Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Becoming a Film Maker - Part 1

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Barker PODcasts:
“That’s what I want to do!…..”
As a young boy I always wanted to make Films, Not Movies, Films!
What’s the difference I hear you ask, well truthfully I don’t know, I just prefer the term Film over Movies. When I hear the word Film I automatically see a narrative driven, classy looking, classical feel film. When I hear Movies, I see lots of explosions, hardly any dialogue and basic story. I may be reading wrong, but thats how I feel.
Anyway, why did I want to make Films? Well, since a young age I have always watched films, I had VHS’s coming out of my ears! I loved getting blank tapes and recording films off the TV and making my own cases for them. I was that kid that would rather stay inside watching “Beetlejuice” than go outside playing football. It’s probably a reason why I’m always struggling to stay thin, I’d rather watch a film with a gym in it, than go to the gym.
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For years I always found the film making process interesting. Ask anybody from my childhood and they will tell you I was like a Cinematic Rain Man. Drop a film title and I’d tell you the Director, Actors, Rating, Release Date, Synopsis, Key Grip, Location scout etc. I was a film geek with autism for sure. Half the films I were talking about I hadn’t even seen! But I was quick enough to find out about it all.
For years I would grab a video camera from my Grandparents and annoy the hell out of them by constantly having it attached to my hand. I would film random things from a dog sleeping, A view in the distance to motion shot Jaffa cakes that disappeared bite by bite. I thought of myself as a right Steven Speilberg. I thought I could make it!
I would then get my friends to make moving puppet style films. Considering I’d never done it before, we were able to make stop motion figure films. Of course it was all juvenile and about farting, but still it was creative. I felt like a film maker.
I spent my formative years as a teenage boy watching films and writing scripts. I wrote several horror/slasher scripts after watching “Scream”
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I remember writing such classics as “Scared Stiff” – A Slasher about a killer in a high School amongst friends ( So basically Scream )
“I know what you did” – A farmer attacks Teens after they think they’ve killed him with an Apple ( Seriously, I wrote that! )
“Halloween 8 – The Redemption of Micheal Myers” – A sequel to H20 set in England ( I was young alright! )
“Death Game” – A video game that causes the player to commit suicide ( which I quite liked )
For years these were my life. It wasn’t until I went to college studying Film and Media that I started honing my craft in writing a narrative driven story. Before College I was always writing with other films in mind. I didn’t have original ideas. I was writing DTV movies infact.
Just before College I had this idea for a screenplay about a group of teens and the consequence of their actions. This started off as “FOURTEEN Days”
“FOURTEEN Days” started off as a Pulp Fiction meets Go meets Short Cuts meets Magnolia type of story. Obviously I based the idea on separate stories that connected or overlapped. I spent nye on 10 years writing, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting the screenplay. I finished the 4th Draft in 2009! And I’m currently rewriting it now.
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The time I spent working on the story the more I learnt how to write and create a narrative that flows and how to write characters. At College, where I spent most of the time drinking in the pub, I was able to start making films again. Being around people who wanted to make films too was refreshing, as my constant camera in their face didn’t irritate them. After shooting little projects like adverts for assignments, I was finally able to make a short thriller film for my final piece. That short was “The Guilt”
You can watch it here at YouTube:
The idea was to show off my ideology of camera shots, editing and narrative flow without being pretentious like a lot of my class mates were. It paid off I had made a short film to be proud of, I was going to make it as a Film Maker. This was the starting block. I had a script in the works, a short film to my name and youthful enthusiasm. What could go wrong?
7 Years Later…………………..

Friday, 13 July 2012

How Do I Become a better writer?

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Barker PODcasts:

How Do you write a Good script?.......

....You simply copy it! Ever since I were a young boy (You need to read this entire piece in the inner monologue of Ray Liotta in Goodfellas) I always wanted to be involved in the Movie Industry. For years I would write stories to convert into screenplays and also make mini movies using my Nan's camcorder. It was a Sharp View Cam camera that had the screen on the back and you held up like a brick! I loved it, but couldnt carry it a round for long.
As a child of around 11 my film making prestige was down to a lot of stop motion shooting, which would either include moving tiny figurines from one side of the screen to the other or watching a Jam tart disappear bite by bite. I was a lonely and Hungry child. All I wanted to do was film everything, much to my families annoyance.


