Thursday, 28 April 2016

31. CAT FIGHT - it was bound to happen, Doris and Wilma fight. Is she dead.

Wilma has killed Doris, what next? –  Episode 42, Season 3.

It was bound to happen, not just because Doris and Wilma are literally at each others throats, but because the executive producer who funded the show is a world ranked stunt coordinator with endless serious credits and awards. However, Stuart St Paul, has little to do with the filming of the show. He invested the money and his scripts were adapted to two women in a kitchen. 

Now on Season 3 there is a point where they have to fight, and he called a number of the stunt women to come in and arrange the fight but they were all too busy. Stunt women, compared to their male counterparts never stop working. One was in Hungary on The Martian, her sister was abroad, and others of Stuart's regular team were also working. There are so few stunt women compared with stunt men which is amazing when you think many women come into the industry through dance and gymnastics ... still that is another story.

In last week's episode Wilma has thrown Doris to the floor,  left her for dead and plonked the chainsaw firmly on the kitchen table. She goes for Doris’s purse where Doris keeps the gun in order to finish her off, but there is no gun. Doris had been bluffing. Wilma is therefore not able to coldly put a bullet into Doris to conclude the evening. (episode 41).... but before the end of the season one of them will have to go!

Here in episode 2 of season 3, Wilma looks down and sees Doris is dead, Doris hit her head on the tiled floor as she fell.
“Sorry, Doris’. Wilma says, then changes her mind.  “No", she reconsiders, "I’m not.  Bitch”.

The question now; will Wilma cut Doris’s body up with the chain saw like Doris just cut up the dead body of the councillor?  Maybe, but the recycling bin is already full with one body.(Episode 40)

We have to thank Breaking Bad for making that word so fashionable, ‘Bitch!’ But Wilma had just about had enough of Doris and it was coming, though unexpected. However, expect the unexpected with Shades Of Bad.

Sure, Wilma started the problem in Season 1 by sleeping with Doris’s husband, then not understanding that if she took the man she should also take the mother-in-law. How Wilma ever remained friends with Doris is played out in a twisted needy relationship over the first 40 coffee break episodes of Shades Of Bad.

Doris might just not be dead yet ..... cat fight. The younger director had ambitions of a Jean Claude Van Damme fight, for his showreel no doubt, but that would have been out of character. The cat fight is in character as should every word of the dialogue, be which is why your stunt coordinator is so so important a choice Stuart tells us. Take a look at some of his credits by clicking here.

If you never saw Freight, it is a movie they made for ICON Entertainment. Jean Heard who plays Doris, then played Billy Murray’s wife and their daughter played by Laura Aikman was stolen. 

The film was made before 'Taken' and stayed quite a long time in post as the distributors made changes then found a slot for it, or were they waiting for Taken to be released and ride on the back of it?  Either way Freight is a very gritty film, and Shades Of Bad is just about to get mucky.

Above right is Natalie Anderson who won a role in Emmerdale after the performance in Freight. Stuart worked on Emmerdale as a creative head for 26 years. To the left, Danny Midwinter won Best Actor seen here with the Berlin prize winner as rising star, Zsolt Nagy.

Shades Of Bad has to date been a coffee break series, three minutes to watch on the go and its viewer base has got used to the short cliffhanger episodes. However, at the start of the playlist is a new beginning if you wish to start from the very beginning; 5 of the episodes are cut together to make an 11 minute episode. Click here for the playlist (or find it via the channel).

Our suggestion is go to Episode 40 and start there, that is the racier material, then 41 and this weeks 42. If you just want the cat fight episode 42, then it is below.

We would love to hear your comments about which format you prefer, either as comments on the film or via the website

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

30. Doris Visits the Royal Yacht Britannia on the Queens 90th birthday.

Doris Vists the Royal Yacht Britannia on the Queens 90th birthday.

The Shades Of Bad team planned a well tweeted visit to Edinburgh on the 21st April 2016. It was to shoot a film for the spin off show Doris Visits. Here at the production company we had been contacted by two local lads, Sam and Findlay, who wanted Doris to Visit Edinburgh. They produced a list of top visitor attractions and we noted that cruise ships stopped there so it fitted our remit. We decided to drive given the kit.

