Tuesday, 30 April 2013

What Has Happened To Society?

It’s a serious question. I am nineteen years old and already my mum thinks I sound like a woman three times my age when we’re out in public. Sure, there will always be a small minority who have no sense for the word ‘courtesy’, but lately that minority seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I used to hold doors for people and more often than not I would receive a word of thanks, but now I am usually ignored or given a look as if it to remind me that I am 'below' them. Why? Who knows. All I know is that it is more than just the 'youth of today' who have forgotten their manners.


Take gigs for example. My family and I went on one earlier this month, and naturally there were plenty of times when we had to stand up and let people pass to get to and from their seats. But where once we would have been thanked for letting them pass, it sometimes appeared that we were expected to be able to read their minds when they stood and talked at the end of our row, and know whether they had seats in our row or the row in front of us. If we stood and it was the latter, we were stared down as though we’d gone mad. If we stood and it was the former, they would impatiently pass us without even a single hint of appreciation. I don’t understand it. Since when was it so difficult to simply say “excuse me” and “thank you” on your way to your seat? Surely it’s just common decency.

Of course, it’s not just on foot that the human race has started to forget about manners. It’s well known that driving can often be a stressful experience, especially when traffic congestion is a matter. But that does not give people the right to act like stroppy little kids, pushing into the queue or not allowing people into the queue by blocking their way with their vehicle. Again, this is a small minority that appears to be increasing in size. What annoys me most is that some of these people are people who grumble about the 'youth of today', as though they are in no way setting an improper example for the younger generations.

The utter rudeness possessed by some members of society make a girl of nineteen sigh and frown upon the world like a cynic entering the final years of her life. Has the nation always been like this? Have I been kidding myself all along that it was once a well-mannered community...or at least more so than it is now? Perhaps it all comes down to the idea that people have become more and more narcissistic over the years. Maybe even this post is considered an example of narcissism from another's point of view. Individuality is key, and since the population of the world is considerably bigger than, say, a decade ago, perhaps people are striving to make themselves known, even if that means throwing respect out with the trash. My mother always taught me that manners cost nothing, yet now it appears it is not only the children who need reminding of this. Say "please" and "excuse me" and "thank you". Wait your turn in line. Don't glare or mutter under your breath rude comments. Hopefully - just like the 60s styled clothes did - the wonder of manners will come back in fashion.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Revive Samuel Brett Williams' play: Jake Silbermann's new film project


As some of you may know, Jake Silbermann is an actor, producer and writer who I really look up to as an inspiration. I first became a fan of his when I came across the American daytime TV show, 'As The World Turns', where he starred as film fanatic Noah Mayer. His character's romance with Luke Snyder (played by one Van Hansis) was hailed as the first gay male soap opera supercouple - and featured the first gay kiss on daytime - despite controversy about their storyline. And despite the fact that sometimes the writers lacked the ability to keep their own characters in...well...character, it was still a show I was able to enjoy.


Lately Jake has been very busy as a filmmaker. He wrote the 2010 short film 'Stuffer' which won "Best Short Film" at 2010 Royal Flush Festival, was one of the producers, and starred in it. He funded the project through Kickstarter and the project was backed by over 200 donors who pledged over $50,000. Now he is back with a new project: The Revival.

The Revival is a feature length film written and directed by Samuel Brett Williams. The story follows Eli, a southern baptist preacher in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His congregation is dwindling because of a nearby mega-Church. With hopes of inspiring the locals and fulfilling his father's legacy, a revival is planned. That is until his world is turned upside down when a young man comes to town looking for food and shelter.

As they begin to fall in love it becomes clear that someone has been watching them, and their secret life is no longer safe. This forces Eli to choose between his love for Daniel and his love for God, his church, and his family. The Revival explores faith in the Deep South and asks: how far will you go for the things you believe in?

Of course, making films doesn't come cheap. The estimated final budget is about $200,000, and Jake is asking for $67,000 to secure additional funding from several private investors. Pledging as little as $1 can help them get one step closer to their target, but if they don't reach $67,000 by the deadline the project won't see a cent.

There are many great rewards that can be earned for backing the project, from signed screenplays to passes for a day on set. After all, your pledges are greatly appreciated.

To pledge to this project, click HERE

I have already pledged a sum of $25. Help Jake make this film. Let's do it together!


