Author: John Rees

John Rees graduated from the University of Glamorgan with a Degree in Film & Video and a Masters in Scriptwriting. He now works as an English, Film Studies and Scriptwriting tutor, and a videographer, while furthering his filmmaking and scriptwriting career on the independent circuit.

Do I Have The Right? ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ Analysis

My first vlog. It’s based on an earlier post, but I’ve greatly expanded it, going into much more detail, adding more points and providing more evidence to support my claims. I wanted to try vlogging about Doctor Who, doing in-depth analyses of episodes, as it’s something I’ve often searched YouTube for but only found reviews and rankings. Hopefully, I’ve discovered a gap in the market, and my videos will become popular. If so, there’ll likely be many more to come.

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The Tart

In mid-February, I started developing six premises into scripts for It’s My Shout; hoping multiple submissions would increase my chances of selection. My plan worked! And yesterday, it was officially announced that one of my scripts, Tha’s What I ‘Eard, will be produced by It’s My Shout and broadcast on the BBC (my first industry credit). You’ll have to wait until September to see that, but I plan to share the other five scripts before then. The first of which is The Tart. The Tart was the easiest to write as it was adapted from a segment of my feature-length script, The Darning Needle; my favourite segment as it features the best and most comical dialogue and the character of the protagonist, Elissa, really shines through. However, I think The Tart improved on the segment as it allowed me to introduce new setups and payoffs, which also allowed for even more comedy and strong character moments for Elissa.

Synopsis

Elissa’s dream is to be a rock star, and she has the personality and creativity to achieve it, but those who should be encouraging her, only suppress her; forcing her into either isolating herself or acting out. But when pushed too far, Elissa makes her final act one to remember.

Marching Orders

I wrote Marching Orders at the beginning of last year as a contender to be filmed and submitted to Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017 in the One Minute Wonder category. It just missed out on being shot by me, but after joining the filmmaking group Film Focus Wales, I offered it to them, and it was taken on by talented, up-and-coming director, Nat Pearse. I’m hugely satisfied with the results and will be looking for Nat and Film Focus to film more of my scripts in future. The film attempts to show how a positive attitude can affect those around you, and a negative one can do just the same. I myself am extremely positive about Marching Orders and its chances for selection for this year’s Cardiff Mini Film Festival!

Do I Still Agree With Myself?

INTRO

Since creating this website in 2013, my writing and analytical ability have developed past that displayed in many early posts, and my views and understanding of the world and many of the works I’ve covered have changed. This often niggles me, and I’ve considered deleting some posts, leaving what I consider my best, but as they’re still popular and serve as a testament to how much I’ve accomplished over the years, I’ve instead decided to create this post. I’ll be reviewing my past posts, seeing what I still agree with and what I don’t, and clarifying my current views. Who knows, maybe this will turn into an ongoing series as my perspectives are constantly evolving, and there may be other posts I discover I have issue with!

EAT THE GUN

The motivation behind this post was to praise economical writing and the song’s use of it. However, due to the lyrical content I’m examining, it could come across like I’m critical of the armed forces. I’m not, but at the time, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about going along with someone who was. I have no great knowledge or strong opinions about the military, but I’m greatly admiring of anyone willing to make a sacrifice in aid of others.

ALIEN EQUALITY (THE ALIEN FRANCHISE)

I don’t believe now the creators of Alien (dir. Scott, 1979) intended to criticise female empowerment, and I don’t think I believed it at the time. There’s actually a stronger argument for exactly the opposite, and aspects of the film I focus on can all be reinterpreted to support this. We do indeed see a future society without gender divides, and it works out pretty well as the strong female character, Ripley, ends up saving the day; it’s only because the male crew ignored her quarantine command that they got into trouble in the first place. The alien, symbolic of man’s bestial sexual nature, turns the male crew into victims of sexual violence, in ways previously beyond their comprehension; one even experiencing a painful childbirth as a result. The porno mag scene is clearly designed to be critical of female exploitation and sexual violence; the rabid Ash, spewing white goo, forcing the phallic magazine down Ripley’s throat. And although we do see Ripley strip to her skimpy undies for the climax, it’s revealed it’s shot from the perspective of the alien, forcing the male audience ogling Ripley to realise their connection with the beast.

