Saturday, 31 May 2014

Happy Birthday Jenny 2014

Kid on Christmas syndrome. Woke up at 9am this morning with all the intention of having a lie-in, but my body just wouldn't fall back into the slumber zone. Mario Kart was coming. Royal Mail had it in the grasp and I knew that it was coming my way. Forced myself up in anticipation for Mr Mailman, I waited a fair old while until he eventually turned up with my parcel and the rest of the day was history. Power sliding up walls and hitting Mark with green shells hasn't felt this good since 2008. Races were interlaced with episodes of Breaking Bad and cups of coffee, yes it was a lazy day but it feels like I earned this one after all the work I've done at uni recently.

Speaking of uni, I got my essay grade back this morning: 68% which equates to a very high 2:1! Super pleased with that result - celebrations will probably be in order, and that exactly what we will be doing tomorrow and Sunday as we party with Jenny Jones on her belated Birthday!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Jamie and the Buffalo

Just attended Jamie's official Buffalo Bar gig and he absolutely smashed it. Once again, musical fusion was achieved between him, Ed that Wagamama manager on a full blow drum kit (which sounds awesome) and Tom, a Buffalo regular with some mad guitar skills. I think we are just about to start playing the Raven DVD game shortly before calling it a night, then tomorrow I will go in to get my essay results and the new Mario Kart. Life is very good at the moment!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Maybugs are the worst

Maybugs man. Went up to my room to brush my teeth and get ready for bed, looking at myself in the mirror while I brush just to make sure I'm getting to all those hard to reach places when suddenly a giant maybug swoops around my back. It goes around crashing into my bed, desk and bookshelf making a hell of a ruckus as it goes - no way I can sleep in this room while he's battling it out with my furniture. Jamie is called for assistance and we arm ourselves with plastic cups as we proceed to ransack my bedroom trying to catch the bugger. I should also mention that it was about 2am so while we were very animated while tracking the fly we also had to do it as quietly as possible. Catching it was a sweet victory, took him outside and tried to release him back unto the wild. Instead I ejected him from the cup where he forgot how to use his wings and make a very satisfying and meaty 'plop' noise when hitting the pavement. That was certainly enough excitement for one night - after one final sweep of the room for additional creepy crawlies, airborne and landlocked, I turned in feeling like a champion.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Bros are back in Bournemouth

Louis and Chris rocked up down to spend a day with us bright and early this morning. Started off with a bit of the amazingly fun Towerfall before moving on towards a capture the flag nerf war. Chris and Mark vs Louis and me in a best of 5 game mode, despite several shots that came within hair distance of my eyes our biggest weakness was over-confidence. Mark's team stormed us in the final round when we got a bit cocky. The games certainly tired us out though, I'm still partially recovering from my night in London so I'm hitting the hay now.   

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel

Not only did I finally twig how to use the London Underground properly yesterday, but I also saw Neutral Milk Hotel, the band responsible for my all time favourite album. Louis and I trekked down into London especially to see these guys and it was phenomenal when Jeff Magnum appeared, in the flesh, to perform his eight minute masterpiece Oh Comely. It just got better and better as the night continued as accordions, trumpets, tubas and even a singing saw were being performed on stage as the members humbly bounced around. I think my goosebumps got goosebumps when I heard the guitar riff for Naomi. Louis just kinda looked at me every now and then as if to say 'We did it bro...' It was surreal to finally see the band that made all this wonderful music, especially after they faded into obscurity 12 years ago. Above everything though, it was humanizing to know that the music was made by palpable human beings. I know that sounds really strange, but when you listen to an album like Aeroplane it is often difficult to imagine the people behind the lyrics and arrangement. You just see an ephemeral, musical blur.

Last night felt like a dream as well as a wake-up call to reality - a reminder that music (as well as every art form) is made for people, by people.     

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bad Influence

Jamie and I frequently make each other coffee, we often call ourselves 'The Joe Bros'. It's always our Nerf War team name and we certainly do enjoy a good cuppa brew together. Today though, Jamie pulled no punches with this randomly measured cup of iced coffee. There was no attempt to monitor how many scoops of instant coffee he put in, this resulted in the second strongest cup of coffee I have ever had. It didn't taste great but at least the caffeine and sugar didn't hit me.

