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My three words for 2013

Image of a hand writing on a piece of paper with a fountain pen

I’ve never ever done new years resolutions. I think it’s cos I heard all those jokes about all those people joining the gym in January and never going again. From the first time I heard about them I remember thinking it’s not a very good idea. I mean, if you really want to do something why wait? Why not do it now?

If I do have something in mind that I want to do, and I can do it whenever, i.e. it doesn’t take money or anything else to do, I’ll make sure I start it before the new year is up, so I don’t think it’s a ‘new year resolution’.

What I have found interesting, and what I do like doing, is 3 words for the year. I found this a while back from another film maker who linked to Chris Brogan’s website. He was the first person who explained what the 3 words were, and I really liked the idea of doing it, how you only have 3 words to choose, and how it can focus you through the rest of the year, as long as you remember what those words are. I’ll explain my 3 words for this year and tell you what they mean to me, but it’s definitely worth looking at Chris Brogan’s explanation of them too.

My 3 words for 2013 are in no particular order... (drumroll please!)
Writing
Writing will always be there no matter what, I’ve been writing since I was 14 and haven’t stopped yet. It’s almost a given that its going to be one of the words ever year. I was deciding whether this word should be writing or rewriting, but rewriting means I’ve done loads of work beforehand, and I haven’t. So, although it’s a given, and if its used to focus myself on what I want to do more of, then it definitely earns its place there.

Personal
Personal is an interesting word to me. I could have chosen ‘Honest’, but I didn’t think that covered everything. I could be honest but that doesn’t mean that anything I’m saying is personal to me, I’m just not lying.

Personal meaning:
1. [attributive] belonging to or affecting a particular person rather than anyone else;
2. done or made by a particular person; involving the actual presence or action of a particular individual;
3. of or concerning one’s private life, relationships, and emotions rather than one’s career or public life;
4. an inappropriate or offensive way: he had the cheek to make personal remarks

Explanations 1 and 3 (from the Oxford online dictionary) are really what I mean here. I could be honest but not state my personal views, where if one of my words for the year is personal, well, I need to try and be that.

What if I wrote a screenplay that contained my own personal views of religion? Of mental health? social workers? (I could go on…) Surely it would mean more to me, and possibly have greater depth to my writing than previous scripts.

But also in my Facebook posts, twitter feed – why shouldn’t I be personal, not censor myself, share more of me than I do now? And the key thing – not worry about it afterwards.

That’s a big challenge in my writing, and even more so this year as I’m writing my autobiography. Which brings me to:

Stages
Big projects can be broken down in stages. The way I believe I can write my autobiography now is that I’ve spent a while on the outline and planning, deciding which structure to use, and breaking it down accordingly. The same is true with scripts, each outline, each 10 or 30 pages, each draft can be it’s own ‘stage’ of the process.
But also, theatres have stages too. And I want to spend more time on them, whether it’s writing for the stage or working with actors on stage(s). Film studios have sound stages, rehearsal stages… well, you get the idea.
So those are my 3 words of the year. And in terms of number 1, writing, I’ll keep you informed of how I’m doing every time I’m stuck for a blog post subject. 

What would your 3 words be if you had to choose? Feel free to leave a comment below.

If you want to check how I’m doing, especially to see if I'm being 'personal', do join my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/garythomasfilms

Posted by Gary Thomas, 11 January 2013

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 21 January 2013

End of Year Round Up

I thought I’d blog about how 2012 has gone for me. It’s sometimes confusing being a creative person, as the ‘personal’ and the ‘professional’ easily gets mixed up. My ideas, which are sometimes personal, become something I want to write about, then make work from.
Anyway, this is a run down of what I achieved this year, and there have been a lot of ‘firsts’ for me.
In January I ran a 7 week workshop at The Orpheus Centre, teaching filmmaking, and the group made a short puppet horror film using the Uscreen website. This was the first time that I’d run a workshop on my own, and there was a lot of support from all the guys at The Orpheus Centre.
In February I was in Manchester for The State Of The Arts Conference, after receiving a bursary to attend.

In March I completed The Dog & The Palace, my split screen installation film. This was the biggest budget film I have ever worked on, and in February we were filming for 2 days in Lancaster House, in the same room they shot ‘The King’s Speech’ feature film in. It was screened a number of times on the big screens during the London 2012 Olympics, and I was also featured in the local press. I also had a great team on board, thanks to Producer Karen Gilchrist.

Around June I completed an early draft of my third screenplay. I wanted to write a 1 hour drama-comedy for TV, and this was then redrafted and performed (as a work in progress) at the Arts Alive Festival in October. This was my first ever live event I produced.

During the year I also worked with writer / producer Cherry Bennet on ‘Temps Interruptus’, an indie radio sitcom which we recorded at Headline Music Studios in October (another first!) We also had a rehearsal of Cherry’s play ‘Early Viewing Recommended’ at The Actors Centre.

In May I worked with young homeless people in Crawley, on a 7 week filmmaking project, again using the Uscreen website.

In June I gave a talk about my own experience of Mental Health issues to a group of Surrey Police officers at Surrey Police HQ. I can never really underestimate what an achievement this was for me. I also got two articles on the Time To Change Mental Health website, and you can read about the talk I gave here.
I directed the 2nd episode of ‘Moving In’ in August, working with 10 actors and numerous crew on location on the 10 minute film, written and produced by Mark Lever.

During the Paralympics I was interviewed by BBC Three Counties Radio live on air, about the Paralympics and my work.  I also went to the closing ceremony which was pretty amazing.

I supported a young filmmaker in Slough to make a short film with a Uscreen Ushoot bursary. All the films were premiered at Pinewood Studios.

I finished the year presenting a 2 day low budget filmmaking workshop which was part of The Together Festival.  I was put up by the festival in the Ramada Docklands Hotel, and was a great experience to end the year on (apart from missing the closing night party)

During the year I’ve also continued to work at the Freewheelers Theatre Company, and work on my own projects, which included a short story as well as other TV ideas I’m writing.
I’ve also pushed my feature film comedy in a direction that I think I’ll be really happy with.
This doesn’t include the really personal stuff that I’ve been through this year. It really can be a massive interruption on all the stuff I want to do, although it does give me interesting stuff to write about, and this will be a big project for 2013, as I’ve just finished writing the outline for my autobiography, and I’ll be working on a TV screenplay about mental health.

I often do the ‘3 word plan’ for the year ahead. My 3 words for 2013 are ‘Writing’, ‘Personal’, and ‘Stages’. I’ll blog more about what these mean in another post soon. 

In 2013 I’m looking forward to doing much more writing, and looking at the next stage of feature film production. I’m also looking to work as a writer with other organisations, and am especially interested in community projects which culminate in a live performance.
 

Posted by Gary Thomas, 27 December 2012

Last modified by Gary Thomas, 27 December 2012