Friday, February 27, 2009

Adults don't watch preschool shows, of course.

But it doesn't work for preschool shows.

At least, not usually. It's rare you'll hear from someone, "Man, I'm totally going to make a gentle, story-based show for toddlers that will be safe, yet funny, and they'll learn too! Yeah, that would rock!" Very few people get excited about shows for younger children, simply because they wouldn't be into watching them themselves.

If you browse any of the animation sites or blogs, when was the last time you saw them post about a show for very young children? There are fan sites all over for children's cartoons, many if not most driven by adults. But, of course, not for shows for younger children.

Adults don't watch preschool shows. The simple reality is it's just not an area of programming that interests most adults.

Shamefully, that usually also seems to apply to funders and even broadcasters. I have had meetings with funders who have totally dismissed the idea that preschool shows have any merit or value and certainly the idea that they could be artistic or represent the voice of a creator was deemed laughable. I have heard broadcasters push for shows they thought were funny with little thought to the actual target audience and then dismiss preschool as 'background noise'.

And yet children of a very young age are watching television. They are at a crucial stage in their development. And the only people who seem to care are people who have toddlers - and the second they're off to school, preschool shows cease to exist once more.

So, as a result of this disinterest, it seems many people producing children's shows are doing so reluctantly and their hearts just aren't in it. They have no concept of what children really like, research is difficult, and they rarely think about what children actually need, and so they end up second-guessing a demographic they don't understand and then pulling anything challenging out until there is nothing left but an exercise in blandness. An increasing amount of preschool shows are coming from book properties - it reduces risk, therefore doesn't require any understanding, and it doesn't need any real commitment from anyone in the process to adapt it.

It can be plugged in and set up as a process, not a creative or idealistic endeavor.

I could be biased here but it does seem the UK and Europe are far less guilty of this. We can counter your Mickey's Clubhouses and Tigger & Pooh travesties with Peppa Pig, which is cute and totally age appropriate and yet reflects the reality of a child's life rather than a diluted nothingness: sisters being mean to little brothers, not sharing, Daddy Pig's big tummy, and even sex wars (yep, Peppa versus Danny Dog - but we know they'll end up together, right?). We come in strong with Pocoyo, a kid who actually likes, you know, fun. Pingu too. There's a few more where they came from. Just a few though - they are still a rare breed.

Those shows are a lot of fun and yet don't shy away from negative aspects or more challenging aspects of a real child's life, things most US shows don't want to acknowledge. But these are all good things - they tell a child their life is normal. They're okay.

Yet, even with these shows, as I mentioned in a post a while back, we're lacking in educational content. These shows are fun and you could argue there is some social learning or reassurance in some of them but beyond that?

It's just not an area that interests most adults.

And, because many people are going ahead and making them anyway, for financial, funding, co-production, employment reasons, the very few who may well care about them will find it very difficult to get noticed. But, you know, this leaves one big question - what to do about it? I mean, it's very easy just to criticise these shows and the mentality behind them. Certainly it comes very natural to me. But that's not going to help. Well, perhaps it might get some people wondering, questioning - thinking, shouldn't we be doing better? But beyond that, I don't know.

I feel I need to turn this into positive action.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brain food for children

It doesn't have to be 'My Friends Tigger & Pooh'. Feel free to substitute Mickey's Clubhouse, Backyardigans or almost any insipid bland cack show for young children in there and the image still works.

Of course there are a few engaging shows and shows I would argue are high quality and at least midly stimulating. They deserve credit. But I'm not all that convinced most of those contribute to a child's education either.

And everything a child is exposed to on television should be considered educational. Absolutely everything. At a young age, they are soaking up information like a sponge. Sure, they won't remember most of it, but their world view is forming. Their patterns of behaviour developing.

So it's not about whether or not they learn something from a show. They are learning. Take that as a given. It's about what they learn.

Niffiwan made a comment in this earlier post of mine and, in it, he linked me to this article. It's an essay by Russian director, Aleksandr Tatarskiy, written in 1986. It's a really interesting read and this part hit home:

"Understand that if you feed a child food which need not be chewed and which is too easily digested, his stomach will atrophy! And if you feed him primitive sham-cartoons which require no mental efforts, which revel in their lack of understanding of the true intellectual and emotional capacities of a little person, and lack a clear, identifiable artistic form, another very important organ could atrophy - the head."

Absolutely true.

