Archive for the 'Newtworking' Category

the three reasons why I’m no longer worried about turning forty

9, February 2013

I always hated the idea of waiting until I was forty to really hit my stride but I was convinced for the longest time that was what was going to happen. I told myself it was the universe’s way of teaching me patience and I resented the stupid meddling universe for it.

It turns out my prediction was right but I’m happy to say that with my fortieth a mere seven weeks away all that looking up at the sky and shaking my fists in resentment has now melted away … and here’s why.

The Three Reasons Why I'm No Longer Worried About Turning Forty

The Three Reasons Why I’m No Longer Worried About Turning Forty

new york

Me at Bleeker Street Pizza, New York

My last trip to New York …

… with TJ

Not only am I travelling to New York to celebrate my birthday, I also get to share the experience with my partner TJ and four of my closest mate. Crazy right?

TJ was the one who originally suggested it … I suspect to nip any potential mid-life crisis well and truly in the bud.

I have to say, It’s been one of the easiest holidays to organise. After putting the word out, our best mates here in London, Lawrie and Amanda, who travelled with us to New York before, jumped on board and two of my oldest mates from my school days, Stephen and Ashley, signed up as well without a second thought.

Lawrie, TJ, Me & Amanda in NY

Lawrie, TJ, Me & Amanda on the Brooklyn Bridge

Thanks to AirBnB we’re staying in a beautiful apartment in Chelsea/Greenwich Village that is very fitting of my soon to be mature forty years and I cannot wait. It’s definitely going to be a trip to remember.

new job

For the past three years I’ve been working part-time as a moderator and live engager for the social media management company Tempero. If you ever wondered who deletes the defamatory expletive-filled comments from news article or responds to you from a brand’s Facebook page, it’s someone like me.

Engagement

Engagement

Moderation

Moderation

Tempero was my first regular employment here in London and I owe them a lot. Prior to joining them the only work I could seem to get was the odd bit of film and television runner work … something I was vastly over qualified for or delivering junk mail for a dodgy Ukrainian dude … who’s idea of a farewell gift was to stiff me of my last pay.

The glamorous life of a runner

The glamorous life of a runner

Junk Mail

Mail’s here …

 At the start of March I’m moving to a full-time position at a start-up YouTube network called BuzzMyVideos as an Audience Development Partner Manager. What that means is I’ll be helping to look after content creators who are signed to the channel and working with the BMV team to develop and implement strategies to attract more eyeballs to what they’re making.

It’s a great new challenge that is both scary and exciting but anyone who knows me knows that I have always been passionate about the digital video space and independent content, so this new job is a perfect fit for me.

new commission

In 2012 my writing goal was simple: “write, network, produce and seal a deal”. Well I’m happy to say that all that work has paid off and 2013 is going to see me writing and producing a project I’m very excited about.

I’m holding off revealing the details about what and when as you usually only get one good go at making a splash with an announcement like this but hopefully before the end of February I’ll be able to reveal all.

To say that I am excited about it is an understatement.

-*-*-

So there you go, the three reasons why I’m no longer worried about turning forty and why the stupid smarmy universe was right all along.

back from the comedy fest

12, April 2011

I’m back from the London Comedy Writers Festival with a head full of knowledge, pockets full of business cards and a smile on my face.

For me the festival was all about connecting with other writers and thanks to its friendly open atmosphere it was easy as. It was also helped by one of the most useful name tags/lanyards that I’ve seen at any festival thus far that made it easy to identify who you were talking to without looking like you were squinting at their middle shirt button or worse.

Griff Rhys Jones’ keynote speech delivered in spades with wry and inspiring tales of his time in the comedy biz and the other speakers that I saw were all engaging and generous with their time. The only criticism I would have is that sometimes the session moderators didn’t stick a hundred percent to brief and let sessions drift into cozy fire side chats, which while entertaining weren’t what I was expecting.

I have to say though, the festival organisers did their best to cram as much information, value and networking into the two day event. I’m incredibly happy that I went and felt like I made the most of the experience and I would happily recommend the festival to anyone thinking of going next year.

off to London Comedy Writers Festival

7, April 2011

I’ll be at the off to the London Comedy Writers Festival this weekend, if you’re popping along feel free to say hello.

And seeing as you’re here you may as well:

Cheers and see you at the Festival.

misery bear at london comedy writers festival

17, March 2011

This week I attended the first official session of the London Comedy Writers Festival on ‘Writing for the Web’ featuring Misery Bear creators Nath Saunders and Chris Hayward. A video of their talk will be available soon up on the LWF site and it’s definitely worth checking out.

Kudos to Nath and Chris. They deserve all the success they get because if you look at their company website, Worm Hotel,  you’ll see they’ve been jobbing writers for years now as well as active creators always trying new things and putting new work out there. They kept working at it, kept creating and didn’t wait for permission.

This was the great take away for everyone – nowadays there is nothing stopping anyone doing the same. Make something you’re passionate about, put it out there and who knows … you could have the next Misery Bear or Simon’s Cat on your hands.

