Mindfulness and Creativity




March 17th, 2017




Flat Characters vs Rounded Characters



October 21st, 2015




Creating Character Empathy



May 21st, 2015


If you’ve read Save the Cat, you’ll understand what the title refers to – making us care about the central character because they literally save the cat at some point at the start of the film. And it’s a good rule of thumb. Sure we love the character we are writing, and we know what sort of adventure, fun and games that we have in store for them later in the story, the challenges they will overcome and just how far this individual will progress in their arc before the end of the film. Saving the Cat is about remembering that the audience doesn’t know all this yet. And without some indication that we give a fig about this character, the audience is left floundering in the dark not knowing who to believe in.

Of course, saving an actual cat is a pretty corny thing to get your character to do, unless your story is about cats, in which case saving an actual cat would be perfectly acceptable. But there are many ways we can create empathy.

Even the anti-hero somehow makes us care about them. Life is never as black and white, good and evil, as in story, so anti-heroes can be a good way to deal with all those shades of grey that separate real life humankind from those inhabitants of fiction. It creates a conflict within us. The person we are rooting for is doing something wrong and yet we root for them.

A character can be a complete screw up and yet there must be something that invests our attention in them. Something that resonates within us – isn’t there a little bit of a complete screw up in all of us?

It’s so easy especially for new writers to want to make perfect characters. My writing tutor uses a phrase that I hate but is true: “you have to kill your babies”. Ghastly sentiment but in writing you do have to be prepared to let go of your precious ones, your ideas, your concepts, these wonderful fictional children of yours. 

And it is useful to notice the work of the ego here. Meditating on what the character represents in ourselves can be really useful – especially when we are feeling injured and struggling to let go enough to allow the story or the project to progress. It’s not just about sucking down the injury – it’s an opportunity to recognise the parts of yourself that feel injured and perhaps figure out why or what they really need. There is so much value in writing in self-discovery. But there is also so much value in self-discovery in your writing. You may find clues to the very injustice that your character is feeling. If you aren’t prepared to face into your own difficulty then your character isn’t going to find the bravery to face into theirs either.

Above all have fun. It’s not reality. It’s an opportunity to explore. Enjoy!

I hope this rather incomplete musing might be useful to someone. For me it fleshed out an idea I was having with a stuck character who popped into 3D life when I was ready to hit the meditation cushion to look at what was happening in my own life that I was avoiding facing into in hers. 



Apple Screwup – iCloud Drive & Yosemite



September 22nd, 2014


Apparently there have been lots of warnings not to hit upgrade on the iCloud drive just yet when you upgrade to iOS 8. So I’ll admit that I am late to the party with this post. When I do a search I see that by and large across the webisphere the warning is widespread and 5 days old (at the time of writing). Unfortunately I didn’t get the message.

Until today… when I was more than a little gobsmacked to get this message when I tried to access my iCloud from my Mac:

iCloud Drive Warning

iCloud Drive Warning – Sorry iCloud Drive isn’t compatible with OS X Mavericks

What the hell is going on???

And there’s nothing like getting the reply from your nearest and dearest “well didn’t you see the warning?

Well yes. Here is a screenshot:

iCloud Drive warning

iCloud Drive warning – Note you will not be able to access documents currently stored in iCloud on the following devices until they are also upgraded to iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite

 

So yes, yes I did see the warning, but what I didn’t understand was the gravitas of the statement.  What about the warning really presents itself as a problem?? I just assumed my other devices would get upgraded in their turn. What I didn’t think about checking out was WHEN OS X Yosemite was likely to be released for my MacBook.

I mean think about it … iOS 8 was presented to the world at the WWDC Keynote back in June 2014 and Yosemite was announced during that same presentation. It’s a reasonable assumption to make that iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite (10.10) would be released at the same time in the fall of 2014 as promised.

But no. The warning made no mention that the update for the Mac OS wouldn’t be for some time yet.

In fact it may be as late as the end of October 2014 before Yosemite is released.

That’s another FOUR weeks without access to my files. (OK I can access Apple files, created in Apple’s own apps e.g. Pages, Numbers, etc, through iCloud.com, but files saved to iCloud by third party apps can’t be accessed.)

