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A (short) review of Frieze 2011 Art Fair

As I walked into The Frieze Art Fair I was confronted with a lot of reflected spinning discs which were suspended from atop the marquee, which immediately made me very disorientated. Not a great start, but interesting nonetheless.

Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, had a number of impressive pieces, mainly photographs (which is probably why I liked them) but also paintings and sculpture.

Yvonne Lambert, Paris was also fairly impressive, with colourful works in neon as well as paintings with text exploring the Colour Gray (Grey). 

I seem to remember from my visit to Freize a couple of years ago that there were more installation pieces but it didn’t seem to be the same this year. As I was wondering around however, finally getting to grips with the maze of over 170 galleries, there were a few other impressive works. As always, the atmosphere was buzzing, though I’ve come the conclusion that it may not be the best place for galleries to meet artists; the galleries are there to sell works and get noticed.

Although something extraordinary did happen during my visit: I got fed up of the iPad. I found myself walking around (with my own iPad in my bag) thinking, "If I see one more gallery person looking at their iPad, I shall take mine out and throw it at them." It’s a nice thought, but would it have been Art?

I had another thought too. With me as lead artist, would it be a good idea to take a handful of other disabled / learning disabled artists there to next year's show to have our own space? It’ll be hard work but fun, and we might even sell stuff too.

The Frieze Art Fair 2011 is on until 16 Octobe, 2011 in the Pavilion, Regent’s Park, London.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 3 October 2011

Last modified by Anonymous, 6 November 2011

I don’t need step free access but….

So my time at the Edinburgh Festival is almost at an end, I’m staying tonight and going back to Glasgow tomorrow. Two more shows, one late one 11.10pm start, for goodness sake! Though my friend is in it so I really want to see it.

Anyway, that aside, it’s been an interesting experience having been here only ever for the film festival. When the film festival was on in August I used to never have time to do anything else other than see films, as that’s what I wanted to do, but now I am here in August (the film festival is now in June) there are no excuses. Four shows yesterday and just as many today mean that I’ve had an exhausting time.

OK, I chose to walk (almost) everywhere, I did get a taxi (once) I also got the bus (once) baring in mind I’m just as crap on buses seeing as I nearly always get off at the wrong stop (I’m sure that’s a confidence thing) so I walked everywhere. I just happen by chance to choose venues that are mostly near each other, but when I had time to kill yesterday and was here all day (didn’t get in till after 11pm!) and then I had to wait for my friend to get home so I could let him in.

But it’s still a trek everywhere, and towards the middle of yesterday I had a blinding headache, and really didn’t feel I could walk very far… yet had to queue for everything. Whilst they were forming a queue for the last show of the day, I sat by the piano, and nearly said something about having to queue the whole time… but I didn’t, and so I got up, and guess what… I stood in the queue, feeling as though I was about to fall over at any moment. I’m about to queue again in a short while, though I am actually sitting in a comfy chair near the queue, so I’m at least going to wait here until the queue actually starts moving.

N.B Not that I looked for any disabled performers, but I didn’t see any at the festival this year.
Searching ‘disabled’ as a keyword on www.edfringe.com comes up with nothing. Interesting that… Not funny, but interesting…
NB again. A PDF www.lothiancil.org.uk/imageuploads/Disability%20Shows%20Festival.pdf
Lists 8 shows by disabled performers this year, and their website makes it clear the festival is committed to accessibility.

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 2 September 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 4 November 2011

Booking special assistance

I am at the station on the way to Gatwick Airport. I still have a headache six days after a random assault. (I was rugby tackled to the ground from behind, kicked in the face / head and three times in the ribs before I ran.)

I feel more fragile than normal, aside from everything else, and yet I was pondering over whether I'm entitled to special assistance when I get to the airport.

I wonder if many people with 'hidden disabilities' have this feeling. It's a feeling of... well, having to explain (read: justify) why I should be entitled to assistance today, when I may not need it on the way back.

It depends how far the gate is away from where I'll be when the flights called. It depends whether I'm able to eat anything. It depends that I'm ok with my new hearing aid and not losing my balance. And, it depends how bad my headache is. Not to mention how I'll be when I arrive at the airport in the first place.

I do maybe think too much on what others will think or say before I get there. As it happens when I was on Easyjets' website I couldn't figure out how to actually book special assistance, so I have no idea whether I have booked it or not, and am not sure I want to mention it when I get there. I also wonder if saying 'I'm likely to smack someone round the head if they get in my way' would actually help at all. I suspect it wont!

