April 26, 2016

Hooked on Appealing

How are you?

I love life, but I hate waiting.


The past few months have been a complete mind screw. I have been on tenterhooks since September. Caught up in the frustrations of finding work, anxiety and fear of the unknown, I became withdrawn and detached from the present moment. I didn’t even have to be that way, but when life around you seems to fall apart, there is an air of despondency that sucks the joy of life out of you.

But recently I’ve been slowly crawling out of my bout of depression thanks to CBT, EO Fire podcasts and support from friends.

How did CBT help you?

Through therapy I found myself regretting how I reacted during those times I’d beat myself down for my faults. In any situation, however dire it may be, you have to ask to yourself, will this be a big fucking deal in 3 months?

3 months after December I still wasn’t my resilient, optimistic, glass half full self – caring too much what others thought, picking apart decisions, and anticipating another big loss. Something had to change. Everything changes. It’s 2016.

What did you learn from the Festival and Networking?

As a postgraduate I saw the VFX studios as the cool kids I was drawn to. The move to 3D realism, lighting FX and even stereoscopy was like learning a new language. Having seen my demo reels, people could see that I gravitated towards 2D drawing and a classic design style.

While other students had gone on to work on movies and other lucrative careers, I fell behind. Nothing I came up with could quite match the originality of Everybody’s Music.

Since 2012 my own business has been changing to keep up with The Business. I reached the point where I no longer required the guidance of my Prince’s Trust mentor, who believes I’ve grown a lot in 2.5 years.

My methodology had to change so I could quickly get a clear message across and not get lost in the process. By making stuff that pops, sought-after clients might take a chance on a creative sole trader like me, when established teams and directors are a safer bet.

What did you learn from the concert and the signing?

The fear that one day I’ll run out of such opportunities weighs heavily on me. Timing is everything.

I had this nagging feeling that I left a mixed impression on Peter at the concert afterparty. The muddled communication confused him, though I did tell him, Elaine and other attendees about my difficult winter, so it’s possible they’ve pieced together the backstory behind my insecurity.

I could also run a list of Everything Wrong With March 7th a la Cinema Sins, but it’s 2016.

I was too busy rehearsing prompts in the queue on the second floor of HMV to notice my Mission Dalek animation – a solo effort completed in 12 days straight last summer – was stored on the iPad.

What has the Doctor taught you?

The many regrets I carry are outweighed by the many positive affirmations people have sent.

It came to a point I had to distance myself from certain activities to focus on not only running a business, resuming side projects or supporting my family, but on me, for my mind was a scrambled mess caused by recklessness, heartbreak, distraction, dread, costly decision-making, and overthinking.

That epiphany was due to one very small, unexpected thing that meant so much.

Peter Capaldi, at every level a fantastic human being and a rock to so many people in dark times, took a moment to ask, “how are you?”

Of course I’m reading too deep into it; people often tell me to take care of myself, but when it’s expressed by somebody you look up to, a public figure whose work has made an impact on you, who is a positive influence, it’s more profound when you also take into account the circumstances. It emphasised the need to be kinder to and give myself a break, and be the best version of me whenever possible.

Likewise the experiences have taught me not to rest on my laurels too much, for time moves fast. It is 2016.

Taking a look at the bigger picture – how am I spending that time and who are the people I’m spending that time with?

What’s your next move?

Until Easter weekend I thought I’d never be able to create anything of worth or of commercial value. Everything else seems like a slog when it’s not your dream job. But I can still do good work that I love; I still have the resources to pursue my entrepreneurial endeavours.

I’m not yet on par with Smith & Foulkes, nor as technically proficient as WDAS, nor am I working full-time in a fully collaborative studio facility. The Business changes so much, so whatever stage I’m at I’ve got to keep moving.

After taking time to refresh, I’ve kept myself busy with a project that goes deep into the identity of CCFX. An autotelic exercise in creating a dynamic action sequence from scratch, it’s a product of epiphanies and regenerative energy building up inside…or maybe it was easter eggs and Avengers Assemble that gave me a boost.

How are you coping with a recent loss?

It’s frightening to lose someone close, and just as frightening to see a parent or loved one in fear of dying.


Carolyn passed away on 9th April after a long fight with cancer.

This had been on our minds for weeks. For Dad, 18 months.

My sister paid a visit on the final night and was beside herself with grief. I had visited on Easter Sunday and the following Wednesday.

Feeling Dad’s pain and one of the kindest women in my life slipping away…everything else I got hung up on was trivial first world BS.

The loss of so many people in my life has made me aware that time with the people who are still here – my Mum, Nana, their family, sis, Dad, his family, neighbours, friends around the world, human or otherwise – is a such precious asset.

When all hope seems lost, Mum is always there for a cwtch, but if not I can refer to the memories of feeling safe in Peter’s arms, one of which is immortalised as a Twelfie (taken just as the disk space on the tablet filled up), and everything will be okay.

What moments with Carolyn do you cherish?

The wedding reception, Bradgate Park walks, the many, many midweek dinners. She’d make the best spaghetti meatballs and salad. And we’d cwtch before Dad gave me a lift home.

Two of the last things I showed to her were this website and the aforementioned Twelfie. She said they were fantastic.

How instrumental was she to your success and happiness?

Carolyn was fair and treated everybody equally with kindness. One Christmas she refused a Nintendo 3DS for she was happy with her DS console. Receiving the 3DS for my birthday led to hours of Ocarina of Time (currently re-living again as Game Grumps Let’s Play videos) and pre-iPad web browsing, and ultimately an unexpected prize draw…

So what now?

The funeral takes place this week. After that, a few reasons to be cheerful.

I’m moving ahead more mindfully, regulating social time/tech time/working time/me time, and setting zero parameters on creativity.

Life is complicated enough, so why should my enterprise?

Prioritise. Compartmentalise.

As I post this it’s been a year since Benedict Cumberbatch dropped acting advice on me at the Sherlocked Convention. Yes, time really does go like *snaps fingers* that! In Wales right now he’s working his magic, while Class is in session. Filming of Who Series 10 begins next month.

And finally…thoughts on Pearl Mackie?

I have nothing but good thoughts for Pearl.


At the end of the clip, my immediate first thought was Uncle Bill.

Doctor Who has the power to make you feel like a kid again. I felt that watching the reveal last Saturday. It’s a lovely little intro that could’ve been cheesy as it’s just a Dalek but their chemistry makes it. I’m predicting something like a sensei/student relationship. And the possibility that Bill is from the 80s or 90s just makes me feel happy for some reason, like everything in the modern day just blows her mind.

We’re in for some excellent adventures (wait, what movie did I watch on at midnight on Christmas Day?).

Now I have to wait for 2017.

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