This is a righteous screw up, Apple! Why have you released part but not all of this exciting set up you promised us back in the summer? At least tell us why you released iCloud Drive to iOS 8 users now when you could have just held off until Yosemite is released. Why have you not made more mention of this? I mean, a lot of your customers have multiple Apple products. And many of your customers won’t even know what Yosemite IS when they are faced with the button during the iOS install. Some people will have Macs that won’t be able to upgrade to Yosemite and they will lose access to their iCloud until they purchase new hardware.

All with no explanation.

It’s worse than poorly handled – it’s a giant mess!!

Whatever happened to ‘It just works’ …???

Jeff Goldblum will be spinning in his ironic hipster jeans!!!

 

 



Writing with Actors



July 28th, 2014


I like working with actors when I write. It’s such a powerful experience. Actors love a script because they glean from it nuances that I, the writer, didn’t intuit or even intend. It’s like when you fall in love with someone and they start to notice little things about you that you didn’t even know were there yourself. It feels very validating. For the writing process it can be invaluable. Working with actors can enrich a script even right at the early stages of writing.

You might work with an actor on a completed script in order to deepen a character or to make the dialog flow better. Working with an actor on a script that has stalled can breathe fresh life into it with the added bonus of breathing fresh enthusiasm into you the writer. You can even start off a script project from scratch armed with just an idea, a tape recorder, notepad and an actor.

createI was lucky enough to meet Mike Leigh at the London Screenwriter’s Festival a couple of years ago. As a writer and director, he works with actors and lets them find the performance before the script is written. This really appealed to me as a way to work, so for me working with actors is nearly always part of what I do. And it makes good sense. Actors are going to be performing the script, so why not let them get in on it as early as possible? The actor will interpret the script eventually, why not let the writing be an interpretation of the actor too?

Fundamentally what is required is a willingness to play along. A spirit of playfulness is vital. Likewise it helps if you can check the egos at the door, at least for long enough to get the ideas flowing. There is a wonderful synthesis that can happen when a writer and an actor work together. Here are a few guidelines that are best acknowledged from the start:

