The Optimal Daily Word Target Calculator | Michael J Holley – Writer

The Optimal Daily Word Target Calculator | Michael J Holley – Writer. – is an excellent post on trying to break your goals so that you can make work and your social life coexist…. I like the idea of trying to do this, to set a word count that you can stick by.

You’ll notice I’m not that prolific blogging. It’s the writing that is also being affected by the stresses of life and the day job.  But if you want bite-size wins to edge you further towards cresting a mountain, why not set an achievable goal?

JUGGERNAUT – A novel by Adam Baker – review

I first became aware of Adam Baker’s writing when searching from some holiday reading. Shopping sites remember our preferences, and sometimes they’re even correct – sometimes – and this time when searching for post apocalyptic pandemic / zombie fiction it presented OUTPOST to me. At the time of purchase there were only a few reviews. Although the reviewers were divided, the positive reviews filled me with hope that I would find a new PONTYPOOL or 28 DAYS LATER between the covers. It wasn’t until I was sequestered in by the pool, in the shade, so pale that I appeared to be in black and white compared to the other resort guests, and opened the cover of the book, that I realised I was in for a skilfully crafted and incredibly addictive joyride. Outpost

OUTPOST was an unforgiving tale of Arctic desperation, and ever pervading dread: seen through the eyes of a suicidal overweight priest and the crew of a defunct oil rig; watching the world submit to a global pandemic which turns its victims into a 21st century version of the living dead. Every page was either filled with the slow dread of eventual starvation, submitting to the elements and the bite of the infected, or I was captivated by the survivors’ Maguyver-esque attempts to turn the tables on fate.

I couldn’t wait to tweet about it as soon as I finished it – being a social media-addicted saddo (hence the blog) – and tell people that they need to grab a copy at once. That’s how I eventually came to own a pre-publication copy of JUGGERNAUT; a sort of prequel, if you will. Adam Baker read my tweets. We then corresponded. And when Adam later announced that he had written a new tale, I jumped at the chance to get my greasy paws on it. And I’m glad that I did… (forgive any spoilers!)

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Dream within a dream sequences – cliché or not?

I am suffering right now from a flu bug. I don’t sleep really. Hardly ever. When I do, it is usually after days of no sleep, or it is alcohol induced and fleeting. Or when I am ill, as my system is too run down. Anything more than two hours is a great night’s sleep. But this makes me a very tired and usually creatively unproductive person when my energy is constantly dwindling after a full day of work.

Also I am constantly jealous of those who do and how easily they slip into oblivion. I hate it when they do it so effortlessly and they dream so richly. I begrudge it. Anyway, the only time I really sleep is when I am ill. And up until now, I would say that until this morning I always thought that the existence of really lucid dreams that could be confused with reality and those that led to other dreams, like the hackneyed dream-within-a-dream sequences in most horror films were nothing but a purely literary or cinematic device. That is, until it happened to me. Sort of….

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VSS update

Hi All,

I am still alive. I’ve just been through hell and back. In that time I have been doing a little writing – I’ve just been lazy with the blog. Apologies. Anyway, here’s a selection of my VSS – HERE – 81 added to it, since I last updated.

I hope you’ve all had a much gentler and far more enjoyable time of it than I have. Still, I can’t complain – perhaps all the drama will help me creatively? ;0)

Films watched recently

A few of the more notable films I’ve watched (in Alphabetic order):

30 days of night 2 dark days

  • 30 DAYS OF NIGHT 2: DARK DAYS – Yawn, blah… this b-movie sequel fails to live up to the promise of the first film. Right from the first movement when we see a quick actress switch and tiresome flashback monologue you can tell the film will suck worse than the hissing vampires this actress is trying to warn everyone about. It tells the tale of the female survivor travelling around and trying to convince people what happened after an apparent cover up, who is then sought out by a useless band of supposed vampire hunters to hunt the vampire queen. Only these tossers have no clue, inappropriate ideas about suitable weaponry and we don’t care what happens to them as none of them are anything more than cardboard cut-out characterisations, including the Ripley-esque lead. It really outstayed the welcome and stunk up my night’s viewing and was only memorable for the pain it induces when I think about watching it again.

Blood Creek poster image

  • BLOOD CREEK – a strange mix of atmospheric horror and sporadic, outlandish CG gore. This tale of a Nazi warlock using an ancient runestone to reanimate the dead and do his bidding proved entertaining, if a little predictable in places. Surprisingly good cast for what felt like a low budget schlocker. The main plot had more than a few plotholes, but entertaining and innovative enough, despite it’s obvious desire to create a franchise. Worth repeat viewings.
  • CASTRATION MOVIE – Round a friend’s house I was told a tale of a tape handed down from a cult film director by the band who released it. The bizarre nature of its footage and the murky provenence seemed like too good a chance to pass up the opportunity to watch what may be an actual – albeit bizarre – ‘fake’ snuff-type movie; as released by Psychick TV. The movie features the shoddy home movie road trip footage of a potential serial killer, featuring various 70s Mexican and White rentboys playing with electrode sexual stimulation / drug induced highs, with not altogether successful and sometimes fatal results. My friend had never watched it all the way through, so we did. You can’t unsee this type of film, so think twice before deciding to check it out. – if you wish to check out what others think about the film and find out more about what is shown CLICK HERE. I certainly think it is a film that deserves more research into it. Not sure who would want to though.

