Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sound Woes

Had a chance to play around with the field mixers that the uni bestows upon the 2nd years, and discovered first-hand just how tough to use it is. Through headphones the quality sounds phenomenal, played back through the camera however the audio sounds louder than a NASA rocket launching off, but played back on the computer the clips were all deadly silent. We have all of tomorrow to sort this issue though so that will be fun.

Tomorrow is actually going to be quite busy in general, though I doubt I'll have to leave the house. We have a random house inspection starting next Monday so I am going to go HAM and blitz the place with the hoover and Mr Muscle. A mix CD is also taking a priority as the drive to Pickering is going to be long. Basically any track with a guitar solo or a juicy hook is going on there; just hope I have enough CD for all the songs.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sausages Part Deux

Two more sausages in the packet on the day before they expire, guess its time to rustle up some breakfast. While I was literally cooking up a delicious pork storm in the kitchen I completely ignored the thick smokey haze I was also brewing which promptly set off not 1, but 2 smoke detectors. At 10am. And flapping a tea-towel did nothing.

After the mornings scuffle I sat down and tried to come up with an initial idea for my dissertation. I found out that it is really hard to think of something like that. While I have numerous interesting points to talk about I'm not sure if some ideas are too vast, or too thin. I'm going into a lecture tomorrow to discuss my first ideas and to hopefully formulate something more concrete.     

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


On the day I was meant to help out on a course-mates show I was very nearly late getting into uni. I had run out of breakfast stuff so I needed to cook some sausages and pop them in a sandwich, which took unexpectedly long. After arriving I was introduced to the special guest who was a 40+ woman who did her own arts and crafts to sell online. When the co-presenter and I first asked her some questions for the show she looked very timid and kept looking at her little hand-made notes. Soon after they were taken from her and she needed to rely on us for prompts. To compensate we made the whole discussion much more colloquial so she would relax into speaking.

During the lunch-break I decided it would be beneficial to sit back with our director, producer and contributer. Three minutes later I realised I was in a room full of carnivore haters and there I was chowing into my sausage sandwich. No regrets though, that lunch was just what I needed to pull me through the long day and nail the final take.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Cars and Unexpected Journeys

Blagged myself through being a guest on a student lead TV show about cars. I know nothing about cars or makes or even watched an episode of Top Gear. Despite all these disadvantages I think I pulled it off alright and convinced most of the people making the show. I spoke mostly about what gives a car a personality which is more or less forgotten about in the long run.

Speaking of cars and long runs, we finalised our observational documentary idea and contributor. We also discovered that he's based in Pickering, which boarders on Scotland.

This weekend is going to be a roadtrip unlike any other. Our driver compared it to his journey to Paris last year and statistically, this journey is even further than that. That small bit of insight was mind-blowing to us. Everyone seems quite psyched for a long journey and what will effectively be a mini holiday for us.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Chairman Mao

Introduced my girlfriend and her housemates to the card game 'Chairman Mao.' Anyone who has ever played this game will know that there is a very, very steep learning curve for new-comers as it is basically a trial by fire experience. Fortunately after about an hour of play everyone broadly understood the rules and contributed neatly into the next rounds. New rules can be added in if a player wins a hand and this is where the game starts getting really interesting and why two games will rarely ever be the same.

You tend to get a little too into each game of Chairman Mao however and before you know it the clock has struck midnight and the evening has crept away like that one spider you told yourself you'd keep an eye on. I spent the rest of today very tired but still willing to help out my peers film a VT. I got to sit behind the wheel of someone's little car and pretend it was my pride and joy in a segment called 'Best First Car'. I'm also appearing as a guest on the show tomorrow. I hope it's not too technical a show since I know basically nothing about cars.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Bad News & Good News

Rolled up to uni today to have our briefing about our observational documentary ideas. These lectures are also hosted by a guest bought in by my university, in this case it was Ken Kirby, a man who has previously worked on Panorama and similar programmes so he has a excellent insight into what makes a good documentary.

The first thing I said to him was 'We have no confirmed contributors since our slaughterhouse people dropped out' His face fell dramatically and I knew I made a terrible first impression.

I then continued to tell him about our plan B which was the taxidermist and he perked up a fair bit after hearing that and provided some good questions we could ask him for the documentary along with some other nifty tips and tricks. Problem was, the taxidermist still hadn't confirmed with us if he was comfortable with being filmed at that point.

I then went outside to make the 'deal or no deal' phonecall and our contributor said he would be very happy to be filmed for educational purposes. Walking back to my peers with the good news was like getting a mental high-five from each and everyone of them. I walked into uni with nothing and now we got the ball rolling dramatically, a huge relief for everybody.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Get on the Blower

Another day of hasty phone calls to strangers for me and nearly all of my location filming group. I might have found the perfect contributor in the form of a taxidermist who will be willing for us to film him stuff a bird. I had a good chat with him on the phone and said he would sleep on the decision, he sounded rather eager though so I think I may have bagged that.

