Monday, 3 June 2013

Flash Fiction: G.I. Joe

We do like this week's piece, a humorous accompaniment to the action packed G.I. Joe: Retaliation. It's called Synchronised, and it's by Garrie Fletcher. Enjoy!


‘Synchronise watches.’
‘What's that mean? Is that like those swimmers? I ain't wearing no pink hat. I’m no girl.’
‘It just means set watches to the same time.’
‘Oh. I haven't got a watch.’
‘No, neither have I.’
‘Count down from a hundred and then do it.’
‘Do what?’
‘The plan. You are clear on the plan?’
‘Go on then.’
‘I'm clear on the plan.’
‘Do you know what the plan is?’
‘I've forgot.’
‘God.  A long breath. I distract mum, you sneak into the fridge...’
‘I ain't getting in the fridge...’
‘Just open the fridge door.’
‘Open the door and grab mum's chocolate.’
‘Gotcha. Then what?’
‘Just hide it. Hide it until we get to the cinema.’
‘Yes, somewhere cool.’
‘You boys are quiet, what are you up to?’
‘Shall I make some popcorn for the cinema?’
‘You don't sound bothered.’
‘Well, it’s boring with nothing on it.’
‘Yes, but its healthy, too much sugar...’
‘We know.’

At the cinema
‘Do you need the toilet?’
‘Then stop walking like a cowboy. Wait here, I won’t be long.’

‘Give me some chocolate.’
‘I’m not sure you should.’
‘Give us some.’
‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’
‘Shut up and give. Where is it? Where’d you stash it?’
‘In my pants.’

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Volunteer Profiles: Projectionist

Working behind-the-scenes at a cinema is a fun job, and of all the backstage jobs here at the Regal, the projectionist is the one we get asked questions about the most.

Thankfully, projection today is not the difficult or dangerous job that it was back in the days of 35mm projectors and carbon-arc lamps. Modern digital projectors are operated with computers, and can be easily learnt by anyone with an interest in doing so.

Our projectionists arrive half an hour before the film starts. They turn on the equipment, which includes the projector and the sound system, and then wait for showtime!

Once they've started the film, the projectionist will watch the film to make sure the sound levels are right, and the picture quality is good. If there are any problems, they'll be on hand to fix them - though so far, we've thankfully not had any problems! Once the last member of the audience has left, the projectionist will shut down all of the equipment.

If you're good with computers and would like to learn a new type of technology, then projection is a perfect volunteer role for you. We'd especially love to hear from you if you're available to help us with weekend and weekday matinee performances, but we've also got openings for evening projectionists too. Just get in touch!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Sleeping in the Cinema

This week's Flash Fiction piece is by Anna Lawrence Pietroni. If you have trouble with nodding off in the middle of a blockbuster, then you'll identify with it, we're sure!

Do you fall asleep in films? It’s hard not to. It’s warm and dark. The seat is deep.

It doesn’t mean the movie’s bad or boring.

I’ve slept through great films even when I strained to stay awake.

Take TRUE GRIT, the Coen brothers' Western.

Jeff Bridges' low-throat rumble and the horses' hooves? I was clopped and mumbled into sleep and woke only for gunshots and the credits.

Do you fall asleep in films?

Do you get angry with yourself? Does your companion elbow you and scowl? Do you worry that you dribble, that you snore?

“Why pay good money to fall asleep in someone else’s dark when you could switch the lights off in the living room and sleep for free?”

They should institute a Standing Cinema for sleepyheads like you and me. Ushers, crouching, running between rows to pinch the nodders or spray us with cold water.

If you’d rather stay awake today and see the film, do this before it starts, before you get too settled in the dark:

Place your palms on your belly. Feel how it swells with every breath. There is a space between the in-breath and the out.

There. You’ve had your rest. You will not fall asleep here. Not today.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Volunteer Profiles: Usher

Welcome to the first of our volunteer profile spotlights! Today we'll be telling you a bit about what it's like to be one of our volunteers. As it's the first spotlight, we wanted to choose a position that is iconic of the cinema; the usher.

Our ushers are responsible for showing people to their seats, both before the show starts and once the film is running. If you need a hand, they're there with their torches!

An usher's working shift starts three quarters of an hour before the film begins. They help the house manager to set up for the performance, and open up the sweet counter. Once the doors open, they'll check tickets of the audience and help them find their seats. They're also the ones selling you sweets and ice cream.

Some of our ushers will leave once the film has started, but don't worry; if you've got any questions during the film, then the rest of our ushers will be there to help you. They'll stay until the very last member of the audience is gone, before they help pack up, and then go home.

We've got a fabulous dedicated and talented team of ushers at the Regal, but there's always room for more. So, if you fancy being one of the smiling faces we get so many good comments about - get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Cloud Atlas

This week's flash fiction comes from Garrie Fletcher, and accompanies the film 'Cloud Atlas'.

 A symphony of lives,
each one a note, each vibration
 echoing, rippling through time,
entropy’s melody linking
them together.

they breathe in, breathe out,
lives loved, lives lost, lives taken.

The tempo picks up, drops off
picks up, drops off
from ocean to ocean,
from diary to transcript
to manuscript.

Each moment
recorded upon the staves,
waiting to be played.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Hyde Park on Hudson

Stewart Derry provides this week's Flash Fiction; a piece which goes with the period drama Hyde Park on Hudson.

To be, or not to be: that is the question.

After his surprise Oscar winning turn in The King’s Speech, King George VI returns in the movie, Hyde Park on Hudson. Hoorah! This time our beloved Bertie shares the billing with the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

With the war clouds gathering over Europe, the stage is set for a diplomatic meeting with Bertie’s American cousins. They meet at the presidential home - Hyde Park on Hudson (Dutchess County, New York). Over a long weekend they swop stories, sip cocktails, sample hot dogs and attempt to forge a very special relationship between the two nations.

Unfortunately the president is pre-occupied with a number of other pressing matters, including that of his charming and very attractive cousin, Margaret “Daisy” Suckley.

Can Bertie summon all his royal patience, charm and powers of persuasion to win the day? Will the weekend end with a bang or a whimper? One thing is for sure: the summer of 1939 will be their happiest season for many years to come.

Make yourself comfortable; have your tissues to hand; enjoy one of the things we Brits do best - a great costume drama!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Broken City

This week's flash fiction is a slice of film noire in the form of the written word. It's by Stewart Derry, and it accompanied the film 'Broken City'.

It’s not just the city that is broken, its people are too. Their many hopes and dreams are compromised and degraded by lies, power and corruption. Even the hero’s purest sense of right and wrong is blighted by the grim reality of life and death in Broken City.

Broken City contains many of the classic elements of film noir. The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown and L.A. Confidential all inhabit similar worlds to Broken City. Witness the stylised imagery, the archetypal characters, the mysterious crime that draws everyone together, and how each character is possessed with an overreaching passion that gives heat and substance to the drama.

People are rarely what they seem to be in this genre. The outward show of status, wealth or respectability is a thin veneer that hides a troubled inner world. Our pleasure comes in seeing these fatal flaws exposed and the ways in which the protagonists respond to the choices that confront them. The outcomes are rarely happy, often leading to ruin or redemption.

The ancient Greeks, who knew a thing or two about drama, followed a tragedy with a short comedy in order to lift the spirits. I wonder what your choice of film dessert would be after Broken City?