Friday, 31 July 2009

Another batch of blog updates...

More "other credits" updates - all the projects in that list now have linked-to blogposts all about them, and they also now include images - very nice.

...

In other news, it looks like we should hopefully be filming that little short-notice short ("Skinner") on Sunday - fingers crossed it all comes together - more news on that as-and-when (with some sneak-peak images perhaps).

Trapped (2005)...

This was my first zombie short and I sought to improve upon the previous year’s “my NIGHTMARE” in all respects, and I would say I succeeded with “Trapped”. I experimented with creating my own music (even though I’m not musically gifted – hence why I now use music by friends of mine, and royalty free stuff), produced a more focussed looking film, and a tighter edit. Again, it’s another one of my fond memories – my mates and I out and about causing havoc filming zombies in the woods (and my garage).


You can watch Trapped (split into two parts) here:



my NIGHTMARE (2004)...

Following hot on the heels of “Digital”, this was my second narrative short, and it was a semi-surreal serial killer thriller. In fact it was the last thing I ever filmed on my Hi8 camera (it never worked the same after filming), but it has gone on to become a fond memory of mine – my mates and I out yomping around in the woods chasing each other around, referencing “The Evil Dead”, spraying plenty of fake blood mix about and generally causing havoc. It was shot very much ‘on the hoof’ (the script changed every single weekend) ‘from the hip’ and was a great opportunity to experiment.

Digital (2004)...

This was my first narrative short – the plot was about a lone figure who worked freelance for the government tracking down internet criminals and reporting them to the authorities. It was also a semi-meditation on living in an internet age and extrapolating it a bit – the protagonist being essentially a hermit who survives simply through the internet. This idea would seep back into my work (a script in this case) years later.

See the Other Side (2005)...

This was the second of two group projects shot for the Documentary Video Production course at the University of East Anglia, and it was all about providing a semi-experimental, visually interesting interpretation of a location – in this case, the seaside town of Great Yarmouth.


Working together as a group more consistently on this second project compared to the first, we yomped around the town, the back streets, the beach, the pier and everywhere in between. Our inspiration was the look and sound of “Requiem for a Dream”, and it certainly came out that way.

Sounds of the City (2005)...

This was the first of two group projects shot for the Documentary Video Production course at the University of East Anglia, and it was all about the buskers on the streets of Norwich city centre. I fondly remember how we studiously worked constantly with the tripod and boom microphone as a foursome, running around the city centre pointing our camera at the variety of buskers.


Unfortunately after the first of two days of filming I ended up with a dreadful flu and was physically incapable of making the second day. I also remember the tense times editing the projects for Documentary Video Production – four people crammed inside a small, non air-conditioned edit suite. It was ultimately a good lesson in group work ethics, and it was a pretty good little video that was well-liked by our tutor and peers.


Watch the film below:

Movie Madness (2003)...

During my time at UEA we got to do some practical courses, the first of which was Television Studio Production. By the end of the semester we (teams of two – one editor, one director) had to put together a 15 minute long ‘live’ magazine-style show. We decided to set ours in a world where events in movies were happening in real life. I co-wrote the script and acted as editor, while my team partner co-wrote and acted as director.


During the course I discovered that I was far happier not directing multi-camera ‘live’ stuff – I guess it’s the whole problem of multi-tasking thing inside a male brain. Instead I took better to editing multi-camera ‘live’. This said I do prefer to shoot and direct single camera, or multi-camera non-‘live’ depending on the project.


Of course this was several years ago now and I’ve grown as a filmmaker a hell of a lot since then, and would no doubt be much better suited to such a task if I was presented with the challenge – even though my preferred style of filmmaking is single camera – it’s more film rather than studio television, and that’s what I dig the most.

The Uni Video Saga (2003-2005)...

While my uni mates took photographs, I shot video – initially on Hi8, and then on miniDV. I experimented with digital editing (and initially analogue editing, prior to upgrading to NLE), and importantly I was training myself as a by-product in ‘shooting from the hip’ and responding to unknown events unfolding in real time. These skills honed on a series of such videos have continued to prove invaluable, especially on projects I’ve shot for the Arts Council – big events, only simple preparation and prior planning, and a lot of ‘run & gun’ documenting.

Over the course of these videos (compiled at the end of each semester) I also improved my editing skills (both understanding various pieces of editing-related software, as well as the technicalities of editing theory). It was a great opportunity to try out ideas (some nifty, some rather daft – both in filming and editing) in a free, experimental environment. It also helped get a lot of ‘young ideals’ out of my system (certain ways of filming or editing) before I moved on to bigger and better things in the following years.










Monday, 27 July 2009

New short on the way?

Possibly - just had word from Sean (Signing Off) today that he was in town and was wondering if I had anything to film - annoyingly, I didn't - but because I've been rather keen to film 'something DeadShed' for a while, I got my thinking cap on and a few hours later I had not only an idea, but the script written - the title is "Skinner".

Hopefully we'll get to shoot it very soon (i.e. within the next two weeks, according to the available timetable), and then I'd set about editing it.

It's cool actually, pressuring myself (in a way) into coming up with an idea, and then actually getting really genuinely excited about it, and envisioning it so quickly - indeed I decided to write the script in terms of a shot list, rather than a normal script.

Anyway - more news on this possible new DeadShed Productions short as-and-when.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

DeadShed blog updates etc...