Rebecca and I also celebrated Chinese New Year with a stir-fry in a joint effort to get me eating a few more vegetables. While I have not been eating especially unhealthily I have been neglecting vegetables with most of my meals, fruits on the other hand, you can't get me away from them.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bechdel Fail

Went into a lecture about feminism in Hollywood action films this morning. A lot of people I knew wanted to skip the lecture entirely, but me being a typical goodie-two-shoes I went along anyway because the topic did interest me somewhat. One hour later and I almost wished I stayed in bed as the lecturer wasn't from our course and spoke mostly about the Bechdel test (which is awesome) but then discussed why its flawed and why its hopeless to talk about it in a dissertation. Bit of a mixed message I was getting there.

We are also getting a bit worried about our slaughterhouse documentary idea since we haven't had a concrete reply from our main contributors so I got on the phone and called up everywhere I could find. One farm very ominously said they have a zero filming policy within their abattoir while others seemed a bit more optimistic but still nothing final. Fingers crossed some of them get back to me tomorrow.

Resting on my lone victory at gaming society against the smash bros champ I got a rather odd message from our Belgium friends which is apparently a wedding invitation. Mark and I have both received an invite and I am eagerly awaiting the final dates to see if I'm free during those times.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Happy Pancake Day 2015

Celebrated Pancake Day in style with my girlfriend today by experimenting with US and UK style of pancakes. I told my brother our initial idea of wrapping one of the fluffy US pancakes in a crepe, he responded with his classic line 'That sounds awful.' But we went ahead and did it anyway! Wrapping up two kinds of pancakes actually gave each mouthful a different texture, almost like a pancake sandwich, it's certainly not for everyone but it was hella fun giving it a go. I love expermenting with food!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Coffee Slosh

After washing and using the same duvet cover for a little while now I changed up my design to give my room a new look a week ago. I went to go play a bit more Zelda this morning with a cup of coffee and just sloshed it all over the new(ish) duvet. It went immediately in the wash and now I am groaning at the though of having to put them back onto my bed. Doing a double duvet by yourself is just a bit naff.

Got a chance to head back into the TV studio to help present another groups show. I'm becoming a fast favouite among my coursemates as someone who can act well on camera and doing the odd job like that gets me in their good books. No hedgehogs this time around though...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Post Valentines Lollop

I just had the lazy day I've been needing over the past week. Spent the vast majority of it with Rebecca drinking coffee and playing games. I reality I probably should have gone food shopping at some point today as I was living off breakfast cereal and chicken cooking in soy sauce (that just about constitutes as a stir fry) Also got around to trying out my Valentines Day present a little more. Rebecca saw that I really like my runners belt and got me an attachable first aid kit to make me even more robust, can't wait to show it off to my peers!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Valentines 2015

After what feels like a simultaneously lengthy and all-too short week I have returned from another Camden Wildseed shoot. Once again I was a runner on the set but I was bumped up ever so slightly to the 'props and wardrobe' department so I actually had another runner under me. While the shoot was manic and stressful I personally felt like I learnt a fair bit in terms of how a film set should be managed.

One of the coolest things about the shoot besides hanging out with Mark an the Wildseed crew was working alongside Rob Saunders, the sound assistant for In Bruges (one of my all time favourite films.) We got chatting over a pint and he told me a lot of nifty bits of info about the production of that film along with some general tips about the industry.

Returning home on the the coach today made me realise just how exhausted my body really was. Now that I've finally had a chance to just stop working all the adrenaline has gone from my being. At least now I have a chance to recuperate at home and celebrate a very chill Valentines Day. I booked a table for my girlfriend and myself at a small Italian restaurant. Best part of the meal was when they forgot to put the tiramisu on the bill! Due to the fact we got a free pudding I can safely say this has been the best Valentines Day ever.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Good Coffee Rush

After a big old celebration for my girlfriend's birthday I found myself somewhat unprepared to travel back to Newbury this morning. I was shattered when I woke up and I hadn't packed or done anything like that so it was a bit of a mad rush to get out the door to catch my coach. Walking down I then remembered that Lidl do that really good and cheap ground coffee I like and the chances of there being good coffee on this weeks film shoot without my input was slim to none. A quick stop into Lidl later I had enough to caffeinate a small army.

