Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Eeklo Kids

Supported the Twin Town movement in Newbury again by helping Mum show a handful of Belgian school children around the many sites of our town. You got the library, the park, the town hall and the high-street. Basically 20 minutes stretched out into an hour but they were a good bunch and were asking a lot of friendly questions about the different points we stopped at. Best part was stopping by my old nursery school, Mum told them I used to go there when I was only a little munter and they all went 'aww'.

Turning into the town hall we were all treated to a big meal/buffet thing which was deliciously over-catered. As a result, I left with as much food as I could carry, it would have gone to waste otherwise was the rationale so I packed my bags full with gammon and cake! Tomorrow's lunch is going to be a doozey. 

Farewell Club Nintendo

Got my hands on a very affordable copy of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker and I am loving it so far. The little guy is indeed very cute and his world feels equally adorable. It is a wee bit on the easy side at the moment, but actually playing the game and uncovering any additional secrets is a lot of fun.

Speaking of Nintendo, today I spiritually waved off a very dear service to my heart. Since 2002 Nintendo had a really nice website dedicated as a hub for their content called Club Nintendo. One of the coolest things about it was the ability to trade in your 'stars' in order to get free stuff. You get stars by purchasing games and tucked away along-side the manual for each boxed game is a little red scratch-card with a code on it. It was always such a treat to see one of them hidden along with your game, to this day I smile whenever I see one left unused in it's case. I realised I had a large back-log of these things so I signed them all up online since they announced that the service would be closing as of March 31st.

The things you can trade in for your stars always looked really nice, typically you could get downloadable games or even physical trinkets like a Mario hat or a nice trophy of the classic characters. The stuff was always a tad on the expensive side, but after a long haul of point accumulation I netted about 5000 stars today. Looking on the site now, the bonuses were a bit sparse, clearly they were low on stock since people were buying it all out, but I got my hands on two pouches for a DS, one for me, and maybe one for Louis.

Little bit sad to see the service go, but Nintendo are migrating and adapting it for something else soon which will hopefully be just as neat and rewarding for the younger generation.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Back to a Roast

Miniature heart attack occurred when I woke up this morning at 11am. I hate the clocks going forwards, it just makes me feel very lazy in the morning and that sets up the day to be a bit naff. That said, it was worth getting up if only for the fact I actually got to eat a roast dinner after a meat and gravy hiatus for 3 months. Lordy, it tasted good to be home again.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Lion

Finished up the political filming gig this afternoon after running the gambit for things to do. We had a short interview, an outside vox-pop and some door to door filming as well. Truly I couldn't have asked for a better job to try out the microphone and put it through its paces.

Very nearly secured a crew nickname too. Since we had someone called Tom along with us the director found it difficult to remember who was called what since we both begun with 'T'. As a result I was then dubbed 'Leo' for a brie moment before someone suggest that I should be called 'The Lion' since I was the sound guy. I had no problems with that nickname and I embraced it whole-heartedly for about 2 hours before the filming wrapped.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Sound Doubts

Took up my first proper sound gig today, swung my boom-pole into a local political meeting for an rough documentary. I even learned a bit more about my Tascam when I got the chance to plug myself into a sound desk which was insanely helpful. I did have a little panic attack while using it though as I hadn't really done a proper test record to see if it was actually good or not, fortunately it worked out beautifully. I did get into some positioning issues for the cameraman, the prompt to record was basically non-existent and put me in a horrid spot for the camera, ended up crawling under a table on stage to get to a better location while the panelists begun their debates. Tad embarrassing but well worth the effort.

Peer Reviews

One of the things I really have missed in recent memory is being able to watch over other peoples films. I always enjoy seeing how my peers operate and where they take subtle inspirations from. I couldn't have been happier to attend a seminar dedicated to showing off each-others observational documentaries and get some feedback on our stuff. The film about our taxidermist went down really well and was only possibly upstaged by another group who filmed a pet crematorium in action - literally their first shot is of a dead dog being incinerated and I was hooked from there.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

'Ooh, That's Good Quality'

Remarkably, I found myself with enough time to do a bit of washing up before heading into uni for my assignment hand-in. Posting my work through their little mailbox felt oh-so gratifying, marching home I knew that I could do whatever I liked for the rest of the day, so I treated myself to a bit of Mario and other games before getting a chance to test my sound gear with Rebecca. It was the first instance I've had to properly try out the new kit I bought, I put her outside in a moderately windy area and asked her some questions for the sake a recording dialogue. The sound was astonishingly good.