What we did not put together until we were in the car travelling and listening to the radio, was the ‘two plus two equals huge prize’ scenario. It was the the 21st April and it was Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday and her decommissioned yacht The Royal Yacht Britannia is Edinburgh’s number one attraction. We went straight there before meeting our local team and found bands playing and the whole place felt heavy in music copyright issues. Doris would not be able to commentate in her normal way. However, after the band left we found a wonderful sign that encouraged us to make a complete film on Britannia not just add it as part of a general Edinburgh film.

One of the reasons it is the number one attraction in Edinburgh might just be because it totally allows you to support it in social media. Maybe they know that only positive will come of it as they have such a great product. Whether you are a royalist or not, this is history at its best. It is fantastic. The Royal Yachtis detailed right down to the bone china, attaché case and the personalpictures. You see everything from the Queen’s bedroom to the state room, fromthe officer quarters to the medical surgery and laundry. It is an incrediblevisit which was an effort to edit down to under ten minutes. It will take you acouple of hours as there is more to see and much to study. We learnt a lot andwere grateful of this unplanned birthday treat.

I would suggest you get there early, as it opens and before it is busy, or late as we did. Then attempt the rest of Edinburgh as per our other films. Another tip is to take ear phones or head phones and ask for an audio guide with a neck strap.
You might just want to use your camera a few times.

The main Edinburgh film covers a good few of the other attractions, Arthurs Seat to the Castle, the Royal Mile to Restaurants and buildings. You need more than a day and good walking shoes.

The £4 all day bus pass is worth considering too if you wish to get to places in and out of town.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel. And find us on

Friday, 15 April 2016

27. Shades Of Bad is back, and bigger - season 3 starts this week.

The new season of the very dark and very dry comedy Shades OF Bad starts this week and runs for the next 20 weeks. Out with the old cast, in with the new ... and as Doris says, it is not illegal to eat other humans in the United Kingdom, a fact gleaned from a very intellectual TV quiz show she saw hosted by Stephen Fry. (fact). (click this paragraph for episode 40)

New star cast, new locations, foreign countries...... An Olympian, an EastEnders actor and Norway and Barcelona. And it is all on the web !!!!! (click this para for trailer)

So, 'all change' on the web TV series Shades OF Bad which has been honoured to have almost never left the world web TV series chart top twenty since its release mid last year. For this small UK series to up there in the chart complied by Roger Newcombe's team at We Love Soaps and Indie Series Network in the USA has been an honour and a surprise. To see the US site click this paragraph.

But, in true soap tradition, the cast must die, long live the cast. Replacement just happens a lot faster on the web, and a little odder. Maybe it is slower if you watch each episode by week and they come in coffee bite sizes, but add the minutes together and it all happens rather fast.

To recap when the two actresses sat in their kitchen and said let's make a show for the web, they never expected it to go this far.  But Jean Heard had always produced and had just lowered the final curtain on a touring play called Mutton, which had run for seven years in various forms. She is also a co owner of IndyUK Films and has produced movies, and IndyUK owned kit ... Dragon and Scarlet Cameras etc....  However, this proposal morphed into another challenge that required it's own kit and staff and Shades Of Bad TV Channel was born.

If you look at the YouTube Channel now it is only just beginning to look like a TV Channel, but small companies like Jean's may be forging a change that only the future knows the answer to. As broadcast TV fast becomes a thing of the past, content ownership is the new buzz word.
Shades Of Bad TV groups three YouTube Channels with over 750,000 views, to the viewer they all appear on the channel.

It will be interesting to see if each needs their own Channel and needs to be grouped as playlists. The growth of social media is so fast this kind of research can only be done by small channel owners.
The playlists are clearly laid out on the Shades Of Bad TV Channel and it is worth a look just to study the work that she and her small team have put into it.

1. The Shades OF Bad series lists 40 coffee bite episodes up and they have 20 more auto scheduled for release. 
2. Doris Visits is a spin off series which is aimed at a market they have decided to study. It is a travel show which mainly hits cruise stops and takes an unusual informal look at places. There are 20 films up and another 7 in the edit and they visit Russia in June and the Canaries in November.
3. How To Film is a web series that is there to help enable people to make their own shows. Having made a five features and now running the channel there are many useful tips to share and this series will form into a logical series. There are about 5 films on the playlist and the gaps will be filled.
4. Is the behind the scenes material for the film FREIGHT they made on sex trafficking, and the book FREIGHT is currently being proofed for publication within weeks.
5. Bula Quo is the site they have using the material they have with the UK rock legends Status Quo and film they made with them in Fiji. They have untold footage and interviews that have never been seen, that will be edited and added this year.
6. Then there is Ask Doris, an out of the box series where she just mends stuff. This has been tested and the list will be added soon.
(click this para to go to channel, please subscribe)

Eventually the Freight (DorisTV) and Bula Quo channels will return the honour by reflecting the lists there, but building the film output on Create Space and owning the unsold territorial distribution rights is also ongoing, and the novels of the work. The integration is one massive experiment of owning content.

