Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

Here we go again...

On Sunday, out of the blue, while drinking milkshakes in a cafe after a long day of misbehavior at the local castle...

Friend 3 innocently asked "When are we going to do more filming?"

There was a pause before she was pounced on by me and Friend 4 and hugged. Someone actually WANTS to film again? What news is this?! Why didn't you say sooner?!

In case you missed the debacle, "filming" is a catch-all term that translates as "six girls shoot Fellowship of the Ring on a small island with a budget of £10". It took abouty five years, and the finished product is 40 minutes of slickly edited excellence. We even have a cast-commentary.

I was on top form as Boromir, Galadriel, Arwen, Bilbo, Farmer Maggot, Merry's stand in, The Witch King, co-director, co-cameraperson, co-lighting expert and ADR supervisor. Everyone else had a similarly packed list of credits. True, we had to snip Moria, and Legolas never actually appeared on screen, but it was good in its own way. I'll post some pictures of our sets and costumes later. They’ll need a bit of an edit, as my friends will be mad if I don’t blur faces.

After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to do Robin Hood. Amazing. Friend 4 and I had abstractly been trying to get something else going for a long time now. We even had our plans for Prince Caspian neatly arranged when Hollywood decided to make it instead. We’d gone through several phases, always flaking out at one stage or another. But this, this is happening.

This is speed filming. We have one year, and we've just lost the summer. Lots of things are on our side though. Forests, to start with. Our Summerisle has lots of little nature parks we can shoot in. Our Lord of the Rings costumes - we're already equipped with cloaks, daggers and LOTS of swords. Plus, Friend 4 and I are archers, and we've both got really nice wooden longbows. The cast is tiny - everyone has only one named role, with lots of nameless cannon fodder. And I have connections. Most usefully, to the director of local museums, who’s already agreed to let us into that same castle early so we can shoot undisturbed.

Of course, that doesn't quite outweigh the problems. We still have to contend with the weather, and bumping into strangers in public places (though that is often quite funny. Last time, we bumped into the local roleplaying group. They were dressed up and running about, trying to kill a Goblin Baby or something; and we were dressed up and running about, trying to film. We had a strange stand off while both parties thought "WTF?!" from a distance. My friends were mortified, but to be honest...we're still young. The role playing group are all in their 30s. Well old enough to know better...). And I’ve still got no idea how to show people with arrows sticking out of them which ISN’T holding them under the elbow.

Thoughts in that department are very much appreciated.

Meanwhile, we’ve got to tackle the problems of costume and script in under a week. We film on Friday. Why am I even blogging?! I should be panic-typing. We don’t have a plot yet. We’ve got a basic character outline, three Robin Hood novels and a vague idea that Maid Marian should get captured at some point. But oh! It’s a beautiful thing…

I write an awful lot, but never finish. It’s perfectionism. I only write when it feels right, sometimes agonising for days over a single paragraph. This is bad technique, and when things come it’s like they come from somewhere else. I don’t write it. I wait for the touch of the muse. Its lengthy but it works, and it’s fine because I write for my own enjoyment.

In this case, however, on Monday I constructed a vague outline of the opening scene (think the opening of Leon, with bows and arrows) and it needs to be scripted by Tuesday, so people can learn their lines and construct costumes by the end of the week. Now I’m not too worried about this. What I AM worried about is the fact that I have NO IDEA WHERE IT GOES NEXT. And it’s not just a flight of the imagination, because I’m constrained by the lack of cast. Not only does it need to be fun, it also needs to be clever – covering up all our problems. But writing like this is an absolute rush. I just wish I could come up with amusing dialogue now…Would anyone notice if I stole Alan Rickman's lines from Prince of Theives and picked up some of the buddy lingo from Firefly? I'm especially tempted by some of Shepherd Book's bits...particularly "the Bible is a little fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps"

And while we're at it, who here can name...

Five Films with a duck in them

Because we couldn't think of any.


Rob said...

We're starting our new movie soon too. It's an idea we'd toyed with along time, given up on, then thought we could include the bits we'd written within the movie we were going to make at that stage, a superhero film. That didn't work out so we've started making it as a standalone. We've actually written pieces of script for this one, so we're one up on Kool Skool.

The synopsis so far reads "A disenfranchised cop, Malone, is on the point of retirement when all of a sudden he is drawn back into the harsh realities of the force to fend off a new criminal threat! A new drug has hit the streets, peddled by a sinister outfit of underhanded criminals. Malone, with a fresh-off-the-ranks rookie, B.J. Skooter, must overcome his personal demons and inability to kill instantaneously in one last bloody battle. Malone is willing to die to keep the streets clean, and to preserve the things he loves most – the rights to life, liberty and the right to bear firearms."

We started writing it so it could enter short-film festivals but after watching terrible cop movies, it's been noted how vulgar some of them are*, so we've modified it to fit more along those lines. That, and we're just plain immature. What we've got in the script so far pretty much guarantees exclusion from the youth festivals.

I wish you luck with your movie, though. It's a tiresome process. We've actually split ours up into a few episodes to give ourselves more time. We'll put them out separately, then edit them smoothly together when it's all finished.

Five Films with a Duck:

Duck Soup (opening credits)
Howard the Duck
Straw Dogs
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

*In particular, Seagal's Out For Justice has some completely dirty lines which are just completely irrelevant to what's going on. It's a great one to use though, we've stolen ideas for entire dialogues and one-liners from it. As well as modeling Malone on the complete asshole of a character Seagal plays.

At least OFJ has the greatest tagline of all time : He's a cop. It's a dirty job... but somebody's got to take out the garbage.

Will said...

Howard the Duck
Space Jam
The Mighty Ducks
Duck Soup
Sitting Ducks
Okay, so they aren't your usual ducks...

How about Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I think it had a duck in it.

The Million Dollar Duck
Animal Farm
Charlotte's Web (or was that a goose)
Doctor Dolittle (1967)

How is that?

Ninquelosse said...

*round of applause for all the duck movies*

I've got a faint ambition to send Robin Hood to our local filmfest once its finished...probably won't happen though. I am, however, serious about my intention of sending our LOTR to Peter Jackson. yes he might sue us, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. And he might really enjoy it, having come from a no-budget background. his first film took him 4 years, filmed on weekends with non-professional unpaid actors. Just like us.

I suppose down where you live it's got sunny in time for shooting. We got the idea of filming this about a week ago, and we shot the first scene on basically the last day of the summer - it's been raining ever since. Such is life...what my friends don't know is that when I said I was happy to die to get it finished, I actually meant I'm happy to let THEM die to get it finished. And that includes shooting in all weathers...

Rob said...

Actually, we've been in the middle of a fairly bad drought which has been going on for a few years. As soon as we decided it was time to start filming, it started pouring down.

Pretty soon it'll stop, though, and we can get back to shooting on those lovely 40-degrees-Celsius days that we know far too well.

We shot in that weather for a superhero movie we'd plan to make. Using a stuffy school bathroom and costumes that included a suit made entirely out of garbage bags and one of those yellow plastic raincoats from primary school. Which made perfect sense in the movie. But those were the worst two days of shooting we've ever done and we didn't end up making the movie, because the sound was so bad from the locations. We just didn't have the will to retry.

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