And, over twenty years later, what have we got? My Friends Tigger & Pooh. Cartoon-induced comas. What's up? What is going wrong? How is it that young children, one of the most important demographics, one of the most fragile, the one that will soak in the most information, that is setting up patterns for how they will live their lives, are being subjected to bland, insipid nothing shows?


Isn't it about time we aimed higher?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Me, in work

I'm like a big, black ball of rage right now. I'm exhausted. Sick. And surrounded by chaos.

One of the problems with a low-budget production is that the usual checks that are meant to be in place, the middle men if you will, are missing. And that results in mistakes. Things going astray. Frustrations.

Put a sick, already-bitter man in the midst of all that and, well, you're asking for trouble.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Again? Are you kidding me?

Have I some sort of immune deficiency or something? Or am I right in thinking that drug companies are developing stronger and stronger cold and flu viruses in order to profit? I have to be. It's just two months since I was last struck by a plague.

And now... again? Seriously? What the hell?

It's not right. It's just not right.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Of course I didn't watch them

No. No, I didn't watch them. I don't even know who won yet.

I actually know little about how the Oscars work and don't care enough to find out but, if they are anything like some more local equivalents I've seen, they look all important from the outside and are little more than a sham on the inside, with dodgy nomination systems, people voting for stuff they haven't seen and plenty of politics going on behind the scenes.

But mostly I don't care about them because they are violently boring. An apocalypse of dull.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What I saw

Tiny specs in space. Lives appearing and then vanishing without a trace and barely a memory. Are they even lives? Is it not just a burst of activity, our thoughts, feelings, desires all just by-products of a system simply to get us moving and procreating?

As key to the Universe as the brief life of a sperm on some hastily-grabbed tissue somewhere.

I was thinking this... seeing this, thinking about the nothingness and I knew - this is not a good road of thought to follow. It does not lead to a good place. But, nevertheless, that's what I saw.

Yet, when actually I came to draw it, as empty and pointless as the feeling was I was trying to illustrate, I couldn't help noticing just how beautiful that infinite nothingness around us is. And I can't come even close to capturing it. Maybe, from out there, I would see that rock, that pebble, is beautiful. And, if that's the case, we're all part of it - each of us, one tiny paint stroke that, together, makes up a wonderful canvas.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bring on the storm

Watching people under pressure can be rather interesting. Everyone handles it differently. Well, I say everyone but I'm sure if you got enough people together you'd find many handle it exactly the same. So it would be more true to say that some people handle it differently. But that doesn't have as much impact, does it?

I've seen people break out in rashes or get quite physically ill. I've seen some people just shut down, usually vanishing never to be seen again. I've seen some lose all interest in anything, just breezing in and out oblivious. I've seen some people turn into big lumps of rage. And I've seen people love it and work at their most efficient.

While I'm not really in that latter category because real pressure, as in an impossible deadline, I just think well what's the point? If I don't have a chance of winning, I don't like to play. But a tough deadline? That's different. Oddly, the closer I get to a deadline, the more I begin to actually care about something. Not sure why that is.

But I also react to stress the same way I react to pretty much everything in life - I get really tired.

Man, I'm sleepy.

But it's interesting to watch people under pressure. I'm seeing some catastrophic balls-ups right now. Like a ballet of dumbass mistakes. Which then lead to more pressure - it takes more time to do stuff badly and then have to fix it than it does to do it right the first time.

Always does.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's the word from Kidscreen '09?

The Kidscreen folk call their event "the largest and most important event of the year for kids entertainment executives." I don't know if that's true but the buzz over the last few years has been very positive. I've never been. If I want to see Sebastian from KIKA dance the way German men do, or have the guys from Millimages tell me just how important they are and how many projects they 'got away', or have Ron Diamond from AWN follow me about, I can do all that at the Cartoon Forum. And even that, well, once you've been to one it sort of loses its appeal.

This year there wasn't a chance in hell of me going with this project having turned into some sort of disaster movie, like maybe Towering Inferno. No, Airplane is probably closer to the truth.

But word is coming back from last week's Kidscreen Summit and, from the sounds of it, a recession-era Kidscreen is a poorly attended one. That's no big surprise. For the first time, Kidscreen were spamming my mailbox right up to the last minute offering me better and better deals to attend. Companies are not about to splash out for little holidays like that right now. In fact, while they were just offering me good deals, I know they went as far as to pay for some key people to go but I'm just not that important.

From what I'm told, those who did attend seemed to be a bit more down to business, using it more as just a meeting space than anything else.

