Good News, Bad System

My initial ‘LA aim’ was a simple one – to stay here.

Well… maybe simple is a slight understatement, but it was clear, understandable.

Regrettably, however, the lines have recently become blurred. Things have become rather more complicated.

So, here is the good news, to start off with… I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP!

I was/have been offered a scholarship to the school I was studying, which, I am of course, thrilled about!

Now here comes the bad news. It is worth $15000. The fact that the bad news is bad news is, really, really bad news.

I could quite happily (fairly happily) live for a year on $15000. Out here, it will do just that… cover my living costs. The cost of the course itself is double that, and can even go to triple if the projects I choose to pursue are expensive.

Who can afford that?

I grant that some may be fortunate enough to be able to pay, and some may have saved for years and years, putting money into a ‘college fund’ for their kids, but really, honestly, isn’t that a but much?

In believe that education is a fundamental human right, like the freedom of speech, and (dare I say it… Healthcare).

I believe that all of these things should be free. If it takes you until you are 45 to pay off your student loans, or for your parents/supporters to recover from the financial implications, then what is the point of college, of university (I’m English, sorry!).

Healthcare, I will go into a some point in the future, but I am a strong advocate for it being free (I have previously been admitted to hospital in a very bad way, and have had been able to be seen immediately for free on the NHS – I am a direct benefactor of the system) but I would like to suggest a different way of paying for university.

I recognize that universities need money to be able to provide the service that they do – that’s logical. For Harvard University, with an endowment of well over $30 billion, to still charge $45000 per year is not. So I suggest this: I tax levied on future earnings of students having graduated from university.

This idea is bound to be met with some criticism, and of course there are many issues which arise from it, but as a general idea, I think it is an interesting one.

For one, it does not punish unsuccessful graduates – in fact, those who are initially unsuccessful are more likely to be able to become successful, as they are not shackled by student debt.

Secondly, it encourages universities to really work hard on their students – if they want to reap the rewards, they need to put the effort in on their end.

Lastly, it levels the playing field. Students would no longer be dissuaded from applying to top universities due to fees (and yes, so do offer financial aid, but they are in a minority). So big up meritocracy!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue! Do you have student loan debt? Do your children? Let me know in the comments below :)

As for me, I think I’ll be heading back to the UK, and looking for a job in London. My aims and goals remain much the same, I’ll just have to work all that much harder :P In the meantime, I am going to make some more ‘When Objects Come Alive’ videos.

I have also started a second blog based on two characters, ‘John’ and ‘Zack’. It is largely a comedy/satire blog. So check it out if you’re interested in such articles as ‘Is Barack Obama a Mexican Spy?’ and many more!

Thank you for your continued support :)

Have an awesome day, GH :)

Question of the Day

I have been debating a question with friends for the past week, but I really wanted to open it up to see what everyone else thinks!

I would be fascinated to know peoples answer to this. It is my hope that some sort of debate takes place in the comments, and I would love to get involved if this does take place.

The question is this: If somebody was to discover the meaning of life, would you want to know what it was? If you did know, would that change the way you lived your life, and, if so – would it be changed for better or worse? 

I hope everyone is having a great day, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say :)

With love!

Guy Hugo

Knowingly Unknowing

The more I think about it, the less certain about things I get. I don’t know anything. We as human beings actually know very little. We trust in medicine because it has had a positive effect on somebody else. We don’t know whether it will help us, we just hope. We have ‘faith’. Whatever the hell that means. 

I have stumbled across something recently which has helped me greatly through my existential crisis (crises – they happen about twice a week). I call it, ‘positive choices’. The guy who thought up names was away, apparently. 

Basically, I reason it like this: if I can’t really know much, then there is one thing I can, nay, must know. And that is myself. Actually, no that is a bad way of putting it. I must know my decisions… yes, I think that’s it. I must trust myself to know my decisions.

We can own every decision we make. We are, as human beings, given free will… or at least, the possibly illusory ability to make our own choices. So, I think we should put that to good use. If we actively choose the best decision for ourselves and our families/friends each time we make a decision (or at least, consider the Utilitarian mantra ‘the greatest amount of good for the greatest number’) then we own our own choices – we know that we are making positive choices that are furthering us in our lives. 

Because that is all we really know. When we are given a choice, we know that there is a good choice, and we know there is a bad. Most of the time we will chose the good over the bad. But sometimes, we will let ourselves slip. Not taking a great opportunity to grow a budding romance, letting our choices be directed by our friends/acquaintances who are, in reality, transitory, but who seem to us so essential. 

So I have made the decision, the positive decision, I truly believe, to make positive decisions with regards to my life. (Didn’t really roll of the tongue (page) did it!)

