Blog Links Just some of the great blogs I keep stumbling on. Go for an explore, and if you see any really good ones, let me know...
- the hottest blogger I know. - I hate knitting. However, I love this blog. Who'd have thought? - If you ask me, it's perpetual brilliance! - 'nuff said. Inspired - inspiring.
- ...into light. Xenouveau - Her from Sadisticland. All Geek To Me - Fun from Scout Finch.
Elven Sarah - Witty and weird, a bit like me (but witty). Sedgefield - A nice blog, which may have died from meme deficiency... - A great lady had a great blog. Hopefully it returns...
superphase - A stick hero for the masses...
Sadly, we have been given the cold Shoulder. - a great blog from the continent, nice and warm there. - Not indulgent any more.
She Speaks - The star-crossed lover is now silent.
Organic Feminism - A tremendous blog. Even though she calls me Scoots *shudder*
You can no longer get your soup fix from souplover.
I've been busy the lasy couple of months. In May I went to Cannes again, this time staying for the whole thing. It's a long time - by the end I was sick of the place. Almost. It's a great place for networking, getting people interested in your ideas, testing the water and so on, but terrible for a relaxing holiday. That is, until the second Friday, when most producers and distributers have closed up shop and the accredited areas are awash with tumbleweeds. In June I shot a short film written by the talented team of Ray Bogdanovich and Dean Lines, called "Invisible Bullets". Directed by Chris Lane, it's a comedy short about a man who discovers that his fingers are trmendously powerful... It was shot and edited in time for the Virgin Media Shorts 2010 competition, and I urge you to visit the site and give it a high rating - Invisible Bullets.
I've taken up the rest of my spare time by directing a documentary feature called 1599, about twins who lived in Tudor times and died in tragic circumstances. We've recorded a narration from Christopher Eccleston, and Clare McGlinn is presenting the interviews. Things are going well at the moment, although there's a huge amount to do before the August release! Hopefully by then I'll have some time for a lie down...
I find it interesting that the more content I am, the less drive I have to write here. Those of you who know me should see the dormant state of this blog as a very good sign.
That said, I do feel a certain twinge of guilt at simply abandoning what was a significant part of my life for a number of years. Occasionally I return, as now, to update any survivors with my comings and goings, which are sadly far less interesting than they used to be. Still, I'm here to tantalise you with a few more thoughts. (By the way, I collected some of my better posts here - Myebook - The Misapplied Criminal Mind - click here to
open my ebook)
I've undergone a paradigm shift in the past twelve months. Whereas I used to be a student, or unemployed, or an IT engineer, now I make films. That's my job. Except it's much more than that. I spent so much of my early life conforming to expected norms - following a career path which was expected of me - "Oh, he's quite intelligent, he should work in computers." Between the ages of 13 and 31 I subdued the creative side of my brain when it came to who I was. Of course, the magic napalm inevitably spilled out - I was in a band in my spare time. I tried my hand at short films. Eventually the flame was silenced by my circumstances, cramming me into a square hole like a particularly squishy round peg. At least, I thought so. As I know now, the flame gained strength whilst submerged, and finally it burst free, engulfing my whole life and leaving me purged.
Looking back now, it's a different life. I barely even recall it as being my own, although I constantly find myself feeling grateful that I have such grist for my mill. I have vague recollections of being dreadfully unhappy - I worked in a job once which I hated so much, I used to sneak off to the bathroom and lie on the carpeted floor for half an hour at a time, gazing blankly at the poorly painted, slowly crumbling ceiling. I remember when getting up for work was enough to put me in a terrible mood for the whole day.
Now I'm happy. All the time. Even when things go wrong, when I'm struggling financially, when people screw me over, I'm still happier than I've ever been. Of course, I'm still capable of incredible, furious anger and frustration, but it's a drop in the ocean of my serenity and joy.
I'm heading to Cannes again in May, and I'm going to be skint for a while, but it's worth it to make connections, absorb film from the air, and most importantly, to remind myself that this is not just what I do. This is who I am.
Wow, it's been pretty busy around here recently (hence the lack of words here).
I've been working on my other blog - Made Up Stuff - which I have transformed into a movie review blog (every review ten words or less).
I've been doing some actual work - On the Iceland ads* for this coming Christmas, I've been assistant to the Camera Crew, or trainee Clapper/Loader if you will. I've learnt a heck of a lot, and had a marvellous time (despite my feet still hurting). And I got paid to boot!
I made a couple of short films as Director of Photography, although I've yet to see how they turned out.
Financially, things haven't been quite so rosy. ~I'm being messed around by my credit card company, the hotel I stayed in during my Cannes trip, the Government, some former employers, and my bank. The upshot is that I'm struggling for rent and food money. Bah.
Up and downs a-plenty in the romance department too, but I won't dwell on those!
In all it's been a fun-filled year already, and I'm scared and exhilarated at the thought of what's next...
I wasn’t expecting to get to Cannes this year. I had decided that
funds were too tight, and I’d be better trying to just sort out my
overdraft. Then we found out that Duty Calls had been put forward by North West Vision and Media into Short Film Corner, which changed everything.
Paul had already arranged accreditation for Cannes just in case, but
it turned out he was accepted on an artists exchange, so he’s in
Romania for the duration. I asked NWVM if they could accredit me for
Cannes instead, but I didn’t hear for ages, so I thought that was that.
