Sunday, 18 February 2018

Advice For Actors!

Hey Guys x

Over the last six months or so, I've been working on some short films (most that will probably never see the light of day!), but one of them kept going and I got to the stage where I was auditioning people and actually choosing actors to play certain parts, which was great.

However, there were some things that I noticed during this time that I thought would be interesting to share, particularly with budding actors.

But I should point out, this is my second time auditioning people for a role. I am not a casting director in any way and my advice might be completely useless. These are just really personal things that I have found while auditioning people for this one project. Also, this is more about those sending in audition tapes than going to actual auditions.

1. Know What Role You're Auditioning For
This has only happened once or twice to me, but it's just quite a weird thing. I had one or two people who wanted to audition for a less popular part (i.e not the lead role), but when emailing them later, it became clear that they'd only done that so they'd have more chance of being seen by me. Actually, they also wanted to read for the lead role.
In my opinion, just audition for what you want to audition for. I saw everyone that wanted to audition for all roles, and if you're right for it, you'll get it without tricking yourself into it.

2. Send Your Audition In Promptly
If you've managed to get to the stage where the director wants an audition tape from you, don't wait too long to send it. In my experience, the director is always auditioning quite a few people for the part, and there's only so long they can wait for your tape before they have no choice but to give the role to someone else.
Plus, if you have to delay sending your tape for whatever reason, just let them know. When I was auditioning people, there were some that couldn't hand them in within the first week or so and that was completely fine with me, so if it's something unavoidable, just be upfront about it.

3. It's OK To Read From The Script
As I said, I'm not a casting director, so I don't know at all whether this is something that real casting directors have a problem with, but I definitely don't. Because I also wrote the script, I would much rather someone read from the script and get the lines right, than not read from the script and make it up as they went along.
Of course, not reading from the script and knowing the lines well would be the best thing, but if you don't know the lines, read from the script.

4. Know Your Availability
This, for me, is really important. Whether you think you're gonna get the role or not, it's important to know if you're actually available to do it. In my experience, a lot of actors have a few things going on at the same time, which is fine. But make sure that you know exactly when you're free and when you're not free, because if you don't know your dates, the person who is definitely available at the time will be the one getting the part.

5. Know If You Expect To Be Paid For The Role
This is definitely more important for student and amateur works. Most students, or people like me who are making movies for experience and putting them on YouTube (rather than being paid for them) can't afford to pay their actors, and aren't expecting to (depending on who their actors are and where they get them from). So if you expect to be paid for the role, that's a conversation that should definitely be had. Travel expenses are one thing, but to be paid for the role itself, you need to make the director aware that this is what you expect. On the website that I use to find actors, there is an option that says that the actor only accepts paid work,which is great because it's not even a discussion that needs to be had. But if you haven't had that conversation, you need to.

6. Be Patient
This is my last piece of advice. Shit happens. Sometimes the director can't find anyone to film, sometimes the script needs tweaking, sometimes the other actors take a long time to respond, sometimes there's technical issues. Either way, delays might happen. If you don't hear from the director for a while, don't automatically assume that the production is off - chances are they're busy trying to make everything work. However, if you're worried about it, send them a polite email asking if everything is still going ahead. More likely than not, there's been a small delay and everything will be back on track soon.

So, there's just a few pieces of advice. If there's anything else that you can think of, leave it in the comments, I'd love to read it!

Are you an actor? Did you find this helpful?

Lou xx

Friday, 16 February 2018

Dunkirk | Film Review

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Hey Guys x

In keeping with Oscar season, Dunkirk is the next film that I'm reviewing!

The film takes place in May 1940, and is about troops from Britain and France that were trapped by Germany on the beaches of Dunkirk, and if/how they managed to be evacuated.

I didn't really have any idea of this story before I started watching this film. The only thing I knew was from the brief descriptions of the film that I'd already read, but nothing about how accurate it is to the true story, so I didn't know what to expect.

The biggest theme of this film was definitely the sense of heroism, of what these men managed to accomplish and the sense of relief and freedom that came from them finally making their way back home (which is a spoiler but to be honest, this came out AGES ago and it's a true story, so if you haven't seen it, you probably know how it ends anyway).

However, the other theme for me was the human basic instinct of survival. Even as a viewer safely at home watching, I felt the need to survive. You watch these men and you feel the need to help them, to make sure that they survive. It wasn't about who was winning the war or anything like that, it was about seeing the men evacuated, and that made the film, and the subject matter, really special.

