Friday, 26 November 2010

What's In A Name?

Right, so, it has come to my attention that some people think the name of this blog is pretentious. I think I should take a moment to address this.

The title 'The One Most Responsive To Change' is not a reference to myself. I in no way am trying to infer superiority or that I am the only one who is able to see and correctly respond to something. I can understand now how that could be taken, but the actual explanation for the is far less self-gratifying and a little bit more complicated.

The phrase is actually a popular paraphrasing of the tail end of a quote often attributed to Charles Darwin, but actually spoken by Clarrence Darrow (in the vein of Darwin). The full quote is "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change". Good stuff, eh? It seems even more relevant in the current economic situation (being Irish and all, I have a lot to say on this matter, but I shall hold my tongue for the moment!). The use of 'responsive' instead of 'adaptable' seems to just be some oversight that was never corrected. But why is that the name of my blog? Well, the answer is either kind of a amusing or immensely boring.

Awhile back, I was messing around on Facebook and came across one of those silly tasks you can do that you publish the results of. I believe I found this one off of either Ruthie or Bev. Anyway, the task was to create your band name, album name and album cover art. I don't quite remember how you were supposed to go about all the tasks, but I know that the album name was taken by using the last few words of a random quote you were given. Mine just happened to be this. The band name and picture have long since been lost to me as I had no interest in them. However, the quote stuck with me. I found this when I was in my final year of college, just before I knew I was about to move country, away from all my family and friends. Finishing college is a big enough change, but moving country (to attend another college, FYI) was a bit of a bigger change. I had been making music for a few years under the pseudonym of Sounds Like and had just began jamming with my 'little sister' (ie. awesome friend who I'd known since she was in her early teens) Bev, which was a big change from the isolated, over-thinking, secluding pieces I had been doing up to that point. Hell, we even did a jam that I ended up liking so much that I decided to call The One Most Responsive To Change. I also decided that the material we had been working on would be collected in an album of the same name. 

To date, the album (well, EP) isn't finished yet, but the sentiment remains the same. The phrase is not about my own achievements over others, assuming people are beneath me. In fact, I have come to use it in quite the opposite way. I have opened up to people musically, which I feel has benefited me. I moved country, where I happily completed college and made some new friends I feel all the better for meeting. Now, with the writing, I use the title in reference to my own moving forward from what hasn't worked for me. Before this, I had a MySpace blog. It came out of my teenage years, so it is full of bad poetry and angsty rants. I always liked people reading my stuff, but that was the kind of thing you write while pissed off or with some agenda. When I look back at it now, I cringe (though I am far too sentimental to delete any of it!). This blog now makes my attempts to write stuff a little less rant filled, and without the bad poetry. I am hoping that what I write here might appeal to some people. I am interest and actively involved in filmmaking, so it is a good forum to get info/news/thoughts out that way. I am also maddly into horror or kind of obscure films, so I may from time to time use this as a forum to give my differing view on some of them. If anything music related comes up that I feel is relevant, I may try bring it up here too. You have been warned.

So, I hope that has shed some light on the blog title. I guess it is a bit more of a mantra for myself than anything. It's not a bad one to have either. Life will keep changing. I want to keep up with it.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The House on Haunted Hill *cue evil laughter*

I just finished watching the 1999 version of House On Haunted Hill. My God, I forgot how much I enjoy that film. Granted, it doesn't scare me anymore (unlike The Shining, which terrifies me more and more each viewing) but there are so many subtle nuances and plotlines I never noticed I completely missed before. Beware: what follows is a rant about a film that most people probably didn't see.

I wonder if the film was lost in a sea of other mainstream late-90s films. There are undeniable similarities between this film and The Haunting remake or the Blair Witch 2 (the latter also being an under-rated film) and perhaps in the wake of the original Blair Witch Project, audiences were just too blasé to the more tradition styled horror film. I've always liked this film though, finding it having just the right amount of disturbing visuals and intriguing plot with constant turns.

Watching it again tonight (and projected for the first time), I was glad I still enjoyed it, and maybe even appreciated it even more. I decidedly analysed the acting to see if it was full of the usual B-movie downfalls you'd expect, but no, each character has a driven character and the actors are nothing short of world class. Geoffrey Rush is so perfect as the Vincent Price-like character, even though it's a role that could have gone so wrong. I applaud you, Mr. Rush. With that said, I don't think there's a single character I could not give accolades to.

Then looking at the films visuals, the mind boggles that when a film can be made look as good as this, we still have underwhelming ugly pieces of trash littering the cinema screens now. Without wanking cinematic language, the film has no compositions that feel awkward and all the lighting, though very stylized, gives the film that other-worldly look that is just stunning. For anyone with an overabundance of free time and nothing else to do, look at how many different creatures and odd designs show up. Some of them only last for a few frames whereas a different film would dwell on them to get the most bang for their buck. The understating of this is fantastic.

