About Me

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If you like short, fiery, red haired East Londoners who now reside in Norwich that have a penchant for video games, board games and filmmaking then you've come to the right place, my friend. I write a fortnightly column about video games for Forces of Geek and I write, direct, edit and film with Cheesemint Productions, my production company. You can search for us on YouTube, you know how the Internet works, right? This blog, Excuse Me While I Geek Out is a place to collect my column pieces for Forces Of Geek and anything I've written for other websites and publications as well as being a place to write about all things geek. My other blog, For All Or None is a cathartic activity dedicated to my mental health and I write openly and honestly about deeply personal psychological issues that effect me. It's an mental outlet so doesn't necessarily require readers especially as it will no doubt be full of grammatical errors, nonsense and spelling mistakes.

She appears composed, so she is, I suppose

Hi there,

Welcome to this unorganised collection of my writings, thoughts, creative notes and ramblings. It may not be coherent and at times may be a little hard to follow. Such is the nature of language and I'm not writing for anyone else, just myself, in an attempt to organise my thoughts and to aid me with my creative work but please feel free to peruse and comment if you wish to do so.

XO,

Emma-Jane

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Goodbye RAF Marham?

I will be sad if RAF Marham is closed. I found my ATC camp photo from 2000 the other day. Some great memories...the camp where I met some amazing people, learnt to fire an L98 rifle, do some work experience in the armoury and the media department and to top it all off I got to sit in a Tornado GR4. I'm feeling all sentimental for my air cadet days, I really do miss it.

Goodbye RAF Marham...I hope not.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Napoleon

I've never claimed to be a writer, but it occured to me that lately I've been solely focusing on Cheesemint projects in my blog...yet writing is another creative outlet which I usually keep to myself (it's usually in the form of some crappy angst ridden poetry - I sometimes think I could be a teenage boy - or just some obscure rambling about religion or pseudo-psychology). But I had the urge to write something...anything. So here it is. Not sure why either, I bloody hate Jack Russell's - annoying little yappy ankle snappers...and the name Karen...ergh. Makes me wonder about the goings on of my mind. Anyone out there care to analyse my story?

It's called Napoleon and yet again...it was the first name for a dog I could think of. Which again makes me want to question...you get the idea...over analytical, much? Anyway...here it is. Oh, on more thing, it's not spellchecked and my grammar is probably awful.

Napoleon

Warm rays of sunshine poured into her office fragmented through the dust-covered aluminium blinds. She sipped her lukewarm coffee, black, no sugar, and closed her eyes to bask in the heat. A heavy sigh left her lungs as she took in her surroundings. Oppressive, cold and cramped, that was what the company had given Karen in exchange for an unfairly proportioned increase in paperwork. It was a meticulous work load and she knew it was worth more than her meagre wage covered. Still, it paid the rent and fed the cat and with no immediate family to worry about Karen felt no real obligation to complain. It all seemed like too much bother to her, so she lived a frugal, simple life and it suited her just fine. She gazed through the gaps of the blinds, which she often envisioned as bars of a prison cell, locked away from the outside world and the passing hours of the day. She wondered what it was about the outside world that was really so appealing, after all, she hardly left the house. Yet at work the outside world took on a curious quality. Never quite understanding why, she took comfort in watching people wander past, acting out their daily routine day after day, week after week, going about their business, carrying out their tiresome lives through the same repeated series of monotonous actions as always. Their routines eventually became part of Karen's own routine.

On Mondays at around 11:08am the same alarmingly youthful looking OAP, adorned in a thick layer of matte red lipstick and blue woollen overcoat went by with her little Jack Russell terrier. Karen had grown fond of this dog and had nicknamed it Napoleon because it seemed to her that he was in command, he might have been the one on a lead but he was certainly the one doing the leading- without fail every day Karen watched as the old lady struggled to keep up with him. She never stopped to wonder why this reminded her to fax the previous days figures to head office, but she took it as her cue and wandered off to the dark corner of her office where the fax machine lived, alongside the decorative indoor plant given to her by a family member who no longer knew what to buy her these days. She ran her hands over its waxy leaves, their dark green hue pleasing her, she genuinely liked this gift but she knew that no matter how much she watered it and changed its soil that it would never grow more than half a metre high. This saddened Karen but she had decided that the plants stunted growth would do, because the only other space for it was by the window. The very idea of blocking her only view to the outside world mortified her.

