Tales that Witness Madness Blog: Peter Sellers.

6th September 2021.

I re-watched Being There (1979) the other night. It stars Peter Sellers in his last role before he died of a heart attack the following year. It’s an interesting film, one that I’m sure inspired Forrest Gump to an extent. Sellers plays a simple-minded gardener who has to leave the house he’s stayed in for all of his life when the owner dies. He’s never left the house before, he doesn’t know how to read or write…basically he’s an idiot.

If you’ve not seen the movie put it on your list as it’s really funny in places; it’s not a comedy as such, it’s a satire about politics and how one’s reputation can precede themselves. Peter Sellers is absolutely brilliant in it. The more I watch it the more I study his acting. He so underplays the role and it must have been difficult for him to have kept himself restrained throughout. It’s not a movie for everyone, but if you’re a cinephile like me and you like Peter Sellers and you’ve never seen it, well, watch it asap.

It’s also written by Jerzy Kosinski who I mentioned in my previous blog The Painted Bird (which he also wrote). It’s one of those movies that feels like you’re living in the locations, if you know what I mean? You know how in movies like The Shining and Misery you really feel like you’re there, with the characters, because the sets are so detailed and the photography really immerses you into the locations as much as the story? Well, Being There has the same effect with the two primary locations. Anyway, go watch it and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Other than that, well, I’ve finished another draft of the short sci-fi story set in Edinburgh. I’ve just to print it up and will give it a read-through next week and amend anything from that. I don’t know what to do with it yet. It sits in a word-length-limbo. It’s 15,000 words. Which is just short of a novella and way too long for a short story. I’ll deal with that quandary at some point. It’s also got a lot of swearing in it. That can be a problem for a lot of people. Everyone is so fucking sensitive these days.

I’ve moved on to tidying up a screenplay I finished earlier this year and submitted (unsuccessfully) to the BBC. It’s a one-off thriller with a political undertone. In fairness to the script, it could potentially be a film. I’ve been reading a reasonable amount of scripts and learned a few things since I sent that to the BBC so I’m just clarifying some scenes in it, in the re-write.

I think the hardest part of writing isn’t the writing, or the redrafting, or the time you spend on your writing. It’s getting it seen. And seen by the right people. There’s very few opportunities out there for new writing. There’s a few competitions and production companies that say they are looking for gritty original screenplays but they’re usually full of crap when you see what TV dramas or films they produced from the last call out using the same spiel.

I use Twitter a lot. I don’t like social media that much, to be honest. I deleted my Facebook account about six months ago – that site is an abomination of fake news and so many ads and hackers, I’m surprised people still use it. Anyway, Twitter can be really good for writing opportunities and information, if you follow the right people.

For instance, there was one thread where someone was talking about a movie and how unoriginal it was, or something along those lines. Then someone tweeted back ‘how many new horror movies start with an overhead drone shot of a car going into the woods.’ That was a great observation. So you can learn a lot on Twitter about clichés and trends in writing and filmmaking.

If you’re into filmmaking then follow Film Riot – they’re one of the best channels on the internet for film-making tips and tutorials. Screencraft is pretty good for all your screenplay (and related) content as well.

Anyway, gonna crack on tidying that script then look at some poetry that I’ve written sporadically over the last year and a bit. Feck knows if it’s any good. I’ve got a few films to watch this week; I want to finish the Pusher trilogy (Nicholas Winding Refn) and I’m trying to find a good copy of The Sword and the Sorcerer which might be tricky. Let me know about your works in progress or gimme a shout out about anything in this post.

Ciao for now

-Tony-

Lastly, here’s a photo from the Grassmarket (in Edinburgh) I took on September 28th 2013. Hoping to get out with the camera this Autumn again. It’s the best season for light.

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