Things We Can Do To Help -  Special Effects 

Special Effects

A trick of the light

A trick of the light

  • There was a time when an old biscuit tin, the light from the back of a bike and roller skate was all you needed to create iconic special effects, but the times they are a-changin’.

    Your phone now comes loaded with apps that allow you to hip-sta-matic your photos, whenever the whim takes you. Point. Shoot. Click. Cool.

    Point. Shoot. Click. Cool.

    And that’s just the way it should be. Fun.

    But limited.

    Apps are all well and good, but they are retrogressive. Apps do one thing. Sometimes, they do it well. Sometimes, not so much. This is great, if they happen to do exactly what it is you happen to want to do. But most of the time, they don’t.

    Real Applications do lots of things. Good applications are configurable, so you can make them do exactly what you want. However, the price of this, as we know, is the dreaded learning curve and cost, the most expensive commodity you have, time.

    So, what is a girl to do?

    Buy hundreds of different cheap[1] little apps (in the hope that 1 will do what you want) or spend months learning (and years mastering) a bunch of big, expensive applications?

    Neither choice seems particularly appealing to us, when all you want to do is make your photos funkier.

    If only there was a 3rd way…


    A chic, but lifeless, restaurant goes about its business. The midweek clientele, mostly couples, talk politely to each other, as the gentle strings of an adagio play in the background. No one is listening.

    An older couple sit, in silence, on a table in the back. The man picks up a bottle of wine and pours his wife a glass. He passes it to her. Their hands touch briefly. She catches his gaze and smiles. He smiles too; only gently and with his eyes. No words are exchanged.

    CATHY notices. CATHY is good at noticing the little things.

    And she can’t help noticing that, she, is sitting at her table, alone, and that her glass of wine is almost empty. She looks at her phone, hoping for signs of life.

    She raises her head slowly, brushes a hair away from her face and looks nervously at the clock above the bar.

    Other people, will start to notice soon, CATHY thinks, and then… then, they’ll be pity. Oh Christ, not pity. What was she doing?

    Things had changed a lot for CATHY since JACK had died, but at some point, as her best friends kept reminding her, she had to get out there again. And that, was what she was doing. Tonight. Going on a blind date. Well, a nearly blind, date.

    She’d known ETHAN at college, but that was 20 years ago and all they’d done since, is facebooked a bit, by accident. He’d stumbled on her profile through a friend of a friend, he’d said. He’d always been good looking, no one could deny that and apparently he’d made a bunch of money as a corporate lawyer, but chucked it all in. He said he wanted to do something more noble, but wasn’t sure what. He said that she looked as beautiful in her profile picture, as he remembered. It all seemed to good to be true.

    At least that’s what CATHY had thought, but that was back when she had thought that he might actually turn up.

    Oh God, maybe that’s it. Her profile picture.

    She’d had it tweaked by her friendly, neighbourhood photo shop. Nothing outrageous. It wasn’t like she’d posted a picture of Grace Kelly or anything. Just, you know, had it made a bit more, well, flattering. Still, her. But her at her best.

    Oh God, maybe that really is it. Maybe, he’d turned up, seen her in real life and thought better of it. Maybe he’d…

      "Hello, Catherine."

    It was Ethan.

    CATHY stands up, trying not to look startled. Ethan glances at his watch.

      "Sorry, I'm not late, am I?"

    he asks.

      "No, no. I was a little early." 

    ETHAN leans in, hugs CATHY and barely kisses her on the cheek.

      "I was right, you know.", he says, "You look just as beautiful now, as I remember."

    CATHY catches Ethan’s gaze and smiles.

    ETHAN smiles too, CATHY notices, only gently and with his eyes.

    CATHY is good at noticing the little things.


    ...and, fortunately, being your friendly, neighbourhood photo shop, we’re a whole lot better at photo editing, than we are at writing fiction.