If I know that at every different point, I am trusting myself and owning my decisions, then even in a world where I know very little, I have the ability to know myself. I know that every decision I make is elevating myself to the next level of ‘being’ (or whatever you want to call it). 

You can go through life full of confusion about the world around you, and trust that you are doing everything you know to help you to succeed. To flourish. Knowledge, even in the face of the unknown.  

7 Ways To… Stop Sexism in the Film Industry

A young friend of mine came to LA 8 months ago to pursue an acting career. She is at a stage, where, as most people know, you need to be saying ‘yes!’ to every opportunity offered to you. She is however, having to say no. She goes out for tonnes and tonnes of auditions a month. Over 50% of those, she says, are for ‘floozy’ roles, or the ‘dumb blonde’. She doesn’t want to be stereotyped in that way… so she says no. She should not have to be put in that position.The film industry is arguably the most influential industry in the world, each year over 225 millions people go to the cinema in the US/Canada alone. So why is the film industry choosing to continue to promote sexism in the way it does? How can we stop it? Well… I’m not entirely sure, but here are seven ways we can make a start…

1. Treat sexism like racism – Why is sexism not entirely booted out of Hollywood? Because it has an audience, rather a large one in fact (around half the worlds population). That is the reason, there is no other rational than that…. But try and think about it in a slightly different way – racism is, generally (and rightfully so) treated with disgust around the world. Yet, if we think about it, racist people exist, they may well want to see racism (their beliefs) portrayed on the big screen – an audience does exist.

So, surely, just because an audience does exist, why should we pander to them? Treat sexism like racism, and make the bigger decision to just stop it.

2. Call everyone ‘actors’ – Lots of people already do this, but come on, it’s a word, it’s even shorter than the word actress, so it saves you time – use it, save yourself time, spend more time doing the things you love rather than (while probably subconsciously) reinforcing a negative gender stereotype.

3. Stop it at a grass roots level – I was sitting in class the other day, when a boy started to pitch his idea – the entire premise centered around a boss betting his employee he couldn’t have sex with a female employee at the company. Nobody batted an eyelid. Why? Because Hollywood is full of this stuff! Changing the writers and producers currently established in the industry will be tough, but surely we can stop it at the source – don’t accept sexist new material into the industry. This was the first film the guy had ever written. What did he want to do? Write a big bucks ‘Hollywood’ film? Why did he go for that kind of idea? You get my drift…

4. If strongly influencing Hollywood is a step too far (I suspect it may take a while longer) then focus on Indie films. There is no reason to include sexism in an indie film, unless it is a story which shows it being tackled. So this is an easy point – most people watching indie movies are going to care about cinema – you don’t need to sell out to get them to come and watch. So just cut out any sexism in indie films, it isn’t needed, it isn’t necessary – bin it.

5.  Counter it – so somebody is insisting on putting a sexist character in the movie? Easy – make sure it is sexist to both sexes! De-stabilize the male characters – undermine them. Level the playing field.

6. Get more female writers – there are already many female writers in the television world (although there could undoubtedly be more) but only 15% of the writing staff in the film industry is made up of women. Talking about an audience, how about we let women create what women want to see, rather than letting men create what they think women want to see?

7. Stand up to it! Members of the film industry are INCREDIBLY influential… it isn’t a coincidence that many presidential advertising campaigns utilize Hollywood film stars. So take a stand! If you can make a difference then do so, Hollywood – people will listen!

For total transparency (if you haven’t read my blog), I am a white British teenage male writer. Thanks for reading.

 

How To Write A Screenplay In Four Days

People I have been speaking to recently seem to be surprised at how quickly I am able to churn out the first draft of a screenplay. This, in turn, seems a little odd to me – I just sit down and write. So, I thought that I would write my tutorial on how to write a screenplay quickly – well, in four days to be precise.

WARNINGS: 

  1. This is NOT an overly healthy way of spending your time – if you are ill at the time, then don’t attempt.
  2. The polishing of a screenplay takes much longer, this is only about the first draft.

I always start by ‘blocking’ (not a technical term :P ). I look at my schedule, and block out four days. Completely and totally – there can be no distractions. Ideally these days would be four in a row, but they can be spread out over two weekends, if necessary. 