As mentioned in the post, this analysis was inspired by my recent discovery of viewing films through the lens of feminism, and I believe I was motivated more by my desire to explore this exciting new way of looking at films than I was with making a genuine exposé. This is also a symptom of university essay writing, which encourages analysis based on interpretation rather than fact. If you can justify it via your own interpretation of the screen language, it’s acceptable, whether you believe it was the filmmakers’ true intention or not. I don’t have a problem with this, in fact, I’m all for it! Finding connections and meanings in films that weren’t necessarily the filmmakers’ intention is half the fun of analysis. You can get into trouble, though, if you’re stringently critical of filmmakers for meanings in their films you’ve created yourself. I’d like to avoid ever coming across like this in future.

Aliens (dir. Cameron, 1986) does indeed reward Ripley with a family, symbolically returning her to the role of loving wife and mother. I don’t believe now, though, that this has to be viewed negatively. She’s never once depicted as weak in comparison to her male counterparts or shown she doesn’t belong in the heat of the action; quite the opposite. She draws strength from her maternal instincts, as male action heroes often have from their paternal ones (protecting family, being rewarded with one; common action movie tropes: see Mad Max), and this is to be commended. You maybe wouldn’t want ‘independent woman becomes wife and mother’ to be the plot of every action movie, but I don’t think there’s anything sexist about it here.

I think I make some good points in my analysis of Alien 3 (dir. Fincher, 1992) – an underrated film – in particular, recognising its depiction of a patriarchal society and rape culture; there’s depth to this film that’s often overlooked. There are a few points that were maybe just my own interpretation, tying together the overall point of the post, and not the director’s intention (the symbolism of Ripley’s sacrifice for example), but as I said earlier, that’s half the fun of analysis!

STRANGER, DARKER, MADDER… (LOVE & MONSTERS)

My analysis of how Love & Monsters criticises fans who have a very inflexible view of what Doctor Who should be comes across a bit hypocritically intolerant. That was not my intent. I would never want to suggest people aren’t entitled to an opinion, more that people who are unwilling to accept the greater possibilities of what Doctor Who (and life) can be are missing out on a lot of strangeness, darkness, and madness!

JUST ONE MAN CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE (MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR)

In the first of my Mad Max 2 (dir. Miller, 1981) posts, I posited that, despite their misleading appearance, the Marauders have more in common with traditional society, and the Settlers have more in common with the counterculture, but it is their more traditional beliefs that are their weakness. I think now, rather than representing any particular group, more simply, the Marauders represent what Miller considers the evil of humanity, and the Settlers, the good. The Marauders rape, war, pillage, they operate via a dictatorship, and they’re stuck in a cycle of selfish consumption. They lack a higher purpose and a desire to better themselves, which the Settlers have, along with democracy and a sense of community, family, and loyalty. The Settlers’ connection to self-sufficiency ties them with the counterculture (Pappagallo is a bit of an old hippie) but that’s more to do with the film’s criticism of fossil fuels (such an ironic theme) than an attempt to connect them with a particular group, and they possess many traditional qualities. Max is tempted over to their side and away from the marauding lifestyle once he’s given a purpose and a chance to better himself. The fact he’s betrayed – although he doesn’t seem too bothered about this – does add some ambiguity to the Settlers, but I don’t believe it’s their traditional beliefs that are being called into question. Perhaps, instead, it acts as a warning that although we require purpose in life, devotion to a cause can sometimes cloud one’s morality. I posited that the Settlers’ traditional community values give them a distrust of outsiders that prevents them from truly accepting the marauder-like Max and that their religious conviction leads to their act of betrayal. I no longer believe this. Their initial distrust of Max is just a logical reaction, and their belief in paradise and Max’s martyrdom does not act as a criticism of religion, rather an endorsement of purpose and sacrifice and the spiritual power of storytelling.

GEORGE MILLER: there’s something that compels us collectively as human beings to find meaning in the universe. I mean, we can’t exist without that. And we do it through stories and narratives in order to explain the universe to ourselves. Or life to ourselves. And in all cultures across all time and space as humankind, we do that. We do that spontaneously. And I think that’s the function of storytelling, and some stories are so compelling, they become mythologies and indeed religions.”

