November 2004

A few random things I meant to blog about

by Suw on November 28, 2004

Time has been short recently, for a variety of reasons, but finally a moment to blog.
Because of filming again on the weekend, i couldn't get to the Apple store opening on Saturday, but I did manage to get over that way on Monday, only to discover that it was full to overflowing. I really have this thing, this almost phobic dislike for shops that are that full, but I forced myself to go in and take at least a brief look round. Saw the new G5 iMac, which is just gorgeous. Looks far better in person than in pictures, if I'm honest.
The London Apple Store
I had hoped to get some new memory in my laptop at the Apple store, but it was not to be. As it happened, I was walking down New Oxford Street when I came across another Apple dealer, so popped into there to see how much some more memory would cost. Their prices were pretty good, and they could do it for me there and then, so I now have the grand total of 640mb RAM. I could get more, it's true, but this will suffice for now. Makes a big difference to how this tibook works, so I'm very happy.
Tuesday night I went to the Big Issue Film Festival screening because my mate Pete Devonald had written one of the films that made it through to the final. I have to say, most of the films that did were shite. Pete's was great, and not just because it was Pete's. Most of the stuff shown was worthy shit, with weak narratives, poor character arcs and tedious subject matter. It seems that subjects such as 'social issues' bring out the worst in most film makers. Pete's film, Beggar's Belief, was one of three that actually entertained as well as informed or communicated a message. The others were basically just wrist-slitting tedium.
Still always fun to sit about talking film with a bunch of like-minded scriptwriters. Makes me feel a little less like some weird, delusional nut.
Thursday night I was delighted to have dinner with Jimmy Wales, of Wikipedia fame. Really enjoyed talking with him – he has a fascinating perspective on a lot of things, not least of all wikis. Joi has been urging me to get more involved with the Welsh Wicipedia venture, and Jimmy's completed my conversion, so gonna try to find some spare moments to do stuff with it if I can.
So, this is my first weekend at 'home' in four weeks, and on Monday Svetlana and her boyfriend return from their holiday. I have to admit, I'm a bit sad – I've sort of settled in here rather nicely and have enjoyed my own space. I'll be staying in London til Christmas, then back to Dorset for the festive season, then back here for January at least.
Part of me is actually rather enjoying my current nomadic, rootless existence. I've been a bit all over the place this year, particularly the last few months, and yet somehow it seems more of a blessing than a curse. Maybe that's because of the contrast between the last few months and the last three years, much of which I spent stuck on my own in a maisonette in Reading with my nose plastered against my monitor. This current situation is infinitely better.

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Nothing Travels Faster Than Bad News

by Suw on November 26, 2004

The film itself is not going to be finished before the New Year, but Vince has cut together this trailer, which I think looks damn spiffy. Moderate your expectations for the finished thing, though – trailers are easy to sex up and the short still needs a lot of work. Anyway, this gives you a taster.

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It's been a while…

by Suw on November 21, 2004

…Since I last posted about what I'm up to, rather than stuff about ads or whatever. Been amazingly busy lately, so blogging has had to take a back seat really. So, a quick update:
Last weekend we were filming all weekend in London. We had to repeat some of the same scenes that we'd filmed in August, but which hadn't come out right. It was good to redo them – for a start this time round I knew how to use the camera so that made it much easier. Secondly, I think the acting was better too. Well, in so far as my acting could be described as 'better' – I'm not sure that there's gradations of terrible.
Saturday night, Vince and I went into London with John Rochester, Gary Turner and Tom Reynolds for a pint or two. Tom passed on Joey's present of a Shaun of the Dead trucker's cap, which was gratefully received:
Aim for the head
Then dinner with Ross Mayfield on Tuesday night, which was a great evening out. Ross is a complete darling and a fascinating conversationalist. Wish I'd had a bit more time to talk to him, but I guess I'll just have to go over to the States and look him up on home turf. Also enjoyed speaking to a whole bunch of other really cool people. Photos from the event on Ross', Dave's and James' Flickr streams and on Beth's site. As usual, I took my camera and never got it out of my bag.
Did some more filming today – pick up shots of Vince and some 'documentary' footage to go with our outtakes. At this rate, all that footage cut together will be longer than the film itself. Still, it was kinda fun. Scarily easy to talk bollocks about the film for 40 uninterrupted minutes.
Off into town tomorrow and Tuesday. Svet's back in a week so gotta make the most of it.

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Jacques, Jacques, Jacques your Citroen

by Suw on November 20, 2004

Best ad on TV since the Honda Cog is the Citroen C4 Transformer ad, where a Citroen C4 turns into a Transformer robot and grooves on down to Jacques Your Body by Les Rhythmes Digitales. From

The commercial is part of a new European promotion campaign for the C4 small car and features a coupe model that, sensing it is alone in a car park, transforms itself into a towering robot that dances to a popular dance club single.
As its unsuspecting owner approaches the robot turns back into a car.

Wonder what this will do for downloads of Jacques Your Body

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Thank you, AccordionGuy!

by Suw on November 16, 2004

A while back Joey de Villa, aka AccordionGuy, asked me if I would like to be the proud owner of a Shaun of the Dead trucker's cap. Obviously I refused, having no interest in the film or the film makers or in owning a truckers cap at all whatsoever. Joey was, however, extraordinarily persistant and I crumbled in the face of his continual nagging.
As luck would have it, only a couple of weeks ago Tom nothisrealname Reynolds went over to Accordion City to take part in Joey's joint birthday and engagement to the lovely Wendy party. Whilst there, Joey pressed the trucker cap urgently into Tom's hand, forcing him to stash it in his luggage, smuggle it through Customs – who come down harshly upon anyone caught bringing zombie-related materials in to the UK – and pass it on to me.
I saw Tom on Saturday, at which time he nailed the aforementioned cap to my head, refusing to let me take it off at any juncture. Thusly coerced and littler than he is, I was forced to wear said cap much against my will and suffered great anxiety, trauma and anguish. There are photos, but they are at this precise point in time stuck on John's camera, so we'll all have to wait for titillating pics of a Suw in utmost distress.
Anyway, multitudinous thanks to Joey and Tom. You've made me even more of a fanboy than I was before, a feat I never thought possible. I shall be forever grateful. Or at least until next Thursday.