I can’t make the other two free sessions leading up to the festival but I’m looking forward to geeking out on comedy and writing from the 8th to 10th April when the festival weekend is on.

If you’re popping along feel free to say hello!

things are looking up …

27, September 2009

Right, so it’s a bit of laundry list but bear with me …

TJ’s new job

TJ has scored a new job in a newly set up development unit at BBC Wordwide. That’s right, she is now officially working for the government. I expect it won’t be long before she’s doing a 38 hour week, counting down the days til her long service leave and working in an office with a “please don’t abuse our staff” sign on the door!

Seriously though, she’s very excited about the job and it means that for the next twelve months we have some security. She had a great time heading up development in the digital unit at Fremantlemedia but we always said that coming to London was about taking advantage of opportunities that we couldn’t get back in Australia and this is the perfect example of one such opportunity.

little luxuries

As a result of TJ’s good fortune we can finally lash out on some little luxuries – temporary blinds from BlindInABox (it’s been probably ten years since we’ve slept in complete dark and God we’ve missed it); a multi-region DVD player courtesy of eBay (the Love Films subscription comes next); plus a casserole dish and stainless wok for some slow cooked wintery meals. It may not sound earth shattering but trust me these little things will make a big difference in our life.

writing

I’ve recently found a second writer’s group called Script Tank and it’s exactly the kind of group I’ve been looking for. It compliments The London Comedy Writers group perfectly as it is more focused on theatre, feature film and TV drama and has a strong membership base of professional and semi-pro writers, such as myself.

On the writing front I’m still working up some short material as well as several TV pilot scripts. When these scripts are ready I’ll have them read and critiqued at both these groups to help in my redrafting and polishing process. Getting a decent reading is vital – it allows you to hear now a script really sounds and to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. At the moment I’m confident that I should be well on the way to hitting my goal of completing three new original pieces of work this year.

work

Coming off the back of working on Freak, I recently took on a small paid gig Production Managing a short film (Unrequited Love) for writer/director Jade Syed-Bokhari of White Fire Films. We shot out at Black Park (near Pinewood Studios) under a beautiful old oak tree with Max Irons (Jeremy Irons son) on what turned out to be a perfect day. Sounds impressive? Well let me assure you filmmaking isn’t all glamour, a big part of my day was spent at the end of a pole waving a branch to create picturesque shadows in shot.

It turned out to be a great experience as I got to apply my eight odd years of experience to the job and got to draw on some people and resources that I acquired from working on Freak, which meant that things ran smoothly and we got everything in the can in under ten hours.

networking

Over the past couple of months I’ve been to several film and TV networking nights – there’s always something desperate and dateless about these events. Two thirds of the people are guarantee to be actors and composers while the other third is likely to be people looking to meet someone who can give them a gig. So it’s a lot of people all looking from the same thing … from each other! Not the best recipe for success. Despite this, I have to say though that I did meet some interesting people who hopefully I can keep in touch with and work with at a later date.

moving forward

I’m now hoping to take on some more paid short film production managing/producing gigs to get some money in and also to keep building my network. The more gigs like this I do the more I will learn and the larger my network will grow – which can only be a good thing, both in terms of leading to some full-time paid work and also when I’m ready to start shooting some of my own material. That’s the plan anyway, Ill let you know how I go.

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gainfully employed … for five weeks!

5, July 2009

As per my last post, I’ve been working on a Fremantlemedia web drama called Freak and have been extended to the end of the shoot. We’ve just shot our third week and have two more weeks to go.

I’ve been enjoying it and making good contacts and my work has been noticed. The good thing is, because it’s a small team I’m getting to do a lot of different things like assisting the AD, Props and camera crew. It’s long hours but that comes with the territory.

I’ll update my blog with more details when I’m done and have some more time on my hands. Thanks again for all your support, it’s been great.

a change of plans

21, June 2009

Well, all my big plans (see my last post) for last week got shot to hell on Tuesday morning when I got a call from Fremantlemedia asking if I’d come and help out running and driving on a web drama they are producing called Freak. As a result I didn’t get to my writer’s group to hear my sketch read and critiqued, I didn’t get to my networking night and I didn’t go to the theatre but you know what, I did get paid this week, which more than makes up for it.

I’d rather be working than not and despite not being what I usually do it has been a good week. It’s a small crew and they needed an extra person to be able to drive a van out to set every morning with camera, costume and unit gear, be an on-set runner and then drive the van back to the office again at the end of the day. The days have been long and there is always prep and post stuff to do at the top and tail of every day but everyone is working long hours on this gig so I can’t really complain.

The crew have been lovely and were very happy to have an extra pair of hands on board. This past week we were shooting all location stuff around East London and thanks to the third AD’s Tom Tom (GPS) I managed to get to and from every location okay. I was a little nervous at first driving around London (as I haven’t before) but it’s been alright. Most drivers are sensible, there are plenty of lights everywhere so you are always stopping and starting and traffic doesn’t move very fast when you’re driving through the city.

