see

Window – Clement McAleer

Northern Irish painter, Clement McAleer, has done a lovely series of paintings, themed as windows.

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“Glasshouse Shadows” 

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“Attic Room”

The attic room reminds me of a poem by Seamus Heaney – another wellknown Northern Irish man – who wrote about something as mundane as getting a velux window in his study.  (At the moment, I can’t locate it to pass on to you, unfortunately).

 

 

 

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creative pledge

Screenwriting Masterclass: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, screenwriters or producers on such diverse projects as “The Lego Movie”, “21 Jump Street”, “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs”, TV’s “How I met your Mother” (3 episodes), “The Lego Batman movie“…. give a masterclass on screenwriting and producing.  They break it up really well.  So although they speak for 53 minutes, they’re worth hearing.

They have a relaxed way of presenting together, bring in some crazy fun but over and over again repeat that they’re obsessive about making every tiny part of their projects absolutely brilliant – refusing to settle for merely excellent.  As the presentation continues, and this is repeated, you realise that they are speaking truly.

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 02.26.15They speak for under an hour – and then there is a further 30 minutes of questions and answers – which are good – so worth setting aside the full one hour and a half to watch in its entirety.  They are amusing, honest about early failures and difficulties and how they won through was – no surprise, folks – lots of hard work.  They write and rewrite and rewrite and tweak and rewrite, show to friends, rewrite.

 

 

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One tip which came across clearly was to show your script to other people – no matter who they are in the studio pecking order or whether they’re friends/family – they’re a person with an honest opinion – and as writer you should listen up, because you are too close to the project to see its flaws.  It’s humility – but it’s also good sense.

The two voices give variety to what is said, and there are plenty of illustrations and clips from their projects:

Along the way, they present their maths of working as a partnership:

half the money, twice the effort, twice the time = an output which is 1.3 times better!

They also lead the audience in a pledge to make work, and are adamant that all humans are creative, anyone can do the work they do but it is hard work, done repetitively.

What they’ve also learned along the way are, like all important learning, found through failure and near failure.  One vital lesson was learning to listen to other people’s feedback and recognise that making a film is a hugely collaborative venture.  Also, to recognise that even at the end, the film is actually ‘made’ in the imagination of the viewers.  And this is one reason given for really listening to someone/anyone who has an opinion on the work – because if they don’t get the story clearly, then likely the final paying punters will find it puzzling in the same way.

A film is about RELATIONSHIP not just CHARACTER.

This is a great insight – at one point, “Cloudy with Meatballs” was about a main character and a situation – it was funny but there wasn’t a real sense of involvement, until they made one of the characters the father of the hero – and the hero wanted to get his taciturn father’s approval.

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 03.31.32If you want to be a screen writer, then watching this interview is a good thing to do – yes, it is long, but that gives enough time to talk pleasantly and with humour through the whole career process.

In fact, the whole series of “Genius” strand of masterclasses by BAFTA looks worth a checkout.  See them here.

Health and Safety at work: in the Bathroom

Friday – time for Health and Safety at work public awareness film.  And now to cover an area so lamentably left uncovered by Public Safety research: Health and Safety at work in the Bathroom.  Thankfully, a Mr Bernard Black and Manny (of Black Books bookshop) have been assisting our researchers with their enquiries.  Can you spot the 24 potential accidents waiting to happen in this demonstration of unique working practices?

No 1 is, of course, the rubber ducks on the shelf – which may plummet at any moment into the sandwich.  Which other potential hazards can YOU spot?

Tiny House funds world travel!

How do you fund dreams such as travelling the world?  Inspired with wanderlust, Jenna Spesard built a Tiny House with her partner, they spent a year towing it throughout America together.  It’s now in a fixed location but still helps her travel internationally for 3 months of the year, as it saves her so much money.  She is pursuing her goal of visiting 5 new countries each year.

“I don’t work for my house – it works for me” she says.

“Not too long ago, I was working a job I hated, just to pay the rent. I felt stuck and miserable. Then, one day, I decided to change my life. Today I live simply, in a Tiny House, so that I can travel the world for part of the year!”

Jenna Blogs

Jenna blogs at “Tiny House, Giant Journey”.  http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/  There, she talks about her travels (which you can follow on Instagram) and also other people who have chosen the tiny house option as a way to free up finances.  There are a range of other people who have chosen to downsize, including a single guy or even a family of 5!

Simplicity

Everywhere you look in the video and the website, there are great storage solutions and simplicity.  Inspiring to look at, even if you don’t plan on following the lifestyle completely.  And, of course, it’s horizon-widening to see people who have made uusual life choices.  Jenna is an excellent communicator.

Fulfilling her Life Goal

One of Jenna’s life goals was to travel the world.  Maybe you read yesterday’s blog post of questions to help you find what is important to you in life:whichWAY-

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For a moment, it’s exciting to see where you want to aim…. until you wonder “Where will I find the money to help me reach/train for that?”  Perhaps Jenna’s way of releasing funds is helpful.  It’s certainly working for her.

And what about the world travel?  She has already visited 30 countries – including Iceland, Gautemala, Thailand, Taiwan… and is fulfilling her life’s ambition: to visit all the countries of the world.  Where do you want to go in life?