The Salmon Bagel and The Dragon Lady

She stands impatiently at the end of the bar. Her pink claw like fingers tapping on the hard marble surface. I try desperately to avoid her gaze. Maybe if I don’t make eye contact…she won’t see me. I hear the bagel slowly heating in the oven, the slight hum of the machine seeming to anger the lady that stands before me, tall and thin, Her face reminiscent of an old crone from a fairy-tale…or a troll.

Finally, I finish her drink, sliding her soy, no foam latte towards her, jumping back as her skeletal fingers reach for the cup and snatch it away. Now that she sees movement, her purple powdered eyes focus on me, narrowing as her fat painted lips form a snarl; more lipstick clinging to her yellowing fangs that jut from her gums than to her actual lips. She makes a sound resembling a hiss as her bagel continues to cook. It’s been a whole thirty seconds.

“I ordered food as well!” She roars, her dull eyes narrowing as her already orange skin begins to take on a shade of red. I feel myself start to shake, fear clawing at my chest as she raises her chin, stray bits of hair falling from the tight bun atop her head. A bun so tight, it pulls the sagging skin tauter against her withered cheekbones. Reminiscent of a woman seeming to cling to a youth that was lost decades ago, a fact known to everyone but herself.

“It’s coming ma’am.” I say, her eyes narrow even more and a low grumble resonates from her chest. I believe she wants to eat me. Before she can ponce, the shrill beeping of the oven distracts her and suddenly, my saviour appears. A hero in the form of a small Porto-Rican woman. She holds out a bag containing the woman’s food and the woman snatches it away, fleeing to a corner of the room to feed.

I let the breath I didn’t know I was holding go. My heart-rate slowing down to an acceptable level.

The beast had been sated.

For now

 

Yoga Pants

“Excuse me” I hear the shrill voice call from behind me. I turn from cleaning the bar for what seems like the hundredth time that day, coming face to face with a woman with a sour expression. Her lips are fat…too fat for her leathery thin face. Her eyes are slanted in my direction as she approaches me, a half empty cup held in her hands. Her nails are long and jagged, like the painted pink nails of some long forgotten creature.

“Do you think someone could clean my table…it’s filthy.” She says, pointing to the table in the corner, I noticed the minute stains of a coffee mug. Her voice is so high it hurts my ears. I sigh as she slams the paper cup down on the bar, white droplets of milk escaping from the vessel and onto the surface I had just cleaned. I feel myself die a little more inside. “And this coffee is cold.” She continues. “I want another.”

I remember her from the morning rush, I would remember the bright pink yoga pants and tight pony tail anywhere. In fact, her ponytail is so tight, the skin around her forehead seems moments away from ripping away from her skull. I force a smile, willing my eye to stop twitching.

“I will make you another Ma’am”

She doesn’t even look at me as I turn and head towards the bar.

I give her decaf.

5 ways to being a better person (by not being a dick)

Most of us have had a job that has required us to actually talk to people, I am afraid that in this day and age, people are an integral part of society and contact with them is usually unavoidable.

There are many types of people of many different cultures that are kind, loving and generally pleasant to be around. I often find myself enjoying the company of certain humans I have taken to calling my friends, but where there is good, there is always bad, and these bad people usually come in the form we workers in retail and hospitality like to call dickhea- ahem, I mean- customers.

I know it must be stressful to have the weekends off, with all that shopping and relaxing you have to do before even more shopping and relaxing. I understand how hard it is to be able to walk out into the town and be able to buy just about anything one would need, so I have come up with a helpful little list to help you, help me, help you.

Here are five ways to be a better person by not being a dick.  

Don’t talk on the phone while I serve you.   

Don’t talk on the phone when I am serving you. Just don’t do it. If you are on the phone, finish your conversation before you bother me. Simple as that. I did not come in to work at an ungodly time in the morning just to watch you have a conversation about who slept with who or what, how drunk you got last night or where you are going to on holiday in the next week. I don’t care, no one cares. Not even the person you’re talking to cares.

Don’t just order a coffee and expect me to know wtf you want

I work in a coffee shop. Don’t come in and order just a coffee – there are lots of coffees. Don’t order and just expect me to know exactly what you want like some mind reading magician. I don’t walk into a restaurant and just order ‘food.’

“Oh hello Mr Waiter, I will have the food please.”

Also, don’t get pissy with me when I suggest something because you obviously don’t know what the hell you want. If you order ‘just’ a coffee, I am going to give you an Americano -without milk, you don’t deserve milk. You’re a pain in the arse.  

Don’t order everything at once.

Tell me something…when you order five drinks in a row, each one of them being extremely complicated and annoying, much like your personality, do you really expect me to remember every stupid detail of your soy, half shot, extra hot, semi-dry, decaf, two pump vanilla, child soul caramel macchiato?

