Friday, 25 December 2015

14. Christmas Day - what was in our stocking?

Two Christmas presents to ourself here at Shades Of Bad, an L series Cannon 17mm to 40mm zoom, and a LCDVF which is an eye piece you fit to the back of our BMPCC. The 17mm lens was used first shot on the 30th December. 
As a film company we own a number of Red Dragons and a Scarlet we have never upgraded, which hires the best of the whole family.

When we decided to start Shades Of Bad and shoot in a real kitchen, the space was so small we could neither use a crew or a big camera. After much discussion with many DoP's I know and trust we decided on the Black Magic. We shoot everything 2k raw and master at that level two, often boldly reframing and zooming and since watching Brooklyn we have less fear of using the stabilisation feature in FPX. The wallpaper behind Julie Walters had turrets.

I have been very pleased with it, but since shooting the Doris Visits shows we have suffered with not being able to see the rear screen in extreme sun light. The are a set of films from Doris Visits Bequia to Key West where you can see why these wonderful places gave us the problem. Our 28mm to 80mm zoom also listed the wide visits we could shoot because we use an active Metabones to the EFS camera lens whole, which converts to the better EF lens and gives us more light stops.

That means that the lowest we can go, 28mm is actually about 35mm as the metabones conversion is still about 1.35 times the zoom size. The 17mm will mean I have about a 24mm lens. Great. For those tech types you might also like to know that some of our very light lens gave us stop problems in the bright light because the metabones just made them unusable. We added a full set of NDs ages ago and use at least 8ND in sunlight the camera and metabones are so good together.

We are going to do some films on how we shoot Shades Of Bad and Doris Visits but as always there is a queue. We lost the edit suit for three weeks and I got it back yesterday and threw Doris Visits the Norwegian Fjords in there for a first cut but know that next week we shoot with our new star and all our focus will be on that and first cuts of the work with him. Who he is you will have to search for, it is revealed in one of the James Whale radio interviews, which you can find by searching the my blog on James episode which is now released.

Next year I can promise a release of a mega episode, the first 5 cut into a ten minute piece and they look terrific as a longer version. More Doris Visits with trips planned to the Three Valleys, Russia and Denmark, the Canary Islands towards the end of the year and March see is back in the Caribbean. There is a muted but not booked yet trip to Dubai.

In between, our new star head hunts Doris for higher crime, and she will take over the world.

So merry Christmas from us, I am just about to turn the turkey off to let it rest, visit some friends for drinks then enjoy the day ... I hope you do too. Tomorrow Boxing Day, apart from being the release of the James Whale episode, I shall be watching Watford play Chelsea with great interest.

Seasons Greetings to all....

Sunday, 20 December 2015

13. SSP talks with James Whale. Nearly 100 successful media industry years between them.

 The classic James Whale Episode is number 32 of Shades Of Bad (below) where he plays detective Inspector James Whale.

As well as interesting pictures, videos and links to my blogs, a new video interview (below) and two radio interviews are also part of the James Whale episode.

James Whale is a broadcasting legend, he is an outspoken broadcaster who has been on the radio somewhere for over 45years and currently presents the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Essex as well as an independent show that is circulated both on the web and to many many radio stations around the world. He had his own late night TV show for many years on ITV and is now often seen with other guests on the Sunday morning TV chat shows and others.

Like many broadcasters James trained as an actor, but in 1969 did a broadcasting coarse and I guess you could say that changed his career. But not so many years ago James was told he had little time to live because he had what was thought to be a huge inoperable kidney cancer.   That changed his life.  After being encouraged to come out of a shell he hid in for a while, by a good friend Luke Goss, he and his wife decided to travel, enjoy and spend both money and time together. He then survived and his life changed again. James now runs a kidney cancer charity which I draw him to discuss in the video interview we did in Doris Shades garden.