IF WE CAN’T STICK TOGETHER (MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME)

In my Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (dir. Miller & Ogilvie, 1985) post, I posited that it ‘also’ acts as a criticism of traditional (Western) society. I was closer to the truth in this case as it does offer a blatant critique of capitalism and seemingly supports a Marxist philosophy. However, knowing little of economics or politics at the time (I’m still far from an expert), but having done a little research into Marxism, I was quick to side with this critique without pinpointing any possible flaws. For example, we see those at the bottom of the hierarchy offered no payment for their services and no opportunity to climb the ladder. Not really reflective of capitalism. This lack of opportunity for social mobility, and the fact Pig Killer and his ilk are working solely in service of the state, arguably aligns Bartertown more closely with communism. Either way, as I’ve mentioned, economics and politics are not my expertise, so I’ll keep away from siding with political ideologies, as I did here and in other posts, in future (certainly not before doing more research). The film also offers a more pointed criticism of religion, suggesting it can halt social progress. However, Savannah’s final monologue, again, endorses the spiritual power of storytelling, and the fact the Lost Tribe reach ‘paradise’ by plane, hints that there may have been some truth in their prophecies.

HOMOPHOBIC HORROR

This was a piece of coursework written in the final year of my degree that I later posted on my website. It again suffers from the university essay ‘interpretation over fact’ philosophy. It’s unquestionable that Strangers on a Train (dir. Hitchcock, 1951) and Psycho (dir. Hitchcock, 1960) used homosexuality and transvestism to enhance their killers’ perversion, that Strangers’ protagonist, Guy, was a prototype final girl, and that these films, as well as real-life killers, had a huge influence on the slasher genre and its continuing characterisation of homosexuals and transvestites as deranged deviants. However, I don’t believe for one second and didn’t at the time that every final girl is symbolically a male in the midst of a sexual crisis. The concept just allowed for a new spin on the material that would make an interesting essay; much like my Alien analysis.

HOPE & FURY (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)

As they were based on interpretations of the earlier movies that I now disagree with, my hopes for Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. Miller, 2015) now, on the whole, don’t reflect what I’d be hoping for from a new Mad Max movie. I’m not particularly interested in the series giving direct criticisms of capitalism (or the rock industry. Where did that one come from?), more human ills in general. I’m not sure why I was hoping for a clearer critique of the military, having no strong opinions about it (see Eat the Gun). I suspect I’d just foreseen the possibility of this happening and felt I should include it. I was hoping for feminist themes (my obsession at the time), criticising female oppression, and again I unfairly criticise heroines with maternal instincts (see Alien Equality). Again, a more rounded view of humanity’s ills would be appreciated today. I enjoy the religious symbolism of the series and its contemplations on the spiritual power of storytelling and would always hope for their inclusion. However, while criticism of religious extremism and manipulation are alright with me, I would not hope for a negative depiction of religion in general. Ponderings on the afterlife are, again, alright with me, but I’m not sure why I was seeking a definitive statement on Miller’s belief in the existence of Heaven or Hell; I’d prefer a little more ambiguity these days. Today I’d give a big ‘no’ to the possibility of any romantic relationship for Max. Giving him a partner or a family would undermine the self-sacrificing nature of his character; unless they were planning on ending the series. Lastly, I’m still in total agreement with myself that CGI and an overly talky Max have no place in the franchise!

