Category Archives: Other

Making A Film About Hull With Kids – In Pictures

Over the last two weeks, myself (Joe) and Callum have been in St Mary Queen of Martyrs Primary School in Hull, working with the year 3 children to make a brilliant short film with our Budding Berries Filmmaking Workshop! With Hull to be the City of Culture 2017 we have simply called it ‘Hull – A City Of Culture!’

Hull City of Culture

The topic the year 3 children were learning this term was all about Hull’s history so we thought it would be great to make a film all about it. Hull has an amazing history, from great people like William Wilberforce and Amy Johnson, tragic events during the second world war and brilliant creations such as the Humber bridge! The children’s film begins back before Hull even existed, when our land became the home of people from many different places, all the way up to modern day, Hull becoming the City of Culture and beyond into the future!

We taught the children about the forced perspective technique that has been used in films for many, many years. Forced perspective is when objects appear larger or smaller, simply by moving them closer and further away from the camera. With this in mind, the children designed what would happen in their scenes and had to create props and sets that would work using forced perspective.

Planning

Each group was given a different scene from the film – depicting a different historical event in Hull. In their groups the children designed what would happen in their scene and what they needed to make it come to life!

Making Big Wheel

We took over the hall and, using all sorts of different materials, the children made the sets, props and backgrounds for their film! This is a great big wheel from Hull Fair made from straws!

The Deep - making

These girls designed and created The Deep for the background of their scene!

Making WW2

This group designed their scene for Hull during the second world war. Here is one of the bombs that is going to fall on a house.

Making Robot

Parents were invited to come and help the children make the things they needed for their scenes. Many came along, getting just as creative as the kids!

Making Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson’s plane – this is going to be close to the camera and then, using the forced perspective technique, it will look as though one of the girls is sitting inside it!

Fish

Lots of different colours and bright materials were used to create some brilliant things for the films!

Fishing Scene

When we filmed with the children it was tricky to get the forced perspective technique to work. However the children put a lot of effort into their films!

Deep Scene

Some of the children made the sets and different characters in their films move. Here are some penguins that can be found in The Deep!

Vikings

The children worked great in their teams. Some were actors, others controlled the props and some controlled the camera. Some of the children even took to directing really well!

Narration

We had written a poem on the history of Hull to go alongside their film. Some of the children learned the poem so they could narrate the film!

Sound Recording

We recorded the narrators reading their parts of the poem. They didn’t have much time to practice but all did really well, speaking in loud, clear voices!

Walls

The final scenes from the film are amazing to watch! The combination of the forced perspective, brilliant sets, great costumes and clever moving props, make the film really unique and fun! Here we can see King Charles being refused entry into Hull!

Humber Bridge

The film is bright, bubbly and a lot of fun! You can see the amount of hard work and teamwork the children have put into making their history come to life!

We are so proud of the year 3 children who made this brilliant film with us and the result is something everyone will love! Everyone from Hull that watches the film will feel proud of our heritage and the children of it’s future.

We’ll be showing the short film very soon and we guarantee you’ll be impressed! Well done year 3, you’re all superstar filmmakers in the making!

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Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

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How To Look Cocky? Eat An Apple…

There are numerous ways actors and directors portray cockiness on screen. A smug smile. A witty one liner. A simple hand gesture. There’s also another tried and proven method that we see time and time again that works really well. Some directors use it all of the time. So what’s a great way to look cocky? Eat an apple!

Sounds strange but there’s something so smug and so arrogant about someone sinking their teeth into a juicy apple and ripping out a bite. It’s such a simple thing but it works so well. Here’s some great examples:

Indiana Jones

No one does cocky quite like Harrison Ford. Indiana Jones rocks the cocky apple eater in this great scene from Temple of Doom.

Jack Sparrow

Johnny Depp also plays cocky really well. Jack Sparrow, one of his more famously cocky characters, holds that apple with extra smugness!

Robert Downy Jr

Photo-shoots work too. Robert Downey Jr, known for his own cocky personality, rocks it with this apple!

