Working as a script reader sometimes feels like being a deserter, a traitor or the unwilling executioner standing reluctantly beside the guillotine. Most of us are scriptwriters ourselves and know all too well how each rejection can cut you down to size... like a blade would... from a guillotine.
It’s no fun receiving a rejection, but you might be surprised to discover that it’s no fun writing them either.
If there’s one thing I can assure you is that all script readers want to find something good in that gigantic, towering never-ending (I really should get back to it in a minute) pile of scripts. Don’t be deceived into thinking that just because we’re writers ourselves we delight in belittling and hindering the chances of others.
But at the same time, it’s really frustrating when writers don’t do everything in their ability to make it as easy as possible for the reader when submitting their script. Again remember, we’re usually writers too -- So by design, that means we’re irritable, emotional and lazy... No? Just me? Alright then...
It may sound stupid and entirely obvious but doing something as simple as sending your script as a PDF can put your script reader in a good mood. Converting your script to PDF takes a matter of moments and on a practical level makes life a whole lot easier for the reader; I rarely print off scripts and will often read them on a tablet instead. Most companies will stipulate that you attach PDFs and if you ignore this, don't expect a reply any time soon. Not taking the time to read and follow submission guidelines is another cardinal sin, punishable by death... with a blade... from a guillotine.
And quite rightly too. It's a well-known fact that every time you attach a script in DOC format and without following submission guidelines, a script-reader dies.
You might think that’s a good thing. I might be inclined to agree with you. But in all seriousness, we’re not as mean as you might think - we want to give people a chance, so just make sure you’re doing everything you can to give yourself that too.
When I Grow Up was created for the Reed Short Film Competition and filmed back in January. Never ones to make life easy for ourselves, it took us a while to come up with our idea for this year’s theme - ambition. But once we did, despite postponed shoots due to snow, a frantic search for locations and a nail-bitingly tense upload and submission merely a few minutes before the deadline, things finally fell into place.
And I think I can speak on behalf of us all when I say that we were all very proud of what we achieved in such a short amount of time and with limited resources
Anyway, seeing as I’ve already clogged up various other social outlets promoting it, it would seem improper not to take this opportunity to show you the finished article...
Feedback: warmly welcomed. Likes and shares: met with unashamedly amorous thanks.
It's just occurred to me that I never posted my Done in 60 Seconds entry on my blog and as I'm here, I thought a cheeky video embed was as good a way as any to spend this lovely Autumnal eve.
If you're wondering what Done in 60 Seconds is, pin back your earholes and get ready to have your mind blown... It's a competition run by Empire Magazine and Jameson Whiskey (no, I'm not sure why either) where contestants are invited to make a 60 second version of their most beloved films.
It was lots of fun to make, thanks to some absolutely brilliant people who gave their free time only to be rewarded with used film props such as a mystery tins of food (sans labels) and sparkly egg cups.
Sadly we didn't make it to the finals, but I took some solace in the fact the UK finalist had chosen to replicate the film that I considered worthy of my free time (unfortunately their free time resulted in a much more professional looking piece with nice Herge style animations and everything! )
But as tacky and cheap as it looks, I loved writing it (trying to squeeze as many references to the film and its trilogy as possible) and I loved making it (including working out the optimum angle to tilt a fridge to create the perfect melon roll.)
So if you do happen to watch, bear in mind that this particular Done in 60 Seconds entry benefits from repeat viewing. It's a kind of 'blink and you'll miss it' short, so unpin your ears, pin back your eyelids and roll YT...
Before I went to the London Comedy Writers' Festival I placed in the top 6 of a competition running in conjunction with the fest called 'Laugh a Minute'. Sadly I didn't win. But as my mother one said after I came second one year in the easter bonnet parade, it's always nice to be noticed. She cried for weeks after, but I think that was just because the daffodil she had crafted from tissue paper needed using up and she never was a wasteful person.
Now you might notice someone called Christiana Brocklebank in that list of runners up... That is me. Frankly, as an alias it doesn't really cut the mustard. Especially when your name is down correctly in the first batch of finalists.
And, just in case you were wondering, it's pronounced Brock-le-bonk (Yah, French you know).
ANYWAY... Back on topic. Watch as I clunkily try to validate my bragging by insisting that there's purpose to this post...
