End Of The Decade

Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009, 9:35 PM

So. That was 2009. And, indeed, that was the first 10% of the 21st century.

It wasn't quite the successful year I had hoped it would be for me. But neither was it utter failure and despair. However, I am not in a very comfortable state at this point, and I need to ramp up the change and get my life sorted out.

2009 started out pretty well, with a lot of possibility. I had been organising my first short film, Horizon, and was figuring out how I was going to pay for the cockpit prop, and get permission for all the locations I wanted. But for every step forward, something caused me to go two steps back. I lost a lot of confidence in how I was dealing with it, and after a tough decision, gave up on the whole shebang.

However, something else took its place. After a great job at editing Checkpoint, we realised something was missing, and now the booked camera gave us an opportunity. We decided to add in a whole bunch of new shots to the opening sequence, to show some of the detail that we had originally planned on only implying. This meant calling in our main actor, and a few mates to be wranglers and extras, and some equipment and costume hire. We bought a greenscreen, set it up outdoors in the sun, and set to filming around forty shots that would be almost entirely reliant on CG effects and digital compositing to work. I knew it was a lot of work to take on, requiring the creation of all new CG models, and some learning of new techniques, but that was the point, and where the fun would lie. It took the rest of the year, with a lot of interruption and distraction, but I recently completed the last of the shots I was assigned, which I will hand in soon.

Then, not being able to stop ourselves, we came up with a new idea to make films with very little preparation and hassle, to avoid the stress and nightmare of organising things, but would give us an opportunity to learn new visual effects techniques and skills. For example, we might run out to a forest, and film a couple of friends having a sword fight, and we'd edit it together to make it as exciting as we could. Or we'd film an empty road and then I'd model and animate a science fiction hoverbike race. We called it Pick Up & Go and so far we've muddled along with it quite well.

I also moved house, rather unexpectedly. It came at a very inconvenient time, but it led me to a place I like a lot, where I have peace and quiet and a real feeling of independence I've not experienced before. It is a long way from a lot of things I wish it was closer to, but at the same time it's closer to a lot of things I used to be far away from. So that evens out.

I completed my first script in late 2008, and by the beginning of the year I tried to locate people who could give me general and broad feedback on it. I didn't manage to find too many who seemed willing to read it, and the few who did gave only a tiny and incomplete amount of feedback, if they even remembered to reply. That was disappointing. I lost a little bit of enthusiasm and encouragement because of that, but I have attempted to write more scripts all year. None of them have really come together as well as the first one, with huge gaps staring at me in the face, that I am struggling to fill in.

I have no illusions that my first screenplay is a thrill ride that would be a box office smash hit and win awards, if it were ever to be made. I'm really just looking to learn how to improve. There are professionals that will read screenplays and give advice of varying levels of detail, but you have to pay them a sum of money, which I don't have to spare, so that route is currently closed to me. I can, however, get an Agent to represent me. Or so I thought. In fact, the real arrangement is the Agent has to find me, which means I need to already know people who know people in the right side of the Industry, and I can't see how I can manage that magic trick from the arse end of the world where I live. I am quite disillusioned.

I was hoping that after I put together my showreel, I would be in a good position to find work in the visual effects industry. After sending it out, though, I have gotten no response at all (I did get one single acknowledgement of receipt). I can't tell if that's because I wasn't good enough, they weren't looking for anyone at the moment, or some other reason. It is very frustrating to be in the dark, when I was expecting at least a ripple of something to point me in the right direction.

I think I'm being too passive. I think that's what has to change for me. I have to be more proactive in 2010.

Hmm. Is it "twenty-ten" or "two thousand and ten"?

Darn. I have no idea.

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