Got back into Newbury safe and sound and I'm now ready to hit the ground running first thing tomorrow morning. Just a heads up though, my filming days end quite late at night and I'll probably get to bed even later so I probably won't get much of an opportunity to post until Valentine's day - I'll update everyone when I return!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Runner Belt

What's this? Almost looks like that belt/pouch combo I said I would show off. Looks pretty profesh if I do say so myself. But then again it would be robust if Mark recommended all the parts, he himself rocks a near-identical load-out to myself.

But don't you just want to have a cheeky look inside? Lucky for you, I took a few more pictures.

This right here, is Pandora's box

Nothing in the main pouch section yet, I keep that space free for situational needs and small cargo, perfect size for a half dozen English muffins or a baby fox. Side pouches are maxed out for ultimate versatility during any running job, here's a few things I carry along with me:

Buncha Sharpies along with other writing stuff. Amongst graphic designers and film crews Sharpies are almost treated like gold dust or fishing trophies, everyone respects you when you own one (or four) and everyone will want to borrow them. A must for filming assistants.

Bright old light. Mark still swears by those old fashioned bulb torches which are about as bright as a directional Halloween pumpkin, I prefer any model with LED lights as everyone knows, LED's are bad-ass. Mag-light is the 'go-to' brand for torches but this here is a cheaper, but equally robust bit of kit.

The amount of uses you can get from a multi-tool is incredible and they are even more contested than sharpies on a film set. You don't just remember the name of someone with a multi-tool on their person, you make friends with them, let them meet your parents and offer to watch Schindler's List alone with them. Then, you might have a chance of borrowing one of these. Every time I had to borrow it off Andy Mosse, senior producer for Wildseed, he would look me in the eye and say 'this comes back in my hand when you're done.' By god, I handled that thing like it was made of moon glass. so now I feel that it's just easier to buy one of these babies.

This is certainly the one bit of gear that really separates the hardcore and the casual runners. Even Mark doesn't have one of these: A clip-on coffee spoon. Anyone who argues the validity of this item on a runner's belt clearly hasn't had a coffee anymore interesting than a doorstop, so I aim to educate.

Along with my pouch and gizmos there I also invested in some serious gaffer tape, this picture doen' do the item justice.

My hands have never looked so small while holding something. This roll of gaffer is about the size of the steering wheel on one of those Fisher Price cars that every family but ours seemed to have. It's powerful tape to boot, could probably wax a gorilla with this stuff.

I also have a neat little hook to carry it on my belt with, that way I will never be without my precious gaffer tape. It is worth mentioning that the sheer size and weight of this roll is actually rather uncomfortable to have banging on your leg like a jack russell so I'll be using a more manageable roll next week.

Super pumped to put all this kit into action next week and generally impress a few peeps on my uni course during location filming. Fully decked out I have more functions than a Swiss army knife, especially since I've never seen one make a cuppa coffee for someone.

Theo : 1
Swiss manufacturers of pointy things : 0  

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Noisy Van

Van humming outside my window at 7am. Feeling like butt since my cold is still a problem. Curtains are drawn and have to sit up to see why van is humming. Nothing I can do but groan and bite the bullet - after all, I was expecting mail so the van could have my package. Couldn't see a van. Saw something better. Something white, something pure, something I thought Bournemouth had lost. Fresh snow.

Granted it was barely a few centimeters of the stuff but I was still impressed. Couldn't quite bring myself to go and make a snowman though, he probably would have turned out quite grey if I tried.

The mail did arrive later on though, a courier came along with all the film running gear I ordered in preparation for the shoot I'm doing with Wild seed next week. Since the work was paid I thought I could get some gear I've wanted for a while in advance. The last bit is arriving tomorrow so I'll do a full breakdown of why I'll be top-dog then.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Life Affirming Tidy

Even though my cold has hit its pinnacle, I would class today as a good one. Finished up Grim Fandango Remastered, the ending is always better than I remember so that put me in high spirits and a life affirming mood - when I get like that I finally have the motivation to tidy my room. It was also a good excuse to go hunting for my keys, I temporarily misplaced them the other day and naturally I find them after 30 minutes of scavenging in my jacket pocket. Glad I found them, but I did feel like a plonker.

Midnight Monopoly

Woke up this morning with two things on my mind: The full English breakfast I was about to cook for Rebecca and myself and the stoning cold I had developed. Having a cold is the best excuse for stuffing my face though so I ran with that and just whipped up eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, toast and beans - gorging myself in a vain effort to satisfy my hunger.

It was also declared to be 'games night' at my girlfriends house so we stayed up playing Cluedo which I lost at pretty quickly. It got to about half 11 and someone said that we should play Monopoly, I felt my health deteriorating each time we passed go so I went for some really risky moves early on to either make me win quick or lose suddenly so I could get some bed-rest. I lost, but it didn't come quickly.