1. The women wear shoes that they can fight in.
2. The women wear the same outfits as everyone else.
3. At the start of the series the captain and first officer are *both* female and *both* non-white.
4. The lead Klingon is female.
5. The victim of sexual abuse and torture who is suffering flashbacks is *not* female.
6. My favourite character dies.... only to come back later in the series EVEN MORE AWESOME THAN BEFORE.
7. The only happy couple is same-sex.
8. Women are 50:50 throughout.
9. There are no all male alien races and zero uses of the “sexy but evil” trope.
10. Burnham is culturally a Vulcan, despite being born human. There’s hope for all of us....
Things I have learnt while filming #1 - always check special effects in advance of production.
I’m currently in the middle of shooting nano-budget feature, Nightlens. We’ve had three scenes with extra effects needed.
The first was smashing a whiskey bottle. We had a spare sugar glass bottle but they were extremely fragile and there was a large risk we’d break them before we got to the scene. Then the usual pressure of needing to get the take in two. We did it in one! Phew.
The second was a “cerebral rain” effect. David, the director, wanted to show the falling apart of the “brain construct” that the film is set within by having cerebral fluid fall from the sky like rain. David prepped this in advance including screen testing - it looked pretty good. However what we didn’t do was a full run through - we could only use the cerebral rain in one shot but we hadn’t realised that we would then have continuity errors with our clothing once we had been rained on. In the end the cerebral rain had to be cut.
Last night we shot a death scene. David wanted to show “bits of brain” from the deceased. He had prepped this with bread and fake blood. However we had an immediate panic as Alice (makeup) only had a small amount of blood and David needed pints to soak the bread in. Creativity prevailed and Alice moulded some bits of brain from the wax that she bought to create a scar. This looked pretty awesome.
So two out of three ain’t bad. I really learnt that you just can’t prep enough for anything non-standard. What will it look like on camera? What will it be like when you add actors? What will we do if it goes wrong?
Photo: Kim Hardy
Right now I’m on a rest day in the middle of a two week feature film shoot. It’s my first lead role in an independent feature and I’m here because (in addition to the luck and privilege that I’ve had all my life) I made my own work.
In the summer I’m going to Edinburgh fringe festival with a work that I made myself. All of my best and stretching roles have been in productions that I have engineered. Ever since the fabulous coach Amelie Mettenheimer recommended to me that I do my own one-woman show I have progressed and progressed, making gradually more complex and ambitious work.
It’s been hard starting out as an actor, but it would have been even harder had I tried the conventional route - sitting by the phone and waiting for things to happen.
I got into acting by reading an incredible book called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. The Artists Way is a course for “recovering creatives” and part of the course is a once a week activity called an Artist Date. An Artist Date can be any activity as long as it is fun and carried out on your own. No friends, no family. And nothing that is work.
Surprisingly, recovering creatives (which covers about 99% of the population I reckon) find this very difficult. There are so many things that we are supposed to be doing, and when we have a break, we just want to collapse.
This week I’ve been shooting my first lead role in a feature film (the independent sci-fi Nightlens, written and directed by the brilliant David Woods). Today I have a surprise day off. My mind feels much freer after a week pursuing my dreams. I felt better able to just make decisions and I’ve happily trotted along to do my Artist Date as the only single adult at Shreks Adventure on the Southbank.
Creative recovery indeed.
When I was a child, my friend Michelle Tolman had a care bear that was made by her mother.
This post would be more impactful with a picture. I considered getting in touch with Michelle - “Hi Michelle. I hope the last 25 years have been good. I keep thinking about your care bear. Do you have a picture?” - but I thought it might be weird.
Michelle Tolman’s care bear didn’t look like the ones in the shops. I was slightly repulsed by it. It was *wrong*.
One day I asked Michelle if she minded her care bear being *wrong*. She said that she didn’t see her care bear as wrong at all. She thought it was unique and beautiful. No one else had a care bear like hers.
I think we all grow up with an idea of what a human being is. We compare ourselves to it and think we are wrong. Imagine if instead we all thought we were unique and beautiful, like Michelle Tolman’s care bear.
Today I’m at Warhammer World in Nottingham. I love it here. If it was closer I would come more often.
What I love about Warhammer is that they use all types of mythology and build them together. Case in point today: laser space skeletons in an Egyptian theme.
I want to create my own space saga, mainly so that I can build my own version of Warhammer World. I’ve bought a notebook to start it off.
To support my journey to Edinburgh my lovely friend Tracey Sinclair bought me a "plane ticket" notebook. First class of course!
This will give me a chance to jot down notes on the journey.
Today is my birthday and I had brunch with my good friend Tracey Sinclair (buy her great books at darkdates.org) who is also the person who encouraged me to write a blog about Edinburgh.
I had poor progress to report and she set me a challenge. To blog three times a week for the experience.
I like a challenge.