Well… that’s it. I’m leavin on a jet plane, and all that other Jonny Denver type stuff. As they say where I come from: “It’s all over bar the shoutin'” Of course, in this particular case, “the shoutin” involves packing my few remaining possessions; dragging 50kg of luggage (each) in 3 seperate cases (each), through the deep snow to the subway station; catching a train, then a bus, then a plane; being picked up from the airport, and living under someone else’s roof for the next week or so until my wife and I find somewhere to live. So if we’re gonna stick with the fighting analogies, I haven’t even spilled the other bloke’s drink yet. But it’s all over as far as the blog posts about my moving are concerned. I am writing this post on Monday the 26th, and it is scheduled for release at the exact minute we are due to land in the UK. So… once again, you must endure the anguish of my absence. At least for a little while. What will I be blogging about when I return? Your guess is as good as mine. Well… I suppose I could make a slightly more educated guess than you guys and say that it’s likely to be about my new house, and my new job (back to being self-employed now). I do have one or two things in the pipeline to keep you occupied until next we meet, and they have been a very long time coming. So, I will see you again soon. If you don’t believe me… take a look at this video. And the next time someone hears me say “Hmmm… I think I’ll kill myself off in this weeks video. I just want to try out this new effect!” STOP ME and say: “Jimbot… don’t do it. The storyteller in you is a perfectionist monster, and you know where this will lead.” Normally I sign off by saying goodbye, but on this occasion I will just say those 3 little words I have been desperately waiting to say for almost 3 years: I’m back baby!!
I started writing this blog as a record of my attempt to get my novel published whilst creating a successful YouTube channel at the same time. There was a very clear line of thinking behind the reasons for writing here.
- Writing a weekly blog will make my efforts public, and so urge me to keep my promises, and keep up with the submissions and videos.
- I may find some followers for the YouTube channel.
- It will keep me writing, even when I have nothing to write about.
- Prospective agents/publishers will have a wealth of my writing at their fingertips, should they wish to investigate.
- If, after a year or two, I have still not found a publisher… by that time I should have a sufficiently large YouTube audience to help increase sales of my book, should I opt to self-publish.
…On February 17th, it will have been 3 years since that moment.
I set up Sleepless Knight accounts on twitter, facebook and YouTube on the same day I started this blog. 3 weeks later I checked the stats… I checked them again today.
It’s fair to say that I got a little sidetracked.
As a direct result of writing here on WordPress, I met the woman of my dreams, and we are now very happily married… so it is tempting to say that this blog doesn’t owe me anything, and walk away from it. But I’m still convinced that I can make this whole thing work for me, and if there’s one thing my wife will tell you about me, it’s that I once I get an idea into my head it is impossible to shift it.
But that’s not really a good thing is it. I mean, it’s one thing to convince yourself that you can run through the wall into the next room because atoms are mostly empty space… but, as the very level-headed Dr. Ben Goldacre would no doubt have said to the poor, deluded Major General Stubblebine and his broken nose: I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.
It’s no good repeatedly saying “I’b dot givig ub!” through your mashed and bleeding hooter, as you bounce off the wall for the 30th time in a month. Sooner or later, you either have to start using the door, or accept confinement by the men in white coats, in a room where the walls can’t hurt you any more.
There are many reasons why the plan I outlined above has failed. Some of them are no doubt still a mystery to me, but the more obvious ones are:
- You cannot hope to gain followers on twitter if you never use it!
- You cannot hope to gain followers on YouTube if you never use it!
- You cannot hope to gain followers on WordPress if you never use it!
Once again; it’s a bit more complicated than that. The twitter thing is no more complicated than that. I simply keep forgetting it’s there. The YouTube thing is firstly a result of my monumental over-ambition when it comes to making videos; where I come up with extremely simple ideas and then over-complicate the crap out of them. And secondly because my circumstances keep changing every 5 minutes, which makes it difficult to film things. It’s tough to make and upload YouTube videos when you’re computer blows up OR you have no access to the internet OR you have no camera because you sold it in order to eat OR your crew live in another country, because you left them behind for 3 years!
So now let’s address the WordPress thing, because if you’re reading this, the chances are fairly high that you have at least a passing interest in reading blog posts.
There have been more agency submissions since those first ones, and there have been more videos since that first one… but the one glaring problem with my blogging above all others, is that I don’t find one subject and stick with it.
Without doubt, the blogs that get the most visitors (and WordPress do tell you this when you first start blogging here) are the ones which have a specific focus. If you have one subject about which you write, and you write about it regularly, then half the work is already done. So, if I know that, what’s the problem?
Well once again, the problem is me. All my life I have deeply envied people who have one passion; one area of their life which dominates all others and decides the direction of their life as a whole. My problem, as I have stated again and again, is that despite many, many efforts to narrow my focus to one specific area… Storyteller is the best I can do. That is as narrow as I can make it. I love telling stories. I want to tell my stories and there are many! I can’t put the required amount of exclamation marks after the word many, because you would think I had fallen asleep on my keyboard, and I can’t make the word big enough without writing it on something much larger than the state of Texas. I have many, many stories which I want to tell; from the things that happen in my daily life (which has been much more interesting than you might think) to the many, many hundreds of story ideas which have been filling my brain, and dozens upon dozens of notebooks and scraps of paper, since I was a very young boy, and are still doing so on a daily basis.
The problem is that storytelling covers a lot of sins: Books, Films, Short Stories, TV Series, Plays, Screenplays, Stage-acting, Screen-acting, Voice-acting, Game production, Animation, Poetry, Blogging… there’s a lot of scope to it. The other problem with telling stories, is that unless you first have people’s attention, no-one really cares what you have to say. So I need to get back on track here, and start growing my audience, because I have made a decision to keep trying to find an agent for my book until I return permanently to the UK next year. If, in that time, I have not found a representative, then I will self-publish my book and let the chips fall where they may.
So I need your help. I realise I’m probably going to make myself look really stupid here, since no-one ever comments on this blog, but I’m going to ask anyway, in the hope that one or two kind souls have suggestions for me, and actually tell me what they are in a helpful way… in the comments section [It’s easy to find – Just click the speech bubble at the top of this post and you will be directed to the comments section].