This was a pretty good opportunity. The script could only be one page. Any more and you would be (quite rightly) decapitated. Your head would (quite rightly) be displayed on spikes at the entrance to Regents College, London as an example to others during the festival and (quite rightly) remain there until it had fully decomposed.
As well as being something that (compared to most competitions) didn't require too much time and commitment, it emphasised the importance of brevity. It forced you to really look at every single word in your script and question its right to be on the page. That is a great lesson for any writer to learn and improve on. Particularly in the rather pernickety world of comedy writing, where one misplaced word or jumbled syntax can make or break a gag.
It seems like only yesterday that I was at the London Comedy Writers' Festival.
Actually it was yesterday. And the day before.
Before I went, I was nervous that maybe that I shouldn't be going... that I wasn't good enough. (I know what you're thinking, an insecure writer? Surely not?!) I was dubious about whether I would be able to get anything from it and would spend most of the weekend sat in a corner rocking slightly until it was safe to retreat back to the dark whole from whence I came.
I'm glad to say that one again my paranoid and worrisome psyche was wrong on both counts. I met some truly great people. The speakers were humble and reassuring but not afraid to tell you that you need to love what you're doing to be in this industry because it's not always easy. Fellow delegates were supportive and extremely friendly. It was the type of atmosphere that encouraged new friendships and possible writing partnerships to be created. You never knew whether the next person you talked to would be the Eric to your Ernie, the Baldrick to your Blackadder, the Sooty to your Sweep. And that was exciting.
Under the colourful umbrella of the comedy genre, there were talks on a diverse range of subjects. My favourites bits, I hear you ask? My top three sessions? I hear you specify?
1) Why you need to break into radio comedy with Tilusha Ghelani, James Cary and Max Dickins.
2) Acting Funny: Writing great comedy that actors want to perform with Stephen Mangan, Jessica Hynes and Declan Lowney
3) What they don't teach you at comedy writing school with Robert Popper.
Oh and the agenting session with Julian Friedmann. Brutal but brilliant.
That's four really but I never was good at maths.
To be honest, I couldn't fault a single session I attended. My only regret is that I didn't get to go to all of them. On the plus side most sessions were recorded so that I'll be able to look back the ones I missed. The script chats, for me, were the overall highlight of the festival which were rather more intimate Q&A sessions with each of the speakers. All were so generous with their time and it really was a wonderful opportunity to network and gain valuable inside information from people who really know what they're talking about.
So to conclude... There's a lot to be said for getting out there and meeting like-minded and sometimes not-so like minded people.
Did you know that 97% of writers suffer from Vitamin D deficiency? Thanks to a rather sunny session of networking held outside, I have surpassed my Vitamin D quota for the year meaning I don't need to go outside again till next January.
But, you know what, I think I will. If there's one thing this weekend has taught me is that to be a truly successful writer/general human being, you need to get out there. Talk to people who intimidate you, they're usually lovely and willing to share their advice and experiences. Make new friends who'll motivate you when you haven't slept for six days because you've forgotten how to come up with ideas. And if no-one else will turn your script into something wonderful, what exactly is stopping you?
Don't watch this film if you're squeamish or eating a chicken leg.
The anxiety that this film provokes in its audiences is made worse by the fact that you spend the first two thirds of it waiting for 'that bit'.
Danny Boyle's slick direction which treads a fine line of style over substance, ultimately suits the adrenalin packed, hallucinogenic and downright unbelievable true story of a man who basically rips off his own arm with a rusty multi-tool.
James Franco is excellent in the lead, transforming the character from a bit of a douche into someone you end up really rooting for.
If you decide to watch this film at the cinema, take a drink in with you. I guarantee you'll get thirsty.
A lot of my time nowadays is sat thinking at the very desk I am writing to you from now. If thinking were a sport I'm pretty sure I'd qualify for the Commonwealth Games (I was going to say Olympics but let's not get ahead of ourselves.)
That is not to say that I think of myself as some great philosopher akin to the likes of Plato, Aristotle and Stephen Fry. No, my thought processes usually begin by me trying to think of a plausible script idea and end up with me thinking about what I should cook for tea or how many tabs I think I'll be able to open on my computer before it crashes.
One of the main questions I have begun to ponder lately is in relation to my silent writing partner, Max. Now Max is not your average person in the sense that he is in fact a dog. But sometimes it's helpful talking to a dog about some of your ideas especially as he is quite adept at constructive criticism.