And the business? Well, that seems to have been the business of pulling out of projects. Yep, sounds like the recession panic has hit hard. Several projects that I know of, at least one due to go into production in the next month, have had the rug pulled from under them by funders. Many projects that were due to be delivered this year or early next year just won't happen. Stories of doom and gloom abound.

A year from now, how many production companies will have shut down? How many people will have lost their jobs?

It's an unfortunate truth that this business, at least over this side of the pond, is bloated. There is far too much product, not enough places to put that product and, even then, there's only so much a child can watch and certainly they should be watching less, not more.

Many if not most companies exist on local government subsidies, tax breaks and schemes - very few companies have a sustainable business model. In my view that's not a bad thing - the ones that have a sustainable business model are usually working for the forces of evil and selling shit to your kids. Because of bans on certain advertising to children (again, in my view a very good thing), local subsidies are essential in making sure young children have something good to watch and aren't just growing up with imported Barneys.

But the business is bloated.

And this recession I think is about to bring about a cull. While that sucks for those who won't survive it, for the rest of us (at least I'm hoping I'll be with the survivors), I think we'll be in a far better position when it's done.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You see, that's not actually a show

With the panic turned up to 11 and people knowing they're likely going to be out of a job in a week or so, with the world being what it is, people are trying to evaluate where they are, what they've got and what they're going to do. And some of those people think they're going to go off and, in about three weeks time, they'll have a show on air.

They won't.

It takes a special kind of person to create a show. I mean a decent show. Even a half-decent show. It takes creativity for one thing.

But a massive amount of creative people think they have a show. But they don't. Often, they'll have a funny drawing. Perhaps many funny drawings. Maybe even a scene. Or, in a bizarrely huge amount of cases, just a walk cycle. Often, these things come from exceptionally talented people. People capable of work that puts them in a whole different artistic realm.

But they don't have shows.

See, what many people in animation and artistic positions don't seem to fully realise is that being a creator, putting together an actual workable show concept, requires a different kind of brain. A brain that many creative people just don't have. It's a brain that is in conflict. A brain that is as much the brain of a producer as it is the brain of an artist. Probably more so actually as the producer side has to be able to reign in the artist, make him see reason, make him understand the realities of the business world and, importantly, make him stop pricking about with walk cycles and force him to make an actual proposal.

I realise I'm totally generalising here but it seems that the more artistically talented someone is, the further away they are from being this type of person. Unfair? Perhaps but I'm just going from observation here. Fantastic artists are often volitile, have spent so many hours honing their craft that they are a little out of touch with the world, they get lost in details and can't see the big picture and, for some of them, words are their enemy, not their friend. That's often part and parcel of what makes them such great artists.

But it also prevents them from having that producer brain.

So what's the point of my post? Emmm... not quite sure. I think it's that we artists often spend a lot of time looking at shows and thinking, how the hell did that get on the air?! We could do better than that! And, for many aspects of shows, we could. But making that leap from artist to having an actual show is often just too great.

If you're in a studio and you see an average artist, aguy who you see writing in a notebook as much as you see him drawing in it, a guy who's reading books that have as much text as it has pictures, a guy who balances his time so, while he's not producing work as good as you, he's getting it all done and approved on time, a guy who takes an interest in a production beyond the artwork, keep an eye on him.

He could be the one to get a show off the ground. And, if you're one of those excellent volitile artists, stick to him. Because, if he has any sense (and if he gets a show off the ground, there's a good chance he does), he'll want people who are more talented them him in important roles.

And, if you're in a studio and you really want to make a show, well, stop pricking about with walk cycles and go put together a good proposal.

As for me... I don't know what brain I've got. I can't even be sure I have one.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Same ol' Valentine's Day

No cards.

I forgot to send myself one this year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

One more thought on Battlestar

This is something that I found odd right from the start of the Battlestar Galactica remake. They took Starbuck and Apollo from the original and updated them for the new show. And Adama, Boomer, Tigh and Baltar. All the major characters from the original.

Not quite. All the male characters from the original.

Even smaller male characters from the original show made it to the remake, including the kid, Boxy. They even included Apollo's dead brother who was never seen.

But not one female character had a counterpart in the new show.

Not one.

It's like they never existed. Cassiopeia, Serina, Sheba... gone. Athena, who was Apollo's sister... gone. Okay, they ended up using the name as a call sign later but for a Boomer character. But not his living sister, a major character in the original.

Not one female character made it into the remake. Yet every single male did. What does that say about how the writers feel about the women of Battlestar?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why Battlestar Galactica is shit Part 2

THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD! Kind of. It references a couple of things that are happening on the show right now (as airing in the US and UK) but, actually, those references are pretty vague. If you're well into Season 4, you're probably okay. If you're Season 3 or earlier, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.

