Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Itch

I have The Itch. My father has The Itch. My other half has The Itch...
The Itch is something that drives all workaholics. If you have The Itch, then you'll know what I am talking about. It's the need to be doing something, the need to stay away from boredom - because boredom is death.

I loved school. Odd in this day and age but I did. I loved maths, history, science, physics, chemistry, sports, spanish, anything that made my brain whirl... I hated being bored. Boredom was usually instilled by the teachers that didn't give a monkey's about the students they were teaching and had a monotone voice that made you want to go to sleep. And those were the classes where my chair was inexplicably empty. Oh I got into trouble - but detention wasn't the punishment that my teachers thought it was. I got to sit in quiet classroom and do my homework... it was much like being in the library... where I spent most of my time anyway.

When I moved to Leeds, I found that I could work on my own terms. I had to go to lectures at Uni but that was only twice or three times a week. I had all this time where I could do what I wanted... I had never had that before. It was so easy to not do anything with my time, just while it away like most of my classmates. But then I get The Itch and I start to go loopy. I get depressed, and my immune system goes haywire, I get colds and flus... and I start to get irritated with the people around me. The only way to get back to normality is to find something to do. I am happiest when I have work to do, scripts to write, films to work on, projects to get on with. I'm not saying that that's all I do. And I'm not happiest when I am in the middle of working, but it's the feeling of satisfaction I get after it's all done that makes me happy and relaxed.

I have been visiting my family for the past month. My family live in a rural town on the South West coast of France. The weather is beautiful - sunshine all day and temperatures up to 40 degrees, the beach is an hour's drive away, it's peaceful and quiet, the perfect holiday destination. And I hate it.
Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my Pop, Ma, Grandparents and my Sister... but I can't stand to be here for too long. A month is just about all I can handle, and that's because I can't work here. Because I never see them it's not fair to sit at my desk and work. The way my Pop has the wifi set up means that my Mac doesn't like to connect to the internet, so I am condemned to an internet ban! And my head just isn't in the right place. I need to be sat at my desk at home for my head to be screwed on straight.

My flight is on the 4th of September - three sleeps away, and I cannot wait! I am glad to come and visit but I love going home. I find that being here, where there is nothing to do but drink a lot of coffee and alcohol... gives me time to think. So even though I have The Itch so bad I am going a bit crazy, it also allows me to think about what I'm going to do when I get home. I have about 4 projects that I want to start working on straight away, that I probably wouldn't have started had I not gotten The Itch.

And when I think about it - getting The Itch is good. It keeps me sane, even when I go loopy. It makes my brain think about what I want to do with my life. And coming back to where I grew up and talking to my Pop and Ma and Sister gives me ideas that I never would have thought about by myself. So I'm glad I came... but now, I just want to go home.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Last Queen of Scotland

Scene Stealers. Another of Film4’s competitions for us young filmmakers out there... Whilst I think it is a good thing that they do these kinds of competitions, I also find that they are extremely patronizing. Don’t get me wrong, I love Film4 and can easily sit on the sofa and watch their movies all day. They create high quality films that do exactly what they say on the box... they entertain. Which is what film is all about.

Lisette as Amin

But it feels like they think these competitions are our only way into the industry... and they couldn’t be more wrong! Look at it this way... how many pieces of moving imagery have you seen today? TV programs and Films aren’t the only things I’m talking about here. They are the elite pieces made by absolute professionals... and I take my stylish cowboy hat off to them. But what about the bits in between... TV doesn’t just stop, there are all those little annoying adverts in there too... And then multiply those by the number of channels there are... And what about Youtube? Music Videos? And Vimeo? What if you just wanted to make lemon cupcakes? Google it? You’ll come up with someone who has made a video to show you how... You want to stay in a hotel for the weekend with your partner... but you want to make sure the toilets are satisfactory, because let’s face it, everyone judges a place by the loos... go onto their website and they probably have a little video showing you those important facilities... Someone made those videos. Someone put money, effort and creativity into them.

Simon directing, Kayleigh acting.

Me making a dead body out of my dear friend Lisette
So what I’m saying is... Anyone can pick up a camera these days and shoot something. But they are going to need more and more people who know how the industry works, who know how to write screenplays, and short pieces that grab people’s attentions, who know the inside of their camera as well as the outside. They need people who know how film works... And when they realize that I shall be right there waiting for them.

From left to right, Nishad, Lisette, Justin, Isha and Simon

None of that stopped me from making a short piece for the Scene Stealers Competition though. When my good friend Simon (a producer at the Northern Film School) came to me with a short scene from Film4’s The Last King of Scotland I instantly said yes. That film is a masterpiece and Simon’s idea of inverting the character genders was genius. I really enjoyed our Sunday shoot and hope Film4 enjoy what came out of it too.

Written and Directed by Simon Bolton-Gabrielson
Produced by Nishad Chaugule
Cinematography by Justin Litton
Production Design by Rebecca Witt
Camera Assistant Isha Kulkarni
Original Soundtrack by Oliver Curry
Additional Sound Mix by Marc Weber
Colour Grading by Justin Litton

DR GARRIGAN Kayleigh Hammond
AMIN Lisette Cooke

Photos by Rebecca Witt