One look from those big brown eyes and I can tell whether it's - as some old bloke with a quill and a dodgy haircut once wrote - 'to be or not to be'.
"Are you joking?"
And so recently, because I have begun to sense that there is more to Max than meets the eye, I have started testing him. Asking him every now and again to blink twice if he understands what I'm saying to him. He doesn't usually cooperate but then why would he?
For now, he has an excuse:
'Oh sorry I slept on your bed after getting all muddy on my walk, but hey I'm a dog. How was I supposed to know?'
He'll crack one day and when he does then maybe my 'co-writer' can finally start pulling his weight.
I've got my first ever writing credit on IMDB for the short film Speechless that I co-wrote with Rick Maughan. HERE.
Pretty exciting, non?
Well I think it is.
Hopefully it'll be the first of many.
But probably not if I keep writing double spaced like this so it looks like I've written more.
Anyway, if you didn't already know (where have you been??) Speechless is a gentle but quirky comedy short about a guy who longs to be a stand-up comedian. Only one teensy, tiny problem... his speech impediment. That and his fear of talking on the phone, never mind speaking in front of an audience.
Some people have said it's a bit like The King's Speech (which it's not), only better (which it is).
Speechless is set to do the rounds on the festival circuit in the coming year.
Blessed and Burdened with the title of Disney’s 50th animation feature and the second most expensive film of all time (costing $260 million), Tangled is the "House of Mouse's" retelling of Grimm’s classic fairy tale, Rapunzel.
For American audiences Tangled is old news having been released prior to the Christmas period and competing well with Harry Potter and The Don’t Bother Watching if You’re a Fan of the Books. Nevertheless, British audiences will be able to ‘let their hair down’ (Ugh, I hate myself for that one) by the end of the month. January 29th to be precise...
The last in a long line of Disney princesses (well at least for now according to recent reports in the LA Times) Rapunzel is everything a Disney princess should be. And as indicated by the very first song ‘When will my life begin’ She’s an all American, singing, cleaning, baking, sewing machine. Well she’s not a sewing machine but you know what I mean. It is this opening, along with Mandy Moore’s sickly sweet middle American accent, the odd adding of ‘like’ to sentences where it’s really not necessary and the accompanying cheery chord strumming of the guitar that had me cringing in my cinema seat. Fortunately for me and the child side glancing daggers at me every time I ‘tutted’ at another lyric about doing the washing up, it didn’t last long. The song is used to sort of lull you into a false sense of security making it appear that everything is just dandy. Until, the pace finally slows out of the infuriating jig-a-jing rhythm and into the melancholy strums that indicate Rapunzel is far from fulfilled, painting, cooking and generally keeping the place looking presentable. I believe in the 'Bizz' this is known as her 'I want' song and so just as Ariel 'wanted' to be part of their world, all Rapunzel wants to do is nip out to the local offy every now and again for a packet of fags. Or something like that anyway.
There’s no getting away from the fact that rather than entertain herself by trying to discover the secret of alchemy or philosophizing over a good book (if it’s good enough for Belle... ) she resorts to filling her time baking a pie or fashioning a pair of ear muffs out of a couple of dead rodents (this is an exaggeration of course, but one I hope to see recreated in animated form someday). The film at this point completely plays into the Disney disposition of feminine representation which was the centre of some gentle ridiculing in Enchanted. And as it happens, early drafts of the screenplay originally set Tangled up as a sort of sequel to the hybrid animation and live action movie Enchanted, which stars Amy Adams as the Disney Princess lost in New York. This is perhaps why this early sequence in Tangled comes across as a little confused not knowing whether to pastiche or stick to tradition. From this point however, the film picks up with Rapunzel eventually setting out armed with a frying pan and a disregard for her own safety or that of her eventual prince Flynn Rider (voiced by Chuck’s Zachery Levi).
