The use of Flashback in Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace (dir. Michael Apted, written by Steven Knight) seems to be the first major film to depict the life and activism of Wilfred Wilberforce. I was reluctant to write any review because I’m not sure of the historical accuracy of Wilberforce’s life. However, from a creative point of view, I find the use of flashback interesting.

Many biopics, from made for tv movies to big budget blockbusters, use flashback as a creative device. At one extreme you have The Iron Lady, where almost every other scene is the elderly Thatcher remembering her rise and fall. Then there’s the TV movie like Coco Chanel, where flashbacks are used intermittently to show a character still in her prime remembering how she got where she was while preparing a show.

The classic, however is a film like Gandhi (Dir: David Attenborough, writer: John Briley, 1982), where we start at the death of the main character, then tell the story in sequence, introducing the protagonist just before that fateful first decision is made. But, all these devices open a story toward the end of the story, not in the middle. Continue reading The use of Flashback in Amazing Grace

What makes a good mentor? part 1 of 3

What makes a good mentor?

I didn’t want to ask this question before, because many of my connections – those who think of themselves as mentors – do not fit my definition of the word. Some of these are very nice, well-meaning people, and I don’t want to judge them or their work.

To define mentor, it helps to define bass. Just because you have a deep voice, that doesn’t mean you can breathe underwater. In other words, a word can have more than one definition.

Most of my mentors have been good mentors. However, I think it’s better to have no mentor than a harmful mentor. Anything that can do you good can also, in the wrong doses or the wrong direction, do you harm.

First of all, what do we mean by mentor?  Some people are professional “mentors” but that’s not what I’m talking about. And I’m not necessarily talking about ancient Greek mythology, and how the “Goddess” Athena appeared in the shape of a wise man to encourage Telemachus to find his father. I love old stories, but I think the professional context is a little different. I’m talking here, as most people are, about someone who can help you further, rather than find, your career. Continue reading What makes a good mentor? part 1 of 3

When value based pricing is NOT a good idea

I previously tried to answer the question on how much artists should charge for their work.  It’s a complex question really, as so many artisans and fine artists offer different services, and different projects require varying amounts of work and resources.

No matter how much (or how little) you enjoy your work, you’ll have to make a living from something.  Therefore, it makes sense to charge enough so that the income you receive can cover your expenses, as well as enough money to live on, and enough to pay a fair wage to anyone who is working for you.

In other words, artists are just like anyone else.

Continue reading When value based pricing is NOT a good idea

Why your website’s survey sucks.

segments of questions, what did you... first time, weekly, every mon... How would you descri... would you...website to a friend? On a scale of on to...ow would you rate the... over Ptara logoSo, as we’ve said last time, time is money.  Your readers might know this, and therefore be unwilling to give a survey after they found what they need, right?

Well, more and more, I’m being asked to answer surveys on almost every website I visit (especially media and government websites.)

These are usually put at the worst possible time, so I’m tempted to just tick “a” for each box without even reading it.  And, I bet most people do.

Now, if you want an honest answer to your questions, rather than the multiple choice options, here they are. Continue reading Why your website’s survey sucks.

Ben Franklin’s financial advice

Since the following quote is so long, I won’t put it in quote format.

TO MY FRIEND A.B.,

As you have desired it of me, I write the following hints, which have been of service to me and may if observed be so to you.

REMEMBER that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour and goes abroad or sits idle one half of that day though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness ought not to reckon that the only expense, he has really spent or rather thrown away five shillings besides.

Remember that credit is money. If a man lets his money lie in my hands after it is due, he gives me the interest or so much as I can make of it during that time. This amounts to a considerable sum where a man has good and large credit and makes good use of it. Continue reading Ben Franklin’s financial advice

Why I left Vimeo Pro (again)

I received the following email:

You’ve lost 15 of your videos.
Renew Vimeo PRO now to get them back online.
Hi Ptara Motion Pictures,

Because your membership has expired, your account has been downgraded to Basic, and you and your viewers have lost access to 15 of your videos.

Why? Your Vimeo PRO membership paid for the ongoing costs of video storage. Since you’ve downgraded to a Basic account, we can only store 10GB of the videos you uploaded as a paid member.

To get them back as soon as possible, renew your membership now.

Continue reading Why I left Vimeo Pro (again)

It takes more than 100 days

stone cylinder tower
Top of Wellington Monument, Pen Dinas, Penparcau

2 years ago, I witnessed the re-enactment of the battle of Waterloo.  Thousands of talented volunteers from around the world walked through the footsteps of Napoleon, Wellington, and Blücher, and their allies and armies.

Although we didn’t have the best seats on the field, it was wonderful that so many dedicated re-enactors, or living historians, brought history to life for us.  If you missed it, you should have been there. Continue reading It takes more than 100 days