September 2014

The Festival Diary – it’s all a blur.

For me it’s that time of year where I step away from the overcooked laptop and see what daylight looks like. With the BFI industry screenings (which I can’t talk about, even though I have just mentioned it) and The 22nd Raindance Film Festival plus The London Film Festival bring up the rear it is going to a busy 4 weeks for sure.

So after a couple of days enjoying the calm that is The BFI NFT scenes on the southbank I readied myself for the un-plannable but for me, over planned Raindance Festival.
Dubbed by me as the only festival my wife lets me go to Raindance is not just about cramming In as many films in a day as humanly possible despite my best efforts but it is about meeting with like minded people who you can connect with on one level or another.

The opening gala which featured the film ‘I Origins’, a film I was planning to see when released in the UK, gave us the promise of the festival. That promise being an open window into films you would normally not get a chance to see either for a long time or not at all.

The after party was a chance to let off some steam, catch up with your festival crew and network with what will be the new festival buddies. As well as that the Roland Gift set blew my sock off. He sang and performed like the true gift he is.

With only four hours sleep to my name the first full day of the festival gave me my first film ‘The Word’ from Poland (showing again on Sunday 28th Sept – 6:00pm). A story of teen angst and murder it demonstrates once again that Poland do not skimp on quality. The second film of my day was ‘The Beat Beneath My Feet’ with Luke Perry staring. A mix of musical and drama was executed in an original fashion (showing again Sunday 4th Oct) made me sit up and listen not only to the songs but the message as a few difficult subject was wrapped in an inventive but popular format.
Last of that day was the ‘Children Of the Sun’ gala screening. A loving, dreamy tone poem wraps this drama about a family trying to escape the local mafia. The after show drinks helped to wake me from the shockingly airy way the conclusion was played out.

Friday morning and after taking in The film ’71’ at BFI I proceeded to head back to the festival to see ‘Gregor’ which contains an “N word” joke which spent way too much time to dig itself out of a hole. Luckily I had a get out clause with the Raindance MA student screenings which showed three short but could not show the forth due to a technical error. With luck it gave us a chance to speak to all of the filmmakers and a few star in the form of MMA fighters including Alex Reed. I can truly say my perception of the sport and the sportsmen involved has change for the positive and especially catching up with one of the fighters (Chi) I now have a new sport to follow.
After a brief munchy I had the pleasure of meeting up with my fest buddies and catching the screening of ‘Show Pieces’ short film trilogy. This Alan Moore/Mitch Jenkins collaborative work deals with the regret and guilt (yeah I said it) of passing into the afterlife. As well as this superb eye opening thriller hitting me with shock and humour in equal measure the Q&A afterwards with Alan and crew was just as irreverent.

I feel uplifted and tired. And it is only a week into the festival and screenings. I look forward to more energy giving cinema over the coming weeks. Also, if you are reading this in time for the Raindance Film Festival my motto is simple. Book, get passes……Go!!

Raindance has begun…

So tonight sees the opening gala of the 22nd Raindance Film Festival. I will be there (in body at least with only 4 hours sleep in my bones) enjoying 10 days of eye opening and awe inspiring movies short and tall.
I will try and maintain a daily short report but for now, I hope to see you there.

Post holiday truths – How to use your ‘stop and think’ time.

Post holiday truths – How to use your ‘stop and think’ time.

Writing this on the plane back from the yearly family getaway I was struck this year by how calm I have become over the 10-day period. Somehow I don’t think my favorite drink had anything to do with it.

No, it was much deeper than that. This year I had decided long before we traveled that I would have some ‘stop-and-think’ time. It was time to take stock of everything but not to stress too much about an action plan when I got home.

The more I ‘stopped’ the less I was thinking and I found that, without much work on my part, answers and ideas came, not more frequently but more creatively, free from any time constraints. I feel, for me, that the more I try to think my way out of any situation the more false urgency arises about what I need to do and when it needs to be done. Yes, there are things we need to do and organize in a timely fashion but if you do not have a viable and creative plan of action the circle of failure you are trying to escape will become larger and larger, increasing the time it takes to finish your task.

“Just do it!” is great if you are a person who enjoys risk without planning but I would like to add another soundbyte-ready slogan. “Just stop it!”

Also “Just think it!” could work as well at the same time.

The one mistake I will not make is to come back from holiday assuming that I have all the answers. The one thing I will assume is that I have a new set of questions ready for a number of scenarios and challenges.

To stop, or not to stop? That is the question. When do we get the time? That is simple. One less Facebook post. One less soap episode. One less gossip-filled telephone conversation. One less over-priced coffee and the time spent queuing for it and believe me you will have the time (and a little more money in your pocket if you like coffee as much as I do). Just stop. And just stop long enough to think.

