Monthly Archives: August 2010

Twitter conundrum

This morning I received an email from Mr Allen, the head of my Cyber Security Division:

Dear Mr Barron,

my team and I have looked into your recent breach of security vis a vis the social time sink website, Twitter, and have prepared the following report:

SUMMARY OF BREACH

Person (or persons) unknown have created a Twitter account using your corporate email address.

POTENTIAL MOTIVATIONS FOR SECURITY BREACH

  • You may be the focus of a low-grade, pathetically confused stalker.
  • A devious plot to make you more famous. (I use the word ‘more’ in an amusing sense since there are numerous shrimp who are already more famous than yourself and making you less famous is technically impossible.)
  • You are the subject of a social experiment, possibly involving Eddie Murphy and Denholm Elliot. (This seems unlikely since Denholm Elliot is dead, but a zombie Denholm Elliot has not been ruled out at this juncture.)
  • You have developed a split personality, one which hates you and wants you, if not dead, then mildly inconvenienced.
  • Someone is ‘having a laugh’ at your expense.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Attempt to log in to Twitter, select ‘reset password’ and enter a new password of your choice. (Please be advised: stop using ‘bumface’ as a password; it’s neither secure nor funny) You should now have control of your own brand and can choose to ‘tweet’ or not ‘tweet’ as you see fit.

CONCLUSIONS

You’re a fucking idiot. You should have done this straight away.

M. Allen

Team Leader C.S.D

P.S. I resign. You’re a fucking retard. And that kettle you bought us for the staff room is shit.

Which leaves me with a dilemma. Do I just change the password and be done with it? Or should I wait and see if there are any further developments? The problem with the first course of action is I then end up with a Twitter account I don’t want/need (oh wait, I could just delete it, couldn’t I?); the problem with the second course is it may all become a bit nasty somewhere down the line.

Any thoughts?

Categories: Random Witterings, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way, Things I've Learnt Recently | 4 Comments

‘Fess up

I have a follower on Twitter.

To many of you, that will seem a total non-event. A mere bagatelle. One follower? How pathetic. Why bother mentioning it at all?

Well, for one simple reason: I’m not on Twitter.

I don’t want to be on Twitter, despite the constant feeling of standing in the wrong room at a party. I occasionally catch snippets of conversation which sounds fun, but goddamn it, I’m working here – I’ve already got enough distractions, I don’t need another.

So how did I get a follower?

No wait, go further back: how did I get a Twitter account?

At first I assumed it must be some mistake. Some other Phill Barron must have set it up. It’s not me, I would have remembered.

Except … it’s been set up using my email address.

Which is weird.

So come on, ‘fess up: who did it? Who Twitted me? And why, for God’s sake?

Categories: Random Witterings, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way, Things I've Learnt Recently | 25 Comments

Richard Curtis

I’ve been thinking about this UK Film Council thing; reading up on the pros and cons and deliberating how it all bears on me and my career.

I haven’t really reached a definite conclusion, but I suspect I don’t really care.

Obviously I have nothing to do with the funding side of any movie, but I’m vaguely convinced none of the producers I work with have ever gone to the Film Council for money. I wouldn’t swear to that, of course, because I’m wrong so often I’ve given up on certainties.

One thing I am (reasonably) sure of though is I’m a bit annoyed by some of the debate whimpering across the Internet. Several times, in multiple locations, by numerous posters, I’ve heard the name Richard Curtis bandied about as an insult/example of the wrong kind of films being supported by the Film Council.

Now, I’ve no idea (and little interest) if any or all of Richard Curtis’ films have been part or wholly funded by tax payers. I don’t care. What does interest me is the bile poured on this man for writing popular films.

A populist! Damn that devilish dastard! How dare he write films people like!

And here’s the nub for me: writers slag off Richard Curtis films for being twee or sentimental or just plain shit or some other crime which millions of normal people haven’t noticed; and yet … yet … the man is successful enough to have a mini-genre named after him.

There is such a thing as ‘a Richard Curtis film’.

We all know what ‘a Richard Curtis film’ is … even when he didn’t direct most of them. He’s a writer who has achieved a defacto possessive credit. Even if you don’t like his work, you’ve got to at least applaud any writer who can achieve that. And achieve that in the mainstream, non-writing consciousness – BEFORE he directed his first film.

Okay, so he’s spoilt that by directing a couple of films, but there was such a thing as ‘a Richard Curtis film’ before he was a hyphenate – that’s awesome. How many other writers have achieved that? The only one I can think of off the top of my head is John Hughes – we all know what ‘a John Hughes film’ is (assuming ‘we’ is a subset of the population who are over thirty and under … something).

