Thursday, 28 February 2013

(Wednes) Day from Hell

Leave work.
Go gym.
Get home.
Realise keys have vanished.
Tear bag apart in the porch’s half-light looking for them.
Realise spare keys are at the Parents’, who are abroad.
Backtrack through Oldham.
Revisit gym.
Revisit work.
No joy.
Phone the housing people.
Agree to £44 charge to get locks changed.
Go home again.
Get lock mechanism drilled open.
Get into flat and lay stuff out in the full light of the lounge.
Find old keys between a bubble-wrapped envelope and the novel inside it, before the guy has even finished changing the locks.
Thank the guy; get new keys.
Eat, thus not dying of starvation / exhaustion.
Reach for 50.5% Wild Turkey. Drink substantial amount.
Realise most private housing firms / independent locksmiths would charge double what I payed.
Accept that shit happens.
Fall asleep.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Once Upon a Time...

This week’s Writer’s Connect was held in Manchester’s Waterhouse, a JD Wetherspoon pub on Princess Street. With its stone walls separating the venues into smaller and more private rooms, it’s perfect for a writer’s meeting. The food is awesome too. The group could be sticking with this venue, so by all means join us there.

For the exercise this week, we started off with this phrase:

Once upon a time, there was a”

This was the opening phrase of our vignettes.

We then each took a slip of paper and wrote a noun on this slip. If you do this, make sure your nouns are countable nouns, like “box”, “horse”, or “car”, not uncountable nouns like “water”, “music”, or “love”.

We each folded up the slip, threw it into a pile, shuffled the pile and picked a slip back out at random.

This word was to come after our opening phrase.

We were to tie up the vignette with this phrase:

And they all lived happily ever after.”

With 10 minutes on the clock, we each knocked out a story. My word was “foot”. Here was my attempt:

Once upon a time there was a foot. The foot was, for the duration of its life, a fully functioning part of Fred's body. The foot, along with his brother, also a foot, allowed Fred to stand and balance. In fact, he allowed Fred to do many things. Fred was a Mixed Martial Artist, and the foot, along with the hands, arms, head and torso, all had roles to play in Fred’s career. The body parts dedicated themselves to Fred’s cause- winning fights. All, that was, except the foot.

The foot had a tendency to play up, to annoy Fred. On occasion, the foot would land in a funny way, or scrunch up its toes during a takedown. This would result in Fred’s opponent crushing the foot under their combined body weight. As punishment, Fred would put the foot in a bucket of ice for minutes on end. Sometimes, the foot thought it would fall straight off in the searing, numbing cold. But no, the foot would continue to play up.

Fred talked to the foot, on occasion. “I can’t afford for you to play up again this way,” Fred said. “Please don’t let me lose this fight.”

The foot, pressured by the rest of the body, begrudgingly agreed.

During the fight, when the whole body felt pain and tiredness and an overwhelming desire to stay in one piece, the foot stayed strong and steadied Fred. But, on the floor, Fred’s opponent took hold of the foot.

The foot fought valiantly, but the opponent locked up the foot in a painful gogoplata, and Fred tapped out.

After the fight, Fred dunked his whole body into the ice as punishment for a collective failure. But there were no lasting injuries to Fred. A few bruises would heal, but he was grateful that there were no sprains to his feet, hands, arms, legs, head or torso. The body parts healed over a few days, and they all lived happily ever after.

So. I managed it. I must point out, though, that where I wrote gogoplata, I actually meant “toehold”. A toehold looks like this:

Whereas a gogoplata looks like this:

What a mistake to make. Now the whole thing seems silly!

Ho ho.

One of the drawbacks to timed writing exercises is that you can't proofread what you write. You've just got to fire it out and see what you come out with when the timer goes.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Three Strikes: Week 13

The innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great Nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast

-Macbeth, Act 2 Scene 2

I suppose the main achievement of my week is my first decent night's sleep in a long while, thanks to largely to this bad boy:

It's apparently somewhere between Kalms and popstar killer Propofol. It certainly put me out. I'm not taking one now until I NEED to. They are, apparently, scarily addictive. That's what I call a balm of hurt minds.