As you can see I have started putting up the 'articles' (or blogposts) for the various credits down the right hand side of the blog in the credit lists.

Expect to see more of the same sort of stuff over the coming days as I fill out all those credits with a post (and therefore a link for said lists).

...

The educational DVD for the environment is coming along nicely - the bulk of the editing is done, it's just a case of now putting music against each film (e.g. the absolutely excellent stuff by royalty free music providing Kevin MacLeod - http://www.incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/), whacking the credits together (and onto each of the five films), and then finally putting together the five short companion pieces for each film, which like last year's Sex & Ethics, will be student group discussion.

This year's group discussion was very kindly filmed by Silva Productions (with whom I have worked with on a few projects since 2007), as I was at the time early in my recovery from that thar hernia operation I had (feeling comparatively a lot better now though).

So there's not long to go on this project now, it's definitely all come together smoother, easier and with an even better product at the end of it than last year, so it's all good.

...

I've just gotten my mits on Fallout 3. I've ran out of videogames to play in my alotted gaming time (there's an onslaught of titles all coming out within two weeks of one another come Halloween-ish time), and while I've only just stepped outside of Vault 101, I'm enjoying it.

Early Work (1999-2005)...

Lust For Life (1999):

During the summer of 1999 I took part in a one week taster course at the local Art College. The week was split into two – video and then photography. It was in the first part of the week that myself and a fellow filmmaking friend put together (as was the task set to our group) a music video. We chose Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”, and set about tearing around the city (with the bulky VHS tape loading video camera) getting a variety of shots, to which we added some stop motion animation. We then edited the whole thing together via analogue means (before digital editing really took off).











Night of the Living Ted (1999):


Inspired by The Adam & Joe Show, myself and the guy I did the Lust For Life video with, had been doing a number of our own “toy movies” and A&J style skits. One of the last “toy movies” we did together was this, a spoof of George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”. At the time it was edited in-camera from start to finish with no breaks – simple stuff, but nonetheless a lot of fun.










The Evil Ted (2000):


Shot on Father’s Day, again edited in-camera from start to finish with no breaks, this was a solo “toy movie” effort – a spoof of Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead”. This time I spent more time recreating the famous cabin in cardboard (as well as props, a cardboard car, and a woodland backdrop) – not to mention adding simple lighting and video effects for further punch. Like with Night of the Living Ted, I would come to do a simple re-dux version in 2004.










Back in the Day (2003):


A simple piece of ‘found footage’ experimental editing – I gathered a bunch of random stuff I’d first shot in 1999-2000 and cobbled it all together to a soundtrack. It was really more of an editing experiment than anything else, and one of the last things I ever edited using analogue methods.










Experiment in Exposure (2003/04):


Another experimental short, this one involved me trying things out using light and the manual exposure control on my Hi8 video camera. Visually it was also about looking at ordinary things and making them look odd/unrecognisable (reflections in a metal tube, the worn spine of a book, light cast against walls and objects, etc).









Zhombeez (2000/04):


Later re-edited digitally, this was my flirtation with stop-motion animation. I modelled a handful of characters (one soldier, and a three zombies) and did two scenarios inspired by George A. Romero’s “Day of the Dead”. It was a great excuse to let the plasticine blood & guts fly.










In A Heartbeat (2004):


Another experimental ‘found footage’ short – again using a variety of film and television sequences, cut to a specific piece of music (hence the title). The main purpose was an editing experiment – editing (very tightly) to the beat of a piece of music.










DeadShed (2004-2006):


I would ultimately cut together three versions of this experimental short, inspired by the opening sequence of the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. That down and dirty, gritty crime scene examination vibe really got to me, and I decided to put together my own version – the ‘crime scene’ being the shed in the back garden of our off-campus residence at university. Indeed, this is the source of the name for DeadShed Productions.

During editing I gave it a high contrast black & white look with faux film grain and damage, and added some creepy audio (inspired this time by the soundtrack to the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). Of all my early experimental shorts, this continues to be my favourite, and I almost did another similar video a few years back.










Decay (2005):


Another experimental short which used a similar gritty aesthetic as “DeadShed”, but this time using footage shot while I was making “my NIGHTMARE”. It ran for 15 seconds and was submitted to the 2005 Nokia Shorts competition.










Echoes (2005):


This one-minute short was intended for BBC One Minute Movies that year, and it was a creepy look at Great Yarmouth (using the footage I had personally shot for “See the Other Side”).










Deathzone (2005):


I was in full-on experimental short mode in 2005 alright. This one was a ‘found footage’ piece using a variety of war footage set to a piece of music of the same name.










Manhunt Did It (2005):


This experimental semi-documentary was inspired by the media blame circus that revolved around Rockstar’s videogame “Manhunt” in the summer of 2004 here in the UK. Visually (and in terms of the narration) this semi-documentary is inspired by the aforementioned videogame itself, and kept ballooning as more videogame controversies came about. It all culminated in the infamous “Hot Coffee” scandal (related to GTA: San Andreas). The intention of the film was to examine the media hype, and the blame culture surrounding tragic, and not-so-tragic, news stories.










Smack Addict (2005):


Originally intended for an online video competition for an extreme sports company (which just seemed to come and go with no winner announced or anything, rather disappointingly), this short fitted under the category of “jackass style” – in other words, daft and weird.