Claire

PS. Jake has written an awesome article on his thoughts on playing a gay character and the usual question he gets asked by journalists: "Are you afraid of being type cast as gay?"

Monday, 22 April 2013

LUTheatre Presents: Sweetmeat

Remember that awesome play, Sweetmeat, that I told you guys about? The one by LUTheatre's one and only Ivo De Jager? Well you can now see how awesome it is via YouTube!

Yes, we have finally edited and uploaded the footage of this original play that tells the story of Sigmund and Christian, who become romantically involved much to the dismay of Sigmund's friend - and ex - Felix. The relationship intensifies very quickly, to the point that the couple start cutting themselves off from the world, worrying their friends and family. They reach questionable boundaries within their relationship as they try to wrap around one another in an attempt to hold off the loneliness and feeling of being outcasts in a world that can seem so meaningless.

Here is the video. You're welcome!


Saturday, 13 April 2013

Short Story: Timeless Words (Part Three)


The pair now sat on one of the sofas, sipping hot chocolate as Sarah – or Kaylie – explained everything to a dumbstruck Ashley.

“Fame had gone to your head,” she told Ashley. “Whenever I called you, whether it was for some support or if it was genuinely to see how you were doing, you would just go on and on about yourself and the book you were writing next and the people you had met. It was like I didn’t matter at all. When my mother finally died, you didn’t even have the decency to turn up for the funeral and support me.”

“Surely I was doing something important,” Ashley suggested defensively. “I wouldn’t have just not turned up.”

“You were at a party with some of your new friends.”

She winced at that. “Oh,” she said quietly.

“Yeah. Oh.” There was a long pause. “It took a few years for me to really lose my patience with you, but it happened. I was reading the acknowledgements for your books and the only one that mentioned me was your very first book. It just caused something inside me to snap. I was so low, I was struggling to hold down a job, and you were cutting the rope that was our friendship. I really just...snapped.

“My friend, Roddy, had been studying the ways of time travel for quite some time, so I knew how I was going to change things in the past to sort it out and possibly make things easier for the me who was yet to go through losing her mum. I waited for nine years, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Sarah took a sip of her hot chocolate. “As I see it, you have two choices,” she said, “and depending on the one you choose I can either make or break you. Don’t make me break you.”

Ashley nodded before draining her mug. “You’re right,” she said, “and I’m so sorry for how I – the future me – treated you. I really am.” She got up. “I’ll sort this.”

Sarah watched as Ashley walked out of her office with a smile on her face. For some reason, she believed her.





Ten months later

The copies in her hands were something she never thought possible. Sure, it had once been a dream of hers once upon a time, but she never in a million years believed it to become a reality. Now here she stood with a box of the first batch of what she just knew was going to be a huge success amongst readers her age. Yes, she was certainly going to be busy once her new career took off.

She smiled as she took in the brightly coloured front cover. ‘The Adventures of Kid: Unlocked’ Episode 1. Written by Ashley Davies. Illustrated by Kaylie Evans. Drawing comic strips had merely been a hobby to pass the time at school initially, but Ashley came up with the idea for them to start their own comic and the ideas came flowing out of her like never before. She wasn’t sure why Ashley had suddenly decided for them to work on this project together, but she appreciated it. It was a nice change from her panicking about what she was going to do with her life while her best friend excelled, leaving her behind. She liked the new Ashley.

She often wondered if it had something to do with those Sarah Hawkes books for this change in Ashley but she never asked. Besides, Ashley had a book that was in the middle of the publishing process now so all was good.

Her train of thought was interrupted by her phone ringing. Ashley.

“They’ve arrived!”

“They have? That’s great! Are you at home now?”

“Yeah I am,” Kaylie replied. “Where are you?”

“I’m just going through some finishing touches on the book with my editor, and then I’ll be right with you. We’re nearly done; I’ll be there in about fifteen, okay?”

“That’s fine. How’s it going?”

“We’re very optimistic, let’s just say that.”

Kaylie smiled into the phone. “You deserve this, Ashley.”

“And you deserve this. I’ll see you soon.”

Hanging up, Kaylie couldn’t stop grinning. Life was looking up. She and Ashley were closer than ever before and her career was now taking off. Everything was looking up. Well...nearly everything.

“How’s your mum?” Ashley asked when she came in.

Kaylie sighed. “Not good. She’s always sleeping these days. The doctors have said there’s not much else they can do for her. It’s not looking good.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s hardly your fault.”

