In my previous story post, I wrote about a couple of the beats that I was committed to seeing in the film. These beats give a basic idea of the events that will happen in the film, but they don’t give any idea as to what I want those events to mean. The meaning and other such meta-narrative parts of telling a story is where theme comes in and the theme of this film is “Responsibility”.

There are three ways that I think about the idea of “responsibility”:

1)Causal Responsibility, to be responsible for having done some thing.

2)Accountable Responsibility, to be held as responsible for looking after some one or some thing.

3)Acting Responsibly, to adjust and adapt your behaviour in terms of its consequences.

Perhaps writing in this way is too oblique to be clear, let me think of examples.

1) Causal responsibility: I knocked a glass of water over.

2) Accountable responsibility: I’m going to make sure this water doesn’t spill.

3) Acting responsibly: I’m not going to put the glass on this desk next to the computer.

So what does all that mean and how am I going to use it in the story? I’m not sure entirely, but growing the story beats towards these themes is the goal of the improvisation work.

I’m not sure whether this applies to the sanecinema blog precisely, however the thoughts are similar to ones I would express in filmmaking and his photos have a special something, so I think the followers of this blog might appreciate me sharing.

Photographs by Peter

10 ways to create a bad photograph

This is meant to be lighthearted — and instructive 🙂  …Enjoy!



10 ways to create bad photographs.

  1. Shoot from your head, not your heart (if you lack passion, your images will be found lacking).

  2. Shoot by first surrendering your brain (leaving the camera on auto-everything leaves everything to chance).

  3. Shoot without honing (there is no substitute for practice, practice, practice).

  4. Shoot as if your camera is a machine gun (indiscriminately pressing the shutter to photograph everything often captures nothing).

  5. Shoot when the light is un-magical (good light helps all photographs, always!).

  6. Shoot from one spot (don’t work for the shot and the shot will likely not work).

  7. Shoot it all (being overly-inclusive obscures your photographic vision).

  8. Shoot a “postcard” image  (doing what’s been done before often leads to staid shots — try something original and you may…

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Beautifully natural it-girl to be

Quiet intelligence

Knows what is right, but lacks confidence



Graceful clumsiness

Mrs Speers

Elegant tiger mother

Speaks her mind




Free tickets to the premiere for anyone who guesses the reason behind the names Rosemary / Mrs Speers.

Phew! It’s been three full days of casting and I’m on to the last day of seeing new people. And it is hard work. We’ve had some wonderful actresses, in fact not one bad one and they’ve all responded well to the exercise we’ve been doing.

Each actress has come with their own monologue which they’ve prepared, and with each of them I’ve gone through the same process.

First time, they do it their own way. This isn’t particularly relevant to their abilities with improvisation, but it does help me have an idea about where their natural talents lie.

Second time, I ask them to do one that is as flat as possible, with the least amount of emotion or “acting”. This is so that I have something of a blank slate for us to start with, so I can just hear the words by themselves. This is actually quite hard as the emotions carry the words and without the emotions, the words can get lost.

Once we’ve done this, we start to play with the scene. This can often start with examining who the actress is speaking to, but also can be what has happened just before the monologue started or where it is taking place. If this seems to work, we try and refine it further, if it doesn’t we try something else.

It’s fun for me, as I get to flex my directing muscles again, but being in an open and aware frame of mind for so many of these different scenes is quite exhausting. Especially as I am trying to treat each text as a section on it’s own, divorced from the work that it is from and the intentions of the writer and just see what the actress and I can do with the words we have in front of us.

Tomorrow we are going to get pairs of actresses in, Mother and Daughter, and do some actual improvisation work… which’ll be exciting.

I’ve spent a lot (and even for me, I mean a lot, a lot) of time thinking about how to get the best performance out of people. I don’t just mean actors, all the people I work with need to do their job to a high creative level for a film to work. What makes a performance good? It needs to make sense to the person that is doing it and it is needs to be the right performance for the film. This means there are essentially two processes in tension and it is one of the main jobs of a director to keep these these in balance so that the story gets told whilst keeping the creativity up.

So how do I as director try to keep this balance?

Firstly, I present my thoughts as clearly as possible. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity as there are an infinite opportunities for confusion.

Secondly, I treat the person I’m collaborating with with kindness. If you try to hammer an idea into someone’s head, it is likely to give them a headache.

Thirdly, mistakes happen, forgive them. (probably twice)

Fourthly, be tough. If I’ve done the first three steps I’ve earned the right to be tough. I’m the director and I have to make this film.