Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Between Them Two

She'd been grounding herself, he noticed.

Slowly adding pieces to her skin. First it was a ring, then there was an earring.  One day he woke up and noticed.  The pieces were there to stay.  They'd taken up permanent residence and were never removed.  They were like her skeleton moving without, like it wasn't just the soft inner organs that needed protection any more.

She was electricity.

The very important parts aren't skin and bones, not muscles or fats, nor any of the liquids.  All of those things are disposable; destructible. The really important part is energy, is essence and that is what she'd been grounding.

He'd been watching her, she noticed.

His eyes would follow her moves but not like a casual viewer.  Like a scientist with an experiment.  He'd been watching as though each  action was fascinating, or telling.  When she caught his eyes he'd smile and look away.  As though he'd done nothing that would require an explanation.

He was comfortable.

He was stretching; his limbs were no more contained to polite spaces, his opinions were given freely with no need for solicitation.  His expressions became true and honest, angry and sad, and perplexed, and fearful, and apathetic.  They were all there to be seen clear as midday.

She was as a tree sending roots of twisted metal deep into the Earth.  She was insulating and, months after he noticed, he shared his finding with her.  Her response was that he was shading.  Like a child filling in shapes or an artist highlighting the lack of light or a tree extending leafy branches.  They agreed to disagree with each others summation.  They both thought the other spoke truth.

Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan


More true was that she felt fragile, thin, and weightless.  As though the metaphysical things about her needed to be made real.  And until such moment the bits of metal would keep her around.

More true was that in her he found answers.  The questions he'd been mulling over all his life were no more.  The lost time and all that had escaped his wisdom was right there between them two.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Preamble ~ Understanding Process

 I was involved in the production of a student film; in fact it was merely a short.  As a favour to a friend in need I took a day out of my Spring frolicking and dedicated it to assisting her to graduate University.  Perhaps I should not have done what I did but water under the bridge.  Sometime after, I felt the desire to document the experience -- I did not.  Here and now I will:

10 hours
8 characters
6 scenes
4 sets
2 acts
1 script and I am suddenly reminded of why I am not a Television Production major.
2 Cameramen/ Gaffers,
1 Audio Technician/ Boom Extender,
every hand is Grip, every person is Producer/ Director.
Each scene shot 5 times from different lengths and angles,
motion ongoing with every nuanced action repeated for Continuity sake
At the end of it all?

A 15 minute production I have yet not seen for all the frustration and tiredness it'd bring to what was just supposed to be a couple hours (two hours, less even!) of helping out a friend.

Why do I choose now to document this?  Why dwell on this thing that has happened and gone?  I suppose I am reminding myself of what I dislike and the reasons for said dislike because in the past month or so I have decided I will be wetting my toes in the waters of Video Production.  Some people never learn.  I'm now well into the Pre-production phase with my vision of the final product.  If thoughts could be communicated without going through the noisy, distracting channel of words (spoken or written) then I would share my projection.  I'm almost certain that as with all things in life this vision will not become tangible; it will not be the way I want it to be because life is like a toolbox of wrenches when all you want is a screw.

I say all that to say only this: I'll be attempting this project and I will document it here in a kind of behind-the-scenes Director's manual.

*insert optimistically dire statement here*
Best wishes, happy hunting, may the odds be ever in favour et al.

Alas delusions of grandeur compel me to do this thing.  For others to look back and marvel at.  For the sake of understanding process.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Action Poetry (Part 2/2)

In a previous post you were introduced to the basics of writing performance poetry and saw some good examples of this artform. Today we will go further into details of getting into this field and further succeeding!

So you have a passion for the art or you're a poet who written lots, how do you get better and more well known?  The answer to this question is style, substance and support.  These three have the potential to take you from relative unknown to having a fan club started in your honour.

Photo courtesy of

This refers to how you write.  The arrangement of your lines.  In performance, the art of poetry must be modified for the EAR because the audience is NOT meant to SEE the script.  This gives some about of latitude for the use of assonance and other phonetic literary tools.  The aim is to have your audience be able to follow the story you are telling so don't be too technical.
NB: Be sure to practice your delivery before performance.  It would be ideal for you to memorize your poem so that you could use your whole body and eyes to convey the message to your audience.

Photo courtesy of Inbound Sales Network

In order to grab the attention of the masses you must talk about something that will resonate with a large cross-section of people or even a niche market.  It is important to know who you are performing to so you can choose appropriate poems and deliveries.  Also, current topics and topics about which you are passionate will likely reflect in favour of your performance.  While you do not want to be too technical and lose your audience, it is important that your content be something that won't easily be forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Apperson

Get out and perform.  How will your work be known if you keep it to yourself?  Find a Open Mic club in your area, or make time to go the distance to those far away maybe once a month, or make YouTube videos of yourself performing.  Do all that you can to put yourself and your work out there.  It is likely your art will benefit from your exposure to others in the field and you will find inspiration.  Another thing you will find are poets to collaborate with.  Find good poets who could compliment your style and substance then make connections; write and perform poems together.

