Category Archives: book

I haven’t been completely useless though… My adventures on a screenwriting course.

Despite my lack of Top 100 film watching and assigned creativity, it’s not been all bad.  Nearly two weeks ago, Mark and I started a screenwriting course at The Phoenix (we seem to be going there a lot lately…).

It’s an eight week programme and by the end we should have written a screenplay and investigated structure, dialogue, character building and industry techniques.  We have also been given a reading list and we’ve got two William Goldman and one Stephen King books on writing to read.

The first homework was to write your favourite movie’s plot in four lines and then your idea in four lines.  This week’s assignment is to flesh that initial four lines out in to half a page and decide on a character that made an impact on you as a child.

My idea is based on the Simon Armitage poem The Manhunt (http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/simon-armitage-on-his-poem-the-manhunt/13455.html) although I may change the war by moving it to Afghanistan and also add the element of the wife having strayed before he came back wounded and the amplified guilt she would feel.  I like the idea of writing about war from a female perspective although I think I will have to do a lot of research first!

It's a start...

It’s a start…

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New beginnings… but I’ve not forgotten

It's been a Richard heavy summer...

It’s been a Richard heavy summer…

I am writing this from my new office! I have never had my own desk as a teacher before, so it is very exciting. I’m not sure this is what they wanted me to be doing on my second day, but as everyone else has gone home and I have been here for over nine hours, I’m not going to worry about it.

I am now… (drumroll) … the head of English at John Cleveland College, a massive GCSE and A Level college. This is lovely and I was definitely ready to move on from my last school, but it means that I am no longer in charge of media and film and can’t persuade myself that watching all and any film is professional development. It’s all about boring old books now…

To prepare for this new challenge (and I’m pretty sure it is going to be a crazy challenge) I have had a pretty restful summer. My main reading has been Richard Burton books – both a biography and his diaries. This was all sparked by watching three programmes on the BBC about five weeks ago; the new dramatisation of the Burton/Taylor production of ‘Private Lives’ with Helena Bonham-Carter and Dominic West, a programme about Burton’s diaries and a two hour documentary about the making of ‘Cleopatra’. All of the programmes were great and I also really loved the books. I still don’t think I know anymore about his acting, or understand it, or especially like him, but it was amazing to learn about the crazy fame he had.

Anyway, this resting, holidaying and Burton reading has meant that I haven’t done any top 100 films this summer, but I am still hoping to work on them and have about five sitting by my telly to get on with. It just depends on the crazy workload that I encounter…

It’s not about film, but it is ace…

So, I’ve been pretty rubbish with film watching and reading in the last month.  Consequently I haven’t blogged that much; it would have been boring.

Reading wise I have even shelved the Jack Cardiff autobiography.  But I haven’t not been reading.  Okay, it’s not about film, but Steven Pinker’s book about violence: The Better Angels of Our Nature – A History of Violence and Humanity, is amazing.Image

It was featured on the Culture Show as it had been nominated for the Samuel Johnson prize and I was interested.  I then managed to watch the end of one of the thousands of documentaries about the Nazis that are continuously on telly and felt that I really needed to read a book that tried to prove that we are getting less violent.  It felt important that I know that.  Anyway, it is over eight hundred pages long, but I completely recommend it.  I’m going to email him when I am finished and tell him how brilliant it is.

I did also manage to get back on the 100 top films list yesterday and will blog all about Touki-Bouki if I have time tonight.

The ‘book’ is finished and other news.

I don’t like writing.  I think I have made this clear before.  But, for some stupid reason, I got talked in to writing a novel/novella/short story/pamphlet for November/first week in December.  I always like creativity, I always like to join in and I always like to finish things.  This often leads to stress and furious, frantic tapping of the keyboard.

Anyway, I’m done.

Bloody done it.

Bloody done it.

It’s called The Hall.  I only got to 12,000 words, but I’m fairly happy with it.  Let me know if you want a copy – don’t worry Ma, I’ve already sent you one.

Although I really don’t think I’m good at writing – like at all, I did enjoy the creative process.  I liked the initial thinking of ideas and I enjoyed the structuring.  I probably also would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn’t have to do it at the same time as working during the busiest term of the year, having an observation week and feeling generally run down.

StuMo hasn’t finished.  He was the one that talked me into it in the first place.  Not impressed.

Anyway.  Doing that, along with a full-time job, did take up most of my free time, but I haven’t stopped doing film related stuff altogether, obviously.  I have started reading the Jack Cardiff autobiography that Uncle John gave me, which is enjoyable, if a little light.  My gorgeous friend Nat also came to stay a couple of weekends ago and gave me a great book on the representation of history in cinema.  While she was up we also did a bit of old book shopping (it helps to live above a second hand bookshop) and I bought a book about Mayer and Thalberg and a 1930s history of cinema.

Looking forward to this lot...

Looking forward to this lot…

As a side note, I have also booked tickets to see 9 to 5, the Dolly Parton musical with Madkin – too excited.

Look what arrived!

I didn’t buy the book last week at the exhibition, because I didn’t want to carry it (such a princess…) and so I’m very happy that this arrived at school today!

Yippee!