The short is about a couple of rural odd balls who are addicted to “happy slapping” (an act which became news worthy that year) like it’s a drug. It’s another fond memory of my friend and I standing around on the side of a rural road in the middle of winter pratting about making silly faces and putting on daft voices.










Undead Games Promo (2006):


The website UndeadGames.com is a modding community for the videogame “Road to Fiddler’s Green” (a zombie game loosely based on George A. Romero’s “Land of the Dead”). I was so impressed by one of the mods on the website (which allowed the player to explore the underground complex featured in Romero’s “Day of the Dead”) that I offered to put together a little promo video for them, which was also in part a personal thanks for such great modding work on their part.

Watch "Echoes" here:


Watch "Smack Addict" here:


Watch "DeadShed" here:

The as-yet un-filmed scripts...

“Zero was my first full-on proper film script – I then went away and wrote two more feature length scripts (both horror) - before returning to this project to inject everything I'd learned since last working on it. It centres on a group of city-kid graduates who head off to the countryside for a long weekend holiday and what they get up to while they’re there. It's a sweet-natured, dialogue-focussed ensemble 'Generation Y' comedy, with an attitude somewhere between Adventureland and The Inbetweeners. One of the main intentions for this script was to write something that, ideally, would be shot in an exclusively local fashion to specifically provide work and experience for local budding filmmakers and actors, for a low amount of money. Currently touting this around to try and gain interest in getting it made.

“From The Inside Out” was inspired by an 18 month-long skirmish I had with “chronic urticaria”, which was brought on by cheap and aggressive foreign clothing dye. It resulted in persistent itching, skin rashes, and swollen lips – and it was this experience which I decided to distil through the horror genre and turn into a script designed to fit in with the revival of low budget British horror cinema. I'd love to be able to shoot this with a low budget British indie horror mentality in a local fashion, in a rural area, employing as many locally sourced creative talents as possible.

“Leak” is a short script that I put together in response to an advert by a UK production company (I forget the name now) that was looking for scripts with two characters, set in one room, and two pages long. It was inspired by my despair at the UK government’s handling of embarrassing situations and information of its own making, and I suspect because of the tone it wasn’t chosen to be made. I have since re-written it and it’s still sitting there on the shelf … one day maybe.

“The End” – was a short script that I wrote after fellow zombie fans started asking ‘what would be your ideal opening to a zombie movie’. I got so into the idea that I drafted the short script – I liked the idea so much that I adapted it into “Signing Off”, which I then filmed in 2008. Then I sent the short original version to a fellow filmmaking friend, who really dug it and said I should draft a full length version. I have a habit of taking suggestions such as these and getting really hot and bothered about them. This became my most ambitious (and complex) script at that point, and took a number of weeks to fully plan out (there was 25 pages) and then about three months to write (it ended up at 130 pages). The full length version is my very own zombie epic – what I would love to see as a zombie movie, and indeed that was part of the purpose during planning – what had I not seen in zombie movies. That was the guiding light for this epic script, which I am very proud of. I would naturally like to return to this project at some point in the future to re-write it, utilising the skills, ideas and approaches I have learned since I originally wrote it.

“Gen Y”
was one of the first feature length scripts that I had ever written. It is all about a group of university students staring down the barrel of their time at uni coming to an end. It was based on some of my own experiences at university, but was – now that I look back on it – primarily a cathartic writing experience for myself. It allowed me to draw a line under my time at uni and move on … plus, being an early script, it wasn’t especially organised like it should have been.

“Penalty” was an idea I came up with after I had submitted “Decay” to the Nokia Shorts competition – it would have made a nifty little 15 second comedy short, but it never got filmed.

“I Am Zombie Man 3: The Inevitable Decomposition of Zombie Man”
is the closer to the Zombie Man series, the original idea being to shoot it during the Christmas holidays of 2007. Unfortunately busy schedules and other things happening in life got in the way. It is designed to be a sequel, but also a short film that can stand alone comfortably. Has since been made.

The projects that never happened...

“Dawn of the Apocalypse” was going to be a Vietnam and present day set zombie movie shot on the campus at the University of East Anglia with some friends on the film course. Being that it was almost the end of the first year it never came about – it would have been half-spoof, and half-serious. We’d bought a number of props, done a vague ‘location scout’ (which was really just us staying up all night and wandering around the empty campus like ghosts – which was actually really fun just in itself). I had plans to utilise the architecture of UEA (very concrete, very 60s) and inflect a similar visual vibe as that of “Dawn of the Dead”.

“Slasher Sluts” was a cheap & trashy exploitation style horror short that I wanted to put together with some of my friends at university. Unfortunately it never got going – it was impossible to get anyone together.

“Valeters” was a script I had planned to write after completing a summer job working in a garage (I was a service washer, valeter and driver). I jotted down a bunch of ideas, inspired by things that happened there while I was working, as well as the look and feel of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” (a movie which clicked with me perfectly that very summer). However, I never got around to writing that script, but it’s still an idea. An updated version of this idea is now being written in 2010, with the aim of submitting to the BBC Writersroom later in the year.

“Slang” was a short script I wrote, with the intention of filming it, which was centred around a couple of university students talking to each other – their dialogue littered with a whole manner of their own personal slang. Indeed it was inspired by my own time at university where my friends and I developed an extensive list of our own in-jokes, references and slang.

