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William Mclaughlan (Scotland)

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Powerspin by Powerball - Bingo Wings Buster - UK designed and manufactured
Powerspin by Powerball - Bingo Wings Buster - UK designed and manufactured
Price: 19.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raaaaaaaragh!!!!!!11oneone, 31 July 2013
I've had two power ball's in as many years and found them great fun and physically demanding. Enter the Powerspin. This puppy's a game-changer. It took me at least a fortnight to be able to spin it for longer than five seconds.

I a 29 year old man working a pretty physical job and the Powerspin knackers me in about six minutes. I mainly use it to focus on core and triceps and its great at both. Serious burn if you push it.

If you take the plunge and buy one you'll be doing isometric workouts (Wikipedia it), I think it's a much healthier way to work out. You're using your own body's force to get fitter. This is a great device. It's challenging and very more-ish. If you've for flabby arms and/or a spare tire then this is your guy!

Great low-impact, high-gain excersise.

Gifted: Personalities and Treasures of the University of Glasgow
Gifted: Personalities and Treasures of the University of Glasgow
by R.L. McLaughlan
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My dad's book!, 14 Nov 2008
I love this book :) My dad wrote it when he worked at The Glasgow Herald. It's a showcase, analysis and appreciation of the Hunterian gallery's collection of art at Glasgow University.

The book is beautifully written. Bob wrote it with an honesty and passion for art that comes across as very simple (despite being a formal look at these exhibits). His own connection to Glasgow Univeristy clearly drove him to write the book - showcasing the works of the painters he loved - like the Scottish colourists and Charles Rennie Macintosh - within a wonderfully produced book.

Bob as a person was deeply knowledgable and as a result his writing is fun and his enthusiasm for not just the works in the Hunterian but art on the whole is extremely infectious. I read this book about once or twice a year and usually end up paying a visit to the Hunterian not long after. It's a cracking museum and I would defeintly suggest a trip if you ever find yourself in Glasgow. If you like the museum the book is a great addition :)

Highly recommended!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2011 6:39 PM GMT

The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook
The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook
by Chris Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.49

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OSCAR WINNER!, 11 Nov 2008
The man that wrote this book will be an Oscar winner for sure. If you're serious about making films and you're starting out I honestly can't think of a better investment than buying this and reading the whole thing cover to cover. I did and on doing so signed up for a film school course.

One reviewer stated that, in tone, the book seemed a little daunting. I've just finished a rough cut on my most recent film and I can say with my hand on my heart that the ENTIRE process of making just one film is daunting - let alone making a career out of it. Every time I do anything film related I have to take a breath because, despite being truly awesome, I know it'll be tough and at times I will hate the process or myself - this book is written by someone who will not sugar coat that for you. If you can't handle that then maybe writing for Empire or Total Film is the job for you instead - that way you get to sit in a warm chair inside writing reviews :)

I've just spent quite a lot of money on a year at a top London film school. If you're lacking in the kind of cash you need to attend film school then I would urge you to buy this book (and also a couple of others) and just spend the money on making some films. You'll learn at least all the same stuff as me and your films will not be any less good if you treat them seriously and enjoy yourself.

Chris Jones is a very inspiring writer and for the price of the book you not only get a MASSIVE number of interviews with industry professionals but you also get a CD-ROM. I found the interviews with film industry employees the most useful part of this book for me in particular. Simply because I a) wasn't sure what many of the jobs actually were (key grip for example) and b) what kinds of job might be available to me as a uni and film school graduate. Jones isn't a snob when it comes to these interviews either and interviewed everyone. For example he speak to people like a stop motion animator who was creating a children's television program for BBC Wales. Really useful because prior to working in the industry I had no clue about what anyone actually did bar maybe a screenwriter.

On the CD-ROM are various producing aides and also a very useful screenplay formatter so you don't have to fork out a hundred and seventy-nine quid for Final Draft!!! Just use this formatter once and you can get an extra days shooting with the money you save.