Machete poster image

  • MACHETE – Danny Trejo (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, HEAT) stars as the titular badass Mexican cop with a penchant for overly large shiny knives. The bag guys underestimate his gift for survival, when he is forced to watch them kill her, before being left for dead, stabbed and left to die in a burning house. He soon appears in the US as an illegal immigrant and is forced to take part in the fake attempted assassination of a candidate for State Senator (De Niro), using immigration as his ticket to office. Soon everyone is out to get Machete, but this unstoppable force of chopping and slicing carves his way through them all, until he gets his revenge; only stopping for the love of some hot Chicas – including a great pool scene with Lindsay Lohan (the Senator’s daughter) and Alicia Rachel Marek (the Senator’s wife). If you don’t mind your action extra bloody CG, and can handle the idea of Trejo being an irresistible stud, then this film will float your boat. It did mine.

Ong Bak 3 movie poster

  • ONG BAK 3 – Another flawed martial action film starring Tony Jaa – picks up right where the second one finished. We find out more about the power of the Evil Crow assassin character, whilst Tien (Tony Jaa) is healed and regroups to fight another day. Flawed, but still amazingly shot and featuring some unique action sequences – this time a more yoga / Thai dancing style of fighting. Well worth a view.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 poster image

  • PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 – The much hyped sequel to the original haunted house tale – where a family bring their first born male home and all hell breaks loose. I fell asleep through the first film and wasn’t entirely keen on going to see the second one. It does suffer from the same repetition and painfully slow build-up, and ‘just-in-time-exposition’, but it does deliver in the end. I was impressed that I felt the classic hairs-standing-up-on-the back-of-my-neck feeling, and that others in the cinema were jumping left right and centre and the unhappy ending. But I could have done without the pool cleaning equipment porn moments and other repetition. The film could easily have been 30 minutes shorter without sacrificing the experience. If I’d watched this at home on my own I doubtless would have slept through the good bits. I may now actually bother rewatching the first snooze fest.

REC 2 movie poster

  • REC 2 – a brilliant sequel to the first excellent Spanish Cinema Verite zombie movie, which blends the occult, possession and zombism into a terrifying unrelenting mix. This film picks up where the last one left off, the same night, with the female reporter being carted away by a possessed freak, and throws two new bands of curious people into the apartment building looking for answers. As one would expect, each band fall prey to their own stupidity and the hunger of the building’s inhabitants. This film should be watched late at night, alone, in the dark. It will scare the pants off you and make you reach for the light switch when you go to bed. It has a very clever spin on how to make a monster truly terrifying and make use of night vision; something that is rarely seen in the tired horror genres of the last few years.

The collector movie poster

  • THE COLLECTOR – amazingly dark and unflinchingly twisted take on the Slasher film genre, with a thief breaking into a family home, only to find the house rigged with booby traps (ala SAW) and the family all trussed up in various states of disrepair. The titular killer is always one step ahead and seemingly unkillable, or rather the victims are seemingly intent on only maiming and not finishing the job. if you don’t mind that sort of cliché fare then it is well worth a look.

THE LOSERS  poster image

  • THE LOSERS – a weird comic book action movie about an A-TEAM-like band of Special ops characters who fall afoul of an evil CIA operative and barely survive an assassination, when they go against his orders. Their quest to restore their honour and avenge a Helicopter of kids didn’t really float my boat, despite the very slick action sequences. Nor would it interest me to read the original books. But I may rewatch this when I’m in a better frame of mind and hopefully learn to love it.

Anyway, there are far more to mention soon. But that’s it for now.

I never write, I never call

It’s been too long readers. I am a bad man. It’s been a tough two months since I’ve written here and that’s just shoddy. And it’s not going to get easier any time soon. I can’t really go into why it’s all a bit FUBAR, but it is; and S.A.D.S. isn’t helping matters much… Anyway, let’s move on. Things have got to get better eventually right? Posts are going to be a little infrequent. But hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

Transcoding DSLR footage and Radial Dolly

Great article video on using FCP Studio’s Compressor app to Transcode footage for your editing workflow. Obviously the same principles apply to working with iPhone 4 footage etc.

The article: http://filmmakeriq.com/2010/01/the-dslr-filmmakers-workflow/ – and check out all the other articles on the site. There’s some really useful material on there.

The video:

Here’s a great example of what can be shot on the 550D – if you know how – and combined with CG to create a stunning final product:

The 3rd Letter (aka “36 stairs”) trailer from grzegorz jonkajtys on Vimeo.

Nice.

Here’s another great video to show the kind of audio setup you can use to record separate audio and when to use software like Plural Eyes to sync it up later on your timeline for post:

How-to: Shooting ENG style with Dual System Audio on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II from Createasphere on Vimeo.

Yes, my brief encounter with a Canon 550D DSLR has inspired me. I am geeking out on the kind of footage that can be acquired. Especially when you factor in this cunning design for a tabletop Radial / Micro Dolly!

here’s the video to show you how they made it, with example footage: