, added to and expanded on. I’ve also already added to the motivation of one of the characters, which in turn, opens up many avenues. Not only that, but I always had 2 further short stories in mind as follow-up to ‘Inevitabilis’ so those will be included. And I’ll have more to say at a later date.

So exciting times ahead. You likely won’t hear too much from me until filming is complete.

Till then, thanks for reading.

Third Time’s The Charm In The Curious Case Of Three Knocks? ðŸ¤”

Three Pages.

Three Characters.

Three Knocks.

Without going into a lot of exposition (I mean, it is 1:46am BST), let’s just say that ‘Three Knocks’ has once again become more available after the latest prospective producer (who’s full name I’ll withhold, as it wouldn’t be fair to him) stated he was unable to get a team to commit to its development 🤷🏿‍♂️

Its not an unusual occurrence, especially without money/funding, etc, so no ill feelings from me.

Fortunately, my first experience in relation to this script (i.e ghosting by the duo most interested in it after seemingly making progress) put my guard up, so this development did not blindside me.

As seen above, I have the option of waiting out the potential composition of a team in the future, gauging interest from another prospective independent producer/director, or taking my own lead and producing it myself. There is a 4th option, but look out for another post shortly in relation to that and the script that will apply to 😉…

I see this as a positive, as it has once again demonstrated that I have a tight little piece that captures the imagination of film makers and tells a decent story. Plus, should I opt to wear my ‘new cap’ again, it could be made with little to no ‘hassle’

(Don’t worry, no more crowdfunding for now 🤣)

Whatever I do, it’ll have to wait until filming on ‘Get In, Get Done, Get Done’ is complete.

And look out for an update on that imminently.

Till then, thank you for reading…