The Write Attitude Workshop – Explore Your Strengths And Weaknesses As A Writer

Take an introspective journey into what takes to be a writer and make the most of conquering the writing process with The Write Attitude workshop that takes place at The Writing Studio in Green Point on Saturday, February 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 10am until 1pm.

If you’re a screenwriter, novelist, playwright or not sure what to write, the workshop empowers writers to develop the write attitude, to proudly and confidently take ownership of writing a story from start to finish, and find the perfect balance between the creative self and the realities the writing process demands.

The practical and motivational workshop is ideal for writers who are looking for discipline and need to master the art of time management.

Writing story can be overwhelming, but if you map your journey and break the story down into smaller units of dramatic action, setting deadlines, writers will successfully conquer the writing process and never get lost during the creative process

The workshop is presented by Daniel Dercksen, a published playwright and screenwriter, who has been teaching workshops throughout South Africa the past 15 years, with filmmakers like Henk Pretorius (Leading Lady, Fanie Fourie se Labola) John Barker (Spud 3: Learning to Fly, How to Steal a Million), novelists Lauren Beukes (Zoo City, The Shining Girl), Gary Hirson (The Magic That is Ours and Calm in Storm)and Consuelo Roland (who received acclaim for her Lady Limbo Novel, and was Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award and received an Honorary mention for the Olive Schreiner Prize for her novel The Good Cemetery Guide) as proud graduates of previous workshops, and who has been the most popular contributor to Biz Lifestyle in 2014.

During the workshop the writers explore seven easy steps to make the most of their talent and develop their craft, how to take control and turn passion into words that will inspire action, deconstruct the writing process from start to finish and take positive action, look at what it takes to write for different mediums, and the choice of genre that will determine and limits what’s possible within story.

Writers will also look at developing solid themes that gives stories focus and offers readers a meaningful experience, the tools any craftsman needs that will support the creative process and turn writing into a pleasant and prosperous experience, and improve their chances of success by avoiding the 29 most common pitfalls in writing a story.

At the end of the workshop the writers will map their journey and take ownership of their stories and control the process from idea to final draft..

The art of storytelling is the art of revelation. Storytelling is revealing story events, communicating essential information, provoking the imagination with a new sensibility and ultimately revealing something about the writer’s culture, history, experience and insight of the world and the human condition. Storytelling should ultimately entertain, offer escapism, and allow readers and audiences to explore new territories and discover new worlds and aspects of humanity.

The Writing Studio is an independent training initiative that celebrates the art of storytelling and the craft of writing, fostering the talent of proudly South African storytellers and storymakers.

Daniel Dercksen, the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative has been a published film and theatre journalist for 30 years and has been teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa the past 19 years.

During this time, Dercksen presented a Master Class for Screenwriters at the Talent Campus at the Sithengi Film and TV Market in Cape Town, facilitated a ‘Directing Actors’ workshop with acclaimed actor Eriq Ebouaney, launched an evening course in scriptwriting at the City Varsity Film TV and Multimedia School in Cape Town, presented annual community workshops the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu as part of the Kwa Mashu Film Festival, a course for the Cape Film Commission at the Ikapa Youth Film Festival, a Masterclass at the 2012 Kunjanimation Animation Festival, served as guest speaker and Judge at the 2013 48 Hours Film Project and presented a workshop for animators at Blackginger TV (2013).

As a qualified ETD Practitioner (Education, Training and Development) – accredited by SAQA (The South African Qualifications Authority) and working in accordance with the principles of the Department of Education – Dercksen’s workshops focus on outcomes-based education, training and development.

The Write Attitude is also presented as a correspondence course for writers who cannot commit to the dates or want to take the journey in their own space and at their own pace.

For registration or more information send an email to info@writingstudio.co.za or visit the website www.writingstudio.co.za for more information.

The Imitation Game: Review

Mathematician, cryptanalyst, and war hero Alan Turing, father of of modern-day computing, arrested on a count of “gross indecency” for the criminal offence of homosexuality. Unbeknownst to authorities at the time, this man helped the allies win the war.

The Imitation Game tells two stories of Turning’s life, the story of this arrest, and the story that was declassified in 2005, about his time in the war and how he cracked the code of the Enigma machine.

Benedict Cumberbatch brings in a stellar performance as Turing, balanced by Keira Knightly as Joan Clarke. The acting, story, cinematography, and direction of this film are nothing short of spectacular, and it is clear to see why it is now receiving so much interest as we enter the awards season.

The story is engrossing, and although almost every viewer would know the outcome, one can not but help to feel the urgency and tension that must have been felt by those portrayed on screen. Not being just a serious thriller about the war, and the tragedy of a hero, there are some humorous moments of brevity in the film, leading some chuckles to break the tension.

The Imitation Game is one of those films people will be talking about for years to come, and is a definite must see. It opens 23 January 2015 in South Africa.