“Mercia Community Television” was a worthy, but ultimately unsuccessful attempt, to put together a local television station and community for the Herefordshire area. Good ideas are always worth trying, even if they sometimes don’t work out.

“T-34” was an idea for a film that was briefly batted around with a fellow filmmaker, which would have centred on the titular tank, but alas it never came to pass.

“Flying Bastard Zombies” is an idea I still have sat in the bank (one day maybe, you never know), which I first came up with around the time I was coming up with the “I Am Zombie Man” idea (in early 2006 – prior to the excellent “Grindhouse”). It was my idea for a low-down and dirty exploitation style horror movie, inspired by the likes of “Zombie Lake” and “Oasis of the Zombies”. Thus far it has remained just one of those ideas on the dusty shelf.

“Adagio for Xbox360” got as far as the treatment stage. It was a simple idea for a comedy short targeted at YouTube (and a way for those involved to gain more channel hits). I was inspired to lay out the idea after my own Xbox360 broke after 9 months of ownership, and this idea would have been a short film about one man’s dramatic ordeal of his Xbox dying on him.

“Zed Heads” was another idea that got into the treatment zone, this time for a comedy two-hander between two zombie fanboys arguing about the various merits and faults with the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, and George A. Romero’s long awaited return to the zombie genre movie that was "Land of the Dead". A cool idea, but one that drifted onto the dusty shelf incomplete.

The odds & ends...

“Run Rabbit Run” (2003) was another experimental music video I put together – this time using the stop-motion button on my Hi8 video camera at the time. It showed a variety of every day things happening in stop-start style.

“Flesh Into Gear” (2003) was, indeed, an experimental music video – this time simply to get to grips with the basics of non-linear editing on my (at the time) brand new computer that I’d bought for digital editing.

“Cinema X” (2004) was another experimental short with a grainy CCTV/VHS aesthetic that involved me cutting together a variety of violent movie scenes to music. The aesthetic used in this short would return in several other shorts that followed.

“Some Random F***ing Ass” (2004) was a crude little Jackass/CKY-style skit that I had planned to shoot with my uni mates, but it never happened, so I instead drew some rough storyboards on the computer and edited those together. A very daft, very studenty idea that was quickly cast aside.

“Fight Club Remix” (2004) was another editing experiment, this time using footage and music from the David Fincher film, and an intense high contrast black & white look, which I have revisited a few times since (e.g. “Memories of Falling Ash”).

“Vice City: A Day in the Life of Tommy Vercetti” (2004) was a little fan video I put together for the videogame GTA: Vice City (my favourite of the GTA franchise).

“GTA: San Andreas Mayhem Promo” (2005) was a fan trailer I made for Rockstar’s big name videogame.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

More credits...

As you can see I've added another list of credits - "other credits" - below "credit highlights".

The intention is to post a series of blogs that will cover each and every one of those (or, in the case of "early work 1999-2005", that list in one post) and then link to it - so if you see a sudden flurry of posts all about projects I've worked on, never fear - that's what's going on.

It's, as I've said before, all a part of me reacting to the news that GeoCities is being shut down - so in essence, this blog will become my main port of call as a website - with images hosted on Flickr, videos hosted (as it is already) on YouTube, and info about me and my projects listed down the right hand side of this very blog.

The idea would then be to re-direct my re-directing URL (www.deadshed.com) to this 'ere blog, don't you know...

It's surprising how time consuming this all is too, especially when you're learning a new system of doing things (e.g. Flickr) - understanding how the settings work and so on (as you'll see from the post below regarding the fiddling I had to do to get that Flickr slideshow to appear on the right - set up an account, choose a bunch of pictures, upload the pictures, comment on every single one of them, get the safety filter setting issue sorted out, then working towards getting that slideshow embedded in the blog itself - it's taken ages! ... and just for the Flickr part).

Obviously, more updates to the blog to come soon.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

DeadShed Productions on Flickr...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadshed/

http://www.flickr.com/people/deadshed/

Well, I've been beavering away putting a bunch of screenshots from various DeadShed (and related) projects over the years up onto Flickr, and there they are.

Although I'm having trouble getting them to show up on the "slideshow gadget" for the blog (see, for the moment, down at the very bottom of the blog - it just has the title, but no images ... not sure why ... will have to see about that).

Anyway, for the meantime - there's the link, which is also now in the "Make With The Clicky!" section on the right hand side of the blog.

*update one*

I also seem to be having trouble posting links to the images so they appear inside blog posts, as well as the above links - surely people can view a Flickr album without having to be a member? I've seen Flickr albums prior to becoming a member.

Is it to do with setting my account to "moderate" rather than "safe"? Only some of the images might be considered a bit "ooh-err" by the most incredibly squeamish people on the planet, and there's no porn (obviously) ... perhaps I should set it to "safe" and then set "moderate" specifically to only certain images?

*sigh* I hate learning how new accounts work...

*update two*

Well I've gotten my images to show up in the little Flickr slideshow window on the right - however it's not rolling through the entire set (of 132 photos), it's only going through the first page (of 8 in total) on my "Photostream" ... why, I don't know ... ugh, yet more nuisance.

Indeed though, the images not showing up at all was due to a content filter setting issue, but I think I've got that sorted now (there's only 8 images that I now have flagged as "moderate" just to be on the safe side - mainly images from the bloodier/more menacing moments from "my NIGHTMARE" - which was the intention anyway, the rest are perfectly fine being classed as "safe" - and therefore, viewable by non-Flickr folk too).

