29 July 2005

Flat Characters and Slow Plot but Very Funny and Authentic Dialogue

It's official, I accept I didn't make the cut :-( The first script I've properly produced and it never made the "long list" in the BBC's competition The Last Laugh. Basically you had to choose a half written sitcom and write the second half. The winning one would be made into a pilot. I chose "Good Morning Miss Milton" by Paul Mayhew-Archer (writer of Vicar of Dibley) which is set in a primary school. While it didn't make the cut, here are what some semi-professional writers said about my work: "Some very good lines" "I thought the dialogue flowed very smoothly; however the overall feel I got from the script was comedy-drama rather than sitcom" "I didn't feel that all of your dialogue was necessary, and maybe if you had got rid of some of this aimless or semi-humorous dialogue, it would have given you more room to put in better jokes, which judging from the best bits of this, you could have done." "I must compliment you on the actual dialogue which was natural and efficient." I'm sure that's got you interested, so here is the original start of the show (copyright BBC) and having read that you can read my ending. Comments are very welcome.

28 July 2005

US Neuters Crazy Frog; Bill Gates Involved With Aliens

Hmmm. Damn US companies. First off The Register is reporting that the Crazy Frog's wedding tackle has been snipped off by iTunes. The US release of the Axel F single has a picture of him less his cocktail sausage whilst straddling a huge phallic rocket. In other Register reported news, Micro$oft's new map website seems to be missing several areas of the Nevada desert, yet Google maps managed to show the satellite pictures of a military base that doesn't exist.

27 July 2005

Fantastic Four - Michael Chiklis Rocks, Some Others Are Okay

There's only one reason to see the Fantastic Four ... and it's not to see Jessica Alba in her underwear (hint: watch Sin City, everyone strips in that, even the men). Out of the four characters, the only one I ever actually liked was The Thing aka Ben Grimm. Michael Chiklis (star of The Shield) does his very best to show some of his talent and make us feel the struggle inside The Thing as he tries to come to terms with what he's become. Sadly you don't always believe he is made of rock, several times it is too obvious that he's covered in orange foam. The fact that any emotions come through such heavy make-up is testament to Michael's ability. All in all it was a decent film (very similar to The Incredibles which in turn is based on the Fantastic Four). The cheap jokes and quips would have been laugh out loud funny if literally all of them had been shown in the trailers before hand :-( There was the right amount special effects and the journey of the lead characters was interesting, probably the only downside to the story was that there was only one real battle with the bad guy (Dr. Doom) and he took quite a while to become evil. The sequel should be considerably stronger as the back stories have now all been sorted.

Presentation Is Everything

Never under-estimate the power of image and the first impression you make on someone. The way I looked on my first non-date with KT is a big reason why we started to go out for real. With that in mind, would you be happy if these guys came around to fix your plumbing? [If you've googled and actually need a plumber, use the website I created at need a plumber.org to find a licensed Scottish plumber or plumbing firm]

26 July 2005

Why Labels Are Useless

Sadly this isn't a little piece slating fashion designers :-( At the weekend I was having a conversation with a few friends when the subject of meat eating came up. I have friends who don't eat meat for a variety of reasons and classify themselves as vegetarians or vegans. The problem is that one of them loves pepperoni but won't eat fish or any fresh meat. Similarly one vegan will eat honey, the other one won't. Back in the late 80s stereo-typing became this bad thing. I think it's about time all labelling, be reduced to have the least possible weight. My friend isn't a vegetarian with exceptions x, y and z. He is himself. A great philosopher once wrote "I am what I am" (the philosopher has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church, his name just happens to be Pope Ye).

25 July 2005

Perfect Pizzas Taste Better When They Are Free!

Mmmm, free food. I've just bought 8 bottle of Tabasco sauce (about £1.20). I hate tomatoes so no Bloody Marys for me, so why buy so many? Simple, the boxes are flashed with "Free Pizza" and inside is a voucher for a free 10" Cheese and Tomato pizza with any four toppings from Perfect Pizza (aka Papa John's). You get six slices of a very taste pizza, better than the new pan pizzas from Pizza Hut (I did taste testing for them before they were launched). Better still, they give you a free sauce to dip your crusts in! Throw in a garlic bread and you've got a good meal for two. On top of all that TGI Fridays still have a great BOGOF promotion on until the end of the month (but not a weekends). Think I'll take them up on that again this week...

24 July 2005

Motorists Drive Me Around The Bend!