MAD MAX

In my Mad Max (dir. Miller, 1979) post, I describe it as my least favourite of the original trilogy due to its morally questionable material. I suggest its depiction of Toecutter’s gang vilifies the counterculture, while Max’s job as a cop suggests support for the establishment. I now disagree with this. The gang, like the Marauders, more likely represent the evils of humanity, with their lawlessness and purposeless self-indulgence. While Max and his job represent moral duty, and law and order; hardly things to be criticised. The gang’s homosexual characterisation is questionable as it bears similarities to the previously mentioned slasher killers, being used to heighten their perversion. However, there is the argument that the use of gay characters is meant to represent a sexually liberated future, with Max’s commanding officer, Fifi, also characterised as gay. I label Fifi’s characterisation as stereotypical, but he is a unique and memorable character, in a respected position, traditionally held by straight, masculine males, so that was perhaps a little unfair. I also cite Max’s traditional family life being presented as the ideal in comparison to the homosexual gang as being problematic. This argument is weakened when we consider the defence of the gang’s homosexual characterisation and the true themes of the trilogy, purpose and betterment. Max’s family are representative of this as are the surrogate families in the sequels he’s given the chance to help and protect (as he failed to do with his), showing the series is rightly supportive of families and the protective nature of the parental figure (see Alien Equality). I was also critical of the film’s grim ending, but as this is clearly presented as a tragedy, it is in no way morally corrupt, and actually makes the message harder hitting, as seeing our hero (and identification figure) losing his purpose in life, and giving into the gang culture and survival of the fittest philosophy, makes it easier for us to empathise with the film’s themes. Far from being morally bankrupt, Mad Max contains many admirable moral messages and has gone up in my estimations to become my second favourite of the series (nothing can top Mad Max 2).

A further note on the fridging of Max’s wife, Jessie, and fridging in general. I referred to Jessie’s death as an example of fridging at odds with the feminism of the sequels. Fridging is used to describe instances in which a female character close to a male one is killed to further his arc. I now believe to describe Jessie’s death and every instance of this trope as sexist is a little ridiculous. Characters (male and female) close to protagonists are killed off all the time to symbolise themes and further the protagonist’s arc; Goose, Max’s dog, Mufasa, Newt, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. It doesn’t automatically make it sexist every time it happens to a female one. After all, it’s not their story, it’s the protagonist’s, and good economical writing dictates it’s they who should be the main focus. Not every support character can have agency, be a hero, and have a happy ending; that would just be a mess. It may be the case that more female characters are fridged than males (but thinking off the top of my head, I mostly came up with males), but rather than being a symptom of inherently sexist writing, that’s probably more to do with the majority of writers being male and creating male heroes, which I don’t think they should be criticised for (good writers write what they know). More female filmmakers and writers would probably reverse this trend (if indeed it exists; I haven’t seen the stats). Jessie, and Max’s love for her, are symbolic of purpose and betterment, and the lose of the positive influence of a woman in Max’s life is presented as a complete tragedy. Male writers should be praised for viewing women in such a way, not criticised.

ONLY FURY (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)

Much I disagree with here. My central argument is that Furiosa should have been the only wife of Immortan Joe as the Five Wives are superfluous, lacking character and agency, which reduces them to figures of objectification; contradicting the feminist themes of the film. This thinking is based on the rules of economical writing – don’t use any more characters than you need to – but I now see why the Wives are needed and where their agency lies. While Furiosa possesses a lot of agency, if she were the only wife, she’d resemble little more than your stereotypical rape-revenge heroine, and while the Wives don’t do any of the kick-ass fighting, their agency is that of endurance. They have survived abuse through endurance and had the bravery to decide to seek help and flee their captor; it is they who set the whole plot in motion, not Furiosa. The implication being, abused women shouldn’t have to be kick-ass fighters to be seen as heroes; there’s bravery in endurance and having the will to escape oppression. It’s true they wear skimpy clothing, opening them up for objectification, but the scene I cite where they’re washing each other with the hose is shot from Max’s perspective, inviting the male audience to ogle them, connecting them with the oppressive male characters of the film (it’s the same trick from Alien), and arguably this is done for the whole film. I still think as characters they’re underdeveloped and doing more than just giving one of them a weak love story would probably have been a good idea. Speaking of which, I still totally agree that Nux’s sacrifice is uninteresting and we would have connected with it more if it were given to Max. I’m not sure about cutting Max altogether and making this a Furiosa film, it probably could have worked, but having male and female characters learn to work together is a more positive way to go.

