Category Archives: Filming

Dublin Writers’ Conference 2018

Woohoo! I just booked myself into the Dublin Writers’ Conference in June. I’m so excited! Of the speakers, I only know Wendy Jones as I met her at a writers’ workshop in Elgin last year. I have plenty of time to read up on the others.


My main goal is to learn more about publishing and to network. I have also opted for a Pitch a Producer session, where Ken Atchity, an LA-based movie producer, will listen to a 1-2 minute pitch of my story and give feedback if it’s adaptable for TV or film. Secretly, I’m hoping my story will be chosen to be on the big screen, but that’s wishful thinking. If anything, I hope to learn more about what Hollywood is looking for at the moment and anything else I can about filming.

So excited! I really can’t tell you how much exactly, so I’ll just do a little dance now…

Fun Friday!

I have mixed feelings about the past week. The worst thing about it was that I did my back in. I had gone to the gym on Tuesday. Had no problem doing my exercises at the time, but on Wednesday my back was killing me. I kept getting spasms in a muscle on the left-hand side with minuscule movements. Extremely painful. I didn’t get much sleep that night. I took ibuprofen which helped a little, but it didn’t stop the spasms. I got my husband to pick up some diazepam from the pharmacy, which my GP prescribed me, which would function as a muscle relaxant. I am very happy to say it worked. I only got up twice last night 🙂 .

What were the fun things? Well, I got some feedback back from my beta-readers. Only four typos found so far. Pretty chuffed with this as I think it could have been far worse. I chatted with someone I met via Twitter. He started reading my book and said he found it a good read. Music to my ears! Last week, I forgot to mention, another author told me she revised her book after my review. I was very humbled that she took my words to heart.

I’ve also figured out how to work with Amazon Associates. I may start to earn something now. For a change.


I’m still listening to the ‘Good Omens’ audio book. It’s too good to put away. My daughter actually began reading the book when I started listening and she’s finished already! We had to get the box with Terry Pratchett books from storage for her. She’s totally hooked on his humor now. You can get ‘Good Omens’ here.

I’m looking forward to the weekend as I’m attending a creative writing workshop in Elgin and we’re filming with AFP again. Busy, busy, busy. On top of this, I am getting some unexpected visitors from down south for lunch. I haven’t seen them for a year, so I’m looking forward to catching up. I better go make my house a bit more representable 😀 .

I’m not forgetting the memes. Here they are:

Friday Fun Day!

Yay, another weekend ahead of us! What are you guys up to? I’ve got Comic Con planned for the whole Saturday. My daughter and I are going with some friends. I’ll be the only one not dressed up, for a change. I have plenty of costumes, but none are of a comics character. Oh well, I guess I’ll be the only one without going-to-the-loo problems 😀 .


We have a dilemma regarding our planning. There are three movies in the cinema this weekend we’d like to see. The first one is ‘Whiskey Galore,’ a movie with Eddie Izzard and filmed here on the north coast of Scotland. The guy who did the wallpapering in our living room told us his boat features in it. How cool is that? The other two are ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ and ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.’ For a change, they’re all movies my daughter wants to watch as well. I guess we’ll have to pick two and watch the other one next weekend, together with ‘Baywatch.’

I’m sorry for not blogging more this week. I have a good reason though: I have an editor! She’s a friend of a friend. As always, it isn’t what you know, but who you know. She has already finished editing my book and came back with very good questions and suggestions and corrections. Now I have to thoroughly go through my work and make it better. I’m hoping to do this within the next two weeks. I wished I could do it faster, but life has a habit of getting in the way.


Last Tuesday, we had the first AGM of our film club, Aberdeenshire Film Productions. We have accomplished quite a bit over the past year. With a sad heart, I have thrown in the towel regarding my producing/directing role in the group and we are now looking for someone to take my place. Even though I liked directing very much, I hated the producing part with a passion. Getting a producer without them directing is hard, so I have sacrificed my directing role in the hope to get someone who is willing to be a producer as well. Apart from the fact that I want to focus on my writing. It was just a bit too much to try and do it all.