It truly amazes me just how bad some people are at driving and how un-observant others are. Do peoples' minds switch off when they get behind a wheel? Here are the most common and annoying errors I've come across in recent weeks. If you are turning off a road INDICATE! Don't just brake and turn, show some courtesy to the people behind you. The same goes for roundabouts. When you get on a roundabout you must indicate as you are chaning lanes. You carry on indicating to show which way you are going and then as you change lanes to turn off you indicate left. For the few people that still do that, well done (I assume the others thought they only had to do it once on their test to prove they could do it and then that was it for life). When I'm indicating it means I'm going that way. I may go all around the roundabout back in the direction I came from. That's why we use indicators, so idiots driving trucks and coaches don't just assume I'm going to turn off before them. When turning right move as far forward as you can, especially if you are doing the annoying "turning left side to left side" so neither of you can see what's coming from the other direction. Don't be timid. Finally, the yellow box. If you are turning right and your exit to the yellow box is clear, MOVE into the middle of it. If traffic is coming straight on and they have right of way that's not a problem you suppose to be in the middle of the yellow waiting for your chance to turn. Do NOT wait outside the yellow box thinking it's the right thing to do (re-read Highway Code Rule 150). I think that'll do for the moment.

21 July 2005

Festival - Get Ready For The Festival ... Watch Festival!

Watched Festival last night, a Scottish film based around the Edinburgh Festival (Fringe and Comedy to be specific). It was great. Not just the high calibre of acting or dialogue, but the plot and exploration of relationships was also excellent. Definitely worth watching, not just to see some amazing shots in and around the centre Edinburgh. Best Edinburgh film ever (Trainspotting was shot in Glasgow and London, only a few things were actually shot in Edinburgh). Very freaky though seeing several scenes shot five doors up from my flat! A couple of thoughts about the cast. The lead comic, Chris O'Dowd looks like a cross between Dennis Pennis and the guy from the Nationwide adverts ("new customers only"). One other interesting piece of casting was Amelia Bullmore as a Scottish woman renting out here expensive New Town house to a Canadian group. She has previously played Alan Partridge's Russian girlfriend, Sonja, in the second series of I'm Alan Partridge and more surprisingly Steph Barnes in Coronation Street back in the early 90s! Just gave it a 10 on IMDB.

20 July 2005

Pigs For Sale

Here Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy! I currently have 20 pigs for sale, ten already have found new owners. No cost at all to get yourself a handy squishable pig. Post a comment if you want one. Here's what they look like.

14 July 2005

Liar Liar Pants On Fire!

Aarrgghh!! How the hell do these people get away with print such blatant distortions of the truth? There is a film being advertised on the side of buses at the moment called Skeleton Key (I'm not going to link to it) and it's being promoted as "From the Writer of The Ring". Bullshit! Ringu was a novel by Koji Suzuki and it was turned into a screenplay by Hiroshi Takahasi. Ehren Kruger simply wrote the English version for a remake of an existing novel & film. A Japanese translator could have done a better job judging by the finished "film". From all reports steer well clear of the US remake of Dark Water too, instead enjoy the original.

13 July 2005

And This Year's Winners Are...

Antibodies - Slick serial killer yarn from Germany (home of the recent cannibal!). Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist - The never-seen version that was "too cerebral". P - Thai Ghost story about a possessed young girl. Snuff-Movie - well scripted horror movie with loads of gore. Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael - Well shot anti-Iraq War film with (intentional?) controversial sequences. No Wolf Creek sadly, but it is out later in September.

Heatwave Is Over, Film Festival Launches Today

Thankfully the heatwave is now over! Too sticky to try to sleep and too noisy in the Grassmarket to have all of the windows open. In other news several blog search engines don't seem to be picking up my name, Phill Gillespie, or my domain name, phillg.com. That sentence should fix it. Finally, to distract me from the Liverpool vs TNS game this evening, the Edinburgh International Film Festival programme launches today. Highlights for me will include the brutal Wolf Creek, a film that is being describe as more intense than Haute Tension, Antik├Ârper (Antibodies), a German thriller about a serial killer and the Hong Kong horror Sei mong se jun (Ab-normal Beauty). I'm in two minds about On A Clear Day, a British Comedy ineviatably compared to the Full Monty. The only reason I may give it a miss is the tickets are £7.50 each and a week after the festival ends (when I have nothing to do!), it comes out on general release and KT and I can see it for £5.80 thanks to Orange Wednesdays! The controversial film of this year will definately beThe Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, a British film sharing a lot with Clockwork Orange but trying to show how bad (the Iraq) war is.

10 July 2005

How To Barbecue

Yesterday ended with a very nice barbecue up at Blackford Hill (next to the Royal Observatory). It's just a shame that under one of the hills there was a 30 person rave going on! There are a few good pieces of advice I can share to help everyone have a great BBQ too. Firstly don't use Sainsbury's BBQs, they are rubbish. Asda's disposable ones are great (although they sell permanent one for only £15). If you are going to use a disposable BBQ here's a great tip to stop damaging the grass, tarmac or concrete (believe me you will!). Simply put it on 6 or 8 empty beer cans in a two column row and then press the tray down on them (to steady it). The heat now dissipates through the air and doesn't affect the surface below - even grass!