All the great performance poets have these three things in common.  Along with writing ability and passion for the artform; they know they are writing for an audience to hear, they produce memorable content and they all put themselves in the spotlight.

Hopefully you will put these tips to good use 
May the snaps and cheers come ringing through 
At the end of each poem that you perform
So fame will pour down, on you like a storm. 

... withShantelleS

Friday, 11 January 2013

Action Poetry

In the most recent posts, I took a turn at writing poems.  They didn't all rhyme and they weren't all readily understandable.  But! after reading them a dozen times maybe with a dictionary/ thesaurus you figure them out or at the very least get the gist of the message.  They were all in fulfilment of a class assignment but they were also due to a recent surge in interest I have had in this genre of writing and speech delivery.  Today's post will be on Performance Poetry.

Photo of Sarah Kay, Spoken Word Poet
TED Conference (Voted 2011 Best TED Presentation)

Poetry is ...
                  /ˈpəʊɪtri/ literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; a genre of literature.
This is our working definition.  Many things to many people; anyone can conjure up their own definition for poetry but here we will stick to Oxford's.

Performance Poetry is written not for print or reading but to be seen and heard.  The art form has many names: Spoken Word, Stand Up, Dub, Slam; to-may-to/to-mah-to. I will first introduce you to the work of Taylor Mali to open your mind to the wonder of poetry.  This video, "What Teachers Make", is an interpretation of Taylor Mali's poem performed by actors.  Therefore this is a merger between poetry and acting.


A teacher by profession and Page Meets Stage Curator, Taylor has dealt with the situations he describes in this poem.  These are his opinions, this is his burden that he has put to writ and transferred to stage.  In a previous post I tackled the topic of what to write.  While I won't tell anyone what to write I mentioned some of the features of what is considered 'good' literature.  Passion, Plot development, Literary value.  Tell the story that you care about, keep your reader/listener on the edge of the seat and fearlessly use the literary tools that you have.

The next poem is "The Truth Without Photoshop" by P4CM poet Janette...ikz needs no introduction but be warned it will likely draw on your emotions.

The words spoken by Janette...ikz here is truth.  This is her story unapologetically, creatively, hers.  This video shows performance poetry in the manner that it is most often seen; done by the original author, to an audience and without props.

These pieces differ in content and presentation yet are common in that they are poetry in action.  Follow up on these artists and enjoy the world of performance poetry.


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Task 3/3

Photo of WLW's Sound Effects Department
Radio drama script writing Kissing Cousins

Well folks I took a break
I simply had to recuperate.
Now off we go to the biggest task;
The radio drama to come unmasked.
We write footsteps and door openings
cooking meals and restful sleep.
Aye writing these not to be seen,
there are only for those listening.
Drama for ears
with action not seen but solely heard.
Strike a mood with tone and pitch,
volume and the slightest lisp.
Draw the tension with a well placed
"dum dum dummm!"
sound effects became my best friend.
And "excessive" action my greatest foe
How does one write a bored shrug for the ear?
How does one write a small smile with flair?
Writing a pornography-induced orgasm
without the use of a Narrator's care?
The challenge was met
the job is done.
Finally I can say the task is NONE.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Task 2/3

Photo by LiveByTheSun
Double Column script writing Kissing Cousins
I'll tell you what concerns me
I'll tell it to you quick
Headings, titles, common terms
the syntax of the script!
Under exam conditions
I cannot ask for help
disadvantaged due to shoddy software
in class my presence went unfelt.
Imagine being in cage
pushing at your bounds
trying to communicate and make your thoughts be known.
Now imagine that you're not at all
in a position to
the picture now is shown.
Each line a frame
you call the shots
you compose, you tell the story
through the camera lens.
Frame by frame was hard
but I had a template--
FOLLOW is a word I hope never to see again.
With diligence and patience
this I did get through.
Sadly friends, we are now
only at part 2.

Task 1/3

Screenwriting Kissing Cousins
It's just shy the hour of eight
my final assignment I see
I feel its time for me to watch
so I can begin writing.
A simple task it seems to me
it can be fin in no time.
The title risqué, the samples possible
little did I know I'd die inside.
A watch in awe the story unfold
from beginning to end.
Then I sit to undertake
the writing without pen.
At once up straight, at twice reclined, trice I am on my back.
I turn over and close my eyes, drifting through the night.
That is until the clock struck 1 and sleep I could no more.
"Rise," the task said to me "and tackle now for sure".
So up I sit to undertake the simple task ahead.
I listen and I transcribe words
rough draft is at an end.
Good now I start to write the film
to interest and grab
I catch myself I'm struggling
the words cannot be had.
Push on because after-all this is the easy part
just wait until you've shots to take
or words for ears and hearts.
The task is through
I've overcome
only this part is done.