Unexpected visitors…

Last week was hectic! We finally finished the renovation of our bedroom. It took us ‘only’ nine months, during which we had to sleep on the landing ūüôā . You can imagine what that does for your sex-life, sleeping with only¬†non-closing doors between you and your kids. But, it’s done now and it feels like going to bed/waking up in a hotel room every day! I have plush carpet under my bare feet when I get up and can switch off the reading light with just a lift of my arm. Such luxury! Only the window treatment is¬†left to do…

Bedroom.jpg

On Saturday morning, just after the bedroom was finished on Friday night, we had a phone call that we were going to have unexpected visitors arriving¬†within fifteen minutes (no comment on my thoughts then, nudge nudge, wink wink ūüôā ). I never cleaned my bathroom and toilets so fast… They didn’t stay that Saturday night, but returned on Sunday, after we emptied the spare bedroom /¬† future-dressing-room from all the renovation tools / materials accumulation / spare bedding/wardrobes / etc. At the end of the day it sort of looked like a bedroom.

My visitors were a lady I met online during a filmmaking course and her partner. We started chatting during the course and I invited her to visit me when she was in the neighbourhood. Of course I didn’t realise it was so soon! I was a bit anxious when she texted me that she would be visiting in the next few days as my house is a building site. And I am not exaggerating here. The hall is filled with stacks of building materials, tools are lying around everywhere, I have bits and pieces of carpet here and there over bare plank flooring, some planks shrunken and broken, mm’s of dust everywhere, old furniture covered in dogs/kids spillage. I.e. not a pretty sight. What would she do when she saw this? Would she run away in disgust, screaming whilst waving her hands in the air?

When they arrived I was pleasantly surprised that they accepted me/my house for what I am/it is. For years I have been afraid to invite people into my home as I am ashamed for its looks. I am proud to say I have a life, I don’t waste my time cleaning and polishing doorknobs and the likes. But at the same time I don’t like living in a dumpster. I know that one day it’s going to look nice, so I put up with it. But that doesn’t mean other people will do the same.

My visitors only stayed two nights. I find it the perfect time to catch up, get to know each other, and then move on. We didn’t choose to live in the country side for nothing; I love my privacy. But we got along like peas in a pod. We talked about scripts, books, and all sorts.¬†I always find my chattiness goes into overdrive when I find a listening ear as I don’t talk to a lot of people during my writers’ existence. So I was sad and happy at the same time when they left. As her partner wrote in our visitors’ book ‘I met a stranger and found a friend.’

I spent most of the time yesterday catching up on my internet communications, Skyping with my Mum, and going to a film screening (about making movies in Scotland on a budget).

But now it is finally time for me to write again!

Movie Review: The Sixth Sense

As I am watching a lot of movies, and trying to write scripts, I thought it might be interesting for you if I wrote my reviews on them. The title of the blog will have the movie title in it, so you can choose to skip reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to read any spoilers, or if you’re¬†not interested in them of course ūüôā .

– Spoiler Alert! –

– Spoiler Alert! –

As the movie is from 1999 I am assuming that most of you have seen it. I like the movie. Even though you see Malcolm Crowe being shot at the beginning of the movie, you don’t realise he’s dead for the remainder of the movie. The set up is perfect; at first there is a happy couple, who’s dream just has come true (Malcolm’s achievements as a child psychologist acknowledged by the city), and then all is taken away from them when he is shot by a former patient whom he couldn’t help. Malcolm then struggles to solve the problem of this scared little boy and is losing the love of his wife whilst doing so. Still the problem of the boy is more important to him than his marriage. When he decides to spend more time on his wife (who starts seeing another man) the boy begs him not to abandon him. Malcolm gives him the answer of what to do with the dead people he sees and then realises that he is dead himself. He finally understands the distance between him and his wife and is happy for her to find happiness elsewhere and ‘leaves.’

The cast is brilliantly chosen. The script states ‘Anna is the rare combination of beauty and innocence,’ which I think Olivia Williams portrays perfectly. Bruce Willis is of course known for his ‘charming, easy-going smile,’ so¬†there was no other option for the role in my opinion. The only thing that didn’t match was the ‘thick, wavy hair,’ but in 1999¬†Bruce Willis¬†still had some hair at least ūüôā .¬† Haley Joel Osment was a great choice as well; who doesn’t remember the sentence ‘I see dead people’ which he said clutching the blankets under his chin, tears filling his eyes?

Even though it is classified as ‘drama, mystery, thriller’ (on IMDb) I think there are some horror aspects as well. In particular when the boy meets a dead boy, who’s back of his head is blown of and the sick girl who produces a large amount of vomit the first time he sees her. For unsuspecting viewers this may have been a bit disturbing.