James and I met in 1978. I was at the BBC, sitting on the bench at Radio 1 waiting for the show it was becoming obvious I would not get any time soon. I had spent some time on air at Radio London but the offer of moving north for the Metro Radio Breakfast Show took little time to consider. James did the evening show, my show finished as the staff and day time guys walked the corridors so in many ways we were the two independents. In 1979 I left the north to take over Steve Wright's show at Radio Orwell when he went to Radio 1, so I was getting closer until I was offered a job as a TV DJ which is covered in the video. But James and I have remained friends and I have appeared on his TV show, now he has appeared on mine. Shades Of Bad.
Here is the behind the scenes interview.

Between us, James and I have nearly 100 years in the media industry, often
being pioneers and certainly covering some ground when you look at the two cv's together. As friends we have stayed in touch and I always support his charity as we did with the premiere of the Status Quo romp movie Bula Quo at the Odeon in Leicester Square. James appears as Detective Inspector James Whale in episode 32 the episode of Shades Of Bad and straight after the wedding. He arrives to arrest; why and what happens afterwards starts to shock. Hey, it is Shades Of Bad, the infectious very dark series. If you are not up to date I suggest you catch up, or jump in at about episode 23 and get the run in to why the police knock on Doris's door.

Having James on the show has not been a secret as we did a behind the scenes video some time ago revealing his shoot day as well as Doris being sent abroad to Norway and Barcelona.  James also spoke with me then or about 30 minutes on his radio show about many things past and present and if you have not heard it it is worth a listen. My interview starts about 30 minutes in.

Those foreign shoots, Norway and Barcelona, were not for the travel spin off series DORIS VISITS that we now have although we might well try and cut the Norway footage if the outtakes work as a travel video. James came in and instantly became part of the team in a professional manner, and he a Jean who plays Doris spent time working on the content of the episode.

Episode 32 is out.

James and I again spoke on his radio show, and this Christmas week show of the James Whale show is where I reveal who we are currently filming with; the new star of Shades Of Bad. The new star I have said is our answer to Idris Elba, an actor we have discovered who is already a star in many areas. If you wish to know who it is you will have to listen to Jame's show.

So, James turns the old year into a new one and we start to look forward. Our three trainee serial killers do have to deal with dead bodies in 2016 and Doris is head hunted by our new star for greater crimes and it is him that sends her to Norway. The UK side of three of those episodes we shoot after Christmas. Then we travel to the Three Valleys with an open book on shooting new episodes of Doris Vists, a relaxed exploring approach to a travel show. If you have not watched any of those yet they will make you want to travel. Have a look at Key West of the beautiful island of Bequia.

Jean now has her own travel blogs so if you prefer to read, here is her blog on the Miami visit.

In closing, take a moment to listen to the two James Whale internet radio shows while you are doing things around the house, and some other episodes that do not focus on Shades Of Bad. James does make you think and he sometimes makes you angry. The sign of a great broadcaster.

The Video Behind The Scenes Interview.

And in closing can I ask you go to the chart site and vote for us, Shades Of Bad.

James Whale Episode but watch the wedding first, the one before.

Monday, 14 December 2015

12. The Christmas calendar: From Matt Damon to Status Quo at the 02, Seth Rogen etc..

It is easy for the diary to fill with dates over Christmas without being invited to multiple cinema screenings each and every night some with huge stars attending, mixing, mingling and doing questions and answers after the film. - Or in Tarantino's case for Hateful 8, before and after the 3 hour plus movie. He was fun and it was great to hear Kurt Russell because he is quite amazing in the picture, though my vote for best supporting actor still sits with Seth Rogan who shocked me in how good he was in Steve Jobs. That was a night to remember because as a writer I was honoured to be in the same room as Aaron Sorkin as well as Seth and the other cast. However, my favourite film is still Spotlight amongst a good crop of movies. The BAFTA votes have become important as they position results just prior to the Oscars and the influence is taken seriously.