Once this is done, I then prepare the list of things I am going to need for the project. For me this is:

  1. The WILL TO DO IT! This method, and writing long scripts in general is HAAARD, you need to really want it, if you are not quite ready to commit, then this probably isn’t for you (Just Do It!)!
  2. A well developed idea/treatment – THIS IS ESSENTIAL! This is probably an obvious point, but if you have no idea what you are going to write about, then all you are going to do is load stress onto yourself, so always come into the project well prepared!
  3. Get your food supplies. 3 meals a day are very important! If you let your health slip when you are putting pressure on to yourself, then you’re at the start of a nasty, slippery slope. 
  4. Get your drinks sorted! Everyone of course has their own drink of choice. For me, I am currently getting really into fruit squash. You are going to need to reward yourself, and a delicious tasting drink will do just that!
  5. Gather your snacks! Mine is strawberry laces…can’t get enough of the darn things… These will be important to keep you going – while you are not going to be physically tired, you are going to be mentally tired, so plan ahead!
  6. Get Netflix. ‘Netflix?’, you say… why on earth would you do that? I will explain that later, but choose a TV Program on Netflix (or however you choose to watch TV on your Computer)  - make sure the plot/genre/tone is different to that of your screenplay. 
  7. Get plenty of post-it notes. 
  8. Make sure you have -plenty of music to play (or not – I feel it soothes me, others, no doubt, hate it!).

Now we get to the fun part! The start!

I am going to assume that most are going to be using Final Draft (or at least are writing in Courier 12). Given that,  from my writing experiences, I can write between 3 and 4 pages per hour – 3 pages for ‘business heavy’ action/description scenes, and 4 for dialogue heavy scenes (when I am not feeling especially inspired, so just normal, standard writing).

So if we consider a full length screenplay to be roughly 100 pages (and more or less, then the method can simply be adapted) that leaves us 25 pages to write per day.

So that means we need to be writing for a minimum of 7 hours a day (four pages an hour, rounded to the next hour) and a maximum of 9 (3 pages an hour). Thus, here is how I structure a ‘normal’ day.

08:00 – Wake up.

08:00-09:00 – Shower, breakfast, read, prepare yourself for the day ahead.

09:00-10:00 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

10:00-10:20 – Watch episode of TV show.

10:20-11:20 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

11:20-11:40 – Watch episode of TV show.

11:40 -12:40 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

12:40-13:00 – Lunch.

13:00 -14:00 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

14:00-14:20 – Watch episode of TV show.

14:20-15:20 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay

15:20 – 15:40 – Watch episode of TV show.

15:40-16:40 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

16:40 – 17:00 – Watch episode of TV show.

17:00-18:00 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay. 

18:00-18:20 – Watch episode of TV show. 

18:20-19:20 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

19:20-19:40 – Supper/Dinner/tea/whatever you want to call it!

19:40 – 20:40 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay. 

20:40-21:00 – Watch episode of TV show. 

21:00-23:50 – Free-time! Go wild, try and switch off entirely from your work. I normally go for a walk about now, just to stretch my legs and relax.

23:50 – Bed. Sleep.

Phewph! As I said, it is a long day, it is intensive, it is pressurized, but hey, at the end of the day (literally in this case :P ) you can look back on your work and really have a great sense of achievement of what you have accomplished! 

Some questions I expect to be raised!

  1. Again, why the TV show? Well, research (and, for most of us, personal experience as well) suggests that after studying/working hard for an hour, our concentration and performance levels tend to dip significantly. So it is important to take a break. Very important. The TV show (just my method, could be anything) takes my mind off my work and allows me to be transported to a different world (I normally choose Futurama for just that reason!).
  2. Why did you mention post-it notes? Aah! Well, I write with my desk in front of a wall. When I’m writing and I get an idea about my screenplay, I scribble it down and stick it on the wall. Usually in a break, or at the end of the day, I will spend a little time organizing them and often, they will add new light on the direction of my screenplay.
  3. Is this really necessary? No. Absolutely not. This method is for insane people like me who want to be able to be able to produce drafts of screenplays very, very quickly, and who are prepared to put their sanity on the line. It is probably the furthest thing from necessary. 

The last thing to say is that, screenwriting is an art, and it shouldn’t be rushed or disrespected. What I am suggesting here is not rushing, it is just stringing the hours you would spend writing into the space of four days.

So, there you have it – a vague guide on how to write a screenplay in four days. It works for me, will it work for you? Why don’t you give it a go sometime :P 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, or simply think I’m wrong then please do feel free to ask! 

Hope everyone  is having a good day!

Guy Hugo

Just Do It!

I find it rather odd that something my father has been drilling into me for as long as I have been able to walk, has only just been sinking in. Just. Do. It. 

I think that most of my trouble came from a fundamental lack of understanding of the phrase. ‘I want to do it’ I would say, ‘but it isn’t that easy’… ‘okay, I’m sure you know best…’ would inevitably be the response. I didn’t, which sucked.