Kirk Shatner

In Wrath of Khan, another famously cocky character, Captain Kirk (William Shatner), eats an apple with smug pride in an equally smug scene where he dupes Khan’s plans!

Kirk

J.J. Abrams, always a lover of the apple, emulates Kirks love of the cocky apple in his take on Star Trek. Chris Pine’s Kirk is the epitome of cocky!

Ian Somerhalder

Ian Somerhalder looks like a cheeky trickster eating an apple off a knife in this photoshoot!

Will Ferrell picks an apple from a tree and eats it while filming in Brooklyn, New York

Will Ferrell, on the set of Anchorman, apparently plucked this apple from a nearby tree between shoots. Now that is cocky!

Angel

Even Vampires like apples! David Boreanaz did it with sinister undertones in Angel

Bill Duke - Warden Harris - Lost

Bill Duke pulls it off exceptionally as the arrogant Warden Harris in Lost!

Beyonce

Beyonce is full of girl power and shows she don’t take no sh*t from no one by biting into this red delicious!

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie, another eater of the apple from a knife. She’s smug, cocky and you don’t want to mess with her!

Kev

Our own use of the smug apple eater. Kev Thompson starring in our short film ‘The Wife and I’. Cocky bastard!

Where does this apple obsession come from? Perhaps it all begin with Adam and Eve. Was Eve biting that forbidden apple the start of human-kinds smug, cocky attitude? I don’t know. All I do know is that it really does work.

So if you’re an actor or are making a film or doing a photo-shoot, give it a try. Smugness without words. Just eat an apple.

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Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

Game of Thrones – Ned Stark

In anticipation of season 4 of the mighty Game of Thrones, I began recreating that famous image of Lord Eddard Stark atop of the iron throne. Turned out quite good and, when I next have nothing to do, I might make another one!

Until then, keep safe because winter is coming…

 

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Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

So You Want To Be A Writer?

One great thing about the internet is that it’s a great place to look to for information, for advice and tips on how to do things. I’m a writer and I’d like to share my thoughts on that book we are all desperate to write. I’m no expert and I still only class myself as a beginner so feel free to ignore everything I say! I have my first book, Intergalactic Terrorist, published with Amazon to download. It’s not the first book I’ve written, but the first I’ve published. I’m currently writing a new book – at least I am when I can find the time! I also write screenplays that I develop through Berry Productions, my indie film company so a lot of what I’m about to say will work for writing for film/tv/theatre as well! I’ve had highs and lows. I’ve had confidence boosters and knock-backs. So if you’re thinking about writing a novel – here’s what I believe you must break through in order for it to be a success.

Is your story actually any good?

Books2They say everyone believes they have one good book in them that they are just dying to get out – one great story that needs to be told. This could be true. It may be true also that that one great story actually isn’t as great as you think it is. Now I’m not trying to tell anyone that their story they need to tell is going to be terrible. I am saying that people are very judgemental and in today’s society we only demand the best. A lot of people’s stories will fall short of being the best and end up judged by the masses.

I have story ideas all of the time. Nearly every day I come up with a new adventure that I want to create either in novel form or as a film. Most of these I choose never to pursue because I know, as much as I enjoy coming up with the ideas and creating the characters and settings, that the story is just not good enough to be unleashed on an audience and I know it never will be. Yes, I’m one of these judgemental people. I, like we all do, judge other people’s work all of the time but the person’s work I judge the most is my own. I feel I have the self critique to tell if an idea, with a little tweaking (not twerking – that’s whole different ballgame), could work, or if it would fall flat and should never be heard of again.

So step one in telling that brilliant story you have in you, is judging yourself. Is it is honestly a good enough story that anyone will want to read?

Do you know how to write a book?

Books1Excellent! You’ve made it past initial doubts. You have decided that your story is the best story ever told and that everyone needs and will want to read what you have to write. The next hurdle we face is actually writing the bloody thing. So everyone has at least one great book in them? But can everyone actually write a novel? Writing takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Yes, all you’re doing is sitting by your computer all day tapping on your keys – but that in itself is tiring. First, how do you have the time to write? I don’t. I work as a video producer, have family and friend commitments, and I’m also an independent filmmaker. I don’t have the time to write! But I find the time. I’ll develop super powers and fly around the earth backwards so fast that I turn back time if I have to in order to write. What I’m trying to say is that it’s time consuming.