Or so I thought. About four hours after consuming the coffee concoction my brain went into a mad frenzy. Further fueled by paranoia over tomorrow's film shoot I just lost my mind and started dancing, singing and bouncing around the place. I couldn't sit still, even if I had to I found myself rocking and my hands slightly trembling. I became increasingly irrational with my thought processes which ranged from the super happy to ultra nihilistic. I was quite seriously considering lying down for a long period of time until it all blew over. Fortunately it ended as abruptly as it started. Let it be known that I am a man who can typically handle my coffee, but James Creed is a very bad influence on me.   

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Fly

Breaking Bad was once again at the forefront of my mind across the day. Mark and I started out by watching a pair of really good episodes together and I am currently deep in conversation about the shows ending with someone on Facebook. All those memories when I first saw the ending came flooding back, gotta keep them to myself though so I don't spoil it for Mark.

After all the crime and crystal cooking shenanigans we turned to David Cronenburg's 'The Fly.' It has been a long time coming, but Mark and I unanimously decided that it was an excellent film which we viscerally enjoyed. It starts off with a genuinely compelling science story - Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) creates a teleportation device to overcome his inability to travel without getting motion sickness. However, it is unsuitable for living organisms to pass through at the get go, but that won't stop the ever-persistent Brundle. After some grotesque failures (an inside-out baboon being the most obvious blunder), all the kinks are ironed out and the machine is fit for human teleportation. But something goes horribly wrong with the experiment and subsequently Brundle is slowing changing into a housefly.

All the special effects were wretch-inducing in all the right ways. While down-right revolting at time, the violence holds a lot of purpose. We see Brundle undergoing the transformation as he sees it. It is meant to be disgusting and disturbing, it terrifies both the audience and also the characters, not just on a base level, but on a human level since the characters and their reactions are so well realised. It felt like more than just a run-of-the-mill horror film as a result. We discussed it in detail shortly after and compared it very closely to 'The Thing' another great, great 80's horror/sci-fi. If you liked that then you will certainly find something to love in 'The Fly.'  


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Big Game = Big Appetite

Many an ice-cream were enjoyed as I reunited with the 48 hour animation bunch in a little debriefing/meet-up session. I ended up eating two different ice-creams while I was there. I started off with a diddy scoop of coffee, after I ate that my taste for java ice-cream became insatiable, a 'Coffee Culture' sundae was purchased immediately thereafter. As I rattled my long-handled spoon deep into the tall dessert glass a wave of sickly regret hit me, I had just eaten an awful lot of pudding now after having eating a massive dinner (two fajitas and a burger). I believe I just about hit my limit of eating for one day.

That said, I did have it coming after working up a massive appetite while playing the excellent 'Towerfall Ascension.' Effectively a streamlined and arcadey version of Smash Bros, this game knows how to supply the fun. Playing it with Mark and Jamie, sat on sofas with a beer is just the way it was intended to be played. A match only lasts about 30 seconds and will probably cause you to develop tourettes since you will be cursing the name of your foes at least 18 times per round. Had to invent some new swear words just for this game - that's the sign of an great multiplayer game. Amidst all the fun though, I did admittedly get very distracted from the prospect of nourishing myself, imagine that as the game's review tagline:

"The game that was so good that I almost forgot to eat lunch." Theo Durrant (2014) 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Social Media Rep

Had my first day as Wildseed's temporary social media guy over the course of today. Catherine, the woman who normal does the job, is away on holiday but was very impressed with how I handled Wildseed's Twitter account during the Sci-fi London screening. So every now and then I try to post something topical and insightful to their audience who are typically people just like me.

Unfortunately, people like me tend to be clumsy. I broke the first ever plate while living in Bournemouth although on reflection its amazing how we had never broken anything before that! I also managed to put my signature pair of earphones through the wash, feels like I've lost a part of myself. They were often my best walking buddy, a vessel for the many albums which I've listened and loved. But now it's time to say goodbye to them and the £6 I used to buy a new pair.  

Happy Birthday Mark! 20 Today!

Gave Mark his Birthday present a short while before he headed back to Newbury today, I got him this Wes Anderson collection book. When I ordered it I expected this magazine type thing but what I got was literally a bible for all things Wes - I think he was chuffed with it so mission accomplished! Headed back into uni once more to check in on the 48 hour animation team who were finishing the rendering of the final few files, exciting times. A few hours later we attended the screenings and prize giving of all the other films and wow, some of them were excellent. We walked away with 'Biggest achievement in 48 hours' prize which is more than fair for an animation. The film that won best film was more than deserved though and I made some new friends from the animation course in the process. In fact there's talk of us teaming up in the not-so-distant future to make another animation!