So why the scorn and derision? I don’t like everything Richard Curtis has written, but so what? Does he really deserve to be held up as an example of what’s wrong with the British Film Industry? Successful, well received and well known?

Or are these detractors the same kind of people who sneered in contempt when Christopher Hampton mentioned (at the SWF launch) that Julia Roberts had been attached to one of his scripts? The same people, by the way, who were complaining the UK Film Council never gave them any money?

Is it possible, perhaps, that Richard Curtis isn’t the satanic, sell-out writer some of these posters have made him out to be? Perhaps he’s just very, very good at writing stuff which lots and lots of people like? Okay, so millions of appreciative viewers doesn’t automatically mean something is intrinsically good. Popular doesn’t always equal great; but isn’t it also possible it’s just not your type of thing?

I certainly don’t think it warrants personal attacks; but I do think this is a part of the industry I don’t like – the part that sneers at the bits which are successful and entertaining without necessarily being high-brow. Not every film has to be a great work of art and personally (9 times out of 10) I’d rather watch something fluffy and entertaining than serious and (the word which makes me instantly reach for the TV remote) gritty.

Richard Curtis (co) wrote Blackadder for fuck’s sake – does he really deserve to be vilified?

Categories: Industry Musings, Random Witterings | 2 Comments

Xtranormal

Do you guys know about xtranormal?

I’m sure you do, I’m usually the last to find out about these things; but in case I’m not, check it out. It’s pretty cool, you can make animated films by just clicking and dragging. 

I only found out about it today and I reckon I’m already on a par with Pixar:

Categories: Things I've Learnt Recently | 3 Comments

Another direction

If you’ve never been removed from a project, don’t worry – you will.

If you have been removed from a project, congratulations!

And commiserations, it’s going to happen again.

It’s one of those inevitable facts and just how things work. Sometimes you see a project through, sometimes they ‘want to go in another direction’ … presumably one which is less shit.

Personally I’ve been removed from a project two and three half times.

Some of you might read that as three and a half times, or five; but fuck you. This is my blog and I’ll count it anyway I goddamn please.

On two of those half occasions I actually got reinstated, which is doubly odd. Especially if you consider I got removed in favour of the same guy. Both times were pre-script stage: once during the treatment wrangles and discussions, the other during the contract negotiation phase. On both occasions the (different) producers found this other, amazing writer who had a couple of MAJOR Hollywood credits but was, mysteriously, prepared to work for the shitty pittance a guy of my limited talents commands. And, hilariously, in both cases the guy delivered the same crappy script.

Exactly the same, despite the two projects being different genres. He’d literally taken three months to change the title of the script and the names of the characters. At this point, the producers in question realised the only decent work of fiction this guy was capable of writing was his own CV. And they came crawling back.

A recent, yet amusing removal went something like this:

PRODUCER: You’re taking too long to write the script and I’m concerned you aren’t giving my project your full attention.

ME: Actually, I’m waiting for the feedback you said you were giving me on the treatment.

PRODUCER: Oh, really? Right … thing is, we’ve gone and asked this other writer now, so …

And that was that.

How does it feel to be removed from a project? Dirty, used, humiliating, worthless, crushing, devastating, useless … all the normal emotions I associate with sex.

But the pendulum swings both ways.

I’ve replaced other writers more than I’ve been replaced and not really given it much thought. Presumably those writers had a little cry about it before resorting to the age-old solution of sticking pins in a voodoo doll. It would certainly explain the stabbing pains I’ve been getting in my cock of late.

But you know what? It’s just tough.

Sometimes it’s your fault for being shit, sometimes it’s the producer/director being fickle/wrong/a cunt and sometimes it really is because they just want to try something different. You’re not going to be right for every project and that’s just the way it is. The trick is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and realise it happens to everyone, it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

And by the way, that burning smell? It’s just me setting fire to your car/house/gerbil – it’s not personal, I’ve just decided to go in another direction – one of crazed, psychopathic blood lust.

Smile, I’m watching you.

Right now, my pretty, right now.

Categories: Industry Musings, Someone Else's Way | 6 Comments

Sports

I’ve invented a new sport, I just don’t have a name for it yet; but here are the rules:

  1. Pick a shop of some kind. Petrol station shops seem to work best. Night shifts are even better (but personally I think that’s cheating since everyone’s too tired).
  2. Buy something or somethings, doesn’t matter what so long as you make sure the total comes to more than a single note. (You know, it’s got to be five pound something or ten pound something … etc)
  3. Pay for the something (or somethings) with a single, higher denomination note. (Ten pound note for five pound something, twenty pound note for ten pound something … etc)
  4. After the person behind the till has rung in the amount and opened the cash drawer, offer them the exact change.
  5. Ask politely if that helps.
  6. Watch their head explode as they try to do simple arithmetic on the fly.

