A Small Adventure

The other week, a few friends and I went camping for a night at the beach. Over the two days we were there, I realised that as exciting as the thought of jetting around the world is, no matter how far away from home you are or how long you’re away for, even the smallest of trips can become an adventure.

That weekend we built a campfire, barbecued sausages, climbed the hills, and explored the caves. As daunting as the thought of camping can be, I was surprised at how much I missed the feeling; the smoky smell of burnt wood from the campfire on your clothes, the sound of the waves rolling along the rocks, the warmth of climbing into a sleeping bag at night and being cosy despite the hard ground, constantly having grubby hands and not minding one bit. There’s a carefree air to camping that almost nothing else in the world can provide.

Once I had remembered I’d got my camera with me, I got some footage of what we got up to. I then tried to see how little is actually needed to create a ‘travel video’… (turns out, a mere 5 clips!)

As much as I love exploring and travelling, I also really value having time to recharge. For a while now I’ve been without that wanderlust feeling after my last trip into the big wide world turned out to be a little more taxing than I expected.

But something seemed to click that weekend, and now I’m once again longing for that familiar warm European breeze, and the wonder of being able to have breakfast in Scotland, lunch in the Netherlands, and dinner in France.

Luckily, I’m off to Italy in a couple of weeks! Luckily, because, I think I’m ready for another adventure…

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Lights, Camera, Action, and Me

I have been fascinated with the ‘silver screen’ ever since I was little. From the earliest age I would spend as much of my day as I could watching Disney films on VHS tapes instead of playing outside like other kids. I loved how films could transport you to a new world; I could be in the vast green jungle with Mowgli, or exploring under the deepest sea with Captain Nemo.

As I got older I was determined to become an actor. I was that annoyingly geeky kid who would always put abnormal amounts of effort into school plays, memorising everyone else’s lines as well as mine just so I could show off. But I really wanted to act in the blockbusters of Hollywood. Christmas nativity? Pah! My final goal (which seemed doable to an eight year old) was to play the next James Bond. I could see myself flying across the screen in the swanky cars, defeating the bad guys and saving the world…

I then reached high school and opted to take drama as a subject. That was when I realised something that put my dream into perspective: I was a terrible actor. Back to the drawing board!

Despite being a miniature action junkie, I still loved animated comedies. I remember being perched on the edge of the sofa watching ‘Creature Comforts’ with my parents when I was about six years old. Of course, as a six year old, I didn’t quite understand the rules of the Grand National, or really care about what people thought of the current financial situation, but I thought it was really cool how they could make the dogs and cats talk. Wallace and Gromit was another favourite. At nine years old, I got curious and wanted to know how the world worked:

“Dad, how do they make Wallace and Gromit? I mean I know they’re made from clay but how do they move them? You don’t see their hands?”

Naïve little kid that I was. That day, my dad explained to me the idea behind stop motion animation, handed me a camera and a bucket of clay, and like a fish to water, I was hooked. Poor fish.

I made my first short animated film that day and a little while later it was featured on a quiet corner of the CBBC website. My first glimpse of stardom! Or that’s what it felt like to a nine year old anyway. The year after I received a clunky, low-res video camera for Christmas, which at the time, I’m sure was the bee’s knees. It was my absolute favourite thing and went everywhere with me. By this point, I had changed my mind: never mind being an actor, I was going to be the next Steven Spielberg.

I continued making films throughout school and as a friendless nerd who had no one to do it for them, I learnt how to direct, edit, use a camera, edit audio, place lighting, and everything else you need to create a film. Despite this lone wolf approach I’ve had to filmmaking, one of the most fun projects I’ve been involved with was last year when a group of young folk from here, there, and everywhere, worked with a professional filmmaker and a professional dancer to create a short film about our relationship with the city we were in. After an intense week of learning, filming, and being rained on a lot, the team had created ‘OWN’…

One of the greatest things about being involved in making this film was that we were all invited to attend a fancy pants premiere in a proper cinema. It was incredible to see our project on a real cinema screen, and all of our names appear in the credits at the end. I had finally attended my first film premiere and it was amazing.

Now however many years since that first day behind a camera at nine years old, I still make films when I can. I’m slightly limited by time and resources – my main camera is my phone – but my head continues to swim with ideas.

And now I’m off to study Film and Television at university (more on that in a later post) and I can’t wait!

Okay, so in some ways that has felt like a slightly pointless post. The whole time I was writing it I kept thinking ‘and the really useful point I’m trying to get across here is…?’ Honestly, I’m not sure there is one. However, it has perhaps acted as an introduction to a series of potential future posts about making films. Who knows? If nothing else, now you know a little bit more about me. And I have learned to plan posts next time instead of just writing them…

365 Seconds – A Second a Day for a Year | 2016

A year and three months later, this post is finally here! Yay!

It would have been up at the beginning of 2017 but my video software broke in the Christmas holidays just as soon as I’d psyched myself up for the big edit. But now it’s done, uploaded, and waiting for views.

On the first of January 2016, after seeing a similar idea on Facebook, I decided to film one second of video footage every single day for a whole year. So I did. And boy was it harder than I thought it would be. Only filming a second worth of footage sounds like a relatively easy task, and it was. What was difficult was actually remembering to do it and finding something vaguely interesting to film. There were a few times when I would get to the end of the day, about to go to bed, and I suddenly remembered I had completely failed to film anything at all, let along anything interesting (as you will be able to see).