Back to Shades OF Bad and the new Season. The first two seasons never strayed far from the kitchen and never left the house. It was a self imposed rule set, that each episode would be 3 to 5 minutes long, released weekly and had to end on a high.

The show has reached as high as number 2 in the Indie Series chart and Jean Heard has been voted Best Actress twice. Season three sees more dead bodies, a greater foray into crime and off to Norway and Barcelona. The current cast start to fall and in comes the new. They may have discovered a hidden acting talent and thrust a new male black actor into the market place with Derek Redmond. He is a World Champion and Olympian and plays Drek. Oliver Degnan who Jean used n IndyUK's first film The Usual Children, appears as Ben Manstead. The Bin Man who is dead. Manuel Martinez appears as the fixer in Barcelona, and then she can't get rid of him. And finally Nej Adamson, the pub quiz question actor ... who was the very first face on EastEnders ????  Nej..... appears. Quite a new cast as Shades OF Bad stretches out for a new season.

Please subscribe and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

29. The Singularity Effect - when crew act, & actors are technical. Is it just one new job?

The Singularity Effect - when crew act and present, and actors become technical and film themselves.

The Singularity Effect is the term used when two areas condense into one. The Bus Driver also takes the fares .. then the bus conductor vanishes. Soon there will be card payment on buses with driverless buses, then no one works.
Long gone are the guys who lit the gas lamps in streets and the telephone exchange people connecting calls with cables. Life moves on... so who will vanish next?

Before you say never, it could never happen in film, just about every industry has condensed jobs and the president has already been set in media. Siting just three examples - Millionaire YouTubers with millions of viewers and subscribers have already taken this well beyond journalists and TV news reporters sending their own piece back by their own phone. Actors now have their own voice over studio at home. Singers perform to a backing track whilst sporting the ironic 'keep music live' sticker in the car. Huge numbers of media people have vanished who is next? Because there will be a next and the wall falls down fast when it starts to go.

Sure there are still musicians, some have to pretend to mime to backing tracks, some play live, so there will always be survivors.

Let's be outrageous, if broadcast TV steps aside to selectable downloads, ... in other words lets assume Netflix overtakes the BBC .....then gone will be commissioning editors, the producers who sell to them, the program schedulers and many executives who thought they had more protection than a coal miner. Sadly, with the video juke box very few of them are needed.

It has happened, it is fast becoming past tense. The web series phenomenon is huge, not just large, it is huge. Furthermore BBC3 has gone on-line, Netflix spends more money on new drama than the BBC, so does Amazon and Sky.

Can the Broadcast soaps be justified in their current form when so many web performers are now making them with small crews in their bedrooms and kitchens. Time will change things, of that there is no doubt. Is it time you owned your own content and started a channel? The Emmys have announced they were to open a new award category for them!

What will change it is someone making it easy to find and view the many web series and maybe that is the next generations of MCN's, and if you do not know what an MCN is then my guess is you need to do a little catch up. Disney have now started as a label running the web program makers and it is called MAKERS STUDIOS, there are others, there will be others.

Kids watch Sky+ as their parents ignore them whilst they sit and eat in franchise restaurants. You have seen it. These kids grow up downloading. Lets be honest, we view on tablets and phones and it is not going backwards. We are thought to own 4 screens each at the moment and expected to own ten screens each within two years. Media is out there and made by a newer media educated generation.

So, the fact that Shades Of Bad now has NO technical crew is maybe not unusual, the actors in this case have taken over like the singers who sing to backing tracks and operate the tech stuff themselves. There was a director and a sound mixer / composer, but Buster left to do a movie and it was a case of necessity. Now Jean who plays Doris is making a series of films on how to make a web series, run a channel and market it, as well as her travel show spin off and the web series.And it is not preaching, she is just saying this is us learning, we are learning, this is how we make a weekly soap. She openly admits the use of filters on lens and colouring the end product is the biggest challenge, but one she will conquer.