When I read the script of the movie I found they stuck to the script very well. There were a lot of ‘beats’ placed in the script, which I hadn’t seen before (although I must admit I haven’t read a lot of scripts yet). Beats can have a lot of meanings in filming, but here it just means ‘pause.’ The script, by M. Night Shyamalan, doesn’t leave a lot of imagination for the actors; it states exactly what they should do. Every pause, every intake of breath, and every tear welling up are noted.

The music is well chosen and adds to the movie’s scariness and drama. It’s not too distracting, but also doesn’t have a specific tune that brings back memories to the movie.

When you really start thinking about the whole situation Malcolm is in, it is of course a totally unbelievable movie. Even if dead people could be seen by some as ghosts, who can life with a wife and not realise she totally ignores you. I mean, they had a good relationship and all of a sudden he doesn’t tough her at all? But, like with all movies, you have to take that with a grain of salt.

All in all a good movie, I give it a 9/10.

Writers’ Corner Update 29/06/2016

Check out my Writers’ Corner Update 29/06/2016

Setting—Why a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is an excellent article I found on Twitter. Good tips for showing, not telling…

Parenting is hard!

Man smiling_e.jpg

Every parent wants their kids to have a beautiful smile, so last Wednesday I took my son to the orthodontist in Aberdeen. It’s a long story, the orthodontic one, so brace yourselves (pardon the pun!).

When my son was 11-yrs-old he could stick his thumb in between his upper and lower teeth when he had his jaws together. That’s how big the gap was. Not that he sucked his thumb, I have never seen him do this.¬†Apparently he was pushing his top-teeth forward with his tongue. His jaw was also very narrow, making the teeth overlap. So when we were living in Australia we were referred to an orthodontist.¬†They put a bar in between his upper molars, which, after widening every day, widened my son’s jaw. It widened his jaw so much that he could also stick his thumb in between his two front teeth. So I had to ring the bell and yes, I could stop the turning of the bar now. After half a year the device was taken out and we happened to moved to the UK.

I immediately organised a dentist to get my son to continue his orthodontic treatment. The answer was no, we had to wait another year. In the mean time all the hard work of widening his jaw was annulled. His front teeth moved back to the midline and are now overlapping again. The next year I pushed to see the orthodontist again, which we were finally allowed. The orthodontist saw him in January, photo’s were taken, prints of his teeth were made and the request for treatment was sent to the NHS in February. ‘It will take about five weeks to get a reply,’ I was told. In May I called the dental clinic to find out what was going on. ‘Oh, the NHS couldn’t make a decision as not enough information was sent and the request had to be sent in again,’ was the response. Not a happy bunny. Shouldn’t every orthodontist who hands in a treatment request know what info they need to send through? As I couldn’t find any information on the web about this Spanish orthodontist, who’s name was not mentioned on the website, nor his work and/or experience, this information was the drop for me to seek better treatment for my son.

I asked for a referral to a proper orthodontic clinic, which the dental clinic happily supplied. This surprised me a bit as they knew we were seeing their once-a-fortnight-visit-orthodontist. So we¬†went to this more professional¬†orthodontic clinic¬†last Wednesday and there I heard that, because we started treatment in a foreign country, the NHS may not pay for my son’s treatment. Also, because my son was seen by another orthodontist already, this clinic may not be able to start treatment. This information was¬†never supplied to me by the dental clinic, nor the orthodontist there. I was also requested to send all information from the Australian treatment to the orthodontic clinic. I had assumed that the dental practice would have done so when they sent the referral request, but they hadn’t. Another drop in the bucket for me not to like my dental practice.

On top of this I was told at the orthodontic clinic that my son’s teeth needed better cleaning and that his treatment (if at all possible) was deferred for another half year to accommodate this.¬†I¬†was furious that this¬†was not picked up by the dentist nor the orthodontist in my dental clinic! By this time my bucket was overflowing big time.

The biggest news was that my kids can no longer have any fizzy drinks, no more carbonated water, no more sugar-free drinks (there’s me, thinking I am a good mother, giving them sugar-free stuff).¬†And of¬†course I have to set the example; no more coke zero for me. That’s the hardest part of parenting…

Photo from Unsplash, taken by Lesly B. Juarez

Lessons Learned #18

Berry on Hand_e

This week I learned more about scriptwriting for the screen. As you may have read on Monday, I woke up at 4am that day and had¬†this funny/horror short on my mind. It’s called ‘You Should Have,’ and can be found under the ‘My Short Stories’ heading at the top of my page. As I thought it would be an easy one to film, with my film group, I wrote it as a writer/director and included camera angles. I put in ‘angled’ and ‘from the side’ and ‘wide view.’

