A very Happy New Year to all of you! A new day has dawned, 2012 has arrived and with it a whole wealth of new opportunities and possibilities. In the spirit of blank canvas presented by the turning of the year we have been thinking about the twelve months ahead. During this process we have come to some conclusions, resolutions if you will, that we will spend the next 365 days working towards. Whilst we know that the world will not end in 2012 as the Mayans never said it would, we intend to act as though they were onto something and live as if this year were our last. As such, we intend to make 2012 the Best Year Ever! Here’s how:
1. MAKE MORE FILMS
This sounds self-contained and fairly explanatory, but for us this is the big one. Not get into shape, not take up needlepoint (although both sound fascinating) but make more gosh durned films. As we are supposed to be filmmakers, you may sit there with a quizzical expression that says “so?” As well you might, but consider this; though 2011 was a great year for us in so many ways (we crewed on a feature film, started working as a runner for the BBC, and had films shown on giant screens, arts festivals and charity screenings) we staggeringly did not shoot a single film. Not one. Not a sausage. We shot other things, like showreels for dance companies, and AGMs for organisations, but failed to make a brand new short of any kind. This was for a variety of reasons, namely lack of two key resources; money and time. When we had the one, we never had the other, and never the twain should meet. We wrote plenty, planned a few and even told you about some of them. But alas none of them made it before cameras, so 2011 is something of a Lost Year for us.
But this year will be different. This year we won’t take no for an answer. This year we will make something. No, not something; several! After almost three solid months of work on aforementioned TV programmes and feature films, we are determined to get to work on our own projects. We have several shorts we want to make, including one brand new idea borne out of our TV experience, most of which mark a departure from our current, mostly comedy based output. Some have a humorous bent, such as a comedy horror script we have written, but we have two science fiction ideas we would like to get on with along with many others. We have a web series we will apply for funding with and are planning on shooting a trailer or pilot to demonstrate we are not talking out of our hat with it. It the funding doesn’t come through? Why, we may just give it a go ourselves. There’s also our feature film ambitions, which we plan on cultivating this year too. Just before Christmas we received our script submission back from BBC Writersroom. Whilst sadly they did not wish to pursue it further, the feedback they provided will be invaluable in making the next draft infinitely better. We will also plan on putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) on two feature ideas, a comedy horror related to the pervasiveness of modern technology and a dark drama about rivalry, ambition and murder. In addition a new play idea, sparked by one of the worst working experiences we have ever had, is one we will develop too, currently only an outline, but soon enough to be more.
A promising slate, don’t you agree? But this is where you come in, dear readers; we need you to hold us to account on this. Sure, we can shoot our mouths off, say we will do this and do that, but that’s not enough. We’re basking in the glow of a new year, so the resolve of our resolutions could easily melt away. On our end we are toughening up, steeling ourselves, not succumbing to the lethargy, time poverty or pessimism that can so quickly derail a project or sink a dream. But you, and you alone (well, alright, all of you) are now witnesses to this declaration. You will have to prod us, poke us, badger us and bully is into either making these films or asking why we aren’t making them. Sure, we may have a good excuse, but we will endeavour to put aside those excuses. Too busy? Nonsense! Too tired? Rubbish! Not enough money? Do without! That’s why we need you. We’re stronger together and all that jazz, so you scratch our backs and we’ll scratch yours, with brand new exciting films. We’ve more than rested on our laurels recently and you have all be very patient and supportive of us. Now we will hope to repay that kindness with some brand new content.
2. SEND OFF MORE FILMS
In the past we have been very good at sending off stuff. From many eons ago when we won our first film related award, £250 of James Bond DVDs as part of a Casino Royale inspired internet video competition, we have had great success submitting our work to competitions and the like. Be it a special BAFTA contest, a BBC short film competition, or the regional RTS Awards, we have done quite well out of our philosophy of “you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery.” As we have not had any films to submit in the last twelve months, the bareness of our cupboard reaching Mother Hubbard like proportions, we have stalled in this kind recently. But with the increase in production, we will also improve our distribution. With our new films, we will send them out to festivals, production companies and any other appropriate avenues to get our work recognised. Being shallow creatures at heart, it would be nice to win some awards if we can, so we will target prestigious festivals we believe will receive our work warmly. At the same time we will continue to follow our 2011 policy of applying for any funding, schemes or opportunities that will either allow us to create or improve our shorts or boost our own skills as individuals. We have plenty in mind at the present moment, including one monumentally exciting funding scheme and at least two different career opportunities, as well as half formed diabolical plots or quasi-Five Year Plans (but we are not mad lunatic despots…yet!) to gun for major awards and set ourselves up as film talents to watch in the years ahead. Ambitious, no?
The same will apply to our writing work. This year we shall send samples and completed pieces off to writers schemes, industry persons and organisations that will give us some damn fine feedback. We love writing (well, we really love “having written”, as the process itself is to us like a kind of wrestling; we’re not even joking) and if we can either get better or get ahead in any way, or preferably both, then 2012 will be an amazing year. We have received plenty of encouragement over the years, including participating in the Birmingham REP theatre’s Grass Routes programme for young writers two years ago, and we will continue to draft, scribble, edit, revise, tear out hair and complete scripts across various disciplines and make sure we get them seen. In the past we have rather hidden our lamp under a bushel, too polite to trumpet our own skills or thinking it vulgar to be good at something. Not this year! Whilst we won’t become arrogant or swaggering (if you catch us swaggering, it is your duty to stop us) but we will make a greater effort to play up our strengths rather than shrink away from them. A more positive frame of mind for this new year.
And our third and final resolution for 2012:
3. WORK WITH EXCITING NEW PEOPLE
This is both the easiest and hardest to keep of all our new year musings, as it is something that is bound to happen anyway. We work with exciting new people all the time on a variety of jobs. Most recently the teams we have worked with on feature film Passengers (coming out in 2012, so that’s your New Year’s resolution sorted) and as an auditions runner on Britain’s Got Talent were a great bunch that made for fantastic experiences and friendships. With that in mind we will set in stone our desire to work with new people on our own projects. Now, that doesn’t mean we are throwing previous collaborators under the bus. We would jump at the chance to work with all of them again in a flash, and at any available juncture we will. But new people bring new ideas, and so we will throw this one out there so that we keep ourselves on our toes. It will also help us do one thing we are horrendous at; networking. The old adage of it’s not what you know in the media industry but who is extremely true. We find it impossible to network in a formal sense, as a side effect of our bushel hiding. But we are masters of working with people and being friends with them, because we are just lovely people. We get on well with colleagues and friends, so by enshrining this aspiration into our Three Resolutions we shall look to advance our career, both by expanding our list of contacts, but also by harnessing their talents to create the best films we can and consequently make ourselves look amazing, or, at the very least, like we know what we’re doing.
So those our the Studio 279 New Year’s Resolutions folks. Don’t forget to play your part; keep us on the straight and narrow like the good friends you are, and we’ll shower you with filmic riches. We’ll keep you updated with how our projects progress, but for now here is hoping you all have a momentous new year and that 2012 brings you great fun, success and happiness in every possible way!