The whole act almost reminded me of a time after my Dad bought a new mic just to record himself strumming on the guitar and musing about the sound quality. This is something my brother and I make fun of to this day.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Proposal Sorted

Put on my slightly too small black jeans as a part of my costume for a groups childrens show about space and the cosmos. My co-host and I had a really good time just having a lot of banter fueled by the terrible puns in the script. Needless to say, all our half baked and hilarious ideas for script alterations were rejected by many, but they will live on in our hearts.

In other news, my dissertation proposal is finally all finished. This means the ban on games and fun has been lifted and my Easter break has officially begun warming up.

Monday, 23 March 2015


Helped out on a coursemates show about Netflix today. Since I was considered a resident expert on the service I was called in to voice my opinion about it. Hit a bit of a brick wall when they started asking about House of Cards and Better Call Saul since I haven't seen enough of either show to comment on them it was quite difficult to talk about them. I reckon we muddled through it though.

In the lead up to my next essay hand-in I have banned myself from video games and films until its all sorted. I cracked a lot more out today but still have a bit more to work on. Just like every essay ever, I just want it to be over now but that just isn't happening quickly.

Scripting Sunday

The park was where I was headed this morning for a bit of filming. We got cracking on a VT for another groups project where I once again donned the role of 'DI Durrant'. It was my job to look important and detective like which is something I think I nail on a daily basis anyway, but it was just life affirming to get it on camera.

I joke, I probably looked like a muppet, but they were pleased with it.

Since it was another remarkably nice day Rebecca invited me to go to the pub with her housemates for an afternoon pint in a beer garden. I will never, ever say no to an invite that inviting. So we soaked up the sun while enjoying a beer just as god intended, next to a bunch of smoking hipsters; truly I felt like a free man.

Coming back a little tipsy from the tipple I dived right into writing a draft script for our uni drama. A few hours later and I surprised myself by finishing the entire thing and actually being somewhat pleased with it. Also a big fan of 'Celtx' now. It is literally zero pennies and does all the script formatting for you. What has humanity ever done to deserve something so nice? Whatever it was, I'm glad it exists.  

Saturday, 21 March 2015


My girlfriend and I treated ourselves to a full English breakfast this morning. The F.E.B is quickly becoming a recurring morning meal for me since this is my second one this week, I have no problem with that however because I am always full when I'm done. The nice thing about cooking it yourself is that you can dictate your own portion size, I personally had 4 sausages along with 3 bits of bacon plus extras - you just don't get meals that big when you eat out.

We also went on a quest for squash! At home I mostly drink water since it's basically free (excluding bills yada yada) and since i only really buy juice for myself as the occasional treat I though squash could breach this gap. I really had a hankering for some grapefruit flavoured stuff since that is my favourite fruit hands down. Sadly, everywhere we looked just didn't have any so I went home empty handed to drink my water flavoured water.  

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Dissertation Proposal

Psyching yourself up to do something you know is going to be naff is always a massive bummer for me, mostly because I am no good at it. Don't get me wrong, I am decent at motivating myself when I have a real drive or passion for something, but for something like doing homework I just have minimal energy for it. Unless I can make it fun that is. Boy I remember making some of my A-level essays as fun as I could and that helped me power through them and ultimately really enjoy what I was doing. Life lesson for myself is to find someway to enjoy even the most tedious of tasks.

Sadly, this rule doesn't apply to dissertation proposals. It ranks with some of the absolute driest, most clinical pieces of writing I've ever done and there is very little I can do to help that since it requires a writing style that provides basically no room for creativity.  I have literally blagged 142 words out of 'I will visit the library.' Maybe that can be considered fun or even an accomplishment for some, but for me it just makes me feel sorry for everyone else who has to write these things.

