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February 14, 2017

La La London

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The days are getting longer and closer to Spring. Until now much of February consisted of cold, drizzly, Blade Runner-type weather – the peak of the Shard disappeared into the mist and the air was thick with pollution – with the occasional sunny day.

The Achieve programme was exactly what I needed to keep my career on track. The people are an amazing bunch who work at some of the big VFX houses and the smaller studios. We are helping and inspiring each other to become more viable creatives in the industry, in doing so building bridges.

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At the VFX Festival, seeing how Rogue One‘s digital effects were made was fascinating. The Diversity and Inclusion panel highlighted the issues and barriers to success, notably the class ceiling, gender politics, and personal circumstances that often deter individuals from pursuing male/white-dominated careers. One of my main problems I picked up from the Achieve workshops was that I talk too much!

MPC, which deservedly won VES and BAFTA awards for Buster the Boxer and The Jungle Book respectively, showed what they pulled off in 5 months with 25 people on a 2 minute commercial.

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The week between late January and early February was…eventful. And fruitful.

One day I was in the National Gallery, the next I was in Cardiff, and I travelled to Nana’s to spend some time with her during her birthday. Woke up the next morning and was devastated by Sir John Hurt’s passing, and later was overcome with nausea by the immigration policy.

I may be fatigued by goddamn politics! but the Women’s and #NoBan Marches gave me hope. It’s every living thing’s job to stand up against fascism, racism and bigotry with something beautiful, something wonderful, something positively rebellious and something rebelliously positive…

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Sunday was dedicated to animating one of the spec idents accompanying The Future Needs Us, painting a pic for the Doctor Who Illustrated Adventures book, and enjoying Nana’s gravy and pork chops and veg.

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My submission for the competition

I caught the latest Adventure Time episode “Horse and Ball” and La La Land – both resonated with me deeply – on a seemingly typical Monday that soon took a dramatic turn.

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Behind these hills

I’m reaching for the heights

And chasing all the lights that shine

When they let you down

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Get up off the ground

Morning rolls around

It’s another day of…

 

Numbness.

I guess there was no better place to hear it than in Bampa’s chair, after an exhilarating day.

Peter Capaldi was on fire with stories and his love of Bowie on Jo Whiley’s show. We were all shocked when he dropped the bombshell. I was angry. Angry that from 2018 onwards we’ll be going through Brexit and the Trump administration without our Doctor. But, painful as it will be to let go, I trust it was his decision to resign, and eagerly await his next projects.

I had a day or so to decide what to do before heading back to London.

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A good mantra to live by, btw.

A lot of things I did during that week was on a whim.

I had no time for cereal that Wednesday morning, nor for some a week later. Time management.

Filming was at Redcliffe Caves. Another trip to Bristol to kind of bring it full circle. It was nice to reengage in some camaraderie and spoiler-free behind-the-scenes gossip with new and familiar folks. And when you learn Matt Lucas is a fan of your work, you’ve made it.

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As it got darker, Peter could’ve easily gone straight to the catering table, or stayed where it was driest from the rain, but instead he came over to greet us first. A real hero. He was his usual, adorably Scottish self, and we all hugged it out.

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Okay it wasn’t quite like that – it was cathartic but more happier in tone, like Chihiro and Haku’s reunion.

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I’m at peak zen.

“A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us”

So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays

And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make

 

So how many Ryan Gosling references did you spot?

*Lyrics by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Noble Paul

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