My favourite stuff of 2017 and a review

Will I ever learn? Every year I come here and write a blog post with some wonderful plans for a New Year ahead, full of photography, filmmaking and exciting art projects.

This year was a break from the 12 monthly projects, a chance to relax and get away from the forced creativity that would enable me to do bigger better projects.

I did nothing.

Only thing of note this year outside of a very creative job was my photography from New York. To be honest, I was rather pleased with a number of photos I took.

More importantly, let us look externally at things that I thought were awesome in 2017.

Travel location – Brooklyn, New York

Such an amazing city which I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. As a simple country boy, I never imagined I’d see places like this and get to stay with some amazing people and go to Coney Island looking for Warrriooorrrssss.

Albums – Top 3

Any year that has Ed Sheeran as the most streamed artist isn’t a good year in my books. Still, some banging tunes came out this year. These three albums contain some of my favourite tunes.

  1. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  2. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruin
  3. Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister – Planetarium

Special shout out to Wolf Parade returning with a massive album

Feature Film – Tony Erdmann

Again, I did not go and see enough films this year. The top pick for this year is reliant on you enjoying super dark, long and German films. If not give it a miss.

Short Film – Glue

Between the amazing follow shots, the awesome jazz soundtrack and some serious pow pow, what’s not to love.

Advert – McTavish Surfboards – Dirt Nap

Only came across this recently but it’s gorgeous. I do enjoy a visually amazing ad, it’s like perfume ads, you see them and you’re just like “wha??” but it’s a visual representation of a smell, how could it not be “Whaaaaa??”.

Sporting event / Venue – West Ham Vs Bolton, Olympic Stadium

This was a bit of a grim one. We got trashed, was a horrendous game but it was so much fun. The stadium looked majestic as we walked up to it, the chants were hilarious and the sleeper train home to Glasgow afterward was a delight.

Documentary – Right To Roam from Patagonia

Another recent discovery but a really inspiring one from Patagonia. When you live in Scotland sometimes you forget how amazing the freedom of walking, camping, and exploring is in this gorgeous place. Well worth a watch and yes snowboarding again, it’s playing on my mind perhaps.

TV Show #spoilers – Twin Peaks: The Return

Easy one for me, enjoyed this weirdness immensely. Such a visual and audio treat. Could have done with less Dougie Jones but you had to go through that to get kick ass cooper.

Beer – North Sea Stout from Pilot Beer

Drank a lot this year but this recent beverage has peaked it. Sea water in a milk stout, it makes no sense but tastes yum.

 

2016 Monthly Projects Halfway Review

So here are the first six monthly projects for this year. A bit of a strange collection if ever I saw one. Most people who do these sorts of year long projects seem to align them within a theme, medium or concept. My monthly projects however are just a chaotic splurge of stuff.

We have video, photography (digital and film), design, drawings, social media and writing. From annoying hundreds of people and invading privacy over a month to making a short video while on holiday. Perhaps I should have had a thememonthly projects.

I now have six more opportunities to make some great stuff. Thankfully I am taking part in the September – Collaborative Project which will be a great chance to make something fun with the very talented Iain McAuley. We are making an Atari style game called “Avoid All Friends” it will come with a classic “looks nothing like the game” poster and I will have a mini arcade machine to play the game on for the Exhibition. We are still in the early processes but look forward to sharing some of the art work when we get it.

If anybody knows of any great projects like Expired Film Day please do get in touch and let me know. I am currently considering doing the Brew Dog #homebrewdog as one of the later project to get some creative homebrewing in. I will also be doing a music video / art piece with Cully at some point but time is a pressing factor as always.

 

Review of 2015 and a look at 2016

It has been a very work focussed year for me and I have done some amazing things. Notably the development and production of our idea Hackstage Pass, with Radio 1 and their Big Weekend 2015. I also made a load of great entertainment for kids and made a fool of myself numerous times for their amusement in the pursuit of TV gold. Keep an eye out for some great online content for The Dog Ate My Homework in the New Year.

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What I didn’t do this year was anything on my list from last years reviews and goals.

Three goals for 2015
Make a short film and submit to festivals
Exhibit photography
Collaborate on an art project

To add to that misery last years review also consisted of me apologising for not achieving any of my goals from the year before that. So I have now realised I need to have some organised creativity. You may remember 2013 when I did a project every month? It was a testing but great experience and I think its about time I had a go again.