“Just know that I’m here for you. No matter what. Okay?”

Kaylie smiled. “Of course,” she said.

“I mean it,” Ashley vowed. “You’re my best friend. I’m not going to let you go through this on your own.”

“Well, that’s all I needed to know.”

They hugged. “Now come on,” Ashley said with an encouraging pat on the back, “let’s get to work on episode 2. I have loads of ideas for how Kid can escape those cells.”

It was difficult for Kaylie to not smile despite her mother’s condition. She had a true friend in Ashley, and she knew that she could get through anything with her for support.

She paused a moment as Ashley went into the dining room before taking a letter out of her pocket. The creases were enough to prove that she perhaps knew what the letter said word for word, yet it was still some comfort to have it with her at all times. The generous stranger had also attached a cheque for £75,000 for her to “use to your greatest advantage”.

This, right here, was to her advantage.



THE END

Short Story: Timeless Words (Part Two)



The office was more like an apartment than a place to do paperwork. Two cream sofas with plush red cushions stood in a corner. A door stood ajar, no doubt leading to an en suite bathroom. Ashley glanced around, a sick jealousy weighing down her stomach.

This was her life, and somehow this woman had it instead.

“Nice place,” she commented dryly. She wandered over to the window but the view sickened her more. It was all so terribly beautiful.

“Why thank you,” was the smug reply. “Would like anything to drink? Tea? Coffee? Something stronger?” Ashley shook her head. “Perhaps a bite to eat?”

Ashley couldn’t believe how casual this woman was being. “No thank you,” she said in a rather pointed tone. Sarah merely shrugged and poured herself a glass of red wine before sitting down on one of the sofas.

“Please, sit down,” she said with a lazy gesture of the hand.

“I’d rather remain standing thanks.”

“Ashley,” the woman sighed with a roll of the eyes. “There’s no need to be discourteous.”

“And I apologise greatly,” Ashley replied quickly, “but I can’t be civil to a self-aggrandising, plagiarising, loathsome woman such as yourself.”

Sarah smiled. “No need to be rude,” she said gently as she gestured more insistently towards the sofa. Ashley hesitated before sitting down. “That’s better, isn’t it?” Her tone was sickly sweet, patronising even.

Ashley said nothing, instead casting her gaze to the bookshelf that held a copy of each of Sarah’s – her – novels. “Got a good collection going on there,” she noted flatly.

Sarah smiled. “You’re probably thinking very lowly of me right now, am I correct?”

“You’re making it hard not to,” Ashley admitted.

“How’s that?”

“You somehow steal my stories, ruin my life, and now you’re acting so casual about it. To be perfectly honest, I think you’re a bitch.”

Much to Ashley’s surprise, Sarah burst out laughing. “Oh so I’m the bitch?” She appeared to wipe tears from her eyes as she tried to suppress her giggles. “Well I have news for you, Ashley. You’re the bitch in this story.”

What?

“Excuse me?”

“You think you’re the one who is going through hell? Think again. You’re nothing more than a spoilt brat who needs to learn that there are others who go through tougher times than you without a friend who they can rely on to just drop everything and come running to you.”

“I don’t care what you think you know about me, but you’ve got it completely wrong.”

“Have I?” A beat. “Ashley, I’m from the future. I travelled back in time to-”

“Wait, what? Time travel?”

Sarah merely rolled her eyes before continuing. “-to stop you from becoming a famous author.”

“Why?”

“Because you changed, Ashley. You forgot about everyone you once cared about. Even me.”

Ashley frowned. “I don’t even know you,” she snarled. “How could I possibly-”

“The way things worked out in the future for me,” Sarah interrupted, “started with you publishing your first book – ‘Whispers In The Attic’. It was a huge hit and you were soon being invited to talk on radio shows, go to book signings, and all that kind of stuff. I went on to university but had to drop out after not even a year due to my mother being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.” She took a deep breath in and out. “And despite the fact that we were supposed to be best friends, you were too busy enjoying your success to give a damn about me and what I was going through.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but I still don’t-”

“You’re not listening!” Sarah grabbed Ashley by the shoulders and turned her to face her. “Look at me,” she said. “Really...look at me.” And Ashley did look at her. She saw into the hard outer layer and into the sad soul of a young girl who had always been there with her every step of the way, who knew exactly how to cheer her up when she was at a low point, and who had asked for nothing in return.

