Like-minded People

A couple of weeks ago I met some people and my view of how to be an independent filmmaker changed. No longer was I bogged down with the difficulty of preparing or organising a project. These people realised that if you want to make a short project, there should be nothing that stops you. If you have the equipment, the commitment and the right kind of people around you, all you need to do is give the idea the time it deserves. By adopting that attitude, we gathered together a bunch of ideas and pitched seven short films over the course of a weekend to a film competition. Seven! With the intention of making all of them! It’s been a while since I’ve been inspired that way.

Who are these new people, you ask? Aidan Belizaire, Laura Ross, Helen Stock and Dan Crooke (my fellow AMT directors Tom, Paul and I pitched the other three ideas).

Aidan is an experienced director who I’d known previously but hadn’t had the pleasure of working with. Aidan was actually meant to play the character of Tom in Ramblers, but due to work commitments he had to pull out. This gave me a chance to be an actor, so I can only thank Aidan for not being in our show (as weird as that sounds). I’m sure he’d have been great though.

Laura, Helen and Dan are three that I hadn’t ever met before that weekend. The weirdest thing was how we hit it off immediately. Not that I didn’t think we’d get along or something, it just felt like we were friends straight away. Hanging out with them and bouncing ideas around just felt really natural.

Meeting these people I think also helped to reinvigorate Tom and Paul as well as just me. We were moving again and getting things planned. Manageable, achievable things. An awesome feeling.

All in all, a couple of weeks ago I realised once again why I wanted to be involved in filmmaking. It’s not just about what you can create. It’s really about the people you meet along the way.

For the love of tech…

I was meant to be at The Gadget Show Live the other day. I was going to write a huge blog about the event and the extensive range of technological delights that would occupy it.

Unfortunately I can’t do that as I didn’t go. Why not? I’m not entirely sure.

I think part of it was down to having to travel to Birmingham on my own. Make no mistake, I have no problem with Birmingham. I do have a problem with 7 o’clock coach rides on my lonesome. Mostly because they can be boring as hell (or as was the case of my last coach trip, I could fall asleep on some old lady’s shoulder and drool and thus make it a bit more eventful).

I think it’s more likely down to my dislike of false pretenses.

I suppose I should clarify.

In order to get my ticket for the event I had to be there on behalf of a company. Now it’s true that I’m a company director of Ask Me Tomorrow Productions Ltd, but what’s also true is that I’m in no position to buy loads of expensive tech for said company.

But I don’t think that’s the case either.

I think the biggest, baddest reason that I didn’t bundle myself onto a coach and engage in a geek orgy of tech is that I don’t consider myself in that circle of “professionals and press” like I felt I needed to be. I’m a consumer. I’d love to be more than that, but for now I’m still just a consumer.

Oh well… I guess I’ll just go and read Engadget some more.

What’s your perfect Sunday?

It was one of those weekends. But, you know, in a good way.

The weather was great, I spent some quality time with my parents and Ritu, and I watched cricket (this is a very new pleasure for me, so don’t judge).

It was the kind of weekend that makes you rembember what it was like to be a teenager. That sounds corny as hell, but you know what I mean. When the weather is good and you’re simply enjoying your day. No cares or concerns. No work to do or calls to make or email to send or anything. Just you, great company and fantastic weather.

So it was that kind of weekend. A damn good one.

I was about to end my post there when I realised what an absolute non-starter it was. You don’t want to hear about a boring, sunny weekend. Do you? I suppose you’ve just spent your time reading it. Thanks for that.

For what it’s worth, the weekend really was that enjoyable.

Express Democracy

The other morning, I was talking with my girlfriend, Ritu, about Libya. Now I know that you need to be careful when combining relationships and politics, but this wasn’t a debate. After a few minutes of discussion about the ethics of funding a rebel group (at which point I brought up the uncomfortable comparison with the US in Afghanistan in the 80′s) we decided on something. A new business model for the UN.

The Express Democracy Package.

The Express Democracy Package is designed to help rebel groups secure UN support whilst, at the same time, keeping the UN funded. A rebel group contacts the UN and asks for support. Together, both groups work out an adequate force size and price. After that, the UN rolls in, trashes the government, holds free and fair elections and bugs out again. Rebellion then Democracy.

An elected president in thirty days or less or your money back.

This way, the region is ‘stabilsed’ and the UN is never short of a few bucks.

And what about the previous dictator, you ask? Well if he can raise the cash, there’s nothing stopping him from giving the UN a call and starting the process over again.

But he better make sure he has cash. The UN doesn’t take credit cards.

Bloggage, or lack thereof…

It’s been too long. Far, far too long.

I posted a blog over a year ago and that was that. I made a commitment to blog on a regular basis and failed at that miserably. Now I will work to correct that error.

When I last blogged, back in December 2009 (yeah, I know), I was approaching 25. In that post I attempted to hide my fear (whether or not I succeeded is up to you) and proclaimed that I would be happier for upcoming birthdays. I’ve had a birthday since then and I can confess that I was happier. It was good.

So now I’m 26. And the blog will be used. Honest.

…About Age.

The decade’s nearly over. That means that it’ll be 2010 before you know it. If I had to pick the one thing that matters the most to me in 2010 it would be my birthday. Not just because it’s my birthday, but because it’s the big number twenty-five. It’s the last big milestone birthday before you hit thirty. Sixteen, eighteen and twenty-one are all long gone and that means that it’s time to take stock of my life.

Ten years ago, I was still new at an English high school. I split my time between trying to fit in and trying to stand out. Six years ago, I was dropping out of Manchester Metropolitan University. Back then I was sure that this was the right idea. Well, the jury’s still out on that one. Two and a half years ago, I was moving out of my parents’ home. This time for good, I promised. One year ago, I was sporting a particularly nice ginger beard.

Okay, so not everything listed above is particularly important.

So I’m rapidly approaching twenty-five and I don’t know if I have much to show for it. I haven’t done particularly well with the factors that usually define success: career, wealth and family. I work for a good company, earning a decent wage. Maybe there isn’t as much in the way of progression as I would hope for, but at least I’ve been comfortably employed throughout the recession. In terms of wealth I’m probably in about as much debt as the next guy, just with less to show for it. And my love life… Well that’s something that’s best left unspoken about (not because it’s terrible and seedy, but because it’s relatively non-existent).

I think all in all it’s not the getting older bit that bugs me; it’s the worry that I may not be achieving what I wish I was. Funnily enough not only do I not worry about ageing, I actually want to live to be one hundred and sixteen years old. If I do, I’ll have officially lived in three centuries. How about that for an awesome achievement?

So what are the goals to achieve before this (rather minor) milestone age? I should know them, but I’ve pretty much given up on birthday resolutions. I usually just rely on booze to be a comforting mistress at birthday time instead of planning my year ahead. Of course I do have life goals, but they’re mostly scheduled for around that next big milestone; the big three-oh. I’ll start worrying about them in four years time.

I think that what I’m trying to say (and at the same time, convince myself of) is that although birthdays cause you to pause and examine yourself (not physically), they shouldn’t be how you judge yourself or anyone else. I’ve met massively accomplished twenty-somethings (they make me jealous) and I’ve met middle-aged folks with nothing but their name (they make me worry). From now on, when you think about your age, don’t think about the number. Think about what you’ve done, who you’ve known, how you’ve changed. If the thoughts and memories that you conjure up make you smile then the number is no longer important. That’s how I’m going to work from now on. Happier birthdays.

Think about it.



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