For years I would sit down to write scripts that involved my friends. Now I will be honest with you and tell you that these scripts weren't very good. I am a big enough boy to admit to writing some awful ideas and scripts in my time, simply because these scripts were blatant rip off's of the Teen Slasher films I grew to love. For example:
Instead of the Movie "I Know What You Did Last Summer" about a group of teenagers covering up a tragic accident they committed, only for the supposed deceased to come back for revenge.
I created "I Know What You Did To Me". A story of a group of teenagers covering up a tragic accident they committed, only for the supposed deceased to come back for revenge.
You can see the similarities between them can't you? Well I'll have you know I wasn't a pure Rip Off artist as there were many key  differences. For instance IKWYDLS (That's short for "I Know what you did last Summer" but now I've explained that I realise the whole point of creating an abbreviation for it is now redundant) was about a fisherman vengeful after being involved in a Hit and Run, whereas IKWYDTM (Keep Up!) was about a Farmer vengeful after some teenagers threw some apples at him and hurting him. See! Very different! I'm not a complete copyright thief.
I wrote this script with extremely poor dialogue and exposition. But bear in mind I was about 14 years old. Here's an example of some of the dialogue:

DANNY
Helen! what are you doing? Don't go back to the Orchard. We should never go back
HELEN
But we need to go back Danny! We need to go back! What we did was out of order.
DANNY
It was an accident Hell's, We didn't mean to kill him, but nobody will believe us
HELEN
(Starts Crying)
Why Danny? Why did you have to throw that Apple? It's ruined our lives!

Hopefully I will be asked to write the script for the next "Twilight" Movie.
I also wrote a "Scream" rip off titled "Scared Stiff"................and I didn't create that title for any kind of innuendo, I was just a naive young virgin. But that is another story, I won't go into that, I'm trying to hold some sense of humility here.


After years of ripping off lame Slasher films with even lamer Slasher films, I started to attempt original ideas and actually write a full length screenplay. After about 10 years I finally finished a feature length screenplay titled "FOUR/teen". This story was an ensemble piece about Teenagers getting deep into their own problems and the way their actions affected each other. I wrote this between the years of 1999 - 2009. it was amazing how much it changed over time, when I grew up and had life lessons of my own. I grew up with this story, it changed when I changed, It became more and more personal which I thoroughly enjoyed and helped me hone a craft at writing personal voices. The finished Draft of the script sits on the internet waiting to be read by anybody that feels free. It isn't a masterpiece, but it's something I am proud of. I promised myself I will go back and re-write it but I will bide my time over this.
If you do want to read it you can find it on the Screenplay review site Triggerstreet.


I would like to feel at the tender age of 27 I have grown up a lot since my teenage years ( Yes Obviously age wise I have, but you know what I mean, like in maturity, growth and personal awareness ) I hope I have a wider perspective to create characters that aren't American Teen carbon copies. Characters that have real voices, real motives and real personalties. I would like to think I can come up with an original idea that people will connect with. As you know, I'm a ROM/COM fan so maybe one day I can write a Romantic Comedy about a group of teenagers who throw apples at a farmer and then.......NO!! I Must Stop this right now!!

One Day! I will write something that doesn't involve a Farmer or Apples!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Prometheus Review

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Don't Spoil it......

......Oh Go on then! A few weeks back I watched "Prometheus" and all I heard from people was "Don't tell me anything about it!". So For ages I couldn't talk about it, so I had to vent somewhere about what I had seen, but my memory had gotten muddled and this is what I could remember.

Prometheus - ODDpod RUNdown (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

PROMETHEUS (2012)
Director: Sir Ridley Scott
Writers: Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron and Micheal Fassbender
 
So Finally after months of waiting I finally saw “Prometheus” today, and boy was I………….Impressed!
Here’s an ODDpod Style run down for you:
SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!
It starts with a Big Albino looking dude drinking something then dying and falling into a river. Credits!