Regarding getting more done, I have good news too! We had set our alarm for 6 am this morning. It was very much a case of going cold turkey and we managed to finally drag our bodies out of bed at 6:50 am. I don’t know how your marriage works, but we are almost joined at the hip. My husband is a lot stronger than I am though and normally gets out of bed before I do (and brings me my coffee). Getting up at 6 am, though, is very much like torture for the both of us (yet), and I’m dreading what will happen at 10 pm tonight, but we hope to get used to it soon and get more done. We went for a walk with the dogs this morning, which was very pleasant. We still have to figure out what to actually do so early 😀 .

Last, but not least; memes! Here are the ones I gathered this week:

Made it to the top!

On Sunday, 12th of March 2017, I was filming with the Aberdeenshire Film Productions crew again, going up Bennachie. Never will I write a story about going up a mountain again. I thought I’d die this time! It’s like every time we go up it gets harder and harder 🙂 .

But the weather conditions were, as usual, good. Too good actually, as we were supposed to film a lightning strike. We had planned to go up on the Saturday, which had perfect cloudy weather conditions, but the actor ‘forgot’ to show up (strange creatures, these actors!). Bad management on my behalf as producer, you could say. I should have sent a reminder. Fortunately Mother Nature didn’t leave us completely stranded and produced some grey-ish looking clouds at about 2pm, so our editor will have to use those to add in the lighting strike.

We got some funny faces from other climbers when we put out the ashes that our actor is supposed to turn into. We had to mention very loudly that we were very happy that our friend was willing to supply the content of his wood fire to us for this purpose 🙂 . And of course the moment you start rolling the camera, the wind dies down. We had to wait several minutes for a slight gust of wind to give us some ‘action.’

All the climbing footage has been shot now. We only have the first scene to do, which will happen next weekend. It will be filmed in my home, so no climbing involved!


A different kind of cut

We’re desperately trying to hand in one of our movies into a film festival before next week, but Dave’s computer  is not available at the moment (Dave is our camera man/editor). Hence the task fell to me to edit the movie.


I only acquired the Adobe suite, including Premiere Pro, a few months ago and I haven’t had a lot of time to get into it yet. Last Wednesday Dave gave me a speed course on how to tweek the light levels (I need to match two different camera takes) and how to do an overlay. It appears that my computer has trouble keeping up with such an advanced system and I need to take it easy, give it time to adjust. Time is of the essence!

But it’s quite different to calling “Cut!” as a director. I’m cutting and pasting like a maniac. Doing this, I realise it’s better to have too many takes than too little. Slight angle differences make a scene while compiling it, etc. A whole different learning curve! But I enjoy the learning experience, so I’ll keep going 🙂 .


Writers’ Corner update 26/01/2017

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 26/01/2017!

Even though I haven’t been on Flipboard that often this past week, I managed to accumulate thirteen interesting articles for you. From how to Gain 104.000 Subscriber With Just One Article to testing your Emotional Intelligence (or ‘how not to look like a serial killer’) to Digging Deep for the Truth. The latter which seems important in the current political climate. I also read an interesting article on George Orwell’s 1984, but as I try to keep my posts from politics I haven’t included it in my magazine.


I am proud to share with you the birth of a new magazine of mine: Sci-Non-Fi. I kept reading all these interesting articles about scientific advances that we thought impossible not so long ago and I wanted to share these with you. But not every writer writes Sci-Fi, so I didn’t want to annoy those people with ‘my discoveries.’ Hence the birth of Sci-Non-Fi. In it there are four articles already. Check them out 🙂 .

Focus on Filming has an article on Reservoir Dogs, mainly on it being banned in the UK and its effect on the popularity of the movie. There’s an article saying there are Three Types of Creators. Which one are you? The third article has a nice short movie with Gorgeous Silhouette Shots made by cinematographer Roger Deakins. Well worth the view.

