Friday, September 29, 2006


A new enterprise has seen the light today!

I have brought my skills in magic performance to the commercial scene at


From now on... anyone in need of a Magician can surf to my web page (although still in the making) and 'order' a stage performer for their birthday party, business dinner, or sales promotion.

Have a look and I hope to have you as my audience ;o)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Horror and Thriller in a Cinema near You

The Story (by Germaine Gilbert, director):

It is a gothic horror movie in the style of the expressionist films of the 20's such as Nosferatu. It is set in 19th century. The central character is a professor of psychology and parapsychology. He has come from london to Edinburgh in order to study and disprove the existence of paranormal activity. He is told of a local legend involving a ruined 15th century chapel. They say that every time a person walks around the chapel whilst the church bells are ringing on a Sunday morning, you summon the devil himself. Intrigued he tries it out, only to conjure terrible phantoms from his past that he is desperate to forget.

The characters needed for this film are:

Friar Tuck

The Friar: Male, 25 + years old. The director is looking for someone with the right 'look'. A character face that could potentially look mad and terrifying.

This man rings a phantom bell inside the chapel in the hope that people will hear and come to worship once more. He is angry to see that the parish chooses to ignore this bell and as a result bitterness has decayed his mind.

The Girl: 15-21. A young lady who could pass for a 13-16 year old.

The girl is innocent but she has a seductive and sinister nature that leads the professor to commit great evil.

Academics (Several required): 17-25. Short hair. Preferred if without facial hair.

These are the bright young things of the scientific community. The professor meets with them in order to present to them the results of his research.


This Sunday I will audition for the role of Friar.... an order of the church considered lower in rank than a monk. Is it the age, or my spiritual believes that would make me a suitable candidate for this part? I don't know. At least I get a chance to scare the hell out of my audience ;o)

Speaking of which...

We have started the Freshers' Film project as part of the new membership program of the Edinburgh Movie Production Society (EMPS).

As a mentor for one of the five groups, our film genre will be horror cq thriller!

Film Genres and their main point of attention

So far we have come to the description of our Main Characters:


  • 30 years of age, poor, he can be charming.

  • His parents want him to study Economics.

  • He failed in the 2nd year, because he didn't care.

  • Worked in Tesco petrol station.

  • He is unemployed and angry, and he stole money from the station.

  • Jim looks dangerous, so girls like him, but employers don't go near him.

  • He plays football.

  • He has a bad temper on and off the pitch.

  • His rich family disowned him, because he was a Uni drop-out.

  • Only his big mad dog pays attention to him.

  • Jim likes his dog better than people.

  • He is bitter, since he was betrayed when he was younger.

  • With brown hair, a slight tall figure, brown eyes and a dark jacket, wearing old clothes with two ear-rings, Jim looks distinguished.

  • He likes mainly his own company, and spends a lot of time in a quiet pub.

  • The only one he respects is his older brother, but he is bitter because his brother doesn't like him.

  • Jim is selfish.


  • Suffers from a personality disorder, like Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, two extremes.

  • She drugged her parents as part of her disorder.

  • We are unaware of her current mental state.

  • She is HOT, European.

  • Her age is between 18 and 19.

  • She has an illegal state and a foot fetish.

  • Eloise feeds her pet rat, named after her brother.

  • Her looks are a facade, she steals and commits credit-card fraud.

  • Her characters - Ella & Louise - drink doggy liquids.

  • There is still a lot unknown about her...

Hmmm... can you imagine a story coming out of this?

Next week we will describe the relationship between them and what happens to them that will make this Freshers' Film .... scary!!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You can Count on Them


"... when a movie begins, the audience immediately starts looking for who the Main Character is, so they can take part in the story.

Give it to them. Make it clear. Make the Main Character's first appearance be a metaphor for the person he or she is, or an allegory for the journey he or she is about to undertake.
" - Dan Decker, The Anatomy of a Screenplay

So characters make a story.

And the making of a story can be very healthy, for us, characters, too!