When was the last time you wrote a story? Are you always writing ideas down or was it at school? Do you remember how to structure plot and character and how to build a storyline up to those ever important, edge of your seat moments? Did you ever know how to? It’s hard, especially if you’re not used to doing it. Luckily in this age of communication there are hundreds of websites and blogs for tips and advice. Pop it into Google and let someone help you with ways to do it. Of course, other people’s ideas won’t work for everyone. But you need to find a way of writing that suits you best, a way that creativity can flow whilst hitting all of those important grammatical and structural niches that those judgementalists will demand!

What do you do with it when it’s complete?

Books3Months have gone by. Years maybe. Your story was so great you couldn’t let it die. You’ve neglected your job, family and friends and you’ve written the damn thing and you’ve followed all the advice and it is a brilliant piece of art! Now what? Everyone’s different of course but the obvious thing to do would be to read it. Go back to the beginning and read the full thing (I know you were reading it as you went along but you need to read it as a whole entity). I guarantee there will be parts you want to change. Chapter 12 that you wrote at 3am that was your best bit of writing is probably a bit of mess because you were so tired you’re fingers hit the keys on autopilot.

So you’ve re-read and it rocks! Now close the computer and go and live your life. A week, maybe two later, reopen your book and read it again. That’s right, fully. With that little break to clear your head you will find a whole load more things you need to change. It could be anything from stilted dialogue to confusing sentences. And spelling mistakes. There will be many! Then after you’ve read it, get someone else to read it. Someone that is a reader and knows what makes a good story – but someone who can be totally honest with you and tell you, if it’s shit, that it’s shit. Then someone else needs to read it. Someone who is good at proof reading. Maybe someone who is good at proof reading that you know won’t like your tale of robots and alien sex slaves because all they read are period dramas. These people are good because they’re not judging the story – they already know it’s not for them. They’ll concentrate on the grammar and spellings.

When it’s been read and re-read and read again by yourself and multiple people (maybe even pay for a professional to read it – always helps!)  you want the world to read it right? Your options are traditional publishing – sending it to agents and publishers, expect rejection after rejection, wait years and years and hopefully someone will actually read it and think it can make them some money and hey presto – or self-publish it on a site such as Amazon – where you can publish your book for people to download within a couple of hours, but at the risk that your book, even after all the re-reading you did, is still shit and everyone that downloads it will tell you. I’m not going to tell you which you should do – that’s for you to decide. Neither is right, neither is wrong.

Taadaa! You’ve done it! Well done! Now, I know I sound quite pessimistic, and I’m not I promise, but it isn’t easy to write a book and a lot of people think it might be.  There are far too many self-published authors at the moment who’s books are simply not good enough. I’m not saying mine are any better, that’s for all your judgers out there! But if you’ve got the commitment to get that story written and get that book published then go for it. And most importantly, keep writing. Each book you write should be better than the last – you never know, you might have the next best seller in you!

Good luck and I look forward to reading your book!

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Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

 

Dead Man Walking – Episode 2

Steve2Hi, I’m Steve, I work on sound with Berry Productions and can occasionally be found doing some acting as well! Look out for me in ‘The New Family Corporation’ (at the bottom of this post)! We’re also currently in production of a music video for my new song ‘Mama’ for Cancer UK.

Recently, I’ve  also been documenting my adventures in ‘Dead Man Walking’. Welcome to episode 2…

So, I’m sitting here a day after launch of episode 2 and the response has been incredible! I never actually expected people to watch it, and to WANT to watch it. Wow!

Filming episode 2, was a lot harder than the first one, because there was a bit more organisation involved. Getting my mates Nick and Chris in on the idea was great because I think it added a whole new dimension to the first 5 mins.

Filming the night vision stuff was great fun, albeit scary. The only problem I faced in the editing suite, was that it’s a nigh-on obsolete format (Mini-DV) camera. Although it was worth the nut ache. I was really pleased with the footage.