Today was one of the rare days that the old lady and Napoleon were late. On these occasions Karen became fidgety and restless, picking up her assorted knick-knacks and stationery, moving the items back and forth to either side of her desk. Within these intervening moments she could not take her gaze from the window, her screen. She found herself panic stricken and worrying needlessly on their behalf. Eventually, after one full minute of excruciating terror, at 11:09am, they would stroll by and Karen could once again breathe easy. Whenever this same event occurred Karen would wonder if the old lady had stopped off at the post box and felt sure that she was probably correct and needn't have worried, her old lady was writing letters to relatives because she lived alone. Of course! That must have been what kept them. The old lady and her loyal yet feisty companion would never let her down. Karen was absolutely sure that they lived together in a small but cosy bungalow in one of those quiet residential areas of the city, the kind of place where trees lined the road and small children played happily together outside.

Evidently, today was different. 11:09am and the old lady and Napoleon were nowhere to be seen. Karen knew that something must be wrong. She felt uneasy. 11:09, 11:10, 11:11...as the seconds turned to minutes, she was frantic. Her eyes darted from the window to the clock on the otherwise barren white-washed walls, then to the window, then back to the clock, she willed the hands to stop before flicking her eyes over to the window again. Her eyes finally came to rest on her digital desktop clock, fixated with it and unable to pry away her gaze she had no choice but to watch as the small number 1 transformed itself into a 2...11:12am. It was 11.12am! Alarm bells rang out. Where were they?! What could have happened?! Maybe the old lady has been attacked...she could be on the floor unable to get up after a nasty fall or worse...she could even be...but who...who would take care of Napoleon? Oh poor Napoleon! Helpless as his owner lies there motionless, waiting there loyally, hungry and all alone. It was all too much to bear thinking about. Karen felt the tears start, small droplets of liquid fell from her tearducts forming precise little blotches of ink on her overused, scrawled upon notepad, before she knew it she was sobbing inconsolably. “Poor Napoleon! Poor, poor Napoleon!” these, the few words she could force out amid a cascade of tears.

Later that day Karen was made redundant.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Mint in Vlog

Hello everybody! I've not been updating my blog...shame on me!

So, moving on
...the last "Cheesemint" production comes in the form of a Vlog...the second is currently being filmed and edited by Adam as we speak and will include lots of exciting Halo: Reach stuff from the blue carpet premiere! This will be online soon, so watch this space (seriously, I will be updating it more regularly, I promise!).

Anyhow, the first Vlog was brought to you by the letter, Dave, here it is... (Oh and yes, we are all aware that the background sheet was not ironed and no, we don't care. We're off the motherflippin' chain, we're "hardcore", what some may call loose cannons - we don't do household chores!)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The 'Dead Duck' Project...

Everyone involved in this film did a fantastic job and I think it was down to Matt's directorial approach; a tedious, hot day filming transformed into a fun frolic in the woods! Cast and crew were psyched from the first read-through (I certainly was!) and had free reign on customising their uniform and kit.

What else can I say about Dead Duck?! Perhaps a gripping contemporary military take on Norse mythology! Sergeant Oakes and his unit have been assigned a mission to hunt down a deserter named Pvt. Lock. Watch Parts 1 and 2 to see the story unravel.






I think this piece shows that we have it in us to produce something a little more serious as well...can't wait until our web series UNLOCKED!

Also watch out for the Dead Duck outtakes vid coming soon, it'll be hilarious!

The Rules of Justice (Dir: Adam Gunton)

The last of the Cheesemint Productions Six shorts project to showcase on my blog!

An action packed buddy cop parody, directed by Adam Gunton and produced by Cheesemint...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

What do you mean you've never heard of a Hadron Colliderscope?!

It recently came to my attention lately that a friend of mine has a pretty cool website I knew nothing...nada...zilch about *shame on me*. As always, I love shamelessly plugging my friends. Michael Bramley is an incredibly talented artist and along with his wife Alice (who is also stupidly talented!) and a small creative team of comic book writers, artists and editors...see their creations here: Hadron Colliderscope



Image Copyright: Michael V. Bramley (www.hadroncolliderscope.com)

Seriously though - it is AWESOME!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

With Teeth (Dir: Debs Chapman)

Another fan-freakin'-tabulous Cheesemint production, a Twilight spoof that even Twihards will appreciate...voila!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Art n' Mint

Having a few creative ideas lately...

Some are Cheesemint related. Some are personal.

I've been working on a book for a while now, painting each of the 300 or so pages and editing each of the pages to create my own narratives. It's something I started whilst on my MA but never had the time to work on. I am hoping to complete it sometime this year, it's just something to keep me painting and creating personal art.

On the 'mint side of things, we have the web series to look forward to. Can't wait to get filming! I'm still not sure about a name for a character but am still brainstorming with good ol' Wikipedia on my side. It has to be video game related. I'm determined to be Miss Valentine (Resident Evil) but need a first name! For the time being, Matt has named me Rebecca. I also have a few ideas as to some short skits I'd like to film but I'll save those for a less humid day.


Anyhow, that was just a quick post as I'm all hot and bothered. Hot weather can go die in a corner...or something.

Check out more 'mint happenings at our blog Mint-In-Blog

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Eat The Parents (Dir: Georgie Oatley)

Behold!

The latest Cheesemint Production. A romantic comedy with a carniverous twist...starring myself, Matt, Debs, Adam, Tara and Georgie...

More on the way, including Twilight parody "With Teeth" directed by Debs Chapman, "Dead Duck", a war drama based on Norse mythology directed by Matt Stogdon (filming starts June!).

Show us some support, check out our website and new blog:
www.cheesemint.com
Mint in Blog
Follow us on Twitter: @Cheesemint
Find us on Facebook and become a fan too!


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Montelimar

...My short arthouse parody film is well underway, the audio parts at least! Montelimar is centered around a female character called Martha who appears to be suffering from a maddening obsession with food. Throughout the film, three female voice actors (Myself, Debs and Georgie) will be heard reading a monologue in an almost eerie chant-like way. We've already recorded this part and it's roughly 2 minutes long meaning I can use it as a guide when it comes to editing the footage. I'm fairly happy with how it sounds however it's going to take some time to mix the audio with the music as I've had little experience in sound editing. However, with the help of Matt the musical score is complete and it is this that I will be using as the basis for my eventual editing - it seems the most logical way to go about it especially as I haven't had a great deal of editing experience.

Here are some rough drawings in chalk that relate to the film. I started doodling at work and it turned into this (When you subconsciously doodle like this- that's when you know you're working hard on something!):




I'm most looking forward to directing, setting up the shots and dressing the set. It will be interesting to see if I can match the image in my mind to the image I eventually put on screen. I see it as a learning experience so I'm not quite so anxious. The set then - 1 location, 2 rooms;

Dining Room: a dining table, set ready for guests full of food. In particular lots of sticky, sickly sweet foodstuff
Bathroom: We only see a bathroom sink and mirror.

Both the dining room and bathroom footage will be interspersed with each other hinting at the damage (literally and psychologically) that the food is having. Lots of brushing teeth shots (maybe sped up in post production), scrubbing the table, close-ups of the food - high exposure, eventually building with the music, at one point the camera pauses above a small crumb on the tablecloth, images juxtaposing each other rapidly until a crescendo when the music becomes solemn and reflective. The final shot will mimic the opening one, Martha (Debs) face down on a table - this time we see the table is set but is empty.

That's all very well, I hear you say or rather, not say "where is the humour?!"

This was my biggest hurdle and still is, which is why I've gone and left it until last. It seemed to me that parodying the arthouse genre would be quite challenging given the widespread nature of the genre. What I might ironically place visually in a scene for comic effect may well be taken seriously. This is why I feel the best possible way to go about this project is to approach it as a serious arthouse piece an then use subtitles in post production to parody the narration.

I may even end up with 2 versions, one with and one without subtitles as I'll be interested to see what comments both will gather. The narration is in a badly pronounced English non-descript foreign accent, although French seemed easiest and seemed to appropriately fit with the arthouse theme. The first line is "I lost my mind in the terrible accident" while subtitles will read (in English - also adding to the humour - I hope!) "I lost my mind in a terrible accent" and thus will continue in vain to continually mock the on-screen images and incredibly pretentious narration and repetition until the end credits.

Two more images of my doodles:




Filming can take place as soon as I have gathered necessary set dressings and food. As I will be using food I aim to complete the footage in an evening. I see this as an appropriate time frame as I have no dialogue to film and will only require Debs presence for about a third of the shoot. I am also looking into food styling tips and gathering information on how best to shoot food. Lighting and freshness of the produce being my main concerns.

Another aspect of my film will be the repetition of threes. There are three voices: Martha
Apollinia
Dymphna

All three are patron saints of particular things. Martha, spoken by Debs is the patron saint of cooks. Dymphna, voiced by Georgie is the patron saint of Madness/insanity and Apollinia, voiced by yours truly is the patron saint of dentistry - who, as a side point, had her teeth shattered as punishment!

Here we are recording the eerie narration (the other lovely young lady in the picture is Ella, Georgie's sister who also features in Still Alive!):




The music also has three strands to it, one is a piece which plays continuously and the other two are a waning violin and a piano piece.