Listen what Daniela O'Neill, professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo ( I know a story about this?) in Ontario, has to say.

"...[We have found] a relationship between math and specific storytelling skills. Kids who ranked highly on certain language skills at age 3 or 4 did better on a math test two years later."


Testing time

O'Neill and Co. rounded up 48 Canadian kids who did not have learning disabilities and showed them "Frog Goes to Dinner," a 12-page picture-only book that shows a boy visiting a restaurant -- with his pet frog.

The amphib gets into a bucket of trouble. No duh! The tester gave each kid a puppet and asked him or her to describe the book's action to the puppet.


  • Taking a character's perspective. At one point, the frog jumps into a lady's salad. As he pokes his amphibian snout from the escarole, the diner silently screams. A child who could take the character's point of view might say, "Eek, there's a frog in my salad!" O'Neill observes. "They are going into her shoes, speaking for her. ... We looked to see how well the children captured the movement of events from character to character. Some children would tell only about the frog's action, and you would hardly know there are other people in the story."

  • Number of events the kids noticed. A more detailed picture of events in the story predicted better math skills two years later.

  • Using mental-state terms. Some kids could express what the characters were feeling. For example, when the frog appeared in the salad, O'Neill says, these kids might observe that the unlucky diner was "surprised."

  • Conclusion

    The brain circuits that help us move through the various parts of a story also help us look at the world from a logical, numerical, mathematical viewpoint.

    More research has found yet another means of healing through storytelling. Jody Koenig Kellas of San Francisco State University and Valerie Manusov of the University of Washington conclude in their paper 'What's in a Story' that:

    "The construction of narratives has been shown to assist sufferers of emotional or traumatic events - such as the ending of relationships - in making sense of and coming to terms with the event."

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Audition for Edinburgh Magic Circle

    It had been raining all day.

    Me and my Magic Books had cuddled up on the bed and cards, coins, and ropes could be found all over my room. Tonight was AUDITION for the Edinburgh Magic Circle.

    History of the Edinburgh Magic Circle, courtesy Richard Phillips

    A long history of magical performing exists here in Edinburgh.

    Professor John Henry Anderson, The Wizard of the North, one of Scotland's greatest ever magicians, performed here in the late nineteenth century. The original 'Wizard of the North' was the writer Sir Walter Scott. The title was later, and more fittingly, applied to a magician.

    The Wizard of the North, John Henry Anderson

    Anderson who was a showman in the grand manner, is credited with moving magic from fairgrounds to the theatre and was believed to be the first conjuror to ever pull rabbits from a hat.

    He had some wonderful tricks and illusions in his act. These included: the Inexhaustible Bottle, which produced any drink requested by the members of the audience, and the Great Gun Trick, in which Anderson was seemingly able to catch a bullet fired at him from a musket.

    The Gun Trick was described as "the most wonderful feat ever attempted by man; an extraordinary deception" was always kept as the finale of his act in order that "ladies might withdraw, to avoid witnessing the Gun Trick".

    Early in the twentieth century, a brash American performer named Houdini packed the theatres for an extended run. A few years later, in 1911, another famous magician, The Great Lafeyette, died in a theatre fire in Edinburgh on the site of the current Festival Theatre.

    Several amateur magicians began associating, and in 1912 formed the Society of Scottish Magicians.

    Soon, however, the lights were going out all over Europe, and not only in theatres. The members of the Society of Scottish Magicians were not to see them lit again in their lifetime. By the end of the Great War the Society of Scottish Magicians had ceased to exist. However, there were many professional and amateur magicians in Edinburgh during the next two decades - as in most cities.

    Several boys who had recently left school began associating to practise magic, and in the summer of 1939 resolved to form the Edinburgh Magic Circle after the end of the summer holidays. But the stormclouds were gathering again in Europe.

    === They agreed that whoever returned first from the war would found the new Circle. ===

    The Edinburgh Magic Circle was eventually formed in 1946. In its early years it performed a full evening show in a theatre every autumn, and took a coach load of members to the magic convention at Newcastle.