What is bizarre is that I've overcome the majority of my problems, so why can't I sleep now? Work's going good, social life pretty good, I eat well, including whole bunches of bananas (known for sugar-balancing, sleep-assisting properties), and more records smashed at the gym. But apparently, insomnia just happens regardless. So pills it is.

5 gym improvements this week:
10 minute run: up 3 speeds
Abs machine, 3 discs, 50 reps: up 1 notch
Pulley pull-ups (lifting the bar from waist to chin): up 1 notch

Anyway. I need to stop using the computer before bed. This is, apparently, part of the problem. 'Scuse me while I take great nature's second course.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Minestrone Soup Broke my Brain

Well, it was only a matter of time before The Hairy Dieters offered up a “complicated” recipe. The problem I found with this dish was the sheer volume of different ingredients- and steps in the process- required to make the soup. My kitchen just doesn't accommodate that volume of food! And my brain doesn't accommodate all that information!

The process of preparing for this soup took AGES. I cut the tomatoes and dunked them in boiling water to slip off the skin, but I didn't leave them in the water long enough. THD says cook it all in a saucepan. A big fuck-off wok was more appropriate. I don't know whether I got the water levels wrong, but it came out thick: more like stew than soup. But I've got to be honest: It tasted better than I thought it was going to. And at least I've got something to eat for the next few days.

Having said that, the process was no more complicated than some of the other recipes I've cooked. I think when I looked at the ingredients list and the recipe, I thought, fuck, this looks hard. But it actually isn't that taxing to do. It just takes time. I'm learning to cook in order to seek out these revelations. I don't want to be able to just say, “I learned to make Minestrone.” I want to be able to say, “I didn't think I'd be able to make Minestrone, but I did anyway. And it came out good.” And if I can achieve that with Minestrone, I can do it with anything else, right?

Friday, 22 February 2013

Where are all the screenplay people?

What is a good screenplay? I kept asking myself. And pretty soon I started getting some answers. When you read a good screenplay, you know it— it's evident from page one, word one. The style, the way the words are laid out on the page, the way the story is set up, the grasp of dramatic situation, the introduction of the main character, the basic premise or problem of the screenplay—it's all set up in the first few pages of the script: Chinatown, Five Easy Pieces, The Godfather, The French Connection, Shampoo, and All the President's Men are all perfect examples.”
-Syd Field, Foundations of Screenwriting

I've just spent a month attempting to learn as much as I could about thefield of screenwriting, a minute sector- but ultimately the backbone- of the visual entertainment industry.

It's also seemingly a minute sector of the online writing community, and of the creative writing scene in Manchester. Finding people who know about screenwriting and who ready to share their knowledge is no easy feat. There's a plethora of fiction feedback groups, both who meet in person and who meet online, but screenplay writing is nowhere near as prevalent. Throughout the month, I had to broaden out what I was looking for.

By searching for information on screenwriting in general, and asking around on social media sites, I met a handful of people who work in the screenwriting / film making industry, and got some valuable feedback on my synopsis for Once Upon a Time in Manchester, my political terrorism script. (Let's say it needs a lot of work.) I found a few websites that looked helpful to those who were at the first draft stage. I've written a first draft, but I wanted synopsis feedback first- so I may have to come back to these sites later in the year to try them out. I found TONS of .pdf resources through a contact, which has made fascinating reading the last few weeks. But essentially, I've not been ready to rewrite the script, I've not actually used the websites and I've not made progress with any other screenplays, aside digging out the first screenplay I ever wrote.

Diner- later retitled Restaurant, although I can't find my draft with that name anywhere- was a script I scribbled out on my lunch breaks in 5th form. And it shows. The dialogue is weird, all the characters sound like a zany 15-year-old boy (i.e. a younger me) and the action is a little jolty as well. It needs a lot of work. But it's got potential. I've had a quick butchers at it and made a few notes, but when I will dedicate the time to tweaking it, I don't know.