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2016 will be a year with a project every month. 12 projects of a wide range of formats, topics and people, some solo but hopefully a few collaborations and that’s where you come in.January will be the now traditional photo a day project but the other 11 are empty. Do you fancy getting involved? Have a look at 2013’s projects to have an idea of the wide range of projects and get in touch.

Top 5 Posts of 2015

Welcome to a review of the top 5 posts from this years blog. A rather unsuccessful year in general with a disappointing lack of goals achieved, I shall review this sooner to the New Year. Below are the posts that had the most views across the year. Mostly all photography from day trips with a treat of a surprise coming in at Number 1.

5. Day tripping at Blair Drummond

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A few photographs from a fun day out at the wonderful Blair Drummond Safari park. Well worth a visit if you are looking for a day out in Sunny Scotland.

4. The top of Fermanagh & the Great Wall of Cuilcagh

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This mountain, Cuilcagh has been a landscape to my childhood. This year they put a walk way all the way up its 666 metres. Here are some photographs from it. This post was helped by the lovely Freckle giving it a share on twitter, they plan on heading west soon to experience it.

3. Curved ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

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More climbing but this time a Scotish adventure up the Curved Ridge and another Munro ticked off.

2. Daily Photo – 13 – Depth

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As part of my Daily Photo series where I posted a random picture from my 40,000 odd pictures I was archiving. This is from St. Peters Seminary which is about to become a wonderful feature of Architecture 2016.

Hinterland from NVA on Vimeo.

1. Nothing but praise for Shia LaBeouf

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Last but not least it’s Shia. What a year he has and what a total hero. This was a blog recapping my favorite things about him. Shall be adding to this in 2016 no doubt! Even Stevens 2? YES PLEASE!

Knight Of Cups – Featurette

Knight Of Cups Knight Of Cups

Beautiful pale palletes are to Malick what plotless explosions are to Michael Bay. You shouldn’t however just expect some gorgeous colours and some whispery voice overs, you can instead garuntee them. I for one am not complaining, give me a predictable plot line with some whimsically put together lines. It’s perfect as long as it keeps looking as amazing as this. Keep it up Mr Malick and I will keep watching.

How to make a short film that gets into festivals in 60 minutes and for free

I am a big fan of the quick production. Not that there is a problem with the Mallickesque pre-production style across a few decades. The Tree of Life took time, but boy was it worth it.
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However I have found focusing my creativity quickly can bring great results. One of my most popular short films (Screened across the UK and Europe) to date was made within 60 minutes, Nuclear Mysticism.

  1. 0 minutes on pre-production
  2. 30 minutes of script-less filming
  3. 2 minutes of a one take V/O
  4. 20 minutes of editing
  5. 3 minutes finding the wonderful copyright free “Dali” font for the title.
  6. 5 minutes to grade
  7. 60 minutes total

This short film went to on to be nominated for a variety of festivals across the UK and Europe. Receiving thousands of views and even got me paid work.

Top three tips for submitting to film festivals

 

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After successfully getting a few short films into festivals across the world I thought I would give a quick top three of things to think about when submitting.

1) Budget for submissions
With fees of £15 to £30 for entry, DVDs and postage costs it quickly adds up. Prepare for this in your budget and take into account the cheap early bird fees compared to late deadlines.

2) SPREADSHEETS
It is a total bore but being organised and planning ahead can save you a lot of money and give your film its best chance of selection. I finished up Dragoon in September and meant I could get a lot of the early bird submission deadlines for festivals I really wanted to get into. This is also something that helps when Festivals will only accept if it is a premiere at their festival.

3) noentryfeefestivals.com

This site will save you a fortune. A wonderful resource to enable you to get your film out to the world for free. Most of the films listed are online submissions too so not even postal costs.

 

 

A Little added bonus. Check out http://www.laurelleavesawardmaker.com/  to make your own Film Festival Laurel Leaves.

An Unloved Story: Lost in Translation // Her

Jorge Luengo Ruiz has put together some amazing montages over on Vimeo . This one looking at the two films Lost in Translation and Her is near on perfect. The two stories tie in so beautifully and the GV’s in particular are at times indistinguishable. I hadn’t before even considered the intertwining links between the two stories but the gorgeous city cinematography in both fits so well. Let me know what you think.

 

Best film soundtrack of 2014

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2014 was a bit of a strange one for soundtracks. A Wes Anderson film came out, surely the King of Quirk would ride to number 1 on his bike made from old trumpets without a question. Alas he went for an original score, not a 70’s throwback to be heard. Setting your film in war torn Europe does lesson the opportunities to stick some Bowie in. Even though its a lovely score it wasn’t that memorable.

