Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pause for Thought

Anyone who follows my ramblings on Twitter or reads my updates on Facebook will know I've just said goodbye to one of my closest friends who also happened to be a close relative. She had very bravely fought breast cancer, but unfortunately, not before it had spread to her bones and major organs.

Apart from being like my big sister, she was always the first on the phone or email asking me to expand on info I had written on my blog or website, one of the first to tell me if she thought my work was good, passable or just downright crap, and was one of the very, very few people in this world who really knew 'me', whose opinions truly challenged and made me question so much.

When she read the title of my blog for the first time she smiled and nodded her head agreeing it was the perfect name: tenacity is something we both knew a lot about. We lived together for a few years, wrote scripts together, laughed together, danced together, cried together, sorted the world out together, got drunk together - and then held the sick bowl for each other. We'd say, 'never again', and then we'd do it all another day.

I will miss her so much I cannot possibly explain.

I understand a lot of people feel the public domain is not the place to discuss or even announce such things in one's life, but by writing these words, I celebrate my darling friend's life, her being and her vision. I have also received so many kind messages from old friends, new friends, colleagues and even people I have never even met before, that I cannot possibly reply to them all individually: thank you all so much - you will never know how much your messages have meant to me over these last few dark weeks.

I am so very proud to have known her, been related to her and shared my life with her but she wouldn't thank me for dwelling too long - in fact she'd kick my ass - so I must now crack on with everything.

As we would both say: onwards!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dan's Fun Fundraiser & Other Stories

In one way or another life has been whisking me here, there and everywhere recently, which has been quite fun, to be honest.

I have a quite a few shoots coming up over the next six weeks, so have been religiously tying up loose ends on other projects, getting the shorts out to festivals and beginning to pull together new projects ready to kick some serious ass in the new year. Yes, 2010, it's looking like I love you already. Possibly. Maybe. Well, you know the kind of thing. This week also marks the end of a 5 week Producer training course I have been attending, and as much as I have loved it, I'm rather tired trying to keep on top of everything, but such is the nature of the beast. That is not to say I haven't been out and about schmoozing with the odd glass of alcoholic beverage clutched to my breast. No sireee. I have also been very much daubing the town with a deep hue of scarlet.

In fact there have been rather a lot of fascinating days and nights, which brings me to the title of this post: Dan's Fun Fundraiser. After a totally surreal week last week, which saw me balancing work commitments along with post-chickenpox, post-flu but pre-laryngitis Kid, I ended up literally tripping over Ross Kemp when I least expected it - a colleague from literally a billion years ago - and was then invited to a fund raiser for charity OWAU in Kampala, Uganda, where The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sell's brother is currently working. This worthy project provides housing for orphans and single parents who are affected by HIV and AIDS and all the money raised on the day (£1,700 I am reliably informed) will go straight to the cause.

Pictured left, is Dan. As you can see he is casually pointing whilst accidentally advertising his random music-fest for me.

It was a marvellous afternoon/evening of merriment, giant twister, a raffle with totally, gobsmackingly amazing prizes (and yay! I won one!), not to mention some perfect music from Dan's mates Anna and Vad, followed by the totally brilliant Wallis Bird. Dan then took to the stage - initially with the equally lovely Sophie Ellis Bextor (pictured right, with Dan)
for their rendition of "It's My Party" - and then carried on and spoilt us rotten with lots of his own music - including my own personal fave, "Sewn", which made me gulp *big* emotion a lot! Dan admitted at one point, he felt a little strange without the rest of the band on stage with him so we all endeavoured to provide him extra noise and backing vocals. It was very sober and tuneful, of course...ahem. A brilliant, brilliant day!

I have also been spending a great deal of time at various art galleries, the BFI and around the South Bank in general recently. I've had quite a bit of research to do with regards to an early-days idea and the galleries and BFI archives have been really wonderful places to nose around - the South Bank itself has provided me with much sustenance, perfect people watching opportunities and inspiration.

Well, as I said, this is my last week on the course, so the end of this week will see me shifting up a gear or so into 'preproduction proper'. I shall of course drop by and babble away when I have the chance, as I do miss our little fireside chats.

Hope all's well in your lives, dears - remember to always wrap up warm, take a brolly and pop your bikini, flip flops & sunnies into your bag - you just never know what the weather will be like when you next go outside.

Onwards - until we natter again. x

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

VM Shorts 2009 Finalists

The Shortlist has just been announced! 'Tis unfortunate that neither myself or anyone I know is on it, but all the same, a very well done to those who made it! There are some cracking films on the list and I reckon it will be a tough choice...

Making the Difference (Andrew Oxley & David Williams)
Stalking Ben Chadz (Daniel Castella)
Mixtape (Luke Snellin)
Smooth Line (Declan Taafe)
Hiccup (Derville Quigley)
Grief (Darren Conway)
CGI Brows (Andrew Gaynord)
Gunslingers (Regan Hall)