Woooo

Twitter = validation from your idols.

Advertisements

If ever you feel as if life is moving too fast…

…take a moment and remember that 600,000 gallons of water go over Niagara Falls per second.

The fast pace of your life is nothing compared to that.

You’ve got more time than you think.

Take time to relax and recharge when you need it.

But also – think about that water. No matter how many rocks or obstacles it meets during the way, it still gets to where it needs to be.

I don’t wanna sound too zen, but a mindset that’s fluid like water can be a valuable tool when it comes to working through problems and enhancing creativity.

by Ashley Brown

(image credit: Wesley Banks)

The Madmen who turned down Mad Men

Celebrity gossip sites, Instagram and the tabloid press are a constant reminder to us all of other people’s success.

If you’re waiting on success it’s worth keeping yourself in check and remembering that it doesn’t happen overnight.

Often a long and gruelling process.

Take for example the hit TV show ‘Mad Men’. Its 92 episodes ran for seven seasons – reaching audiences across the world.

It’s widely considered to be one of the best TV shows ever made.

But, Mad Men’s success wasn’t sudden. It took a long time.

The show’s head writer, Matthew Weiner, had been working on the concept for ten years before the pilot aired.

He was working as a researcher and staff writer for other people’s TV shows. 

But all he really wanted to do was work on his own series.

The future wasn’t looking good though. Weiner faced rejection after rejection. 

Company after company telling him that they didn’t think audiences would want to see a show about advertising executives.

So, night after night, once he’d finished his day job he’d sit in his study working on his ‘advertising project’.

Legend has it he’d even carry a copy of the pilot script in a briefcase with him wherever he went. Just in case.

Often he’d attend dinner parties and socials with his successful wife. 

When he’d tell her friends that he was a writer, they’d ask if he’d written anything they might have seen…his answer was always no.

And then…quite suddenly…after talking to enough of the right people…his script landed on the desk of someone who liked it. An influential someone, at that.

The rest was history. TV history. Now, Matthew Weiner is one of the most successful TV writers of all time and has definitely written something that you’ll have heard of.

 

 

Danny Boyle, the tube and suspenseful endings.

I watched a film called ‘Fallen’ last night.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, before?

I hadn’t. It seems to have slipped a bit under the radar. It’s a 1998 horror film starring Denzel Washington – as I like horror and Denzel, and had never seen the two together before, I felt compelled to give it a go.

In short, it’s a good film – I recommend you check it out. Although, be warned, I’m about to give a spoiler…

….

Okay, so it had one of those ‘shock’ endings that you often see in horror or thriller films. You know the one…where you think the bad guy is dead…and then suddenly – BOOM – something happens to make you think otherwise.

Like those Jason or Michael Myers films where you see a shot of the killer at the end and realise that there’s going to be a sequel.

jason

It got me thinking about endings and how important they are. Although for those of us who ‘didn’t write today’ beginnings are harder than endings…!

The whole ‘shock’ ending started out as being a bit rebellious…something a bit different. Hollywood audiences were so used to things working out happily that a ‘surprise’ ending really used to work back in the day. Audiences didn’t know what to expect.

Their humdrum idea that ‘everything will be okay in the end’ was suddenly well and truly shaken.

However, nowadays, I wonder if it’s something that’s rather overused. Almost predictable. I’d say that 60 – 70% of the horror films that I’ve seen recently have relied on it. Which brings me to a point where I’d be more surprised if things ended up happily ever after.

One thing I think that does work is an ambiguous, open ending. The kind of thing that gets people talking long after the end credits have rolled.

A good example of this is in the film Shallow Grave, which came out in 1994. If you’ve not seen it I highly recommend it – it was the director Danny Boyle’s cinematic debut.

The film has caused a lot of debate online (and offline too) due to its ending. As the film ends one of the characters is badly injured, and as the emergency services arrive you can’t quite work out whether he’s dead or not.

After watching it I remember searching online to see what others thought, but no one seemed to be sure.

Fast forward several months and I’m on the tube heading from Camden to East London. I look over to my right…and who do I see in front of me? None other than Danny Boyle.

Back in these days I was an aspiring actor, so I opened up a conversation with him. He was a lovely guy and really chatty. It was during the chat that I suddenly realised that I’d been presented with a rare opportunity.

I could actually ask about the ending of Shallow Grave and have an answer from none other than the director himself.

And so I did. And he told me that the character was definitely alive at the end of the film.

He also told me how surprised he was whenever he heard that people thought the ending was ambiguous. When they filmed it they’d assumed that everyone would know that he was alive.

How about that!? A surprise ending wasn’t even meant to be quite so surprising at all.

(Oh and of course I asked him to cast me in one of his films. They were currently filming for Trainspotting 2. He gave me the name of his casting director – I emailed her, and alas, never heard back. Maybe next time)

While we’re on the subject of endings, there’s one film that steals it for me for every time.

thething.jpg

If you haven’t seen John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ you need to. Incredible slice of cinema.

 

 

Why are Iron Maiden more popular on Spotify than Madonna?

It surprised me when I read that, and I imagine it’ll surprise you too.

Not because Iron Maiden are bad…I’m a fan.

But because Madonna is…well…a pop singer. And, popular music should be the most popular…right?

She’s certainly more commercial, in a traditional sense. Plus, as much as I personally enjoy it, I’m aware that metal is an acquired taste – whereas Madonna’s music is aimed at appealing to everyone.

She also had the bonus of appearing on MTV and stations such as BBC Radio One, Iron Maiden never really had that exposure.

As a singer Madonna has always looked to adopt the latest trends – performing the hits that the crowds of the day would enjoy.

Whereas Iron Maiden found their target audience early on and found out how to please them. They never wrote a love song or anything like that. They just kept on doing the things that their fans like…building an army of life-long supporters, who would no doubt look to spread the love onto their children.

Meaning that they’d have another generation of fans, starting off a cycle that will eventually mean that the East London outfit’s music will last far longer than they will.

Not only that, but Iron Maiden’s songs tell stories about things that their target audience like. Fantasy, history, horror and even sci-fi.

trooper
(it’s really good, too!)

Plus look at their branding – they brew their own beer just the way their fans like it, they tour as much as they can and they have their own Boeing 747 jet that lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, personally flies.

How cool is that?

Plus they have their own logo. Same as bands such as Nirvana and Metallica. Does Madonna have a logo? If she does, I can’t recall it easily. Neither can I recall a logo for bands such as Take That.

It’s why, when you go into high street fashion stores, you see Metallica or Iron Maiden t-shirts for sale, you don’t see Madonna T-shirts.

Here’s a quote from Lady Gaga:

“Some people really don’t know the importance of metal and the scope of it. Those guys were filling stadiums, and they still are. And it’s because of the culture of the music, the poetry that’s so powerful, that whenever the fans come together, they unite in the essence of what Iron Maiden is all about. I always used to say to people, when they would say, ‘Oh, she’s the next Madonna.’ No, I’m the next Iron Maiden.”

gaga
(the next Iron Maiden)


by Ashley Brown.

Oh, by the way the initial inspo for this article came from Ryan Holliday’s fantastic ‘Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts’