Sunday, 22 November 2015

10. The Travel Show rises from the sea with a bottled beer in hand.

AS Episode 27 of the Shades Of Bad dark comedy web series goes up this week, we cranked our output up, not as much as we would like, but on top of the episode, we loaded 5 travel films and set up the associated twitter account and also linked it to films we have already up on one of our feature film sites, Bula Quo.

The five places we have cover are Barbados where Doris had an overnight and went to Fish Night at Oistins, the beautiful Island of BequiaAntiguaPort Canaveral where she walked down through Jetty Park and along to Cocoa Beach and Miami which could have done with 2 days.

So we are definitely not on the balcony watching the sun go down drinking a Banks Beer, we are back in cold, very cold north west London, in the edit suit working things through.

We hope to get at least twenty new travel films up in 2016, maybe one on Fiji from the Bula Quo shoot and we need to look at the footage we did in Norway and Barcelona when we shot Doris episodes of Shades Of Bad there. The other cast, who are left in her kitchen will be shooting their portions of episodes 43 to 51 (Norway) and 58ish (Barcelona) before and after Christmas and in bits as cast have duties and pantos. However we are having a Christmas break and then going to the Three Valleys where yes, we will shoot the ski resorts with Doris before going back to the Carribean to do three more islands in March. Also next year we have a Denmark / Russia cruise then will get to do the Canary Islands and also have a few days in Dubai. It sounds glamorous, but it is all about the output and we do not hover. See the promo.

If you have not caught up with Shades of Bad you might like to look at our first proper compilation of season 1, where Doris just recounts her best bits. We used to make these all the time when I was at Emmerdale, Emmerdales best Weddings, best punches, best whatever. The secret is having the product to do it because compilations are often as popular as the shows them selves. Take a look at Doris reflecting back on Season 1 of Shades Of Bad.

Might we ask you to drop by our YouTube Channel and hit the subscribe button, drop us a line if you wish to do a sub for sub.

We lost all our big numbers and subs when we were taken down and had to come back up as an over 18 site for many of our films. Some people just don't get dark comedy.

Enjoy Shades, and if you wish to start from Episode 1 and binge watch, two tips, hit the next button as it ends to jump forward and ship titles. And when it asks for a payment for number 9, just go to the season 1 playlist and find it listed there.  The very first episode is here, and we have been in the charts every week since, so thanks for your support.

PS - The ASK DORIS spin off is also still on the table, it is just time and Christmas.....

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

9. Doris Travels, the new spin off travel show as the girl goes as a girl does!

Hi all, and just to make you envious I am writing from my balcony in Barbados with a Banks beer.  But as you can see I am working, or have stopped working to blog. Shades Of Bad the web series is quite an experiment. Those of you who who have read blog and articles from our website will know that I spent 26 years on a UK broadcast soap, and have a creep of directing both movie and second unit on major hollywood movies, so enough was enough, the world and viewing habits were changing and I decided to go alone. I started Shades Of Bad for actress Jean Heard at her suggestion. The show was then my idea and the content shocked her to the core, but there is no point in not being more edgy and more political when on the web.

So, why am I working in Barbados and what am I doing apart from the age old adage of rumours of the director and lead actress sharing a room are exaggerated. I have just finished editing 7 films and my portable hard drive is out of space, so hence the blog. We have been away travelling and have made seven travel films, one on Bequia (near Mystique), one on Miami, one on Cocoa beach Canaveral, another is on Antigua, this one on Barbados and my favourite was Key West a place I have always wanted to stop at. (films will go up end November and links will appear then)

Here is the logic and why the plan. Consider marketing can be looked at as speculative selling, selling
something people did not want or did not know they wanted, and the second selling something they do want or need. The drama series Shades Of Bad falls into the first. No one is looking for a web series. Looking seriously at the figures sport is worth 75 billion, the gaming industry 45 billion and the complete TV output is a poor third at around 30 billion. Drama is a proportion of the output along with the game shows, documentaries and entertainment shows. Travel shows however are a tool for the traveller and along with cookery shows still strike high.

So, the series Shades Of Bad we knew would be hard to market, and we needed content to be there. So now with 26 episode up as of mid November, and 42 finished, Doris could take a break. She even did a season one reflective compilation before we left which is an excellent catch up show.
She can take a break especially as her filming for episodes 43 to 47 is all done and dusted and was shot last year when we travelled to Norway. We may well cut a Norway film together and voice over it and add it to the travel shows. So in the drama Doris has been head hunted by a villain who you will meet in the spring, been sent abroad to collect a package; Norway. They can carry on without her and she can now start the travel shows as 'Doris Visits', which will have a market we have a small foothold in for other reasons. 'Doris Visits' will be available from end November 2015 with links to the drama and she will make references to it, as she is that character.

Similarly we could cut a travel show with the Fiji footage from when we shot their with Status Quo.

The logic here is the cross platform use that I have been used to for years. As you may know I madeThe Krays and Bula Quo with music stars, just as TV actors I have worked with, like Robson Green have fishing shows etc.... Once a character is established they can, because the public know them, share things with them. That is the logic, so the web opens up doors to allow us to create those and in three years from July 2015 when we started, we aim to have up and live over 100 episodes in their short form, have re-editied then to 11 minute mega cuts (which are then a half hour TV length joining two together, ITV is currently 21 minutes 30 seconds per half hour). We aim to have about 60 travel films and some others on 'How To'.  Then there is the book, WHO DIE TODAY which is out now and covers the first 40 episodes. I was to start writing the book for Freight while I have been away but I have been too busy. My work as an author is always pushed back and I have a new movie in prep when I get home.

