Wednesday, 24 September 2014

THE MEANS Part 5 Days 2 & 3

THE MEANS

Part 5 Days 2&3

Getting up at the crack of dawn was a novelty for me! John (Terry) & Hugi (Lionel) travelled up with me which gave us chance to go thru lines whilst in the car... I remember Hugi struggling to pronounce "Vengence" which became a source of much myrth throughout the 2 days as we all found out how many other ways the word could be said without ever getting it right ... until the last "take" of course! The reality was that we all had something we struggled with to get right which must have tested the professionals patience to the limit!

Whilst we spent many hours "blocking out" scenes, rehearsing them and then doing several takes thus giving the editing team enough to work with.... time flew by. On the Saturday, I think we finished somewhere near midnight as we had no more time to use in this location and had to get it "wrapped up"

I found the "blocking out" sessions the most interesting...you fast realised why there were so many involved in the process. Besides cast, director and producer, you had the director of photography (DOP), who, having set the lighting for the "take" then engineered everyone into position. First cast, then camera crew and finally sound crew. Poor Sam, our boom operator, had to virtually climb an assault course to get "into place".... you had to be there really. Then there were separate "takes" working from the different actors "point of view". We easily spent an hour working on just what would ultimately be about 30 seconds of film!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

THE MEANS Part 4 day 1

Part 4 - Day 1

As I recall, this is the first point where I met my fellow actors early on a cold January morning as we waited to enter an equally cold modern industrial unit.

Once inside, the main task was to set about clearing the main acting area which was quickly identified by the experienced guys. Once this was acheived and warming coffees distributed, we started to run thru the script for the first time with an aim to getting an overall grip of the story.

We were immediately involved in the interpretation of the story, adding our own "takes" on what we felt was the overall message and how we felt about the format of delivery, thinking about how our characters would be portrayed... all of us, without realising it, giving guidance to each other, on how our characters could progress.

We were given schedules showing what would be filmed and when, the order of which bore no resemblance to the natural sequence of events due to practical use of space, location and time.

All angles had to be considered ... light ..how scenes might look influenced by natural light at different times of the day,...sound....different times of day there would be heavy traffic which would be a nightmare if you were trying to a quiet tense moment.....continuity...unassociated cars being moved which we had no control over for example...... we were learning a new language.
We grew to respect each others abilities and early perceptions were quickly dismissed.

All of this I found absolutely fascinating... what a way to be educated!!!

Most of the day, if my memory serves me, panned out that way so we could start day 2 filming from the off.

I never realised there was so much involved! ...

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A FITTING PLEA ... PART 3 THE JOURNEY

THE MEANS

Part 3 The Start of the Journey

Prior to filming "The Means", all the actors had been advanced a draft script which wasn't complete. To give us the main story and something to get us "into character" as such.

This had been purposely done, I later found out, to ensure we had to become integrally involved in completing the script and allowing us to have our input into the final product which in itself was both exciting and educational.

Some of the actors or "talent" as the crew liked to call us, had very little acting experience especially in front of film/TV cameras.

It's not until you actually get to witness the full process that you begin to realise why there are so many people involved .. and why it seems to take so long just to get a few seconds of film that will end up in front of an audience. You really have to experience it for yourself to appreciate.

The main benefit I picked up from the following 4 days was the 110% commitment everybody gave to the project without exception and many on a voluntary basis. NOBODY wanted to let the "TEAM" down. Both the Producer and Director were keen to instill this sense of responsibility within everyone involved. I was beginning to see the value in the whole "subtly educative and disciplined" process which was evolving. No wonder Sachia had been having such success with his "class pupils" whilst utilising these methods and skills within the "school system"!!!

Due to the nature of the process, whilst you were "off camera" you were able to get to know your new found companions better and very quickly we were identifying with like minded individuals and favouring company accordingly... but nobody was left out of the loop due to the overall appeal of the whole project. What a wonderful way to improve physical community spirit!

The story itself, a gritty urban drama centered around a Midlands family, is about Ewan (that's me), who loses his daughter in a tragic car accident whilst being driven by his son-in-law who escaped relatively unscathed ... until now! This short film picks up at the point where the funeral has just taken place. What follows pitches family loyalty against moral beliefs and the ensuing consequences which end in a final twist of fate!

I'm not going to furnish you with spoilers in future blogs .. but I will describe how filming took place and give an insight into some of the fun we had during the process, along with highlighting the benefits of getting involved with such a project.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A FITTING PLEA

PART 2    DISCOVERY

Back in December last year I received a call from an old colleague of mine who had discovered through the local press that I had been involved in various acting roles as a regular amateur player and as an extra in Susan Boyles' first film, "The Christmas Candle" that had used one of our local villages as a filming location.

As he himself was about to be involved in a short film project called "The Means", due to start in January earlier this year, he knew the production team were still trying to cast one of the lead roles and he thought I could possibly "fit the part". After a successful audition, I was in.