I mentioned earlier that working up the motivation to do things like this is tricky, it gets even worse though as I am such a heavy procrastinator in this regard that it actually depresses me when 4 hours after I promised myself I would start writing, I am still doing something else. And not even something important like watching a film or bettering myself, I can't commit to anything knowing that I should be writing something. But I fritter the time away on the internet searching for funny videos and refreshing pages in vain of new content. I then get in a slump about how I haven't done any work in that time and also how I could have actually procrastinated better by doing something worthwhile. In other words I am gutted about the quality of my time wasting, crazy as it sounds.

Perhaps I need to work on how I set my personal deadlines to myself. Maybe use Custard Creams as a motivator.

Custard Creams solve everything.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sounds like Spring

Spring has officially hit Bournemouth on this gloriously sunny day. Not only was the weather good but a part of a birds eggshell also almost hit me leaving uni today, as if we needed further conformation that the season has indeed changed.

What hasn't changed is our boring Wednesday lectures and holy cow, are these things dull. They have all been aimed at how to collect and record data if your are doing a social sciences dissertation which involves conduction surveys. I would argue that under half of the people in the room are doing that kind of dissertation however so the info provided was teetering on useless for many. Looking around me I noticed that I was within the 5% of people actually trying to pay attention. On my right someone was playing Grand Theft Auto on his phone and the girls to my left were settling into a game of hangman. I don't blame them. Heck I should have joined in! I'm alright at hangman.

Returning home was like Christmas in March though as, at long last, my sound gear arrived. Boom pole was first, chunky thing which can extend to three meters. It then dawned on me that the cables I bought may have be a bit too short if I needed to extend it fully. Imagine my surprise when they bundled a complimentary 6 meter XLR cable! I was over the moon. I got plenty of other nice little bits I wasn't expecting either, like a nifty pouch for the mic and a sticker I could wear to say how much I love that brand of microphones. Listening back to the quality is an absolute dream as well, very clear and it's just rewarding to know that you've captured some good audio.  

Also just got off the phone with a director for a local political campaign, I'd previously agreed to do sound for their video back in Newbury for a two day shoot. Consider that as my first free-lance job in sound!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

DI Durrant

Got to be a detective inspector on yet another children's TV show for my uni peers. I don't really know why I'm in such high demand for work in presenting, I ain't that confident when it comes to being on camera but I guess I'm just available? Regardless I was collective evidence and making periscopes in order to catch a criminal so it was all pretty fun stuff.

A small package was waiting for me back at home, inside was my new wireless speaker: 'The Jam Jar' (y'see, it's a jar that carries your music or 'jams'. I thought it was clever). It definitely made the washing up a bit more manageable since I didn't have to faff about with headphones or listen to my phones naff speakers. Feels like a good gadget for a house party too since it's quite loud! 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Spoons Breakfast

I spent my morning saying farewell to Jamie over a really pukka Wetherspoons breakfast. Granted, it always has the worst connotations for morning visitors, Jamie and I were not there to get boozed though but rather to get fed. Full English with zero compromises, and about 1400 calories. Set me up though for presenting the space themed kids show which unfortunately included a fair number of star jumps which I was not feeling knowing the amount of bacon and hash browns I'd just eaten.

Small World

Chilling day with my home boy Jamie Creed. Went out to South Coast Roast, our local favourite coffee place in Bournemouth before heading over to Jamie's former workplace: Wagamama. It was nice to hang out with him again around what was once our neck of England, returning to our stomping ground felt really natural. Getting pumped for again starring in a kids TV show for my uni peers. This time I'm headed into outer space to teach children about the wonders of space and our solar system.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Stamp Left or Right?