My statement that the film doesn’t expand much on what we learnt from interviews and trailers is utterly vacant. There’s a great deal going on in the film under the surface, but I think my overall disappointment with it on first viewing meant I just wasn’t looking. Everything we need to know about the world and the characters is shown to us, instead of repeatedly told, which is how it should be. I’ll give a brief summary, but it’d take a whole new post to get everything. It’s another amplification of humanity’s ills. It depicts society as a perpetual war machine, kept going by a power-hungry man (that’s who killed the world) just so he can cling onto power. Women are employed as baby making machines, while the men don’t fare much better, being bred and brainwashed solely for war; willing to die for the glory of their divine leader. Like the Marauders, they’re stuck in a cycle, with no higher purpose or chance for betterment, which is what they’re given via the altruistic actions of our heroes. It’s not on the whole how I view society, but it’s a credible exaggeration of the worst of humanity and certainly a layered depiction. I still prefer the original trilogy with its zero use of CGI and better use of Max, but I’ll gladly admit I was unfairly critical of this first time around.

MISSING MEL (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)

Never thought this actually could or should’ve happened – I wasn’t campaigning for it – but it would’ve made a cool (possibly better) movie, and if they got the go-ahead ten years earlier, this could be quite close to how it would’ve turned out. As it is, I still think it’s a nice bit of fanwank.

THE MAN WHO CAME FROM THE SKY (MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR)

This post continued the assumptions (I now believe to be incorrect) made in my first Mad Max 2 post about the film’s themes and what Max, the Settlers, and the Marauders represent. I also suggest the Gyro Captain’s ownership of a snake connects him with Satan and reveals him as the true villain of the piece. An interesting but far-fetched analysis, his snake more likely representing his cunning nature, and his minor deceptions hardly paint him as the ultimate evil.

THE LIGHT AND THE DARK (STAR WARS: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY)

I cited its subversion of the ‘women as reward’ trope as something I like about Star Wars (dir. Lucas, 1977), and I still very much like this. However, it’s probably its subversion of the damsel in distress character that’s more appealing. No one likes the whiny damsel in distress, always stumbling into trouble, which makes Leia’s feisty, pistol-packing princess a really enjoyable innovation. The fact she’s not given to one of the male characters as a reward for their heroism is a bonus as it allows for a more unconventional story. It also showed excellent foresight as placing her in a relationship would have dulled the character for the sequel, which is eventually what happened (Leia doesn’t act like Leia in Jedi). I would like to point out, though, that, like fridging (see Mad Max), describing every instance of this trope as sexist would be ridiculous (not that I was doing that). Of course you want strong female characters, but the guy getting the girl doesn’t always equate to sexism. A female love interest may not always be as developed as a male protagonist but, again, it’s not their story, and she may be symbolic of very positive views of women (see Mad Max). Furthermore, female protagonists are given men as reward just as often. Some might consider this sexist, though, as it places them in a traditional gender role (you can’t win sometimes). Viewing films through the lens of feminism can be interesting and is definitely worthwhile, pushing writers to consider subversions of stereotypical characterisations and worn out old tropes. However, it can also be very restrictive, to both creativity and enjoyment, if you are too extreme in your readings.

I offered Han and Leia’s relationship as something I don’t like about The Empire Strikes Back (dir. Kershner, 1980). I asked why does she fall for him as all he seems to do is act in a sexist manner and she seems quite adamant she’s not interested in him? I rewatched Empire before starting this post in a deliberate attempt to find material to counteract this argument but sadly didn’t find much. The first time we see Leia, she’s staring across the room at Han, suggesting feelings for him, but it’s subtle and easily missed or interpreted differently. Han expresses his feelings more openly, being rather sweet and sincere when he goes to say goodbye to her. Leia is very harsh in her response, and in subsequent arguments, Han suggests she is concealing her feelings. However, not much is done to suggest this is true, as she constantly refutes his claims. It also begs the question, why would she do this? Fear of undermining her position, or of falling in love in such difficult times? Possibly, but again, it’s not suggested, as she’s constantly depicted as resistant to Han’s advances. When Han shows concern for her, she pushes him away, and when they finally kiss, he comes across like a real sleaze, forcing himself on her, and she escapes the situation as quick as she can. It’s true she is a bit stuck up and rude and could maybe learn to relax a bit, like Han, but this suggests the theme of the love story is ‘she really wants it, she just needs to loosen up a bit’, and I can’t really defend that. I also criticise Han not telling her he loves her, but more because it shows he hasn’t really changed or done anything to deserve her. The line is definitely better than the alternative, suggesting character and avoiding being mawkish, and the feelings are all expressed visually anyway.

I still don’t like Leia being revealed as Luke’s sister in Return of the Jedi (dir. Marquand, 1983). It’s a ridiculous coincidence, mainly done for shock value, and doesn’t fit with what we’ve seen and been told so far. However, my criticism that she doesn’t react to the fact Darth Vader is also revealed as her father could be argued against. Her emotional interaction with Han after the revelation suggests distress, and her inability to divulge the truth suggests fear it could endanger her friends. I also state it doesn’t affect the story. This is a major oversight, as it sets up the most crucial moment of the climax; Vader using it against Luke, inciting him to embrace his anger and the dark side. It’s still a very silly twist, though. It would have been better if the other hope for the Jedi that Yoda refers to in Empire was Vader. It is, after all, Vader who kills the Emperor and destroys the dark side. This would show Yoda’s wisdom and strong connection to the Force, knowing there is still hope for Vader, and reveal he was training Luke to turn his father back to good all along (like all his teachings suggest). This is even suggested in the mise-en-scene in Empire as Yoda is surrounded by black and bathed in red (the colours of Vader) just as he delivers the line, “No, there is another.”

CONCLUSION

Well, that, along with finally putting The Darning Needle behind me, was a satisfying purging experience. Now I can get on with bringing you brand new analyses, films, scripts, and other projects in the coming year!

The Darning Needle

Here’s an extract from my feature film script, The Darning Needle. The Darning Needle has been with me a long time; originally writing the treatment for my MA. Since then it’s gone through many drafts, and the story and themes have altered as I’ve changed my perspectives on things and my writing ability has developed. In its final form, it follows the protagonist Elissa as she’s held back from achieving her dreams by the selfish motivations of those around her (even those closest to her). I’ve decided not to continue with further drafts as, as I’ve mentioned, it has been through many changes over a long period of time, and I think it better to start afresh with new works that can benefit from a purer, more focused vision.

Career Plan 2017-2018

First off, sorry this is a couple of weeks late. I started a PGCE in September (more on that later), and my coursework has taken priority. Right then, let’s get to it. Last year I congratulated myself on my most productive year to date and predicted big success was just around the corner! Was I right in my assumption? Let’s find out!

The Darning Needle did not achieve the big success I’d hoped it would, failing to be selected for the Wales Drama Award or the Script Room. However, in preparation for selection, I came up with three outlines for Doctor Who episodes that will come in handy if I do ever find myself brought before the BBC bigwigs; I hope to develop them further as well as coming up with a few more. I recently went back to treatment with The Darning Needle, planning a further draft, but it’s taken a back seat to my PGCE. The Darning Needle has been with me three years now, but being the best example of my long-form writing, it’s essential to continually update it until I come up with something new. I’d love to write a new feature, but with the busy year I have ahead, that may have to wait. I also received another rejection from the BBC after submitting two scripts to their Class Dismissed series (my one about Mr Plank the woodwork teacher was quality, the name alone sells it, I don’t know what they were thinking). I won’t be posting these, though, as there may be another opportunity to submit them in the future.

My greatest success this year by far has come with my filmmaking/writing in the short-form. In January, having wrapped up production on Bamboo House, I set my sights on Cardiff Mini Film Festival. Having been nominated the previous year, I was determined that this year I’d come home a winner. I tasked myself to write a number of scripts through January and then select the best for filming and submission. I wrote seven within the month (five in one week), and we managed to film four before the deadline. Three of them were nominated along with Bamboo House, and I did indeed come home a winner as The Prophet was victorious in the One Minute Wonder category! Further success would follow throughout the year, the films gaining multiple competition/festival nominations and selections; Goldfish reaching the finals of the Oniros Film Awards and Bob winning Short Film Sharer! Producing these successful films led to me making many new connections through networking at festivals, increasing my online presence via a Facebook page, creating posters for all my Outré Media productions, editing a slideshow advert and a showreel, and securing my first television interview! I did have one negative festival experience, but always striving to take some good from the bad, I decided to produce a festival submission guide so that others wouldn’t make the same mistakes I had.

