Mr. Unemployed – Week Two, ‘Temptations’

Before anything else this week, I want to reflect on temptations. Now, I’m not proclaiming to be Jesus in the desert giving Satan the middle finger, in fact, on the basis of this week, I’d probably be in hell by now. But this week was pretty hard, man. Harder than I expected.

The temptations were varied. I could have gone away for the weekend with a group of friends I haven’t seen for a long time but I didn’t because I had been a slacker. I had to arrive late and leave early when I saw other friends because my body has now discovered that hangovers are a very very bad thing. I went to a BBQ on my last day of being vegan… I had to smell jerk chicken whilst I munched on Quorn scotch eggs.

Whilst most of these temptations were social orientated, the greatest one was overcoming my mental blocks when I tried to work. I feel as if going back to a ‘normal job’ has dragged my mind out of the creative space it was in during lockdown and now that mischievous little voice keeps telling me ‘you deserve to chill… play The Last Of Us II more… just watch a film, consider it revision’. That voice has been a bastard.

WEEKLY GOALS

So how did I fare? About as well as an Olympic athlete collapsing ten metres into the 100m sprint.

I didn’t get into a strict routine. I didn’t get out of bed straight away. I didn’t get into a productive writing routine, many times the biggest hurdle, sitting at my desk, defeated me at the outset.

I did cook, though. So well done me, I guess.

A QUICK NOTE ON VEGANISM

Yeah… it’s not for me. But I did the full week and I didn’t experience any food comas, which is what I was hoping to get out of it.

But the day after I went to Yard and Coop and the chicken never tasted better. And for an alektopohobic like me – yes, that is a fear of chickens, you’re correct – the more chickens wiped out, the better.

What have the chickens ever done for us?

‘SO DID YOU ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING?’

  • Not much.
  • I applied to a role as a voluntary script reader, a role I’ve applied to a few times with no success. I think I will keep applying to more positions of a similar nature, however, since reading as many scripts as possible is a surefire way of improving my own craft whilst getting a view of the scripts getting read in the market right now.
  • I sent a script to a lovely woman in the industry who is giving me feedback for a very fair price, hopefully, it will be fruitful and positive.
  • I started work on my first (currently hypothetical) YouTube video. Initially, it was going to be ‘Shaun of the Dead vs Raising Arizona – Camera, Callback and Character’. However, after dissecting Shaun of the Dead to death, I have a good four video ideas for it alone. It’s about making it a video which hasn’t been seen before, a fresh take.
    • N.B. Anyone got any YT channel name recommendations for me? There’s a few in the mixer already… Mr. Unemployed, Cinema Snob, Scene Stealer, Lense and Lead. Leave any thoughts in the comments.

BIG L’s

  • I got my application back for Imagine-Impact’s first pitch prompt!! A big fat expected no. In all fairness, I’m not down about it. Firstly, you have to get used to the word ‘no’ in this industry. Secondly, I have changed the plot since I sent my application – a plot which I have struggled with A LOT this week, juggling the mythology the characters and the world come within whilst trying to come up with my own story that doesn’t disrespect Greek mythology has been tricky. And that’s without getting worked up about how I am going to handle the exposition of the lore. With the rejection, I can now choose my own target audience and tone, which is a big plus and might help in the long run.
    • I have also decided not to apply for their second prompt, ‘Lifestyle with a Competition Element’. Why? Because it bores me. Every film under this umbrella is either sports or music based. I thought about an idea which was the ‘Karate Kid’ but with samurai. But then I thought there are a million other ways to make a samurai movie more exciting than that. It’s not bitterness that is stopping me from not applying, I promise. It’s integrity. I should write what I want to write and that should never change.

MOVIE IDEA OF THE WEEK

Recently, I saw a Twitter post about a historical figure called Yasuke. He was an African man (of indeterminable origin) who arrived in feudal Japan in 1579, in the service of the Italian Jesuit missionary Allessandro Valignano. He came into the service of a Japanese lord, Oda Nobunaga, and later became the first and only black samurai.

My first reaction? That is FUCKING COOL, I want to make that. Samurais again, I know, I’ve watched a lot of Kurosawa recently.

So I got proper, proper excited and then… I discovered a film about his life is already in the works with Chadwick Boseman in the leading role.

Here’s the article that broke my heart: https://deadline.com/2019/05/chadwick-boseman-yasuke-african-samurai-black-panther-1202608769/

So I started looking for some more historical gems and I stumbled upon Ching Shih.

Mistress Ching’s character from Pirates: At World’s End was based loosely on Ching Shih.

Ching Shih started off as a Cantonese prostitute in Guangzhou. She later married the notorious pirate, Cheng I, and upon his death, she took control of his pirate fleet. She is now described as one of the most successful pirates in history, captaining a fleet of up to 1800 ships and fighting naval battles against the Qing dynasty, the East India Trading Company and the Portuguese navy. Now that’s one tough bitch.

I stumbled across some more historical figures, all more than worthy of biopics:

MINI-MOVIE REVIEW

Project Power (2020) – dir. by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

This is a film that I could nit-pick to fuck but nobody wants to hear all that. What I will say is it is probably better than I expected it to be, especially the first act. The three lead performances from Jaime Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback are all sound as you like. They’re three actors that step into the realms of ‘hard not to like’ and they all appear to have fun in these roles. The cinematography was good for the most part, some of the fights could have been clearer, there were too many cuts on motion for me, I found it disorientating – but I enjoyed the neon-soaked hue of blue and red throughout.

The main problem was the script. This script was apparently part of a bidding war (which is rare nowadays) and I can see why. The concept is a gem, one that’s easily marketable and pumped with potential. I just never thought the script made the most of that potential. Furthermore, some of the comedy just didn’t land for me and since the comedy was littered between some pretty graphic violence and not-so-graphic language, the tone was a bit all over the place. Personally, though, it was the characters that disappointed me the most. The actors made them likeable, the interchange between them was entertaining but the progression is practically none existent. That, for me, is the main reason that this film will be stuck to the backlog of my mind in approximately two minutes time to never be revisited again. Nonetheless, it’s a fun enough and easy watch.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

SCENE OF THE WEEK

Regrettably, I’ve spent most of my week planning and not writing, and planning is always a frustrating drag for me. Therefore, I haven’t written many scenes, none I’d like to share. So instead, enjoy (or hate) my feature length script, ‘Dying For An Inheritance’, that I sent for feedback this week. A great tie-in to this week’s title – temptations.

LOGLINE: A secret drug-addict must navigate his contemptuous relationship with his recently deceased brother in order to win the grand prize of a posthumous treasure hunt: the brother’s entire inheritance.

NEXT WEEK’S GOALS

Honestly, because of the last week’s shortcomings, the goals remain much the same – routine, writing and hard work.

This week, however, I’m off to Berlin. I’m going to use this opportunity to shoot with my camera as much as possible and hopefully, create a little travel video with the footage I get – that’s the goal anyway.

Thank you for reading,

G.

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