Friday, November 28, 2014

The Long Way Round

Hello, Acting Fans, fellow bloggers and people of the Internet. It's Friday, time for me to insert my ramblings in your eyeballs. What did we discuss at our Wednesday meet up? Well, as we usually do, we went the looooooooooooooooooooong way around (but this blog wont, so don't panic).

Okay, so at first we had a talk about the up and coming H&H Actor's Log vlog where and how we are going to film it. As we need a plain white sky (something we are getting a load of at the moment) with none of those pesky building, we need some fake desolation, after some back and forth we thought of going back high up on a hillside to where we filmed an H&H episode but, after a bit more thinking about it, we weren't sure it would be such a good idea as the wind might well be a factor. A Bad factor. Well, it is rather rough up in the wilds, if the weather turns and the wind picks up, and if the wind picks up the camera mic picks it up and we sound really bad on camera, if you can hear us at all. So instead we settled on Manor Heath Park, which means I have a wee camera test to do but I had to bit of research for it too, which involved me watching one of my favourite films again (and, no, not 'Big Trouble In Little China' again) to see if we could match up the sky and snap some screen grabs for Chris to see what scenes we need to use to splice into the Vlog.

Now comes the fun bit we went off on a wild tangent about films and how they are shot and filmed now and then (yes, regular blog readers, it was a bit of a continuation of our last film chat)to Hong Kong and Japanese cinema and then skidded off sideways into the history of swordfighting, how it has usually come to be depicted in film and how if someone did an actually really well shot fight that abandoned most of the movie cliches on screen how cool it would be. Now I bet you are all wondering where this is going and how it is going to lead in H&H? Well we got on to some historically recorded behaviour of swordsmen meeting on the battle field who were equals and how their behaviour towards each other wasn't quite like the movies would have it but to say any more in detail would be [SPOILERS] because, yes, after a bit of laughing about it we realised it would make a funny sketch, but at first it wasn't H&H. Luckily after a brainwave on my part, I thought of a way to make it work.

HUZZAH! Inspiration!
Now you are wondering how could this work, well, obviously I can't tell you all about because then you wouldn't have to watch would you? But it's good that you're curious, so stay tuned and you might just find out. You'll just have to trust me when I say it will be one of the Vlogs for the New Year. (Cripes, nearly that time already!) This means as it stands we now have 7 video ideas for next year already. Wow! We are getting good at this, it's almost like we've had some practice or something! Some do need to be finished, fully fleshed out and and written but, hey, the ideas are there, 7 is most definitely better than none, and written down wait and ready to go!

Well, that's all for now see you in the Future.


Vernon Harcourt

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Trigger Happy

Greetings, Acting Fans, welcome to this down-to-the-wire Wednesday blog that will eventually get around to H&H Beeswax. I'm afraid my approach has been a bit lackadaisical this week as I've got a bit of a pre-[The Holiday Festival Which Shall Not Yet Be Named] holiday which started with a weekend in Liverpool at the Cosmic Trigger play and Find The Others event.
I was one of the many who stumped up a bit of cash via crowdfunding to help fund the production celebrating the life and work of the late Robert Anton Wilson, the late countercultural author and thinker, get made. Having not been to Liverpool since I went on an art gallery trip some time ago, I thought I'd do the full weekend and not just the play.
I'm happy to say that the play was a lovely shambles that told the story effectively, funnily and in a way that was a great tribute to Wilson and to the other major figure the play was dedicated to, Ken Campbell. You may not have heard of Ken Campbell but he is a fascinating figure from british theatre (and he was almost Doctor Who once, you know - he lost out to Sylvester McCoy, who could be considered something of a protege - he was in Ken's roadshow before that) who himself organised the production of a dramatisation of another of Robert Anton Wilson's works 'The Illuminatus Trilogy' as a play of epic length.
Back down to earth after the weekend, I have been in a bit of a recovery mode but H&H has never been far from my mind. Some of what I saw over the weekend has caused an idea or two to percolate and reassured me that H&H are just about the right kind of shambolic themselves. Despite my rather relaxed attitude this week (& a Tuesday [The Holiday Festival Which Shall Not Yet Be Named]-shopping trip with my parents) and thanks to Vern being unexpectedly free, we have managed to knock our heads together today and get the H&H creative machine ticking over but I'll let m'learned colleague fill you in on that at the weekend.


Christopher Haigh

Friday, November 21, 2014

Remembering (Brain)Storms Past...

Hello Acting Fans, people of the Internet and fellow bloggonauts, Friday is upon us once more so it time for the end-of-week H&H round up onwhat has been happening at the ol' H&H HQ.

First we have the new Vlog up for you all to watch, and it is just below this text for all to see, so please watch and give us the ol' like & subscribble too and a share to all of your friends too. Please we need the precious, precious views. Preciousssssssssss!