This blog needs a permanent focus. Something very specific that I can blog about on a weekly basis, and then if I want to tell you other things, I can do so in a different section.
- Movies – I love the movies. I always have done, and I still almost always end every day with a film. (but there are too many sites doing movie reviews already. Needs to be something new, or at least something that everyone and their grannies aren’t already doing)
- Film-making – My biggest passion by far. This is my world, and the people who do this are my people. I love everything about it, and I do every single job on a movie myself, but my main areas of interest are:- visual effects, miniatures/modelling, sound design, film scores, set/prop design.
- Writing – I have done this for a very long time, and I don’t think I could stop if I tried – check this post, to get a brief idea of my writing career – but I don’t think the internet needs another website about writing. Everything that can be said has been, and by better writers than myself.
- Bad Science and the proliferation of – It has become a bit of an obsession with me to fight back against the constant stream of bullshit which is posted, and reposted as fact on social-networking sites. The internet is a wonderful thing but it does let pretty much anyone state pretty much anything as fact, because the majority of us are too stupid or lazy to check the facts. The problem with this idea is a) Ben Goldacre and others are already doing it better, and b) I fear that my lack of medical/technical knowledge might actually do harm to the kind of intelligent professional debate run by much better qualified people than myself.
- Astronomy & Space Travel – Another passion of mine since I was a very, very small boy. I am probably one of the only people in the world sad enough to have read the entire Apollo 8 mission transcripts (that’s everything that was said in the capsule for 4 days), when they didn’t have to. I love everything about the universe outside our little planet, but once again, I fear I am not really well-read or qualified enough to contribute anything of any value to a wealth of on-line information about… the universe.
I will leave you with those for the time being, since I fully expect to get no responses whatsoever that did not come from inside this apartment.
See you soon.
All the best things come in threes, so I’d better make sure that I don’t drag this out over yet another post this week. Also, since the movies I’m previewing are getting further and further away (these ones start in October 2014) as we go down the list, it is getting much more difficult to find images relating to the production… so I may start improvising a little now.
Dracula Untold –
So, Dracula, became Dracula: Year Zero, and now Dracula Untold. But is it? Haven’t we been told this story before? I seem to recall that no-one really much liked what Francis Ford Coppola had to say on the subject. Well, if a Hollywood giant like Coppola can’t get it right, what else is there to do but give the project to a man who has previously only directed commercials.
Gary Shore is not really treading entirely new ground; drawing on the widely held belief that Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula on real-life 15th century overlord, Vlad Tepes. From interviews I’ve seen however, it does sound like Shore is telling a much more interesting story than Coppola, who pretty much tried to tell us that Dracula wasn’t all that bad before he fell out with God and developed a bit of an O+ habit. The truth of the matter, if the stories of the inspiration for Dracula are to be believed, is that Stoker took Vlad III and toned him down a bit.
For those of us who remember vampires before they went all glittery and pouting, the thought of having your blood drained by an immortal bastard while we slept was a fairly horrifying prospect… but that is a peaceful, dizzying drift into a warm (if rather too permanent) bath, compared with what Vlad tended to do with people who didn’t laugh at his jokes. I’m not going to go too deeply into it here (as much as I am tempted to), but as many of you will be aware, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, is usually referred to by the much more evocative epithet, Vlad the Impaler. In case you were wondering: No, this was not just a clever 15th century nickname for a well-endowed gentleman. He was so called because he is rumoured to have used over 40,000 people as life-sized pencil toppers… holding their legs apart and oiling a large stake, which was then… I think you get the picture. I’m sorry if you were eating a hot-dog or something while you read that. I should have put a disclaimer, or a spoiler-alert or something at the top of this post. Anyway, Vlad used to arrange these impaled people in concentric circles outside cities he planned to attack, or as a deterrent to his enemies (I don’t know about you, but this tactic would deter the fuck out of me), and the story goes that this lovely fella was the inspiration for Dracula; hence the stake through the heart, I would imagine.
Okay, maybe I did go too deeply into it, but if you wish to know more about the charming Vlad, check this out.
As far as the movie goes, it should be worth a watch. Just, maybe go without snacks for this one, eh?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles –
Once again, Megan Fox finds employment in a franchise based on a cartoon. Turtles are mutated by toxic stuff that we flushed; someone makes a movie about it; we flush that, and so goes the never-ending life-cycle of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
It shouldn’t be hard to discern my feelings about this film. If you can only see one film this week, make it the one with the stakes up the bottom. Unless you have kids. In which case… cover their eyes when it gets to that bit.
The Maze Runner –
Nope. This is not leaked CCTV footage of a thief who took a wrong turn after nicking a novelty tankard from the Hampton Court Palace gift shop, but the latest adaptation of dystopian fiction, this time from author, James Dashner.
A young boy with no memory wakes up in a community of 50 teenage boys, surrounded by a deadly maze. A day later, the first ever girl arrives.
Well, you certainly couldn’t ask for a situation with more tension. Throw in a box containing only one After-Eight mint and I think most cinema patrons would need chain-mail gloves to save their fingernails.
This will be the directorial début of Wes Ball, so it’s a very difficult one to call, but I think it would be difficult to mess up such an idea, so I’m gonna risk saying: Hit
Those who are superstitious leave now. Especially if, like me, you are a fan of Christopher Nolan.
For me, this is the big one of 2014. I simply cannot wait to see this movie. And not necessarily because I think it will be an instant hit, but because I think Chris Nolan is one of the most talented directors working right now… and I’m kinda wondering when this ride is going to end.
You see, in my opinion (and I need to stress that not everyone agrees with this), Chris Nolan has never made a bad move as director or writer, but let me explain the problem with expecting too much from this movie:
The film revolves around a group of explorers and scientists from a resource-depleted Earth, poking their heads through a newly discovered wormhole to see what’s on the other side. All very good so far. Then, in an unsurprising move from Nolan, it stars Michael Caine. Excellent; no problems there. Anne Hathaway also joins the very interesting cast list, along with John Lithgow and Wes Bentley; all of whom are watchable and usually dependable. Sounds great. Then the first teaser trailer combines images of historical, pioneering moments in human history, with a beautifully written monologue which goes directly to the very heart of everything I feel most passionately, about human-beings and this little planet we inhabit, in a single line of dialogue I would love to have written myself “…our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.” And the monologue is read by…. Matthew McConaughey.