So- results? Screenplay info is thin on the ground, but it's out there to be found with a bit of determined rummaging.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Ten Handy Tips to Sharpen Up Your Writers' Meeting

I've been a member of feedback group Writers Connect for a few years now. Prior to that, I've visited a number of other, less successful, creative writing groups that have operated in different ways. The methods people use in their groups may vary, and the way writers interact can affect the dynamics of the meeting. It can also affect the outcome of the finished pieces of writing. I'm no expert, but I was wondering: what can we do to make sure a group is as productive as possible? Drawing on experience, here's my ten most-helpful pointers that could assist you or your writers group.

  1. Pick a venue with a reasonable noise level. You'll be reading out work to a good number of people, so not a library. But also, avoid bars with blaring music, high walls or too much background chatter. Perhaps a coffee shop?
  2. Your venue should have tables that can accommodate you all; where you can sit around as a group and still hear each other.
  3. Start the meeting with a warm-up writing exercise. Have a look through this blog for examples. Before you set the timer, suggest everyone writes double-spaced so each person can fill in ideas as they go along, or cross out and replace words. After the timer has gone, let the group members read out their pieces.
  4. Whether reading out the results of the exercise, or a piece they have brought in for critique, remind readers to project their voice. Each reader should speaking loud enough for the person in the group sat furthest away from them to comfortably hear them.
  5. Relax when reading. Reading out your work to a group of unknowns can be uncomfortable the first few times, but remember that everyone at the group has been there- some may still be. I find it helps to go into the world of the story- forget you're sat at the table at the venue in town, surrounded by readers. Be with your characters.
  6. Our group organiser allows us to email our stories to her if we have printer problems. That way she can print them and bring them to the meet-up for us. If you're a kind organiser, suggest this to the group (but only bring it up when someone says they have had printer problems).
  7. If you use a website like Facebook or Meet-ups to organise the group, it's up to each person to update their activities on the site. If you plan to attend the meeting, let the group know- then turn up. If you realise you can't make it, update people. In our group, we find that a lot of people confirm their attendance online but fail to show on the day. It's fair enough that problems arise and that you might not be able to attend, but in an era with mobile internet, it shouldn't be too hard to correct your plans online.
  8. You might find the opening moments of the meeting are a good time to share any writing-related information people might have- any publications people have achieved, any resources found like feedback websites or good advice books, or any events that might be running like fiction or poetry nights in the area. Or, to save time at the meeting, you might want to encourage members to post these findings on the website.
  9. Turn up on time. If you're late, you might have less time to perform the exercise, and if you miss that totally, you may miss the beginning of the first story. How effective could your feedback be if you don't know as much as everyone else?
  10. Get a good night's sleep before the meeting. Our meet-ups are on Sunday afternoons. There has been a few times where I'd been out the night before, woken up in time for the meeting and thought, “well, I'm awake. I might as well go.” I've then been drifting off in the middle of the meeting and people have had to turn over the pages of the printed stories for me. Embarrassing.

Some of these pointers may seem obvious, but mistakes do happen on occasion. Get on top of these ten and you'll have an effective, enjoyable and powerful writing group. Can you suggest other ideas?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Year of Making Love: 3

Episodes 2 and 3 of BBC3's scientific matchmaking show The Year of Making Love were just as entertaining as the first. I was part of this show. So far, the majority of my filming hasn't aired, although I was shown for the second time last night- for one epic second again.

I'm really surprised how engaging the show is- I normally shun television unless it's South Park or Family Guy, but I've really got into YOML. The show normally trends on Twitter during airing, so get online to see what the public reaction is. Presumably, I'm one of the subjects in the next three shows...

Monday nights. 9pm. BBC3.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Three Strikes: Week 12

When people want to know what screenwriting is all about, I have a
stock answer: It's simple- it's telling exciting stories about exciting people
in an exciting form. That's all there is to it.

