December 6, 2012
Comics and films aren’t so different, you know.
I’ve been interested in what each can learn from the other for some time now, having bounced back and forth between the two in some capacity for a while. As a writer I’ve always been intrigued by different methods of production for both comics and films, but as a maker and producer of films I’ve learnt that strong scripts will only get you so far. In documentaries particularly, other things come into play.
There’s lots of other directions I’d like to take this talk in – the way that people perceive documentaries as continually evolving, “fuzzy” experiences and how that maps onto some of the ways we absorb imagery on a daily basis, like Instagram. Truth and integrity are also really important here, Robert Flaherty (one of the pioneers of documentary film) is well known for over sensationalising moments and characters in his films, encouraging them to be more like he thought they should be/were, rather than who they genuinely are. How does that map onto a creators vision for a comic, does it make them over manage a scene, or pursue a vision that jars with the characters and the story they’re creating?
Anyhow, that’s a bit of a brain dump. Not sure if/when I’ll get an opportunity to expand on this but, in the meantime, I’d be fascinated to hear from anyone else with a finger both the comics and film domains to see how this maps onto your experiences. Drop me a line.
September 11, 2012
South Kenton tucks neatly into the nook below Harrow-on-the-Hill. An adopted abode for young pariahs driving BMWs that don’t belong up the road. Immaculate lawns punctuated by wiry, unkempt roses threaten to impose their mangled, thorny reality on the suburban dream. They should have gone for petunias or begonias. Hardy perennials.
Winding streets are paved with mottled concrete slabs. Knotweed and oak roots peek through the cracks demanding attention. Proof of life. This is the final chapter of our walk. 12 times in the past 44 weeks my week-weary mind has contemplated the far-flung corners of the Capital but this time it will end. We keep moving forwards.
Life on Gotfords Hill is much slower. We fall in behind a trio battling against the howling wind in front of us. The exposed spot is home to an abundance of sloes, steadily plumping themselves up in expectation of being imminently plucked. They’re not quite ready yet so we move on, geolocating a mental note to self to return with a party set on gathering the ingredients for gin.
A sudden downpour and a rest at a bus stop somewhere on the border of the London borough of Brent. As we cross the divide the finely kempt perimeters give way to a blur of shaggy weeds and an impermeable roadside detritus that has become the fabric of the place; the coloured stripes of unfamiliar brands of lager that no-one living or dead could identify, bleached wrappers of bygone chocolate bars, scratched and opaque plastic bottles – texture that will permeate for all time.
Out alongside the reservoir in the Welsh Harp Open Space, slugs and snails hurtle along the concrete highway, buoyed by the recent rainfall. We step gently, eyes downward, minimal depth of field. Cautious.
At the bridge the road narrows, pavement-less and only wide enough for one stream of traffic. We press the button and a rat scrambles up the bank, thrusting himself into the light to see how many people are waiting to cross.
“Three, and one motorbike,” he notes, before scurrying back under the bridge, presumably to don his hat and uniform and operate the necessary levers to facilitate our passing. A green man. Momentum builds.
The sounds of aggrieved motorists abound, announcing the arrival of the M1 before it is even visible. London’s core artery is clogged with congestion. I bite into a plum while staring down at this metallic sea. Menacing eyes glare back, confirmation there is still a desire to travel. London seems to not have all the answers.
Hawthorn and blackberries and nettles and other unidentified fruits line the narrow gap of a path over the railway line. A family with young children are eating ice-creams waving at train drivers and we join in. Drivers beep and wave at us, smiling. Trains are, definitively, better than cars. Hendon awaits.
September 11, 2012
Two things from Hemingway.
1. A note to himself when standing and looking out over the roofs of Paris in the early 1920s:
“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
2. On food and labour:
“It is necessary to handle yourself better when you have to cut down on food so you will not get too much hunger-thinking. Hunger is good discipline and you learn from it. And as long as they do not understand it you are ahead of them. Oh sure, I thought, I’m so far ahead of them now that I can’t afford to eat regularly. It would not be bad if they caught up a little.”
Both from A Moveable Feast which, in Hemingway’s own words “if the reader prefers… may be regarded as fiction.”
It’s exactly my kind of book. A confluence of ambient rambling, theory, fiction and human observation.
August 31, 2012
We had some visitors in the office from Oslo the other day.
“Anyone can shoot a good looking film these days. But you need a good story to make it a good film, and you could have shot that using your iPhone.”
August 16, 2012
A couple of months back I filmed James Bridle’s Working Shop. An art installation come coding workshop aiming to display the craft of code as an industrial artisan might.
The detritus of code is obviously much less visually striking than that of furniture production say, so documenting the craft through film was an interesting challenge. It’s almost the same problem that James faced – walking into his space who would know he was coding because what strikes you is the vacancy of the space, not the whirr of machines or the sawdust on the floor.
See for yourself what it’s all about.
June 24, 2012
Ever looked at a tree and thought of the stories it could tell if it spoke? I can’t walk past an old tree without thinking how awesome and majestic they look, so I’ve set up a tag on my new photostream to capture all these photos in an album, Majestic Trees.