Script-to-Screen

When I first started this blog I didn’t really think about my writing in the full scheme of things, I thought about blogging which is just a small part of it all, for years since my teens I have dabbled in my writing and have a few drafts saved in my cloud storage, all works of fiction, one even going back to when I was seventeen years old that starts during the Belgian-Congo uprising in the early 1960’s; I got as far as losing the manuscript but years later I remembered how I began the story and I had matured a lot and so I embellished on the opening scenes way better than I could in my teens, however for some reason one day I just didn’t touch it again. Its sitting in my cloud storage facility and if it were possible it would be gathering dust – lets just say it is, “cyber-dust”.

Within the last decade or so I have fancied doing a screenwriting course and writing a screenplay and so I have invested in two courses, the Complete Screenwriting Course by Charles Harris and another I am waiting for delivery on, Screenwriters Bible, 6th Edition by David Trottier. Both seem pretty formidable in the particular field from the reviews and should help me get to where I want to in the field of screenwriting, although I would like to tackle the other books I have started writing, all of which are titled but none of which are actually complete. One starts in the Belgian-Congo in the early 1960’s (which I might shelve), the other is set in the US in Montana (present day) of which I feel I am at the point where I can only do so much research online and one is a fiction take of what could happen in Zimbabwe where the ruling party have declared all out war on the populace and murdered all political leaders of the opposition parties and several foreign governments have evacuated their nationals and there is an international military/humanitarian response with the inclusion of several other African states – I then have another story I want to work on…

Genre: Western.

Type: Screenplay.

I haven’t even written anything down for this, I’ve done research on weapons they’d have used within the period which begins on October 5th, 1877 at the Battle of Bearpaw Mountain between Chief Joseph of the Nez Perc and the US 7th Cavalry – this is the only factual part of the story. The research has gone from researching Native American tribes locale to the area (s) (surrounding Montana, Utah and Wyoming right down to New Mexico during the time that the story is set which ranges from 1877 to 1887) to cowboy slang, weapons, dress, geography, meteorology and the US cavalry. But sadly I haven’t taken myself further than that. This year I however intend on taking my writing a lot more seriously.

Course vs Project: –                                                                                                                                                  

So in light of all the other projects I have in the pipeline I have a screenplay that I have had in mind for a couple of years that would be ideal as a project whilst I do the course that in the past have only gone as far as thinking about but no more than I am now. It is set during World War Two and a joint operation between the then British Special Forces and the Armia Krajowa (Polish Free Army (Polish Resistance, basically)) I have already made moves to do some research through the Imperial War Museum in London. My idea behind this specifically is I believe that the British film industry should make a come back and I know for a fact that I am not the only prospective writer/screenwriter that feels like this. If are we to look at films such as Battle of Britain, Bridge Over the River Kwai (though co-produced by British and American companies), The Dam Busters, Guns of Navarone (British and American co-produced), Where Eagles Dare; but to name a few and not to mention some other genres which made the British film industry great and I think its time that the industry made a steadfast comeback.  Yes, sure, we do have some later, more modern great British flicks, there is no doubt about that but I think its time we made a good comeback and I believe it is up to us writers to help with that; whatever the genre, be it war, science fiction, romance, romantic-comedies, comedies, horrors (though I am not one for horrors), thrillers. We need to start pumping out pieces of work (I needed to elaborate on the pumping out because of several friends of mine who would add a connotation to that) and this is the reason I am pushing myself for this project I have in mind because I believe that the industry can make a great comeback, even if we went back to co-producing with some American film companies. Even if we started producing films with European film companies such as Nordisk Film that made Krigen (A War), or Easy Company in France that co-directed with several other production companies to make the outstanding modern French war film Forces Spéciales. I do believe its a comeback that is possible and with legendary British directors/producers/screenwriters such as Paul Greengrass that IS possible – thats assuming he’s washed his hands of any further Bourne movies. So yeah, this is where I am at, I need to grasp this momentum and fly with it because it is only us who can make our dreams come true, through shear hard work and determination.

I have also taken the liberty of posting both trailers for Forces Spéciales and Krigen. Forces Spéciales is default French with English subtitles. Krigen is the same, Dutch with English subtitles. Both are really good films and Krigen shows the bitter truth of what European troops are up against for doing their jobs in Afghanistan. I recommend both and worthwhile investments as war films go.

 

 

 

Harpur’s of Melbourne – Second Time Around

So, this being my second time around at Harpur’s of Melbourne but to check out their breakfast menu. My first review, Harpur’s of Melbourne, was my first time eating here as a friend of mine had come over from Birmingham and so this was the first restaurant I tried and since then have decided a big part of the reviews will be reviewing Melbourne pubs and restaurants/eateries, while I’m here.

