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March 11, 2016

A Duty of Care

This is my life right now.

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Show-n-Tell Networking at the Mill

Animated Women UK is going from strength to strength. They hosted an evening of show-and-tell networking at the Mill, attracting a diverse range of talent, from students to VFX artists, a couple of whom were part of the team who had just won an Academy Award for Ex Machina.

With a good friend at Skwigly Magazine and a producer who’s deep into commercials, I went into depth about my disheartening job search and plans to break into animated short-form content.

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From their experience they suggested writing a treatment, preparing a portfolio of the thinking behind compelling audio/visual material, assembling a small team – since some clients/agencies are less open to an individual’s creative input – and arranging to pitch to the client(s).

Cats are always sold on the passion on display. May not hit bullseye every time, but if I stay true to the tone and vision I want to express, the door is still open for certain ideas. They can be recycled, remixed or completely original.

HaZ. Dan Trachtenberg. Neil Blomkamp. Directors with a background in commercials, 3D animation and short filmmaking, inspired by action movies and video games, now working on features 10x their budgets.

Now that Winter has come and went – don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Winter – I can focus on the long-term. Specific ideas that have incubated and developed over time will see the light of day. All I have to do is set myself x amount of hours focused on an activity, find collaborators and work on projects in small increments.

Get on with things. Take it easy.

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Series 9 DVD Launch

I decided it would be a crime to miss one more Doctor’s appointment. Much to the bemusement of my parents, it would be my fourth London trip within a fortnight, so prior to that, I reserved my copy of the Complete Ninth Series at HMV 363 Oxford Street, before buying Belgian chocolates for Mum and heading to the Mill. See? In the right place at the right time.

I returned there the following Monday – another ordinary day for a Londoner – to pick it up along with a wristband. Cashiers however had trouble processing the order. I turned and saw Brian Blessed had joined the growing queue behind me. Thankfully he was in quiet mode.

I grabbed some lunch from Broadcasting House and spent the next hour watching the red carpet arrivals outside the Palladium. It was the annual Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards. In attendance were Dynamo, Geri Halliwell, Moira Stewart (the “Eagle” – a nickname I gave her as a toddler), David Haye (a mighty high five), that guy, the other guy and Prince Charles.

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I ate my lunch outside Ham Yard Hotel, the location of the Series 8 DVD launch, so it resonated. Though I was shivering from the early Spring chill.

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After meeting Lizzie we joined the line outside HMV, were ushered in by the most jovial of security guards and ascended to the 2nd floor.

Like the Ham Yard moments in 2014, it was a religious experience that couldn’t be more British. Hey, what could be more British than the BBC and Prince’s Trust? Well if the unforgiving Oxford Street rush hour commute is hell on earth, then this was the entrance into heaven: fans queuing in the original HMV shop for over 2.5 hours signing/dancing to Bowie classics while the Doctor was greeting each of them on a stage.

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Missing my 7.30 coach mattered not. Peter Capaldi had insisted on taking time with everyone, making sure they left happy. Everybody gets a Twelfie! He recognised our group and thanked us for attending the Handel concert.

I presented him with a 5 minute drawing I had just inked, told him that his whole era of being the Doctor is on my list of favourite things ever, my plans to produce stuff that ties in with the next series, and gave shout-outs to a couple of fans who he acknowledged with a smile and a wheezy giggle.

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But while he was writing on my box set, he asked, calmly, “how are you?”

Those three words immediately sunk in. The hint of concern in his voice meant he remembered our conversation at the concert after-party (which to be fair was very recent). I replied how I felt in the present moment. I’m feeling good. I’m so happy right now. Happy that I have made it this far. Can’t be bothered to divulge my dark winter of the soul again.

I wasn’t leaving the building without another cwtch. “Take good care of yourself,” said the Doctor.

Dr and Lucy cwtch

I love life.

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