Nominations For The 87th Oscars

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Robert Duvall in “The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood
  • Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash” (winner)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
  • Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore in “Still Alice” (winner)
  • Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
  • Reese Witherspoon in “Wild

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood” (winner)
  • Laura Dern in “Wild
  • Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

Best animated feature film of the year

  • “Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli (winner)
  • “The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
  • “Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Achievement in cinematography

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki (winner)
  • The Grand Budapest HotelRobert Yeoman
  • “Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski (winner)
  • “Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
  • Unbroken Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design

  • The Grand Budapest HotelMilena Canonero (winner)
  • “Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
  • “Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
  • MaleficentAnna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
  • “Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

Achievement in directing

Best documentary feature

  • “CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky (winner)
  • “Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
  • “Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
  • “The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
  • “Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best documentary short subject

  • “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry (winner)
  • “Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
  • “Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
  • “The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
  • “White Earth” J. Christian Jensen

Achievement in film editing

Best foreign language film of the year

  • “Ida” Poland
  • “Leviathan” Russia
  • “Tangerines” Estonia
  • “Timbuktu” Mauritania
  • “Wild Tales” Argentina

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • “Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie
    Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
  • “Glory” from “Selma”
    Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (winner)
  • “Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
    Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
    Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
    Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Best motion picture of the year

  • American SniperClint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers (winner)
  • BoyhoodRichard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
  • The Imitation Game Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
  • “Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
  • The Theory of EverythingTim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
  • “Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

Achievement in production design

  • The Grand Budapest HotelProduction Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock (winner)
  • The Imitation Game Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
  • Interstellar Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • “Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Best animated short film

  • “The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
  • “The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
  • “Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed (winner)
  • “Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
  • “A Single Life” Joris Oprins

Best live action short film

  • “Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
  • “Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
  • “Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
  • “Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
  • “The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas (winner)

Achievement in sound editing

Achievement in sound mixing

  • American SniperJohn Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin (winner)
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
  • Interstellar Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
  • UnbrokenJon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
  • “Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley (winner)

Achievement in visual effects

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
  • Interstellar Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher (winner)
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

Adapted screenplay

Original screenplay

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (winner)
  • BoyhoodWritten by Richard Linklater
  • Foxcatcher Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
  • “Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

Taken 3: Review

Bryan Mills is back. After having his daughter taken in the first film, he and his wife being taken in the second, he is now accused of a vicious murder that he never committed.

Taken 3 takes the serious in a different direction. and thankfully avoids the over-the-top violence of the previous film, rather going for the more relevant action of the first film. For those who take note, the cinematography is not the best, but, you’re likely to be too wrapped up in Bryan keeping ahead of those chasing him, both good and bad guys.

Regulars are back, with Famke Jansen and Maggie Grace, with newcomer Forest Whittaker.

Taken 3 is a great escape, and a thrill ride, for audiences. It’s action packed, while not being overly violent. A good story to carry the on-screen action, and of course, Liam Neeson delivers his usual “A game”.

Taken 3 opens 16 January in South African cinemas, and is sure to thrill viewers.

Guardians Of The Galaxy (Blu-Ray): Review

The Film

Guardians of the Galaxy, the story of Peter Quill (or as he likes to be known, Star Lord). Another mega-epic from Marvel. Peter is chased by a bounty hunter after he finds an orb with the power to destroy the entire universe. Along the way he meets up with Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax.

In this band of misfits, each has their own personal interests, but, can they work together for the great good?

Read the full Guardians of the Galaxy review.

For those who saw this in the cinema, many returned time and again to see it on the big screen, so the rewatchability of this on Blu-Ray is very high, and is sure to keep younger viewers occupied for many hours, and older view spotting new bits of detail they missed before.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, and boasts a 7.1 surround soundtrack, giving any theatre system a full workout.

Bonus features include:

  • Guide To The Galaxy With James Gunn – taking us on set (through the magic of an old arcade game intro, in line with the 80s nostalgia of the films music. This featurette details the attention to detail, and the amount of planning, and hard work that went into creating the look and feel of the film, from the colour palette of each planet, to the looks of the various characters. A great insight.
  • The Intergalactic Visual Effects For Guardians Of The Galaxy – Rocket and Groot, characters create by the magic of visual effects. We are shown how these two integral characters became such a seamless part of the group of five guardians. How the characters were represented on set, how do the actors interact with them when they are not there? For the more technically minded viewer, but of great interest to all.
  • Exclusive Look At Avengers: Age Of Ultron – The next chapter in this epic series, shot in part here in South Africa, including local cast and crew. Something to keep fans excited until the eventual release of the film.
  • Gag Reel – Want to see the bloopers? Have a laugh? See some of the more fun aspect of life, and hard work, on set.
  • Audio Commentary With Director James Gunn – One for budding filmmakers and fans alike. A great insight into the various aspects of the film. Learn how various scenes were imagined, created, gain insight into the thought and creative process.
  • Deleted And Extended Scenes – Some scenes that, for various reasons, pacing, or relevance, were shortened, or cut from the final film. See why these were changed.