So a little more detail on why Battlestar Galactica is now shit.

The cracks really started to show in Season 3. That's the season where we could see the writers had been watching too much Lost. Forget that great premise and pressure they had set up. Yeah, the real money is in creating huge questions that can have no answer and then hitting with bombshells that make no sense. That's where it's at. The fans will theorise to death the random stuff you throw into your script so, effectively, they'll write the stories for you - everybody wins.

So they came up with the idea of their mysterious Final Five Cylons. They gave their characters visions left, right and centre. In a shocking twist, the Cylons decided to leave them alone. And then sort of changed their minds. For some reason.

The major problem with Lost-alike mysteries is that they create questions and scenarios that weren't initially accounted for by the writers. They drop those bombshells before working out what those bombshells actually are. So they simply can't make sense. And, yes, fans will try to connect unconnected dots but the problem in the actual show is that, in reality, the characters would be pointing out when things don't make sense. They would ask questions. So, in order to avoid throwing a huge spotlight on the nonsense, the characters have to act... out of character. This happened even in the first season of Lost. Big things would happen to characters and then those characters would tell nobody. Because, if they told people, the cracks would become obvious.

A whole island of people incapable of communication.

Same happened with Battlestar. Tigh is revealed to be a Cylon! Woah! Now, at this point, any normal human being would have sat him down and asked the obvious questions - but, eh, what about your service record that predates the "skin job" Cylons? How come I fought with you in the first Cylon war when they were just "toasters"? Isn't it a coincidence that you all ended up on Galactica? How come the other Cylons don't know who you are? What the frak is going on? Tigh himself should have asked these questions.

Nobody asked.

Totally obvious to those of us watching and I'm damn sure the writers asked themselves those questions too but, because they couldn't think of decent answers and were more tied to their mysteries and big reveals than making any damn sense at all, they had to keep the characters silent. They had to have every character on that show act in a way contrary to the way any human being would act.

Having the crew act out of character became standard. Often visions were written in to explain that. Lazy writing. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Want a character to do something for no other reason than to force your plot along? Write in a vision. Lazy.

The show we have now, towards the end of this season, is one based on character inconsistencies. Adama, the man who refused to have a network on his ship, who defended them from the Cylons, who was shot by one of them on his bridge, who witnessed the aftermath of the Cylon-run New Caprica now keeps his Cylon buddies close and has integrated their technology with his ships. His second in command turns out to be a Cylon and he lets him keep his position and they're still buddies. Why? Who the frak knows. Because the writers decided that for some reason. Totally and utterly against character. Doesn't quite fit with the knowledge that the Cylons have a history of infiltration and sabotage.

Tigh himself went as far as to arrange suicide bombers to attack the Cylons. They pulled out his eye. He even killed his wife because she collaborated with them. That's how much he hated the Cylons. And with good reason - they destroyed his entire planet and were intent on destroying Galactica.

But then he finds out he is one, doesn't even ask himself the obvious questions about that, and now he's all for this Cylon alliance. Totally and utterly against character.

Starbuck dies and comes back to life. Shhh... don't ask.

Let's not even start on whether the Cylons can or can't be differentiated from humans.

And the characters are where the real crime of Battlestar Galatica takes place. Remember the list of characters we had at the beginning of the show? Well, now let's look at what we have -

Starbuck has turned into a whiny nothing, serving only to push along a Lost-alike mystery. Adama is a Cylon collaborator with no purpose who just turned out to be a bit of a dick (he proved spectacularly in the last episode that he was on a par with Zarek and Gaeta). His second in command is a Cylon with no curiosity whatsoever who has done nothing but wander around the ship aimlessly since he found out. Boomer's gone. We got Athena instead and she has been in one or two mother shots in the last couple of seasons and that's it. Chief Tyrol, like Tigh, lost all reason for being the day he became a Cylon. He spent the whole of the last episode crawling around tubes just to give the actor something to do. The President is a complete and utter pain in the hole who just serves as a reminder of the awful deus ex machina the writers implemented because they didn't have the balls to let the cancer kill her.

Sure enough, Adama's son turned out to be a pussy. Oh, by the way, sci-fi council scenes are always boring. ALWAYS. They weren't interesting in the Star Wars prequels, the Matrix sequels or anywhere else. And Baltar, well, he was fun but they really had to scrape the barrel to find a role for him after his trial. And the messiah thing was shit. Helo, the once-stranded crewman, is now set dressing.