The Bird from the subtitled rapey film about girls and tatoos and some guy who looks like a famous actor, but isnt, discover some kind of drawing in Scotland. They jump on board some Red Dwarf style spaceship and sleep for 2 years whilst that actor with a german sounding name wanders around for a bit. 
When they wake up the fit blonde one from Aeon Flux and Monster acts like a bitch to them all including the crew which consists of some guy from British hooligan films, A Scottish woman who was inaudible, The black guy that is in everything, the token Chinese guy, some goons, a guy that usually plays the gay best friend in TV shows and Timothy Spall’s son who was the guy from Shaun of The Dead that said “You’ve got red on you” in the shop.

They land on a planet that looks a lot like the Scottish Hylands and go into a dome shaped pyramid (?!). There they find stuff and get caught up in storms and shit. They take a look around, see pods and shit, and then the German sounding named guy takes secret samples on board with him.they take a giant head back on board and poke it around until it explodes. 
Back on board they realise 2 members are still in there, but dont worry they will pick them back up tomorrow. 
Tomorrow comes and they are dead. Back in the Dome pyramid (?!) and the German sounding named guy finds some weird room thingy and the rest make an early exit because the actor who looks famous but isn’t takes ill and gets set on fire by the fit blonde bird who kissed Christina Ricci in Monster.

On Board the bird from that Swedish Rapey film that didn’t star Daniel Craig finds out she’s preggers with some Alien baby. She jumps in this pod thingy and has it cut out of her! (Ouch) and then walks into a room to find that guy from Neighbours and Priscilla Queen of the Dessert all in old man make up being helped around.

They once again go back to the dome pyramid (Seriously can it be a Dome Pyramid?!) and the German sounding named guy takes them to this weird room. turns out the rooms a spaceship, and some massive alien dudes are asleep in their pods. They wake up and beat the fuck of them. The Rapey Swedish film girl runs away.

The Spaceship attempts to fly away but the Black guy goes all heroic and crashes Promertheus the ship into it and stops it, but kills himself and other memebers of the crew in the process.

Leaving Swedish Rapey girl and Fit Blonde one from The Devils Advocate running until she gets killed and leaving the Swedish Rapey girl (Who has the most amazing looking face and cheeks) alone in part of Prometheus that was broken off before exploding. All seems safe until that Big Dude that killed everyone before returns and attacks her. She gets away when she lets the alien that was inside her and now bigger but stuck in a room for a few hours to grow, attack him and they fight. He dies. She runs away.

She then grabs the Swedish Sounding named guys head, he was a robot by the way, and they fly off on another ship hidden in the dome pyramid (?!)

Before the credits the Big Dude that lies dead has his chest do that Chest bursting thing everybody came to see and an actual Alien looking Alien appears and it ends
Go and Watch our ODDcast VIDEOcast on “Prometheus”
Go listen to The ODDcast PODcast UK at:
@BarkerPodcasts
@OddcastPodcast 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

It's Not Self Indulgent.......Just!

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This might be considered a little Self Indulgent......
.....But I don't care. A Few months back a friend from school got in touch about writing an article about myself, the podcasts and my film making. Obviously I jumped at the idea and this is what she did with our chat.
I Think its great, I'm honestly not an arrogant person that loves to be talked about, but I find her writing appealing.
You can Follow her on Twitter @helen_m_barker (And NO she is no relation) But #BarkersRule