I later found out, there is a black panther on the loose out there, so that clearly makes me a double-hard ba***rd.

This adventure was a true test of what I can achieve. I really found this one hard, both mentally and physically. In the dark, in the middle of nowhere, on your own.. It’s a hard place to be, and I nearly gave up a few times. If it wasn’t through the support of a very good group of friends, I wouldn’t be here typing this. Episode 2 would not exist.

Physically this challenge drained me, I was carrying a lot of water on my back, and that didn’t agree too well my my legs. I ended up spraining a tendon in my foot and I’ve been limping around like a wounded donkey for about 5 days now. I’m on the mend though, so that’s awesome.

All in all, I think I can say, I’ve found something I really enjoy. From adventuring, to editing, to release. It’s really a lot of fun.

Keeps me out of the pub.

Thanks again for your time, time is precious.

Steve Dead Man Walking

WARNING: Contains strong language

 Here’s our latest short film, starring my good self – ‘The New Family Corporation’

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Steve

Written by Steve Fettis – Actor/Post-Production Sound at Berry Productions.

Subscribe to Steve’s YouTube Channel for more of his adventures – foureyez.tv

Dead Man Walking…

Steve DMWHi. I’m Steve, from Dead Man Walking. I’m the accidental documentary maker. With Berry Productions I’m often found acting or working on post-production sound.

Dead Man was stumbled upon, on an app – Snapchat. I started filming just to let everyone know where I was going, how I was doing. When I got back off that adventure, I sat and watched it back and thought ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool’. So I went out and got myself a cheap digital camera.

With that, Dead Man Walking was born, completely by accident.

The first episode was really fun to film and edit. It really got my creative juices flowing as I tried to work out a ‘format’ for the show, how it should look/feel etc.. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at ‘presenting’ so I just went for it!

The Hull – Hornsea challenge is really a test of endurance more than anything. The track is brutally bumpy and my bike had no suspension. The endurance part was made somewhat easier with something to take my mind off the muscle-splitting pain. The film. How should I vLog this bit? How will I edit this to make it look good? Segways – going from talking to cam, to voice-over.

I really wasn’t expecting a lot of people to take to it, as episode 1 falls in at just under 20 minutes long. People these days have very short attention spans, (including me) and I thought that’s where it’d fall.

Thankfully the response has been great! A lot of people seem to really dig it, which is amazing! Episode 2 is very nearly ready and I can’t wait to show you it.

Oh and by the way, I’m not trying to be Bear Grylls, he drinks his own wee and I’m not down with that.

Thanks very much for watching/reading this.

Steve x

WARNING: Contains strong language

 Here’s our latest short film, starring my good self – ‘The New Family Corporation’

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Steve

Written by Steve Fettis – Actor/Post-Production Sound at Berry Productions.

Subscribe to Steve’s YouTube Channel for more of his adventures – foureyez.tv

Astro Puss!

Alright… bit of a random one this one! I was just doing a bit of doodling with my kids the other week and, I’ll be honest, my picture got a bit out of hand and turned into an epic scene of awesomeness about a space faring, armless, one eyed cat in a robotic spacesuit – the one and only ASTRO PUSS!

What this badass cat’s backstory is, no one knows! Any ideas anyone? Pop them on a postcard (or leave us a comment!) I think he would be a brilliant character in a cartoon series. What do you think? Anyway, here he is ASTRO PUSS!

berry productions - by Joseph Monahan

ASTRO PUSS – by Joseph Monahan

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Joe Written by Joseph Monahan –

Writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

My Life Through Sci-Fi…

Sci-Fi

I am what you would call a sci-fi geek and I in no way shape or form deny that, as watching science fiction throughout my life has taken me down the path that I am on. Sounds a little dramatic? Not really. I am a writer and film director and, with my love for sci-fi, started off my writing/directing skills at a young age making… you guessed it… sci-fi stories and films! (terrible ones at that!)

So I was thinking back to the films and television shows I used to watch as a kid, wondering which were the ones that that stayed with me. It could have been that I loved them as a child, but have never watched since, or newer stuff that has inspired me. It could be sci-fi that I watch over and over again until the misses gets so sick of it that she shoots me with a phaser at close range on disintegrate.

