The Ditch… (take 2)

16 May

The Ditch poster

Next weekend I am making a film! It is the postponed and rescheduled shoot of my short horror film The Ditch.

We shot the first half of the film in a forest in Dorking in September 2012. Directing a horror film was literally a dream come true for me and I wrote about it here.

The Ditch

After our first lot of shooting we ran a crowdfunding campaign and thanks to lots of truly amazing people we reached our goal!

So we were all set for our second half of shooting which was scheduled for September 2013 – the film is set in a forest so we had to shoot at the same time each year so that the leaves looked the same… Unfortunately in the week before the shoot we had to cancel because of really bad weather… I wrote about how completely gutted I was about that here.

However! I am a firm believer that sometimes things really do happen for a reason. And our shoot getting cancelled in September gave me a lot of time to really think about the story, where it was going and what it was saying…

I had two choices :

1. Wait until the following September and shoot the rest of the film – but plan a contingency shoot weekend incase the weather was terrible again.

2. Rewrite the script and set it in a location not weather dependent.

I chose 2. I felt really frustrated that an entire year had gone by and we still hadn’t finished the film. I did not want to find myself in that position again and I really didn’t want to have to wait another year..

Me and The Ditch

We shot a lot of the really key moments of The Ditch in the first shoot, so I could really see how this footage could be worked into a new script as kind of ‘flashback’ sequences. For me The Ditch is about guilt, consequences and what if’s.. I discovered that the feelings and themes I wanted to evoke in an audience could happen within a story set in a forest or could happen equally well in a story set in a hotel room..

So thats what I did. I set the film in a hotel room. And I am insanely proud of the script and excited to direct it and see it coming to life in front of my eyes next weekend!

Sheena Holliday, Director




I Love Lists! (5 awesome screenwriting blog posts)

9 May


Recently I have been doing a lot of writing – finishing off drafts of my short horror film The Ditch (shooting in a couple of weeks!!) And also working on a new project- an art aouse/thriller feature..

As part of my writing process I will often do a lot of reading too – I love reading the blogs of other writers to get tips and insight!

So I thought I would share 5 awesome screenwriting blog posts that have inspired me this week!

* 10 writing tips from Joss Whedon

* 25 screenwriting tips from David Bowie! Totally awesome!

* Scripts are all about emotions not words…

* How to write a killer script from the fabulous Jane Goldman

* And finally, I refer to this post over and over again, I love James Moran!

Happy reading! : )


Pedro loves Summer!

2 May

Napoleon Dynamite cake

It wasn’t easy to decide what cake to bake for Studio Cake Saturdays on my week.. I did feel the pressure to come up with something great since I had chosen the theme! But I wanted something a bit obscure as well (naturally).

And then it came to me! The cake Pedro makes for Summer in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ – Awesome!!

I love ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ it is just so funny! My absolute favourite bit is when Napoleon does a skit instead of Pedro – me and my friend once learned that entire dance intending to request the Jamiroquoi song while out that night and wow people in the club. Ha ha.

Cake mix

The base of the cake was a plain vanilla sponge, I used a recipe from my Grandma Joyce, it’s the one I always follow when making this kind of cake. I made a chocolate version of this cake for the last Studio Cake Saturdays.


8 oz self raising flour

8 oz caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 oz margarine

2 eggs beaten with 5 tablespoons of evaporated milk and 5 tablespoons of water

Few drops of vanilla essence.

Sieve flour, sugar, salt and cocoa. Rub in margarine. Stir in eggs, essence and liquid  beat well and bake at 180 C.

My baking tricks for this cake are:

* Sieve the flour 3 times!

* Add the liquid VERY slowly! Add a bit then stir, add a bit then stir etc

* Replace the evaporated milk with regular milk – simply because I didn’t have any! Regular milk works fine.


The Beautiful Sophie

 photo by Dan Farrell

For the filling I used a trick of my mums – slice the cake into 3 and then spread jam on one layer and butter cream on the other – this makes the cake incredibly moist and extra delicious! Thanks Linda!

I was SO proud of the way this cake was looking, I’d done that piped icing thing around the edge of the cake and it looked ace! But then I had to write on it in red and it all went wrong!!

I made my red icing rather than buy it and I just didn’t make it thick enough, so when it got on the cake it ran.. ‘Pedro’ looks OK but ‘Summer’ was a big fail! And I was SO disappointed!! (And a little bit grumpy)

Napoleon Dynamite cake

photo by Dan Farrell

However, I realised that I have to allow myself a bit more time for the next cake I decorate, and make the writing icing very thick, so if I was to do it again I would definitely end up with a better design – so it’s been a big learning process, which is totally fine. And there were no actual tears ; )

I was very happy with how it tasted anyway so that’s the main thing!

Much love x

I Love Lists! (The last 10 films I’ve watched)

25 Apr

I have recently been inspired by reading film review posts by Robin, a young person who is part of the filmmaking workshops I run for Studio Film School. He has started doing a monthly round up of the films he has watched and they are great fun! (Check out January, February and March – seriously do it – he’s a great writer!)

So I decided I wanted to write about the films I’ve watched too! So here goes…

 Batman poster

1. Batman

Unbelievably I have never watched this film until recently. Dan R decided to rectify that and lent me the dvd – and I LOVED it!! It’s a Tim Burton film for goodness sake! I just love how it balances real sinister darkness with cartoon comic book silliness. Jack Nicholson is brilliant as the Joker. Awesome stuff. I’m sure everyone in the world has already watched this film but if not do so NOW!

Batman Returns poster

2. Batman Returns

Then of course I immediately wanted to watch the sequel! Controversially I might like this one better than the first – I love the darkness and the opening was very Tim Burton. I love all the evil circus people, and Danny DeVito is amazing as the Penguin – I think it’s appalling that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for that role! He was so, so good!

Remember Me poster

3. Remember me

This came through on Love Film and I can’t remember why I put it on my list – I’m not at all interested in Robert Pattinson! It was quite a good film but the characters were SO brooding and miserable!! Gah!! It also had Pierce Brosnan in it – weird casting. I didn’t enjoy the ending at all – it turned into a terrible disaster that had happened in real life – and to me it just felt tagged on the end, and a lazy way to get emotion from the audience.

Phenomenon poster

4. Phenomenon

Watched this when I was at home for Easter. I love John Travolta! I think he’s my favourite male-person ever! This film was a lot better than I thought it was going to be – it was actually a really sweet and sad story.


5. Psycho

I’ve been re watching some Hitchcock films as inspiration for the short horror film I’m shooting in a month. Wanted to immerse myself in ‘The Master of Suspense’

Rear Window poster

6. Rear Window

This film is so tense and suspenseful that I almost can’t take it!!

Mega Piranha poster

7. Mega Piranha

I’m going through a monster movie phase at the moment. And it turns out that I really like BAD monster movies!! Mega Piranha is TERRIBLE! The acting, the characters, the storyline, the CGI all AWFUL!! And I don’t think the filmmakers remembered to do a sound mix because it is up and down throughout the whole film.. But I loved watching it!! It’s definitely so bad it’s good! And it’s got Tiffany in it from the 80’s…

Troll 2 poster

8. Troll 2

WATCH THIS FILM!!! Just watch it.

Godzilla poster

9. Godzilla

The original and the best.

Octopus 2 poster

10. Octopus 2

This got slated in reviews but I actually really like this film. The premise is ludicrous but I still think it’s pretty good. Also it has some really great views of New York.

Sheena x


All images from imdb



Batman Vs Slimer…

28 Mar

The lovely team!

The lovely Studio Film School team

Week 2 of Studio Cake Saturdays was officially ‘Double Cake Saturday’ – because if there’s anything better than one person bringing in a cake to work, it’s TWO people bringing in a cake to work! Yum!

First up is baker of the week – Dan R who followed a recipe from this book..

“I chose Ghostbusters due to the then recent death of it’s creator and star Harold Ramis, as I was a huge fan as a kid and remain so to this day”


“I love this film as it combines 2 of my favourite genres, horror and comedy, in a great way. I also love the creature designs and effects in the film, mostly what my cake was inspired by. I will always have a soft spot for more practical creature effects, such as stop motion animation or puppetry, and this movie was a great showcase for them”


“This is probably the first time I have felt at ease while baking and have enjoyed the end result. The recipe was simple and used one of my favourite ingredients (LIMES), and was very fun to decorate at the end. It was very good, even if I say so myself”

 It was super delicious – I am also a fan of limes and a fan of bright green icing!

The second cake of ‘Double Cake Saturday’ was made by me and it was in honour of Dan R’s birthday. I made him a Batman cake because he LOVES Batman!!


I followed a recipe that my mum once gave me – I think it was from a cake that my Grandma used to make. It turns out to be a lovely moist chocolatey cake so it’s a recipe I return to often.


7 oz Self raising flour

8 oz caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 oz cocoa

4 oz margarine

2 eggs beaten with 5 tablespoons of evaporated milk and 5 tablespoons of water

Few drops of vanilla essence.

Sieve flour, sugar, salt and cocoa (at least 3 times!) Rub in margarine. Stir in eggs, essence and liquid (slowly!) beat well and bake at 180 C.


Happy Birthday!

Yey! I’m pleased with how my cake turned out – this is the first time I have ever done anything ‘exciting’ with icing – drawing that bat was quite hard and it took a while but I’m happy with how it looks : )

Yum Yum!

Back to regular Studio Cake Saturdays next week! And guess who is baking?? Me!!

Follow us on twitter and instagram #studiocakesaturdays

Slimey, Limey, Batman love x

You can do it Bruce!!

21 Mar

Studio Cake Saturdays is BACK!!!

As a small recap Studio Cake Saturdays is a baking project I run with the lovely people I work with at Studio Film School in Balham on a Saturday. We each take it in turns to bake and then I take photos and blog about it : )


Whoops! Cake on the floor!

But I decided to make some changes this term and make it more movie themed (One of my favourite things to do is to theme things!) So I have asked everyone to make a cake inspired by their favourite (15 rated or below) film.. Yes, exciting! So without further ado lets get cracking! First up, the Lovely Sophie who chose ‘Matilda’


“It was my favourite film as a child. I used to watch it all the time and knew all the words”

“I love the scene in the assembly hall with Bruce eating the big cake, it’s my favourite scene in the film, that’s why I decided to make the chocolate fudge cake”


“Erm my baking experience was.. Interesting”


“I love baking but not having any baking equipment I had to use a fork to whisk and guess the measurements but I think it turned out ok”

Sophie and Dan R

“I wrote on the top in white chocolate chips ‘You can do it Bruce’ which is out of the scene, but my travel to work ruined that!”

You can do it Bruce!

Confession: I have never actually seen Matilda! So did not get Sophie’s cake at all! But I do now and totally love it! It was a fabulously delicious choclate cake as well! Nice one Sophie!

Follow us on twitter and instagram #studiocakesaturdays

You can do it!! Eat cake!!

Much love xxx

Studio Cake Saturdays – week 10

28 Feb

let them eat cake

image from here


To get us all into that festive Christmas spirit I give you Dan F with his Christmas baking creation..

Proud baker

Yule log? Yum! It was a beaut! You can see Dan’s previous bake here.

Yule log

Dan followed this recipe but says

“I chucked some orange liquor in the topping – as well as the brandy! It is Christmas!”

I like your style Dan!

“This was surprisingly easy! I was quite anxious about doing the roll, but it all went very smoothly, with no grilling incidents this time”

Yule log

“I don’t normally go for chocolate sponge cake, so was pleased that this one was a bit sweeter”

Yule log

“I dusted the icing sugar too early, so had to re-dust before leaving the house as it had soaked up the sugar. This may well be because I followed this schedule: bake cake- then go out for dinner and drinks- then return home and remember you have to decorate a yule log!”

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of double icing sugar in my book! It was a gorgeous cake and a totally fabulous way to end the first term of Studio Cake Saturdays!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Ha!

Lots of festive love x