Looking Back On 2012

As the year draws to a close it’s a time of reflection for me. Sitting alone in front of a computer as I so often do, it’s healthy to remind myself of what I’ve done in the year and then share it with the internet. It makes me feel like I’m accountable to someone. In a way the internet’s my boss. So like Michael Jackson I’m going to take a good hard look at “the man in the mirror”. I think Jacko was talking about looking at himself, rather than some weird bloke who was staring at him with the aid of a mirror in the changing rooms of a spa in Sweden. Either way, I feel a personal connection with his song.

So 2012… I think the highlight of the year had to be that the world didn’t end. I mean, if it had, it would have been pretty shit. We wouldn’t have ever been able to watch the Gangnam Style video again and would have died never knowing who Stig from Top Gear actually is. Tragic. I hope we can all agree that the world continuing to exist is a good thing.

This year my production company Big Bright Lights sold distribution rights to my first two short films “Mr. Mzuza” and “Fired!”. This means we’ll make back most of the budget and be able to pay back the investors who generously supported us. Hopefully they will continue to give us money now they see that there’s the chance of a return and that we’re not just using their funds to buy delicious chinese food. We did that just once alright?!

I don’t make my short films to make money for myself. “Obviously” some might say. I make them to be watched and hopefully enjoyed, and the distribution deal also means the films will be shown in 3 million US homes, and across the world. This makes me happy. You can watch “Mr. Mzuza” free online at our vimeo site and be happy as well… or scared.

“Fired!” is still in the middle of it’s festival run, after premiering at LA Comedy Festival in April. It got nominated for Best International Film there, which I love because it makes it sound exotic and subtitled. Really it should have won but the judges unfortunately made a mistake and wrote the wrong name on their pieces of paper! LOLZ.

Getting into festivals is harder that it looks. Each entry can cost upwards of $50, and so the costs add up, especially when you don’t get selected. I honestly have been a little disappointed that my films haven’t been shown at more festivals. So why’s it so hard to get them in? I have lots of ideas and I’ll probably write a blog about this in the new year.

However, I have high hopes for my next film, “Mr. Invisible”, which we filmed earlier this year. It’s been in post-production for a while now but it’s almost ready. The process takes a lot longer when people are working for free and fitting it around paid work. However, I’ve been lucky to work with some very talented people on it, and I hope that shows in the final film.

This year I also made “Super Chill”, a web series, over in Portland, Oregon. We filmed it in March and April, and screened it to the world in August. Seeing this was definitely a highlight of the year…

Super Chill premieres at the Hollywood Theatre, Portland

Super Chill premieres at the Hollywood Theatre, Portland

I get a lot of pleasure from acting and always saw it as something I wanted to do. But over the last few years, I made a decision to concentrate on directing, to learn more about it and what it required. I still have lots to learn, but I feel more confident in my decisions, which meant for “Super Chill” I was ready to direct and do some acting. Vin and I came up with a rough idea for the show and kind of improvised most of it. It was a great experiment really, an attempt to do something old and new, and I’m really happy with a lot of it. The 6 episodes have been well received in Portland, and got into the New York TV Festival as a TV Pilot Finalist. I think we can be a lot more ambitious with it in the future and I would love to see it on TV. You can watch all 6 episodes at our website.

2012 has also been a year of developing ideas and writing. I wrote 2 more short film scripts this year, one of which I entered into a competition to be shot by another director. My problem (if you can call it a problem) is still the same. I am saturated with ideas, and sometimes feel overwhelmed with my conflicting desires to make them all happen. I know that success comes through specialising and focussing, but it is often easier said than done. I don’t think I could be satisfied making a feature film every few years like most directors. I am inspired by diversity and new challenges, and thrive on new inspiration. Currently I have 3 TV comedies I would like to get to Pilot stage, 4 feature film ideas I have worked on to differing levels, a number of comedy characters I have been exploring, and I am also still working on my 1st draft of my novel. This is as well as “Super Chill”, “Mr. Invisible” and the 2 short film scripts that I wrote this year.

I hope in the end I will manage to be successful in a number of areas. I think it gets easier when you find success in one. I am certainly grateful for the wealth of ideas and inspiration I have, but in 2013 it is my aim to be more focussed on specific projects whilst allowing others to lay dormant until it’s the right time to pick them up again. I am putting my feature film ambitions on hold for a while, and focussing on getting an agent for my writing and directing and also getting known for my comedy. It would be nice to earn some proper money in the process. In 2013 it’s my aim to get my work to a wider audience, specifically on TV. Now that Geordie Shore has finished, I personally don’t feel there’s not a lot of good comedy on TV at the moment, and I am struck with the feeling that I could do better. Now is the time to prove it. Put my “funny” where my mouth is, if you will…

So Happy New Year y’all! Thanks for reading and supporting me in my work. I hope I can repay you with a smile or even a few LOLz over the coming year. Here’s MJ to play us out. This one goes out to that weird man in the mirror in that spa in Sweden that one time…

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