Another post to apologise for not posting. These have become too frequent but at least they are for legitimate reasons. Recently, I haven’t been posting as much not because I’m less interested but because I’ve been focusing more on getting a First in university (it’s working) and writing my first feature length screenplay. I thought now would be a perfect time to write a screenplay because if I wait until I leave university then I’ll have much less to show to literary managers and agents. It’s for a competition by the great Screencraft folk who have some great judges to accompany their brilliant prizes. That is screenplay one for the year (from my 2014 to-do list) but as soon as my essays are handed in on the 14th of May (FREEDOM!) then I will be doing another which has been mapped out entirely already for the huge BlueCat Screenplay Competition. If you have any well wishes or positivity then send it this way - it could always help. If a short film fits in too then woo!
I’ve been also looking for summer work experience placements for my Production Research Placement module but more mainly for myself, to bulk up the CV and try out as many fields as possible so I can settle what I want to do. I can’t see it really changing. I got a huge opportunity recently which allowed me to attend Hong Kong as intern to observe how shooting on location works with an independent Mongolian film by Lenah Films. Unfortunately, I can’t release any information about the film but the experience was incredibly invaluable. It cemented what I wanted to do which was write and direct. There I got to meet fantastic people who all share the passion for cinema. I spoke to people who had worked on The Dark Knight's Hong Kong scenes and the new Transformers and Michael Mann’s upcoming Cyber. It would’ve been even better had I been able to speak Mandarin, Mongolian or Cantonese. Perhaps next time! It was by far my favourite experience so far. It showed that what I was working for was not the wrong thing nor a pipe dream as it’s attainable if I put in the work - which I will do. (Hopefully this won’t be used to mock me later on as I crash and burn, failing to get into the industry)
Writing, directing, producing. Hopefully it will happen but I’m going to work for it because otherwise it won’t.
A Look at My 2013 in Film
A Look at My 2013 in Film
Warning: this will be a personal blog post so expect a lot of Is, mes and whatnot.
Now, I’m not one to get overly sentimental or soppy - especially in a public space - but I feel that I have to acknowledge some of the moments from the past year. Tomorrow will be another day and not much will change but it is the end of a year which is cause enough to look over it, see the positives, the negatives and even work out goals or targets for the next year. Not New Year resolutions which are cheap and cheerful gimmicks that aren’t followed through with, like going to the gym more, quitting smoking or starting volunteering. Those typical things are usually never reached but I have film related goals that I’d like to achieve because I feel this was my biggest year for writing so far.
That’s mainly thanks to Howard Gorman of Cinema Chords and Comedy Chords. He and I worked incredibly hard together this year but him definitely more so than me. The man was a machine, arranging interviews, screenings and DVDs so that we had content for the site which he often didn’t take - even people he would have loved to have interviewed. Howard is probably the main reason that my writing has grown so much this year and the reason that I got to do a lot of my personal highlights of the year. He’s also the reason that I’ve moved a lot more into the horror genre because he’s quite frankly seen them all. Pointing towards some incredible indie stuff that most people have never heard of that is fantastic to watch. Regardless, I owe him a lot and forever will because he has helped make this year incredibly special and productive. I would have otherwise wasted it on nothing.
There’s of course thanks to Christopher Misch from Next Projection who has done amazing stuff with the site and I’m happy to be involved with them, especially the talent that they have on board. Thanks to him I’ve seen many films that I would not have seen or even heard of especially Spring in a Small Town which was the most surprising of all the ones shown. I even got to write about home invasions and have received many films that are still in desperate need of review - a January target to complete!
Another thank you to Jon and Dave of HeyUGuys fame for allowing me to put my work on their outlet which gives me much needed exposure. Here’s to hoping I continually add in 2014 and the site grows even more than it already has.
My year in numbers
Let’s get down to the numbers, the statistics of my year which have been greater than any previous year thanks to my productivity and focus.
In terms of writing, this year I wrote 111 published articles (112 if you include this one) which is incredible! That’s 9.416 (reoccurring 6) articles per month and that’s with a few unpublished saved in drafts, a few interviews I have yet to transcribe (which is my fault) and a massive foot off the pedal which happened to me since getting back to university. That is something that I am disappointed in but I made myself more social at the expense of my bank. I’m hoping to learn to balance it more in the coming year. If we assume the average article is 1000 words (reviews were usually 600-1000 and interviews varied from 2000 to 8000) then that’s 112,000 words written simply outside of university. It’s quite possible that it’s upwards of 150,000 because the average is probably higher than 1000.
