reflections on 2009

17, December 2009

Back in January I posted my goals for my first year in London. Not everything has gone to plan. It’s been a rough year to be honest. Money has been tight. Being a new face in a competitive industry during a recession has been tough. And just getting use to Jolly Old Londontown has been a struggle at times.

Would I have changed my decision to come to the UK? Not at all. Would I do things differently? Definitely! Can I do anything about that now? Not really. And upon reflection, do I really have that much to complain about though? No, not really.

I’m now working (part-time but at least not being exploited), living in a lovely little flat (by London standards) and looking forward to my first UK Christmas (with the promise of snow … maybe).

So, how did I go with my goals with year? Let’s see …

personal

find a borough and a flat in the UK I can call home

I’m still living in Euston above the tube lines (that rocks me to sleep every night and wakes me every morning) but have to say I love being so close to Bloomsbury and Soho. we are going to move eventually, there is only so long that we can live in a studio but for now it suits us. We could end up in Brixton, which looks affordable with a vibrant young up-and-coming community feel to it or maybe somewhere South West, but that just seems so cliché seeing as that’s where most Aussies seem to end up congregating when they move to London.

maintain a blog for the entire year

Check.

make London friends

I have, slowly. I can count friends of friends, a few ex-work colleagues and some fellow expats that I knew from years ago among my new London friends. So I’m getting there and certainly not a noddy-no-friends but submissions are still open for 2010, anyone … anyone …

stay in contact with Australian friends and family every month

This has been very important to me and thanks to Skype, Facebook, Twitter and good old fashion email I’ve managed to stay connected to those nearest and dearest to me on the other side of the globe. But come 2010 I know I have to make more of an effort to form connections here as I continue to carve out a life for myself.

keep up exercise three times a week

Now I’m not bragging but living a minimal life this year has meant that I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for years, thanks to the gym (my one big indulgence for 2009), a brutal weekly yoga class and clean living with very little excess (who can afford it!).

take better photos

I hope I have. You tell me.

cook more (does not include heating, frying or zapping)

We are blessed with a decent gas oven/hot plate cooker and don’t have a microwave so there has been no other option but to cook. And you know what, I’ve really been enjoying it. I bake a mean breakfast loaf and have been doing some tasty slow cooked meals in a ceramic hot pot that TJ got as a parting gift from her last job. Next year I hope to experiment more with England’s weird and wonderful array of root vegetables.

travel

Being financially challenged has meant that I haven’t travelled as much as I would have liked this year. But I have been to Geneva in Switzerland, Lake Stresa and Milan in Italy as well as Bristol and Brighton in the UK. Next week I’m off to Dorset for the day (to visit my Great Uncle Bill), which should be a real treat. Next year we plan to do more day or weekend trips around the UK and more travel to Europe hopefully – with it so close it would be a sin not to.

professional

Ugh, these are the tough ones …

land an opportunity in the UK that I couldn’t get in Australia

I’m not sure I can say that I have yet. There are certainly more opportunities in television and scriptwriting here in London but have I “landed” any yet? Not really. I’ve applied for a range of schemes and jobs that I wouldn’t necessarily have access to back in Australia and have also joined two writers groups so let’s call it a work in progress. Check in with me by the end of 2010 and hopefully I’ll have more to report on this front.

secure a screenwriting agent in the UK

Yeah … not so much. While important to my ongoing career I realise now that the most important thing is just to focus on producing good work and the rest will follow. My writing has gone through a lot of growth this year, which has included a lot of awkward and just plain ugly growing pains. But I can honestly say that I have produced some work this year that I am very proud of.

complete three original works

This is a box I can definitely tick. I completed a couple of sketches (let’s call that one) plus two multi-episode web series. All of these fell into place in the second half of the year after I just let go and started writing what entertained and interested me. During the first half of the year I produced some work that I wasn’t so proud of, especially seeing as they were the examples I used for several writing schemes, such as the BBC Writers Academy and Channel 4’s Coming Up programme. I hit some real stumbling blocks, let the pressure get to me, double guessed myself and just wrote some God awful stuff to be honest. I’ve been able to move past this now and reflecting back on this work I can see where I went wrong and how to rescue some of it when I comes to rewriting it.

practice pitching

I’ve done more than practice, I’ve actually gone out and pitched this year. I’m quite happy with what I’ve put together and presented in the second half of this year. It’s now a matter of waiting until the new year to see if anyone bites.

network

Where possible I’ve tried to get out and about to meet people and do the whole “networking” thing. My biggest success to date has been joining two writers groups. The London Comedy Writers and Script Tank have given me structure, a community to feel a part of and most importantly the opportunity to share my work with other like-minded peers. It has been something I have always craved and can say without a doubt it has been one of my biggest achievement this year.

-*-*-*-

Well, that’s it.

Thanks to everyone for following the blog this year. I look forward to regaling you all with more tales in 2010.

I hope you stay safe and have a happy festive season and wish you nothing but the best for 2010.

Come January 2010 I’ll publish my goals for the year and start the whole process again.

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3 Responses to “reflections on 2009”

  1. Lorraine Says:

    Have a great Christmas Brett and TJ. Will you be catching up with Liz and Gen, Edward J and Katy? They are all somewhere “Over There” for Christmas.

  2. Patrice Laslett Says:

    Well done for having the courage to reflect. I spent a lovely evening with your family in Adelaide this week. Will send photos soon. We hope you have a magical Christmas in the cold. Love from us.

  3. yvonne Says:

    Great Brett, very proud of what you have achieved so far under the circumstances, plus where you are, and situation of the world.

    Keep it up it can only get better, plus you are gaining experience whatever happens.

    All the best for coming year.
    Love to you both Dad & Mum xxxooo


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