Having said all that, it's the kind of film that I'll have to see more than once before I decide completely how I feel about it.

It started slow, and I'm talking sloth slow. I didn't really know what was happening for a good majority of the time. It might just be because I don't know much of anything about that period of time, and don't have a particular interest in it, but it wasn't as exciting as I assumed it would be.

I also think it suffered for me because I've heard such great things about it. I assumed it would be this incredible masterpiece of filmmaking that would become an instant classic that no one could not love. And because of that, I was, and am, slightly disappointed. Because I did not hate the film by any standards, or even dislike it. But I assumed that I would love it in the way that so many other people seem to, and I really don't.

However, the acting was brilliant. Particularly Harry Styles, just because I didn't expect him to be good because I only know him as being a part of One Direction. But I'm pretty sure he had one of the most prominent roles within the film and he played it really well, so hats off to him and to the rest of the guys in the film who were really great!

So overall, it was a great subject matter, but I didn't enjoy the film itself that much. However, I would definitely recommend it because it's telling a story of great interest and importance.

Have you seen it? What did you think of it?

Lou xx

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Turning Into A Film Blogger?

Hey Guys x

This is something that I've been thinking a bit about lately.

I've never been the person to put my blog into a category, or to limit myself into only posting about a specific thing. When I started blogging, there were lots of directions that I wanted my blog to take, so I posted about anything I wanted to.

And this isn't something that I've consciously decided to stop doing. It's just that, as things get busier (I have only a month and a bit left until I technically finish third year of uni, in terms of lessons. Then in May, everything is over) I find less stuff that I want to post about. In a way, it's like I only want to spend time posting if I can justify writing that post over reading a book for uni.

But movies are my biggest passion. And so, movie reviews are the one thing that I make time to write no matter what.

So if you look at my most recent posts (including my 'Blogmas' posts), you'll see that most of them have been movie reviews.

And I love this. I love the fact that my blog has become centred on my biggest passion.

But then I think that maybe I should re-brand my blog into a movie-based blog. Since it's what I write about the most, it might make sense.

Every time I think about it, I worry though. There was a reason that I never wanted to fit my blog into a box in the first place, and that was because I didn't want to force myself to post about something just to fit into that group. Which I know I wouldn't have to do, but personally I'd feel like I should.

I guess this post is just a way to throw all of my thoughts about my blog into the void, or onto the people that are reading this post.

But then I think about what it means to re-brand.

I mean, changing my design would be a given (and to be honest I kind of want to change it anyway. If I could do it easily I would have done it already, but remembering how long it took me last time, I need to set out some time to do it properly), but what else? Would I have to change my blog name? My 'About' section? Would I have to make every post movie-based?

It's a lot to think about!

Have you ever re-branded your blog? What made you do it?

Lou xx

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

My Problem With '8 Simple Rules'

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Hey Guys x

Today's post might come out as more of a rant, which I'm OK with because I haven't ranted about something in a while!

Last year, I started watching the show '8 Simple Rules' when it started playing on Comedy Central. It originally came on between 2002 and 2005 but I didn't watch it when it was first on. Anyway, I really got into it. There were only three seasons, so it was over before I wanted it to be.

And I loved this show, and I still love it. Comedy Central doesn't play it anymore but if it did I would dive right back into it because I love a good sitcom.

However, I have a major gripe with a plotline of the show, that got more prominent in season 2/3.

Let me just explain the characters a bit, so you know who I'm taking about in case you never watched it.

The show revolves around a family, Paul and Cate Hennessy, and their children Bridget, Kerry and Rory. In the second season, the father in the show died (due to John Ritter's real-life tragic death), so the show introduced a grandfather and cousin figure to replace him, Jim Egan and C.J. Barnes. 

The problem that I had was overwhelmingly the way that Kerry, the middle child, was treated by literally everyone.

The premise of the show is that you have the beautiful child, Bridget (played by Kaley Cuoco) and the not-so-beautiful child, Kerry (played by Amy Davidson).

First of all, Kerry wasn't less beautiful than Bridget in my opinion, Bridget was just blonde and popular, so it came across that she better fit the conventional standards of beauty.