Check it out and let me know if you are the same type of geek that I am!

Star Trek

STAR TREK

Of course right? No self proclaimed sci-fi geek would be anywhere without Star Trek right? I have my dad to thank for this one. He’d watch re-runs of the original series on a Sunday and, loving the excitement of a cool spaceship, galactic adventures and pretty women, I eagerly watched along with him. 25 years later and I’m the biggest Star Trek fan I know. I had an argument with a friend who works in the same office the other day about which direction the communicator used to flip. He shouldn’t have even tried, bless him!

After Kirk and crew came The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise and all of the films. Some were better that others. I love them all for different reasons. I think the one reason why Star Trek has stood the test of time is because of the hope it brings us for the future. Few science fiction shows show a future earth in such a good light. No war, hunger or disease, no rich or poor. A world I’m sure we’d all like to live in. As for the tech… you only have to look at today’s technology to see how much it has been influenced by Trek.

The best Star Trek episodes were the one’s that made you think and question when it had finished. As a writer/filmmaker I always try to keep this in mind. If you can get the crowd still talking about it, debating it, questioning it, then you’ve made a winner!

Cartoon ScifiCARTOON SCI-FI

Cartoons are a huge part of any kids lives. I remember rushing back home from school and sticking the TV on to watch children’s hour, with Philip Schofield and Gordon the flippin Gopher in the broom closet! And back when I was growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s there were some amazing sci-fi cartoon series!

‘Thundercats’ (1985-1989) was, and is still, such an amazing cartoon and one of my all time favourites. Their world destroyed, they are forced to move to a new planet, Third Earth, where their leader, Lion-O, must learn to become a man and protect his people from the evil that lurks there!

Others from around that era, such as ‘Masters of the Universe’ and ‘Defenders of the Earth’ had similar themes of good vs. evil with strong, heroic characters and villainous bad-guys who you loved to see get their butt kicked each episode! Towards the end of the 80’s and early 90’s introduced this group of pizza eating, mutated turtles to our screens. This era of cartoons changed the format slightly – although still stories of good vs. evil, the good guys weren’t the chisel jawed heroes we were used to. Good guys started getting more personality and the episodes became full of comedy and attitude.

Inspired by these cartoons from my childhood, I used to draw. A lot! I would make my own characters and adventures – every time I was developing my own imagination and creativity, jumping along those stepping stones to what I would be when I was older.

For a time, especially in the 2000’s, cartoons became slightly stale and far too ‘safe’. I was worried my children would never get the same epic sense of adventure out of cartoons that I did. Thankfully, in recent years, cartoons such as ‘Adventure Time’ have popped up that challenge the boundaries between children’s and adult’s entertainment.

Childhood ScifiCHILDHOOD FAVOURITES

Everyone has the films they used to watch over and over when they were growing up. I always remember going to our video rental shop with my mum and dad and always getting the same two films. ‘Short Circuit’ and ‘The Ewok Adventure’ (I know, I know, but I was a kid – I knew no better!). They were films that made me laugh and I never got tired of. I found ‘Short Circuit’ so clever and wanted to have a robot just like Johnny 5. ‘An Ewok Adventure’ had it all for me at that age – space ships, magic, monsters and odd little bear creatures that were really cute. It was ‘An Ewok Adventure’ that got me loving the fantasy genre (but that’s another story).

‘Back to the Future’ is probably one of everyone’s childhood films. The idea of time travel amazed me and for a long time, maybe still slightly now, I believed that my bed was a time machine that took me to lands past and present when I was all tucked up in it. Then somehow I remember coming across the 1980’s space opera, ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’. Yes it was cheesey, yes some of the acting was a bit hammy (especially ‘The Waltons’ John-Boy, Richard Thomas). However I was amazed by the aliens, their ships and the epic story that brings them all together. I also loved that characters that would be bad guys in other films, were actually the heroes in this.