On Friday, however, I received an email telling me that it was all
sorted. After all their efforts I couldn’t very well leave it, so since
yesterday morning I’ve been rushing around in a state of semi-panic,
trying to organise the trip. Most of the events I’d wanted to attend
are already closed to applications, so I’ve added myself to immense
waiting lists in the hope that lots of people forget to turn up. At
least I have the flights and hotel sorted, which I was expecting to be
impossible or cost prohibitive. Now I just need to find a tux…
I've been flitting around like a septic moth all day. This morning I was collected by the director to go to a location half an hour's drive away, and his Sat Nav decided to take the scenic route.Of course, we get there and it hasn't been scouted. The scene calls for an office washroom, in which the villain of the piece preens in front of a mirror before accidentally punching a wall. The location we arrived at was a toilet smaller than the one in my own home. Useless. The director strutted and fretted for a while, until I once more suggested the location I had originally suggested eight weeks ago. We set off back, practically to where we first started, and looked at the location. It was great, except that there was no mirror. We looked at other toilets in the building, to no avail, until I spied a dusty old mirror in the corner. We took it upstairs and shot the scene. It looked OK, especially seeing as there was no time for lighting it properly. I salvage a cock-up once again.
Afterwards I drove my pal back to his home town, and he introduced me to a friend of his. We talked movies for a couple of hours, then I popped back, stopping in on some old friends on the way. I made some vegetable broth when I got in, and it worked pretty well:
Mix of peas, lentils, barley, that kind of thing
Herbs and spices
Pinch of salt
Chucked it all in the pan and boiled it up for an hour. It was lovely. To celebrate I played around with Twitter for a bit and changed the layout. It's a wild and crazy life I lead...
The more I visit the town centre, the more depressed I get. It's not because I live up north, but because I moved into a shopping mall without realising.
Every time I walk down the main street, I see a new shop announcing a closing down sale, an empty carcass where another stood, and a new Costa. Things aren't going well for the town I've been visiting for the last five years, which I surmise from the four types of store that predominate:
Pound shops. Everything in my town can be bought for a single pound, it would seem. The interiors are like Aladdin's Cave, with all kinds of cheap tat, from tea-towels to DVDs, to coffee, to toys, all for the price of a loaf of bread. There are a few super-pound shops, where items are more expensive, but the general thrust is that of cheapness.
Coffee shops. It wasn't that long ago that there was one coffee house, and that was inside a bank. Now there are eight, and a new Costa Coffee opened last week (there's another Costa inside the Waterstones). Everyone is no doubt completely wired.
Charity shops. Perhaps this is indicative of the disposable society we live in, but there is a cornucopia of charity shops brimming with second-hand clothes and book, with new ones opening all the time. There's a new YMCA shop across the road from my bank, and it was from here that I bought a comic book of Transformers: The Movie (1985) and The Crucible script for less than a pint of milk. Two of the stores are large enough to house furniture, and I bought an armchair from one of them.
Bakers. It's nigh on impossible to stand anywhere in the town where a Greggs, Hampsons, or Greenhalghs can't be seen. The proximity to Wigan, home of the World Pie-Eating Championships, is palpable. I don't know what amazes me more, that they don't go out of business, or that everyone I see isn't morbidly obese.
I can see the future, and in it the human race has become totally sedentary, recognisable by old clothes, bloodshot eyes, and cheap DVDs.
People die all the time. I discovered this at a relatively early age, I think, when my grandfather passed away, and I have vague recollections of the funeral. In some ways it's a shame I don't really remember the service, but on the other hand, I have some wonderful misty memories of spending time with him. He taught me how to draw ships in perspective. My uncle died a lot later. He was a very like my dad, and I can see some of myself in what I remember of him, particularly his interest in politics. And there was my gran, who died on her 80th birthday. It was from her that I inherited my unusual fondness for martini.
Still, when most people die it isn't deemed particularly newsworthy unless it's notably tragic or unwarranted. Unless they're famous. Celebrity changes people's perception of strangers;someone you've never met dies and it's especially tragic because they've been on television or in films, or graced the pages of tabloids.
So far this year there have been three "big" celebrity deaths reported in the UK, each as tragic as the other, but as inevitable as any other death. Heath Ledger's death was surrounded by a furore of unnecessary speculation - was it suicide? did the masseuse make non-emergency calls? When reporting Jeremy Beadle's passing, the headlines read "King of Pranks" on the same newspapers who once reported him as the most hated man in Britain. Roy Scheider died on Sunday, and most reports condense his lustrous film career into "the man from Jaws." It seems that the assorted media resort to the lowest common denominator in their attempts to sensationalise stories, as they've always done. At the end of the day, one man died accidentally and two men died of protracted illnesses.
It's a terrible shame that they died before they could bring more to the world, but we would better serve their memories by enjoying what they did bring. I for one will probably have a martini tonight.
It's the end of 2007. In some ways I'll be glad to see the back of it, but mostly I look back over the past 12 months with wistful affection. I graduated with a lower degree than I hoped for, but I've still managed to gain industry respect. I've injured my knee, but it gave me the opportunity to carry on with my film making without being badgered by the government to earn money. Although I've had three girlfriends this year (something of a record for me), they've all enriched my life in one way or another. I've also had some very promising things happening in my professional life, so watch this space.
In all, 2007 was fairly good, but I'm looking forward to an even better 2008. Happy New Year!