The narration, you've guessed it - three parts. Not only does it have three voices but the first line is repeated in every stanza. How many of these are there? Yep. Three.

I went a little overboard with the power of three thing but it sort of adds to the female chanting of the audio. Strange really as my intention was spoken word, not chanting, it just sort of happened naturally in that creepy female synchronising way...plus, I really liked how it sounded.

The best way to describe how I'd like the food on screen to look is to show you the opening credits from the TV series Dexter:



I've also been painting storyboards using watercolour, not sure why I chose that particular medium - probably because of the texture, it's difficult to capture texture and vibrant saturated colours in biro...they'll be uploaded very soon, and hopefully in the next 2 weeks, so will Montelimar!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

"Angel's Kiss" : Dir. M. Stogdon (rRh)

Behold! Another Cheesemint Production, this time directed by Matthew Stogdon...for your viewing pleasure...



Stay tuned...more on the way VERY soon!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

"Still Alive" Dir: G. Oatley.

As promised...



Coming soon...

I AM LEGENDARY
A Science Fiction tale by Dave Chapman
WITH TEETH
A Horror story by Debs Chapman
MONTELIMAR
An Art-House piece by Emma-Jane Corsan
THE RULES OF JUSTICE
An Action blockbuster by Adam Gunton
EAT THE PARENTS
A Romantic Comedy by Georgie Oatley
ANGEL'S KISS
A Film Noir outting by Matt Stogdon

See Cheesemint for more details...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Cake is a Lie!

The puppets I made for Still Alive directed by Georgie Oatley. Step by step to follow soon! Check out the Cheesemint website at the end of the month for the finished video where you can watch Adam and Debs trying to escape from Aperture Science!


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Insert Incredibly Cliched Art-Based Phrase Here...

Yo ho ahoy to those of you who read me! I have a few new things to work on at present. One will be to help out fellow Chesseminter, Adam with one of his college projects. As it's a community action project, he has decided to help the rest of us Cheesemints to update our mad skillz and give us a chance to reach another audience. We've each been assigned a film genre. Mine is arthouse films, some of you might not agree that it deserves a whole genre of it's own however, David Bordwell has also claimed that
art cinema itself is a [film] genre, with its own distinct conventions
and he's a "Film Scholar" according to Wikipedia and I agree with him. So um, yeah, take that you arthouse genre naysayers, you!

Anyhow, I've already managed to digress...Basically, I have to write and direct an arthouse inspired short trailer (approx. 1 minute). However, it's got to be a parody...

To me, arthouse seems to be a difficult genre in which to incorporate comic material (without just relying on full-on slapstick perhaps?). I guess this is because even the arthouse films that incorporate humour are not funny on purpose and are done so in seriousness. One idea I have had however, is to use subtitles for humourous effect. That way at least, the comedic element will be a bit more subtle. Filming however, I think will be easy...there are a lot of cliched elements, icons, plot devices and themes in the genre. Also, the mise-en-scene (part of filming I really enjoy) will be fun to put together. So far, i'm thinking a few philosophy texts strewn around - nothing too obvious and a dripping tap/ticking clock plus lots of shadows, fade to black shots and obscure camera angles ought to do it. It can also be done on a tiiiiiny budget which is ideal. Most arthouse films often showcase new talent too. Not sure who'll be starring in it yet...I still need my creative vision before I decide that. Although I'm fairly sure it'll be no more than two actors.

Really looking forward to it and currently doing a bit of research for it. All of which I've included in this blog entry...








* narrative - passage from a philosophy text or classic author?
* fade to black shot at the end, followed by the over-used "FIN"?
* terrible french/german accent?
* words spoken by actor/s different to subtitles?
* ticking clock...dripping tap...day to night (general passing of time)?
* memory - use of still objects
* shots must be well though out - very aesthetic, perhaps "beauty over substance"?
* title - "Quiet, Now", "Silence, Now", a line from a book/text, something foreign, possibly one word as it has more effect?
* could incorporate past art work, like the blank canvas piece? Could be adapted into arthouse film easily...artists struggle with canvas/nothingness/the absurd? Too personal? Or perhaps it's the right kind of self-indulgence a pretentious art film needs?
* title has nothing to do with film's content?
* static TV screen/white noise
* broken sentences

Could draw on the following films/TV series/directors/influences:
~Memento (2001)
~Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
~Waking Life (2001)
~ David Lynch
~ Gus Van Sant
~ Lars Von Trier
~ L'Année dernière à Marienbad (1961)
~ The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
~ Twin Peaks (1990)
~ Dadaism
~ Surrealism
~ Un chien andalou (1929)
~ avant-garde movememt


I definitely won't be incorporating scenes such as the eye-slicing scene in Un Chien Andalou!