I’m being tremendously unfair to poor Matthew here, I know. It’s a very, very minor point in an otherwise perfect-sounding premise. I just get so nervous whenever a new Chris Nolan movie comes out, because I have come to expect so much from him.
I suppose if there is one thing I should have learned by now, it’s this: When a fantastic cook tells you they are making a mouth-watering dish, but they’re going to use an ingredient you don’t ordinarily like… trust them to know what they’re doing.
Will this be a hit? Absolutely!
Paul King directs Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in this big-screen outing for Michael Bond’s beloved bear.
Paddington bear arrives at Paddington station from darkest Peru, where he is found and adopted by the Brown family. He is politeness in a little duffle-coat, and loves marmalade sandwiches; which he presumably eats from exactly the kind of paper-bag that Nicole Kidman couldn’t act her way out of!!
Paul King: Paddington was found with a note attached to his duffle-coat, which read “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and you let Nicole Kidman onto the cast… Shame on you, Paul King… Shame on you. You just better pray my sister doesn’t find out.
Adapted from a children’s book entitled The True Meaning of Smekday. An alien race called the Boov have invaded Earth and renamed it Smekland. Whilst being relocated to Florida, teenager, Tip (so nicknamed because her first name is Gratuity) befriends one of the aliens, and adventurous stuff happens.
The Wikipedia plot summary for this book left me more confused than a vacuum-sealed horse, so I went over to the website for the book, at smekday.com (set up by the book’s author, Adam Rex), and was more confused than I was to start with, but at least I was confused and laughing. I recommend a visit.
Having visited the website, I am certainly tempted to buy the book… er… for my daughter, and with a plot as mental as this I believe the movie will be a hit; even with a cast which includes both Rhianna and J.Lo (coincidentally also the name of the alien befriended by Tip in the book).
I will definitely go and see this movie… with my daughter.
Also: Steve Martin as captain Smek? Where the hell did you find Steve Martin?
Yep. From the book of the same name. I told you this was going to be a year of biblical epics, and with Ridley Scott in the director’s chair, it certainly will be epic. Captain serious has become the modern day David Lean, when it comes to epic movie-making… hardly surprising, since the briefest glance through Scott’s movies is enough to tell you that he set out to be exactly that. Kingdom of Heaven is so obviously his Lawrence of Arabia, it’s a wonder he didn’t call it Balian of Jerusalem.
Anyway, with one big ego in the director’s chair and another in the lead role, I’m surprised there hasn’t been an on-set explosion already… seriously, Christian Bale as Moses? If that isn’t like using plutonium fire-lighters I don’t know what is. I mean the man went bat-shit (see what I did there?) playing John Connor, and you give him Moses!! What’s gonna happen when he stands atop Mt. Sinai, screaming at God for interrupting him while he was writing “adultery”?
As I said in part one of this preview; Atheists appreciate a ripping yarn just as much anybody else, and I am quite a fan of biblical epics. A biblical epic directed by Scott? I’m there.
Dumb and Dumber To – (Check the movie title out before you write and correct my spelling)
I like both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. And the Farrely brothers have made me laugh in the past, but I’m afraid the original movie did nothing for me. If you liked it, by all means go and see this one… but The Hobbit: There and Back Again gets it’s UK release on the same day…
The Hobbit: There and Back Again –
What did I just say?
The Giver –
Hold the sniggering at the back there, you childish imp, the title refers to a giver of memories – specifically history – played by Jeff Bridges. The receiver, Brenton Thwaites, is selected to hold all the past memories of the time before Sameness, but is conflicted about his future within The Community after learning what the giver has to tell him.
Yet another adaptation about a seemingly idyllic community on the verge of discovering just how isolated they are from reality. The children’s novel, by Lois Lowry, upon which this film is based, has received a fair amount of criticism because of concerns about its suitability for young children, but that hasn’t stopped it selling over 5 million copies, or winning several literary awards.
Director, Phillip Noyce hardly has what you might call a golden touch, but Jeff Bridges has been one of my favourite actors since I first watched Tron, back in 1982, so on this occasion I have to agree with Empire, who said:
“We’d go see Bridges and Streep sit and stare at the floor for two hours, so this would have to be pretty terrible to skip it.”
However, my wife said:
“Then again… it’s got Taylor Swift in it.”
She raises a good point.
Black Sea –
Jude Law plays a freelance submarine captain (there are such things?) who searches… you guessed it… the Black Sea, for a submarine full of… NAZI GOLD!!
Sorry, since watching Bill Bailey do a sketch about UBS, I can’t write or say the words NAZI GOLD!! without doing that. You can imagine how this has hampered my lifestyle.
So… this Jude Law movie then. Whaddaya think then?
I’m going to reveal a decidedly weird and freaky fact about myself here, previously known only to my wife and one or two others: I watch submarine films when I’m poorly!
There. I said it.
I have no idea why this is, although, since I also tend to enjoy movies where the action is mainly confined to the inside of a spacecraft at such times, I suspect it’s because I’m a bit of a claustrophile. For the hard of thinking, that just means that I feel more secure in confined spaces. You might say I’m a closet claustrophile if you wanted to make a really bad pun (turns out I also like making really bad puns), but all this really means for the movie is that I’m very likely to watch it whilst coughing through a duvet. Since this is hardly the sort of endorsement that directors and production companies like to see on the backs of their DVD cases, I suppose I’ll have to say something like… This movie will get a 6.5 out of 10 with most audiences. Once again, Jude Law is another one of those actors who is worth watching in most things.
Well, as a certain speech-impaired, porcine thespian was fond of saying: That’s all folks. Regular blogging on slightly more varied subjects will resume within the week. I don’t know how long it will continue, since I have another film to edit over the next month, but I’ll try to get ahead with my posts, so that I can at least release one-a-week for… a couple of weeks.
