Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yesterday I Wrote.

Yesterday I wrote.

I wrote with a pen and a notebook and spent most of the day writing and reworking and bashing it all out.

Most of the time I write on the computer. I do planning a bits and pieces by hand but the majority of the time I am typing and the words appear on the screen. Circumstances yesterday prevented this but presented a long stretch of time where I was able to tackle and substantially work on a project. 

It meant I actually had to rewrite things to work things.

And it was great. I love the workings. The arrows. You can almost track the thoughts and the ideas as it was written. It felt quite organic and suited the rhythm of the writing as well. Changing pens as well worked to mix it up a little. 

I always Save As and keep tracks of drafts on the computer but it is the nature of word processing that you delete as you go and paste over. On the page with a pen you can't easily do that - and it was really nice to just get it all down and there - even if I didn't use it. Interestingly, the entire piece shifted from the character answering a question from the viewer to asking a question and that pretty big shift is all there.

This morning I typed it out. I made two small changes but that was it. It felt clear and crisp and quiet separate from the writing done yesterday. I prefer not to pin down process but I think with this project I might play further with this method, especially as it is quite language focused. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Je Suis Punch! Short film.

To coincide with World Puppetry Day 2016 Gary Friedman Productions have made and released a new short stop-motion puppetry film Je Suis Punch!

It is a work that explores Freedom of Speech and expression in the context of Alfónso Lázaro de la Torre and Raul García Pérez - two Spanish puppeteers who were recently imprisoned because of their radical Punch and Judy show: Je Suis Punch. It tells a tale of a Punch and Judy puppeteer silenced and forced to flee. 

The film is part of a bigger project Gary has been doing called The Puppet and the Power - a full length feature documentary about the use of political puppetry. It's a fascinating subject both historically and in a contemporary context. The power of a puppet to subvert and voice things unable to be said is extraordinary. It's something that transcends beyond art and into the Political.* You can find more information about the project here.

So today the puppetry world again shares a response to silencing. Please watch, share and remind all artists that Mr. Punch never stops talking. Keep making!

Speaking of making, here is a making of video.

Viva Freedom of Expression. Je Suis Charlie! Je Suis Punch! 

*Yes I know all art is political with a small p. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How I Accidentally Fell For Bruce Springsteen.

Last year I kind of fell pretty hard for Bruce Springsteen. Having never really been on my radar I got linked to 'Dancing in the Dark' through a fashion site that I read because of Courtney Cox's starring role.

I was writing at the time an early draft of a visual theatre interpretation of Dante's Inferno. Paper Trail hasn't gone much beyond that draft but the youtube autoplay function led me onwards and before long I found myself listening to an entire Bruce Springsteen concert. This sort of obsession happens to me often on a project basis - ie. if I started listening to something during an early draft I continue until I finish. 

Well, Bruce has stuck around. 

Yep. 2015 was the year I got into Bruce Springsteen. 

I am that cool. 

Bruce Springsteen
Photo: Monty Fresco.

So is Bruce. He was hipster before hipster was an ironic twinkle.

But listen to me! It is such great music, not only to write too - but to tidy up to; to dance to; to motivate your morning. There is just these fantastic driving beats that power you on through whatever you need to do. It makes checking emails e.p.i.c.

He's also a great performer and super charismatic. Check this out.

It's a perfect winter turning into spring song. It fills my heart.

So I'll be reading his memoir out later this year, trying to get along to his concert tour and turning up the volume when I am cleaning my room. 

Oh and I'll be singing too loudly to hear you judge me. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

10 Things I Loved About Daredevil.

*Contains spoilers for season 1*

Also disclaimer: I don’t watch the violent bits. I hide behind pillows, under duvets and beneath blankets. I just can’t deal – so this list isn’t about realistic blood spatters or gore. That said, much like Game of Thrones there is still a hell of a lot of show beyond that. 

1.      Matt’s voice.

A few episodes into watching this show I feel completely head over heels with Matt’s voice. That aside the way we hear and connect with his voice (rather than say his view point) forms our understanding of the world. The way we hear the environment, the city, how he fits into it shapes our attachment to his character and story. It was interesting for instance that music wasn’t used much early on in the series in favour of sharp sound design that immerses your senses beyond what you see. It makes you focus much less on what you see and more on what you feel. For me Matt’s voice is the key to that.

2.      The Art.

That White Wall. “Rabbit in Snow Storm” – not really my type of art, but the way it was used in this series was fabulous. It is a brave decision for a show about a blind man to invest a lot of meaning into visuals but it worked kind of neatly that the main antagonist would gain strength from what he could see. Also the dramaturg in me actually had conniptions with the final shot of Fisk. I was a very happy bunny. That’s the thing with good visual writing – it’s not separate from what you see and it feels so right.

3.      Avocados!

The core friendship between Foggy and Matt was a continual delight. It was a great way for us to invest in Matt as a person beyond his vigilante/hero persona and the drama that was explored when Foggy found out about his dual life was a massive strength of the show. I think the freakout and how they were able to move forward was pretty realistic and demonstrated how lost they were without each other and how much they need each other.

Side note – Jessica Jones and Trish = also awesome friendship!

