advice

10 tips for Making it in the Music Industry – Nile Rodgers, Part 1

For anyone wanting to be a musician, these 3 programmes by the BBC are full of 40 years of experience and advice from Nile Rodgers, who has been at the forefront of popular musicianship for so long, he’s practically the figurehead on its prow.

His CV (the 2 minute version)

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6 tips for Writing Comedy from Script Editor

These tips for writing comedy come from Andrew Ellard, an English comedy writer and script editor who has worked on hugely popular British TV sitcoms such as “Red Dwarf” and “The IT crowd”.  In the video below, he’s giving advice about writing sitcom – but much of what he says will help us writing comedy of any type – whether in books, plays or for large or small screen.

Here’s a brief, non-executive non-summary of the main points in the video:

1. What makes a good sitcom character?

The main character should have a central flaw, a problem, of which they’re unaware.   (more…)

Beginning to paint art

I’ve just found a great resource for beginning to paint at thoughtco.com.  Have a look at this article by Marion Boddy-Evans.  If you’ve got a question, you’re very very likely to find the answer here.  (be aware that the host site also covers different hobbies such as dangerous sports and gambling!)

https://www.thoughtco.com/aint-your-first-ever-painting-2578681

10627862834_9472f8e1ed_h-56a6e6b23df78cf77290d91f.jpg

photo by SLR Jester/10627862834/Flickr

Questions answered:

What’s the difference between oils, acrylics or watercolours?

How can I buy materials at the start which aren’t hideously expensive but not cheap and cheerless so they give disappointing results?

When I go into a shop, I’m baffled by having to choose between “student” and “artist” quality paints – what’s the difference?

How do I mix paints?

Which brushes should I buy?

What can I paint on?

Where can I get ideas of what subject to paint as a beginner?

Any clues for how to layout (“compose”) a picture so that it looks well?

How do I hang my finished painting?

 

 

 

7 actions for beginning writers

I found myself writing this encouragement to a young writer approaching a course in Literature at University – but much of it is useful to any beginning writers:

1.  Believe that you are a writer already.

This is tough.  You think “But I haven’t had my first novel published!”  “But I haven’t sold my first filmscript…..” and the minute you say “I’m a writer” to other people, they will ask “So what have you sold?”  – which doesn’t help.

But being an artist and selling work don’t always flow together.

Van Gogh was a painter to his fingertips, worked hard all his life and only ever sold ONE painting, while alive.

2.  Because you are a writer, you can begin planning a writing career.

Think of what you want to have achieved in 5 years.

Aim for it.

Don’t just meekly do what will get you good marks in School and University.  People who only concentrate on getting a good degree come to the end of it and are still waiting for someone – a lecturer – to tell them what to do, to set them a writing project.  Actually, University works best if you’re already reading and practising the art and the uni course just gives you better skills, and a chance to meet likeminded people and discuss different ideas.

3.  Look at any opportunities you have to attend workshops, lectures, writing groups – and take them.

Any local Book Festivals or writing centre?  Any free workshops on a weekend?  Consider also volunteering to help out at festivals – your face will become known.

4.  Network.  Be pleasant to people, the publishing world is small.

5.  Write often.

If it helps to have a deadline or audience, consider what you could write for a friend/family member’s birthday.  Then give it to them.  (Helps you get practice in getting your work out there).

6.  Avoid writer’s block.

Listen to Audible recording of Anne La Mott’s book “Bird by bird” – it’s a series of interesting, constructive and easy to listen to, talks by her on how to write.  (Also written in her book “Word by Word” if you prefer the written form).  Her big theme is “write shitty drafts” – write down even really poor sentences, because you’re going to refine it later.  But if you wait to write perfect sentences in the first place, you don’t even begin, you freeze up with writer’s block.  The way around writer’s block is to lower your standards and keep writing.

7.  Get the reading list for the course you want to do at University.

Usually a library will have a list of set texts online or if you phone up.  Read those key texts yourself in your holidays now, before you go to Uni.  That way, you’ll have your own thoughts about them by the time you come to study them.  It will give you less reading work to do when at college.  Even if your plans change and you end up in a different college/course – you’ll still have read some great books.  And you will have some references to bring into your commentary on other books.  If you’re an older beginner writer and not planning to go to University – these books are still worth reading, to get a grounding in what is considered great (even if you disagree).

Fresh Guacamole

Hey – it’s the weekend!  Let’s make Guacamole!  How hard can it be?  I think I’ve got a recipe by PES somewhere…..

Here are a few recipe notes from film-maker PES, compiled from various interviews:

Salon Magazine: Have you ever calculated the number of hours of work that go into each second of your finished film?

No. I try not to do that, really. The funny thing about it is, I would almost guarantee that I spend more time thinking about a film than shooting it. I work on these ideas for years, you know, I finally reach a point where I’m like, “OK, I’m ready to shoot this.” I really don’t like to pick up a camera until I’m ready to go and I know the ending and I have a clear vision of everything. I produced “Fresh Guacamole” in four months, which seems like a long time to a lot of people for a 1 minute 40 second film. My friend told me I’ve been thinking about it since 2004, as far as he can remember.

full interview at: http://www.salon.com/2013/02/10/pes_i_worked_on_this_for_years

In a Creative Review UK, he gave movie making tips:

“Something I encourage all filmmakers to do is make your ideas as short as possible. Your goal isn’t to make the longest film you can make, it’s to get rid of anything superfluous,” he says.

“I also kind of feel like it’s respectful to your viewer to not overstay your welcome. You should know the length of your idea…. The whole reason I do previs is to figure out what I don’t need as much as what I do … and my goal is always to find the simplest, most direct, leanest way to tell a story.”

He also stresses the importance of having a clear story arc. It’s a simple concept, but one that is all too often overlooked in overly long ads.