"Welcome Back To The Blog"
In my monthly favourties, we’ll be looking at cool, interesting, useful and/or educational things in which I’ve discovered or been using over the last month.
I’m doing this in order to help others to find things which they may be able to implement into their own lives, workflows or just to enhance their overall productivity, creativity and storytelling skills.
This month, we’ll be looking at the Rivers Travel Cup, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and the Team Deakins Podcast, starring acclaimed cinematographer, Roger Deakins, and his collaborator, James Deakins.
Feel free to check out the video above or even drop a comment down below if you think you’ve discovered something that will be cool to share!
Rivers Drinkware Wallmug
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking for the perfect travel coffee cup for a while now, and not just for coffee, as I am a constant fiend when it comes to Yorkshire Tea and Twinings Camomile (with a little Vanilla and Honey for added oomph).
All of the travel mugs I’ve tried so far have either not kept the drink fully hot or cold. In most cases, they have also leaked at either at the seal of the lid itself (super annoying) or the actual catch which you open up to drink from (even more annoying).
I think we’ve all been there to be honest. We’ve wanted to take a cup with us, along with our tablet, notebooks and other stationary to do some writing or study in a cafe or a library. However, we’ve had to leave it at home to avoid a literal luke-warm flood over all of our valuables.
This was, until recently, when a friend of mine recommended this brand to me. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
It has a fantastic double-walled design, meaning it does actually keep whatever is inside of it cold or hot for a decent period of time, as well as giving a bit of heft to it. It feels like a proper mug, but without the added weight of ceramic… hard to explain, but trust me – the magic works.
However, the single most amazing thing for me is that it is totally leak proof so far from using it for several weeks now.
I’ve thrown it around in my bag and dropped it on the floor (by accident, don’t worry – no coffee cups were harmed in the making of this article) and it is still performing just the way it did when I first took it out of its box.
Don’t take my word for it – check out the video where I actually tip it upside down with a full cup of coffee inside… and it doesn’t budge an inch.
I can wholehearetdly recommend this cup for anyone busy who is just looking for a reliable and worry-free option. However, it does have its con – and yes, only a single one.
It isn’t the cheapest travel mug out there, but this is backed up by a fantastic warranty, being completely made out of recycled materials – making it environmentally friendly, and isn’t actually that expensive when you consider what I’ve mentioned above.
I’ve spent a lot more on different mugs, trying to find the perfect one that wouldn’t leak and destroy my things. And now… I think I’ve found it.
Lesson learnt here? Always spend a little more on quality and you’ll save more in the long run.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
A lot of you will probably know it now because of the recent TV series produced by Amazon Prime Video and the BBC, but Good Omens was one of my favourite reads while growing up.
It’s a good natured read that truly enjoys to show you the characters in which you follow along as you zig-zag through their perspectives as the chapters progress. And it does this without being obnoxious and without really holding your hand either (although it does explain certain things, but in a tongue-of-cheek way).
If you’ve read either Pratchett or Gaiman before, shame on you if you haven’t, you’ll know that they love the outright silly. The unique skill they have is that they do this while exploring serious themes and subject matters that are very much relevant to modern life.
I love how it explores the dichotomy between good and evil, heaven and hell, politics and terrorism.
It’s a charming, witty book about the end of the world, after all, and an unlikely pair, an angel and a demon who work together to prevent it.
But, ultimately, the book is about friendship – the friendship of Crowley (Demon) and Aziraphale (Angel) over the ages, how they get used to the finer things that Earth has to offer, such as Queen music, old books and influencing the minds of humans for the greater good or evil.
While you could argue that sometimes the humour in the book is seemingly forced for laughs, I don’t think this weighs down the narrative or the story at all and could be like Marmite/Vegemite to some people – meaning some will love it, some will not.
I, for one, am in the former camp.
In addition to all of this, it’s not only a classic, highly successful book (which is on sale right now on Amazon), but it’s something you can read and analyze if you’re looking to write about widely familiar topics and subjects and you want to explore them in a fresh way that portrays them as something quite silly.
I recommend Good Omens for a good read, a pleasant time and a jolly caper in which you’ll grow to love an angel and demon. Oh, and be aware – you’ll never be able to listen to a certain Queen song in the same way every again (phew… there’s the disclaimer over and done with).
Team Deakins Podcast
Lastly, this month I want to talk about the podcast, Team Deakins.
A podcast which is in the style of a casual conversation wherein we get some insight from acclaimed cinematographer, Roger Deakins, and his collaborator, James Deakins – supported by a whole cast of other industry professionals, ranging from actors, editors, lighting technicians, composers and more.
Each podcast episode usually starts from a submitted question on the Deakins website and then evolves as the conversation tackles the practices of Team Deakins, as well as those of the other professionals.
This gives us a sneak peak into the thoughts and ideas behind some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history.
I’m a huge film nerd and it’s something I’m aspiring to keep learning about and I’ve come to a conclusion when it come to improving what I want to do.
I need to understand the thought process of other writers, directors and DPs in order to understand my own process as a storyteller.
Learning how to do something is a skill, but learning why you want to do it and why it is motivated in the first place will teach you far better in the long run than learning a how.
For example; why would you choose to backlight an actor in such-and-such scene, rather than the how. The how would be the technical skill. The why here is covering the emotion, the intent, the motivation.
The same can be applied to writing or other creative pursuits. How do I write a character than hooks in the audience? Change that question around. Why do I want this character to hook the audience?
That will make you better prepared in developing the overall narrative and have a more fulfilling payoff.
This podcast is a perfect example of learning the ‘why’ and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get into the film industry, or are just a film nerd like me.
"Thank You For Reading."
This is the first of my monthly favourites blog posts (and video) and I’ll be doing this every month to share cool, interesting or educational things that I’ve discovered.
I hope they were as interesting or useful as I thought they were.
Let me know below what you’ve discovered recently – I can’t wait to check them out!