Sent off my Mother's Day letter yesterday which I was pleased to hear arrived this morning. It dawned on me while writing it up, I have never addressed a letter before. I even had to Google which side of the envelope the stamp needs to go on. Then after I put it in the postbox I saw that I may have filled the address line in poorly and most likely in the wrong spot. Hopefully the post sorters thought a cute 4 year old did it rather than a big old student. Posting and writing letters. Day of firsts I guess.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Body in Shambles

Met up with some of the old studio filming gang for a really nice catch-up. We don't get many opportunities to really socialise with one another outside of house parties it seems but we all took a bit of time out of our day to just hang out. What wiped the smile off my face however was the jog I did later on. I had one of those exercise sessions where it just started off feeling bad and just got worse. My entire lower body is just writhing in agony now, along with my eye-lids which feel heavy from clubbing with my girlfriend and her housemates yesterday. Basically I'm a wreck but a good rest will do me wonders.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Hotline Miami 2

Geared myself all up for a haircut following the usual pre-trim checklist. Hair relatively washed, facial hair at a suitable level, shirt worn and ready to be instantly thrown in the wash after trim to get rid of collar clinging hairs. The whole shabang. Walk on down to the hairdressers and it just ain't open. The door was closed and all the lights were off. I came back an hour later and the same thing, what's that about? This is how a passive-aggressive contempt for mankind begins.

Speaking of, I have found a nice way to vent all that frustration through the magic of gaming. More specifically through Hotline Miami 2 which has just injected itself into my eyeballs ensuring I can never unsee all the nasty, nasty things I do to the bad guys. It really is very violent, even for a pixel game but its just endlessly addicting, like eating pringles, you just won't stop.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Bristol = Good Food

Jamie and I awoke in Mark's house without a Mark in it. Without wanting to cause a lot of mess we stumbled outside for breakfast to Boston Tea Party for a bap (very tasty) and to a record shop for some deals. Jamie has just started driving and his only source of music comes from cassette tapes, imagine his face when he found a Bruce Springsteen live album on 5 tapes at this shop by chance.

Mark and I met up for lunch and he took me to a space where there was street food every day of the week, like a miniature Camden Lock. It had to be the Middle Eastern wrap though, it was huge and bulging with spices and meat, just thinking about it makes me full.

Just before heading home, Mark took me on a tour of the new Wildseed offices which was amazing. The whole thing is located within an abandoned police station. While it's been done up a tad, it has a distinct Life on Marscharm to some of the rooms. I look forward to any opportunity to visit again; place is like Cadburyworld for Youtube.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Bristol Aquarium

Coached it to Bristol at early o'clock in the morning. Oddly enough however, the four hour trip went past in a heart-beat. I played games for a wee bit but after that I just got some shut eye and daydreamed for a bit, next thing I knew I was there!

Had plenty of time to hang out with all the usual suspects and Louis, on the day plan today: Bristol Aquarium! It was pretty good, all the main creatures were certainly a bit anti-social however. The octopus was chilling above the eye line provided by the tank so we only saw 5 tentacles and a lot of suckers. Bizarrely there was also a tarantula exhibit. Last time I checked, they were not fish. I did not look.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Rock Candy Surprise

Had a quick room-tidy for the land lord inspection on Monday, I won't be around then however since I'll be in Brizzle (woop woop)! Quite an early coach tomorrow though, I need to be out the house at 7am in order to catch it on time. Being a film related person though, you start getting used to being an early riser.

My housemates all went off on a roadtrip to the place where Broadchurch was filmed (I over-slept so missed the opportunity) but, they did return with some rock candy for me! I was actually quite humbled by this gesture as it was really nice to know that they thought of me on their day out.

Missing Girl

Picture this. Rebecca wants to watch Manhattan with me this evening after a Chinese take-away. The movie is coming to the end. Issac runs through the streets of New York to in a desperate attempt to find his true love, Tracey. He spots her through a sliding door of her apartment building, moments before she's due to go to London. It's in this scene which ties together the whole film and brings up the worst fears of the protagonist. The acting and the writing is so darn good. And then Rebecca's phone rings.

Apparently one of Rebecca's course mates had been drinking and got badly lost on her way home and her housemates were worried about her. Rebecca and I leave the house to go on a mini manhunt for the missing girl, 20 minutes later she'd been found back at home after stumbling in. Rebecca and I drop in to make sure everything is ok, Rebecca and the girl then get into a long conversation about the night and other things on her mind - this is of course a classic device to calm people down and sober them up.