And that’s pretty much it. You score:

  • One point for every second it takes them to work it out.
  • Two points if they tell you the exact change doesn’t help or “it’s too late, I’ve rung it in now”. 
  • Five points if they have to consult a co-worker or a calculator.
  • Ten points if they have to consult a manager.

Plus, you get a bonus five points for every pound you receive which is over the correct amount of change.

I walked away with an extra twenty pounds once.

Mind you, I invented the sport and am verging on going pro.

My triumph to date (and actually an unintentional match) was at the O2 whilst watching Bon ‘Jazz Hands’ Jovi. After laughing myself sick for the best part of half an hour* I decided it would be a good idea to get Mandy some booze before she killed me. She had that look, you know, that one which tells me laughing at the musicians instead of dancing wasn’t a good plan. So I scurried out and bought an apology beer.

£4.50

A lot, I thought, but okay. Here’s ten pounds.

She rings it in … but has no change.

No problem, says I. Fumbling about in my pocket and discovering I did actually have the correct money.

So now she has a ten pound note in one hand and four pounds fifty in the other. The total is four pounds fifty … and she had to call a manager over to explain how much she needed to give back.

And then argued because the till said five pounds fifty.

For the best part of five minutes.

I got the impression I would still be there now if the manager hadn’t sworn, snatched the tenner out of her hand and given me it back.

284 points in one go!

Finally, a sport I can actually play.

————————————————————————————–

*Seriously, they’re hilarious … for a while. It’s a bit like watching Ben Stiller’s version of Spinal Tap. Hysterical but with no subtlety or depth so it quickly wears thin. I swear to any God people care to invent, Jon Bon Jovi, the tiny, perfectly coiffured, hairless and magnificently toothy rocker, dances like Carlton and performs ‘Jazz Hands’ for the audience. It’s like watching Don ‘No Soul’ Simmons writ large.

Categories: My Way, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way | 9 Comments

Semicolons

I don’t know how to use them. No idea at all.

I mean, I’ve read the rules, I vaguely understand what they’re for; but when it actually comes to putting the rules into practice … can’t do it. Haven’t got a fucking clue.

Still, I like them. They’re pretty little things.

Wow, this was a really pointless post wasn’t it?

Categories: Bored, Sad Bastard | 4 Comments

Pretty damn spunky

In my opinion, anyway. This is a still from the latest FX shot for LVJ:

Lovely.

Categories: LVJ | 2 Comments

Some films I’ve seen recently …

… and some thoughts whilst watching:

INCEPTION

I wonder why he doesn’t get his Ocean’s Eleven mates to just bring his kids to France? Maybe he doesn’t miss them that much? Probably just a lie. Like that bloke who reckons he can clear his name with one phone call. That’s obviously bullshit, I bet DiCaprio’s really scamming him and it’ll all be part of some cool twist at the end.

Wait, what was that? I was thinking and I missed what they said. Never mind, I’ll probably catch up.

Any minute now.

If these were my dreams there’d be a LOT more nudity.

And puppets. Lots of puppets. Must talk to someone qualified about all the puppets in my head.

Good film though, well made, liking it.

Not loving it though. Why’s that?

Hmm … I’m leaning back in my seat, it’s all washing over me.

Why? Shouldn’t I be leaning forward about now? Engrossed in the climactic action?

Why don’t I care which businessman has the biggest company? Or what happens to people in a dream where if you die … you wake up?

Oh.

KNIGHT AND DAY

What the hell is this about?

Cool, some shit just blew up!

No, seriously, what the hell is going on?

Ooh, Cameron Diaz is in a bikini!

If he’s a good guy, then why’s he killing …

Wow, Cameron Diaz in a bikini with shit blowing up in the background!

THE A-TEAM

This is fucking awesome. These people are funny. Shit’s blowing up all over the place. They’re funny and they blow shit up, how cool is that?

I think there’s a plot here somewhere but … who wants these plates? And why? I don’t …

Fuck it, it’s the fucking A-Team. Why the fuck am I looking for sense in an A-Team movie? Have I never seen the fucking series?

Holy fuck! They’re flying a tank!

This is fucking awesome … and shit. In a good way! It’s awesome shit! It’s the fucking A-Team!

——————————————————————————-

The moral of this post is:

IF YOUR PLOT IS CONFUSING, BLOW SOME SHIT UP. OR PUT CAMERON DIAZ IN A BIKINI. OR BOTH.

Categories: Someone Else's Way | 4 Comments

These people want me to whore their sketches

So I am.

and

I have no connection to any of these people, they just asked nicely if I’d promote their videos.

Actually, they just asked.

Categories: Someone Else's Way | Leave a comment

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