Five Word Reviews

The Last Airbender (2010)

Lazy script and bland direction.

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Five Word Reviews

Oblivion (2013)

Surprisingly engaging, despite Cruise's involvement.

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Five Word Reviews

Elysium (2013)

What a sci-fi should be,
Interesting and nuanced dystopian future.

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Five Word Reviews

All Superheroes Must Die (2013)

A slasher movie with(out) superpowers.

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The Fast-Cheap-Quality Triangle

24th April 2014

Since mentioning it in a private rant on Facebook, I've been getting a lot of credit for this over the last day or so. Normally I'd be fine with that, but since it wasn't my idea, and it's such a useful model, I thought I'd better set the record straight.

It was first brought to my attention many years ago when studying product design at A-Level. One of the lecturers explained all manufacturing in terms of this image (I can't remember if it was Russell Cruise or Graham Syms - I hope they can forgive me!).

The point of the graphic is to get you to think about where you are going to make sacrifices. He explained that, of the three outcomes - fast, quality and cheap - you can only ever have two at the expense of the third. That is to say if you want something good quickly it will be expensive. You can have something good cheap, but it will take a long time.

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Categories: Film, Design, Misc

Cast of the Mind - Writing Better Characters

23rd April 2014

Happy St George's Day. To celebrate, let's get into a fight with a crocodile and exaggerate about it!

Now that that's over...

Different people write for different reasons. For me the thing that gets me off the most is character and character development. But it can be very hard to write convincing, emotionally interesting characters.

Before jumping into editing Transmission Interrupted I thought I'd take a break to work on another project. This time it's a script for comic book, provisionally titled Sky Flash.

I've been working on it on and off for a couple of years, but finally feel I have enough of a grip of the story and characters to commit it to script format. The breakthrough came about two weeks when I employed a trick I have spoken about on a few occasions to writer friends. Specifically, I cast the character, as if with an actor, in my mind.

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Categories: Writing

My Cigarette Packaging Conundrum

4th April 2014

Image from

The news yesterday that plain, drab, unbranded cigarette packets featuring a veritable freak show of images of the horrendous diseases smokers can look forward to may be in force by May 2015 has left me in a bit of a moral quandary.

I'm not a smoker. I don't approve of it. I'd be happy to see it banned in all public places, and far stiffer fines for the littering it entails. I do have to grudgingly accept it is people's right to smoke if they wish.

However, I have a peculiar fondness for the design of cigarette packaging. I should say, this is something I can appreciate at a distance, and it has never inspired me to start puffing away. I should also say that there are plenty of designs that are dull and uninspired, but some of them are little graphic design gems.

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Categories: Design

Transmission Interrupted

2nd April 2014

Hi, guys.

Sorry it's been a while since my previous post. Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter can hardly have missed the fact I've been very busy shooting the Ephemeral Short Film Co's new short feature Transmission Interrupted, and last Tuesday was my first day off since 2nd January!

I'm now in a weird liminal place between the end of principle photography and the start of post-production where we are mopping up a few missed shots.

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Categories: Misc


2nd February 2014 (originally 21st December 2013)

Rounding off my unseasonal trilogy of Christmassy posts is the second of two pieces I wrote for Katrina Ray and David Smith's Literary Advent Calendar for the Tunbridge Wells Writers.

On this occasion, my randomly assigned word was "evergreen". This marks my first piece of prose work in nearly a decade though, as some people have already pointed out, it is quite like a screenplay.

You can click here to read it in situ at the Tunbridge Wells Writers' website.

It is night in the forest. The stars admire their reflections in countless frozen mirrors. It is a long night. We hardly see the Sun now.

We raise our arms to the sky, awaiting her return. Some of us cast off our cloaks and slumber through the dark months. Some of us stand in silence, catching snow flakes with our fingers.

Here comes a creature. It walks four trunks, branches growing from its crown. The clack of wood as it walks.

Another creature climbs my leg to find shelter in my shoulder. I feel its bark on my cheek.

A light comes dancing through the forest. Is it the Sun?

No. It is a wan light, held aloft by a creature with iron claws.

The creature gnaws at the ankles of one of us. With a sigh, he falls. The creature spins a web around him and drags him away.

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Categories: Writing

Midnight Mass Short

2nd February 2014 (originally 3rd December 2013)

In the autumn of 2013, Katrina Ray and David Smith of the Tunbridge Wells Writers announced plans for a Literary Advent Calendar. Short pieces up to 1,000 words in length were published daily by writers who had been randomly assigned a key word or phrase. In this instance mine was "midnight mass".

Just to be different/difficult, I decided to produce mine in the form of a short film script. You can read it in situ at the Tunbridge Wells Writers' website. Enjoy!

Fade in:

Int. Church Anteroom - night

A battered plastic clock hangs on the wall. It reads about a quarter past eleven.

Balding tinsel has been blue-tacced to the water-damaged coving.


The scratching continues.

Goes quiet.


Something heavy slams into a heavy wooden door.


The rusted metal bolt holding the door closed pings across the room and lands in a corner.

The big wooden door eases open with a CREAK.

A bitter wind whistles into the room.

JAMIE, 19, tall with broad shoulders and wearing a heavy parka, peers into the room. The coast is clear.

He pulls the door open and beckons.

MARIA, 15 and slender, follows him in. She wears a quilted body warmer over a hooded sweatshirt. The sleeves hang below her fingers.

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Categories: Writing