Rebecca returns to the kitchen saying that everything was all good and that a glass of water was needed, she goes back with the water in hand to find that the girl has done a runner and bolted. We spring into action, running in different directions to cover all bases when I luckily stumbled on the missing girl hidden in a bush.

After we coaxed her back inside she seemed much more rational. Her housemates proceeded to have a girly chat in a bedroom while I sat and watched the entirety of District 9 on FilmFour; and I was just chuckling to myself about what had just transpired. It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. Even the ending of my favourite film.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Wine Society

Jamie and myself have had our fair share of drunken night stumbles last year. It always seemed like everytime we got a bit drunk together someone would invite is to 'Wine Club,' a self proclaimed society dedicated to getting really drunk on wine. While we always had the good sense to turn down this opportunity, it somehow came full circle tonight as I attended Wine Society, the uni run session for people interested in becoming sommeliers.

I quickly discovered that anyone who is actually serious about drinking wine is actually quite pretentious and while there are standards to measure wine by they all seem overly variable from person to person. The society was a good excuse to get drunk with a cohort however so I will be going again.

Also, I felt it unfair to be hiding my crow from the eyes of the world so allow me to show off Cameron!

If you ignore the dirty washing it's almost majestic

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Counting Crows

The long ride home began and ended today, Pickering back to Bournemouth is a long old way. It felt even longer though having to hold onto a rather large stuffed crow for a majority of the time. It was very cool that we got to keep him though, but he did feel a tad precarious perched in the car. Now the crow is perched behind me in my room for the time being, ensuring that every time I turn around I forget what breathing feels like.

Excellent shoot though, really enjoyed myself during the filming and the travelling.

Budding professionals at work

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Birds

While the process of bird taxidermy was lengthy and occasionally gruesome, it was consistently engaging. We filmed our contributor perform the entire process of preparing a crow over the course of the whole day. At times it was like watching John Carpnter's The Thing as the bird was literally turned inside out for the sake of cleaning up its insides. However, it was remarkably quick to forget the fleshy parts of the process once it started to shape up into something very respectful.

My peers successfully dropped one of the biggest clangers I have ever heard mid-way through filming though. Our contributor revealed that he isn't especially fond of the more modern style of taxidermy which is to dress up animals in clothing. He mentioned seeing mice dressed in a medieval costume and how disrespectful he thought that was to the animal. Literally 15 minutes later just as we we going for a tea break, our editor excitedly pulled out a tiny knitted hat and declared that it would look lovely on our new crow. No irony in her voice, just shame once she realised.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Pickering Road-Trip

7 Hours later, we arrived in Pickering. Many Werther's Originals and chocolate cover waffles were consumed en-route, but that's almost to be expected for a student road-trip. My tunes went down quite well too, outside of the first CD bricking itself before we left my drive. Re-burnt a few CD's during the trip and I have a nifty little collection that I may pass onto Mark if he wanted some more driving tunes.

We finally met our taxidermist and saw his workshop in all it's glory, there were some cracking owls and other birds in there just begging to be filmed. Early start and a long day tomorrow, but our contributor has offered unlimited tea and coffee. I can see myself seriously taking him up on that offer.

Prep and Pancakes

Prep and farewell day today. Started off with a big batch of maple syrup drenched pancakes as I celebrated a Saturday morning the right way - with a sugary breakfast and cartoons! This was a luxury I would be briefly giving up before heading on our weekend film shoot and enjoying simple pleasures like that made my soul smile.

My inner-being was so happy that I even rustled up some pancakes for the driver and director of our documentary as he nipped over to check up on the camera gear. A long old while was spent figuring out the sound mixer but we finally sussed it! Something that took a little longer to perfect was our CD playlist for the journey.  

There was a very empty feeling about my car playlist initially, it felt like a bolognese without the cheese. It took me forty-eight minutes to realise there would be a distinct lack of Uptown Girl in our lives until I remembered. And with that, the mix was sorted. I am greatly looking forward to rocking out while rocking up to Pickering.