I got to the stage where I was coming up with so many ideas that I could barely contain myself. From writing to thinking, to wanting to start up companies. At one point, I even tried to pitch my idea for a company to an angel investor and one of my fathers friends (who has so far helped me enormously). He sat me down and said, ‘Guy, you don’t know how to pitch to an investor, do you?’, ‘no’, I said. He then asked me how I was going to have time to do this and all the writing things I wanted to do. I didn’t know.

The death knell was when he said to me, ‘Okay, Guy, I think the idea is interesting – now I want you to show me some other creative projects you have finished – anything – I don’t mind’. I sat there and ran off a line of spiel about having lots of ideas, and how I was in the process of writing x, y and z. ‘But you don’t have anything finished to show me?’.

No.

Suddenly, I understood. God – how could I possibly have been so stupid. My father wasn’t in the room at the time. If he was he would probably have giggled.

I had a whole lot of talk, and nothing much to show for it.

So I started to finish things. Short stories, plays, and now – screenplays. I actually have things to show for myself, rather than just talk.

 

I cannot attest to their quality – other people can think what they want about my work – but all I can say now is that I am doing everything I can to help myself by actually producing, rather than just saying I will.

So I say this, do you have a great story you’ve wanted to write for ages? Sit down and write it! Been thinking of starting a photo blog? Do it! Been thinking about putting your ideas into a visual form and making a video – just do it!

There is a difference between a first draft and a polished script, but how are you ever going to get to that polished script if you never get the first draft finished? Just. Do. It! (I promise, it will feel fantastic :) )

P.S. as an aside (but not an aside at all – if that makes sense :P ) today I hit 500 followers on this blog! Thank you so much everybody who has show their support and commented and liked my posts! It honestly means a huge amount to me, and whether you realize it or not, every like, or follow or comment or even view, gives me the motivation to work harder and harder and produce more and better work!

So thank you again! I hope everyone has a fantastic day! :)

Guy

 

 

TY-TBL (Thank You – Tim Berners-Lee)

Welcome to TY-TBL Productions!

Having been in Hollywood for seven weeks, and constantly having my hopes of collaboration shot down, I have decided to start creating my own videos!

All my videos can be seen on this page, and can also be viewed on the TY-TBL tumblr page!

To begin with (until people start watching my videos or I manage to find some actual acting talent!) most of my videos will be audio sketches.

If you do get a second, I would enormously appreciate you checking some of them out!

Thank you so much,

Love to you all!

Guy Hugo :)

List of current videos:

Philosophical Porn Producers

My First YouTube Video!

Hi there everyone! After another annoying setback yesterday in regards to collaboration, I just decided to go for it and make my first video!
Unfortunately, I don’t really have the camera equipment I need to be able to shoot a vaguely satisfactory video, so I have made this as an audio comedy sketch!
The image behind is a stock one, and came out more grainy than I would have liked, but apparently I can’t have a blank video on YouTube (whod’a thunk it :P ).
As far as the content goes, it’s pretty mild. It is something I had vaguely wanted to try for a while so I just thought – what the hell!
Please do let me know what you think and what turns you on/off about the video (Oh, God, that probably isn’t the best thing to say, given the title, is it… oh well, you know what I mean!) all feedback is appreciated, and, yeah – if you like it then showing it to your friends would mean a huge amount!
Thank you again for watching and to all those who have read/commented/liked my other posts, it honestly means a huge huge amount to me :)
With love to you all!
Guy Hugo

On Privilege.

I wish the world was fair. 

I wish that from the second I was conceived I wasn’t predisposed to be more or less successful, have a greater or fewer number of opportunities, be more or less likely to be happy. 

What if I wasn’t a white, middle-class English boy? What if I was born somewhere else? What if my parents were in prison, or my dad left before I was born? 

What if the first thing I though about every day wasn’t, ‘what can I possibly do today to achieve my goals in life’, but ‘what can I possibly do today to stay alive’. 

From the moment I was conceived, I had a privilege that millions, nay, billions of people in the world don’t have. Everyday I am grateful. Everyday I want to make the best of what I have been afforded in life. I didn’t ask for it, but I am going to make every fucking day count.

But what can I do? It isn’t a societal change I can make, it isn’t a decision at all. It’s luck, fate, God, or whatever you want to think.

So how do I live my life knowing and understanding this seemingly inherent unfairness which simply ‘exists in the world? I don’t know. Honestly I have no bloody idea. I work as hard as I can to make the most of what I have, but I’m just not sure that’s enough.

Alan Bennett said on Monday, at a Cambridge University lecture on the unfairness of the British ‘public school’ (private school) system, that ‘all  human beings are born equal’. 

Mr Bennett, you are a far better man than I, but you are wrong.

Fuck privilege.

God I wish the world was fair.