I will certainly keep you updated about Sleepless Knight’s entry into the Empire: Done in 60 Seconds awards. If you want to find it in the meantime, and you live in the UK, go to jamesonempirediss.com and look for The Lord of the Rings – In 60 seconds – by James Moors (that’s me, in case you’re one of the 3 people reading this blog who doesn’t know me personally). If you don’t live in the UK, just go to the same link and pretend to be from the UK.
In the last 3 weeks, there have been 2 marriages and 2 brand-new, bouncing babies, in the whirlwind world which surrounds my own, making all the dried-up little leaves of my life leap to whatever tune it chooses… and occasionally spitting out a week of watching television with a cup of tea.
OK… a lot of that alliterative list was littered with… STOP IT!!!!
So I got a little carried away there, but I am extremely tired. I will now try to write like a normal person, albeit a normal person with one arm tied behind his back and a complete insensitivity to the conventions of blogging (whatever those are).
The bit about the babies and the brides was completely true though. One of the weddings was my own… here is a picture to prove it.
But, no sooner had I acquired a brother-in-law, than he goes and gets married himself, giving me an extra sister-in-law, as well as the one (or possibly two) that I already had. Confused? You will be! Some of these relationships confuse me, so if you can make sense of them from my dis-jointed, clumsy, unrefined blog posts… please contact NASA immediately; they’ll want to hear from you.
In between these two weddings, a little baby boy was born. Actually, since 2 weeks elapsed between the weddings, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if several babies were born, but the one I am talking about belongs to the long-haired bloke with the glasses in THIS VIDEO:
I know… it doesn’t bear thinking about really does it? Fortunately he has a lovely wife to make sure he doesn’t turn this kid into a Red-Bull-fuelled engine of orc-slaying, beat-em-up-playing nerdiness, with a strange affinity for squirrels and a use of the words “meh” and “boobies” with a frequency that would almost qualify the boy as bilingual.
The father of this brand new person was once my son… To clarify: He was once my step-son. He was then supposed to be my best man, but the imminent arrival of junior meant that my best man was my best woman. Are you following all this?
I drew a picture which should make things clearer…
If that image helped you in any way at all… you’re much sicker than you originally thought.
- Open a new browser window.
- Find your nearest psychiatric hospital.
- Call and ask for a car to the opera and a stylish jacket with extra long sleeves.
- Find any mirrors that you didn’t smash in your futile attempts to stop seeing the “little people”
- Wipe the drool off your face and wait for your escorts to arrive.
- If they have not arrived after one hour, make a cup of tea, call back and tell them you just caught Tom Cruise in a spring-trap.
The second new baby belongs to a young lady I am unfamiliar with. But a new baby is always worth a mention. I only really added it because it makes my life seem busy and exciting.
In truth, the only reason for this blog-post was to say: Two people who met right here on WordPress are now married. The wedding was a roaring success. Richard is still alive and well, and is now a father. Some other people you don’t know are now married, and yet another person you don’t know is now a mother.
Now the real adventure begins. In the next few months, I must discover what service I can legally offer people in return for money, so that when Amki and myself return to England in a couple of years, we won’t have to start looking for work all over again… I will start submitting the novel to agents yet again (NO “flogging a dead horse” cracks here please)… IF I can get a decent video camera from somewhere, I will try breathing life back into the YT channel again (I really do miss it intensely), and I will find a way to recover the data on my old computer, so that I can start editing the 3 videos I already have in the queue.
Apologies if this post made even less sense than my usual ones… but I really am very tired indeed.
Next time: Back to plain-old blog posts that have nothing to do with weddings or babies (unless a baby gets married between now and then, because I think that would be worth a mention).
Until then… Don’t bend over for the soap.
Irony, far from being an impulse to remove creases from things, is one of life’s little blessings. It can make us laugh and smile; many sitcoms could not exist without it, and for the most part it’s fairly harmless. Sure, Dyslexia is difficult to spell and stutter has 3 Ts in it, but even the fact that Ben Affleck chose actor for a profession is nothing more than a mild annoyance in the annals of irony. Sometimes though, irony wakes up on the wrong side of bed and decides, in a very Carrie kind of way, that we will all pay dearly for daring to laugh at it.
A couple of days ago, while astronomers were watching the skies and marvelling at how closely the Earth had been missed by Asteroid 2012 DA14, a different rock, measuring approximately 15 metres across and weighing around 7,000 metric tonnes, entered the atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia. Now, I firmly believe astronomers’ claims that one big rock had absolutely nothing to do with the other – the shattered teeth of anyone who has ever dared to suggest to me that the Apollo Moon landings were faked should be testimony enough that I have very little patience with conspiracy theory, or the paranoid, squishy-minded ignorance of the groupies who wear its t-shirts – but I shudder to think of the tsunami of drool that a coincidence of this magnitude must surely have caused at the headquarters of Lone Gunmen. Other than a shadowy association of Masonic, Russian glaziers, or a highly organised union of reinforced umbrella manufacturers (I figured an Enemy Mine reference just there might be a little too obscure even for this blog, but here is a link to my favourite “Zirky proof” scene anyway) I struggle to think who might benefit from such a conspiracy, but the odds of the closest asteroid miss in living memory coming just hours after the most catastrophic meteor strike in over 100 years would have made an overnight Howard Hughes out of even the poorest gambler.
