As a creative type I should get in to a routine of updating this blog in a frequent manner. The reason for not doing so is part because I need to inspiration to write and part because I like to keep myself busy in creative terms. If I don’t blog for a bit, I end up like a shaken Coke bottle which is ready to explode with everything that has recently happened. This can be quite an exhausting process to go through, so I will try and update smaller amounts of information more often in the future (although I can’t promise). Hence this blog will be written in a quicker manner than some of my previous entries, and it is highly likely to descend into somewhat of a ramble (good luck if you make it to the end).

So what’s been happening?

Well, I’ve had a few meetings with Producer Sherilee who is keen to push me along with the Flanders project. This is honestly very refreshing, I met far too many indifferent potential producers – I need one who chases me rather than the other way around. She is also keen to nuture and give young talent a chance – something I believe strongly in. She announced on her last meeting that she is already stockpiling things we can use for the project (including a lucky run-in with some old army uniforms at a charity shop). Little things such as this tell me she believes in the project as much as I do, which is reassuring to know. She is keen to get the theatre production going, so we have now set ourselves an ambitious deadline (that I won’t reveal just yet). All I will say is that poor Bruce will have his work cut out (I’ve been offering him some support for the play as he’s been suffering a bit of writer’s block recently). Meanwhile I’ve also been looking at some actor showreels for the various roles, I always find this bit rather exciting. One in particular really looked promising, fingers crossed but it is still very early days. The first stage once the play is done will be to workshop with some actors.

Guerilla Film-maker BBQWhat else? Well I went to the Guerilla Film-maker’s Barbeque last weekend at Ealing Studios. This was a somewhat daunting affair as I didn’t really know anyone when I arrived and everybody seemed to already talking in rather large groups. I literally threw myself in the deep-end and went for it as part of being a film-maker is you have to go outside of your comfort zone. Actually when I say I didn’t know anyone, I did know a few folks from Twitter, but it was hard to find any recognisable faces in amongst the sea of people. I met an awful lot of writers and a fellow composers, some amazing talent was out there. The only person I recognised from the original master-class was Ben Jacobson. He was there with his adorable daughter Holly, who can be seen in one of his shorts called Candy Crime here. This short was written by Leilani Holmes, who is awesome (I say because she is one of the more established Twitter folk on the guerilla film-making scene (@momentsoffilm), but she still very kindly took the time to guide me through things when I first joined). How she finds time to socialise, document as much information as she does and still make films is completly bewildering to me. Originally I was hoping to catch up with her at the master-class in June, this never happened but thankfully this time we did manage to meet up. She is currently producing an ambitous short film called Clowning Around with Graham Inman (who I still haven’t met in person – but follow his tweets) and the director Damien Cullen.

Clowning Around

This project was to be my very first sponsor on Indiegogo which is a place people can sponsor film-makers (please feel free to donate to this project if there is still time – about 20 days left currently). I figured it was time that I gave something into the system and I frankly I wasn’t aware of a more deserving project or group of individuals. After I jumped on sponsor bandwagon I noticed a few of my other fellow masterclass pals (including Chris Jones himself – who even dedicated a blog entry to it) shortly followed. It was great chatting to the clowning team about the project, both Damien and Leilani were instantly likable, candid and down to earth – I’ve no doubt that this short will be absolutely fantastic when it’s shot (probably in October). Another film I’ve also been supporting is Moments by Ida Akesson (again someone I met at the original masterclass). Watch it here and if you like it – perhaps leave it a vote.

I’ve still been tinkering around a little bit musically. As mentioned in my last entry, David Arnold sang a lovely heart-felt accoustic number at the John Barry memorial concert. The concert was broadcast on BBC Radio a number of couple of weeks later, so I took his accoustic source and decided to add a few orchestrals to it. Part inspired by amazing lyricist Don Black’s recollection that John liked simple things (especially with lyrics), I tried to keep the orchestration generally unfussy. There is a little John Barry nod I put in at just after the 1 minute 30 mark. I’m not linking this track to my website but you can download it from here.

I’m pleased to report that this seemed to go down well with David Arnold himself!

Whilst on the John Barry topic, I obtained one of only 5000 copies of his reject score to The Golden Child from La La Land.

The Golden ChildFor anyone who misses his Bond scores, this is a must – track 7 (Follow That Bird) is an absolutely beautiful piece. It is strangely reminiscent of The Specialist (a wonderful score to a bland movie), I suspect that some of this work might have been reworked. Anyone interested might want to get this quickly as it’s a limited print run. It also contains the original score by Michel Colombier, which is great fun with its mid 80’s Axel-F style vibe.

The final news to report is that I have been offering support to another Oxford film-maker called Daniel Collier who has made a short film called Etiquette. I’ve given feedback, and even had a go at re-editing it to make it even tighter. Part of this re-edit also involved composing a title-theme for the piece. Now the strange thing about composing is that sometimes you can bang away at the keyboard and nothing happens. However the other night something magical happened. I didn’t have long to come up with the tune, I had the idea I would only use a maximum of 4 or 5 instruments, these being a Marimba for the main melody, and using Tuba and pizzicato strings for the backing. I ended up using a harp + flute also. Within 30 minutes the breezy melody was finished – I was after something warm/fluffy and Thomas Newman-esque. Within that time I also managed to compose another melody for the film and a completely alternate motif which I’ll save for a future project – I felt on fire! Perhaps limiting to a few instruments helped. You can listen to the main melody for the score here:

Etiquette Main Titles

I haven’t shown Dan my edit yet, but he has graciously given me the script for this and is allowing me to re-film it for experimental purposes. I have offered to promote his version where-ever I can, the reasons I am planning to re-film this is:

  1. It’s good practice
  2. It’s mostly set in one location with only a handful of characters
  3. It’s fun!
  4. I want to practice using a DSLR for filming, something I haven’t played with much – but I need to get my hands dirty.
  5. I want to practice directing actors
  6. I get bored in between larger projects when waiting for things to happen. This keeps me out of mischief for a bit!
  7. I want to test out some potential crew/actors to team up with in future productions
  8. I want to add a 2011 production to my list, and time is running out!
  9. It’s fun!

Mostly just because it’s fun and I want to practice. So I will keep you updated on both this and if there is news to report on Dan’s version (perhaps the main titles may even put in a reappearance in some form).  Right, I think I’ve written enough for now and well done for making it through this far.

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