Wam Outside Today, Warm Outside Everyday

My specials thermometer tells me the air temperature is 26°C and at ground level it is and incredible 46°C! Justification that when I went out yesterday wearing stupid boot cut jeans that are far too close I had to drive around for the afternoon in just my boxer shorts (and shoes)! Speaking of driving, I went along the A8000 for the first and last time. What an awful road, so heavily congested and a rubbish way of getting to the Forth Road Bridge. We managed to crawl out of bed and go to Ingliston Market again this morning. It's a nice enough place but over half the stuff at the car boot sale part of it should just go straight in the bin. It is amazing to see the rubbish that people have and think someone else will buy! Have actually zero petrol in the car at the moment, hope we can make it five miles to the petrol station!

7 July 2005

Princes Street Evacuated, No Threat

After the horrific scenes of this morning, Lothian Borders Police received reports of a suspect package on an LRT bus along Princes Street (opposite Zara). That was at 5.30pm and in the following hour all the shops and businesses in a 100 radius were evacuated. In the last hour a controlled explosion (and another on a bag found outside a shop) by the bomb squad has shown the bag contained no explosives at all. It's good people have their guard up though.

War Of The Worlds - No One Would Have Believed...

War of the Worlds was last night's film and it was pretty good. Not a great deal of dialogue, good sequences and effects and some really tense (Jurassic Park-esque) sequences. The music was good, usual John Williams incidental stuff, both without a killer piece (no orchestral/synth title theme). I guess the ending was a little bit short, hindered by the mainstream end scene. All in all worth seeing, a damn site better than Independence Day, but should have been a 15 cert. Some easy ways to improve it would be to use Richard Burton's voice as the narrator, maybe have some people find out about the panic by radio (nod to the hysteria caused by that) and finally make Tom Cruise's character more like-able (weird not having anyone to really empathise with in the film). Next week we're going to try the black comedy set at the Edinburgh Fringe called Festival.

6 July 2005

May 25th All Over Again!

Half time, 3-0 down, not even the die-hardest of Liverpool fans believed we had a chance.
Tuesday afternoon after the Echo broke the news nobody could believe the dramatic turn around that would happen. I spent Tuesday evening lying awake wondering if we could get Juanfran or Duff as part of the deal, then Gerrard decided to stay! I really couldn't understand why he wanted to leave, it seems to be insecurity, feeling he wasn't really wanted. Two or three more signings promised this week. Please not Crouch, Kuyt is more established. Make the third one Aimar or even Figo at a push. Liverpool for the title is a very good bet each way or even handicapped betting.

5 July 2005

Carnival of Tension

Yesterday was the Carnival of Full Enjoyment, a protest by anarchists and some people who just wanted a runble. I saw lots of the demonstration and it looked well natured however it did get tense at several points. Read more about it from the BBC site here and here. They have some pictures but they are not as cool as my pictures (and page 10 too).

4 July 2005

Finally the Fab Four Sign!

Liverpool have announced their first four signings today. Bolo Zenden arrives from Middlesborough, their player of last year. The left (also right) winger Mark Gonzales arrives with the reputation as Chile's best player even though he's only 20 (he's still recovering from ACL surgery and won't be able to play until early October). Reina has signed from Villareal and is arguably one of the best keepers in Europe even at 22. These players replace Biscan, Smicer and (on loan) Kirkland as I discussed last week. Antonio Barragan, a young right back has come in signing his first professional contract with us, ditto for the 16 year old and 6'3" Jack Hobbs (on a one week trial ATM) pinched from under the noses of Arsenal. Rafa has promised 2 or 3 more signings this week. These new players will surely be Gabriel Milto in at centre back and Dirk Kuyt up front. No one is quite sure who the third player could be, Aimar from Valencia would be much more welcome than Bolton's Stellios (unless Hobbs is counted as the third one).

Ow, Lots of Pain for a Very Good Cause

That's the Make Poverty History March complete then and the whole group of us are in a lot of pain. First off our lower backs are hurting from all the standing around trying to get out of the pens (they 'locked' people up so there wouldn't be a crush trying to get up Middle Meadow Walk). We are all now bright red as none of us took heed of the warnings to wear sun cream. You can see tan lines were my sun glasses were! You can see most of the 225,000 in my gallery from the event. On to today and it's the lowercase "march" today and I can't get the Womble song out of my head. I was going to go to the gym at lunch time despite all the groups meeting right outside it (but basically I'm too lazy or hurting too much, you decide). I was going to wear a t-shirt to work today that I got on Saturday saying "Abolish all Third World debts by 2010" but the advice our director passed on from the police is not to wear anything that would look like a target. Instead I'm wearing a rather nice white t-shirt with a red circle in the middle.