    With the rise of television, live performing declined, and fewer places existed for magicians to perform. There were still children's magicians, but few adult stage shows. Instead, adult performing began to turn to close-up magic, at dinners and other functions. Magic also began to be popular for corporate entertaining and promotion.

    For many years the Circle has held the Scottish Young Magician of the Year Competition, and also had a junior section. It now meets in licensed premises, and has no juniors at present.

    Edinburgh Magic Circle continues to be a lively club with a Day of Magic convention in the autumn, an Open Night in the spring, and a high proportion of active performers.

    ... some of them will be me, hopefully ;o)

    So, what to startle my professional magician brothers with?

    No rabbit at hand, I decided to do some close-up magic tricks.


  • First, a slik handkerchief tighly knotted to a preexamined piece of rope mysteriously de-attached itself from the rope with a pinch of magic salt.

  • Next, the Royal Family in the deck of cards had dinner with me at the magic table. Whenever they got separated in a shuffle, they always returned in their seats, next to their husbands or wives!

  • Then three fellow magicians have been invited to sit at my 'dinning' table and eat cards for supper ;o)
    Of course, since it was a Royal meal they had to borrow coins of me to pay for each dish. Whilst turning away, I could predict who would borrow which coin of me; 1 pound, 2 pence or 50 pence. Again applause!

  • Moreover, each of my 'guests' left a coin in one of three glasses, then filled them up with Scottish mineral water (see figure below). The moment I was blindfolded and tasted the water I again could tell them which coin was in which glass. Amazement!!

  • Coin prediction trick by me, the great Tornaldo

  • Finally, the Grand Bet. I betted with two assistants that the one who would empty their glass of water with a straw first would keep all coins. After the count of three, we al sucked our water out of the glass, but no wonder mine got emptied first.... I got to keep all coins ;o)

  • -----

    NOTE: Would you like to win a bet with your friends? Try the Great Bet as I did at the end of my audition.

    Make sure you first pierce a hole halfway straight through each plastic straw, with a needle... and secretly cover the holes whilst you suck the water out of the glass with the coin. Your friends will have a hard time getting any water out of their glasses.... You win all coins!


    In two weeks time from now the Edinburgh Magic Circle will have come to a verdict. Either I have become an honourable member, or they will turn me into a rabbit... eeeeks.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    EMPS on the Web - Part 1

    EMPS is the Edinburgh Movie Production Society

    This society is by and for students that have an interest in movie production, that is to say: WE MAKE MOVIES.

    Starting this new year in College I have been appointed for the position of Publicity in the committee that runs the society.

    For a glimpse at what EMPS is and likes to become, have a look at

    Why am I telling you all this....?

    Well, because you have shown interest in the contents of this web log. I can prove this by showing you today's distribution of visitors who have looked at this page within the last couple of hours.

    See, you are one of them... most welcomed visitors!

    [Click on the link in the left column of this page to verify the visits anytime you like; Map of Visitors]

    To give you a feel of the locations where our fellow-blog-readers reside, here's a recent list:

    Now, why all this web site mambo yambo?


    My site attracts a public, and that is what we like to achieve with EMPS too.

    The more awareness of the society, the more members, the more funds, and ultimately... the more movies ;o)

    So, in sum, my web log will take you on a cruise in the next couple of weeks to explore the design and publication of a new to be built web site for the Edinburgh Movie Production Society.

    Fasten your seat-belts and shout it out when we make sharp turns or sloppy falls through web design country !

    A Primer:

    A design is a translation from an idea (intangible, in the mind) into a concept (tangible, on paper). So is a web design.

    The Idea of the web site:

    Our primary concern in the design of the website is that the whole system should not become 'complex'. To show you what I mean by fighting complexity I will give an example with the use of coins.