-The Tools of Screenwriting, David Howard and Edward Mabley

Things are coming together. My work hours have changed. I'm now doing more full days. Less travelling. More working with public. More time to fill on other days. Happier.

I've spent the week reading up on screenplay advice and searching websites. I've rewritten a synopsis. My self-imposed deadline for my Screenplay Month is Thursday. I think a bit more reading is all I'm going to manage. Full details to follow.

I've started on the protein shakes!

This is the vanilla flavour Magnum. I've been taking it after every gym session. If you want to give it a shot, Magnum is the best value. I've found it tastes better mixed with milk as opposed to water. I'd also suggest you clean out your protein shaker straight away after drinking, before it stinks out your house.

Since 11/2 I've continued to improve at the gym.

10-minute run up 4 speeds
Abs machine, doing 50 reps with three discs in addition to the weight plates- I've set a good personal best and then beaten it.

So these things are moving forward. Aside from a complete absence of nights out and a terrible bout of insomnia, all is well in the Tuckeyverse...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Lucky Dip

Last week's Writers Connect meeting was at The Moon Under The Water pub on Deansgate, Manchester. We changed from Costa Coffee in the Arndle's Waterstones after the manager kicked up a fuss about us moving the tables. We're quite a burgeoning group now, with around 15 attendees turning up each session, so we looked at other places to accommodate us. I suggested the Wetherspoons pub as it was once the largest in Britain, and we'd be sure to find an area we could all work in.

Unfortunately, because of the venue's high roof, and because the pub is basically one rarge room on 2 levels, it wasn't the best place for a reading group. Too much background noise, too much echo and too much leaning forward to be able to hear people reading their pieces made this hard work.

Never mind- we'll keep our eyes peeled for a better venue for a group of aspiring writers. Any suggestions? I was thinking perhaps Brew Dog on Peter Street...?

Anyway. For the writing exercise, organiser Oz brought in an opaque bag filled with random objects. We each “lucky dipped” and pulled out one of these items. We then had 15 minutes to write a vignette based on that object. Here's mine:

Of course, when you're touring a new city in the heat of summer and you're glancing upwards at the glassy, reflective metropolis, you don't wear Wayfarers. The lenses might be protective enough to block out the rays, but when you're turning from street to street, checking out one landmark or some other street drama troupe, you're still going to be dazzled, and not necessarily by the talent.

That's why I'm wearing wraparounds, much to my wife's bemusement. They're for teens, she says, in hopefully mock self pity.

It could be the next tiny blow to our marriage, and this trip to the city is a vain attempt to glue us back together as a couple. It isn't working, though. I'm no longer looking at the buildings. These wraparounds are turning me into a total perv.

She'd always say she couldn't see things from my perspective- fitting, now that my eyes are totally covered and I can glance whichever way that I want.

The next building is covered in scaffolding, which is surprising as it doesn't look that old.

Look at that,” I say. “They didn't plan that well, did they? It's crumbling already.”

She raises her eyebrows. “Well, some things are just badly planned from the start, aren't they?” She says.

We've been playing this charade all holiday. That's when I notice the loose scaffold pole drop from the next floor up. I hesitate.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Have You Used Trigger Street Labs?

I had a quick butchers' at Trigger Street Labs, an online screenwriting resource. The site offers an opportunity to upload your screenplay to be read and critiqued by other site members. It also allows filmmakers to upload finished short films by embedding their Youtube videos onto the site. There was a third subheading on the opening page for short stories.

It sounded like just the webpage I was looking for, but alas- each uploaded screenplay must be no less than 90 pages. At roughly 45, mine is way too short. Also, uploaded scripts must be converted to .pdf. Admittedly, I've no idea how to do that.

Regardless, I was looking for feedback on the structure, the synopsis, so I could redraft that stage. I wanted to tighten the plot before hammering into another draft of the script. But Trigger Street Labs doesn't seem to offer feedback for that stage. It's a very strange site- the page is designed with large symbols for each section of the site, but these symbols don't represent links to other pages. 