Right from day one, I was thoroughly interested in the whole process. The producer, Sachia Mooney, eagerly embroidered on the reasons why the project was taking place. As part of his media career path, as a teacher, he discovered that he enjoyed a lot more success, using his skills as a film maker, to educate his allotted flock with astonishing results, much to the surprise of his peers at the time. So much so, that he decided to take the next step into relatively unknown territory and form a, to-date, unique Community Interest Company created with the aim of providing a platform to produce media which would utilise members of the local community ... and .... as an education vehicle encompassing all age groups and abilities mixed with seasoned professional teams acting as mentors. "The Means" was to be the pilot for this approach. He had me hooked!!!




So... there we were, between 20-30 of us, many whom were meeting each other for the very first time, about to embark upon this exciting "journey" for 4 days continuously. By the end of it, we had become a solid unit, all thoroughly enjoying this unique experience, forming new friendships, learning new skills, using the abilities we innately possessed to evolve and improve the "end product" which you can see very soon. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I asked the team to let me know if I could become involved in any future projects, ... they did exactly that.

Just a few short months ago, I was invited to join the company to help it move forward utilising my existing business skills as an established company owner. I didn't hesitate. I quite literally JUMPED at it.

We are now in the process of building our teams and actively seeking potential presenters and scriptwriters for starters as part of our intitial "3 year plan" so keep your eyes peeled for the recruitment "posts" to follow ...and next weeks blog I will take you on the 4 day fascinating filming experience from my own perspective.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A FITTING PLEA TO FORTY + YR OLDS (in reality ... there's value in sharing it with everyone really)

PART 1      "PAUSE FOR THOUGHT"

How many of us, as parents, can reflect on our childhood and wish, as we watch our own "kids" grow up, that "things were as they were then"?

We've all read those "blogs" as we call them now, about how we were more creative without all this new technology - how we used to go round and play in woods, build dens and go karts and all that instead of "sitting in front of a PC playing games" etc. Many of us have smiled at the memories and grunted in agreement at the observations, but in most cases we've probably done sweet FA about it!!

Even as adults, many of us (especially 35 to 50 yr olds) are now obsessed with with modern forms of communication - Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Emails, Mobiles, Tablets, - the list goes on...
The unfortunate aspect of all this is that as our society changes there is a real danger that we are becoming
more isolated, physically, as we immerse ourselves into conversations with "we don't know who" exactly, especially if you are posting on Facebook to your 100's of friends ... I'm doing that RIGHT NOW! and I don't know who is going to read it, especially if it's shared to further circles of friends (which I hope you will in this case!!)

How do YOU feel, at the end of a non-working day if you've been on your own, not doing much?
Lethargic? Bored? Feel like you've wasted a day of your life?
Compare that to a day where you've been out with family, friends, or a group of "like-minded" individuals, visiting somewhere, following some sort of pastime or hobby, learning something new?
Inspired? Happy? Enthusiastic? Fullfilled? "Cream crackered" even!!

I'm going to, in a series of "blogs", run through some thought provoking ideas - inspired by recent events that, even as I write this - are changing the course of my future direction... and hopefully the futures of many around me.. for the better.

Make a note of this date, 20th September 2014. Its a Saturday, and it's the first day of something new - something exciting - something that might put us on the road to "change for the better" over the following 3 months.

INTRIGUED??  Look out for my next "Blog" entitled "DISCOVERY", in the lead up to this date where I share my journey from the beginning of the year to this point.

To give you a hint, it's a bit like the old Remington Steel Advert on the telly where the guy says;
"I liked the product so much ... I bought the company!"

"Like" and by all means "Share" this if I've grabbed your attention and thank you for reading.

 




Wednesday, 24 June 2009

WORLD BALANCE

Who, out there, wants to live in harmony with the natural world?

Who, out there, wants to see everyone live in harmony with each other?

Fairly simple questions which, I would have thought most people would answer with a resounding "I do"

But whose prepared to do SOMETHING to demonstrate they agree with the above?

Nothing too elaborate or time consuming, but a show of interest, concern and support.

Now here's the real testing question

Whose prepared to make NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS in their lives to achieve any degree of success in the first 2 questions?

I've no doubt that, like me, most would answer "what can we do that could possibly make a difference?" Well, very little I guess, individually. But in our masses, that could be a whole different ball game.

ALL I WANT TO DO AT THE MOMENT IS TO SEE JUST HOW MANY OF YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY ...FOLLOW ME ON THIS BLOG IF YOU DO ... LETS JUST SEE HOW POWERFUL THE INTERNET REALLY IS.

If a Scottish lady can drum up millions of hits from having a quirky personality and a good singing voice ... then why can't we?

I will add items of interest that will raise the awareness of "THE BIGGER PICTURE" as time goes on, in the meantime, feel free to get to know me from the links to the side.

Why am I doing this?

I CARE about the balance of how we live on this planet.

I want to INSPIRE as many people as possible into positive action, no matter who they are, where they are from, how old they are or what circumstances they live in.

I want to raise ENTHUSIASM in as many people as possible towards making this world a safer place for generations to come.

I know one thing for certain. ... If we bury our heads in the sand and "leave it to everyone else" then we will be the poorer for it.

Take a look at this for starters;

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/easter.html

I look forward to you joining me.