There isn't one character left that I could possibly give a crap about. They have no roles, no reason for being, nothing to react to. They are just pains in the ass, the lot of them.

And having a character you can invest in is a basic story requirement. This show is coasting on the investment people put in early on, when there were characters to invest in. Basic story requirement. If the writers had just glanced at the office copy of Screenwriting For Dummies, they'd have remembered that. But it's tough to read when your head is shoved up your ass while you ponder about Final Fives and other pointless mysteries.

So no decent characters, no threat, no pressure, no consistency. It's a dead show. Well done, Galatica writers. You took a great show and you killed it.

And that is why Battlestar Galactica is shit.

Just to finish, there is one area where Battlestar still shines: the music. Bear McCreary's score is amazing and has been since he began with the show. A totally unique score with so much heart. I don't think I would have stuck with the show this long without it - the visions drove me nuts but the music that went with them was usually fantastic. I bought the CDs of the first three seasons and will get the fourth as soon as it comes out. There's some beautiful stuff on them, with "Passacaglia" from Season 1 and "Something Dark Is Coming" from Season 2 being particular favourites. He has a blog here if you're interested. A fantastic composer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Battlestar Galactica is shit Part 1

Turns out this topic will take a while to get through so I think I'll split it over two posts.

I don't watch many shows on television. When I do, I like to watch things from start to finish - like one complete story. And that's why it infuriates me when shows that were once great go complete shit. And the Battlestar Galactica remake is one of those shows.

Battlestar had a very simple premise - their planet destroyed by Cylons, a group of humans must fight or evade the enemy while they search for their new home: Earth.

It's a basic survival story. Like a zombie movie only with robots and, em, space. Okay so it's not all that much like a zombie movie but it does share certain qualities - it puts the characters in constant danger with an ever-present threat and basically the stories came from how they reacted and cracked under that pressure. It's a premise that holds unlimited potential.

And the show opened with the pressure turned up to 11. Remember one of the first episodes where the Cylons would find them every 10 minutes or what ever it was? I'd check for the exact time but, every time they update their site, they break it. That was, to quote the poster for Point Break, 100% pure adrenalin.

To make things even better for Battlestar, the show had some fantastic characters. Starbuck was a total hardass with a real attitude. Adama was totally military, took no shit and was saved by his total distrust for the Cylons and unwillingness to update his ship. His second in command, an angry drunk only there because he had history with Adama. We had a stranded crewman evading Cylons back on Caprica, unaware that he was falling for one of them. We had Boomer, kind of sexy, but a ticking timebomb waiting to be activated. Chief Tyrol, trying to clear up the mess of battle and get them ready for the next attack down in the hangar bay. And a schoolteacher forced into the position of President, something she wasn't equipped for and made even more difficult by her battle with cancer.

Oh, and we had Adama's son who we all hoped wouldn't turn out to be a complete pussy. And Baltar, the cowardly traitor who oozed charisma.

Great characters and each with a clear, defined role to play in any given story. Worked perfectly with the premise.

And the icing on this Battlestar cake was the Cylons themselves. As the opening told us, and we saw in the pilot movie, they were created by humans, went off and made themselves look human and then unleashed hell on Caprica, killing billions and then pursuing Galactica to make sure they finish the job. And one of them was on the ship. You'd have a hard time creating a threat better than that. Like a whole race of Darth Vaders.

They were interesting too. Remember that one where Starbuck was interrogating one of them? They managed to write the enemy interesting enough that just him and Starbuck in a room kept the whole episode gripping.

The show ticked all the boxes you'll find in basic screenwriting books - a visible, dangerous antagonist, characters we can invest in and the stakes as high as possible. Almost a perfect setup.

And they really managed to milk it. The end of Season 1/beginning of Season 2, for me, is just about some of the best television. Certainly the best sci-fi I've seen.

So, towards the end of Season 4 (or 5 depending on who you ask), what have we got now?

We have a show with no enemies. Most of the Cylons are their buddies now, the rest we have no idea what they are doing. Nothing they have ever done in the show has seemed to make a lick of sense, contrary to the "they have a plan" bullshit that they kept in the opening sequence until even a blind ferret could see they clearly don't.

So we also have no pressure. No stakes. No goal. The ship and its Admiral are just sort of wandering around space. Looking for a home? Well, kind of. They don't really seem to be doing anything. The show has no point. No reason to exist. It its most basic level, it is now a show without a premise.