To the site's credit, the scripts and ideas portrayed in them look good. There are a few original ideas knocking about here. I'd need more time to sit and read the full scripts though- giving screenwriting feedback takes more dedication than reviewing a short story or poem does. I've received feedback on my synopsis elsewhere, so after I've rewritten that stage and then rewritten the script itself, I might throw it up on Trigger Street Labs.

Have you dabbled in this site? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Minted Pea and Feta Omlette

So, what have we here? Tinned ham, tinned peas, and omelette. You've prepared a feast, Jones.

-Henry (Christopher Eccleston) makes the best of a bad situation (namely an outbreak of psychotic zombies) in 28 Days Later.

My minted pea and feta omelette was far superior to Jones', mostly because I had fresh ingredients. Oh, and I didn't have to defend myself against swathes of undead whilst cooking (unless you count the preceding trip to Tesco to buy the ingredients).

This was pretty simple and pretty tasty. The only problem I faced was that my scales were made for measurements much larger than those needed in this recipe, so pouring out 30-40 grams of food wasn't easy.

The Hairy Dieters cookbook is making me wonder why I slogged my guts out on Keda Black's Classics. THD is so easy in comparison, and so much tastier as well. The amount of effort I put into the first few meals from the first cookbook was ridiculous. The majority of recipes in the THD are high in protein, so they're perfect for people like me who are trying to boost strength.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Three Strikes: Week 11

Wowsers. I was on TV this week. I took part in The Year of Making Love last year, a TV show for BBC3. Details here. I could be on again in more detail in some of the subsequent episodes. So stay tuned! Mondays, 9pm.

I'm making steady progress on my scriptwriting challenge. I've got the new ink cartidge in the printer and printed off a synopsis I wrote for a feature film. Today I took it to feedback group Writers Connect, and the group gave me a few handy pointers. I've also got hold of a lot of written advice in PDF form. If I'm required to sit and read, that's what I'll do!

Django Unchained. Pretty good. Not keen on the use of rap music in a film set in the 1800s. Nor was I keen on Tarantino's terrible aussie (?) accent. Christoph Waltz (Col. Hanz Landa in Inglourious Basterds) shines again as Dr. King Schultz. I noticed a few stylistic nods to other films (The “n***** on a horse” idea was explored in Blazing Saddles, and the dual-gun shootout scene was no doubt a hat tip to John Woo's movies). Worth watching. Tarantino's characterisations are becoming more diverse, but his actual storytelling has reached a plateau. I've said this before- he needs to go back to simple, hard-boiled gangster movies.

This week I bought a huge bag of Magnum protein shake from XXL Supplies in Stockport. I've been looking around for a good deal on shakes, and this place seems to have the best offers according to my Facebook friends. (A lot are MMA fighters, so they know what they're talking about.) I start on it tomorrow!

I'm still sharpening up at the gym. Abdominal machine is up 1 notch. I've been stuck at this weight since September last year, and I've finally smashed it. Persistance is key. (I allow myself infinite strikes on abs movements, as I'm so obsessed with getting this mythical six-pack back.) My 10-minute run is up 3 speeds. This should shave off the fat in enough time, getting me the physique I once had.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Prawn and Chive Omlette

Ha-ha. Yeah, you sneaky fookin' prawns, heh?
-Wikus (Sharlto Copley) referring to the prawn-like aliens who have taken up residence in his home town in District 9 (2009).

The first one-pan dish in the Hairy Dieters cookbook is Prawn and Chive Omlette. I used real prawns from Tesco's fish counter, as opposed to fictional aliens.

This was a pretty simple meal to start off with, so kudos to the authors / editors for putting this at the beginning of the section.

I made a few errors due to my ridiculous memory- I listed out everything I needed, but not the quantities. So, at the fish counter in Tesco, I guessed at about 80g of prawns. The recipe lists 100g. Also, the instructions end with “serve with salad”. There was no mention of salad in the ingredients. I tend not to think outside the box when it comes to cooking- I just do what it says so I don't get it wrong. I didn't have any salad in at that point. Oh well!