    Day One: A web designer has a recordset of society members represented bij a coin (see fig. 1a)

    Fig 1a - One coin represents one recordset of society members (names, email addresses, phone numbers etc)

    The web designer likes to show this recordset on a web page, here represented bij a page icon (see fig. 1b).

    Fig 1b - One page icon represents one web page of the society's web site, 'showing' the recordset cq. coin.

    In sum, there needs to be a connection between the data (i.e. the value of coin) and the representation of the data (i.e. the stated value on the page). This line is drawn in Fig 1c.

    Fig 1c - A connection between the 'data' and the 'representation of data'

    Fairly simple, I would say. But wait until day two comes...

    Day Two: A jolly actor in the society likes to provide his portrait picture for publication on the web site. Hence, he has introduced a second 'source' of data. Here this recordset of pictures is represented by a £1 pound note (see fig. 2a).

    Fig 2a - One note represents one recordset of society members' portrait pictures

    And of course we would like to show this information on a - in this case separate - web page as well (see fig 2b).

    Fig 2b - One page icon represents one web page of the society's web site, 'showing' the recordset cq. note.

    You can guess what this means for the number of connections, it increases... (see fig 2c).

    Fig 2c - Two connections between the 'data' and the 'representation of data'

    Fine, or yet worse. We have introduced more complexity. Imagine how many connections we will have to support when the number of 'data sources' (e.g. coins, notes) and/or the number of 'representations of data' increases (e.g. web pages, but also other means of viewing like mobile phone or handheld computer screens). It might look like figure 13c on day 13.

    Day Thirteen:

    Fig 13c - A horror scenario, way too many connections to support!

    For this we have to introduce a solution, called Model-View-Controller (or MVC in short).

    Model-View-Controller design pattern applied to reduce complexity

    .. more coming soon ..

    The Concept of the web site:

    .. following soon

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    1st Year Edinburgh College of Art Completed

    1st Year Edinburgh College of Art Completed

    After a long Summer at Dundee (Scotland) and a far more intense 1st year at the Edinburgh College of Art I am pleased to inform you that my resit for 'Drawing' has been successful.

    To share the drawings I did over the Summer - besides the DareToBeDigital Computer Game Development Competition - please see them shown below.

    Captain's Lodge on board the ship 'Discovery', Dundee

    Dining Table on board the ship 'Discovery', Dundee

    Colman's Mustard in one of the lodges onboard

    Wooden Crates on the dock, Dundee

    Red Lion on the fence at Standard Life, Edinburgh

    Outside the Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee

    Red Staircase in Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee

    Red & Blue Train Bridge over the River Tay, Dundee

    Bandstand on meadow near River Tay, Dundee

    Red Door of Steeple Church, Dundee (colour pencil & black ink)

    St Andrews Church next to Dundee Contemporary Art Centre

    Steeple Church from outside (collage)

    Steeple Church from inside (crayon on black paper)

    Andre's Cafe, Dundee

    Now that the first year has been completed, on 26th of September the second year starts.

    As before I will keep you updated on another exciting student's year in Film & TV !

    Stay tuned... don't go away ;o)

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Dirty Students

    Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Me leaving the UNITE flat has become a newsitem ;o)

    Click to enlarge: Yes, that's right. It is me in the middle!

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    On the move

    With a new year of studying ahead, I have decided to change rooms and move to a bigger flat. I share the flat with Chris, my fellow Edinburgh Movie Production Society (EMPS) board member. That allows us to have meetings... in the kitchen ;o)

    Kitchen of my new flat

    And here is the wonderful and sunny side of my room, including Dutch wooden shoes (clogs) that were a present from my two brothers, the Brave Hearts.

    Willem's Room

    We have to climb all the way to the fourth floor of Buccleuch Terrace, so after a climb or five with my cardboard boxes next is the shower..


    And if nobody is answering our phone... we might well be occupied


    For mail, send us a postcard at 1/9 Buccleuch Terrace, EH8 9NB Edinburgh (United Kingdom)

    From our flat we have a wonderful view of last nights Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks!