I'll post our short film up when it's been tweaked into a very pretty final version since we lost a few files in the last few moments before our deadline so keep an eye out for that! Jamie and myself went out again to the beach for a victory BBQ and chill-out session which was much deserved. Now I just need to spend the next few hours getting all the sand out between my toes.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Animation in 48 Hours

Spent a good portion of yesterday with a group of Bournemouth University animation students and holy hell are these people talented. I got involved in a 48 hour film-making competition where I was asked to do some voice acting. I ended up helping develop the initial idea and scripting which was a lot of fun. The animators have an undying enthusiasm and are just outrageously creative, we came up with such a solid and unique story and there is a remarkably positive energy when they all get together. I'm just about to head back to them with Jamie so he can write them up some speedy music, can't wait to see the final product.   

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Trench Shoot Done and Dusted

Filming in the trench was a reminder of why I just love doing what I do.

Arriving on the trenches was a surreal and brilliant experience. I have always personally had a great interest in The Great War and to step into a historically accurate dug-out was just mind-blowingly cool. After we got our actors into wardrobe and make-up it almost became uncanny. Just seeing all our pre-production work come to life was hugely rewarding.

One of the days highlights came while I was holding a pillowcase full of dirt. We were filming our first scene where our characters were interrupted by a distant shelling, I recommended a little filming tip I learnt while making 'Hungerford' which was to sling some gravel into a sheet and chuck it over our actors after the supposed boom goes off. We had our trench supervisor rig up some pyrotechnics and we were good to go. Me and another production assistant stood high above the scene with our little pillowcase waiting for our que. We were waiting for a long old time though as several things caused the shot to muck up and reset. When the explosion went off for real though, everybody had a heart attack since we forgot it was happening. Our dirt cloud just went everywhere as a result - we panicked upon hearing what might as well been the end of days.   

During a break in the filming I inadvertently observed the whole process from a different pair of eyes. Instead of seeing the set and characters I saw the passionate crew behind the film-making process. I had an overwhelming sense that I was amongst some exceptionally talented people who were all performing their roles to the best of their abilities to make something special.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Pre-war Filming

All the camera equipment for our war film arrived bright and early this morning. After a month of fretting about it my fears were put to rest. Everything was in perfect working order and in lovely little bags and boxes, perfect for transport. Just packed up all my bags with everything I will possibly need for tomorrows shoot, feels like I am actually going off to live in a trench now. 5am start here I come.


My hunger met a breaking point today. Didn't help that we have been putting off the weekly shop for quite a long time, this mean that there was literally a single snapped strand of spaghetti, an open tin of 3 day old chopped tomatoes and a smidgen of cheese remaining. Rather than making the world's most depressing bolognese, we bit the bullet and headed to Lidl. Walked out with a huge bottle of grapefruit shower gel that I couldn't wait to use once I got home. There was so much I didn't feel guilty about using an absolute load of it either, I just squeezed the bottle until a small anthill of fragrance amounted in my palm.

"Pomplamoose" Though I after emerging from the shower smelling like a citrus vineyard.  

Monday, 12 May 2014

Production Promotion

My role got promoted in the war film during tonight's meeting. Our producer was going through all the roles in the film, said my name and pause. 'You're not really a production manager Theo... You're more of a co-producer.' I'll take that! Guess I impressed him with all my paperwork and spreadsheets. I'm apparently going to call up the guy who was the military adviser on Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' tomorrow afternoon, I greatly anticipate that.

I also got contacted by another course mate who needed a favour. One of the best favours I have ever been asked: He wanted me to do some voice recording for his animation. Today seems to be going very well for me. May has been a very busy month so far but I feel really pumped and pro-active about everything. Once everything is done at the end of the month, our brewed beer should be complete and Mario Kart 8 will be released!    


Double Rainbow

Ended up feeling mildly motivated today to get cracking with some production paperwork that really needed doing. Filled out a risk assessment and organised some timings, all good stuff basically. In fact I was so busy that my eating pattern seriously suffered. Instead of eating round meals today I just kinda snacked on all the left over nibbles from last nights Eurovision party. I have only just figured out why I am so thirsty 6 hours after eating a whole bag of pretzels. Got called in later to visit the uni halls for a production meeting, figures I went out walking during one of the showers we have been getting in between glorious sunshine. I wasn't too miffed though, the rain:sun ratio was so perfect I saw a double rainbow, whole arch as well. Few can truly say they have cherished a moment as beautiful as that.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Eurovision 2014

Yesterday = a good evening. Saw a second screening of the film 'Hungerford,' met Adam Brown, who played Ori the dwarf in 'The Hobbit,' and Mark and I bought a kebab the size of a large envelope.