I happen to have chatted with a nice guy I met on FARG this week, named J.W. Wood, who also does some screenwriting. He lives all the way in Las Vegas, USA (not sure if there are any other Las Vegasses), but the world is a small place nowadays. He was so kind to send me one of his older scripts he had written for a competition. I noticed that he put in different kind of camera directions. He used ‘fade in,’ ‘transition to,’ ‘p.o.v’ and ‘o.s.’ I had never heard of o.s. and I am assuming that it stands for ‘overhead/overheard sound.’ I have this book ‘The Complete Book of Scriptwriting’ by J.Michael Straczynski, but it doesn’t tell you what abbreviations¬†are used (mind you, I haven’t finished reading it). J.W. advised me to buy another book, ‘The Screenwriter’s Bible’ by David Trotter, which I did. I haven’t got it yet, but I hope it has more basic stuff in it than in Straczynski’s book.

The biggest thing I learned though, was when J.W. reminded me¬†that screen writing is action and dialogue only. No wishy-washy text about how people are feeling or the likes. That is so different from novel writing. Novel writing is all about emotion and feelings. It’s what attracts people to read it. With screenwriting you have to convey that emotion with only your dialogue and the actions of the actors. It’s like trying to dish up a five-course gourmet meal with only apples and bananas. I have a new respect for screenwriters!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Brexit; it’s my fault…

Yes, I’m partly to blame, I forgot to vote yesterday. I planned to vote. I got the polling card,¬† I saw the reminders on Twitter and Facebook, even my mother reminded me to vote on the day. And I didn’t. Why?

I could blame my husband, who wanted to come voting with me. He didn’t get a polling card, so I didn’t see the point of him coming along. But okay, I didn’t want to upset him and waited for him to come home. He didn’t. Well, he did, but later than planned and¬†not when I was home. He was supposed to get some things from Homebase this morning as he passes the store on his way to work. He didn’t, had to do it after work, only to realise they didn’t sell what he wanted and had to go all the way to the B&Q. So he was home late. In the mean time I took the kids to see a play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by the local drama school. And forgot to vote. So it’s my fault, and that of 600.000 other voters who didn’t.

I’m not sure what the consequences are in the long run. Fortunately I have an Australian passport next to my Dutch one, so I guess I’m pretty safe in my right to stay in the country. But does my mother now need a visa to visit us? Is IKEA getting more expensive (the things I worry about, lol!)? Will everything cost dearer to make up for the loss of income because of Brexit?¬†I read in a Flipboard article this morning that the UK is the only country in history to vote for a recession.¬†I don’t want to be part of this bit of UK history. I should have voted…

Beam me up, Scotty!

So I’m walking with my kids in Aberdeen yesterday. Whilst waiting for the traffic light to turn green for us I look at the street name plate across the road. ‘Upperkirkgate,’ it read. Kirk is the Scottish word for church, with the ‘ch’ pronounced (and written) as a ‘k’. This is very close to the Dutch word ‘kerk,’ which also means church.

Being of Dutch origin I thought I’d test my kids on their roots. I point at the name plate and ask them “what does ‘kirk’ stand for?” Without a moment’s hesitation my son says: “Captain James T. Kirk.” I thought I’d pee my pants.

What do you mean with¬†‘my kids have been brainwashed by my choice of¬†TV programs?’

Writers’ Corner update 21/06/2016

Check out my¬†Writers’ Corner update 21/06/2016!

Digitalized Remake of AAWiL

An American Werewolf in London poster.jpg

I was having a shower this morning and had this wonderful idea. I often get inspiration in the shower, not sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s just me, the sound of water and my music. No, I don’t have a waterproof radio, I just put my phone really loud on the benchtop next to the shower. Sometimes I sing along, but I get my inspiration when I’m quiet.

The idea was that I would love to see a digitalized version of ‘An American Werewolf in London.’ That would be awesome! This is a movie from 1981, so before the digital era. The graphics were amazing back then, but so much more could be done now. The movie is funny, but also has suspense, horror, romance¬†and action. All the stuff I love in one movie! It would be a dream come true.

Just for your information, I took the following from Wikipdia:

Accolades

  • Academy Award – Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling (1982) (Won)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Horror Film (1982) (Won)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Make-up – Rick Baker – (Won)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Actress – Jenny Agutter (Nomination)
  • Saturn Award – Saturn Award for Best Writing – John Landis (Nomination)

At the 54th Academy Awards, An American Werewolf in London won the first-ever awarded Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. During the 1982 Saturn Awards, the film won for Best Horror Film and Best Make-up and nominated for Best Actress and Best Writing.

The American Film Institute nominated it for ranking on its 100 Laughs list.[16] An Empire magazine poll of critics and readers named An American Werewolf in London as the 107th greatest film of all time in September 2008.

So, if any Twitterers in the film biz read this, please make it happen. And please put my name in the credits for the idea, would love to see my name in the credits…