Have you seen me put it in the till yet, have you even seen me pick up a cup? No? Then why are you still talking? If you could order at a normal human pace, maybe we could both get through this with minimal bloodshed.

Don’t throw money on the table

If you see me outstretching my hand to take your payment, don’t put your money on the table and expect me to both pick it up and count it. A) It shows what an absolute dick you are and b) it makes me want to punch you in the face. Just put the money in my hand, go pick up your drink and go away.       

Wait until I ask you to pay

When I put your drink in the system and I have not asked you to pay yet, please…for the love of god, do not attack the card machine with your visa or special pay app. It just fucks up the system and in turn, fucks up my day. I don’t know what it is about people thinking I can put the information in the till, set up the cup and make the coffee all in a blink of an eye. So please, for my sanity, refrain from molesting the card reader until I tell you otherwise.   

So there you have it, those are just five ways that make normal, everyday people, absolute arseholes. Also, if you are reading this on your computer, your tablet or your mobile phone and you are wondering just what is so terrible about all these things, congratulations, you’re the fucking arsehole.

Have a nice day.

SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE

SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE PART 3

It is not easy being a scriptwriter. Not only do you now have to come up with amazing ideas that are both interesting and understandable, a story that does not offend the easily offended and write about your subjects and scenarios with an all most unfathomable expertise, you also have the job of creating a character an audience can relate to.

 It is not an easy job to write a character that is both original and identifiable, a character that has his or her flaws just like everybody else, but also has qualities that make an audience look up to and idolise them with a character that in the end, becomes a better person.

 But where do we even begin to think of these characters?

 As a writer, you sit there with your fifth cup of coffee cooling next to you and endless amounts of snacks with copious amounts of sugar surrounding your cluttered desk of screwed up bits of paper and novelty pencils. A new Word document stays open on your fingerprint smudged screen. The curser, blinking every so often, taunts you.

 To spark some ideas you consider searching the internet for something, anything that will help you come up with a character that everyone will love, but as time passes, you find yourself looking at Vines and funny cat videos on YouTube, and even though these habits are harder to shake than a long term drug habit , we have come up with five ideas to help you come up with believable, likable and original characters.

Star signs

 Surprisingly, the method of using star signs to invent the personalities of your characters is widely used by many authors and script writers. Using the already set-out template of good and bad personality traits can help a writer expand and improve their character. For example, if your character were to be a Capricorn, they would be confident, energetic and courageous and if he or she were to be a Scorpio, maybe you can give them a temper?

People Watching

 Instead of sitting at your desk in a dark and suspicious smelling dorm room, why not go outsideand sit at a table at the local cafe or a park, and just watch. Hundreds of people pass through every day, each with their very own little personal traits and appearances. You would be very surprised at how much you notice when you just sit and observe.

Famous people

 Basing your characters on famous people or famous characters is a great way to create a likable character that is relatable and familiar to the audience. People are more inclined to like a character if it reminds them of their role models.

However, remember not to copy everything about your chosen person, it is still your character.

Draw from your own experiences

 Basing a character around people you have met, people you know or people you don’t even like can be an extremely effective way to create a fresh new character with interesting personality traits. Just don’t use their real name.

 I once based a character on my Father, and even though he started out as a grumpy old man, as the script developed, the character evolved and become a much more likeable and three dimensional character. Even if you only have an outline of your character, if you are good at what you do, they will grow into something great.

Your imagination

 Not everybody can do it, and in my opinion, it is the least effective on this list. But if you take a moment to just sit and think of a random character, with a random personality and a random appearance, you will eventually come up with a character that will grow as the story does.

 So what have we learnt by this?

 Whatever happens, always remember to give your character a hook, maybe he is a mummy’s boy, or maybe he never goes anywhere without his funny looking dog named Spot?

 Whoever they may be, remember not to force the character. An audience can always tell when a character is forced. So if you are struggling to think of the next character for your next short film, just relax, have a cuppa and maybe watch a cheesy old film.

 It will come to you.

Here are a few links to help you along the way to creating a masterpiece.

 Five ways to start a script : http://2012.scriptfrenzy.org/node/2003510

 Developing your characters :http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Characters-in-Film

 Characters for the screen :http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/character

And here is the link to the original article including parts one and two of  SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE and many, many more interesting blogs and information.

The Birdies Film Festival : http://www.thebirdiesff.com/#!blog/cnms

Clowdy Shorts – Routine

Can you please vote for me, I have made it into the top ten and I am going to need some more points for the next 13 day voting process.

All you have to do is sign up with Twitter or Facebook, then Re-clowed, Like and Vote and share if you want: 

The money will be going to Help For Heroes!

It only takes a few minuets, so please vote for me! 🙂 

Here is the link, tell your friends!

http://www.clowdy.com/TwistedSmilePro/clcmg0/routine#

 

And here is the Short Film on YouTube