Yes, our lust for fame continues it's downward spiral as, having already tried recruiting a cute cat occasional co-star, we have now scraped the barrel with a complete misuse of both nostalgia and a blatant bit of Full Frontal Nerdity! Phwoar, just look at Transformers annual. Speaking of Transformers the keen-eyed among you will have spotted a missing Weds blog again this week, yes, poor Chris fell afoul of his work shifts this week and managed to get the Vlog done in time but not a Blog! On the plus side he has also managed to sell a couple of those Transformers he's clearing out, which is good for H&H but time sorting out their delivery also added up to a blog post missing.
Despite that post-Wednesday we got a meet up in this week, where we got on to discussing the Christmas Actor's Log vlog, well, after we went around the houses and talked about classic movies and their impact on todays film's. and the loss of films that make you think and slow build up (apart from some great exceptions, like some of Christopher Nolan's films for example). Films that let character action speak louder than telling you. I know, it sounds like we are being film snobs but trust me we are not. We just have a love for older movies and how some of the ways to put the scene together, and how some of those techniques could do with coming back into use sometimes.

How does this link into the Christmas vlog? Well as we were sitting in our usual meeting place Nero's and after bouncing some idea around about maybe some further-future Christmas vlog possibilities. We though maybe we should parody an Christmas movie of some sort. I remembered the film 'Silent Night, Deadly Night' about a maniac in Santa outfit (trust me, it's much better than it sounds - it turns out to be a surprisingly effective horror movie despite being dated, in part due to a great performance by the main antagonist) but that would once again mean we have to get a costume we don't have the budget for yet (and, to be honest, might be more expensive this time of year) but as we were sat there thinking and brainstorming it popped in my head that we had already came up with an idea for an Xmas vlog at the start of THIS year AND it involved riffing on a film I personally consider a classic!

Funnily enough, Chris never had a Brainstorm.

Yep, consulting our notes it turned out we have been more efficient then we realised, there it was at the front of it. Well, next came task of understanding my handwriting (yes, folks it is really, really bad - it's the only skill I have that would qualify me as a doctor) I mean this was also written down in January of this year, so we had forgotten some it. After a bit staring puzzled at it, we got it. When I got myself back home after the meet-up, I got down to writing out the first draft. I mean it's not like we can can hang around about it - there's not long left until Christmas now! I have gotten the first draft done and sent to Chris to take a look and add anything that I might have missed.

So we should be on with shooting it soon (let's face it we have to be), so stay tuned folks!

See you in the (Xmas) Future


Vernon Harcourt

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cash Convertors

Hello, Acting Fans, people of the worlds Internet, and fellow bloggers, yep, it's Friday and once again MY time to ramble on....
Well, first of all sorry for no blog posting on Wednesday, we have been very busy - so busy the blog post slipped our minds. So just what have we been busy with?

We haven't had our meet up this week, so we haven't much time to get any new ideas down on paper but we are working on some things. I sent Chris some of the footage that we had forgotten for this month blog. Which he is working on in the fiery forging* of our next blog, so what else have we been doing if not H&H Beeswax? Well, it's sort-of H&H related in that we have been going through some off our old things looking to sell them to generate budget funds. I mean, after all, one man's old stuff is brand new tat for someone else! So this means Chris has been going through his Transformers Toybox (yes, he has a toybox, no car (except for the odd one that turns into a robot), but a toybox) looking to have a clearout and sell them on. He does have quite a few of them, and some of them have not seen the light of day for a while, so he's looking to set them free, for a Fee!

And, coincidentally, I myself (& me) have been sorting through some old comic books to do the same and put them up on eBay, along with some collectable Metal Gear Solid figures that I was given some time back. These are fairly rare, so fingers crossed that they go, and for a pretty penny too! Now, why is important to H&H? Calm down, I'm getting to that point. After all these creative projects don't fund themselves, uhm, until they are actually successful and do, but we're not there yet so to try hitting the two metaphorical with one stones at once we are de-cluttering of our excess things we don't use/or need anymore and, if all goes to plan, we make someone happy getting what they want and WE get some cash money to put back into H&H! We could do with the budget boost as we start getting bolder in what we are planning and, well, you gotta spend money to make money (or at least more ambitious comedy videos).

Please check out for my upcoming listing on eBay and help us out if you see something you fancy. You never know, you might just find something that you would like at a bargain price that could help fund H&H too!

See you in the Future!


Vernon Harcourt

*= No actual fire or forging is used in the creation of our videos, it's all digital - we can't afford a film forge!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Forking Out

Hello fellow Acting Fans, bloggers and people of the worlds Internet it is Friday once again and my turn to ramble on, and ramble on I shall!