  • Check your egos
    This is vitally important. Make the creative space a safe place. All ideas are good. No one is right and no one is wrong. If you work well with the actor you may find that a little creative friction can be a good thing and your differences can work to push the ideas, but monitor this carefully as it can easily go too far and destroy what you’ve set out to build. Remember your goal is to create an environment where you the writer can get ideas. Personally I prefer to approach it from a more open position and try not to defend or reject ideas too strongly. Not all writer/actor combinations are going to work well but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot out of the session.
  • Structuring the Session
    Take some time to set up an atmosphere of playfulness and creativity. You can do this with some improv exercises (more on this soon!) and be sure to set out clear rules for acceptable behaviour during the session, especially if working with multiple actors/writers. As the writer, this is your show but you have to play a genial host and be accommodating of your guests. You can choose to set an an agenda for the session or you may just like to keep the agenda in the back of your head just in case things don’t go to plan organically on their own. Set a time limit for how long the session will last. Actors and writers alike can get carried away when a session is working out well, but remember everyone has finite energy. Breaks, refreshment and time limits are important. No one wants to end up feeling too drained for their bus ride home, and it won’t help good feeling in the long run.
  • Respect your Roles
    Everyone thinks they can write, just like everyone thinks they can act, so from the off there’s likely going to be an element of thinking we can do the other person’s job. It’s important then that you both recognise the skills and the training that each of you has. Actors are skilled at intuiting character and subtext and using their knowledge of behaviour and emotion to build their performance from that. Writers are masters of crafting their knowledge of style and story with their own experiences and research into a complete and satisfying whole. It’s important for both of you to recognise these strengths and do the part that you do best. The writer’s job is still to write the script. Likewise for the actor it is a chance to get a deeper insight into the character to strengthen and enhance their end performance. But as the writer you are running the show. If you can check your ego and see yourself more as a facilitator then you will find that the session runs better and you will get more benefit from it. Don’t preempt the results of the session beforehand. Try to let it be what it is. Trust me you will get more out of it than you realise. Remember that writers are actors to some degree as we play out what we write in our heads before it goes on the page. It’s not uncommon for actors to feel a little insecure about the idea of writing and this can lead to them being more forceful than perhaps they need to be. Remember they are there because you want their input so it is in your interest to have them be as relaxed and secure as possible. Help the actor to do what they do best. They are used to being directed and they are used to improvising so you have the best of both worlds and it will work if you let it. Be a gracious host and it’ll work better for everyone.
  • Stay fluid
    Icreatet’s vital not to get too attached to a particular scene, storyline or plot device. The idea here is to try out possibilities for size. Let your writer’s mind feed off the skill and experience of the actor. Let the actor feed off the boundaries set by the skill and experience of the writer. Writers afraid to ‘kill their babies’ as the popular phrase goes, whereas actors will often want to hold on to what they see are precious moments and opportunities. Writing this way is about exploring. Don’t be afraid to let the actor run with things as it will deepen the character you’re writing. Remember you get the final say on what ends up in the final script.
  • Meet the moment
    If you’ve ever jammed in a band, you’ll know how sweet it is to find yourself in that moment where you’ve found a groove that’s borne out of the gestalt of the players and the essence of the moment. The vital thing to remember is that it is AWAYS temporary. A creative jam session between writer and actor works in exactly the same way. That sweet groove you’ve discovered will disappear as fast as it materialised. So enjoy it while it’s happening, try not to think about it too much, and above all createrespect the ephemeral nature of it. Nothing will kill it faster than trying to hold onto it. Have faith in the moment that you will be able to preserve and recreate the best elements of the improvisation session later. What’s important will stick. Don’t try to force it. Respect the moment.
  • Record your session
    Set a recorder well in advance of getting down to business. That way you can forget that it’s there and you won’t feel self conscious. Once there’s a recorder running very often you can relax and stop stressing about remembering everything that’s been said. And guess what? Yep you’ll start naturally remembering what’s been said. That said check your recorder is still running. I rarely end up listening to these recordings, but you can bet your boots that if you do want to recover a particularly important part of your session that can never be recreated, yep, it’s two minutes after the tape ran out.
  • Webcam vs Video
    Using webcams can be great for recording an entire room during a creative session. It’s easier to forget that it’s there and there tends to be less performance to camera which can lead to an actor getting too attached to a particular scene or storyline because of the performance opportunities that it offers.
  • After the session
    Icreatef the session was successful then you’ll most likely go away from it feeling good. Now you can sit straight down to write and pour it all out onto the page. Or you can sit on it for a few days to let it gel a little before starting to write. Personally I prefer to do the latter. It can be tempting to go with the heady excitement generated by the session, but I generally find that the writing works better if I let the session settle into my memory a little longer and my writer’s head clicks back into place better. Write too soon and I find that I’m trying too hard to stick to the story elements that came out of the session. Plus you will be more stressed about getting everything down just as it was in the session. Stress inevitably creates poorer writing. Trust yourself that the important stuff will stick in your memory and make it into the finished script.
  • Respect the session
    Long after the session you will undoubtedly remember it, whether or not the discoveries you made there made it into the final script, whether or not there even was a final script. It’s important to respect the session and remember that, for the actor, it was a performance for which you may have been the only audience. That’s a sacred thing and a valuable memory. Treasure it!

Happy writing!!



Lurve…



May 26th, 2014


So I kinda got married.

More of a divorce undo in this case. Same groom different decade. Adi and I retied the knot last week in a very low key ceremony (ten minutes from parking the car to driving off. And no they don’t have drive through wedding chapels in the UK!) This was just short and to the point with the minimum of fuss.

Marrying the same person twice is not for the faint-hearted I must say. I had the biggest case of nerves beforehand! But it all went off well and represented a lot of personal growth and achievement.

Reconciliation is tough! I am the better person for it all and it feels good to have overcome such tough times … and my reward is once again having my best friend and soul mate by my side.

I’m very grateful!!! 🙂



Balancing Teaching with Practicing your Craft



May 22nd, 2014


Among many teachers I meet, I have noticed a trend that it has taken me a long time to realise applies equally to me. This trend is summed up by the phrase:

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” 

(* There is also an addition to the phrase, most oft heard at teacher trainer schools:
“… and those who can’t teach, teach teachers!!!”)

I have always disliked this ugly phrase since first hearing it as a child – after all how could you have teachers who were skilled at what they taught or skilled people who can pass on their skills? – but I’d also noticed that it was often somehow accurate. Capable people chose to teach what they chose not to do.  Teaching is all well and good – for how would anyone learn without teachers? – but should it be at the expense of doing?

Learning

I began teaching more than 20 years ago. All too often I have seen my friends and colleagues – most frequently women – opting to teach the skills they have struggled to master for so many years rather than using those skills themselves. And while teaching is a noble profession, and one that not all teachers are good at, what happens to the doers when they constantly strive to pass on their skills to others rather than practice those skills themselves?