There are many highlights to take from this year. The majority of articles I’ve written I’ve gotten a great response, much more so than usual and my Twitter following has grown so that my work now gets much more exposure. I’ve branched out into Yahoo! Movies too but I will hopefully be looking for more publications soon - especially in print as that’s somewhere I’m lacking. Below though are some highlights of the year and my favourite articles of the year.
My 2013 Oscar Prediction and The Nozzers - 17/21 correct, all the big four correct
Nicolas Winding Refn Interview - although it may not be the conversation I hoped for, it was still a chance to speak to a director I admire and the director of my second favourite film of all time.
James Wan: A Retrospective - a piece that allowed me to look at all the work of a promising director who is becoming one of my favourites.
Aaron Guzikowski Interview - which ended up being my favourite film of the year.
Gareth Evans Interview - one of my favourite films of 2012 and an inspiration as he’s Welsh and from around where I lived yet still made it.
Films watched: 321(will be 323 or 324 as I’m off to the cinema after posting this)
2013 films: 91 (will be 93/94)
Films seen in the cinema: 52 (54) - I saw Die Hard, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
If we take the average as 2 hours in length that’s 641 hours of films this year. 182 of which was in the cinema without trailers, adverts and Kevin Bacon. That’s right, I’ve seen the Kevin Bacon advert 50 times this year (I know this because once it didn’t show on one of my matinee days and I was overjoyed). That’s 2 and half minutes 50 times that I won’t ever get back, 125 minutes! 2 hours of the same advert. Ouch! There’s say 10 minutes of trailers in those films so that’s 500 minutes of trailers in the cinema alone, that is 8.3 hours. I don’t want to calculate the adverts outside of that or it will make me very, very upset.
TV series watched:
CSI 9 seasons
The Office 7 seasons (x5) = 35 seasons
season 8 and 9 = 37 seasons
Breaking Bad 2 seasons
Parks and Recreation 5 seasons
Futurama 3 seasons
Family Guy 3 seasons
It’s Always Sunny… 3 seasons
House of Cards 1 season
The Big Bang Theory 2 seasons
Friends 10 seasons
Orange is the New Black1 season
The Walking Dead 1 season
Louie 1 season
Hannibal 1 season
Arrested Development4 seasons
American Dad! 4 seasons
How I Met Your Mother 8 seasons
Freaks and Geeks1 season
Peep Show 2 seasons
The IT Crowd3 seasons
Phoenix Nights 2 seasons (x4) = 8 seasons
Top Gear 1 season
Overall: 110 seasons
If we average it to 14 episodes (since they range from 26 episode series to 6 episode ones) then that’s 1540 episodes of television watched this year. If we average them to 30 minute episodes - since they vary from 20 to 60 - then that’s 46,200 minutes which is 770 hours. That’s pretty impressive… or excessive. Regardless, it’s great to put on to watch all the way through as it’s something you can leave, there’s less dedication than to a film. Also I work around it if I’m rewatching something.
I also made 7 short films, two of which I wrote and I wrote an extra short I wanted to film in my spare time and shall be doing in the January period as I have no exams. I started on a few features, written an entire outline of a story that could either be a screenplay or a novel (but I won’t be doing that for a while, not until I’ve travelled enough) and wanted to attend several film festivals that finances stopped me from doing so.
- To write a full length screenplay - at least one.
- To film a few short films.
- Learn how to edit properly, not shabbily.
- Write consistently the same amount - if not more.
- Watch even more films.
- Work my way through the IMDb 250 and Empire 500.
- Attend a film festival.
- Save up money for after university.
- Try to get more paid work.
- Read a lot more than I have.
I’m sure I’ll add to these but that’s all I have for now as I have to leave for the year. That joke will never get old! I just wanted to make a post thanking everyone, summing up my year and maybe make it a bit interesting to the few that will read it. I hope that it’s an interesting read and you feel incredibly sorry for me for the amount of times I’ve seen Kevin Bacon plug EE.
