‘Therapy Week’ began with full reflection on how certain decisions lead me down this current career path. During this period of recuperation things came full circle two days in a row when I was in the company of established pros, two of whom are major influences.
It was also a series of unifying moments linking the present to the past.
Day 2 of Escape Studios’ VFX Festival – my second time attending since late 2013 – was suited for cats like me still making their way into the industry. And boy do I have some catching up to do.
The Women in Industry panel was 45 mins of indispensable discussions ranging from the surprising journey of getting jobs that may not exist yet, the importance of mentoring, advantages of a diverse workforce and why companies should accommodate the work/life balance.
Tom Box of Bluezoo spoke about the culture of the studio and how showreels should reflect personality and unique voice one has to offer. Likewise, Seed Animation demonstrates spec work in between commercial output. Meanwhile, Aardman’s scouting for story artists right now.
I finally demo’d Duet! Has it really been 17 months since Curzon Soho?
Along with the 360-degree short film Help, it’s a completely different approach to storytelling. You follow each character, requiring you to move your mobile device with them. Google ATAP’s Spotlight Stories may literally keep you on your feet, but like hard copy books, cinema will still have a place in the Kindle age, yet it has to keep up with innovation. I learned that the hard way during my MA programme. Where was all this back then?
Then, as if by magic, Gareth Harbuz and his buddy Gabriel appeared.
I still have the news clipping from the Mercury. Gareth went on to become a technical director at Double Negative, adding Christopher Nolan’s films among others to his CV. He now works closer to home as London life was hectic.
To him, going indie equals happiness. Rather than chasing somebody else’s work or pitching an idea to a major organisation, his advice was simply make the stuff you want to see, and the collaborators and financiers will come to you. I don’t know if I’ll ever come close to achieving sophisticated feature film quality FX, but as long as I set challenges for myself with the resources I have, am able to adapt, and self-expression is authentic, I’m good to go.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, MAKE IT AWESOME.
Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull answered further queries we had, as he explained in a rousing presentation how he got his spec projects green-lit. The way he cut trailers together to create powerful marketing tools, took approaches far outside of the box and built an audience. Inspiring. Seems the best direction to head in.
The BRIT Awards took place at the same venue – the O2 – and I managed to catch some glimpses of VIPeeps before heading home. But the music didn’t stop there…
Handel & Coram’s Children
Time for another Doctor’s appointment.
It was many things: therapeutic, a very loose live action remake of Everybody’s Music, and the musical episode I asked the Moff about. Along with fellow fans, we’re still basking in the after-glow.
Handel & Coram’s Children Birthday Concert, a charity event at St Andrew Holborn, was a one-time cultural experience to treasure. There were amazing performances from Dame Emma Kirkby, Sounds Baroque, New London’s Children’s Choir, and some guy claiming to be a Time Lord posing as the MC.
With humour and gravitas, Peter and the musicians painted a picture of Handel and Thomas Coram’s efforts to bring leisure, consolation and emotional warmth to the young and vulnerable in the care of the Foundling Hospital.
Arrangements included “Armida Abbandonata” and 18th century pop-cantata “Captain Coram’s Kids”. Kirkby’s vocals were soothing to the soul. Selected members of the excellent Choir sang solo and sang beautifully. It was also wonderful to see the talented soloists and musicians of Sounds Baroque work their instrumental prowess up close.
The evening continued with a Grand Prize Draw, wine, birthday cake, plus bonus opportunities for networking. And Twelfies.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say we’ve travelled 275 years into the past.
We even got to try out the new sonic screwdriver, which was actually a prototype from a toy/prop maker with close ties to one of the attendees.
In my attempts to show proper decorum…I still couldn’t quite contain my puppy-like excitement around Peter. Granted I was a bit tipsy from just one glass of red.
To anyone there, pardon my awkwardness, but that’s what time travel and good times do to you. It would’ve been easier for me to spend a few minutes with him at one time rather than jumping in sporadically among the crowd. But Peter was his usual friendly graceful self, taking time with everybody.
Firstly I needed clarification on the Sproutboy production, and was relieved to hear from him that it was after the BAFTA Cymru screening, at least to his knowledge. He said they went back and forth, calling him to re-record his lines. I told him that while the animation was beautiful and had all my favourite ingredients, it was hard for me to watch because of similar ideas and elements on my mind which I never thought to put out there. “Okay…”
The irony, I went on, is that it was about somebody trying to find a place in the world, who is constantly turned down, rejected, until the Doctor invites the wee one to a party. “Right…”
I explained that while I was at a loss trying to find work, Series 9 was my escape from reality. “Goood!” He also gave me approval of contributing to Blogtor Who as an illustrator.
I moved on to converse with his wife Elaine Collins, who is AWESOME, and branded me as an independent artist after showing her my sketchbook and talking about my background. I mentioned the Shoot for the Moon story, and that I’m working on things that tie-in with next year’s Series 10 launch. We could’ve talked for hours. After I described the trying period between the MA to present day freelancing, Elaine affirmed failure is all part of the creative process.
Before he left us I gave Peter Capaldi the world’s biggest cwtch, thanking him for a lovely evening and for being an inspiration, and I’ll try my best and punch through that wall. He told me to take it easy, believe, do it and go for it.
The world seems like it could chew me up and spit me out. But there’s a way around that. I’m embracing the gift of friendship and cultural experiences which have lessened the pain of both losing a relative to cancer and the failure to fulfil career goals.
All those doubts and demons trying to break in – they can f*** right off. All I need is a good pair of hands to block them and carry on making stuff that makes sense to me. No reason to be so hard on myself.
Time management and communication are areas that still need work though.
5 and 1/2 years ago…
Surely can I top this?
Besides my hobby of time-travelling with the Doctor?
Let’s make some magic!