*update three*

Hazah! I've got the Flickr album embedded and working correctly - turns out Blogger's own widget can only RSS (or whatever) about 20 images at most - so instead (thanks to the rather helpful help area on Flickr) I found out I could just take the embed code directly from my own photostream's slideshow, and paste it in under a "HTML/Java gadget" thingy here on Blogger.

Blimey, confusing stuff sometimes ... but it's finally there and working nicely ... all I need to do now is see if I can specifically order the images so the strongest shots are at the start of the slideshow, and so that that also ends up in the embedded slideshow here on my blog.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Flavours of the month (June/July 2009)...

I've been thinking of doing this for a while, a little blog now and then, to just give you a flavour of what's been flavouring my month(s) in retrospect ... so here's the first one of (as the idea goes anyway) many such posts over the coming months.

Bug Juice - I used to watch this during my summer holidays off from school, and I fondly remember watching the first season of this show during the summer of 1998. It was like going to an American camp, without having to actually bother or stump up the vast sums of money to go (I saw the camp's current rates online - bloody nora!). Anyway, nostalgia flashback overload is the order of the day with these episodes which I've been viewing online.

Cannibal movies - not just cannibal movies, but many down & dirty, sleazy exploitation flicks from the 70s and 80s, with a few newer ones thrown in. Aye, during my recovery from my hernia operation, I have been re-viewing a bunch of the exploitation horror flicks that I already have on DVD, but I've also been adding to that with a few cannibal-related horror adventure flicks that I didn't have. Very gross, very sleazy, very grindhouse ... brilliant.

Michael Jackson - the day I had my operation was when I found out MJ had died, kinda weird. Anyway, as a result the couple of music channels you can get on Freeview (the shitty signal of late is due to that sodding Digital Switchover bullshit that's now being conducted in our area for months) have been inundated with MJ videos. I'm not a huge fan - as in I don't listen to MJ albums, but I do enjoy many MJ singles, and those have been a sort of background soundtrack of sorts to my recovery over the last few weeks.

E.S. Posthumus - I discovered this group of experimental classic musicians through the soundtrack for Top Gear (which is, at the time of writing, in the midst of it's 13th series) - I've heard a bunch of their tracks now, and it's bloody great stuff. A really interesting mix of the classical and the modern, and very, very cinematic in its sound - no wonder it has become so ensconsed within the Top Gear soundtrack.

Pygmy - I'd forgotten that Chuck Palahniuk had a new book out, so back in June I nabbed myself a copy of Pygmy. At first I was struggling to get into it - it sounded like a kick ass story, one far fresher than last year's 'Palahniuk on auto pilot' "Snuff", but being that it was written in broken English spoken by the central, foreign, protagonist, I was finding it difficult to get a good flow going when reading. Fortunately, with a bit of perserverance, I've gotten into it quite a bit now and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Meat Loaf - I've had a brief return to a couple of Meat Loaf albums I got when I was about 12 or 13, back when my musical tastes were young and undeveloped. This isn't a slight against Meat Loaf, although listening to "Welcome to the Neighbourhood" more than a decade later, I dig it more fully than before ... although a couple of the tracks are a bit naff, the majority of that album is a pretty good listen. It feels like a 50s movie, which is cool too.

Friends blooper reels - being bed ridden, and only having limited choice on Freeview (which is missing several channels thanks to the Digital Switchover work that's going on around here), I got back into Friends (which endlessly repeats from start to finish on E4), and as such I found myself watching blooper reels from the show on YouTube - and laugh I most certainly did. Friends might not be ground breaking stuff, nor super deep or anything, but it's nice, familiar, friendly, and funny - and as a result, ideal for when you're feeling bloody crock (physically and mentally) after a hernia operation.

The Assassintion of Jesse James soundtrack - as I've said numerous times before, I absolutely love this film (it's in my Top 10 of All Time), and the soundtrack is superb, so I've been listening to that at nights before bed - and it's truly wonderful to listen to. It's just so bloody good - seriously, check it out.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Updates to the blog...

You may have noticed there's been a few changes - these of course, have been spurred on by the news that GeoCities is closing (thus stuffing me out of a website - which was ideal for me, someone who is an absolute dimwit when it comes to building, hosting and maintaining websites - I like things simple, which is why GeoCities was ideal for me - but alas, it's shutting down).

So aye - that means I need to take a new approach, and my main idea right now, is to feed it all through my blog - so all that stuff on the right hand side is a-changin' ... some YouTube videos have been added, a list of my main career targets, a better organised list of links, a search blog feature, and a list of credit highlights.

I'm also going to get myself a Flickr account and upload all the images that are/were (depending on if you're reading this after October 26th 2009) on my GeoCities-based DeadShed website - with one of those I can then insert a slideshow into my blog, showing a whole bunch of screen shots of my past work - cool eh?

I'm also most likely going to make a series of blog posts, which are in fact the text portions from my website (and indeed I might insert images into said posts) - so they'd essentially become "articles" - I'd then link to those specific blogposts via the Credit Highlights list, and also an "Other Credits" list, on the right side of my blog.