    Quoted from The Scotsman (see

    The Firework Concert has been a regular fixture of the Edinburgh International Festival since 1981, establishing itself as a Festival favourite quicker and more definitely than possibly any other event.

    There is no surprise as to the enduring popularity of the concert: Edinburgh's city centre lends itself peculiarly well to the pyrotechnic display. In fact, if you were going to design a city specifically for the purpose of a huge firework display, would it be possible to do much better than the incredible Castle skyline rising out of a natural, bowl-shaped amphitheatre?

    The formula has changed a little over the years, but the simple, original concept has proven a winner - a classical music performance punctuated by the cracks and starbursts of fireworks overhead. In more recent years, the date of the concert has been shifted back, so that it now falls on the very last evening of the International Festival, providing a fitting end to the entire summer festivals calendar.

    This year the Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert takes place on Sunday September 3 at 9pm, with Garry Walker conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra performing excerpts from Provokiev's Romeo and Juliet.

    Romeo & Juliet, courtesy

    The logistics of the firework display always impress: it takes a team of people - 15 this year - several days to set up well over 150 firing sequences with up to 200 fireworks in each sequence, amounting to over 100,000 fireworks in total. When it goes off on Sunday night - the entire batch in 45 minutes - some four-and-a-half tonnes of explosive power create the biggest annual event of its kind in Europe.

    Once more, fireworks artists Wilf Scott and Keith Webb are in charge of putting the display together, while competition winner Samantha Mackenzie, age 8 from Dunfermline, will press the button that launches the display.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Death in the Bay: The Cocklepickers' Story

    My Tapestry Lecturer Loren Slater's film 'Death in the Bay: The Cocklepickers' Story' is being screened this week on Channel 4. It's part of the 'Otherside' late night series at 12.45am on Thursday 31st August.

    Project Manager Loren Slater (right)

    It's been pick of the day in a lot of the weekend papers.

    Click to enlarge: News item on Death in the Bay

    For details visit Shoreline Films

    Still from the film


    Death in the Bay is an hour-long documentary investigating the deaths of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay and how the aftermath affected the communities surrounding it.

    24 March 2006

    The Crown Prosecution Service says today's convictions of three people in connection with the drowning of 21 cockle pickers at Morecambe Bay in 2004 is a signal of intent towards employers who risk their employees' lives.

    Lancashire Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer Duncan Birrell says: "The victims died because their lives were considered less important than the pursuit of profit.

    "This prosecution had two aims. To secure justice for those who died, and to secure justice for the way they were exploited while they were alive.

    "Today's convictions send out a powerful warning that the CPS will aggressively pursue anyone who tries to recruit workers illegally into this country and put them to work with no regard for their safety or welfare."

    As a result of this prosecution, three people were today convicted at Preston Crown Court.

    The main defendant, Lin Liang Ren was convicted on 21 counts of manslaughter.

    Lin Liang Ren was also found guilty along with his girlfriend Zhao Xiao Qing of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by trying to conceal who had sent the 21 cockle pickers out to drown in Morecambe Bay.

    Lin Liang Ren, his cousin Lin Mu Yong who was also a gangmaster and Zhao Xiao Qing were found guilty of facilitating breaches of the Immigration Act by contributing towards illegal immigrants being put to work. Anthony Eden and his son David who owned the company who bought the cockles from the gangmasters were acquitted of the same charges.

    Mr Birrell said: "It is workers who have no employment rights, no choice about the work they do, no rights to contact the authorities to complain about working conditions – indeed the need to avoid the attention of the authorities because of why they came to be in this country – who can be forced into carrying out hazardous work that nobody else wants to do.

    "However every person has the same right to justice, whether they are an illegal immigrant or a UK citizen. I am particularly anxious that the victims' families should know this. Although England is so far away from their homes, our thoughts, sympathies and best wishes are with them at this time."

    This case was so complicated and wide ranging that it took 18 months to prepare and the trial itself lasted six months.