Guardians of the Galaxy is available to buy now in South Africa.

72nd Golden Globe Awards Winners

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
JK Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Joann Froggatt – Downton Abbey

Best TV Movie or Mini-series
Fargo

Best Actor in a Mini-series or TV Movie
Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo

Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Transparent

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Glory (Selma) – John Legend and Common

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Matt Bomer – The Normal Heart

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams – Big Eyes

Best Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman

Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

Best Foreign Language Film
Leviathan

Best Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie
Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Honourable Woman

Best TV Series, Drama
The Affair

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Kevin Spacey – House of Cards

Lifetime Achievement Cecil B DeMille Award
George Clooney

Best Director – Motion Picture
Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Ruth Wilson – The Affair

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Michael Keaton – Birdman

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Boyhood

Into The Storm (Blu Ray): Review

The Film

Into The Storm covers the events of a day in a town called Silverton, when it is ravaged by unprecedented storms, and an onslaught of tornadoes.

The film has an amount of rewatch value, and is sure to appeal to those who enjoy the thrill of the danger.

Read the full Into The Storm review.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, with vibrant colours, no bleed, and no visible artefacts on screen. Audio is presented in a surround 7.1 soundtrack, and will give any theatre system a workout.

The disc also contains some bonus features, with a featurette on tornadoes, giving an insight into these powerful forces of natures. A feature on the armoured storm chasing vehicle, the Titus is included, which includes footage of real-life storm chasers. The third, and final disc extra details the various special effects and practical techniques used to create the on-screen carnage.

There is unfortunately no audio commentary, which although many would not miss this, does make a nice addition, considering the vast amount of space on a Blu Ray disc.

Into The Storm is available now, for purchase, in South Africa.

Transformers Age Of Extinction (Blu-Ray): Review

The Film

Mankind faces possible extinction, in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, the Autobots must avoid a bounty hunter, and a badly damaged Optimus Prime lands in the hands of a failing mechanic and his young daughter.

This is certainly a special effects extravaganza, with totally out of this world set-pieces, and astounding stunts. Sadly, in all this, the filmmakers forgot to make the story interesting for the rest of us. The story also tends to drag on far too long, so many would likely watch with intervals in-between.

It’s a pity such a big budget film, with all the special effects, and capable cast, did not deliver when it came to a compelling story. Fans of action, and the series will likely get a great deal of rewatch value from the film, and it’s sure to show off any fancy 3D home theatre setup. It just won’t exercise your brain much.

Disc And Bonus Features

The two disc, 3D blu-ray contains a dedicated bonus disc.

Bonus features include:

  • Bay on action
  • Evolution within extinction
  • Just another giant effin’ movie
  • A spark of design
  • T.J. Miller farm hippie
  • Trailers

The bonus features are a gem for filmmakers, and those interested in the secrets behind the on-screen magic. They don’t just skim the surface, but take the viewer right on to set, and reveal a ton of information. This bonus disc is what will make the purchase worthwhile. Whereas the film falls way short of anything entertaining, the bonus disc will sure make up for that.

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, making for a smooth 3D experience, with no onscreen artefacts. The audio is surround, and will give an theatre system a workout, although, not as much as the previous films in this series.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction is available to purchase now, in South Africa.

Earth To Echo (DVD): Review

The Film

Earth To Echo, the delightful tale of Echo, an energetic, little alien, befriended by a group of young boys, that has managed to hack their cellphones, and has led the bunch on their last adventure before their town is torn down to make way for a new project.

This is certainly a film worth seeing, but it will depend greatly on the viewer as to whether they can watch it over and over, or just have the one heart warming experience.

Read the full Earth To Echo Review.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, with vibrant colours, with no bleed apparent on screen, and no artefacts. Audio is encoded in surround. This will not over-tax the rear channels, but this is understandable, with the amount of ‘found footage’ parts in the film.

There are unfortunately no bonus features on the disc.

Earth To Echo is available now, for purchase, in South Africa.

House Of Magic (DVD): Review

The Film

The story of Thunder, the abandoned young cat, now available on disc. This film about triumph, overcoming, teamwork and family, not to mention, magic, will certainly stand up to repeat views.

Thunder stumbles upon a House of Magic, and there meets all sorts of other creatures and magical beings. Although not welcomed by all, he pulls the inhabitants together, when the houses magician owner lands in hospital, and his scheming nephew tries to sell the place.

A small bit of action, earning it a PG rating for violence, but nothing parents need worry about.

Read the full House of Magic Review.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate meaning it can be scaled up to HD, for those who wish, and there are no visible artefacts on screen. Colours are vibrant, with no colour bleed.

The audio is encoded in surround, drawing the viewer into the onscreen action, of which there are several sequences with plenty of detail.

There are unfortunately no bonus features on the disc.

House Of Magic is available no in South Africa, to purchase.