Saturday, 14 April 2012

Tribute to Tina Hook

 (by Rishi Thaker)

Tina was a creative soul who applied her energy to the arts in an understated but committed way. The variety of ideas that Tina was able to generate spoke a lot for how open she was to trying new things and how she was able to empathise with pretty much anyone. No matter your age, gender or background Tina would accept and treat you with equal respect, a trait that we as a nation have been advocating for generations and we had no finer example than Tina. She was extremely interested in the British heritage of this country as well as backgrounds from those of us who originate from other parts of the world. At one end of the spectrum she enjoyed reading fantasy novels and could talk to you about this all day, whilst in the flip of a switch, turn her hand to gritty realism with as much gusto.

Tina was a writer and followed this passion through out her life. Dan and I (and Kunal) met Tina 8 years ago on a film scriptwriting course and were able to draw a lot off her experience in other forms of writing. She was always happy to share her knowledge and served as a great sounding board for any ideas we had. At this time she managed to get a short film produced with her first script ‘I Told You’ in our script writing group. This film has some wild ideas (a good thing) and some controversial themes but served to highlight that Tina could always surprise you with her creativity. She also went against the old adage that you should never work with kids and/or animals when making films and it was almost fitting that Tina was the one who smashed that unwritten rule with her first film. It was a joy to work on.

Around that time Tina served as a co-producer on a couple of Stickmen Pictures’ films ‘The Darkness in the Fields’ and ‘Across the Styx’. Her tireless input was absolutely key to executing these films to the excellent standard we hit with them and they were times that all of us who worked together them hold dear to our hearts. In the subsequent years Tina moved on to other activities outside of Stickmen Pictures but our paths did cross a number of times, as recently as last year when she was part of a team filming documentaries about individuals who have immigrated and settled in this country.

Recently, Tina had sadly been diagnosed with a brain tumour and passed away last week after months of battling it. This has had a profound effect on all of us associated with Tina from Stickmen Pictures and our condolences go out to her family and friends. I was in communication with Tina over the last few months and despite her terrible situation she still came across as happy and curious about what we were doing with our lives. It was typical of Tina to be thinking of everyone else when in such a hard time you would expect her to be closed off to everyone.

It’s a strange empty feeling to know that an individual like Tina, who was so instrumental to the early part of our journey, will no longer be around. We all thought so highly of her and she will never be forgotten as her influence and personality lays deep rooted within our Stickmen Pictures history.


Friday, 6 April 2012

The Hunger Grows

(by Rishi Thaker)

At a time when book-to-films conversions reign supreme at the Box Office I pondered what really makes a financially successful film?

‘The Hunger Games’ is currently leading pack on the back of successful ‘Twilight’ (vomit) and ‘Harry Potter’ series and critically all of the films that represent those franchises probably give you and average of 2 out 4 stars (i.e. you’ll get some good ‘Potter’ films netted off by some awful ‘Twilight’ ones and no doubt ‘The Hunger Games’ sequels will be sh@t) – on a quick side note, do you know what they call ‘The Hunger Games’ in Paris? ‘Battle Royale’ with Cheese (sorry I couldn’t resist).

So I thought about critically panned efforts that have smashed Box Office figures like ‘The Devil Inside’ ($100 million at the box office and counting) and ‘Chronicle’ ($117 million). Why? They’re supposedly awful according to you out there so why didn’t word of mouth stop this? Because word of mouth on the internet got there long before you could signal the warnings! Viral marketing is a huge part of promotion these days and distributors are now more and more investing their time to be innovative in this. To that end Dan and I discussed a piece we produced in 2010 called ‘The Plumber’ which went viral extremely quickly. If we had concentrated more on the viral potential it showed I believe ‘The Plumber’ would be something most would have seen by now. Instead we got excited and made the feature ‘Slaughter is the Best Medicine’ instead. Here we have no regrets because now we have a large product to back any interest that the viral potential of ‘The Plumber’ can reach. So I say to all of you. Go forth and make your selections! Play on-line, get involved, have fun and tell all your friends! Stickmen Pictures are coming to town via your laptops, tablets and phones!

It is also time to say good bye to the gloomy winter nights and hello to the bright summer days. You all need to throw off your gloves and take your best shots so we can see what you’ve got, because whether it is the dawn of a new day at work, or a fight with a formidable adversary, or even preparation for another day with your demanding kids – every day is an opportunity!

Finally, I just want to say Happy Birthday to Dan! He recently turned 19 but looks like 31 because of how much he has aged with the film process! Hope you had a good one.