Meet Adam Barker, the man nobody listens to
Well, that’s what he says. In fact it couldn’t be further from the truth. He dedicates his spare time film making, recording numerous podcasts and blogging. And if that wasn’t enough he still finds time to help organise the Chelmsford’s very own Panic Awards.
The naturally funny yet modest local says he has always been interested in film making and cinema since he can remember. ‘I was always making mini movies as a youngster using my family’s camcorder. I remember making stop motion videos first with a jam tart that bite by bite disappeared!’ Describing himself as a ‘geeky fat child’ he always loved telling stories and ‘creating something entertaining for others to enjoy.’
It’s one thing to make people laugh; it’s another to have the talent in portraying your ideas onto the screen. So how difficult does Adam find it? ‘When writing I’m a very visual person. I write in visual blocks rather than descriptive. I couldn't write a decent novel as I’m always tempted to write in directions and instructions. When it comes to directing I’m quite precise without being bossy. I find it quite easy to convey what I want as I always have it planned out in my head. Obviously there are times where my plans are not possible but in creating your own work, there are never problems, Just obstacles.’

LOVE (re)CYCLE (2011)


Always thinking up ideas and writing, where does Adam get his inspiration from? ‘I really don't know to be honest. I can go days and weeks without a single original idea. I can sit around constructing an entire film idea only to realise at the end of it, that I've been creating Star Wars! I guess I get inspired by people that work hard to get where they are. Quentin Tarrantino, Kevin Smith, Christopher Nolan are all directors I admire and find inspiration from them as their vision is never compromised. I always try to look for the little things in life and try to expand on them. I’m a very "What if" man but that’s the beauty of storytelling I guess, It can lead anywhere.’

If writing wasn’t enough, Adam also records a number of regular podcasts. It all came about he says in early 2011 having listened to podcasts by people such as Ricky Gervais and Kevin Smith’s Smodcasts. ‘They were great to listen to! They were raw, funny, intimate chats about anything and everything. It reminded me of chats I'd have with my mates. Then when I realised how easy and accessible it was to make one, I jumped straight in and started recording with my mate, Billy Cutmore. We did a whole 25 episodes of a podcast called "What Does Billy Know?" where we would discuss a single film or TV show for an hour. When we started getting the hang of it, we expanded it to a Weekly entertainment / Movie podcast called "The ODDcast PODcast UK”. Unfortunately, Billy had to drop out after 20 Episodes, so I drafted in my mate Will and we haven’t looked back.’



Adam’s podcasts are going from strength to strength. He now records three separate podcasts, The ODDcast PODcast UK which focuses on Movies, Ask an American which pits Americans to answer British Based questions and It's Not Soccer Podcast  which is a brand new sports centric podcast with Billy. Adam explains that with all these under his wing, it has helped him to co-create a Podcast Network with 14 other Podcasts, The POD GODS network. ‘It’s a place where listeners can go to find all our podcasts from across the globe. It’s exciting to know that our podcasts are not only reaching the local community and the UK but can be reached by wider audiences in the US and AUSTRALIA.’


Ask an American is a very popular addition to Adam’s podcasts. So do the Americans really 'get' our humour? ‘Ask an American is a concept I created when we started networking with some other American podcasts. It started as small segment in the ODDcast PODcast but when it became a three podcast event, I decided to give it, its very own podcast. It’s a simple premise where I e-mail the two American podcasts (Blogging Under The Influence Podcast and The Last Podcaster Standing) questions and challenges on all things British. It’s a funny podcast that really shows the cultural divide. The humour is there from all sides. These American's get our humour but really struggle with our accent. In the early episodes they both had trouble understanding my accent, slang and dry sense of humour. But over time we have all learnt to appreciate each other.’ 

Having just celebrated recording the 40
th episode I’m keen to know what the secret is of having a successful podcast. ‘Have Fun! It’s as simple as that. If you sound like you’re having fun on the podcast then it translates to the audience too. I don’t do the podcast for fame and fortunes; I do the podcast because its fun and I enjoy chatting to my mates about things I enjoy.’ It does sound like Adam has far too much fun recording the podcasts. ‘Recording the podcast is great. It’s like sitting down the pub and chatting to your mates. We have a brief outline of what we are going to say and put a microphone in front of us.’ But it’s not all fun, ‘I do put a lot of work into them as well. I have slowly created a very cool circle of friends that we all use to help network each others’ work. Social networking is a big key to success, with twitter and google+ reaching out to audiences that enjoy podcasts. I try to make it accessible to as many people as possible and easy to download. For example, iTunes and the stiticher app are the best ways to get the podcasts and a great way for listeners to find you.’
ODDcast PODcast VIDEOcast - Ep1. #Prometheus



