17 May 2012

How Long is Yours? - Underword: National Flash Fiction Day 2012, May 16

27ish fantastic flash fiction writers performed last night at Underword, hosted in celebration of the first National Flash Fiction Day by the bebearded Gavin Inglis.

It turned out that nobody really knew what flash fiction was, but it was the resulting variety of lengths and forms that made the evening so interesting. Some of the flashes, tbh, were just short stories to my haiku-addled mind.

My own contribution, “The Bach Prelude”, weighed in at a hefty seventy five words:

Featured on Paragraph Planet, April 20th
It looked this little paragraph would be the shortest short of the evening, but my parade was swiftly pissed on by a bloke called Roddy Shippin who spat a three-word story at the audience without a thought for my feelings.*

The third shortest short, if that’s an accolade, was Gavin’s “Sex and Death” which costs twenty five of your English words. If you are drinking a cup of tea, I suggest you put it down before you open the link.

Gavin Inglis demonstrating the correct size of a flash ficlet.
You can find piglicker's full Underword photo set on Flickr, including a pic of me blinking seductively.
Other stories I particularly liked were “The Last Supper” by Katy Hastie, “Letters” by Mark Harding, “Metamorf” by Andrew C. Ferguson and “Kewpie” by Jane McKie, but there were too many super contributions to mention individually.** ***

It was exciting to see so many people read in one evening. The fast turnarounds (not to mention the flashy flash fictions) meant it was hard to be bored. Perhaps that sets a bad precedent: encouraging the increasing standards and decreasing attention spans of Edinburgh’s spoken word scene can only be a dangerous proposition.

* I met him afterwards and he says he didn’t do it on purpose.

** I did notice there is actually the beginning of a black mould on the ceiling of my bathroom last night. I let you guess what happened next.

*** My favourite audience member was Charlotte’s flat mate. Apart from Charlotte that is. And mum.

15 May 2012

Broke But Making Films’ “Bruised” at Write. Shoot. Cut. #3, May 14

The third Write. Shoot. Cut event took place last night at the Banshee Rooms, Edinburgh. As well as "Bear" directed by Nash Edgerton, "You're the Stranger Here" directed by Tom Geens, "Plagium" directed by Brady Hood, and “Scott Wilson – Tyncastle Announcer” directed by Jamie Wells and Pete Harper, we were subjected to the European première of Broke But Making Films’ “Bruised” and a Q&A with the producers Greg Hall and Paul Marlon, who directed and starred in the film respectively.

“Bruised” premièred at the Bootleg festival last Friday, scooping up the awards for Best Male and Female Actors for its two main parts. The more important date, though, is tomorrow, May 16, when the film will be made available to watch free on t’Internet via YouTube.

Greg Hall and Paul Marlon wrote the story collaboratively, while the words and fight scenes were improvised and developed on-shoot by the performers. Marlon is a staunch methodist (in the acting rather than the religious sense) his character alongside Clare McNamara’s fight-pimp were developed over several months before filming.

The script, of course, was fixed before shooting began. I think it was Hitchcock who said “Yes the screenplay is finished, we just have to add the dialogue.”

Paul Marlon and Clare McNamara in "Bruised".

Screenwriting and playwrighting courses I have studied on have tended to gloss over the creative contribution of others in the film-making process. It was interesting for me to see a successful film created to such a large extent by its actors, and which is far more character orientated than plot driven* – oh, and did I forget to mention it’s a film about Gypsy wrestling?

Of the other films featured “Bear” directed by Nash Edgerton was much more in my comfort zone as films go - and I certainly enjoyed it. Plot-driven as you could wish.

The fourth Write. Shoot. Cut. will be on June 11. The organiser Neil Rolland seems determined to make each programmebetter than the last – I’m a little scared to find out what he comes up with next.

* McKee enthusiasts who argue that plot and character are the same thing can frack off, frankly.