From all the many film screenings vying for our votes with wine receptions, to balls, to dance functions there is another event which has been annual for many years: to visit Status Quo, normally at the 02. The arena was packed with a faithful audience dancing and singing their hearts out. The band were on good form. I have been watching them again since we re-met in 2005 on Coronation Street and I proposed making a film together.

Rick then fell ill, we then changed the script to be far less action, changed Vinnie Jones for my daughter Laura Aikman as the film became less hard, violent and more Radio 2 family fun, party in the park. The script and schedule were polished over Christmas 2011 for approval. We left for Fiji as 2012 started. As we head to 2016 I am pleased that The Job Jot has been re-commissioned for her and her love interest in the show Russell Tovey.

I was at the O2 with Jean, who now plays Doris Shades in Shades Of Bad for which she won best actress this year.

In Bula Quo she played Reiko Best the TV news anchor. Also at the Quo concert was our daughter Laura Aikman and partner Matt Kennard who were also both in Fiji with us in Bula Quo, Laura played Caroline and Matt played the reporter, Dave.

Caroline is my favourite Quo song and one I can remember playing as a radio DJ way back when, so making the girl character Caroline meant we could look at a new Caroline song .... The film Bula Quo is still available worldwide and we are just closing a sales deal with Metrodome for it's TV sales as well as the (possible) sequel Namaste Quo which is still muted to film 2017 or 2018. The Fijian mash up brought a Hawaiian / Fijian feel to the classical score with acoustic versions of some of their great hits including Down Down and Whatever You Want. That spurned the Acoustic period. The plan for Namaste Quo is to fuse with Bollywood and introduce sitar rock fusion. You should always have dreams to stretch the future even when some feel safer in the past and that will be fun if it ever happens. It was fun writing the first script, touring India and doing the recce! I watched the concert last night thinking I can see two really hot rock chics playing electric violins and singing backing vocals adding to that line up. We will see, they sometimes listen to my crazy ideas.

I first met Quo and many of the old record industry people in the backstage 02 bar when I was a radio DJ back in the 1970's and spent a time working at EMI in marketing and promotion. It meant another
night of festive fun was with the Knordoff Robbins boxing night at
the Hilton. Jean (Doris) has never been to a boxing night, but her friend Grace Kennedy was there with her partner Nigel Angel the media lawyer and they chatted and talked with other celebs like John Conteh and Ian Wright rather than watching the fights. I should just say here that another night this Christmas week is a gig with the Mick Flinn Band, he the lead singer of the Mixtures who had a hit with The Pushbike Song etc .. and his wife Donna Flinn (who plays Elsie in Shades Of Bad) will no doubt sing. As they both joined The New Seekers (I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing etc) for many years with original band members Marty Kristain and Paul Leyton, I expect to see them there. When as a DJ on Metro Radio in 1978 with James Whale (who appears in Shades Of Bad on Boxing Day) I introduced The New Seekers on stage at the Tyneside Summer Exhibition. I later met Mick at parties where myself, Colin Cook and Davey Jones of the Monkees would site on the work surface in the kitchen, probably as that brought us up to the same height as the others... almost.

A second boxing night appears in the calendar this week at the Troxy in Limehouse, when one of the lads who grew up with my (our) son Luke Aikman and daughter Laura Aikman, a Mr Ryan DaRocha is 'white collar boxing'. This is where members of the public train and have a three round bought (organised Fight Club). He is a tough rugby player who has been in training so I wish him luck at Bethnal Green on the 17th, but Jean (Doris) has said she cannot watch that though she did get John Conteh to sign his a set of gloves as good luck.

We managed to shoot 5 episodes with our new star Derek Redmond over the Christmas period, then went to Courchevel to shoot another travel movie with Doris for the series Doris Visits.

 Episode 30 to 35 are now live, episode 32 stars James Whale.

In between we have Christmas and Laura's birthday but no more filming though the edit suit is chocker clogged with work that will never be completed, and then there is the tax returns to file before the end of January. Sorry, this turned into a little reminisce, but then you do at Christmas....