So the plan was to have the harpur’s full which consists of pork & leek sausage, bacon, black pudding, baked beans, grilled plum tomato, flatcap mushroom, free range eggs, wholemeal or white toast being at £8.95 a meal, not bad going – however, as I am not overly fond of baked beans or mushrooms I opted not to have either, which I hope won’t impede a successful review; I have no doubt for those that do like either, or they will be perfect.

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As I opted not to have the mushroom or baked beans I chose to have an extra rasher of bacon, I should have had an extra egg as it already came with two rashers but the breakfast itself, as the lunch a few weeks ago was done to perfection.

A slightly amusing instance was the reaction when I mentioned my previous review to the barmaid and asked if it had been sent on to them by head office, she then asked if I blogged to which I said yes it was why I was here, to do my second review, she then sounded nervous of which I assured she had nothing to be nervous about as everything was fine to which she replied they weren’t even prepared; as I said to her, its like a mystery shopper, its not designed to make anyone prepared, its there to surprise them, to catch them off guard.

I then tended to my blog with a lovely glass of fresh orange juice.
I then tended to my blog with a lovely glass of fresh orange juice.

But the breakfast was delicious, the service was good, the bar area was spotless and there are no complaints from me in general. I have found both Kate and Hayley’s service second to none.

I do look forward to reviewing the hotel and further reviews in the future. I will be reviewing other Melbourne eateries in the future to mix it up a bit, so if you’re in Melbourne and see this review, see you around – look forward to seeing what you have to offer in cuisine and service.

Harpur’s of Melbourne.

Harpur's of Melbourne

As I have recently moved to Melbourne as I stated in my previous blog, My First Impressions of Melbourne, Derbyshire today I had the opportunity of testing the local hospitality as a very dear friend from Guildford who recently relocated to Birmingham decided to pay me a visit, and so we went to lunch at Harpur’s of Melbourne but originally had no idea where to go, as I have not been here long it was difficult to know and so after a short while of walking around we decided to pop in to have a look at the menu. After a while we decided we were eating there, but I also think it was encouraged by the fact that today was bitterly cold. After looking at the menu we ordered drinks (both non-alcoholic as one was driving, the other (moi)…was simply not drinking…boring? Maybe), I made the mistake of ordering a filter coffee but forgot to order hot milk (I really do think its time pubs/restaurants started asking if you want hot or cold milk on principle) and my friend ordered a bottle of mineral water both of which were served relatively quickly and served with a smile by the manageress (I presume); prompt, smiley and efficient is always the way to make people want to come back and even spread the word.

After a while of catching up and looking at the menu it was time to order lunch, the barman came around to take our order and both ordered the Harpur’s Fish & Chips (beer battered haddock, tartare sauce, chunky chips, mushy peas). It didn’t take long before our order arrived and so we tended to our meal. It was absolutely delicious and very well cooked, it was great. The chips were done to perfection, fresh and chunky and the fish and mushy peas were delicious.

All-in-all it is a great little restaurant, the atmosphere is warm and friendly, you feel comfortable as soon as you walk in. Service was professional, efficient and with a smile. I can certainly say that I will be going there again and I will be recommending it, not only to friends and family but to anyone else who decides to pass through Melbourne. I have provided a hyper-link, so take a look, they even have an online menu to look at to wet your appetite. It is also a bar and a hotel, have not tried the hotel yet, I’ve had no reason to but maybe in the future but as I have somewhere to live nearby that is not necessary.

The stop there is worth it and you will not be sorry.

My Take of Apple over Microsoft

In my years of working with computers (since 1997) I have primarily worked on Windows, both professionally and for pleasure – I’ve worked on Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 2000, XP and then finally Windows 10, I have to say that for me I preferred XP and 10 the best and loathed Vista with a passion.

I am a relatively new Apple user with my first Apple device being my very first iPhone 5c which I purchased last year when I got enough of my Samsung S3mini giving me gip. Android was really annoying me and did not find it as stable a platform as everyone had been raving about – several friends of mine had been swearing by their iPhone’s and so I decided to give it a try. I took the plunge and bought my first iPhone, all I can say is it is the very first smart phone I have owned that I have not looked back on, in fact – there is no going back, I am stuck with iPhone.

Now, I am by no means an IT expert and I don’t claim to be, I never will claim to be what I’m not but what I am is an end-user, as are many of us. Recently a friend of mine sold me his MacBook Pro and though this is not the first time I have used OS X, having had my first introduction to using an iMac of one of my best mates in 2007 and then I used this same model  MacBook Pro in 2014. I instantly fell in love with Apple, both with my mates iMac and the other one. But, one thing I could not do is afford one.