I couldn’t write a bit on Sci-Fi without mentioning ‘Star Wars’. As a child I watched ‘Star Wars’ and enjoyed it, but it was only when I was about 12-14 that I became a big fan and that was mainly due to the toys. ‘Star Wars’ had one of the best marketing plans in existence and, now part of Disney, that is sure to continue. Another classic story of good vs. evil with some great characters and effects. These days I enjoy ‘Star Wars’, more for it’s nostalgic effects than anything else.

So sci-fi was with me from an early age. It was becoming a big part of my life and I didn’t even know it!

Horror Scifi HORROR SCI-FI

Far too young, I discovered the merging of science-fiction and horror. The blame lies with Britania Film Club. If you don’t know Britania, it was a club that you ordered films through a booklet they sent out each month (it also had Britania Music Club). Now my parents signed up to it, more for me than anyone else, without realising that I could easily order films that I shouldn’t have been watching.

One of the first I remember getting was ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1978) with Donald Sutherland. My mind was blown. Here was a story of alien invasion unlike any I had ever seen. These aliens actually grow new versions of people in plant-like pods! It terrified and excited at the same time and had an ending like nothing I had ever seen!

Others I saw included ‘The Thing’, ‘Alien’ and ‘The Fly’. Needless to say I had some sleepless nights (even in my time machine bed!).

I loved the visual effects used in these films – aliens and monsters – that were so realistic you could actually believe that they existed. Even now these films look great. I think, growing up watching films with visual effects is what turns me away from films with heavy, unnecessary CGI.

Horror and Sci-fi are a great blend of genres when used correctly. For in space no one can hear you scream. As we all just found out in ‘Gravity’… but I’ll come to that later on…

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Friendly ScifiFRIENDLY SCI-FI

Just as I’d given up hope and believed that all aliens and monsters were horrific, nasty beasts that wanted to suck off my face and impregnate me, a friendly little guy called ‘E.T.’ popped up, followed quickly by other friendly sci-fi characters including the robot-like aliens in ‘Batteries Not Included’.

How can anyone not love ‘E.T.’ and not cry at the end. He is the loveable alien that we all wished we could meet, connect with, free frogs with and almost die for. The great thing about E.T. is that he shows the good in children and how unselfish they can be. He is the best in all of us and brings out the best in us all.

Films with a positive attitude, showing how great the human race can be, told through stories about aliens and robots. These are films that will always make you smile and I have a huge soft-spot for any film that can accomplish that.

TV ScifiTV SCI-FI

TV when I was a teenager was great. There were loads of great shows on, many had the prime dinner time slot – 6pm weekdays on BBC2. Great science fiction such as ‘Quantum Leap’, about a man shifting through time in other people’s bodies, and the ‘Quantum Leap’ inspired ‘Sliders’, about a group of people shifting through alternate dimensions. Both had strong stories about people doing what they had to in the hope that they can return home.

Sci-Fi merged with comedy in the mighty ‘Red Dwarf’ which, at the time, was one of the most refreshing programmes on British television. Telling the tale of the slob Lister, the last human alive, surrounded by ridiculous characters alone in space. It was clever, it was witty and it was fun. It was sci-fi presented differently, in a way that everyone could enjoy.

Late nights, watching rubbish on Channel 5, I stumbled upon ‘Lexx’. Very strange, very sexualised, very entertaining sci-fi series that never got the credit it deserved. It was similar in feel to ‘Farscape’, another brilliant show hat challenged the sci-fi norms.

Then we have ‘The X Files’. What needs to be said. At its height it was possibly the greatest thing on television. This was real science fiction. Set today, following normal people, exploring amazing tales of aliens and monsters and odd goings on. Ultimately, with ‘X Files’ and most of the other sci-fi shows I used to watch, it was down to great writing that made them popular – the freedom to be able to create stories in other worlds and about other beings, but relating them to us and our human existence.  And at the end of each episode, we long for the next!

