Blakeson - Writer
Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
"The Nightvision Experiment" - online drama
For my most recent review assignment for the British Theatre Guide, I didn’t even have to leave my room – it was The NightVision Experiment, a sci-fi horror piece delivered to my computer via tweets and video footage. Technically accomplished, and effective in its creepiness, if a little generic in terms of narrative. The makers suggest that one watch in the dark, with one’s headphones plugged in; obviously, I was too much of a coward to go down that route.
In other news, here is my latest very short film, based on a poem by Sir Henry Wotton, and featuring an appearance from Sammy Davis Jr.:
Friday, August 16, 2013
It's My Shout
I spent a fascinating morning on the set of a short film I’ve written for the 2013 BBC Wales “Made In Wales” series, made under the auspices of It’s My Shout Ltd. Basically a training programme for young people who want to work in the creative industries, they put out an annual open call for scripts. I have submitted a youth-oriented idea most years, and this time round my screenplay made the cut (albeit at the expense of another piece which was apparently deemed to be inappropriate).So, I found myself in a crowded pub in Porthcawl on a Thursday morning, watching a brief nightclub scene being shot; once more impressed by the labour-intensiveness of properly funded, fully manned TV/film production (as opposed to my adventures with camcorder and laptop). The evidence - a committed crew (comprising both seasoned professionals and enthusiastic trainees); an exciting young director; what appears to be (from what I could gather) good chemistry between the two leads - suggests that it might all work out (results having been somewhat patchy in the past). Prior to broadcast on BBC Wales, all the films will be premiered in October at the Wales Millennium Centre - should be a jolly night out.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
“Alan Patrtridge: Alpha Papa”
In “Alan Patrtridge: Alpha Papa” Steve Coogan’s determinedly unheroic hero gets to flirt with redemption. The commercial radio station at which he DJs has been taken over by oleaginous corporate types, and when his sacked fellow employee, Pat Farrell – touchingly played by Colm Meaney – instigates an armed siege, Partridge finds himself in the role of mediator. Declan Lowney’s film, scripted by the familiar army of Partridge writers (Armando Ianucci, et al) more than does its job in terms of pleasing the fans - there is a constant stream of gags, both verbal and visual, mostly clever, some cheap; the plotting is deceptively clever. The performances from both franchise regulars (Felicity Montagu, Simon Greenall, Tim Key, Phil Cornwell) and newcomers (Nigel Lindsay, Anna Maxwell-Martin, Monica Dolan, Darren Boyd) are exemplary. It’s perhaps too parochial to be a true classic, but great fun.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
"Here Be Monsters"
My latest review assignment for British Theatre Guide was “Here Be Monsters”, at Chapter, from Theatr Iolo, written by Mark Williams. That relatively rare beast – an original play aimed at the family audience. A clever and enjoyable piece in which two young step-siblings go on a quest for monsters, which turn out to be their own personal demons. Lovely performances and very effective stage magic, relying on costume, music, lighting etc. rather than cinema-style trickery.
The next day I had to be up ridiculously early, having been invited to attend a “Friday Headspace” Day at the BBC Writersroom offices in London. I think it’s an attempt by the BBC to reassure writers not regularly under commission that we are still on their radar. The opportunity to meet other writers from various creative backgrounds was very welcome, as always; and we also got tips in areas such as presenting ideas and developing series bibles. Vague in conception, but highly enjoyable.