As a writer I already knew that Macs were the way to go due to their functionality, their preinstalled publishing software, as well as the software that you can get for writers on Mac that you cannot with Windows, I for years desperately wanted a Mac but I feasibly could not afford one and so I stuck to Windows. Last year I purchased an Asus running Windows 10 of which I had to replace three times until it worked properly, it was brand new that I bought from PC World in the Easter Mega-Deal Sales. At that point I desperately wanted to get back into my writing and so had already started saving for a MacBook Air but then the sales came along and my patience wained and so went to PC World to buy a Windows laptop – if anything it has taught me to be patient.

Towards the end of last year a very close friend dropped me a message to say that he was selling both his iMac and his MacBook Pro and that he’d sell the Pro to me for £200, well – I jumped at the chance. We worked out a payment plan and I knew my friend who I was living with at the time was interested in a laptop, so I offered my laptop to him and due to the favours he’d done me told him to name his price. Expecting it to be quite a low price he offered me a very generous price and so we arranged on when we’d do the transfer. And as such am now a proud MacBook Pro 15″ early 2011 model. All I can say is I love it.

Here I will give my own experience of OS X vs Microsoft Windows (aka-Win-blows). As a first time, long-term end-user of MacBook and OS X I will touch on both the hardware and software benefits for me.

MacBook Pro and OS X Sierra:

  • Its interface is entirely user friendly, the machine itself is designed with the end user in mind and the end user being the artistic types; the writers/authors, musicians, painters.
  • OS X Sierra works perfectly for me, it is easy to find your way around, again, entirely user friendly and not at all complicated. The applications available are great, something that completely outdoes Microsoft Windows.

Here I am ranting about Apple and while I know that there are users out there that absolutely hate Apple products – its understandable that we all have preferences. For me I do not ever see myself going back from iPhone or from Mac, OS X is good for me, it works better for my needs than Microsoft ever did.

I’m a writer, I have plans to further my writing and have an idea for a project that I want to start working on, by way of a screen writing course and whilst I am doing that a project that I want to focus on at the same time. And as many of my fellow writers also use Apple because it works better for us than Windows ever did. It is also easier to crunch away on the keys of a Mac than it ever was on a normal laptop.

So for me, bring it on. There is no going back.

Magnificent Seven (2016)

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With this being my second film review and the fact that I actually had to wrack my brains to try and remember if I had seen the first one with Yul Brynner and I must say I was sceptical and I still don’t really know. But as I have now seen this one I’ll give it my review.

As I said I was sceptical, but I was also looking forward to it; as I have just written my review for Forsaken I was expecting a difference and one of the things that I thought would be a let down was I assumed it was going to be packed with special effects but I was pleasantly surprised when I noted that there were not as many as I had thought. First, it opens as a classic western (a plus for me being a western lover) would start with the intro and the beginning scene was of the townsfolk of Rose Creek holding a meeting in the town church discussing how to get rid of the evil industrialist, Bartholomew Bogue, played by Peter Sarsgaard who has set upon their town during the gold rush, what ensues triggers the story which led to the town hiring bounty hunter Sam Chisolm to rid them of Bogue and his extremely ruthless “army”, what makes this story exciting is it emerges that there is history between Chisolm and Bogue.

Once hired Chisolm goes about hiring his band of six men, starting with Chris Pratt whose character I thoroughly enjoyed throughout the film, not only is he a talented gunfighter (Hollywood style) his character is fairly amusing, a cocky character but not at all a character to dislike, the second best character for me was a tossup between Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) or Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) who plays a Comanche, so keeping in line with his Native American roots.

The cast is a diverse one and does make the film, including Ethan Hawke, who plays a civil war veteran suffering from the after-effects of the war and really brings his diversity to the screen in this role – I cannot say he was amongst my favourite characters but he does play a good part, along with his sidekick, South Korean actor and martial artist Byung-hun Lee (Billy Rocks), but I promise their are no high-kicking antics from this Taekwondo expert, that would have been a put off and even though I enjoy martial arts I do think it would have prompted my rating to be even lower.

I have decided that this needs a second watch and so there might be an edited version of this review but it was enjoyable enough. Denzel Washington is his usual talented self but I will say he seems to have unlimited ammunition and his sixshooter seems to have an unlimited capacity cylinder which was a minor setback for me which is why I have given it the rating I have, it is however Hollywood and so to be expected.

So, when you take off to see this film, enjoy it for I unfortunately do not see this a genre making a comeback to screen. Unless I decide to settle down and do my screenwriting course. It would be great to have some more original stories come back to screen rather than remakes.

Enjoy the film, feel free to write comments up on how you found it.