It was also another great year for collaborations and making new connections. How Not To Be Single episode two – this time written entirely by myself – was completed at the start of the year, and it was unanimously agreed that it topped the original! Sadly, the planned third and final episode of the series has yet to surface due to various reasons, including actors leaving the country. Studying for my PGCE, I would be unable to take on a large role on the project, but I’ve been encouraging the show’s creator to carry on with myself acting only as script editor; so fingers crossed! Speaking of script editing, I also secured that position on the web series Long Shots. The series is still in post-production, and I’m greatly looking forward to its release, it being the most prestigious, high-budget project I’ve worked on. Long Shots was one of two writing jobs I gained this year by passing an application/interview process, which has given me confidence of my high-ranking position in Cardiff’s writing community. The other job was for Stuart Thomas of Stu’s Reviews, who hired me to write a script working from his brief; hopefully you’ll be seeing the finished film later in the year. I also joined a new filmmaking group, Film Focus Wales. Through the group, I’ve redrafted one script, Snow White and the Seven Convictions, that went on to be filmed with me acting as sound recordist, and unofficial adviser due to my vast experience. Again, you’ll hopefully see this later in the year. Due to my PGCE commitments, I won’t be taking on any producing or directing roles within the group, but I’ve offered them a number of scripts I’m happy for them to film. One of which, Marching Orders, is in pre-production. Having not handed over complete control of one of my scripts before, I’m looking forward to the results.

My most fruitful collaboration has been with Rachel Pedley-Miller of Avant Cymru. Not only did I produce the trailers for Avant’s Killer Cells, but I was also asked to film and edit Lands of Our Fathers, a half-hour documentary about the Rhondda’s immigrant ancestry. It was quite the experience, being the longest single project I’ve ever been involved with and documentary not being my usual field. It’s had one screening so far, and we’re hoping for more this upcoming year. James Humphreys has yet again proved an invaluable contact, asking me to take part in one of his ScriptDawg events, test running Tell Me About It, Sam on stage before filming. ScriptDawg is a great venture and a lot of fun, but I have no plans to pursue theatre work as it is not my passion or where my talents truly lie. James also encouraged me to take up home tutoring via the Tutora agency. This became not only my main source of income for the year but also a truly rewarding experience as I helped a number of struggling GCSE students achieve passing grades. It also inspired my decision to take a PGCE. My hope when I graduate is to gain a part-time position as a lecturer so I can still carry on my filmmaking/writing career while having the security of a well paid permanent job and hopefully making a difference in people’s lives.

One thing I’ve neglected this year is film/TV analyses/reviews. I had plans for a few, but my filming/scriptwriting has taken priority, which is definitely for the best as that’s what I want to make my career from. Nevertheless, analysing and reviewing other people’s work is vital for inspiration and keeping one’s screen language skills sharp, and it’s a lot of fun, so it’s still my aim to publish my thoughts on some films and Doctor Who episodes in future. I’ve been aching to do The Seeds of Doom for ages, so hopefully that’ll be on this year’s list. First and foremost to this year’s plan is passing my PGCE, though. This will mean I’ll have less time for writing/filmmaking, at least until June – I’ve already had to turn down the opportunity to write/direct for Emojis of Horror, which would have been a cool project – but as well as Film Focus and Stuart Thomas, I’m on the lookout for other filmmakers to produce my work. Getting something produced on a big budget by a professional crew would be ideal. For this reason, along with the great opportunity it’d bring, I’m determined to be selected for It’s My Shout 2018, so will be producing a number of tailored scripts, much as I did for Cardiff Mini Film Festival. On top of all this, I’ll be continuing to submit my films produced this year to competitions/festivals, and I’m confident there’ll be more selections, nominations and winners ahead, and I’ll make many more connections.

So, do I feel I’ve achieved big success this year? Sure. I’ve topped last year for productivity and recognition, and my ability continues to develop rapidly. But am I satisfied? No, I want more! And I’m confident I’m going to get it. I’m certain I’ll build on what I’ve achieved and see similar success this forthcoming year. I feel I can accomplish anything if I set my mind to it, and with effort and perseverance, all my goals will be achieved.