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Please ban Band Aid 20

by Suw on November 16, 2004

Good cause, crap song. Fucking awful song. I mean, really, really bad. They've just played it on XFM and my god, it sounds like it was mixed by someone with their head stuck in a bucket. The voices are so low in the mix as to be essentially absent, the piano part sucks and the big finale overblown guitar rock ending sucks so hard it blows. I have no problem with the idea of Band Aid 20, indeed I think it's an important cause, but please, stop the aural abuse! I'll buy it if radio stations promise not to play it. In fact, if I had the money I'd buy every single copy just to save the world from this abomination.
UPDATE: Please note this very important distinction: Cause good. Song bad.

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The guys over at Oh My God It Burns! have done the world a great service today with the publication of their scientific paper, Practical Applications of the Philosopher's Stone. For Drunks.
The theory is that cheap vodka sucks because impurities result in excessive burning, a 'repugnant aftertaste' and a 'bouquet reminiscent of rubbing alcohol'. Not to mention the hangover from hell. Thus, if you remove the impurities you improve the taste and bouquet and minimise any hangover.
The only question then is how best to remove the impurities? Well, turns out that a Britta activated charcoal water filter does the job beautifully. Get the cheapest crappy vodka you can find, run it through a Britta filter four or five times and bingo, a major improvement in bouquet, burn and aftertaste.
Personally, I think these results cast a shadow over even my great chocolate vodka experiment, which now looks a little paltry by comparison. So congratulations to the scienticians over that OMGIB – keep up the good work, guys.
(Thanks Jeremy.)

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Dinner with Ross Mayfield

by Suw on November 12, 2004

Ross is over in the UK for a brief visit so there are plans afoot for dinner on Tuesday 16 Nov with him and a bunch of other cool people somewhere in central London. If you're interested in social tools in business, or just want to hang with Ross, then let Allan Engelhardt know and don't forget to include your email address so he can tell you where dinner's actually going to be.

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by Suw on November 10, 2004

Oooooh. A bit tmi, but get well soon, Euan.

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Ooh! Blood!!

by Suw on November 8, 2004

It's been a while since I was last at a shoot for Nothing Travels Faster Than Bad News, and I admit that I had somewhat forgotten what it is that draws me to the whole film making business. It's easy to forget – day to day life can make things like film shoots fade into the background a bit too much.
Yesterday we were shooting in Leeds at Vince's flat. He'd managed to pull together the required cast and and more crew than before. He'd even managed to find a photographer, Nicola, to take stills of the day.
Shooting in the lift
Preparation was minimal, as usual: no one really knew their lines, storyboards were done first thing that morning and I had to duck out to get vital props before we'd even had lunch. Although, technically, we didn't actually have lunch until about 7pm.
Despite the general lack of advanced planning, though, we had a really good day. We got the shots we needed, (including a few that Vince thought up on the spur of the moment), I got to play with the camera lots and, even better than that, I got to concoct some SFX make-up.
Fake fake blood
In the absence of real fake blood I made some fake fake blood – cochineal, glycerine and flour. Actually looked really good, although it stained something horrible. (Tip: if you ever need to fake a port wine stain, then cochineal is just perfect for it, although be prepared to grow it out rather than wash it out.)
The bloody nose
Still, a thin film of vaseline first neatly stops the fake fake blood from coming into contact with the skin. Works rather well too. My only complaint now is that there just wasn't enough blood in the film. I want more blood! And squibs! And headshots!
We have a shoot in London next weekend, during which I have to redo my part. The colour balance was shot last time and the footage was unusable. The quality of my acting I shan't comment on. Then there's one last shoot in Derby, and then it's all down to Vince's editing skills. With any luck, we should get a version to put online before Christmas.
Anyway, thanks to Seb, Carl, Rich, Adam and Nicola. If you're curious, there are more photos on Flickr.

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Mad busy

November 5, 2004

No convergence twixt feet and ground this week, and none for the foreseeable future. Two film shoots this weekend and next in Leeds and London respectively. That should be Bad News finished, I hope. Vince is gonna edit it up before Christmas so hopefully we'll have something to show you soon. Although don't be expecting […]

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Wicipedia Cymraeg – pwysig iawn ar gyfer yr iaith

November 4, 2004

O'n i'n siarad â Joi Ito am Wicipedia – y gwyddoniadur arlein – pan penderfynodd o i fy nghyflwyno fi i'i ffrind di, Elian, sy'n gweithio ar Wicipedia yn yr Almaeneg. Maen nhw gyda'i gilydd wedi fy mherswadio fi i dechrau helpu efo'r Wicipedia Cymraeg. Dw i ddim wedi defnyddio Wicipedia yn aml, ond gwylies […]

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Shaun vs. Dawn

November 1, 2004

Before I start this post, I feel you need a bit of context. That context is that I am a wuss. A great big girl's blouse. Completely chicken. When I was a kid I would watch Dr Who from behind the sofa. And I'm not exaggerating. I refuse to watch any film or TV series […]

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