Almost the End of the Year
Hello there, I realise that I’m apologising for the lack of posts for the third time but currently I’ve been doing essays and getting merry most nights rather than doing writing. It’s quite nice not to have to do some writing for a while but that’ll be back soon when I write a Porco Russo review for Next Projection and plenty of end of the year features to be done too! I’ll be trying to round out my top 10 for the year as well as posting my year in numbers which will be oddly fun and interesting… for me. Then I’ll be on the awards season hype as will everyone else and trying to break my record of 17 of 21 Oscar predictions and maybe even putting money on it. I may recommend you do the same but I’ll probably be sued if I suggested such a thing! Especially with such a competitive year.
I got my first essay mark back for classical Hollywood cinema in which I only got a 68 (a 2:1), it’s painfully close to a first! It’s also annoying because I can see the errors in it now, I can see the problems and the reason I didn’t get a first. Had I ditched a paragraph I feel it would’ve shot up to a 74 but that’s all my fault. Regardless, 68 isn’t too bad, I will do better for the two 3000 word essays due early January by ferociously reading everything in the university library. Maybe I’ll get my first. Probably not but there you go.
Regardless, I just wanted to post a tiny update before I post some more. Adios.
Lack of Writing
Apologies to the very few that do read what I have to say but lately university is being hectic as stated before. Currently I’m doing an essay on Casablanca and how it conforms to the classical Hollywood style or at least arguing its case anyway. After that I have another essay about a horror film which I’ve yet to decide on and how that conforms to the norms of the genre. Currently trying to decide between Insidious, The Conjuring, Sinister and The House of the Devil. There are many more I’d love to write about too like Inside but there’s another essay where they might apply but same could be said for these. I’ve always been indecisive. Apparently a rambler too. This post is more apologising for the lack of content that will happen because of these essays, a short I’m trying to film and a screenplay that I’d like to attempt to write in time for the BlueCat screenplay competition - fat chance with completing it but as it’s NaNoWriMo too then why the hell not?
Regardless I’d just like to post to keep Blogger happy lest they complain about inactivity. There may be a few reviews soon just for the hell of it on here because the dates have passed to publish them elsewhere like my thoughts on Prisoners (spoiler: my favourite film of the year so far) and a few others of 2013 that I’ve missed out on but want to catch up and push my opinion on. There may also be a few features that I want to get my head around so stay with the week or two of low activity because then it may go chaotic again.
Thanks for letting me procrastinate.
Term Has Started and I’m Lazy
Before, there was a post about going back to university, now I’m back and have been for weeks. So far though, I’ve been a tad lazy when it comes to, umm, attendance. That’s the problem I’ve always struggled with anyway. I feel that - personally - I don’t learn much from attending lectures because it never sinks in or it’s too basic to have much value when it comes to doing essays. The reading involved is much more helpful, insightful and detailed because they can be. Lectures can’t really be that detailed because they don’t have enough time or it has to be broad to give more freedom when writing essays. I got called up for an attendance meeting that went fine and have since been attending but I’m tired of them - especially when you have to listen to some idiot waffle on about how he’s too good for our uni or how much he can quote Marc Cousins’s The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Instead I’d rather the freedom to learn myself rather than the obligation of attendance of lectures. University was sold as independent education with most reliance on yourself which is true so why can they not trust students to do the work themselves? After all, it’s them who suffer more than the university. It’s their money, their debt, their problem, their failure.
Beforehand I was excited to do my module Film Genre because it’s primarily horror based and I am so damn up for anything horror related lately it’s great. We’ve studied great films so far and to be honest had decent seminars that I don’t mind attending. It’s actually a shame they’re only an hour because at the 40 minute mark everyone starts discussing properly, they get interesting rather than irritating or silent and then the time runs out. That sucks. It’s rare that they’re actually good but the groups actually talk, they don’t just regurgitate information from the lecture the day before. Classical Hollywood Cinema was a module I was excited for too, to get a good knowledge of film history but the seminars are the most uncomfortable 50 minutes of my life. The room stays near silent, not a barely a word is ushered from anyone other than the tutor. It’s uncomfortable. No one learns anything. Time then feels like every second is a minute because of how excruciatingly painful that silence is. You can see the seminar tutor getting fed up and when anyone brings up a point, no one debates it, there’s just silence.
Now it’s time to start my essays, one of which is a textual analysis about any horror film I like. Decisions are too difficult. Time to write some shorts and make some since people want to (I’m looking at you Joel, if you’re reading this) and that will definitely be fun if I can get people to act (I’m looking at you Jack, if you’re reading this which you probably aren’t). Anyway, that’s enough of my rambling for now, it’s pointless and isn’t important but there we go. Just felt like writing something.