At the very least it's something I can do for the time being, and really juice up this blog as something more than what it has been before - a more creative way around the whole website problem ... speaking of which, I'd probably put together a FaceBook 'company group' page sort of thingymajig ... so yeah, plenty of 'intarwebz stuffe' to get on with then - more updates as-and-when, naturally.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

"Suckle at the Teat of Evil" - the final version...

A few posts back I blogged about doing a sketch for the "SMart" thread on the View Askew forum (a bunch of people submitting their art work based on SModcast episodes). 3 weeks ago I posted the rough version, but now that I'm better recovered from my recent operation, I've been able to finish it off - so here it is (perhaps not for the really easily offended):

Full size version:
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/6820/suckleteatevilnt2k9.png

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

QuickPost Quickpost this image to Myspace, Digg, Facebook, and others!

(Now edited to show the correct title - it was mis-typed as "Madness" rather than "Evil", but it's fixed now).

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The operation blog...

As I've previously mentioned, I recently had a hernia operation, so I figured I'd do a bit of a blog all about the day and the recovery in general...

Annoying for me (someone who rather likes their sleep), I had to be at the hospital for 7.30am - and figuring I'd be in fairly swiftly/have too many "yes" and "no" answers to be providing to a myriad of box tickers, I didn't bring my current book with me (Chuck Palahniuk's "Pygmy") ... so I have to say the two hour wait (as I later figured out - I'd taken my watch off) was a bit on the dull side. Mind you, I had plenty of time to admire the robes and disposable slippers I was given.

Plus there were indeed numerous people coming in and out - nurses, anaesthesiologists etc - so that broke up the wait ... as did a trip to the toilets to employ the use of an electric razor I'd been handed. So that made for an interesting however many minutes that used up...indeed.

In the absence of any watches or clocks to tell the time, I soon found my bed being wheeled on ahead to be prepared for the operation, and then not long after that I was being escorted to some room (forget the name) where you promptly expose your arse as you hoist yourself up onto the bed so you can have wires stuck to you and get the anaesthetic thingymyjig inserted into your hand.

It reminded me of my later high school years, I think it was Year 10 or 11 when there was a weird fad that kicked off involving gripping tightly at your wrist, elbow or armpit to slow/trap the blood flow in order to see how big you could get your veins ... interesting ... but that was essentially exactly what they did to find your vein - my first injection of sorts (i.e. a sharp thing stabbing into you) for years. I did try the "hold your breath" trick to take the edge off, but the sudden increase in my heart rate as a result wigged me out (the monitors were by this time plugged into me).

Then - the bit I was genuinely interested to experience - the general anaesthetic itself. I saw the syringe go towards my hand and the guy start injecting, he then asked if that was kicking in, and I remember saying "it's not really doing much" - and then that's where, for me, time and space ceased to exist. I don't recall passing out, which is strange I guess, but it was all as if someone had editing out a chunk of my life ... seemingly a bit under two hours ... as best I can figure it from the time written on my hand, and the time when I got my first pain killers.

Then I heard what I now remember as meaningless, garbled medical jargon and general nurse chit-chat happening around me - I was in the recovery room/bay/whatever. It was exactly like I'd expected this moment to be, just as I'd seen it on telly and in the movies - rolling eyes, muffled groaning, an oxygen mask planted over your face, and an insanely woozy feeling.

I was asked how I felt, and I remember saying "like I've been punched in the balls" ... then the nurse laughed. I was in quite a bit of pain, but I'd not lost my sense of humour - but to be honest, humour is the best thing to have when you've got a bunch of people poking and prodding around below your belt line, and then you being nearly as helpless as a baby when you wake up after the operation.

Next then - back to my bed bay from before - then it was a blur of cups of water with straws in them, digestive biscuits, and my first pills (Codeine and Paracetamol) - plus numerous nurses, numerous tests of my blood pressure (all fine by the way), and a visit from the doctor. Mind you, I was still pretty caned, so the information more or less went in one ear and out the other (at the time of writing I'm still waiting on the letter I was supposed to get from the hospital which would explain exactly what they did to me in the operation, which would be a big help, as goodness knows what it says on the carbon copy of some form I got later on that day).

I do remember being told that my stomach muscles were "very strong", to which I responded "ah, well that's good to know" - and indeed it is, and that means no supportive mesh had to be inserted.

A while later I was finally ready to get up - the anaesthetic had basically worn off, and I was ready to get up and get taken home - so after a rather painful maneuver I was back on my feet, then very quickly my arse, as I got dressed again - although the nurse had to put my socks and shoes on as I simply couldn't stretch that far.

I then recall being a smidge perturbed by the absorbent pad that had been resting under my arse - all covered in yellow iodine wash, and my own blood (indeed a large portion of me was similarly coloured). I then got seated on a very comfy recliner and dozed until my Dad came to collect me - but I do remember seeing the young lady who escorted me to the operation walking by, she gave me a thumbs up or a wave and I returned the gesture.

Then, after getting my pills and various bits of info, I decided to walk out of the hospital ... which wasn't my wisest choice, I have to say. For one, it took me sodding ages to walk anywhere at this stage, so the walk - which had been only brief that morning when I entered, was now taking bloody yonks as I shuffled forth in gasping discomfort.

Mid-way I simply had to sit down for five minutes to stop me fainting from the exertion, then a little further walking proved too difficult and I had to get wheeled out to the car - which really, was the astute option I should have gone for back at the comfy recliner.