Time flies by when you’re busy and it’s easy to find yourself resenting the very people you are supposed to be inspiring: your students! 

I met a woman a while ago who had for a long time been teaching creative writing yet she was feeling unfulfilled – and something else, another feeling she couldn’t identify. Having been in this position myself of teaching and not doing many times in the past, the name of this particular feeling was easy for me to name:  jealousy!!

Envy

This seemed to hit her as a revelation! At first, she dismissed it. Jealousy is an ugly emotion and none of us likes to think about ourselves in such an ungenerous way. So I gave her permission to feel jealous, just to entertain and explore the feeling for a few minutes. She gradually began discussing recent events and placing them in the context of her own dissatisfaction at teaching what she had started to believe she could only teach and no do. A big admission for anyone!

The longer she spoke, the clearer the reason became in her mind. She had been teaching so long she began to doubt her own abilities. Like the long time editor, who took a job to pay the bills, she had spent so long honing other people’s work she had lost the habit of producing those words herself.  She spoke about the joy and pride she felt in her students but also the envy of their youth and the opportunities to succeed where she never would. As we talked more, she eventually admitted she resented teaching others to do the things she wasn’t taking the time to do herself. She was even feeling envious of the energy and enthusiasm of her students. Very quickly she had started to devise a plan to rectify this state of affairs by practicing what she preaches!

I felt great for having been able to use my own insight and experience to help her, and in truth I had shared this wisdom with several women over the years, but something in this encounter made me wonder why teaching can be so rewarding to ourselves and yet so destructive to our own ambitions. And how can we teach as well as practice our craft?

She left full of renewed excitement for BOTH her careers, with a promise to keep me posted.  I left with a promise to write about this teacher jealousy phenomenon in due course. Hearing from her recently, her novel is in its second edit and she is feeling happier than she’s ever felt since being a student herself. Indeed she went on to say that being a teacher now enables her in her career by constantly supplying her with new students who are passionate to learn the skills she has to offer. All from one word: jealousy!

How can I beat the “Them as can, do. Them as can’t, teach” conundrum?

Having been in the position to advise several people in similar situations since, I have now identified several tips to help protect teachers from the “Them as can, do. Them as can’t teach” conundrum.

I hope they are useful to you!

  • It’s All in your Title.
    Do you introduce yourself as a teacher when meeting people in your profession? Or do you identify as an artist/writer/filmmaker who also teaches? Choosing the latter can be a very simple key to maintaining your sense of ownership of your craft. It can be as simple as keeping a second set of business cards or maintaining a website to advertise and remind yourself of your skills as a professional.
  • Network within your skill area.
    It’s easy when you’re teaching at an academic institution or vocational college to mix with only other teachers. It’s likely that many of those people you call colleagues teach a different skill or craft. After a while practicing in your own area, whether it be art or writing for example, can even start to seem a little silly. It’s vital then to maintain links to professionals working in your field. Maintaining those links is also very useful for your students hoping to break into your industry of course, but let’s not think about them right now. Concentrate on you and keeping your contacts in tact. If you’ve let those contacts go over the years, don’t fret, Linked In is a great way to reconnect, as is Twitter. And don’t need to remind you not introduce yourself as a teacher! If someone asks you how you support yourself with your craft, simply say something along the lines of “Well I also teach, which helps keep the wolf away from the door.” Mostly you’ll get an expression of envy from the struggling artists rather than any negative comment you’re expecting. Pretty much everyone has a second job these days that supports their passion-but-doesn’t-pay-well career!
  • Craft is Discipline.
    This may be one of the sayings you teach your students but it is so easy to forget to apply it to yourself! Time is always one of the biggest constraints. If you’re spending six hours a day teaching, then practicing your craft may be the last thing you want to do at the end of the day, but do make the time. It’s all a matter of habit and you’ll quickly find you’re getting back into the swing of it. If you can’t manage a day a week, then a day a month, or taking a regular weekend for honing your skills and creativity.  You can sometimes even count a certain amount of planning and practice of your craft into your working hours. So what if what your students are learning coincides with your own areas of research? This can often make you a more enthusiastic teacher and will help your students to relate to you and inspire their skills to new standards. One of the biggest sources of self doubt amongst students is when they fear that someone as knowledgeable and talented as their teacher can’t actually find the time or summon the interest to practice the craft they’re sharing. Remember if your students see or hear from you about your work in progress they will be inspired. And that in turn will inspire you!
  • Have a plan.
    It’s easy to have a career development plan for your teaching career and completely forget to have one for your craft. How do you intend to develop your skills over the next year, two years, five years? Make a plan and keep it up to date. If you’re noticing it’s a month since you last did any painting/programming or composing, then you may already be on that slippery slope. Act now!