Basically this is required reading if you want to make films. If you want to make just one film then don't bother buying any books just go and make your film. BUT if you'd like to write, direct or have any kind of job in the industry I truly believe that this book will be worth every single penny you spend on it. It's right up there with Story and In The Blink of an Eye! Currently Chris Jones has funded a film by asking everyone he knew for fifty quid and shot it with Vernon Layton as DoP and it is now in the long-list for Oscar selection. What other currently-publishing authors writing about filmmaking are up for Oscar selection? This guy walks the talk. BUY BUY BUY!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2009 3:44 PM BST

DEFCON with Uplink (PC CD)
DEFCON with Uplink (PC CD)

5.0 out of 5 stars 1337 h4x0r, 11 Nov 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
DEFCON is a brilliant idea. I've played it once and am now going to be buying it.

This review is a little more complicated than simply a discussion of DEFCON however. DEFCON is bundled with Introversion's FIRST game - Uplink.

Uplink is the best game I have ever played. I have loved (during my entire life) Another World, Flashback, Warcraft, Capcom vs. Marvel, Half-Life, Counter-Strike, World of Warcraft and now THIS. Uplink is without a doubt the best game I've ever played for one simple reason: I totally forgot I was playing a game. That sounds so simple but it's very unusual. After hours of farming on WoW I was well aware I'd been staring at a screen for hours - this is different. I felt no feeling of weariness at any point.

It's 2010 and you're a freelance hacker - you're going to make a name for yourself and a lot of money in the process. The interface is so simple. You point and click on a map and type in I.P. addresses and run programs. You're starting missions are removal and manipulation of data. You progress through more and more complicated missions breaking into an ever increasingly sophisticated series of systems.

I highly recommend this. DEFCON is certainly a very atmospheric game but I totally fell in love with Uplink the very first time i played it. It is worth the 15 pounds all alone and DEFCON as a bonus. Interesting both games do compliment each other nicely though I found DEFCON a little depressing and Uplink seemed far more escapist to me.

I highly recommend this.


Setting Up Your Shots: Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker Should Know
Setting Up Your Shots: Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker Should Know
by Jeremy Vineyard
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.40

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lights. Camera. BUY ANOTHER BOOK., 20 Oct 2008
This book is by no means a bad book. It's nicely produced and the writing and illustrations are effective in describing different shots and their uses.

I am 24 and doing a practical film masters. This book is not suitable for me at this level. It's so simple and I feel like I already know this theory already. I think most cine-literate adults will be able to read this and know the information.

This book would be perfect for a younger reader (say 11 or 12 with a strong interest in cinema). The pictures illustrating the shot moves in storyboard fashion and the examples of the specific shots being discussed are very well thought out. However I simply found there wasn't enough substance contained in this book to justify me having bought it. I'm giving it to my film school for their library to use for their two-week course. Maybe it'll be more useful to the students doing the introductory course.

There's nothing in here you can't learn by watching films.

Batman: Castle of the Bat (Elseworlds)
Batman: Castle of the Bat (Elseworlds)
by Jack C. Harris
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad-Man, 20 Oct 2008
This comic is really bad. I was not entertained nor enlightened to any degree about Batman. The art is suited to the story but ultimately I would rather read the awesome Frankenstein novel again than this drivel. Steer. Well. Clear.

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing
In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing
by Walter Murch
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.02

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one and only!, 20 Oct 2008
If you're going to edit a film or music video or any kind of media like that THIS IS THE ONLY BOOK YOU NEED TO READ. I don't make that statement lightly. Murch's book is without a doubt the best book I've read on the theory, thought-process and intention behind WHY an editor makes an edit. There are a multitude of boring books (I know because I bought many of them) on editing and why you should do this and that. Whatever. Murch has won loads of awards for his work and even directed a feature himself (Return to Oz) so he knows a much about the filmmaking process.

This book will not be helpful during the edit of your footage. You will not be able to turn to page nineteen and find out when to use a jump-cut to best effect. What this book helped me to see was the approach you need to have towards the editing process as a whole. Maybe not even just as an editor but as a filmmaker and story-teller too.

I can't stress enough how useful reading this book was to me. I used to be very frightened of getting into the edit but when I read this I found a new way of looking at my footage and became able to accept that things are different. Murch's writing style is very informal and as a result I think that the book requires a few reads (at least I've read it three times now and I get a better understanding of his ideologies each time).