Swansong or not, Tangled acts as a pretty good homage to the look and feel of some of the older Disney ‘Princess’ films. You simply can’t imagine Rapunzel’s tower, for example, without thinking of the opening scenery in Beauty and the Beast. The love song ‘I see the light’ is visually and audibly reminiscent of the ‘A whole new world’ sequence in Aladdin as Rapunzel and Flynn sit watching the lantern’s float in the sky just as Jasmine and Aladdin watched fireworks from a rooftop during their romantic encounter. The success of Rapunzel is the trickery of the animation which fools the audience into associating it with such hand-drawn Disney Classics whilst presenting a staggeringly crisp and phenomenally detailed image thanks to CGI technology used throughout the film. The mix of old and new works in what I have to admit is the first 3D film, animated or otherwise which I have seen and did not wish I had instead watched in uncomplicated and comfortable 2D. I am firmly of the opinion that 3D is a gimmick, no matter how popular or ‘normal’ it becomes. It also does not excuse a bad story (I’m looking at you Clash of the Titans, Gulliver’s Travels and yes you too, Avatar). Yet here it provides a spectacle so grand that it cannot help but allow its viewers to buy into the spectacle, the characters and world that Tangled presents.
Speaking of characters, it is once again the job of the animal sidekicks to steal the show, offering up the majority of laughs. These are Pascal; Rapunzel’s over protective chameleon armed with a dry sense of humour conveyed merely through his silent actions and Maximus; the Palace Guards’ head horse whose characteristics are inexplicably akin to a dog.
It is clear that Tangled strives unmercifully to live up to a back catalogue of animation films which reached their peak in the 1990s with such unforgettable classics as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Coincidentally, these films are the subject of the highly recommended documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. It is only after watching this documentary that you concede that Disney will perhaps never realise what it did in that decade. It becomes clear that, what was achieved then was consequential to a meeting of minds and talent and cannot be replicated. This does not take away from the fact that Tangled is another good solid Disney movie, a fun and extremely well made adventure film that kids and adults alike will enjoy. The effort and execution by the filmmakers of Tangled to create a piece that sits well inside the ‘Disney Vault’ is truly commendable, as is the admission from the studios that perhaps it is time for something new.
What is it with the minutes, hours, days, week, months that gives them the right to just carrying on passing without making sure that I'm getting stuff done. I think the general consensus is that time is much less tolerant of writers. Even now as I sit here I am certain that time I am moving in slow-mo as the world around me speeds through seconds and minutes like Alanis Morissette in the video to 'Thank You' except with more clothes on.
It's sort of the opposite effect that Hammy gets in Over the Hedge after he drinks an energy drink:
The last year in particular has been one massive, wonderful, exhausting, enlightening, terrible and terrific blur and I'm sad that it's over. I feel like I've travelled so far in such a short space of time and as things begin to slow and I reflect back on a year that has given me so much hope in my career and life in general, let's hope I'm not stood still for too long, because it's chilly up north. Especially when you cant afford pyjamas like our Alanis.
I better pass this bloody MA now, or I will be deleting this and all similarly upbeat (yes upbeat!) posts.
Oh and seen as we're reflecting on the past, if you would like to have a look at some of my earlier snippets of writing in the form of film reviews, here are a few links.
The Zoo. It's an odd place isn't it, where children try to poke fingers through the lion cages and scuffle to get a glimpse through the glass at empty reptile tanks.
But what if we saw the world through the eyes of the animals staring back at us?
The pilot episode of Don't Feed the Animals introduces us to three different perspectives of life in Durnovaria Zoo on the day of its relaunch.
Meet Winston, a self-confessed thesp and luvvie chameleon as he battles to keep his colour long enough to show his not-so adoring public what he's made of; Gertrude, counsellor and all round hypochondriac warthog who reluctantly resides in the petting zoo; And Chanelle and Rodney, a couple of pandas going through the motions as we delve deeper into their relationship problems.
The title of this post may have you thinking its subject has something to with procrastination, laziness and all round non-constructiveness in relation to writing.
Fooled again dear reader for I bring you, as well as stolen puns, tales from the script and its metamorphoses from the humble written word to the sweet sound of the radio broadcast.
BIRSt, Bournemouth's Internet Radio Station have been broadcasting live for a fortnight from the 7th until 18th June. Nestled somewhere in the wonderfully varied and unique timetable of the station's output is BIRSt's Writer's Block - a four part drama serial produced by Lorenza Samuels and made up of five minute slots starting with one writer and continued by another and so on.
I wrote the second part of the serial which originally aired on BIRSt Live on the 11th June. The only rule I had to abide by when writing was the inclusion of certain words and one single action that were suggested to BIRSt via Twitter, Facebook and Email. If you're feeling in a playful mood, try and guess what they were..