Mallick also didn’t make an appearance, which nowadays isn’t so taken for granted. He did however produce this, which after watching 2 seconds of this trailer should come as no surprise.

So who do I turn to? My two favorites were rather close for very different reasons. The runner up is the OST from Frank.

A musical of sorts based fictionally around the paper mache wonder that was Frank Sidebottom. Some hilarious songs that make you want to “Dance all night, dance all night”.

The wonderful whimsy of the whole film, mixed with the great performances as the music was recorded live made for a really enjoyable film and by adding a Gleeson its probably the best comedy film of 2014 for me.

The number one slot goes to a film that could well be the best film of 2014 for me. A lot of critics have also placed it high up in their top tens and if you haven’t seen it I strongly suggest you do.

The Score done by Mica Levi is spectacular.  I recently on a drive up to Oban couldnt get the tracks out of my head as we weaved along the Lochs. Glazer’s film is beautiful and creepy but the soundtrack really does take it to another level.

It actually “took about nine months of working pretty constantly” for Mica to make it. That nine months certainly paid off and it has to be my best soundtrack of 2014. No other film has made me mention the soundtrack before even discussing the film with people. Enjoy.

Vimeo Ireland: Pick of January 2015

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Some of you may be aware that I run the Vimeo Ireland group on…well Vimeo. I try my best to keep it a lively group and with now over 100 members and over 400 videos its doing alright for itself. I often select a video or two from the group that I like. The two below are my selections for the first month of 2015. They both caught my eye and are both great depictions of Ireland in their own ways. Check them out.

Through the Lens – Limerick Milk Market from Conor Bryce on Vimeo.

I recently watched a video capturing Paris through the lens of an old Pentax and had to try something similar. I constructed a rig to hold both my Nikon and an old Lubitel 166b in place, strapped it to my chest, and went shooting!

Graded using Magic Bullet Looks.
Edited in After Effects/Premiere.

“Ascent” – Adam Taylor

Dislocation [Short Film] from Fintan Kearney on Vimeo.

Two security guards in the South of Ireland discover there may not be all that much to keep secure.

A short drama about holding onto the past and how loosing a life long job can mean loosing your status and belonging in the world.

The Ferris Bueller Fight Club Theory

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I love a good conspiracy theory and when two films that I love are involved in that theory, well that near on blows my mind. The theory stands that in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Ferris doesn’t actually exist and is instead all part of Cameron’s imagination. This “Fight Club”  theory didn’t make mush sense…….but then I watched the below Classy Hands mash up. Prepare to have all your thoughts on the John Hughes Classic blown to pieces.

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2014 in review & goals for 2015

It took a cliched layed out photo of my equipment and sitting down to make a showreel to make me realise how little I have done this year. I have only used one of those six cameras and out of those eight lenses I have used three, that’s rather sad.
So I sat down to make a new showreel…

That’s it. The only things I can put in my showreel this year.
Last year (2013 project) I did a project every month, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. This pushed me to make twelve projects in a variety of forms. Some did really well and were screened across Europe, others took 5mins and nobody looked at them.

Without this forced creativity in 2014 I struggled to actually make anything without the persuasion and help from some friends. In 2015 I need to find a sensible middle ground, a few fun projects across a mixture of art forms and a bit of free time to develop these rather than one a month. Perhaps a sort of manifesto for 2015 may be in order.
Looking back at what I said at the end of 2013 I looked at what I planned for the year ahead.

my plan for next year is to focus on a few short films/docs over 2014.”2013 in review


I didn’t focus on any short films/docs in 2014.
This year I did however entertain millions of kids with games, music videos and competitions. Those are what have taken over my year. Often people do a job they hate so that they can make short films/art projects in their spare time. I do a job I love which gives me great satisfaction and allows me to organise locations, create filming schedules, find contributors, sort crew, edit video and even shoot interviews. Its great, 2014 enabled me to realise what a great job I have. Even though that is the case I still want to make things that can’t fit into work. So these are my three goals for 2015.

Three goals for 2015
Make a short film and submit to festivals
Exhibit photography
Collaborate on an art project

Here is hoping I can achieve these three, I think its easily achievable. I shall no doubt be back here next year at this time, I hope I can just put a big tick beside those three. See you this time next year.