Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Becoming a Film Maker - Part 1


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.
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”
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.
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?


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:

Helen! what are you doing? Don't go back to the Orchard. We should never go back
But we need to go back Danny! We need to go back! What we did was out of order.
It was an accident Hell's, We didn't mean to kill him, but nobody will believe us
(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


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)

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:
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”
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