It was nice though, and I surprised myself again with what I achieved. It wasn't that difficult at all. Small steps.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Duotrope Goes Paid

Online literature resource Duotrope, once a free haven to find markets for your poem or short story, has now gone subscription-only. There's now a $5 monthly fee to get access to the thousands of magazines looking for submissions.

The site has been surviving for many years through donations, but a circular went out explaining that these targets had not been hit for a number of months, and the site admins had no choice but to start to charge users.

It's been great having the site to find markets for stories, and I owe a hat-tip to Duotrope with regards to the majority of my published work. It was also a good place to search for free short literature, if you had a spare half hour. I used the site sporadically to find markets so a $5 monthly fee wouldn't really work for me now.

I've found a small closed group on Facebook that is sharing information about publishing markets, but I'm keen to see what else there is out there to help the struggling scribe. Can you advise?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Thursday Night Alchemy

Manchester's ailing night life scene received a shot in the arm last year with the opening of 2 branches of The Alchemist, ran by Living Ventures who brought you the upmarket Living Room franchise.

I went on a date there last week (go me!). Of course, I went to the wrong branch and ended up legging it across the city centre from The Spinning fields area to New York Street (off Portland St at the top of Piccadilly Gardens). But I still got there on time, just as Dustin Hoffman classic The Graduate was silently starting via projector on one wall and the bar staff were firing up various cocktails using what looked like Bunsen burners and other metallic utensils. Chilled out house music set the mood.

I asked one of the girls behind the bar about drinks, and was surprised by her knowledge of scotch whiskies and American imports. She picked me out a good U.S brand that made a good alternative to Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort. Prices were competitive to upmarket venues, shall we say.

Unfortunately the toilets spoiled what could have been an outstanding venue. The restrooms can frequently be the Achilles Heel of many a fine bar, and the gents' in the New York Street venue were no exeption: the overflowing bin and broken hand dryer put a damper on what could have been a top-notch venue. I was there on Thursday- perhaps at the weekend they'd have a toilet assistant keeping an eye on things.

The Alchemist brings a new science to the bar scene. Despite being there on a date, though, the only chemistry I experienced was being served up in liquid form by the staff.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Year of Making Love: 2

Did all of you see my one second of fame on BBC3 last night? They showed me walking through the entrance hall into the building. The scenes in Oldham and the behind-the-scenes shots weren't shown... not in last night's episode, at least. But BBC3 are running more episodes over the next few days, with a repeat of last night's show on tonight at 8pm. Don't miss it. It's surprisingly entertaining TV, even without me.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Year of Making Love

Okay, people. There's a small possibility that I could be on TV tonight. The Year of Making Love is a mass-scale matchmaking programme on BBC3, filmed nearly a year ago that I've been keeping quiet about (aside from about 20 Facebook statuses.)

I'm struggling to remember where I saw the advert for this, calling for contributors- somewhere on the internet; probably Twitter. But anyway. I applied a year ago.

I got the phone call from Fever Media, who were making the show for the BBC, and gave a telephone interview about my sparse and bunny-boiler-laiden dating history. They loved me. They asked me to audition, so I went down to MediaCity at Salford Quays for more questioning. I think the fact that I've dated so many nutters was one of the things that drew them in, along with the memory difficulties I have that I feel makes me a little different, shall we say. They chose me as a “subject”- one of the people the program would focus on throughout the year.

I filled out a questionnaire about the kind of person I am in relationships, this being the “science” by which we were being paired up. This took some guesswork on my part.

Fever met me again to film a few segments- spending time with friends at my house (we couldn't get clearance for any bars), me updating this blog, which potentially could get me THOUSANDS of hits (the most exciting part of the whole process), me walking into work (we couldn't get clearance from my employer to film inside) and me for some reason making a sandwich. It will be gloriously horrific television.