If that wasn’t enough, Adam helps to organise the
Panic Awards. ‘I got involved with the Panic Awards in 2011 when creator Andy Poole asked me to film a promo video for it and also make a documentary of the whole planning process all the way up to the night itself. After the success of that I officially joined the team as a creative developer. I helped organise and film the nominee VTs that were shown on the night as well as Comedy sketches to be played throughout the awards. I would also be there on the night filming and interviewing the winners when they come off stage.’

What were the best bits of the awards this year? ‘This year’s
Panic Awards was the best yet. It was well paced, funny, entertaining and had some amazing bands playing too. The Best Bit of the night for me was getting Andy to go on stage after a pre recorded comedy sketch we had filmed, half naked! It got one hell of a reaction from the crowd and from a film makers point of view worked brilliantly with the sketch I had filmed. The Pay off was superb.’

If bands are reading this, how do they go about getting nominated for the
Panic Awards 2013? ‘Any bands that live and play regularly in the CM postcode then they are eligible to be nominated. The great thing about the Panic Awards is that everything from the nominations to the winners (bar 2 special awards) are chosen for by the public. I think it’s a great event to showcase their talents and reach a wider audience.’

With such a keen interest in the local community, how does Adam rate the local community for supporting budding artists whether it is music, comedy or film making? ‘The local community is thriving! Chelmsford alone is starting to help produce some great bands and musicians with the help of great venues hosting great nights. The comedy nights are beginning to take off. The
Altogether Now Festival is looking to spread its wings again this May giving film makers the chance to enter the 24 hour film challenge (which I will be taking part in!)

It seems the only way is up for Adam and it doesn’t seem as though he will slow down anytime soon. He hopes the podcasts will continue to grow and is keen to expand the
POD GODS Network too. He since has replaced Ask An American with POD GOD Dammit where all the podcasts compile together with their thoughts on a given subject. And as for film making? ‘I hope to make shorter films, do more writing and continue to enjoy expressing my love for the arts. I'll continue to do all this as long as I can. The minute it becomes dull and boring I’ll start another hobby.......tiddly winks maybe.’


Panic Awards 2011 Documentary


Adam’s links:

The ODDcast PODcast UK Website:
www.oddpoduk.wordpress.com
Twitter: @BarkerPodcasts

Pod Gods Network:
www.podgodsnetwork.com

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Chick Flicks are Good!

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So Chick Flicks are for Women.....
....I Totally disagree with the statement that all Chick Flicks are just for women. Ok Granted they are created to hit that demographic, but just because the story revolves around female characters doesn't mean the film is for women.

I have put the Chick Flick genre, which isn't technically a genre but has been given the unofficial title, into 3 categories

Category 1: The Chick Flick with Dicks
This category consists of the Chick Flicks that have sexy, powerful and strong female leads that control the plot and make all the men in the Movie look like pussies. This consists of themes that revolve around the main female(s) and their struggle to defeat The MAN. These could be Comedies, Drama's or even Horrors.
Example - "Thelma and Louise" "Kill Bill" "Lara Croft:Tomb Raider" "Sucker Punch" and "Jennifers Body"




Category 2: The Chick Flick with Tits
This category consists of the Chick Flicks that have those female women who construct a plot through friendship. These film usually have a narrative that works through a group of female characters that struggle through their daily lives with Men, work and Relationships but all come together through Friendship.
Example - "Sex and the City" "Steal Magnolias" "Bridget Jones Diary" "Beaches" and "Riding in Cars with Boys"


Category 3: The Chick Flick with Brains
This Category is my personal favourite. This consists of the Chick Flicks where the Female lead has the voice that appeals to both Men and Women. These films have a lead female character that both Men and Women can relate with regardless of the gender. These films usually come in Dramas/Comedies and Horrors.
Example - "Alien" "Juno" "Young Adult" "Easy A" and "Black Swan"


Chick Flicks have now crossed into the Male territory nowadays. With the Bro-mance genre appearing it's becoming more equal ground. The barriers are crossing and making the genre more appealing to both genders.


