Thursday, 1 January 2009

[112] Happy New Year, Reflections on 2008.

Happy New Year!

I hope 2009 is prosperous and successful for all of you out there in blog-reading-land.

2008 was a big, mixed-bag year for me.

- I started the year playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on my dad's Xbox 360, alone in my parents' house. Damn good game.

- I bought a Canon HG10 video camera, and started shooting footage and cutting short films for my youtube account. Before long, I realised that my HP Pavillion laptop, which is currently struggling with Firefox and Winamp running simultaneously, couldn't handle the native hi-definition file format of the camera. Pinnacle Studio had built in conversion software, but the process was long and arduous, usually taking 2-3 hours just to convert no more than 30 minutes of footage. Also, even editing the footage, adding in effects and the like, was too much of a strain also. So I gave up, and the film-making is on hiatus until I get a better computer.

- While this was going on, I was finishing off my final year at Birmingham University. I set up the Wild Tyme blog sometime in December, I believe, although I didn't post until towards the end of January, as work on my degree and dissertation took precedence. The blog gathered steam once I started posting draft chapters of my project on English language translations of Chekhov's The Seagull. I liked the informal style, and the sense of accomplishment clicking 'publish post', so it helped me overcome a lot of the anxieties that plague the writing process for me. During this time, I was also corresponding with Steve over at Language Hat, a great blog for all you lingua-fiends.

- University went on, I finished the project and took exams. In the end I was awarded a 2:1, which I wasn't very happy with at the time. I left Birmingham, where I had lived for 3 years. Overall, I enjoyed university, and met some wonderful, fascinating people, although I couldn't help but feel there were some opportunities missed. I made a photo album of 'things I will miss'.

Mr Wycherley's Book Shop, Bristol Road, Selly Oak

- At this point, I was looking into 'proper writing'. I was writing more frequently for CC2K, helping Video Games Editor Jason Ross set up a weekly games column, and eventually becoming one of the weekly news columnists. I also started up a relationship with Film and Festivals magazine, and went down to one of their editorial meetings in London, the day before my graduation ceremony.

- I graduated, confirming to me that such ceremonies are purely for family members, not the graduate. Then went on a holiday to New York City with the girl. We packed a lot in to our few days.

- (I will stop posting pictures of myself soon). The summer and beyond was a dark patch. I went to Finland after New York, then the girl moved over and we started looking for places to work and live in London. We spent a surprisingly long time looking for flats, but finally moved down to our current abode in Peckham towards the end of September.

- In terms of paid work, the months from September to now have been bad. The girl is working part-time in a cafe, and I'm still looking. Bureaucratic entanglements, my relative inexperience in actual employment and the 'current economic climate' haven't helped. I've had to rely on savings and parental hand-outs, which hasn't been ideal. Things are looking up for the new year, though.

- However, I have been progressing in terms of my written work. Since moving to London, I have had articles published at Film International, Den of Geek and Film and Festivals. I also had an article printed in 4Talent Magazine, with a byline and everything, which you could buy in a shop. I've stretched myself and gained a lot of experience, from conducting the interview with Ben Chancellor for 4Talent, to attending the press preview screening and conference for The Spirit for Den of Geek. I also had the privilege of attending the red carpet opening gala for the London Turkish Film Festival, where I was given a press pass for all the screenings. This is a big jump from the relatively minor stuff I was writing even over the summer.

- I have also started posting more often on the blog, now settling at about 5 posts a week since October. The amount of visitors and feedback is still a little low, and I often feel like I'm shouting into an echo-chamber at times, but it's getting there. I have found a couple of like-minded chaps out there in the blog-o-rama, which is great.

- And I suppose that is it. I think we're up to date. My goals can mostly be summed up in the phrase 'onwards and upwards'. I want to continue with the writing, hopefully being paid for a piece in the next 3 months. Plus the usual stuff: make friends, create something special, have fun, experience things, get a job.

Have a good 2009, people.

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