A gentle ride home in the car, and I found myself back at home in the mid-afternoon. I stood in quite a bit of pain and gobbled down a chocolate raisin bar, and apparently looked very pale and washed out (unsurprisingly, of course).

Then - to bed - but first, an agonisingly slow climb up the stairs - the beginning of more than two weeks of the assault on my dignity, patience and general mindset.

I had my entertainment area set up for me, and set about watching Transformers on DVD (I'd watched the sequel days prior at the cinema) ... beyond this point it was two and a half weeks of every meal in bed, only being able to get at best a "whore's bath", changing my dressing and exposing my eyes to a skanky looking 5-to-6-inch incision all bruised and scabby, and sweltering as a week of agonising and frustrating humidity washed across our country. Not only that, but no sooner was I back than I'd found out Michael Jackson had died - so it was a weird old time, and indeed, seeing MJ videos on Freeview became one of the "flavours of the month" so-to-speak, during my bed-ridden recovery.

As I write this I am finally just able to have dinner back at the dinner table, and be out of bed for most of the day - although I'm still only really able to sleep on my back, or sort of on my left side ... ish ...

Anyway, some of the other flavours of my recover were:

Top Gear, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Friends repeats on Freeview ... speaking of Freeview, not being able to get UHF-57 sucked, and the choppy reception UHF-60 was getting was a nuisance too ... so from a limited selection of channels, and an even more limited selection of good channels, I only had a handful of channels to watch.

So - I finished BioShock after the first agonising week (about 3 days after the operation my stomach muscles ached so bad I could barely breathe, least of all call out for a new bottle of water so I could take more pain pills - I instead sent a text asking for water, ha!)

The main theme of my recovery though, was DVDs - lots of DVDs, among which were (in no particular order):

Transformers
Red Dwarf Back To Earth
Dawn of the Dead (twice, two versions, plus extras)
Diary of the Dead (DVD extras)
Terminator 2
Toolbox Murders (original, and remake)
Mountain of the Cannibal God (plus extras)
Universal Soldier (plus extras)
Planet Earth
Zombie Holocaust (aka Dr Butcher MD)
Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters)
Zombi 3 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 2)
Ghostbusters (plus extras)
Ghostbusters 2
Halloween (remake)
The Devil's Rejects (plus the 2.5 hour Making Of)
House of 1000 Corpses (plus extras)
X-Files (various "funny/light hearted" episodes mainly)
Gumball 3000 (2008 - videotaped from the Extreme Sports channel)

Mercifully I was able to get back online after about five days, as you do quickly feel detached from the world just lying in bed being waited on hand-and-foot (which, by the way, gets real old real fast) - and you start feeling a bit down not being able to fend for yourself, having to get someone to wash your hair for you, or wash you below the knees because you simply can't bend that far, finding a simple visit to nature becoming a drawn-out ordeal etc...add to that the dreadful humid weather (I prefer Autumn/Winter) and I wasn't in the best of moods most of the time, not that I was moaning and whinging, I was just generally switched off and zoned out - focusing on whatever DVD was playing just to take my mind off it all.

Still, like I said, at the time of writing this I'm now finally able to be up for most of the day, and compared to a couple of weeks ago I'm sitting (generally) comfortably, am much more flexible, and am generally in a much better state of mind ... there's still a ways to go, but progress is definitely faster now than it was initially - I really was buggered out for quite a while there, longer than I'd expected (and hoped) too.

So there we have it, a run-down of my first ever operation, and the testing recovery afterwards.

Sexual Ethics DVD - more feedback...

Just swung by Ethics Online to see if there were any new responses from those who had purchased the DVD, and indeed there was:

“A must-have resource for any RE Department.”

...and...

This DVD will definitely help students develop their knowledge and understanding of sexual ethics. It has been lovingly crafted by Joe Jenkins, a master at producing workaday resources for hard-pressed teachers at both GCSE and A Level.

... ... ... ... ...

As for the new educational DVD we're working on, it's coming along nicely - I'm currently doing the last of the five main films (after which there will be five short chunks of corresponding student discussion to do, as well as finishing touches to all the five main films).

Obviously as a result of my recent operation I've not been able to work on it for the last 2 or 3 weeks, but I've gotten back (gently) into the saddle and have resumed work on the last film left to edit. It's coming along well, and is probably the most complex of all the films (in terms of editing together), but also one of the ones which has afforded me the most creative freedom (in terms of trying out some new ideas, and indeed learning a couple of new editing skills).

Anyway, onwards...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Transformers 2...

It's been a while since I saw this flick in the cinema, but fortunately I was able to see it the weekend before my first ever operation (which I'll blog about separately) - as such, I've been busy recovering of late, so I've not yet really put my thoughts forward on Transformers 2.

In the simplest terms, Transformers 1 was better - the structure of the script was tighter and more organised, and indeed the writing itself was better (with better dialogue). Transformers 2 suffers most from wobbly pacing (it really grinds to a halt at the beginning of the second half of the movie), and a generally wonky structure.

It feels more like a bunch of scenes and "stuff" cobbled together in a vague order, but it doesn't have the clear through-line that the first movie did, a line which helped keep the plot moving forward and the action within suitable confines.