The other thing that was quite tricky was trying not to film things twice. I tried to make sure every shot was unique, but by the time November came around, I had mostly forgotten what I’d filmed in March, a whole 2.102e+7 seconds ago…

One of the things I enjoyed most about making this video was reviewing everything that had happened in 2016 when going through the footage. For many people, 2016 was the year of catastrophes. Meow. But going back through it, it was funny seeing all the great new things that did happen last year…

  • It snowed!
  • I went to Glasgow to see my very good friendly friend
  • I attended the British Juggling Convention
  • I finished school
  • I ate cake
  • I started learning to drive
  • I read a lot of books
  • I went to Italy!
  • I caught up with the family in England
  • I tried sushi
  • I started two new jobs
  • I attended a premiere of a film I worked on in a proper cinema
  • And I got to work with professional filmmakers
  • I went to the Circus Works festival in Edinburgh and met some awesome people
  • One of my best friends started university
  • I was involved with another massive Halloween spectacular
  • I won a bowling game
  • I travelled abroad alone for the first time
  • And I went grape picking in France and got to see some old friends
  • I swung a lot of fire about
  • I had a great Christmas with the family!

And yes, 2016 had its moments: we said goodbye to our dog and Grandad, Trump was elected, and Britain voted to leave the EU. But hey, we live and learn and ultimately came out the other side having been able to eat a lot more comfort cake than we would have done had these things not happened.

Finally, thanking you muchly to all those who appear in the video. Oscars all round. However, if anyone objects to being on screen for a second, do feel free to contact me at: littlemishaps@if-I-remove-you-it-will-spoil-it.com No cake for you…

Anyway, I’m already three months late, and all this waffling isn’t getting anyone to the video any quicker. So here we go. A year of my life in six and a half minutes. I’m not saying it’s going to be interesting, but there’s the occasional giggle worthy clip…

Hoping you enjoyed, dear chums. À bientôt!

Avventure in Italia – Part 2

Back to it. If you ever visit Lake Como, I highly recommend taking advantage of the boat trips that are available all day, every day. For 15 Euros we bought a ticket that gave us unlimited boat travel to seven different places for the day. At 11am we set off from Varenna and made our way across the lake, stopping off and visiting Menaggio, Bellagio, and Lenno. If it weren’t for a slightly late start and getting caught in the biggest thunderstorm I’ve ever experienced, we’d have gone to the other places too. It was interesting to see how the towns around the lake varied in terms of tourism, attractions, and the kind of people you found there. Despite them all being only a ten minute boat ride apart, they were all quite different. Menaggio was a lot more residential than Bellagio which was full of adorable little shops and streets, whereas Lenno was quite open and had some fancy gardens and fountains (including the villa where parts of Star Wars and James Bond were filmed!). It was on our trip to Menaggio that I discovered the most amazing ice cream imaginable. It was dark chocolate but was more like frozen fudge cake than ice cream. That became my flavour for the rest of the trip.

One of the highlights of it all was the 2 days we spent in Rome. We were up at 6am to catch a train to Milan, and then three hours on a high speed train the rest of the way. Unfortunately Rome is another one of those places where the train station is miles away from the touristy bits but it was great getting to experience the hustle and bustle of daily life in the city on the walk down. Although we did almost get run over several times. Eventually we reached civilisation and witnessed what was probably the funniest thing we saw on the whole trip: a pigeon with a cake wrapper on its head. Okay, so maybe you had to be there, but believe me, it was funny. (And I conveniently have a clip of it in the video below if you want a giggle!) We emerged into the Piazza Venicia which was full of columns and archways and the Altare della Patria in the background. For those of you who don’t know what that is, (I had to Google the name) it’s basically a giant memorial built with blazing white stone and adorned with columns and stairs and statues of horses and chariots. Armed guards stood around and whistled at you if you tried to sit on the steps. We also visited the Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio), – where we posed with statues and embarrassed each other – The Roman Forum (Foro Romano), saw a statue of Romulus, Remus, and the wolf, and wandered down the Via dei Fori Imperiali in the sweltering heat, gawking at the street performers along the way. Eventually we arrived at the other end and found the Colosseum. And oh wow – to put it plainly. We stood before this massive ancient building, full of history and stories, and were completely taken aback by its size and structure and stonework and general amazingness. This is another one of those Milan Cathedral moments when something is just so incredible and well known that words don’t really work anymore. Here’s a picture instead…

We slowly made our way back to the train station, passing the Pantheon, a souvenir shop, the Trevi Fountain, and the oldest ice cream parlour in Rome – Giolitti. We hopped on our train and made our way to Frascatti, and then on to Monte Compatri where we stayed with two wonderful, kind friends for the night. We had homemade carbonara for dinner which turned out to be the best meal we had in Italy.

The next day we made our way back to Fiumelatte after warm hugs and goodbyes. The rest of the trip was mainly spent paddling in the lake, walking up mountains, and eating ice cream and pizza. You get how that’s done so I’ll stop here. Thank you for sticking with me this far if you are indeed still reading the second part of this rather long set of posts. Anyway, my dear fellows, if you ever get the chance, go to Italy, any part of it. Just experience the culture, the food, the language, and the amazing people. I came back with a love for espressos and memories I will never forget.

Finally, here is a video I made with some of the footage I got while I wasn’t too busy staring in amazement or eating ice cream. It’s a little shaky but it still gives you a bit of an idea of what we got up to…