4.      The Talk-y Bits.

Matt is smart. Karen is smart. Foggy is smart. Clare is smart. The priest is smart. Therefore the script is smart. This show is smart and the writers clearly relished both building the world and the way it is talked about. I’ve heard a few people suggest that the show got a bit too chatty but mostly I think it worked really well and the pace wasn’t too interrupted. At no point did I feel that I was being talked down to by watching this show – in fact the only character that didn’t kind of fit into the talk-y greatness was the villain.

5.      The Costumes.

Yeah, so we all obsess about ‘the suit’ but the evolution of the ‘man in black’ was actually much more interesting, so much so that I actually found myself missing the black when the new costume was unveiled. It was cool to see the sparks fly off the new suit during the final big fight scene though.

Costume reveals so much about characters – the details here were really nice. When he’s healing mid-season and confined (for a ridiculously short period of time) to his flat Matt’s in trackies and his hoodie. No shirt, he probably wouldn’t have been able to raise his arms to put on something over his head. Nice, huh? It the little things that push my costume buttons.  

Also, I loved Karen’s work dresses. Her wardrobe was gorgeous! I covet!

6.      The Opening Titles.

These actually grew on me – the theme wasn’t instantly in my bones (hello Game of Thrones), but much like the slick dripping of paint into pools that form the imagery of the sequence by about mid-season I felt it really worked.

I would say though, it would be nice for Clare to just pop up rather than know she’ll be featured in a particular episode. Come on people! It’s in the titles of the episode – just give a recurring role credit to her and be done.   

7.      Blindness.

As someone who hasn’t had direct experience with blindness I felt the show dealt with Matt’s blindness in a really interesting way. It didn’t feel ‘magic’ or ‘other’ it was a part of this world. His experience is embedded into the fabric of the world and also how we experience it. A lot of this was due to the sound design.

I was not a fan of the glasses, but the shifting focus Matt has with his eyes when we see them is really well done. It was also refreshing not to dwell too long on computer generated interpretations of how he experiences the world although I did enjoy Foggy’s

Also the two occasions when he threw away his cane and ran up to the rooftops were totally thrilling as unlike Superman/Clarke Kent where the glasses are all that changes – the way Matt conducts himself physically as Matt vs. Daredevil is very different. It will be fascinating to see where the show goes next with all this. 

8.      Ben.

Oh Ben! We knew you were doomed. But your face was incredible, your motivations exemplary and who doesn’t love a dogged old school reporter? In the end I was a bit surprised at how long he lasted, but relished much of his tense screen time. It was nice to see a parallel to Matt’s decisions about where his life was going reflected in what Ben was going through. 

9.      Fight choreography.

See disclaimer, although I can’t watch really violent gore I think a well choreographed fight scene is essential in shows like this. How someone fights is part of who they are, therefore more you see them do it, builds character. Some of the set sequences in this series were just glorious. And nearly all of them felt real. Ouch! But they were crafted in such a way you also feel the adrenaline and rush that Matt gets when he is fighting - you get to see in action how he can enjoy the anger and the violence of his burning world.

10.  The Nelson and Murdoch sign.

Since when was TV tactile enough that I am attached to the outline of words?

The new season of Daredevil drops soon on Netflix. Bring on March 18th!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

High Horses.

I listen to Patti Smith’s voice and she makes me want to write.
Write. Write. Write.
And keep writing and never stop typing and just have the words crashing forwards and onwards and never stopping, except to breathe as you have to breathe. Don’t you, even when you are driving, onwards, upwards, ploughing on through the shit and rain and the way forward is blocked.
Cock blocked.
Just like that.
A breath.
And it’s gone.
The rhythm is not there. No words. No drums. No jacket. No horses. It’s just black and white with whisky on the side. A little whisky. A splash. A crash. A cry from above.
Beaten again.
On the beat again.
And there it is. On the beat. On the game. On the street. In the rain. There’s no reality.
Just possibility.
You see.
Listen. Just listen. Keep riding. Keep writing. Keep going. And dip in. Read it. Keep it.
Feel it. Hold it tight and close and keep moving on.
Ride on.

And rise.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Writing Photos. What Writing Looks Like.

I've been updating my website this week - it's a big few weeks for grant applications and trying to get some money for some projects moving and so about half a year's work needs to be updated as well as biography, CV - photos etc.

I've put more photos.

So many photos.

It's weird with theatre, I've become so obsessed with documenting everything because otherwise people don't quite believe you, that you have had something performed, that there was an audience and people clapped. It's like if someone isn't there and didn't see it then it didn't happen. If something is published either online or in print then it is a lot more tangible. Anyway, increasingly obsessed with the importance of documenting process and performance I collect photographs as evidence of everything I've show I've worked on.

As a writer though you get a whole other problem. Writing? Photos? How can you show that online?Luckily I live with two people who have decent cameras and patience. So I do have proof! Actual proof. Here I am, an actual working writer, writing.

With the help of A Little Chicken.

Image: Jennifer Hook

And with Tea and End Game.

Image: Sarah Louise Fowler

Although, I need new ones. And a new mug! That one met an unhappy endings.