Reading, Reviews, The Blog, University

Orange Squids, Killer Ghosts and Filming a Film

Hello! It’s been a while and I do apologise. I’ve been writing all over the internet but now is the time to share the fruits of my labour. I’m here to tell you about an awesome website run by squidmasters, praise Maureen Johnson‘s latest book and how one of our uni assignments is to film a short film.

I’m a lucky student, I really am. Some of the content I can choose to write about is the stuff of dreams. This term my essay assignment was: Compare and contrast the theme of religious reformation in Final Fantasy X and Dragon Age II. Gosh, that sounds like terrible research. I’d have to read Final Fantasy wikia and watch Dragon Age videos – maybe play a little bit of each game to refresh my memory…

This paper has probably been the most enjoyable I’ve had to write so far – even more enjoyable than my steampunk dossier. As I was researching the symbolism of Yu Yevon script (you should click that link, it’s a great article) I found a great, critical study on a lovely looking website called ‘Squidoo‘. At first, I was baffled by the overwhelming squid theme. I mean, it’s fun, but what is it all about?

To be honest, I still don’t understand why squids are everywhere. I think it’s just a clever branding gimick but I love it all the same. I joined up to click Like on these fantastic articles about Final Fantasy X and within a matter of two days I was addicted and publishing my own squid work. Now here’s the part I’m excited about: I get paid for those of you who visit my articles (Squidoo calls each post a ‘lens’)! That is, however, if you view my lenses without ad-blocker as it’s the advertisements that pay us writers. The advert system on Squidoo is actually pretty clever and relevent as I’ve clicked off to discover some interesting stuff when browsing other squid-peoples’ work.

My lenses so far:
What Makes A Novel ‘Steampunk’?

Steamboy: what makes it a reasonable steampunk film?

A critical investigation into the debates surrounding the film Memento

– From the titles alone you might be able to discern that these are academic essays. It took a lot of research and effort to write them. Now that they’re online I hope others who are researching the same topics will find them useful as I found Helluin’s Final Fantasy lenses useful.

Lensmasters I Love Already:

The Name of the Star
I did something crazy but fun last month. I agreed to buy five of Johnson’s books for five people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and ship them over for World Book Day. I’ve had a copy of TNOFTS moping on my shelf for a while now and it’s only recently that I decided to join in the reading fun and pick it up.

I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in four days. Having graduated from teenagedom it’s been a while since I have managed to read a Young Adult book. Johnson has achieved writing TNOFTS for all ages. It’s told from the perspective of Rory, an 18 year old American student who has moved to a London boarding school, just in time for the return of Jack the Ripper.

The story is tense, gripping and equal parts heartwarming as it is chilling. Each of the characters, especially Jazza and Boo, were compelling, believable and fun to meet. There were times when I didn’t want to hunt for ghosts – despite how fascinating – but hang out with Jazza instead. I felt clever for working out the clues and on edge after finishing numerous chapters. There were a few nights when I felt afraid to turn off the light to go to sleep.

One day I will probably have children and I would like to share with them The Name of the Star, but regardless of your age I recommend giving this book a chance. I’m 99.9% sure you’ll thank me.

Filming a Film
The joys of group work. Actually, this group project is the most fun I’ve had since coming to university. I hate group work, I really do, but so far almost everyone has been fantastically easy to get along with (bar that one person I won’t name *twitch*).

We’ve been discovering the difficulty of filming (in general), handling actors who’ve got a stick up their arse, organising props, positioning the boom-mic out of shot, the magic (or impossibility) of proper lighting equipment, dressing in each other’s clothes, racing against the sun to ensure lighting continuity, the unrelenting cry of a flock of seagulls when trying to film a poignant scene and numerous other challenges.

I’ll be sharing a blooper reel soon enough and, if the rest of the group doesn’t mind, the short film itself. For now, screenshots:


7 thoughts on “Orange Squids, Killer Ghosts and Filming a Film”

    1. What ever you lording want, my sunshine, but you will probably be in the credits with the rest of us muppets. What do you WANT to be credited for? 🙂


        1. Absolutely. We’ve got to profesh opening and then the crazy credits yet to come. No idea how I’m going to make those, by the way. I hope you guys aren’t hoping for scrolling credits. That might take some figuring out on my part! It’s funny what parts of editing are the most time consuming…


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