Old Scifi seriesCLASSIC TV SCI-FI

In my late teens I began to discover old BBC science fiction, such as the old ‘Doctor Who’ series and ‘Blakes 7’. I LOVE ‘Blakes 7’ for the concept of the show. Yes, the acting is appalling and the sets are wobbly and look like they’ve been made in your friends garage. Plus the aliens are so ridiculous that it’s almost hard to take them seriously. However, the writing again is second to none. Any good filmmaker knows that it all boils down to the writing. Take away all the special effects and money pumped into making the shows, it is the writing that makes it great. American sci-fi was great too, such as ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’.

GodzillaOTHER SCI-FI CLASSICS

Still in my late teens I discovered Japanese films, the ‘Godzilla’ films being one of these. Godzilla was the ultimate monster – a giant beast that smashed through cities and destroyed all in its path with its fire breath (he must have had a heavy night on the vodka!). Comical to watch of course, but that’s why it is loved by westerners.

Planet of the ApesNow twist shock endings don’t come better than ‘Planet of the Apes’. Here’s one of those films that is always on my favourite film list. A world ruled by apes where humans were treated like slaves. Full of action, adventure and the fighting strength of humanity, plus Linda Harrison in that tiny fur costume! How could it fail? What always amazed me was the costumes, the masks and prosthetics and how ‘Planet of the Apes’ actually made you believe that this world, with these intelligent apes, was real!

“Get you stinking paws off me you damned dirty ape!” Had to be said!

War of the WorldsBarbarellaI remember reading ‘The War of the Worlds’ when I was younger and thought it was one of the best things I’d ever read. H.G. Wells was a genius sci-fi writer. The 1953 film didn’t disappoint either – the imagery of the spaceships, firing their deathly rays, stuck with me forever. Another film about humanities struggle for survival against all odds. I still love films that feel as though we cannot win and have to struggle against our doom, like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and ‘Deep Impact’.

Another sci-fi classic, although very different, caught my eye as a teenager. ‘Barbarella’. I saw this on TV late one night and once again my mind was blown. It’s camp, it’s cheesey, it’s sexy and it’s ridiculous and that is why I love it! Jane Fonda in a multitude of skimpy outfits, exploring the galaxy and her own sexuality, trying to stop the evil Druant Durant. Along the way meeting a number of wild characters – it really has to be seen. I have always wanted to make something similar, but don’t think in today’s society it would be possible! ‘Barbarella’ changed the way I looked at science fiction and taught me that sci-fi can take you places you never even thought possible!

90s Scifi

90’S SCI-FI

The 90s gave us some terrible clothes and some terrible music but some great science fiction films! Let’s start with one of the greatest – ‘Jurassic Park’. I saw this at cinema about 3 time and each time I was a awestruck and gobsmacked as the last. Adventure, humour, excitement and dinosaurs! Doesn’t get better than that. The great thing about ‘Jurassic Park’ is that it still looks amazing now. In an age when CGI looks dated after just a few years (see the ‘Star Wars’ prequels), it is brilliant how a film from the 90’s still looks so great!

‘Independence Day’ was the perfect film for me in 1996 and is still enjoyable now. Roland Emmerich can always be counted on for destroying iconic buildings (such as the white house) and putting the human race under threat. Yes, it copied other alien invasion stories, but Jeff Goldblum is in it. Enough said. Another Emmerich classic in the 90s came with ‘Stargate’. A brilliant story about a portal to another world where our old Egyptian gods still rule. Stargate was so popular that it has spawned a million spin-off TV series.

‘Fifth Element’ and ‘Starship Troopers’ gave us tongue-in-cheek sci-fi with epic proportions. ‘Fifth Element’ used colour and costumes in a way that is rarely seen whilst ‘Starship Troopers’ highlighted the results of war.

InceptionRECENT SCI-FI

A few sci-fi films have recently stood out for me. The first in ‘Inception’. The reason ‘Inception’ is so good is that it challenges the viewers, makes us concentrate and think about the story. And best of all, as a fimmaker, it proved to me that creativity is still possible in the beast that is Hollywood! Anyone that says they ‘didn’t get it’ must be watching something different as I find ‘Inception’ very easy to follow as long as you’re paying attention. Or maybe people have become so accustomed with the way films are spoon fed to us, that we find it hard to understand anything new.