Transformers 2 however frequently ends up all over the place - misjudged/misplaced/mis-whatever moments of comedy are littered throughout the movie, and while I did laugh, I was always thinking at the same time - "this feels a bit out of place" or "this feels a bit too adult". Indeed the audience was filled with kids far younger than the 12 rating ... well, 12A technically (which means adults can bring their noisy, question-filled kiddy-winks along who have NO idea what's going on).

Yes, half of me enjoys seeing Megan Fox's arse draped over a motorbike, or the exposed arse of that other chick in Sam's college dorm room ... but the other half thinks - "isn't this a smidge inappropriate for some of the target audience, and isn't this just a little bit adult for an 'all ages welcome' blockbuster". I do wonder what Steven Spielberg thought of those moments, I have to say.

Such moments also, like the bizarrely OTT 'comedy' stylings of the 'retarded black robots' (with buck teeth and skewed eyes to boot) ... I snorted a few giggles at their exploits, but they were guilty giggles and ones that came with a dose of discomfort. In the last flick the only 'black robot' (i.e. Jazz, the one that 'talks like a black guy' - i.e. "a rapper" *rolls eyes*) got bumped off (a bit cliche), and now in this new flick the two 'black bots' are perverted morons. Like I said ... a bit uncomfortable.

Then there's the 'old bot', who just happens to have a Transformer walking stick and Transformer 'old man beard' ... ... what's up with that? Plus, why does he have to be British? Is this just an excuse to say "bugger" and "bollocks" a lot? So evidently all British people are Cockneys who say only those two words, and all black people are either cannon fodder or perverse retards ... ... uncomfortable.

Plot wise - how come Megatron is back when they said the pressure of the 'deepest ocean' would destroy him? Don't know about that ... but then there are many moments in the movie where I did think "eh?", and indeed "where the hell did [insert character] go?"

Numerous characters come and go as they please, and that's one of the biggest problem by-products of the wonky script structure. There's too many characters, too many robots, too many locations, and too much rumbling and tumbling to be done. As such, despite being two-and-a-half-hours long (20 minutes less would have been nice), it feels pretty skimpy a lot of the time when it comes to the storytelling.

Transformers 2 feels too soon and too rushed ... I'd thought this would be a possibility when I heard they were rushing into the sequel straight after the first movie did so well. Still, at least they didn't decide to do two movies back to back with the script philosophy of this sequel (if you do two movies with the same iffy formula/style/etc, then you're stuffed - like The Matrix 2 & 3's smugly over-done philosiphising and complexities, or Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3's over-stuffed general nonsense).

I certainly had fun watching it (even if some of the fun was a bit uncomfortable), but ultimately it just wasn't as good as the first movie - which wasn't award winning, but for what it was (balls-out blockbuster about robots kicking the shit out of each other, that looks generally cool, clean and crisp) it was good. I do think Michael Bay gets a rougher time than he deserves (it does seem annoyingly 'popular' to rag on Bay) - but he does what he does well, and not many people could command such large action set pieces, it truly is a skill in itself. He makes good looking movies with large explosions - and sometimes that's exactly what you want.

Other times you don't want that, but why be exclusive to one way or the other? That would either be snobbish or closed-minded. There's a time and a place for all sorts of movies, and what's wrong with that?

Transformers 3? I'd certainly watch it, and no doubt enjoy it, but please - take more time with it than Transformers 2.

GeoCities closing ... typical...

More bloody hassle therefore - that's where the DeadShed Productions website is.

I'm useless at websites and codes and all that sort of thing, so GeoCities was ideal for me - a really simple way of putting together pages online, saving it all and there you go. Then I got a re-directing URL (www.deadshed.com) and there we were (and still are until October 26th).

Now what to do - do I get rid of the site all together and just go through the Blog and get a Flickr account or something, and go all 'new age' and 'alternative' ... or do I find free webhosting and free website creation/transfer & editing elsewhere ... but where to do the latter is the real question.

I've seen a couple just now, but they both look completely shit.

Why does having a website have to always turn into such a pain in the ass? I just want my website as it is - a simple place, to put up simple text and images and links and ways to get in contact with me, and point people towards it with "www.deadshed.com" - a site that is simple to edit and save - that's all I want.

But oh no, GeoCities has to go and close itself on October 26th 2009 ... so the big question is, what the fuck do I do now? This is quite frustrating and annoying, and it's especially unwelcome news as I'm still stuffed up after my recent operation.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Why the post shortage?

I'm recovering from a hernia operation, put simply.

I'll have to blog some thoughts about Transformers 2 when I'm better thought (but, simply put, the first was better, this new one was structurally all over the place, but enjoyable enough ... the first was still better though).

I've been watching DVDs constantly since getting back from the hospital though - today is now day 9 of being 95% bed ridden ... the novelty is wearing massively thin now, and I'd dearly love to be able to properly look after myself again.

The weather has been retardedly humid, so that's made the past several days misery for me, when you add that crappy weather making all sticky and sweaty and such on top of being in a constant stage of some kind of pain due to your operation, which has left you with a rather gross-looking incision that's all bruised and scabby ... lovely.

Anyway, I've gotta go have another "whore's bath" (another down side of recovering from an operation, you can't have a proper wash), and then I'll watch Ghostbusters 2 on DVD (watched the first flick this morning - because there's fuck all on Freeview on the few channels I can actually receive ... UHF 57 and 60, if memory serves, have decided to just stop working ... bastards!).