Coming on the heels of my December post (which was rather scathing in its mockery of apocalyptic prophecy), and taken together with a rather nasty bout of Glandular Fever, which confined me to a bed for the better part of January, it would be tempting to think that the universe was giving me a hefty kick in the hairier parts of my complacency… but that would assume a level of importance that I fear I could not even achieve if the constellations rearranged themselves above my head, to read “There he is! Get him!” And, while I’m sure a more narcissistic blogger would have run straight out into the morning air, waved their fist at the skies and yelled “You missed!”, I need only WordPress to remind me of my significance; which, judging by my latest blog statistics, is roughly equivalent to that of a quality control inspector at a factory that makes novelty vomit.*
And that breathtakingly clumsy segue brings me tumbling like a tripped rhinoceros into the subject of blog re-design:
I have done this several times before but, if your life is empty enough, you may have noticed that this time I’m taking it slightly more seriously. There are a few reasons for this, chief among which is employment, or more precisely a lack of it. After 5 months of job-hunting in Sweden, it has become fairly clear that it would be easier to make money panning for gold in the sewers beneath the renal ward of my local hospital than it is to convince Stockholm business owners to employ an unpublished English writer to sweep their floors, let alone write for them. To that end, my impending wife, and our flat-mate have been helping me to refine a few things; including the way I define myself, and the way I present myself on the internet. I have started with a logo, and a mascot; both of which I have been threatening to design for the last 2 years. I will (I hope) then move on to designing an actual working website, once I have finally worked out what service I am planning to offer to the
poor suc lovely people I will be privileged to call my clients. Having been forced, in the loveliest possible way, by my flat-mate, to write down a list of the 10 things that interest me most in terms of employment and hobbies, the one word that seemed to tie all my interests together was “storyteller”. The most revelatory thing about this discovery was that it should have been no revelation at all, considering I have been describing myself as such for as long as I can remember… but we all lose sight of things from time to time, even if some of us are a great deal more Mr. Magoo in that department than others.
Expect a few more design changes over the coming weeks, as I have not yet finished with my designs for the blog. Ideally I would have waited until things were finished to publish a new blog post, but today is exactly 2 years to the day since my first post, and to ignore the earth-shattering significance of such an event would obviously be a crime.
…that and the meteor thing.
In the coming months I shall also return to my long abandoned YouTube channel. Whether that will be with an entirely new crew or with no crew at all remains to be seen but, since Richard and the former Sleepless Knight crew are separated from me by a considerable amount of land and water, and the length of string needed to connect tin-cans doesn’t bear thinking about, some changes are inevitable.
In other news, the date for my wedding is now set, and a pauper’s ceremony is less than my fiancée deserves, so if you feel like helping in any way at all… spreading the news about this blog and bringing me new readers (and hopefully writing jobs) would be a really good start. I am also planning to bring the wedding to the attention of the folks at WordPress, since this is where we met. It may do no good at all, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for a feature on Freshly Pressed, and I’m sure it couldn’t hurt if you guys put in a good word for me.
In the meantime, keep watching the skies and don’t bend over for the soap.
I’m going now.
*Sleepless Knight apologizes to anyone who actually does this job, and may have been offended by my arrogant assumption that this job is of no importance whatsoever. A job of little apparent significance is still better than no job at all. Please address all complaints to email@example.com
In a rather surreal turn of events, I’m writing this post from Stockholm, on the computer of my lovely Swedish Flowerpot; who is sitting behind me on the bed, studying for a test. Utterly bizarre when I think about how we met in the first place. But, I have been here almost a week now and the hour draws near when I shall return to England, and to reality, where I shall continue the good work of re-homing helpless, unemployed teenagers who have been crippled by waterfowl.
No… of course not. I have absolutely no knowledge of any adolescents being viciously attacked by Ducks, Swans, or any kind of winged beast. In fact, if I manage to drag my pitiful behind back to Lincoln without kicking small feathery creatures, simply for their ability to fly away whenever the mood takes them, it will be nothing short of a miracle.
It has been a glorious 11 days. No-one died during the Amki/SK Crew meet-up, although Richard is, this very day, in hospital, recovering from surgery to have his broken arm pinned and plated… but I swear that had nothing to do with me. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even in the same country when it happened. Still, I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him a swift recovery. My sister-in-law also had a fairly nasty accident, but is thankfully now safe and well. Amongst other weird happenings was missing electricity (don’t ask), an elevator with a mind of its own, 2 strikes which never happened, and a bizarre Hitchcock-like moment, involving all the pigeons in the world!
As regular readers will know, I flew back to Sweden with Amki, following her visit to England last week, and it has been good to be back in Stockholm. On Thursday, I watched Amki made-up by her very talented sister, Anna; studying to be a professional make-up artist (Another surreal coincidence, considering I discovered Amki as direct result of this post on her blog). It’s always impressive to watch a professional at work and Anna is no exception, as you can see…
On Friday night we enjoyed a whisky tasting, where we got a few strange looks as Amki whispered in my ear throughout the whole presentation. Fortunately most of the other guests realised by the end of the evening that she had in fact been translating for me, since my Swedish is not yet nearly good enough to follow more than the odd sentence or two. At any rate they got their revenge at dinner, where I was sandwiched between two large Swedish ladies who were very obviously enjoying their food rather more than is perhaps necessary to express in a family establishment; and orgasmic “yummy-noises” in stereo can detract somewhat from your own enjoyment of a meal. Still… it provided Amki with some amusement from the other side of the table, and if I can’t provide amusement then I really have outlived my usefulness, so we are thankful for small mercies.
On our return from the restaurant, the weather finally caught up with me again and we were treated to an April snow-shower in Stockholm. I’m not usually one to complain About the weather but it does rather seem just lately, as though the weather is determined to bring glorious sunshine to whichever country we are not in at the time. But Stockholm was good to us for an hour or so during my visit.
So now… I await the plane home, like a man going to his death! Let it never be said that I don’t know how to round off a good holiday.
I apologise if this has been rather more like a diary than my usual entries. No moral-of-the-story, no life lessons, no revelations or reflections. I haven’t really had the time to reflect on any misfortunes or mistakes this past week or so, because there haven’t really been any…
And perhaps, if there is to be a point, it is precisely that: I have had far too much time to consider things lately and procrastination has set in, like mould on a bowl of fruit that you are almost definitely going to eat at some point, because you bought it to be responsible and health conscious. I have far too many ideas and brilliant, exciting schemes to ever actually do any of them. My writing needs a much tighter focus… the channel needs to be streamlined. Nothing is happening, because our ideas bank is full to the brim, but it’s standing in the way of action. It isn’t going at all in the direction I intended, and things need to change.