Here is our Christmas message ... merry Christmas -  Happy Holidays

Monday, 7 December 2015

11. Old Movie Stars, New Web Stars, Rio Olympics and Doris takes over the world in SHADES OF BAD 2016

Old stars and news stars, Rio Olympics... .... read on...

Episode 29 went up in December, a little early and we sighed relief.... but we loaded the wrong one. To be fair Buster is doing it while working nearly 16 hour days on a feature film so he can be excused and as we pulled Lynn who plays Wilma away from her Christmas Stage Show to film the left hand angles of our Christmas card, she watched the newly posted episode 29 in her car on the way to the shoot and said .... 'there's no music!'

Shades Of Bad is certainly credited for the full score and the title music and that is down to Mark Blackledge a long time collaborator. We first met when I was to shoot a musical version of Macbeth which started and had the art and production teams working in Liverpool, then stopped when the tax financier found a deal he could trust a little bit more. We went on to shoot Devil's Gate and have since done a few projects including the Status Quo rock film Bula Quo. So, whilst I love getting composers reels it is unlikely I will change. Mark is a genius. Seen here Bula Quo stars Jon Lovitz and my real life daughter Laura Aikman. Great behind the scenes material on YouTube playlist on the Shades Of Bad Channel all worth watching!  That is also meant to be done as a web series, we just need time.

Episode 29 is loaded with music..... Episode 32 is now up with James Whale, Christmas is behind us.

So the left hand side of the christmas greeting is shot, see the picture !  The right hand side of our Shades Of Bad Christmas card gets shot next week which is the only day our new star can join us. He will stand between Doris (played by Jean Heard) and Elsie (played by Donna Flinn). But we won't have Reg and Wilma. He is tall and dark and we can now reveal having shot 5 episodes with him, and he is great, that it is Derek Redmond.

His episodes will be out just before the Rio Olympics.... I can see availability challenging us next year, but it will be worth it. The Christmas card will be out about the 16th so watch out Idris, we have discovered a developing talent from a well known world sports star. I will alter this blog when the film goes live and the secret is released ... this is going to be a fun start to 2016. I can now report, our Idris was unwell and did not make the shoot, so we changed the script and shot it with the invisible man... you will get to see him next year.

The run up to Christmas has been great, with Doris having a great idea in episode 27, pick it up there and run with it to Christmas. She has started a 'service' for the elderly, to ensure their sexual needs are met, and calls a radio station. I play the DJ, but a real DJ joins us in episode 32, which reminds me I have an interview to cut to go with that. James Whale, the James Whale plays Detective Inspector James Whale and comes to arrest someone, well you will see on Boxing Day. James and I were both on the same radio station in 1978, Metro Radio in Newcastle. I was then transferred to take over Steve Wright's show at Orwell when he went to Radio 1, where I had come from a year earlier but never got off the bench ... long story.

We have been re-editing in the edit suit, we have cut episodes 1 to 5 together, and 5 to 10 together, and at just over 10 minutes each they make a perfect ITV ? Commercial TV half hour and we have 150 minutes shot (not all edited) and the rest where Doris does take over the world is shooting next. All good attacks on the world are sauced from a kitchen!!!  As well, Shades Of Bad has travel films in the edit, you must see the one on the beautiful island of Bequia and share it, this island is wonderful. There are series episodes in the edit, Behind The Scenes and the Christmas Card. Plus we have old movies to revisit and recut as web series, so please subscribe to our YOUTUBE channel if you do nothing else today. But, I see our first pressure hitting home hard next year as I have to go skiing, and that means more travel films!

If you are wondering what to get someone for Christmas as a little stocking filler, there is still time to get the Shades OF Bad book, WHO DIES TODAY from Amazon.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from me, Stuart St Paul, and the cast and other two crew members.... click here for our Christmas message film....

Check out our Christmas blog