As Chris said in Wednesdays blog he has spruced up the H&H YouTube page. Well, we do want it be easier for you to find your way around the page and find and watch your favourite Vlog Log, episode and/or Specials. So place go and check out our new look to page and, please, while you are there (please, please) re-watch your favourite H&H video and give it a 'like' thumbs up. C'mon, chaps, we only need about 24 views or so to get us up to a channel total of 3000!!! So please do this for us go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

So whats else has been happing this week? Well, erm, nothing as of it we haven't got another meet up and that and the weather has been awful these last couple of days so even if we would have wanted to film anything, we couldn't. Damn bloody weather!!!! But fear not the next vlog is in that there bag and has been for some time as I said a few blogs back so we don't have to much worry about, but we still do have to come up with a Christmas one. The only other thing that is happening is well sort of in a related to H&H is me waiting for a my job to start. Yep, that's right I am to be starting work. I think we did say a few weeks back that I had been on a course and that course was to learn how to drive an fork lift truck! As Peter Cushing might say an actor is lucky to develop many other skills in his profession.

I can confirm that I did indeed pass the course and am now waiting to start work as the warehouse manger (yes, folks I am now in management, not just a common or garden Wheelman, me). All I know on this front so far is that the builders are in, well, building (that's what builders do, right?) the facilities, sorting out the plumbing and electrics too. So I should be in within the next few weeks of which I am looking very forward to be doing so. I just wish the blooming builders would hurry up and get done! I'm ready to get behind that wheel! Never fear though Harcourt & Haigh will continue, but we might even get a bit of a budget now!

Well, that's all for now folks see you in the FUTURE!


Vernon Harcourt

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Thumbs Have It!

Salutations, Acting Fans, we've once again hit the Hump of the midweek and the blog is back. First, a big 'Thumbs up' and THANK YOU to all of those who gave us a push for the Hallowe'en Hinfestation of Youtube, every view and like helps!
Now, down to the current H&H Business. Vern and I got right on with our regular production team chinwag this week on Monday as we were both free. With some wide ranging discussion we hammered out a few of the next steps for our Youtube Funnies, assessing the impact of our Hallowe'en campaign we realise that for maximum engagement we are going to have to look at throwing some money at Youtube and/or Facebook to use their promotion features as our more recent videos seem to have settled at a fairly steady similar amount of views and we have to look at breaking out of the social circles of people who are familiar to us to engage with those who aren't, especially if we want to cultivate those numbers.
One bit of business I could get right on with after our meeting though was as cheap as free and that was a bit of curating of the H&H Channel. Previously we've lumped our 'Seasonal Specials' into a single playlist but talking on Monday we realised that as there is a fairly light (but still there nonetheless) continuity to them we would move the Hallowe'en Hextra Bites to their own playlist. Vern also suggested we drop the 'Seasonal' from 'Specials' to which I assented, this way we don't necessarily have to tie ourselves to a time of year if we want to do something one-off with H&H that doesn't seem to be right for the Actor's Log vlogs or the Series (yes, that is still on the cards, yes, including the oft mentioned, yet-to-materialise Episode 6) or even actually fit any particular holiday or seasonal event.
Well, that was a job that only took a few minutes after getting home following the meet-up but, with the thought of maximising the mechanisms we use to get H&H out there at the forefront of my mind, I decided to take a crack at the automated To-Do checklist that crops up on your Youtube Channel Sidebar. A thrilling evening of Youtube corporate/educational videos followed, some of it almost of some use (almost), the sacrifices we must make for our Art, eh?
One useful thread was sprucing up our Thumbnails, the images (often a still from the video itself) that appear on the links to your video on the first page or in any search list and so as I listened to corporate shpiel I did spruce up the ones that the site suggested. Due to our skills improving (and like wise Youtube functionality) we had already learned to create custom Thumbnails for our videos but, at the meeting with Vern, I submitted that we should consider changing exactly how we do it.

That's BETTER!

My main focus was the Actor's Log thumbnails which, while they are strongly branded, all look essentially the same with the Actor's Log titles and don't show anything of the actual videos themselves - there's no visual or narrative 'hook' for anyone unfamiliar with H&H. I suggested we go back and re-do them all but m'colleague had an alternate suggestion.
Instead of doing it retro-actively, he said, let's do it in an ongoing forward-looking way, keeping the current vlog thumbnails style until next year, collating this first year-or-so of Actor's Logs into a 'Series 1' and seeing in the New Year with a brand new style of thumbnails for 'Series 2' (yes, I'm afraid we aren't stopping). Yes, folks, that is why it's handy to have a second brain about and is exactly what we are going to be doing. New Thumbnails in 2015! Oh, but there will be at least a couple more Actor's Logs before that, of course!
Once again thank you all for all of your help and support, Acting Fans, and, as ever...


Christopher Haigh