Of course you don't. Because Lots-o-Huggin' bear doesn't exist except in the fabulously well realised imaginations of the creatives at Pixar studios as they put the finishing touches to the long awaited animation Toy Story 3. If it wasn't brilliant enough that they created a concept whereby they practically designed their own merchandise, viral videos such as this show their dedication to making you believe in the magic. I could have owned a Lots-o-Huggin' bear instead of a Care Bear (Sunshine bear, just in case you were wondering) and I remember ads just like this one. This commercial would have fitted quite nicely in between a 'Baby wee wee' and 'My Little Pony' ad. But what I love about this ad, complete with the dodgy tracking making you believe its been recorded on VHS, is that this isn't for the little ones who will one day have their own memories of toy ads. It's for all us grown-ups out there. Now as depressing as it is to refer to myself as one of these, I take great comfort in knowing that someone out there that cares about us oldies too. And so when I sit down in the cinema to watch Toy Story 3, I will be able to believe in the magic just as much as my 4 year old nephew sat next to me.
Toy Story 3 is released in Cinemas in the UK on July 23, 2010
Well the MA is drawing to a close and my major is fast approaching. Without any idea of what to write, one thing I know is that if it doesn't make people laugh even just a little bit, I'll be disappointed.
At the moment, I'm working on a 30 minute radio drama and even though I know it's supposed to be a really serious radio drama, I can't resist putting (and later deleting) the odd line of comedy to break the tension. I just can't help it and I think that often even in the most dramatic situations there is always a little bit of comedy to be found. It's what makes us human.
The moment in my life that symbolises this most is the point of complete heartbreak in my family, when my grandfather died suddenly. He was and is absolutely beloved by every member of my family. A lovely warm, funny and downright silly Grandad who spoiled his grand-daughters with fruit pastilles, mint imperials, Cadbury's Chocolate Eclairs and the odd trip to Blackpool or Lytham, St Annes. At his funeral we laid roses into his grave. They were yellow, his favourite colour, defining his bright, warm character so well. My mother, tearful herself and in an attempt to comfort her sobbing daughters tried to put her arm's around us all. And it was then that she uttered the words that have haunted her ever since: 'It's time's like these I wish I was an octopus.' And just like that the tears of sorrow turned to a mixture of laughter and love as the sun shone through the trees and we all wished Grandad was there to laugh with us.
It's his birthday today, he would've been 79. And even though I'll never hear him tell another joke or get him to pull his false teeth out before getting shouted at, I'll always remember the importance of comedy because inevitably, where you find laughter you also find love.
Well it's been a while hasn't it. And no excuses this time, well except one. I've just completed a module of my MA called 'Cross-platform' practice where the brief was working in a group to create a cross-platform product for kids. Part of this also involved writing a blog, and while I was busy scribbling down every little detail of the last six weeks, I neglected you. My first, my last, my everything...
If you're having problem sleeping and would like to take a look at my project blog (warts and all), it can be found here:
I can't say I'm not relieved that it's over and done with, but it has been an experience. I think the most valuable thing I can take away from it has been working with people that I'd never even talked to before, even dare I say it, building friendships. Of course I didn't get on amazingly with everyone but the people with who I most certainly did, made up for it. It was also interesting being involved in other disciplines, things I'd never even considered being a part of. And I found out that actually I'm not half bad at some other stuff... and some things I'm appalling at. Acting for instance (videos not to follow) was something I realised, despite my desire to be the next Helen Mirren, should be left to the professionals.
But the thing I realised most, after six weeks of being away, the written word is my bff and it's been too long.
If there's one thing I've learnt from pursuing a career in writing it's that a good idea is half the battle. If you don't have something in your head that you actually care about and want to see where it will go, you might as well stop staring at a blank screen and give up. Because it's certainly not going to come that way.
Well this is my experience anyway. I'm not sure whether this is particular just to me but I usually find that once I have an idea mapped out in my head and the first few lines of a script written on the page the rest is easy. Well no, not easy. But easier. The first few lines and the commitment to the chosen story is just the encouragement needed. There will be plot changes, name changes and countless rewrites. But the very essence, the bare bones of what will one day be deemed good enough to be referred to as the final draft is there. And that always feel nice.