Forget all the other rubbish people charge through the nose for. All you need to teach yourself editing is the software, footage and this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2010 3:34 AM BST

Apple Pro Training Series: Compressor 3 Quick-Reference Guide
Apple Pro Training Series: Compressor 3 Quick-Reference Guide
by Brian Gary
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compressing, 20 Oct 2008
I found this book really helpful. I'm attending film school and we are asked to make DVD's of our work. I've also cut a trailer for a friend's film which has picked up an award at Raindance. I had to email her different versions of the trailer.

I'm very fluent with the Final Cut Pro software and am not an idiot when it comes to learning new parts of a workflow, nevertheless I found compressor very hard to get to grips with (we were given no assistance in learning the interface in school). If I'd not had this book as a reference point I think I would have spent a much longer time than I did trying to figure out how to help myself.

I may be doing an internship next year where I will be digitizing a lot of footage and I think I will get more use out of this book as it's very comprehensive and I found the clearly produced index and layout helpful in finding information quickly.

If you're having trouble compressing files on your Mac this book will help. It's offered for a very reasonable price here on Amazon as well.

The MAXX: 1 (Maxx (Wildstorm/DC Comics))
The MAXX: 1 (Maxx (Wildstorm/DC Comics))
by Sam Kieth
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS COMIC ISZ MAXXIMUM AWSOME, 20 Oct 2008
I've just read the first 11 issues of The Maxx. This book contains the first six. I highly recommend this book.

I love superheroes. Frank Miller says they're modern societies equivalent of the Greek gods. They're definitely an important part of modern popular culture. Sam Kieth has a clear understanding of this ideal and subverts it completely in The Maxx.

The character of the title is a homeless vagrant and squats with a push-over freelance therapist called Julie. The book centers from the outset on their dysfunctional relationship and the past trauma Julie has buried. While the previous reviewer found some of the elements in the story pretentious I would suggest that this book is only pretentious if viewed as a superhero genre piece when really I think it's something quite separate.

Kieth's concerned primarily with a character study and, in my opinion, seems to focus on this more so than the flow and logic of the plot. As a result the narrative tends to jump around a lot - although I truly believe this fits the content very well. Kieth's characters are exceptionally intriguing. It's rare for a man to write a woman character so well (perhaps even more so in a medium such as comics where readers are mostly familiar with buxom big-titted super-heroines flying about) and have the supporting cast interact with her convincingly.

The Maxx himself is interesting because he's such a failure. His attempts at success despite his failures are what kept me interested. Also the bad guy, a Mister Gone, is exceptionally bad - being unswervingly set up as a serial rapist and murdered from the outset. This initial labeling proves increasingly more disturbing as Gone's past history with the three main characters is examined with greater scrutiny. Gone's one of the most frightening antagonists I've come across in years.

I'm only a third of the way through this series but I strongly recommend this book as an initial jumping off point into the story of the Maxx. Anyone familiar with the MTV cartoon or Kieth work as an artist at Marvel and DC will be delightfully impressed by the care and commitment to his art in the book. I can only describe it as lavish and much of the panel layout is mesmerizing. On some occasions I had no idea 'why' something was done a certain way but simply accepted it as part of the strange world being built for me.

Amazing. I can't wait to read the next issues.

House Of M TPB (Graphic Novel Pb)
House Of M TPB (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Olivier Coipel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.91

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars House of Awesome!, 30 Aug 2006
This is a wicked comic.

It's pretty Twilight Zone in execution. Basically Wanda Maximoff alters reality and the X-Men and Avengers have to sort out the resulting mess.

The book opens strongly and continues in this fashion. Much care has been taken to ensure that reader understands that there is a lot at stake here.

My only gripes are that there are a lot of characters (having not been reading comics for as long as I'm gussing Marvel's target audience have) who I don't know or would like to have seen more of - such as She-Hulk. Also the panel layout is very epic. Single panels often strech across both pages and it is often unclear as to what I should be reading next. This happened a lot to me through out the reading. I was reading down when I should have been reading across.

That said there is some really lavish artwork, such as Wolverine's daring motorbike jump across a junction and the first formal introduction of the House of M itself.

A really cool comic. I'd be very sad if the Hulk and Spiderman books just show the characters in their alternate reality because I feel this story's strong enough to continue for a while on it's own.

I've ordered the Excalibur prelude from Amazon but it's taking it's time. I'd like to read that before I buy any of the later books. But I think I will get the next few since the first was so good.

This is definatly worth a read if you like this kind of thing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2012 2:01 PM GMT

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