Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sleep your way onto Television? Bollocks.

Right, where to start? I guess a few disclaimers: first off, as you know I'm not freelance but know plenty of friends/people who are. Secondly, as far as possible I'm going to keep specific names out of this, I don't want to upset anyone. Much.

How did you get your job? If you work in an office, presumably a standard interview where you try to make yourself seem like the office version of Superman, it's a whirlwind of bullshit but if you do get the job, it's based on the skills and qualities you possess. If you do well in that job, you might get promoted or a salary increase, or you may move on to a better job elsewhere. The fact of your continued employment is vindication of your efforts and achievements. It would seem churlish, or possibly downright sexist, to suggest that the only reason people continue to employ you is because you're mates with the boss. Or perhaps you slept your way to the top. Or maybe you have some dirt on your boss, so he has to keep you happy. Hopefully if someone did say this, you'd tell them where to stick it but I doubt anyone actually would be so idiotic.

Why then does it seem acceptable to make accusations like this against freelancers? This blog was inspired by seeing someone on Facebook stating as fact that a writer for multiple television series WAS DEFINITELY SHIT. To them this was as set in stone as the laws of gravity, and the only way this person continued to be employed, by various people, was that they were his 'mate' or (flippantly) that he had pictures of them naked. Yeah, because if you're in control of a major television series, you definitely don't want to make the best television possible, you just want to surround yourself with your mates, no matter the quality of their writing. And you'd definitely do this year, on  year, on year. What this person failed to grasp is that said writer could be easy to deal with, might never be late, or their scripts might be let down by production issues. Or most likely he's a great writer who one idiot has decided is rubbish, as is the way with the internet.

It reminded me of my friend, who also a writer, a bloody good and hard working one at that. He was once accused online of only getting commissions by sleeping with people. Seriously? How fucking demeaning, if you don't like something, well done- that is your prerogative but it is merely your opinion. As many, if not more, might love it. That aside, this person had worked their ass off to produce something, and to dismiss it as the product of some sleazy backdoor commission is just insulting and wrong.  

Freelancers work hard, if they continually get commissions, they are talented, easy to work with and deserve everything they get. If you disagree with that, you're a jealous tool. Maybe go and sleep with someone and see what it does for your own career prospects.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

My top 20 films of all time.

Having read this morning the BFI's latest top 50 films of all time, I have decided to make a list of 20 films that people might have actually seen. I was going to do 50, but frankly I've got other things to do.

I have seen 7 of their top 50, and I consider myself to be a fairly big film fan. I think what this boils down to is film snobbery, the BFI has created a list which are films that people feel they ought to have seen to say they 'know' films. It's so pretentious, I could spend ages just ranting about that. But instead here's my own list, you may agree, you may disagree but at least you might have seen more than 7 of them.

1. Back to the Future

Probably the film I have seen the most, love it and am always amazed by how it zips along, even on the 99th viewing.

2. Goldfinger 

The Bond film that set the template for the every subsequent film (until Casino Royale at least). Connery in his pomp and more than one iconic image. Just perfect.

3. Scarface (1981)

Outstanding bravura performance by Pacino and love the comment on the derailment of the 'American dream'.

4. The Dark Knight

Another outstanding performance at its heart, but this is a great film that just happens to be based on a comic.

5. Rear Window

Is there a film with greater tension that this? My favourite Hitchcock.

6. The Godfather Part II

It's more of a play than a film but the contrasting fortunes of Vito Corleone and his son Michael is a thing of beauty.

7. Jaws

The original summer blockbuster, and the thought of that music can still get me out of the bath quicker than you can shout "Robert Shaw".

8. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

My favourite of the Star Wars films, even if it's nowhere near as much fun as the first.

9. Die Hard. 

The king of action movies, love it just for Alan Rickman's sneering German villain. Yippee...oh you know.

10. Superman

Always loved anything Superman, until 2006, but this is the pinnacle by which next year's will be judged by me.

11. Raging Bull

Beautifully shot, especially the fight scenes, and I love any film where the lead actor gets fat by eating horse meat just for two scenes. Dedication.

12. Inception

Messes with your mind and is thrilling in equal measure, like if Charlie Kauffman made a Bond film.

13. Toy Story

The perfect film for kids and adults alike to enjoy. Funny, exciting and heartbreaking.

14. Psycho

This disturbed me as a kid, when I first watched it and it still puts my hairs on end, especially the scene where the real Mrs Bates is found in the cellar. Genius.

15. Casino Royale (2006)

Re-invented Bond for the post-Bourne era, the 'free running' chase through the building sites is one of the best ever Bond moments and Daniel Craig proved the doubters wrong. Bring on Skyfall.

16. The Truman Show

Its comments on reality tv are as relevant now as they were 13 years ago and the surreal feel really suits Jim Carrey's charming oddball performance.

17. The Raiders of the Lost Ark

I think Temple of Doom might be the better film, but the other two (YES, TWO) just don't come close to the sheer joy and sense of nostalgia for my childhood that I get from Raiders.

18. The Usual Suspects

Yeah, we all know the twist now but it's still one of the best films of its ilk and the shoot-out at the end is terrific.

19. Airplane

The only comedy to make my list, its gag-rate is unsurpassable and there are a lot of belly laughs too, truly the funniest film ever made.

20. Aliens

It took the first film and scaled it to a factor of a hundred. As scary as it is action-packed and one of the strongest female characters in cinema history. I just hope we never have a film dealing with the origins...

So there we go, the 20 greatest films of all time according to me. I hope you disagree.