A week later, they put me on a coach full of northern participants to Bedford, to a giant function-hall that could house the 500 men and 500 women. It was an awesome day. I got VIP treatment as the cameras followed me off the coach into the building, jumping the signing-in queue. I gave an interview before the event started, telling of how I hoped everything was going to work out, and then the mass-scale matching began, with numbers being read out for hours, and participants meeting on stage to walk down the isle to the back of the stadium- a scientifically matched “couple.” I was fortunate enough to be called up after an hour or so of matches.

So, the big question is, how was the match?

Well, she seemed like a nice girl and everything, but I just didn't fancy her. This was massively annoying as, looking around the stadium, I could see plenty of girls I'd have loved to be put with. We walked to the back of the stadium where we were greeted with champagne, and my cameraman / wingman filmed us having a very awkward getting-to-know-you conversation, and I desparately- DESPARATELY- tried to come across as a normal, likeable guy. But when I know, I know. I'm black-and-white about women. We didn't meet up after that.

Over the next few days Fever were asking me if I fancied “just giving it a shot”, but I'm not that fame hungry to lead someone on in that way.

I've not been allowed to talk about it, but I suppose it's late enough now.

I must make one thing clear, though: despite me doing all of this, I might not even be on the show at all. There was another advert on Facebook for contributors some months later, as if they were trying to brush over the whole first attempt at the show and start afresh. Which was weird. The organisation and the man power and the time and- of course- the EXPENSE of putting a show like this together must have been gargantuan. What production company would want to go through all of that again for a series?

My guess is that there were so few people that stayed with their matches that they needed to film it again in an attempt to find couples who might stay together. From the Facebook group I gathered that most “couples” weren't good matches and that the “science” hadn't just failed me- it had failed most of us.

So, here's the trailer. I was definitely there on the day of the matching. I specifically remember the lesbian in the tux. I have no idea whether there was a second event, but the video footage is exactly as I remember it. It was a very memorable, enjoyable day and I've no regrets.

So who knows. Maybe I'm on it. Maybe I'm not. Either way, it's BBC 3, 9pm, Tonight. It's a series as well, so I might not be on the first episode.

Check out the BBC's content. It's running every night this week.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Three Strikes: Week 10

Oh my god. What a week.

Get this: American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis has scripted a new movie The Canyons, which IMDB is describing as “Youth, glamor, sex and Los Angeles”- a fitting summary of Ellis' style and genre of choice. I can't wait for it. Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader is directing, in an interesting switch of their traditional roles. I'm looking forward to it. The point of me mentioning this is that the cinematographer, John DeFazio, was briefly following me on Twitter.

I know, I know. That is the shittest claim to fame in the history of anything. I've seen people do this before- they're promoting something they're doing, maybe a film or a book, or they're releasing a new album. So these flash-in-the-pan wannabes jump onto Twitter and follow thousands of people in one splurge, then unfollow them all a few days later. Out of all of these people, a good portion will follow back- and that's how they promote what they're doing to their audience. I'm already following Bret Easton Ellis, so I'm guessing DeFazio raided Ellis' follower list to choose his own temporary followings.

Go on then, DeFazio. I'll follow you for what it's worth. You seem pretty funny.

On the subject of humour, I wrote “the wittiest thing on the internet” this week:

On a more serious note, I'm spending this month investigating screenwriting

Screenwriting resources are generally a little thin on the ground to begin with, no matter where you live, but in my area there's particularly little. However, I did find out that my local theatre, Oldham Coliseum, runs a script reading service. I'm interested to know what they think of my terrorism-in-Manchester screenplay, although I'm tempted to have another bash at the actual text first. I wrote it a while ago and my own abilities have sharpened up since then.

I've managed to make a few screenwriting connections over Facebook by asking around, and I've received some helpful feedback on the updated synopsis. I've also been advised to check a few websites that I'll be reviewing here.

Oh, and I got 5 new personal bests out of 3 gym sessions.

Floor to chin pull-ups up 1 notch
10-minute run up 2 speeds
Pulley jab up 2 notches

So mix all of this in with a Christening, a date, the construction of a shelving unit and a couple more nights out and you'll be as busy as me.