At the moment, I'm onto my third draft of a 20 minute comedy screenplay I am writing as part of my MA. The majority of the script uses inner monologue which I have used before but never to this extent. I would be lying if I said it wasn't a challenge. But what has shocked me about this script is the realisation that the rewriting and reworking that I often found extremely tedious is fast becoming my favourite part of the process as I fiddle and tweak changes that however insignificant always seem to make rather more of a dramatic change than I expected. Perhaps it's because in the past I was ignorant enough to think that the editing, re-writing and different drafts were not necessary. Looking back on the atrocities to English Language committed in my name, they most certainly were. How very silly of me. Will try Harder.
February 13th: The pre-cursor to a day of disappointment. Expectation is high, and self esteem is low.
Most people are hoping for at least one card even if it is from their Mum. And to be honest I never even got one from her (make of that what you will). And guess what, I'm not a fan of St Valentine and his annual day of ridicule (or is that not what he's the patron saint of?)
And it's not for the reasons most people site. Yes it is a horribly commercial and contrived celebration. Restaurants churn out crap mass produced dishes from a set menu and charge you extra for the privilege. Yes that's annoying too, but what really gets my goat is that Valentine's Day implies that you have to be madly in love with someone to be a part of the sham celebration that is February the 14th.
I remember vividly that when I was about 11 years old my older sister asked me who I was going to send a Valentine's card to. I panicked. I really didn't know who my valentine was. The day was fast approaching. I ended up blurting out the only boy who I knew my sister could verify was real even though I had no feelings whatsoever for my poor unsuspecting friend. Which, looking back I can see is perfectly natural as 11 was far too young to be considering such things as love and marriage. Even at the age of 23 I'm still not completely sold on the whole idea.
Eventually though I was outed as a fraud after I went on about it a bit too much, declaring my undying love rather too nonchalantly. My sister had uncovered my secret. And I was ashamed. Why didn't I fancy anyone. And of all month's to be so indifferent in relation to the subject, why February.
And that's why I don't like Valentine's day because it forces people to make bad decisions based on the fact that they don't want to be single or alone on this day. Like all the holiday seasons (if Valentine's day can be classed within this category) waiting for one day of the year to act a certain way is a cop-out.
So the next advertisement you see that tries to convince you to buy something nice or take that special person out for the evening, leave it a few days, a week, or a couple of months and show the person that you love just that.
Not because someone else thinks you should, but because you want to. I wonder which they'd prefer?
And if like me are almost puking onto your keyboard as you read this I shall leave a little video that for me, really encapsulates the spirit of the whole subject.
Well it feels like only yesterday I was wishing you all a Merry Christmas and predicting a Happy New Year. And now its February. Already. But.... I meant to mention that during Christmas I tend to eat a couple of months worth of food in order to spend January and February sleeping it off. Yep, that's right I'm a Hibernator (It's like being The Terminator only more docile). So that's my excuse. And it's true. Honest.
Ok... so it's not true. But technically, it's not that far off. I mean it's not like I've spent the last month partying, socialising and generally living up to my reputation as a student. My days and nights have been spent mainly in one of three situations:
1. Eating, 2. Sleeping, 3. Sitting in front of keyboard and a blank screen
Poor girl, I hear you cry.
Fear not reader, it's not all bad.
Because all three of these tasks require me to stay stuck in the house, I'm finding more and more that I am succumbing to the reclusive and introverted condition that often affects writers. Not that I've ever been an extrovert, but more and more I feel able to communicate the world through words without being comfortable in it.
Hmm. Still sounds depressing, let me elaborate.
I say it's not all bad because, whilst it sounds I'm on the brink of depression, these thoughts and feelings actually enabled me to devise a short film script which is currently in production about a woman suffering from Agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces and the outside world). Writing it was too easy, when normally writing a script feels like gnawing a limb of with your milk teeth; a long and agonizing process. But I sort of understood my main character and she is definitely a part of me. I felt lonely with her but wondered how many other people have those days when they feel the outside world is just too scary, too tiring, too difficult or too stressful to have to bother with.
And writing about her, somehow was therapeutic. Because I knew she felt that way, it made me feel normal. I realise that talking about a fictional character this way probably makes anyone reading this think I'm anything but normal. And you're probably right. Normality is alien. But who wants to be normal anyways?
So here it is. The long awaited and much anticipated numero uno of Christiana's Christmas Countdown.