I’m working on Monday and then have to wait and see if they need me for the rest of the shoot. It’s been a good experience (you always learn something on every gig you do) and great opportunity to make some more contacts, which is a big bonus. I’d be more than happy to work the rest of the four odd weeks they have left but will have to wait and see what they decide. Fingers crossed.

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busy busy busy

16, June 2009

I’m busier than ever this week. I started submitting material for the new BBC Radio 7 topical comedy show Newsjack. They provide a great opportunity for new writers to submit material for consideration and so I have made a commitment to submit something every week for the next six weeks that it’s on air. Will I get something up? I don’t know but the routine of writing and submitting stuff will be a good experience. From experience, it will take a couple of weeks to get into a groove and get the feel of the show so here’s hoping that towards the end of Newsjack’s run I hit the mark and get something on the wireless!

I’ve got a sketch being read tonight at the London Comedy Writers group. A slot opened up and was perfect timing for me as I had a sketch that I was wrestling with and needed some feedback on. I wouldn’t say that I’m naturally a comedic writer but after my experience working on and writing on the side for NEWStopia I’m preapred to give it a go and learn as I go at this stage.

Wednesday I’m off to another networking night – this one is called People in Media. I was put onto it by someone I met up with through Shooting People – an ex LA DOP who, like me, is here in London trying to get a leg up.

Then finally on Thursday I’m off to see The Moon The Moon at the Southwark Playhouse.

I’ve still got my web series and a few other things that I’m developing but at the moment I’m enjoying working on some shorter pieces of works, switching between them and actually getting something finished – which is all getting me closer towards my goals for this year.

It’s great to be so busy and while I’m still hunting for work the best thing I can do at this stage. It’s much better than sitting around at home (or the British Library) trolling job sites!

advanced arts network meeting

30, May 2009

Last night I was invited along to an Advance Arts Networking meeting. Advance is a global network of Australian ex-pats who are living abroad. It features “chapters” across many different industries, not just the arts, and operates as a means for Aussies to network and also to sing their praises to the global community. The meeting I attended was dedicated towards Australians working in the Arts in London.

I was invited along by one of the organisers who saw my film, Domestic, up on Shooting People. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be surrounded by Australian voices and by people who say what they mean! It didn’t necessarily make me home sick but did remind we how we Aussies are different from the English (we’re not just their poor convict cousins) and that we have a real “can-do” spirit and drive (as opposed to the English “That’s not my job” mentality) that can see us thrive and succeed when given the chance.

After the meet we adjourn to a gallery to check out an Australian exhibition and spent our time bitching about the English and shared stories about our first experiences here in London. The one thing I found consistent amongst everyone was that they all were still loving life in London. Most had been here for 10-20 years and like me came over seeking bigger and better work opportunities. Everyone I met had whole-heartedly embraced the London lifestyle whilst managing to maintain their Australianess.

I’m happy to say that I can rack this up as another successful networking event (I met several film/TV/media types there) and I found it to be a wonderfully encouraging and positive experience. I’ve got some other new networking events to attend next week and I’m well on the way to getting some more writing done.

My short, Domestic, has climed up the leaderboard at Shooting People for the month of May, which is exciting. The bigger benefit though has been that it has connected me with some fellow indie London writers and filmmakers and led to the rash of invites to new networking events.

My digital project that I have been working on for a couple of years now has got some traction again. It’s still a while off before there is anything significant to report but it’s good to see that it’s still alive. Developing projects is like a life lesson in patience, something I’m not very good at!

Overall June is promising to be a good month and I look forward to keeping you all posted.

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writing update – week #2

25, May 2009

So I’m into my second week of “doing things differently” and I’m happy to say that things are going well. I feel like I’ve had somewhat of a personal turn around even if I haven’t had a professional one yet. I feel happier, more creative and far less stressed.

I had a sketch read recently at the London Comedy Writers group and it went down a treat. It also helped to break the ice and I had a good chat with several of the writers afterward. Writers, especially comedy writers, are often misfits by nature and this bunch are no different, which makes them great fun to hang out with and also very welcoming of a fellow kindred spirit!

On the networking front, I recently signed up to Shooting People, an indie filmmakers social network and put my short film Domestic up there as well as an introductory notice in their bulletin. I had a great response to the short and have three people already that I’m going to meet up in the coming weeks for “coffee and a chat”. These “chats” may not lead to work but I’m happy all the same to be getting out and meeting people. Shooting People seems to be a very positive and proactive network and I’m happy to say it was 30 Pounds well spent.

Moving forward I’m committing to getting two sketches written as well as several episodes of a web series that I have been mulling over. I’m aiming to develop the scripts with the help of my writers group and then later with my mate Lawrence and some actors. The plan then is to get material shot during August and hopefully up online by September.

I contacted someone at Channel 4 this week (via twitter) and found out that the successful eight projects for their Coming Up scheme will be announced by the end of June. So that means my pitch is likely to be still in the running, which is a relief. After not hearing anything for a couple of weeks I was starting to get worried. I’m quite happy now to put it out of my mind but reserve the right to turn into a basketcase the last week of June!

I’ll be sure to keep you updated with my progress and I’m looking forward to some more fun and hopefully success coming my way in the months ahead.

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