That should be reason enough to explain why it is shit but there's more, too much for one post, and I'll go into detail next time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If only they knew

I wonder if the Wiggles guys get stressed? Or those Imagination Movers guys? I look at their shows and think - that must be fun. Is it a 'grass is always greener' scenario or are they really having as much fun as it seems?

We're making a nice little children's show. The end product should be rather pleasant. It should feel relaxed. Calming even.

But behind the scenes, there's a war going on. My sanity, an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. I think this comes down to the lunacy of making shows one frame at a time. At its very core, animation is an act of total insanity. Back in the day, shrinks would have recommended lobotomies for those suffering from a severe case of animation. Okay so for a while they were throwing around lobotomies for a runny nose but the point still stands - animation is, technically speaking, nuts.



At least with the modern days of Flash, a missed mistake isn't a full-on apocalypse. It's easier these days to fix stuff. Back when I started, if you got notes back on a scene, you could be pretty sure you'd be starting from scratch. I once animated on a music video for someone rather famous. The whole animation sequence was planned out to match a live-action segment she was shooting. As it takes longer, we started the animation first and were close to finishing when the shoot took place. Well, she turned up to the shoot, decided to wear a different outfit and wouldn't let anyone tell her otherwise. The animation no longer matched and every frame had to be redrawn.

And now she's a withered old has-been so joke's on her, eh?

But back to now. As I write this, there is a document of required fixes that would take more time just to read than we have to fix them. I suspect we're in trouble.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Emotions and creativity

I think it might be just fatigue and work stress and the difficulties around that right now but I'm finding myself ever so slightly emotional at the moment. More specifically, I keep welling up at the thought of a short film idea I haven't written and will likely never make. Every time I think of it, well, this happens.

It's hard to know what to make of that.

I think I'll only know for sure when my life is a little more clear. When I've had a break, if the thought of that short film ends with the same reaction, I may be on to something. If not, it was a reaction to stress and nothing more.

Though I do think it's a good sign in one way. I have been creatively dead for a while now and I figured it would take this project finishing and a large gap before anything creative came back. But it seems things are happening in my little brain. Strange things.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ah yes... the credits

Credits are so important to television and film.

But it's not like you'll pick up a toaster and see a list of people who were involved in making that toaster, is it? It's not like, when you stop at traffic lights, you can't go until you have viewed the names of everyone involved in the design and placement of that traffic system, is it?

But then they aren't totally ego-driven businesses. Or maybe they are. I don't know enough about 'real jobs' to be sure.

Credits do matter though. I guess, in this business, it's your C.V., your resume. In this current example, if you were a producer and liked the show and wanted the creative force behind it, you'd end up looking at the credits and hiring the writer.

And, in doing so, you could end up with the wrong guy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What a lovely time of year

There are few things more soul-destroying in this world than waiting for a bus in wind and rain only to have it drive by full, splashing you as it goes. Not a good start to the day. I can't help feeling bus drivers take some sort of sadistic pleasure in covering you from head to toe in slushy mud. I sometimes think I can hear them cackling as the bus disappears around the corner.

I can't help feeling this wouldn't be an issue if I lived in the Caribbean.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just time for some quick bragging

Snowed under today. Not literally - the snow here went all wet and slushy this morning. Nah, I mean with work. Crisis after crisis. On top of the current apocalypse, word from the next lined up project isn't good. Recessions, cutbacks, nerves and so on. Ah well. Feck it, eh? Who cares?

It's not all bad news. The most excellent Brian Sibley (author, broadcaster and more) had a caption contest over at his (also most excellent) blog - look ma!I won! (scroll down a bit) Go me! Thanks to Mr. Sibley for the image, the contest and introducing me to that Wordle thing, which is great.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where it all went wrong...

Okay, so this isn't the only thing that happened with the production that led to the current panic/crisis/apocalypse. But it's one of the issues. Some parts, especially early on in scripting and production, just weren't as good as they should be. That's not uncommon. It takes a while for a project to find its feet.

It's how the producer deals with "hiccups" that's just baffling. Got a problem? Immediately assume those you work with are the enemy. That seems to be the strategy. Pre-emptive strike.

We are all the enemy.

But, yeah, that was just one of the problems. Another was in simply living in hope. There are some in certain roles who should have been let go right at the start but both the producer and the director, bless his optimistic soul, genuinely believed they would pull themselves up and really deliver. They didn't. He actually fought for a few people early on and put a lot of faith in them. Man, is he disillusioned now. Hence sleeping through important meetings at this point.

Bloody cold today. My freezing fingers are having a hard time finding their way around the keyboard.