I write this here so that the world can see it, and nag me when I inevitably fail to do any of the things I have just promised myself. Keep an eye on this blog, my writing career, and my lifeless channel. If nothing has changed in the next 6 months, you have complete freedom to stand around in a circle and kick self-help links in my face.
For now… Take care of yourselves, and don’t bend over for the soap.
I’m going now.
One always hopes to leave something of an impression on those who are most important to you. So when I return from Sweden last week and Amki says to me “You haven’t posted a blog this week, honey.” what do I say? I think what I actually said was “Erm… no my love… I was with you. Don’t you remember?” Please tell me our time together meant something! Is she losing her mind? Am I?
All she meant of course was that I should have posted when I returned, and I’m sure she’s right, maybe I should have, but I post on a Sunday and it’s a schedule I like to stick to wherever possible. Imagine my surprise then when I logged in to check my blog traffic and found it had increased dramatically while I was away; tripled even. Which, I admit, would still make my readership roughly equivalent to the number of teenagers who read the nutritional information on the side of a Special Edition: Sprouts & Lard Pot Noodle, but an increase it is nonetheless and I had to wonder why.
It turns out that all the traffic was to one particular post I wrote many months ago about the miracle power of Sudocrem. Why? Well, apparently Sudocrem has been hitting the headlines of late, as a superior substitute to the far more expensive anti-ageing creams, peddled by the very same people who gave you that terrible complexion in the first place: Make-up companies.
So there you are… When the day comes that you are thanking Sudocrem for the reason you are going through puberty again at the age of 65… remember that you heard about its miracle powers from me first.
Perhaps I should approach Sudocrem and ask them for a job as a marketing copywriter. I seem to have approached everyone else for employment this week. Ideally I need a job that I can do from wherever I am in the world that has an internet connection. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any. And before any clever soul suggests time-travelling… I have thought this through, and I’ll give you a scenario:
Mrs Johnson: “Oh, thank God you’re here! I found your number in the Yellow Pages and I simply had to call! My husband was killed in an accident at work yesterday. You have to go back and prevent it!”
Time Traveller: “I’ll do what I can ma’am!”
2 days later, following the successful completion of his task, the time traveller returns to collect his pay
Mrs Johnson: “What are you talking about? My husband didn’t even go into work yesterday! Get away from my front door, you crackpot… before I call the police!”
You see? It just doesn’t work. But if there are any useful suggestions, I’m all ears.
Still… while we’re on the subject of time-travellers, those who follow this blog, and its accompanying video channel regularly might be wondering where the latest video has got to. However, in the much more likely event that you stumbled upon this blog whilst staring at the ingredients on a tub of Sudocrem, wondering if it can really heal those unsightly cracks, then let me say two things: Firstly, the one in your ass is supposed to be there! Don’t worry about applying it to your baby’s nappy rash; I can assure you it works, and no harm will come to your children. Secondly, we are still looking for an abandoned location to film the scene where I finally return from the grave. Incidentally… if we happen to find such a location in the next week or so, allow me to assure any Christians out there that my returning from the dead around Easter is merely a COINCIDENCE! It was in no way planned to coincide with “implausible resurrection festival”. 😉 Everyone knows that Easter should be all about chocolate eggs and scary bunny rabbits (which don’t lay eggs… so I have to wonder who thought this up. Answers in the comments section please).
I think I’ve upset enough people for one day, so I’ll go now before those people carrying torches and a noose turn up at my door. For anyone who is still not upset, there is a new page on this blog; explaining all about the people I mention most often in these posts.
It’s been a fun week of penniless-ness and job-hunting… wondering how I’m supposed to show my girlfriend a good time during her upcoming visit when I can’t even afford bread for my dust-bunny sandwiches. Still… she probably won’t remember being here once she’s been back home for 24 hours, so I could probably just say “We went to the moon but the souvenir shop was closed” and she would be none the wiser (I just received a text from her as I wrote that, so I’m quite scared she might be able to read minds now).
I hope you remembered to put your clock forward and, if you’re interested, there is a wonderful celestial event tomorrow night. For anyone lucky enough to have clear skies, it should look something like this (without the lines, obviously).
I’m going now.
For a die-hard movie fan, I have spent very little time watching movies in the last 6 months. The other night though, dear Mr. Farnsworth decided to put on one of my (and a lot of people’s) favourite movies… A movie he had never seen (What?). The Shawshank Redemption is just one of two fantastic Stephen King adaptations from the wonderful Frank Darabont; the other being The Green Mile. If King and Darabont had started collaborating earlier, we might never have had to endure the god-awful Pet Sematary, or the bewilderingly successful Children of the Corn! Seriously people… who kept buying tickets for this movie? Stapling your face to the arse of an angry, flatulent rhino seems like a better way to pass time.
Where was I? Oh yes… The Shawshank Redemption. Those foolish enough to follow this blog – or those foolhardy souls who actually choose to spend time in my company – will recognise that this movie has many themes close to my heart: “Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things”, “Whatever mistakes I made I’ve paid for them, and then some.” I even considered using one of my favourite Shawshank quotes in last week’s post:
“I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty when they’re gone.”
It seemed appropriate to what, and more particularly who, I was talking about at the time. But I’m getting off the point.
If there’s one thing watching great movies always does to me, it’s to refuel my inner filmmaker. So this week’s post is going to be a Sleepless Knight film appeal. It’s time to start driving viewers to my channel, so here we go.
First in line is a video we made a few years ago, when we were still “Watch Hour Productions”, and there were only two of us. It’s a parody of a series of Mastercard commercials that were around at the time. I really wanted to play around with digital rotoscoping, I love to build props, and, like every kid of my generation, I always wanted a lightsaber, so ahead we went and made a Mastercard-style commercial for a fictional anti-psychotic drug called “No-Mad”. Like everything else we make, it was a great deal of fun to film.