But my point isn't about who was prettier, I don't really care about that. And anyway, the pretty dumb girl vs the smart less-pretty girl is a formula for TV that has been done since the rest of time, and I'm OK with it.

It's the fact that Kerry was treated awfully.

When the father figure died and the show became less focused on the two girls, Kerry was pushed to the side so much by her own family. I don't care how her siblings treated her because siblings will always treat each other like shit sometimes and then revere them at other times, that's the point of a sibling.

It was by the adult figures in her life, especially her mother and older cousin, but her grandfather too, to some extent.

She was just seen as the independent smart one that could be ignored - which is why I think she decided to lose her virginity so young in season 3, to prove that she wasn't just the smart girl that everyone could ignore.

In the second season, I assumed that this blatant mistreatment of Kerry would be used as a plot device which would be used to further the development of all of the characters. However, as the third season ended, it seems like the only person who really changed was Kerry.

I guess it affects me because I've felt like a Kerry in my life, and I know many other Kerry's in my life, and it sucks that her own family treated her like she didn't matter.

What do you think? Am I being dramatic? Or did Kerry deserve better?

Lou xx

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Ranking The X-Men Movies!

Hey Guys x

There are so many films in the X-Men series that I know there would be no point in reviewing them all in separate posts, especially because I don't have much to say about some of them.

So I thought that I'd just review them all in one post. And then I thought, why don't I rank them too? So that's what I'm doing! (If you're here from my 'Oscars 2018' tag/label, that's because Logan has been nominated for an Oscar!)

Although I have to say, I've only seen each movie once, so the rankings are definitely on first impression, and will probably change if I ever go back and watch them all again. And there will definitely be spoilers, because they all (with the exception of Logan) came out so long ago that I assume that whoever wanted to see them already has.

Also, I'm not including Deadpool, because I watched it ages ago and my mind kind of keeps them separate. But let's be honest, it would probably be at the top of the list.

9. The Wolverine
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I don't think I have to preface this by stating my love for Hugh Jackman, because who doesn't love him? But for me, this film wasn't great. It felt completely separate, not only from the X-Men films, but also from his other 'Wolverine' based standalones. However, I loved the fact that it was set in Japan, so there was a hell of a lot of POC representation. But I don't feel like it did anything to change Wolverine's character, and if this movie hadn't happened, the next movies would have been pretty much the same.

8. X2
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I think for me, this film was the most confusing of the X-Men original trilogy. It had a very similar storyline to the first film, with the mutant registration act, but it wasn't the new and exciting thing that X-Men was because we've literally seen it before. In a way, I kind of feel like I'd have liked to see the third film in this place, with the new storyline. And then this could have been the last film, about putting an end to the mutant registration act once and for all. But yeah, it definitely wasn't my favourite.

7. X-Men: The Last Stand
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I really liked the storyline this time around, compared to the other X-Men movies. And I liked the fact that, as this was a trilogy, the stakes were high and people could die. However, some of the deaths (*cough* Scott Summers *cough*) I really didn't like. And in addition to that, apart from the storyline of finding a cure for mutants, it kind of felt like they found a winning formula with Magneto being the villain in the first two films and decided to just go with that again. I didn't really get a sense of character development, which for the end of a trilogy, isn't great. However, I still thought that it was a good film and I'd definitely watch it again.

6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
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I never normally really enjoy origin stories - but when you have a character like Wolverine/Logan who hasn't known who they really are for three movies, the need for an origin story becomes a demand, and I was more than happy to sit through this one because it was about a character that I'm really interested in. Plus, the addition of Ryan Reynolds can never really be a bad thing, even if they did ruin Deadpool in this movie. Like 'The Wolverine', it was disconnected from the X-Men films, but because it was an origin story, it didn't need to be connected at all, and it worked that it wasn't. Plus, near the end it does connect, and it was so cool to see Professor X again!

5. X-Men
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This was the film that started everything off. I think it was an amazing concept, the cast was incredible, and it really paved the way for the plethora of superhero movies that are out today. However, I just think that, as someone watching it for the first time in 2018, it suffers a bit because it's an older film, so the special effects and things like that aren't as good as they are now. In fact, I definitely think the problem is that I've seen too many superhero movies and can't help but compare them. But I thought the film, the script, the actors, the concept, and everything else about this film is great, especially for the time it came out.