The main key is in recognising the problem. If you’re happy just teaching, then great.

Speaking from my own experience however, this problem of doing -vs- teaching has affected and shaped my whole career, even spanning several different careers as I reinvented myself over the years. Every time I would inevitably end up teaching the skills I’d spent so many years mastering.

Eventually I decided that the thing I would give up doing was teaching. I still do it occasionally, but now I prefer to teach as a guest lecturer or on a part time basis. Teaching online and writing text books has also proved a good way to exercise my teaching muscles without my skills getting lost in the process. If that’s not possible for you, then think seriously about creating balance between your art and the teaching of it.

“Recognise jealousy as soon as it rears its ugly head – it’s a wake-up call telling you it’s time to walk your talk.”

If you’ve noticed your own green-eyed monster straying towards your students it is TIME TO WAKE UP. Ban that bitterness before it takes a grip. No more putting it off. It’s time to start writing that great novel today or working on that big project today.

Eventually you can find the life you had dedicated to your craft somehow became devoted to teaching and then has suddenly passed you by and you’re not even teaching that craft very well anymore.

Don’t let it happen to you. Remember the eagerness and passion of your younger self who went into your field and honour that person by taking back your creativity now.

Time to take back control. 

For you! And for the sake of your craft!! 

 



On the Set of “Behind the Book”



May 21st, 2014


Behind the Book

Behind the Book

This last weekend I had the great fortune to be invited onto the set of a short film for my great friend and fellow screenwriter and Bournemouth University alumnus Romana Turina. She is making an important film about how the media narrates history which ties in with her doctoral research on the same subject.

I was there in an unspecified capacity, helping out where I could, being a runner, rehearsing lines with actors, helping feed the cast and crew and generally doing anything I could to be useful. It was a wonderful experience. The actors were excellent and the crew, who were students from York University’s excellent Theatre, Film and Television department, were very professional and worked together with a smoothness that I’ve get to experience on professional film sets. Overall it was an inspiration and I was grateful for the opportunity to be involved.

From everything I saw, I have great confidence that the project will do well and I shall watch with loving interest as it moves through post-production. Filming it was an experience I shall value for a long time.

So what did I learn?

    • Caring for one another is caring for the production – I was really impressed how well everyone cared for one another. The crew took care of the actors – everything from helping them keep up with what was being asked of them, keeping them hydrated on what were several unseasonably warm May days, to just about everyone thanking them for their performances. There was a wonderful atmosphere of respect and it was quickly catching, so I found myself doing it too. In fact it’s not a bad habit for life and work in general. We should all be thanking one another more – and I shall!
    • Dive in and do your best to help. – Before the shoot, I must admit I was a little confused about what my role was, if any. I asked several folks and they didn’t seem to know either, so it was just a matter of going along and doing what I could. On set it wasn’t long before I was seeing ways to help out and pretty soon I was being asked to do tasks too. I enjoyed being helpful and it was a really pleasant change to everyday life. I am used to giving the orders so being in a different position was both educational and good for the soul.
    • Working with a female director – I’ve heard a lot of people say they’ve never worked with a female director and didn’t even know any. I have received so many warnings from the well-meaning: ‘don’t be too strident’ and ‘modulate how you speak’ etc etc, all suggesting that somehow just being female and a director will get up everyone’s noses. Finding this balance has perhaps been one of my biggest fears about expanding my cast and crew and working with strangers. Luckily working with Romana was inspiration. I watched her get what she wanted in a strong determine way and yet she managed to make everyone feel good. Everyone wanted to please her! I am not sure her model is something that I will be easily able to emulate but watching her in action has given me something to strive for and a yardstick up to. It was very worthwhile experience!!

If you want to know more about Behind the Book it has a Facebook page.

Onset of Behind the Book

Onset of Behind the Book

Now I’m home I can’t wait for my own crew to have some available time to start putting everything I’ve learned into practice!!