“Kaylie?”


Short Story: Timeless Words (Part One)


Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap tap...tap-tap tap...

Pause. Think.

Tap...tap tap...tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap...

Another hour later she was smiling at the completed manuscript resting delicately in her hands. The front page branded her name, and she could imagine it now, millions of copies of her first novel being bought in bookstores all over the world. She would be famous, a worldwide published author at the young age of seventeen, earning millions. While the rest of her classmates would still be dreaming dreams of fortune, she would be living hers, smiling as she undertook her final exams. While they would be chewing their fingernails as they awaited their A level results, she would be writing the sequel to this very story in her hands, knowing that even if she didn’t get into the best university, she would still be going places with her writing.

She looked down at the title page. ‘Whispers In The Attic’ by Ashley Davies. This was only the beginning for her, she could feel it.

And then she met up with an editor and the world came crashing down around her ears.

“You didn’t write this,” he said simply.

“I’m sorry?”

“This isn’t your own work.”

“Yes it is,” Ashley insisted.

“No, it isn’t. This book was written two years ago by Sarah Hawkes. It was a bestseller all over the world. This manuscript is the exact same as her book, word for word.”

“But... But that can’t be right! I’ve been working on this book for nearly four years! I’ve been... I’ve been writing this since I was-”

“Is this some kind of joke?” the editor asked impatiently. “Because I don’t have time for this.”

She left the building a disgrace, distraught, confused. It made no sense. It was her writing. She hadn’t even heard of this Sarah Hawkes before today. How could she possibly have written a story that she had never read word for word?

Her best friend, Kaylie, was also puzzled.

“And you’ve never heard of Sarah Hawkes or read any of her books?” she asked Ashley to confirm.

“Even if I had, how would I write something that is word for word the same without even realising?” Ashley asked.


-


“You think this is funny?” was the question Ashley was asked by yet another editor. It was two years later and yet another one of her books was an exact copy of one by Sarah Hawkes. It was baffling and unnerving. What the hell was actually happening? How was it happening?

“I’ve never even heard of Sarah Hawkes before!” she sobbed, her words falling on deaf ears. Frustrated one night, she deleted all the files on her computer that contained her stories. She would never be a writer now. Her life was...

“...over!”

Kaylie simply watched her friend, an uncertain frown creasing her forehead. “Ashley...” She thought carefully about continuing, but Ashley understood.

“No!” she yelled. “No! You can’t possibly be telling me that you don’t believe me! You’re my best friend!”

“Well I’m sorry for doubting you, Ashley, but what am I really supposed to think? That it’s just another coincidence? These books were published two years ago for Christ’s sake! It’s not like this woman stole your stories.”

“I know,” Ashley sighed. “I know.”

“Tell you what,” Kaylie said suddenly. “Let’s go ice skating. Or bowling. Or go watch a movie. Just to take your mind off this and then maybe later on you’ll be able to come up with something original.”

Ashley nodded before throwing her arms around her friend. “You’re the best, y’know.”

“I do know.”


-


Tears of frustration streaked her face as she stormed up to the reception. The lady at the desk looked down her nose at her with a disapproving look on her face but Ashley didn’t care. She placed the palms of her hands flat on the wooden surface and leaned in towards the receptionist, glaring from underneath her tear soaked lashed.

“I need to see Sarah Hawkes, immediately.”

“I’m sorry but that’s not possible,” the receptionist dismissed her.

“I need to see Sarah Hawkes,” Ashley repeated sternly.

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No, but-”

“Then there’s nothing I can do.”

“Now listen here, you-”

“It’s okay, Martha,” a silky voice reached out behind her. The receptionist nodded submissively, asking politely for the next person in line as Ashley spun around to come face to face with a tall slender blonde woman dressed in a blue pinstripe suit. “Sarah Hawkes,” she introduced herself, offering a hand. “I have been waiting for this day. Follow me; my office is upstairs.”

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Spring Cleaning Sale!

I'm selling some items on eBay that I have barely - if ever - used, so feel free to have a gander at some of the stuff I've put up already. More to come soon!

Click here to check out what I'm selling!


Claire

Hollywood Trips Into Diversity

Progress is finally being made in Hollywood! Viola Davis won an Oscar for Supporting Actress in Fences , and thus became the first black ...