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year...New Projects!

My previous post, a letter to this year, although seemingly pessimistic only makes up a minute part of my mindset at present. I only panic when I have projects lined up and potential failures to avoid/people around me to ensure I don't disappoint etc.

I'm still excited about a number of upcoming projects this year and feel very lucky to be part of them. However, with excitement comes nerves and with nerves comes a very flustered Emma-Jane. Hence, the panic of yesterday's post.

Anyhow, one of these new projects involves illustating a children's picture book, hopefully meeting up with my friend and ex-collegue, Rob. With all his expertise in Children's Bookselling and all his contacts in publishing, it's somewhat daunting as it could be more than a fruitless project. It's something I've always longed to do too so it's no surprise that I feel under so much pressure. And we still have yet to get together to discuss it! I would feel quite disappointed by 2011 if we hadn't at least drafted it or sent it to a handful of publishers.

Still, it ought to be fun nonetheless and it's another creative project to tuck under my belt. Speaking of which, the other big creative thing lined up for this year is all down to Cheesemint.

To quickly explain, Cheesemint is a small production company I have found myself involved in, check the site for more info! So far my roles haven't been that huge - I've been making puppets for one of the videos and I will be uploading a step by step guide with pictures to the blog VERY soon and in November we all took part in a Rockathon, playing Rockband 2's infamous Endless Setlist for this amazing charity; Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust and we even got a mention on Xbox live! It's all been great so far but the scary part is yet to come in the form of a web series this year which is a little daunting for me. My previous experience of acting (what little of it there is!) has mainly been silent so it will be very interesting and a bit of a challenge. All the anticipation is rising but it's going to be an exciting project to be part of. Everyone involved is stupidly talented and I feel very happy to have been accepted so readily as one of the group. So I'd just like to say thank you for being such awesome friends, despite knowing you all for little under 4 months! Yay Cheesemint!

So, it seems I actually do have a lot to look forward to in 2010. Okay so I didn't pass my MA, but I've had all the experiences that go with it. Yes, I was made redundant and lost a job I loved. But, I've met so many new friends in 2009 and already have projects lined up. Oh and top it all off 2009 led to the meeting of my future husband (of which I have no doubt!): (rRh).

Okay so soppy sentiment aside, Happy New Year Everyone! Watch this space...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Year...New Anxiety

Dear 2010...

I am writing to you because there are a few things I'd like to explain and get off my tightened chest.

I find you incredibly intimidating and I'm not quite sure what I should be doing this year; in your year. I'm already struggling to express myself, I'm a nervous quivering wreck. Umming and Ahhing are the only sounds that leave my lips, I can't even speak. "Two thousand and ten", "twenty ten", "ten"? Even your name causes me to panic. What if I say that wrong too, will you hate me, think me stupid? I couldn't bear it.

2009 went by so quick, so I expect you'll pass me by much in the same manner. I don't appreciate this in the slightest and can't bear the pressure of all that so-called "achievement" and "progression" that I'm expected to partake in. It makes me weary just thinking about it. So little time to take action or reach a set of goals that I haven't really thought out. How can I when the clock is ticking? It's hands are tightly clasped around my throat.

I'm staring down at the notes I made earlier - words which back then had meaning now sound pathetic, lacklustre, no way good enough to be heard. Struggling to breath, think, speak...at least I can type, although it's little comfort to me knowing all the plans that I have made or been made on my behalf for your year.

So, what have you given me so far? Lets see...a rather underwhelming New Year's Eve celebration (but let's face it, you all do that, each year exactly the same as the last). A pressure to out-perform last year. A loss of direction, uncertainty and palpitations as I realise my old friend blankness of mind has returned...no words, only the foreboding feeling of inadequacy. I can't articulate myself. I'm a disappointment to 2009, a disappointment to you and worse still, a disappointment to the ones I love. An inability to cope is all I possess. Choked up with that dry feeling in my throat for company because all the moisture has travelled to my eyes. I want to break down, cry. Crying would inevitably turn into sobbing.

What have I become? What have I done? I know these should be: What will I do? and What will I become? because that's all you understand. Yet, I can't begin to fathom the latter questions. I'm defeated before I've even begun. A failure, a let-down, a disappointment. That's my problem, I have no will to speak of.

How pathetic.

I'd like to thank you for encouraging me to think about my life in this way and I reluctantly look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Emma-Jane Corsan