Traditional Broadcasters are as important as the landline phone you leave at home.

Yesterday's generation of broadcast and media workers were never taught how to do it, they did one job in a huge team.
This new generation study it, study every job, do every job, and have a whole different mind set. They learn do degrees of competence that allow new forms of creativity.
So, will it all become one job? Like the journalist who has to send his own piece back, the news cameraman is no longer a must have item. The drama cameraman might be next, certainly hundreds of self made series on YouTube say maybe. And many are old school, Shades OF Bad is made by a senior group who are self taught and they are not alone.

YouTube has allowed groups of people who are not serviced by traditional broadcasters have their entertainment. There are channels on how to put make up on black skin, how to wear a hijab and shows for the grey pounders. Seriously, it is not just gamers, they just happened to come first.

Web Series are made by small teams of new-wave creative talent. Are they actors? Are they technicians? Are they YouTubers? Are they media Punks? What will their collective noun be..... program makers? In the past, program makers were not really program makers but enablers who watched many people do it for them.

Jean Heard and Lynn Beaumont decided one day to make a web series. Now there is DorisTV, or ShadesOfBadTV whatever the eventual branding becomes. But Jean now produces a channel and decides on program strains and is nearly one year into a 3 year plan. to have 300 films up.
Every part of the film making is done at home by the team and with 40 episodes up and 20 auto scheduled to release until August Jean plans to take the travel show to Russia and beyond.

Take a look at the first outside night shoot they attempted with two people into help move things and run light cables.

As well as the travel show Jean is shooting a playlist of tips, based on how she makes her channel. She expects to add one film a month to that list at least.
The travel show will be another two films per month, the drama is one per week.

How to Film is a growing playlist that is in addition to the drama series Shades Of Bad and the travel series Doris Visits. Click paragraphs to go to films.

Take a look at some of the available films. The Kit Jean uses to shoot  and post the web TV material. Jean takes you through the basic kit they use to shoot all the DorisTV web shows. Camera, Microphones, lights, grip equipment.

Using Puraleyes, the way she has learnt the way to sync the sound back to picture when shooting the drama series where the sound is recorded separately on many microphones into a TASCAM DR70D.

Final Cut Pro, starting a project in FCP, building a library, and dictating the destination of Cache, Render, and back up files. This video shows how the Library structure is set up and how you stop the files FCP makes from just filling your hard drive.

Where and how to place a Lavalier Microphone on an actress under the clothes, with the lead hidden. And also how to stop and avoid clothes noise given the movement they have to perform. The performers started by being responsible for their own microphones, testing them, and putting them away. Now they do the camera as well, download the material and edit.

Final Cut Pro, first editing of picture and sound, tricks on editing. Jean shows how she moves clips, moves groups of clips, detaches the audio and overlap picture on another clips sound. How to over lap sound edits so you cannot hear the, and move the sound edit away from the picture edit. Then how to lay a buzz atmosphere track over a number of video clips.

There is also a video showing how she now chooses the music from the written cues, and lays 'music on pictures'. Jean now does this because after 38 episodes of sending the sound to the composer and he did the sound and music mix and decisions, she now has to do it all. Start to end. Now the sound and music has to be done by Jean too, but composer to Mark Blackledge has given her a library of music cues from the first 10 episodes that is about 30 minutes of music.

There will be many more films, there will be many more film makers. Please enjoy and share and SUBSCRIBE.

For future film makers doing it all will be the norm' to multi task. Even now broadcast crews are getting smaller driven by easier technology and lower budgets.

The world has changed and the way people accept their media is no longer at home on the huge TV. Even if it is, those TV's are for the first time beginning to be smart; Android powered super UHD 4K TV's and yet broadcasters still shoot major TV shows on 2k cameras with editors that then reframe smaller..... go figure. The soaps are shot on interlaced sub 2k cameras.

The world has changed. It is no wonder the new YouTuber generation of film makers and entertainers have grown into this profession holding a camera, knowing how to edit, and being very confident in front of camera.
It is a 'duel'. Yes, the, 'you shoot me and then I'll shoot you', syndrome is here. Singularity has happened, media is now downloaded, and not just Netflix but BBC3 have now proved that.

Here's her latest travel show film. Doris Cruise stops at St Maartin, French & Dutch sides