Also keep a notepad handy. You will be surprised at how much a good brain clear-out can do for your week.

You don’t have to go on holiday to do this either. If you have a lot going on and none of it is working particularly well then you do have the time to stop. A lack of success in any area is normally accompanied by long periods of nothing and nowhere moments. If everything is working out just fine for you then congratulations! You are officially too busy for any problems because your life is working exactly the way you want it to. Go have a drink. Or maybe not – as it may hinder your progress!

I am constantly reminded that thoughts are things and that even when they look as if they have not produced a physical result, there is some physicality to what those thoughts do. Even if it is just to stop you in your tracks with fear or some other useless or incorrectly used emotion.

How will I track my personal progress and growth with my newfound open plan approach? I will track it with how happy I am with the results or even lack of results I obtain. I say happy with the lack of results because sometimes, letting a moment or opportunity pass you by maybe exactly what you need to do.

I know what you are thinking – Does it matter if I do?

We spend an awful long time thinking about how we are perceived by others. How do I look today? Did I say something wrong? What if they don’t like me? So on and so on. The list seems endless.

What if you knew the answers? Would you feel better armed with the truth?

The trouble we face is that in real terms amongst all of your peer groups, trusted or not, the truth is in extremely short supply and when you are faced with it the effects can either be liberating or devastating.

Being aware of yourself is the best way to assume what others think of you but this has to be done with a large degree of balance. Over-estimating any personal flaws will deflate you to a point where change (if needed) is hard and under-estimating means that you may miss out on changing a behaviour which will, ultimately, help you improve not for others but for yourself. A perfect example of how you can over- or under-estimate your behaviour is when you meet any of your personal heroes. I was once warned to take care which of your heroes you meet. Some may fall short of your own personal expectations.

I say take care which of your heroes you meet because at the 2013 BVE expo I had the opportunity to meet one of my creative heroes who shall remain nameless. Prior to meeting him I’d built a mental picture of how I imagined that person to be and that picture was of a kind and sensitive person. Nothing could have been further from the truth. When we met he came across as suspicious, awkward and, to be harsh, soulless. This was in stark contrast to the benevolent image of them in my mind. I understand they had limited time but there are ways and means to extricate yourself from any meeting or conversation and as an older person they should have known this. I see this pattern again and again and wonder if it is me or my projected perception of myself based on the behaviour of others. And then I had a revelation. I was not mapping my own behaviour; I was actually mapping the behaviour of others.

Using the term “all human behaviour mapped” it can be said that through the thousand of years of written human history conclusions can be made as well as recommendations. It is the recommendations where the best chance of any improvement should be found. But how to choose which recommendations are suitable for you?

As you will hear me say time and time again on this blog I can only draw from my own experiences and I have been known to be wrong but strangely very rarely. What I will say is that most of us presume and judge but very few of us analyze and question our own thoughts. One way to analyse is to stop, move away from the phone, TV, mobile device or computer right immediately, remove all distractions and think independently (even if you are reading this blog – give yourself a moment).

Allow the space in your head to be filled with whatever social and relationship issues, good or bad, you want to think about right now.

Sometimes we may feel that the world around us is not working towards our best interests but does this matter if it is or not? What matters is this. Are you working towards your best interests?

Once we all learn to analyse ourselves in a non-judgmental and targeted way, removing conclusions we may have about ourselves that do not tally with the way we feel during our high moments of joy and usefulness, maybe, just maybe, we can see beyond the presumptions.

Hello. Time we had words, don’t you think?

Hello and welcome to the blog. Well, why blog and why now. I think now is as good a time as any. There are a lot of stored up opinions and stories for me to tell. Why blog? Well they do say that if you want to hide the truth put it in writing.

When it comes to matters relating to self-improvement and if the stories used to highlight such subjects involving others, names will be changed to protect to innocent but the intention will always be the same. To express feelings about an event in my own and others lives, trying to conclude or find solutions (if any) to these situations.

I will also be reporting from events I visit, any other things that interest me in the world of media, technology and life whilst maybe opening a small window into what and where I am physically and spiritually.

As always I am usually open to debate about most subjects but I will strongly ignore abuse and poor behavior so you have been warned. Let’s make sure that if you want this to be a two way street, make sure you send back your best self and not your oppressed self. Be open but mindful in your comments.

Most of all let us all learn and have fun together. Yes I will be dealing with some very “hard to deal with” subjects as well as the light hearted stuff we all need but it is with hope that we gain some insight into how we tick and learn about the stuff that will inspire us to tick for just a little longer.

So again welcome. Come back every now and then to say hello and read some of my news and home brew science. And remember….it’s all connected. I will try to be as regular as possible but we all become distracted……or do we?