Health Herald mentions in an article that Spending Time Around Traffic Is Literally Destroying Your Brain. To stay healthier you’ll be surprised about the Coffee Anti-Ageing Benefit. There is also an article that heralds the end of neurodegenerative diseases with the Treatment coming from a Single Protein. Hallelujah!

Filming in the snow

Yesterday, 14 January 2016, I spent six hours standing in the snow. I was up before the sun was, which is a novelty for me, and actually stood, voluntarily, in the freezing snow for six whole hours. And I liked it! I must be honest, there wasn’t a blizzard going on. We had gorgeous sunshine and blue skies for most of the time. Only one little flurry at one point.


As the title of the blog gave away already, I was there with Aberdeenshire Film Productions filming a short that we call ‘The Bennachie Climb.’ It’s one of my brain’s creations again (you don’t have to look in my short story section, I’m keeping this little beauty a secret for now). We don’t have a proper name for it yet and I’m actually not sure if it’s going to change. I like the fact that it gives nothing of the plot away.

It was a spur of the moment decision to go up Bennachie as the weather forecast mentioned snow. It wasn’t in the script, but I thought it a great opportunity to enhance the visual. It could have been a blizzard, which would have been quite another experience (and visual). Fortunately the two camera men and the actor were available. I couldn’t have done it without them of course 🙂 .

Filming in the snow is a whole new experience. The snow, which kept on falling steadily, kept the camera men frantically wiping their lenses and fiddling with plastic bags when they weren’t filming. Shooting angles had to be adjusted for the glare of the sun that reflected on the snow’s surface. And the cold, according to one of the camera men, drains the batteries faster. The poor little things must be shivering in their camera bodies to waste their energy so uselessly.

I was amazed at the amount of people who decided to go walking that day. Sometimes it was just too hard to try and get a shot without anybody else in it. We had to ask two guys if they minded being in the movie, but they ended up not being recognisable in the final shot (sorry guys!). Most people were very interested in what we were doing. Somebody actually took a picture of us in action. It was a great feeling to know that people totally unknown to us were supportive of what we were doing. If only we could find somebody who would sponsor us getting better (indoor) locations…


Prepare to Die!

If anybody wants to see me in filming action, just click on the link and wait a minute until the movie is downloaded. It’s only 2 seconds, but worth it 🙂 .

Jacky acting

Lessons Learned #20


This week I finished writing my script for the short we are filming in August. It is basically a short slasher movie, although it has more suspense than horror in it. It’s about a number of campers, who get decimated by something/somebody unknown (unknown until the end, where it is revealed what is happening of course). There is no gore in it (unfortunately), just a blood splatter on the camera in the end.

I contacted some actors and send them the script and divvied out the roles. As it is holiday time I haven’t had a reply from everybody yet, but two thirds of the roles are accounted for. One of the replies though had me gutted. It was literally like my heart was being cut out when I read it. Had I really been so uncaring and blunt in my writing?

I studied my script again and could see what this person was seeing. But only after I read my script though special glasses; negative glasses. When I put on my glasses, positive glasses, I saw that what I had written was doing good, not bad.

Nevertheless it was a blow to my confidence. Heaven knows I know how this feels and I certainly don’t wish it upon other people, and certainly not through my doing. But after lying awake for a couple of nights about it, I concluded that you just can’t please everybody all the time. Sometimes you just have to let go.

Life is too short to be serious all the time and we all have to accept who we are and what we can do with our lives. Sure, life seems hard when you are young and you think the world is a magical place and you don’t like people being not-perfect. But, hey, nobody is perfect and life sucks for different people in different ways. As my life is spanning nearly half a century now, I have met some very colourful people along the way. Some have had the luck of a happy life. Most, however, have not been so lucky and they all deal with it in their own way. Some waddle their whole life in their unhappiness, some jump out of bed every morning and turn the other cheek and move on. Who am I to say how they should handle things? I can’t even handle my own life…

So what have I learned from this episode? That life sucks, that life is what you make it, that you can’t please everybody, that life still goes on, and that I need to improve my scriptwriting 🙂

 Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

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!