The second one was our entry into the 2009 Empire magazine “Done in 60 seconds” Awards. A competition we considered entering again this year, but most of our ideas involved a great deal of expense and/or swimming around in a great deal of very cold water, in the middle of January. Amki was not very keen on the idea of my dying from hypothermia, and I’m not enough of a James Cameron to treat my crew members like bait in an ice-fishing contest. My plans were little less grand in 2009, and I spent 3 weeks building 2 sets on my own (thanks for that, Richard), most of my crew chickened out at the last moment, and those that did turn up had to be dressed in bubble-wrap and paper overalls under very hot lights. The rules for this competition are that you remake a movie of your choice in 60 seconds. It is even harder than it sounds, and for my movie I chose Apollo 13. A movie set in space! Brilliant, Jimbot! Anyway… I think we pulled it off, but judge for yourself.
I’m going to miss out a couple of the not so good ones from early last year, and bring us a bit more up to date with a tribute to the late, great Douglas Adams. This video was part 3 of 3 (Parts 1 and 2 can be found here, and here respectively), and was the very first time I ever worked with the crew members who make up Sleepless Knight as it is today. I first met Kitty, Tom, Ben, Emily, Dean, and of course, the man who is now my flatmate and the 3rd SK front man; Mr. J.V. Farnsworth, on the day this was filmed, and I have been glad of it (mostly) every day since. For the videos leading up to this one, I had been gagged, tied up in the back of a van at 1am on a freezing night in March, and forced to watch the Royal Wedding. We had a lot of fun making this video, as can be seen from some of the outtakes at the end. Try and spot the Douglas Adams references and leave a comment telling us what you thought.
After that I was hit by lightning and blown to tiny pieces. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but I was planning to be resurrected by two little blue aliens. Unfortunately, after 3 months building a virtual set for the little guys, I ran into a rather large snag and they had to be shelved. Besides that, there was the small matter of moving house again, a lack of money, motivation, co-operation and an awful lot of other complications in my life which slowed down my return, and pretty much wrote off the rest of 2011, with the exception of a blooper-reel video which can be found here. Now though, we are back up and running again, and it turns out that I might be resurrected by a masked time-traveller. There is a whole back story to that which will come out in later videos. For now I’ll leave you with part one of my resurrection story. It was poorly planned, even more disastrously filmed, and it was the last video ever to be shot with my old, standard definition camera (Yes folks… we’re in HD now). Enjoy the last SD video, if you can.
That brings us up to date, and part 2 of that story is being edited at the moment. We tried filming part 3 in late January but we were freezing cold and eventually rained-off, so filming will begin again shortly.
In the meantime, please watch the videos, please leave comments (on here and on the SK YouTube channel if possible). Subscribers are always helpful if you feel like doing that. If you feel like telling your buddies about the videos, even better. If they subscribe to the channel I may even consider having your babies… They won’t be the prettiest children in the world, and you may need to keep them away from combustible materials, but they sure will be enthusiastic about lots of stuff they can’t actually do! That was supposed to be a good thing… I forget why. Please support Sleepless Knight’s channel. The more support we have, the more videos we’ll be able to make (again… that’s a good thing, in case you were wondering), and the better they will get.
That’s all for this post. This time next week I’ll be in Stockholm with my lovely Swedish Flowerpot, so the blog post may come from there… or it may be written ahead of time and brought to you from the past, via the medium of sorcery. Either way, I’ll be enjoying myself (or more likely checking my pulse every few minutes as I prepare to meet members of my girlfriend’s family) so don’t expect me to care very much if the post gets misplaced as a result.
Until we meet again, take care… and don’t bend over for the soap.
I’m going now.
Firstly I must apologise for my absence from this blog. I have been busy living. Andy Dufresne would be very proud. It has been a hectic couple of weeks for me; many things to reflect upon and to smile about, but I’ll get to those in just a minute.
One year ago today, I wrote my very first WordPress blog post. If you’re curious, or simply feeling the suffocating pillow of nostalgia, that first post can be found here. Still… it’s been quite a year for me. A year ago I had no film crew, an unpublished novel, an unsuccessful YouTube channel, and an unfinished website. Now, one year later, I have a film crew! OK… so those were bad examples, but there really have been some very interesting changes in my life, and I would like to talk about one in particular for just a minute because, not only do I have this blog to thank for it but, ironically, it is also partly responsible for my recent absence from it.
I have met many wonderful bloggers through WordPress, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to meet people like Heather at Prawn & Quartered, The Wuc, and Jackie from…erm… The Jackie Blog. Still, there is one that spoke to me and my peculiar brain much more so than the others. So much so in fact, that I began to think this woman was living in my mind. As we commented back and forth, it became clear to both of us that each understood the other in some really quite remarkable ways, and we quickly became good friends. I won’t bore you with too many details but our friendship slowly graduated from the blog to social networking, and then to online chat, then telephone, then webcam conversations… and then finally, a few weeks ago, to four of the happiest and most joyful days I have ever spent in the company of another human being.
Yes folks… it sounds like a dreadful article from HEAT magazine but… I found love on WordPress.
So thanks for that, WP! Our ride hasn’t been without its bumps so far, but I hope it will continue for some time to come.
For those who hadn’t guessed, the lady in question is The Swedish Flowerpot, and if there are any of you who have never seen her blog, I strongly recommend you check it out. She is a supremely talented writer with a fantastically complex mind, and if you factor in that she writes that impressively in a second language, I’m sure you’ll agree that she has a very bright future.
OK… now that I’ve finished my Scandinavian sales pitch, let’s get on with other news.
Sleepless Knight did get some filming done before I disappeared but the weather conspired to stop us from completing it. Still… Kitty got to slap Farnsworth (again) after he descended from half-an-hour atop a freezing pile of rubble (he gets all the fun jobs), Winston the dog ran off into the woods, covered in a paint-stained bed sheet, and the universe almost imploded when myself, Farnsworth, and Richard, all appeared in the same place for the first time since May. A good day was had by all, and the best thing was… we were all there! Everybody turned up at the same time! Let no-one say we don’t have ambition.