 Plus, what red blooded male wouldn't want to sit and watch a film for 90 minutes of a Kick Ass Female lead?....... Just Me?.........

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It's Not Purrrr-Fect!

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Worst Film Ever?.....
.....Some people find this question an easy one to answer, others find it a difficult one to answer. For me it's the easiest question ever asked and I have Halle Berry to thank for that. The worst film I have ever seen is "Catwoman"

"Catwoman" (2004) Directed by Pitof ( That is his actual name! ) and starring the screen presence vacuum that is Halle Berry. Her entire approach to the role of Catwoman is atrocious, from her acting to the way she walks in that ultra un-sexy costume. 
I remember watching this film back in 2004 in America. Not being a massive fan of Halle Berry anyway's I was already unsure about this film. I am however a big Batman fan and of the entire universe so seeing a Catwoman standalone film could be an exciting prospect is done correctly. The set up seemed ready to do well, Casting a recent Oscar winner, riding the comic book hero wave after the success of X Men and bringing these characters to life. The Story was there, The character was there, How could they mess this up? Well Easily it seems!


They took a recognized character with a decent and well explained back story and decided to ignore that and start with their own. They thought creating a new character would give them more depth and able to bring in Egyptian style magic to the whole Cat situation. It was a Mess.

Each scene was shot like a bad CGI movie, Each line of the awful script was spoken as if it was the first time the actors had ever read it, Each Actor gave the impression they weren't told what to do and Each idea and story plot was hashed together as if some kid with ADHD had written it.


I Hated this film! I like to think myself as somebody who can appreciate the effort and the ambition gone into movies, but this one just oozed FAIL!


So What is your choice for Worst Movie? Comment below or Tweet me at @BarkerPodcasts

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Horror Hangover

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It's Sunday.....
......and I'm hungover ( A common occurrence to be truthfully honest ) and sitting with the FiancĂ©e we have decided to watch back to back Horror movies. Not just any old Horror films, I'm talking Cheesy, tacky, So bad their good Horror movies. I'm talking about

"Puppet Master" (1989)

So what is "Puppet Master" about? Well its simple, it's a bunch of Puppets that attack several Psychics and Paranormal Investigators in an Old Hotel. It's Cheesy, Tacky, Badly Acted and Pretty Dam Awesome. It has some generally creepy scenes and images that could do with a good remake/reboot in my opinion.

Now Sitting down to watch this reminded me of all the films I use to watch back in my early teens. The Films I use to rent from the local video store. 
"Hellraiser" "Ghoulies" "IT" "Children of the Corn" "Critters" and many more I can't remember now for possibly legitimate reasons.

"Critters 3" (1993)

I remember sitting down to watch these types of films at sleepovers and thinking how scary they were. Those memories must be slightly obscured because these films haven't aged very well. But I admire the entire premise of these films and their approach. What they lack in budget and style they make up in enthusiasm and entertainment.

I mean who doesn't want to see a Puppet with a knife for hands cut peoples heels or Critters gnaw through a  fat women's neck or even an Evil Cenobite attacking somebody using chains and whips?
These films defined a generation of Horror before Horror became more intelligent and played off the others.

"Hellraiser" (1987)

I am a fan of this tacky entertainment simply because I grew up on it. I feel bad for Teens nowadays that only have films such as Saw and Hostel to look back on and reminis their first scared moments. Children of the 80's and 90's still remember going to the Video shops on a Friday night and getting your parents or babysitter to rent the films that were on the higher shelf ( Not that High up, although "Flesh Gordon" was always debated on whether it was suitable to watch for comedy value )


So Today I plan to sit down and watch films from my youth. Films that reminded me of a time when Puppets could kill me, Puzzle boxes were evil, Furry Critters were crazy and Demonic Children were all the rage.

This is my Hangover day and I'm curing it with Horror.