Many moments recall early Marilyn Manson videos, which is to say they are eerie in a 'what the hell is that on that guy' kinda vibe. If you've seen the Silent Hill film, you get the jist of this style. There is something Gothic yet modern about it, something to make you look in disgust and decide is it horror or art. Mentioning Marilyn Manson, this films use of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) is what got me into the shock-rocker. It is one of my favourite uses of music in a film, I must say.

The film only downfalls in minor places (some clichéd music cues and some bad powdered hair), but all in all, this is as close to the perfect haunted house film as I have seen (matched by the original version of The Haunting). Filmmakers would do well to learn from the horrorshow on display here. The elements that others (understandably) consider the downfall of this film could be improved upon and we could see something so rare; a good haunted house film that people can respect. Someone get Christopher Nolan on that shit to reboot it gritty Dark Knight style.

Obviously I'm gushing fanboy here. I really enjoyed this film. I understand why it didn't win any Oscars. I can see why some people might not like it. What I cannot understand is how it got so many bad reviews when it came out. This film should have been a catalyst for a new and exciting age of horror film. Let's face it, the majority of late 80s and 90s horror sucked (bar the groundbreakers; Scream and Blair Witch). This film gave some class and beauty to the ailing genre (I guess it would be irresponsible not to mention William Malone, who I cannot say I am familiar with otherwise, but this film gives me enough to respect him wholeheartedly) and for it to not even be remembered by most is... well, it's sad, really. I truly believe this film may have gotten lost in the post-Blair Witch hype and was never found again.

What I think would be appropriate, is for horror fans, or those with a fleeting interest in the genre (it's negotiable!) to check this film out. Buy it, rent it, download it, whatever. Just give this little gem another chance. It's not Citizen Kane, but then again, how much better would Citizen Kane have been if it featured a haunted asylum?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Tonight I was going to go to bed early....
It is now 1am and I have work in a few hours...
I must stop being helpful to people!

For your consideration:

Richard Waters Showreel 2010 from Richard Waters on Vimeo.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Here it goes, I guess.

Well, here I am.

I've only ever really half-heartedly blogged with MySpace being my trusty safe home for years now but a certain friend (you know who you are!) demanded I get a real blog.

And now we're here.

I'll keep it brief for now. Think of this as an introduction (though if anyone I don't personally know reads this I will be shocked). My name is Richard and I am an aspiring 'filmmaker'. I use brackets because I find it very cringy to associate myself to a career without having any sense of perspective on what I am declaring myself to be without question. I also make music (though you may prefer to describe it more as noise). I used to write stories/poetry/lyrics/whatnot, but it has been a long time and what I have written was born out of angst and is really just blackmail material for those who get their hands on it.

On my previous blog, I had a tendency to go on long diatrides and rant in a nonsensical manner, so I shall try avoid that here for as long as I can. I might try ease in to things by looking at film and music bits first. We'll see where I go from there.

So, that is the intro over. Time for some business.

I graduated from college last year and am currently working in the same college as the Artist In Residence (essentially a lackey for the tutors and a lifeline for new students). One job requirement is to make pieces throughout the year, which I am more than happy to oblige, as I really enjoy shooting films and the entire soul-destroying process.

Recently, I made a music video for local Swansea grunge/rock band Judge Tuxedo. It is maybe the most professional thing I have made so far and I want to share it with all. A few quick details on it: 

-Shot on Canon 7D
-Crewed by the amazing talents Alison Scarff, Maria Owen and Andrew Hamley
-Shot on 10/10/10 (and we finished at about 10.10pm, go figure)
-Released on 31/10/10, which is quite quick but also slower than I would have liked. It would have been ready 3 days after we shot it had I not had work commitments.

The entire experience was fun and educational. The band were sweethearts- I mean, badasses. The crew were talented and exactly what you;d want from a crew. I would love to repeat the experience again and hopefully more bands will see the video and will say 'you know what? We should ask this guy to make a video for us'. This will be followed by them throwing a bag of money at me (in my dreams). I would love to have a career at this since it seems to be something I truly love and am somewhat good at. Now just to get everything moving along so I can make more music vids and that elusive feature film!

But for now, please enjoy my most professional looking piece: Judge Tuxedo's Nothing On Me:

Judge Tuxedo - Nothin On Me from Richard Waters on Vimeo.

Well, I guess I went on a bit longer than I was planning. If anyone read this (ALL of this), God help you.