Today = just as good. Tidied up the house good and proper in anticipation of the Eurovision party I would be hosting Jamie and I did the dishes, vacuuming and mopping along with buying booze and nibbles for everyone. In the end however, only a handful of guests turned up, putting the max number of peeps to 6. It was quite nice having a small crowd though, kept everything very nice and simple and we could have witty banter in between a lot of the acts. Eurovision itself was really impressive this year, Denmark put on a good show with a wonderful stage. Enough good things cannot also be said about the outcome with Austria being victorious. In particular the brief acceptance speech by Conchita.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Wrong Way

Snuck into a comedy writing course at uni yesterday, really glad I did. Managed to secure a good little story for a comedy short through the awesome process that is team brainstorming. I was shining socially very brightly yesterday and walked home with a spring in my step. Told Jamie about my really good day and he smiled and nodded, he then said: 'You've got your jumper on backwards.'

The whole day and I didn't even notice. Think I got away with looking like a total muppet though.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Smashed this essay

About one week ago this summed me up when I first started writing my essay:

Pushed right on through that though, I'm sitting here feeling very smug and relieved that it's all over now. Just need to make the hand-in date by not over sleeping. This will be easier said than done however since it will also be my first day back at uni in a very long time.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Nerf War Revalations

We just took nerf wars to the next level with three simple words: Capture the Flag. 2v2 teams competing to push through our house to pick up Napoleon and my own cushion armed with foam guns. Man, it was intense. I can't remember the last time I sweated as much as tonight, I just had a remarkable amount of adrenaline going through my veins. Channeled that energy back into my late night essay writing session. Very nearly done with it all now, decided to also tackle the short reflective piece we needed to do to informally describe our experience on writing the essay. Sunk my teeth unusually deep into it actually, actually made it funny in places too while providing, what I deem to be, constructive feedback. I hope it'll make a good impression.

Monday, 5 May 2014

All night ice-cream

Just arrived home after an all nighter in terms of essay writing. Headed out with the director of the war film to a brand new ice-cream shop in Bournemouth. We took it for a test spin and found out that it was absolutely delicious, despite the 30 minute queing time. We then headed back to the uni to work on our essays, it's currently 3:20am and I got a lot done, although I am now beginning to realize that it is 3:20am. Man, I should go to bed.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Uni til morning

Headed into uni late this evening to work on my essay. Met up with a course-mate who was going through the same woes as me when it came to writing the damn thing, so we helped eachother out and had a few laughs in the meantime. Ended up staying until 1:30am at uni which was really surreal. Mentally preparing myself to train it back to Newbury earlyish tomorrow morning to get to the London premiere, really pumped about going to Sci-Fi London.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Good Food and Great Opportunities

My long wait is over. Insurance for the camera hire came through A-OK and everything has now been 100% booked. Rejoice! Shortly afterwards I got an email from Wildseed asking me if I could help out a little bit during the 'Hungerford' premiere on Saturday at Sci-Fi London. Naturally I said yes. In between watching the final film I will be handing out people's tickets, picking up pizzas, serving drinks and, get this, tweeting via the official Wildseed Twitter account!

Talk about exciting! It was all systems go in the house between Mark and I this evening too as we prepared for dinner. We decided to really go to town on tonight's food, I knew it was going to be special when Mark looked me in the eye and said 'Can you make a salad?' This shocked me for two reasons. Firstly, we never make salads with our meals. Secondly, Mark is the second pickiest eater I know, granted he's getting better but when I first knew him he avoided his greens like he would a Big Issue peddler.

Challenge accepted though. Spent the next half-hour pondering various websites for the perfect salad to go with our honey and soy glazed salmon fillet. I settled on making my own Wagamama style one. A trip to Lidl got me some red onions, spring onions, chilli peppers, lettuce and mozzarella. Mark took the meal up one extra notch by molding the rice with ramekins before 'sand-castling' them onto our plates. The end result look something a-likea-dis:

Plus Lidl had Radler - Eastern Europe Represent!

 Again, my phone quality fails to capture the shimmering beauty of this meal. If anyone was to ask about the secret ingredient, Mark and myself would both, unironically tell it that it was love.