Speaking of filming… that video that should have been completed in January… The footage is all there, and mostly edited. It just needs polishing. But, to say I’m lacking motivation for this first video is an understatement of “Space is big!” proportions. The problem is not a complex one… the footage is simply shit! We can’t film it again because the location is no longer available to us, so I have to make my peace with it, but I really just want to lie on the carpet kicking and screaming. It really is that bad folks. But, it’s part one of three, and filming is almost complete on part two so I just have to get through it. It’s a bit like having to remove a 9 week old Rhino corpse from the kitchen table before you can sit down and enjoy a really good meal. Sure, you could simply burn down the kitchen and spend the next year eating Chinese food off the living room carpet, but sooner or later someone is going to ask what happened to Reginald the oversized house-pet, and why we don’t go in the kitchen anymore. Besides… I really like that kitchen table.
*No Rhinos were harmed in the making of this analogy. It serves to illustrate a point in manner the reader will not forget, and any similarity to Rhinos living or dead is purely coincidental.
It is possible that I occasionally allow myself to get a little carried away with these analogies, but it keeps me off the streets.
At any rate… Sleepless Knight will certainly continue into 2013. With a Sleepless Wedding at the end of the year (Richard’s, not mine), countless amusing pearls of wisdom from Farnsworth, such as “I’m sorry, I don’t believe in time” (said to a Jehovah’s witness) and “If I was a giraffe and she was a giraffe… she’d be a really pretty giraffe!” how could I give up now and deprive you of all we may yet achieve together.
I hope your February has been as good as mine has so far, but it’s really hard to care when you’re this happy! I know that’s a rotten thing to say, but if you let me be smug about these sorts of things, then you can take a leaf out of The Swedish Flowerpot’s book and simply laugh extra hard when Jimbot hurts himself.
I’ll see you next week. In the meantime, take care and don’t bend over for the soap.
Earlier this week I mentioned 2 extra posts for the next few days. I have decided however, that my VBA post will wait until mid February. The reasons for this will probably never become clear to any of my readers but one… but rest assured I have them, and they are valid. Until then, here is the promised guest post, from the very lovely, Kitty… the only one of the Sleepless Knight crew who can actually call herself ‘Knight’, and, unlike Mr Farnsworth, her post will actually be about FILM! Hooray! Her own blog can be found here. In the meantime, read and enjoy, and I’ll see you at the usual time (maybe).
When people find out that I have film degree one of the many questions I get asked is ‘What’s your all time favourite film?’ or ‘Could you recommend me a good film?’ The first is easy to answer. The Lion King. The second is always so much trickier, mainly because the films I recommend are good to me, but others can’t stand them. So for this guest blog I thought I’d tackle what, to me makes a good film.
There is no recipe or formula to making a good film, (That’s a tiny lie as I personally believe that Jerry Bruckheimer has found, made and bottled the formula to making epic blockbusters. The main ingredient being the repetitive use of the American flag in the back ground. Don’t believe me? Next time you watch Armagedon have a shot for every time you see an American flag, I guarantee you, you’ll be out of it by the end of the first 30 minutes.) but the following thing is what capture me and makes me believe a film is good.
I always love it when a director can immerse me in a film by the way he/she plays on the emotions they want me to feel. Recently I watched ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ (2010 Dir: Steven R. Monroe) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1242432/ and I was amazed at how my emotions were dragged around. From reading the blurb on the back of the DVD case I know what to expect, so I sat down with my friends ready to back it down and pick holes at it. Surprisingly I didn’t. The one character in the film that I expected to sympathise with the entire time (a simpleton named Matthew) I ended up hating and couldn’t wait for the main protagonist to get her revenge. Normal I would hate the idea of watching a film where three quarters of the film is dedicated to the build up of and the eventual rape of the main protagonist, but I didn’t mind, because it was all necessary to get the emotions of hatred towards the preportraitors of the rape and to feel the encouragement and support for her ultimate revenge.
Techniques implored within a film can make or break it. For me one of these films was ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’ (2004 Dir: Kerry Conran) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346156/ the use of blue screen throughout the whole film was amazing. Everything you see, bar the furniture and certain props is all computer generated. That and the way they processed the film to give it a more comic book feel made me so giddy. Alas though if you do want to watch this film I will warn you, the story is appalling and the acting is not always up to scratch. Speaking of stories…
Stories are so important in a film. You may think that I have just made the world’s most obvious point and you’d be right. Not all people remember this though and the above film is a clear example. A story for me should be one that surprises me into realising that I actually like it. One fantastic example is ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010 Dir: Tom Hooper) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/ I flat out refused to go and pay to watch this in my local cinema (for reasons on a money matter which I will be ranting on about on my own blog page at some point) for quite a few weeks. Then one day I want with a friend to grab a hot chocolate from the Costa that is ran inside the cinema and a friend of mine was working on the box office and asked if I fancied watching it for free. Well, you don’t say no to free…at least that’s my rule. So in I went and boy was I impressed when I left. I had this image in my mind of me falling asleep to Colin Firth trying to get from some boring speech therapist, but I was so wrong. The ideas of friendship it invoked made me laugh, cry and a slightly better person for watching it. If you have yet to see I strongly suggest you do. It is one of those films you will be able to watch again and again. Now that I’m typing about watchability…
The Lion King (1994 Dir: Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110357/ I had to get round to using this film as an example sooner or later. This film has one of the key things that makes a film good. Watchability. I am genuinely not lying to you when I type that I have sat and watched that film 8 times in a row. I intend to beat my old record and go for 10 times at some point in the VERY near future.
Cinematography and sound. They’re like bread and butter, Harold and Lardy, Politicians and dishonesty, their just essential to one another. For sound there isn’t just one example as I’m a strong believer in it making up for half the film. Really you try to watch a film with just dialogue and no score or foley and you’ll get bored pretty quick. On the cinematography front Hero (2002 Dir: Yimou Zhang) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/ comes straight to mind. I remember watching for the first time when I was in 6th form and being blown away by it. The shots, the colours, the camera movement; it was just like watching a living piece of art. The film also contains some very notable Chinese actors and the story is wonderful too. Please watch this film. It is a feast for your eyes.
These are, for me what makes a film good. You may disagree completely or be thinking ‘Yes, this woman/cat thing knows what she’s on about’. If it’s the latter then I’m so giving you hugs right now, look I’ll even retract the claws too. Either way I hop you’ve enjoyed this and please do feel free to comment on this posting.
For now though, stay Curious.