The logistics work load and investment is huge but that will be a TV channel. If we have time we will cut some of our movies and the behind the scenes materials into other playlists. It is an interesting time to see how content works. We have yet to really get started with Maker Studios which is the Disney label we have signed to so the workload is endless.

So, the travel connection. I started my career as a broadcaster and radio DJ so have always presented and spoken at events. When on Emmerdale I was posted to a cruise ship as part of the PR to talk about how the soaps are made, and after 26 years on Emmerdale as well as stints on Corie, EastEnders and Take The High Road I have a few tales to tell and thousands of stills. I was then asked to expand and include how I went from DJ to TV and some of the huge movies I had been in. So, as a celebrity guess on cruise ships, I can make use of the stops and the footage may find it's way into all sorts of outputs whom we are talking to. But, I stay away from the front of camera, it is all done as Doris.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

8. Donna reflects on playing Elsie in Shades Of Bad

I waited with baited breath for my entrance as Elsie. 

Having watched from episode 1 to 6, I wasn't too sure how the opening of episode 7 would materialise!  Well we didn't quite get the full impact of me being thrown down the stairs, no matter how many suitcases Jean would send flying to the bottom. And on first seeing the episode back,  I realised just how ready you need to be for your first take in film, so would have ideally liked to have done my opening scene again, but there are no second chances and having done a lot of theatre in the past I was so conscious of over acting, even though I was bound and gagged! 

However, I loved Elsie's first line, where in answer to Doris's "why were you knocking?" she replies "I was hungry".   Brilliant, the most unlikely answer from a woman who has just been thrown down the stairs by her daughter in law, which shows us instantly the strength of Elsie's  character.   I also love Wilma's line after listening to Doris telling Elsie that her son is having an affair with her, she says to Elsie "nice boy, you should be proud".  Then of course the last line in this episode when Elsie sees the sandwiches she says  "I'll have them".   

In episode 8 I love the way Elsie says how she can't believe what Doris and Wilma are making her son do....."living between two women".  She is totally in defence of her son being in any way guilty.

Episode 9  Oh my God, like Jean, when I first read this part of the script I was very uncomfortable with it.  Shock, horror, when we find out that Doris has a child locked in her cellar!  Elsie has a Grandchild?   You just had to keep reminding yourself that this was a fictitious drama, gradually turning into a horror.

Episode 10 is quite funny with Doris suggesting to Elsie she and Brad, her son, should make a suicide pact, with Wilma's reaction to Elsie being "let him murder you first, he might then reconsider and come and live with me".   So so surreal!

Episode 11 Says it all... Love this scene when Wilma asks Doris if they fell out, who would she watch the Jeremy Kyle show with?  Found it hilarious, but true to the Series, that Doris replies  "never watch that show again, it's full of very strange people" how ironic!

Episode 12  After watching this episode, I realised how clever Busters' idea of shooting the end of this scene really paid off, as visually I find it very funny. Firstly we see a back shot of the two heads of Doris and Elsie, ending with a front shot of Doris with Elsie creeping into shot with a white face and looking totally off her head.  Elsie has presumably fell into a bag of cocaine in the cellar, created by baking powder being blown into my face.  Unfortunately some of it caught my eye and so delayed the shoot a little, until I managed to get it out.

Episode 13  This I thought was a moment of genius when it was decided that a camera be put inside the oven, whereby the reflection that we see of Doris and Wilma creates the illusion for Elsie to think that they are both actually in the oven.   Whilst all of this is going on with Elsie, we hear more shocking truths as Doris plots to put her on the game!

Episode 15 Doris expands her business into a brothel and we see Elsie exhausted as, unbeknown to Elsie, as she is now addicted to the cocaine, she is the number one prostitute.  Elsie is tricked into believing she has just one suitor who she thinks is her boyfriend called Bill.

By Episode 18 Elsie starts to get suspicious of there being more than one Bill and so Doris tells her that she has a form of dementia where she suffers from facial recognition and whilst Elsie makes a cup of tea for Wilma and Doris, Doris cruelly gets Wilma to swap seats with her, so that each time Elsie turns to them, they are in a different chair, making Elsie believe she really has this form of dimentia.  This was very difficult to keep together, as so many times all three of us just corpsed .
Something I struggle with in all if this, as surreal as the series is and call me old fashioned, but it's one thing believing Elsie fails to recognise one Bills' face from the other, but there's more than a face in question here.....isn't there?
Funny end shot that didn't come out in the edit, where I look to be pulling up my draws and truth of it was, the attachment to my mike that was attached to my knickers was about to fall down!  I had no idea that the camera was still on me.

The Fly Episode 19  Lynn who plays Wilma, was surprised at how I didn't hesitate when asked to fall backwards off a chair in this episode with no thoughts of Stuart not being there to catch me.  It was only later I thought about the consequences of my hitting the tiled floor full on had he not caught me. Yikes!  But then of course I had every faith in Stuart.

Episode 20  Wasn't sure if I was relieved to hear that it wasn't Doris's daughter in the cellar, but someone she found there when they moved in?........ooh very dark.    

Elsie is played by actress Donna Flinn.  Shades Of Bad is a hit web series as well as a Book and Kindle.