Wall-E‘Wall-E’. What can be said that we all don’t know already? Pixar are brilliant at making stories that make us happy, make us sad and make us question. ‘Wall-E’ challenges our current lifestyles and shows how we could end up if we keep down the path we are on. And it looked amazing! Rarely has a mainstream animated film looked so good, dealt with issues that are a reflection on today’s society and was a classic love-story told through the eyes of a robot!

Battlestar NEWAs already mentioned, I loved the original version of this, so when I heard that ‘Battlestar Galactica’ had been remade I was very intrigued. However I didn’t get to see it until quite recently but I’m very glad I did. The first mini-series that was made, that had two long episodes, I’ll be honest, I found really boring. ‘Why had they done this?’ was something that crossed my mind a lot. Starbuck… a woman? CG cylons? Too many questions, why, why, why? But, from the recommendation of a friend I ploughed on and I’m so glad I did. At the end of its 4 season run I can safely say it is one of the best sci-fi series I have seen. True, some episodes were better than others, but I loved that it challenged our spiritual beliefs as well as our faith in mankind. Fracking so say we all!

LostThere are very few TV shows that I could watch over and over and over. Star Trek is one of them. The other is ‘Lost’. Maybe it’s the exotic locations, the superb cast, the questions, the mystery, the reveals. Maybe it’s a combination of them all. ‘Lost’ ticks all of my boxes. I do believe it was a game changer for television. People were beginning to be allowed to express their creativity through TV shows thanks to ‘Lost’. There has never been anything like it, before or since. I connected with the characters in ways I didn’t think possible – through their back-stories and the events happening to them on the island. The lines between foe and friend were blurred and, as in real life, no one was perfect. If I were stranded on an island and could only take one thing to watch, it would be ‘Lost’. And that is all there is to say about that one.

GravityNow it’s nearly the end of 2013 and a little film has hit our screens called ‘Gravity’. Not technically science fiction, I felt like this had to be mentioned. There has never been a film like this before. ‘Gravity’ has changed the way that films, especially films set in space, will be made forever. What we have seen in ‘Gravity’ gives me great hope that this is an exciting time for sci-fi.

That brings me to the end of my tip through sci-fi. Science fiction that has inspired me, made me a dreamer, made me scared and made me want to reach for the stars (except for ‘Gravity’ which makes me never want to become an astronaut ever!). So I may be a geek, but I’m a geek and I’m proud. I know what happens if I travel at 88mph in my DeLorean that has been fitted with a flux capacitor. I know never to play the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 in the lottery. And I know, in a dangerous situation, never to wear my red shirt.

Have I missed any great sci-fi from this list? Probably. There are hundreds of other great sci-fi films and TV series out there – these are just the few that sprung to mind when I was writing this. If you think of any, please let me know in the comments!

So here’s to sci-fi. May it live long and prosper!

————–

JoeWritten by Joseph Monahan –

Writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

‘The Field’ – the Lego addition

Over the years there have been quite a few franchises made into Lego toys. Star Wars, Batman, and Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few. There have also been some funny ‘made-up’ Lego toys such as the brilliant Breaking Bad collection!

So I thought, what if we remade ‘The Field’ out of Lego? Enough said. Enjoy!

Lego The Field

College days…

Three of the Boys of the Berry, Callum Smith, Ben Wade and Joe Monahan (me!), studied media and moving image together at Hull College. A two year course where we learnt the basics of many of the skills we possess today. The projects we made whilst there show our ability level at the time but where a great starting point for us. We made opening credits, music videos, animations, live television shows, hate crime videos, charity appeal videos and more. It was where we really decided what it was that we wanted to be.

For our final major project, we were allowed to have some fun and make whatever content we wanted. We chose a short fictional film. It was called ‘Three of a Kind’ and was meant to reflect UK’s gangster films – based around a poker players delve into the underworld.

Looking back on it now, it is a bit cringe-worthy. Some of the ideas are good and the soundtrack is epic, but overall execution is amateur at best. But then that’s what we were back then. Amateur filmmakers. Without going through that stage we would never be where we are now!

So sit back and enjoy (or not!) ‘Three of a Kind!’

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