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
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OMG was this an amazing concept! The X-Men of the future having to reunite with their former selves! That's incredible, the cast was incredible, and I thought that it was done really well. I loved the character development from 'X-Men: First Class' to this, and the addition of Wolverine/Logan/Hugh Jackman just made it a thousand times better. So why is it only 4 on this list? Well for one, I found the 'future' bits kind of confusing and I just wasn't interested in them. But the main reason why this is lower down than it otherwise would have been is the fact that this film ended by completely erasing 'X-Men: The Last Stand'. Like seriously, it just completely changed the whole of that film, making me feel like 'The Last Stand' wasn't even worth watching because the only person that was affected by it was Wolverine.

3. X-Men Apocalypse
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I enjoyed this movie so much. I think I would have liked it anyway, just because I've been in love with this cast for so long. But this movie wasn't what I expected it to be at all. I'd heard bad things about it, so I just assumed that it wouldn't be a very good film. However, I found myself getting so invested in it. I loved seeing the young versions of the rest of the X-Men from the first three movies, and thought this was done really well. Also,having Peter Maximoff as Magneto's son is something from the comic books that I was really hoping they would do. And in the next movie, I hope that Magneto actually gets to find out this information. But overall, I thought this film was great and I will definitely be watching it again!

2. Logan
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First of all, can I just marvel at the fact that this is now an OSCAR NOMINATED MOVIE!! It's nominated for best adapted screenplay and I really hope it wins. But even if it doesn't, that's a huge achievement. Also, this is the first time that I'll be able to tag a superhero-based post with 'Oscars' and that excites me no end. I really hope that this is the path of things to come because superhero movies are amazing. And let's be honest, Logan is one of the best. It probably wouldn't mean a lot to you if you're not an X-Men fan, or if you haven't seen all the movies. Without spoiling anything, it ties up the X-Men 'future' franchise so well. I say future because the past timeline is still going strong and I'm sure they'll get a few more movies out of that. But as for the future, this is the end of the line, and what a way to go out!

1. X-Men: First Class
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This is my number one. Now, I don't think it was particularly a better film than the last three I mentioned. However, it's here because it was the beginning of this new timeline and paved the way for the two directions that the X-Men movies have gone in. The casting of this film was so freaking perfect, as James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult, as well as everyone else, were completely amazing in their roles. I was interested in the Xavier/Magneto relationship from the first X-Men film, and this film shows how they met and how they became friends. It was done perfectly, it showed the beginning of the X-Men, and I just completely loved it. Loved it!

Have you seen the X-Men movies? What's your ranking?

Lou xx

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The Post | Film Review

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Hey Guys x

As you may or may not know, we're now into Oscar season, which is one of my favourite times of year.

I'm hoping to see as many nominated films as possible, more than I did last year. But in the UK the films come out so late that I might not get a chance, which would be a shame.

However, every nominated film that I see, I will review. I've already reviewed 'Three Billboards...' 'Get Out' and 'The Big Sick', and they're all under the tag 'Oscars 2018', so feel free to view them here!

But anyway, let me get on with this review!

This film is about a woman called Katharine Graham (played by Meryl Streep) who is the first female publisher of a newspaper, The Washington Post. When she and her team get a hold of a story that exposes government secrets regarding the Vietnam war, Katharine, her editor Ben Bradlee (played by Tom Hanks) and everyone else involved in her paper have to decide what's more important - their jobs and livelihoods, their reputations, the reputation of their paper, or exposing the government.

This a true story, and I feel like when you see the subject matter that it deals with, it would be impossible for it not to be true. I don't know too much about the Vietnam war and what the government were doing, but this screenplay was clearly written by someone who not only understands exactly what happened, but is also clearly very passionate about getting this story told.

Now I have to be honest, I didn't like the film. It was amazingly acted and directed (by Steven Spielberg!), so that wasn't the problem. It's probably just me, but I felt like you needed to have even a slight understanding and/or interest in this story (or about American politics in general) when seeing this film, and I didn't. And I still don't.

There was never a time for me when it felt like the stakes were high. There was a scene in court in the film (which shouldn't be too much of a spoiler) and I never for a second assumed that something really bad would happen as the outcome of that. And also, I never for a second believed (spoiler alert) that they wouldn't post the papers. I just thought, if they didn't, what would be the point of the film? I mean, yes it would be about their moral dilemma, but in the end it would have just amounted to nothing.