THANK YOU to Romana Turina and her wonderful cast and crew for a very special experience.



Filmmaking Family



April 29th, 2014


I’ve been struggling to motivate my crew for months. It’s been bone-gnashingly hard. Working with teens is difficult on its own but working with family gives it an added grind factor. At times the returns have diminished down to zero. I’ve even wondered whether they were working for me or the other way round.
Learning Filmmaking Together
As ever working with your own kids has added implications that don’t apply with other people. If I tell them to do something it is mom telling them to do it, not their director. If they’re noisy onset they hear the echoes of being told off as children, rather than immediately understanding that we need quiet in the studio. It’s hard. I thought about putting this post on Sit up a Tree, the personal development blog, but really I have no solutions to offer other than to say that working with your kids means superhuman levels of patience. With the best will in the world and the best kids in the world it’s always going to need the parent to be the bigger person. On other people’s sets they are great, composed, obedient, helpful but on mine I have needed to get to screaming pitch just to get attention. There’s been more than a few tears and at least one firing. And prompt reinstatement too. Because we are family and because sometimes it’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with young people who haven’t fully figured out the world and who don’t necessarily see the realities of time and money in the same way you do. Yet. And that’s the key. As the parent or older relative you need to stick to your guns in what you expect from them, whilst having patience as they learn and stumble and lose their way.

In many respects it is no different to when I was teaching young people at college … it’s just that teaching your own kids is like teaching the most rebellious students and the most challenging learners. Simply because they’re your own kids. For any other teacher they’d be a dream!

At the end of the day of course we will all grow as people. And we will either make films together or we won’t. In the meantime I am happy to be practicing filmmaking skills and I am happy that they’re learning the nuts and bolts of working life. As ever, it is a privilege. I love working with young people and these are no different because they’re my family. It’s just a tougher job for me because they’re my family!!

In terms of filmmaking, we are making painstakingly slow progress, but it is progress nonetheless. Skills take time and effort and dedication. The most important things I bring to the table are a clear set of goals and a lifetime of experience at getting projects off the ground.

The flip side of that is, of course, that goals can be blinkers and a lifetime of experience can result in less innovation. So working with young people is a perfect balance because they bring energy and ideas and the pioneering spirit to try out solutions in directions my experience might, rightly or wrongly, warn me not not to go.

Working across the generations enables the perfect fusion of wisdom and courage that comes from the compassionate and respectful blending of youth and wisdom that brings about truly new ideas and innovative solutions.

The most important thing about working with your family is recognising and respecting what everyone brings to the table!



New Photo Blog!



April 18th, 2014


Exciting news – Adrian and I have started a new photography blog.

It’s already turning into a lot of fun!

I get to write the background story to my photos, which is a new thing for me. It also means I have to think a little more about the why and the how of going about taking a photograph. If my Flickr views and feedback are anything to go by, this attention to detail is already paying off in my photos. I would advise all photographers to taking the blog approach to their images as it really forces you to up your game considerably. On Flickr especially, fellow users love the background detail to your photos, and of course, everyone is looking for tips and tricks that they can apply in their own work.

Here’s one I took a couple of nights ago:

I am also going to be producing some Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials on the blog, and I hope to include DSLR Video how-tos as well. All in all, as well as enjoying the photography and writing, I am having fun testing out lots of new kit, including camera filters, portable hard drives and new post processing software. All fun stuff to play with and evaluate!!

So, if you’re into photography or DSLR Video, watch THIS SPACE for more updates.

In other great news, one of Adrian’s photographs of the Aurora Borealis spectacle that hit the UK in February, was bought by Sailing Today magazine. It was a really great shot. Well done, Adrian! Take a look here:

Adrian’s landscapes and seascapes are brilliant. He’s really challenging me to improve my work. Having someone to compete with (in a friendly way, of course!) can be a great way to help raise your own game – and I think it’s working!!

In the last month I haven’t just been taking photos in the outdoors. I’ve also done a fair bit of studio work. This one was taken last weekend in my studio:

The shot is of my wonderful actress daughter Amy and her friend Bobby who obligingly modelled for this and many other shots. Great sports, both of them!

Here’s another studio photo, this time taken in Welshot’s studio setup in Chester.

It was taken at a photoshoot with Welshot and the Autonomy dance group, a fantastic group of young people who were only too happy to pose for our cameras!

OK I am back to writing my big script!!



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