And anyone who knows me even just a little bit will probably have known all along what is was going to be, just like I did. The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of those films that is part of my family Christmas tradition. Every year, the family get together and watch, singing all the words to the songs and laughing at the jokes we've seen a thousand times before. And it somehow never gets old.
Part of the success of The Muppet Christmas Carol is because it is surprisingly faithful to its source, the much loved festive treat that it Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Particularly through the use of Gonzo as Charles Dickens (a fact which is constantly disputed by Rizzo the Rat) and the narrator of the story who relays lines from the book in his very individual style.
All the songs are original, extremely catchy and very christmassy making it hard not to sing along even after a couple of viewings.
Another great Muppet Christmas movie is A Muppet Family Christmas (1987) which would be sharing the top spot with The Muppet Christmas Carol if I could. But as I didn't want to seem too obsessed I settled for the film I think of most when I think about Christmas.
As I'm writing this on Christmas eve, I thought I'd leave you with the most relevant of songs from the soundtrack of the film and really hope you enjoy it and have a very Merry Christmas with all the people you love.
What good is a Christmas Countdown without a Christmas classic?!
Jimmy Stewart stars as George Bailey in this moralistic movie about a man who thinks the world would be a better place if he didn't exist. Cue Clarence (Henry Travers) the angel on a mission to convince Jimmy otherwise and earn his wings.
Suicide and money troubles aside, It's a Wonderful Life is the ultimate feel-good movie directed by the masterful Frank Capra. And Capra and Stewart both cited it as their favourite of the films they were a part of and that's got to count for something.
The film was released later in colour but I wouldn't recommend it. A little bit of charm is lost with the bringing of colour technology to this film. The black and white version the original and just the way it's meant to be.
If you haven't watched the film and don't want to see the ending avoid watching the clip below... Even though it is brilliant.
John Favreau directs and Will Ferrell stars in the usual Christmas tale about how an oversized elf travels from the North Pole to New York to find his real father and seek acceptance.
Will Ferrell's performance as the aforementioned larger than life elf is brilliant. The innocence and unashamedly straight faced way in which he plays it makes his character completely believable.
Also worth a mention is the use of stop motion animation in small sections of the film that provide another fantastic and magical representation of the North Pole.
On it's initial release Elf didn't bother the box-office too much and was more of a success on the small screen and through its DVD release until becoming part of mine and many other people's essential Christmas viewing.
This film will have you laughing and cringing all the way through and if you haven't seen it, you need to because you're missing out.
Enthusiastic, hardworking and eager to avoid cliches, I’m your (wo)man.
I’m dedicated - pursuing the creation of powerful prose both professionally and in my spare time.
In my previous role, I was privileged with the task of finding new and exciting ways to engage through the written word - not just through web copy, but social media too.
In my spare time, I've written scripts for radio sketches, short films and film reviews for the web. Oh, and I'm a blogger too.
I am totally committed and ambitious with a dry sense of humour that would be totally inappropriate to display here... Perhaps you'll take my word for it.
2013 - Present
Script Writer/Editor / One Eyed Dog Films Ltd.
Online Copywriter / Core Assets
The Core Assets Group provides an international portfolio of social care services, offering innovative business solutions to the social care, education and health sector.
My role involved: - Writing and proofreading content for all group websites with consideration of branding guidelines and tone of voice. - Creative content strategy for social networking platforms. - Blog-writing and social engagement - Uploading content via CMS
Copywriter / Deansway Design
- Writing and proofreading copy for web, print and video (v/o scripts) for the care industry and other clients. - Worked alongside web developers and video producers to ensure concept direction. - Experience in SEO, including promotions through social networking and improving site content to improve page ranking (updating content, keyword consideration, blog writing, adding meta tags and page titles etc.) - Close contact with clients to make sure their requirements were being met. - Hands on experience working with video production, attending shoots and interviewing clients. - Basic HTML experience.
Sales Assistant / Monsoon Accessorize
Runner / Working Title Films
- Found work experience through the Action 2011 internship process. - Included working both as a team and individually to make sure production ran smoothly
Team Member / Odeon Cinemas
Writing for the Media
University of Warwick
BA (hons) 2:1
Film with Television Studies
Activities: Whilst at Warwick I enjoyed being part of the University's student radio station RaW, where I wrote and co-presented 'Girls on POP' which won the society's best newcomer award.