Another thing that annoyed me wasn't to do with the film at all. It was to do with the fact that this was a serious film, and yet 3/4 of the cinema were laughing like they were watching a comedy. Maybe the jokes flew over my head, but I didn't crack a smile once, and the laughter really took away from how serious the subject matter was - and I couldn't work out if this was intended or not.

So overall, I understand why the film was made, and I appreciate the story it was trying to tell (and what the real 'Washington Post' managed to achieve), I just wasn't a fan of the film.

Have you seen this? Do you disagree with me? Tell me in the comments!

Lou xx

Sunday, 28 January 2018

January Favourites | 2018

Hey Guys x

Welcome to my first 'Favourites' post of the year! Already there have been so many things that I want to include, but I figure as it's the first one, I'll just give you a few of my faves and then save some for future months, if I still love them.

Tell me in the comments what you've been loving so far this year!

Favourite Movie: The X-Men Franchise
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I have been so into this lately! I always say that I'm a fan of 'Marvel', but until this week, my love and knowledge has exclusively covered the 'Marvel Cinematic Universe', rather than the rest of the Marvel movies. So I thought I'd change that and start watching this series of films. Every night I've been watching 1-2 a day (and I currently have two left) and I've just completely fallen in love with this world. I've also kind of fallen in love with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Hugh Jackman, but that's neither here nor there - these films are so good!

Favourite TV Show: Grey's Anatomy
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The first thing I want to say is that the thing I hate more than anything is things getting spoiled for me. So as I'm only on season 2, please don't spoil anything for me in the comments, because it would be really annoying.
But yeah, I've joined this train. I'm so into Grey's it's ridiculous. I don't think I've ever found a show before that I'm just completely in love with from then first episode, but this was it. I just completely fell into it and now I'm stuck! Start watching this if you haven't!

Favourite Song: Go The Distance

I don't know how I fell in love with this song, or how I even found it. This is Michael Bolton's version of the song from Disney's Hercules 'Go The Distance', and I am completely in love with it. His voice is amazing, and the song in itself is so great and has a lot of meaning behind it. Listen to this!

Favourite YouTuber: Carrie Hope Fletcher
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A new book, 'Three Cheers for New Years', a solo concert, a freaking album, is there anything that this woman isn't currently doing?? I am so in awe of her and I take so much inspiration from her because I think she's incredible. And as you can see from the things that she's doing this year, it can only get better for her, and I can't wait to be a part of her journey!

Favourite Game: Imagine Teachers
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As you can see, I've taken a step backwards in technology recently! My sister got a DS for Christmas, so I bought some games, and I've since become obsessed with the games that I used to play years ago. Without a doubt this is the game that I've been playing the most. It brings back so many memories and it just is a really cool and inventive game.

Favourite Actor: James McAvoy
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I've been so deep into James's filmography lately that I've fallen in love with him, which is fine. He's done some amazing work throughout his career, and he's definitely one of the best actors of our generation. Some that stand out to me (apart from the X-Men movies, which he's obviously amazing in) are: Filth, The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, Victor Frankenstein and Split. Please check some of these films out, because they're honestly all amazing films. I especially think that Filth, The Last King of Scotland and Atonement are films that everyone should watch once, because they're so powerful and important, as well as being well written/acted. All in all, I think he's incredible and I can't wait to see what he does next.

Favourite YouTube Video: BABY

Louise Pentland had her baby and literally picked up her vlogging camera the next day to continue filming her life. And I'm so glad she did because I love watching her anyway, but seeing her as a new mother is like watching Superwoman at work. I think this video was top trending on YouTube for a while, and it completely deserved to be because the video is just so lovely, and I'm sure that Louise and her family will be able to look back on it in years to come and just be filled with immense memories about this precious time in their lives.

Random Favourites

All I Need

Last but not least, we have this. I've been writing this fanfic for a while, and I've spoke about it here a few times. The reason that I'm talking about it again is because, today, I'm uploading the last chapter! I feel such a mix of emotions I can't even really put it into words, but the idea of finishing and uploading the last of a piece of work that you've put so much into is so sad and great at the same time. But as well as that, I'm so excited to officially end it, not only so that the readers can see how it ends, but also so that I can turn my attention to something new, which is always fun. If you want to read it, here it is!

What have been your favourites this month?

Lou xx