NB: Actually found staff very good, and helpful, so it was worth asking at the check in. Shame headache is still bad though...

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 1 September 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 4 November 2011

Images of Disability from the Royal College of Physicians

Whilst on the way to see the new Shape exhibition, 'Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians', I was watching the classic 1967 film ‘Guess who's coming to dinner’ on the train. I was struck by how much I knew about the film having only seen it once a few years ago.

I went to the Re-Framing Disability exhibition and realised I knew nearly all the people that worked on it. But I wondered why not just have new images of disability, and people’s views on it now? Surely the older images, the drawings of people with disabilities from 100 years ago aren't relevant in society any more?

Then, on the way back on the tube, I was thinking about Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, when I suddenly had an A-ha! Moment. I thought about the link between that film, and the need to bring images of disability from 100 years ago out of the archive: attitudes, changing attitudes, hopefully.

With the press reports from the current government being so negative with regard to disabled people on benefits, it was interesting to read that people, even 100 years ago, made quite a comfortable living out of exhibiting themselves, on their own terms, and were able to do this independently.

Maybe in another 100 years there'll be some discussions about the new images taken by photographer Lynn Weddle, along with some newer images of people with disabilities, and people will share their views on them. That’s a conversation I’d like to be a part of, and maybe an organisation like Shape will still be around to display them for all to see.

For a view on an actual conversation that took place for the exhibition, take a look at Sophie Partridge’s blog at www.disabilityartsonline.org/sophie-partridge?item=670&itemoffset=6

Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians is on show at Shape Arts, Deane House Studios, 27 Greenwood Place, London until 29 September. Open by appointment: Monday to Thursday, 9- 5pm

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 4 August 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 4 November 2011

New Art at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

I had a very positive meeting with Head of Learning, Emma Fry at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. They're developing lots of new initiatives to support Artist film and video, including the creation of a permanent gallery for the work; and the programming of more workshops and expansion of the number of artists they work with.

We also chatted briefly about the galleries relationship with the Turner Prize, as I was interested in this aspect of the arts and in particular how I might get to know more about the art world through looking at the careers of other successful artists, in particular Phil Collins' artist film and video work shown at the gallery. Emma was quick to point out that it’s not something the gallery thinks about much, other than to give shows to artists at the right time in their careers, and for artists like Phil Collins and Cathy Wilkes, that insight by the galleries artistic director has obviously paid off - both artists were nominated for the Turner Prize directly following their solo shows at the gallery.

After the meeting I had a look at the current exhibition, a diverse selection of work by local artists. I was struck by one photograph from Frazer Waller's series of photographs of car boot sales. When I looked closely I noticed a mans’ reflection in one of the mirrors for sale, which had been placed on the ground. I wondered if the photographer noticed it as he was taking it, or after. Car boot sales certainly seem the ideal place to take photos without anybody noticing.

Stuart Southwell explores identities in a series of dark self portraits. The artist wears grotesque masks, though I couldn’t help wondering whether the artist was hiding something from us. Jason Smiths video installation seems to be about how many people you can fit into a structure, as he explores his surroundings through his work.

I loved Jamie Chalmers work, his stitch series with messages from spam emails - something you don’t always expect on embroidery. Kamil Szkopik's photographs are exquisite, as are Lauren Keeley's paintings.

Emma Wilde's drawings of birds are incredibly detailed and something I would have loved to see more of. Caroline Devines sound work was made more interesting after reading the description... a spoken word recording of a record contract, made on vinyl. Her blurb reads that Devine is "interested in exploring voices that may be silenced or are in some way absent." Devine was the winner of the £8000 prize fund, and I think overall a good choice.

New Art MK: Eight Artists From Milton Keynes is on show until 19 September 2011. Go to www.mkgallery.org/exhibitions/new_art_MK for more detail

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 3 August 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 4 November 2011

Gary Thomas' Project The Dog & The Palace Film & Workshops wins Inspire Mark

Gary Thomas' new project The Dog & The Palace Film and Workshops has been granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme. The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Dog & The Palace is about a young boy who is so inspired by watching the 2012 Olympic Games on TV that he decides to write to The Queen of England to say 'Thank You'. He sends her a parcel, a statue of his little dog, and the film follows the journey of the young boy as he persuades his family they should visit London to celebrate the Games.
 
Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: “We want to use the power of the Games to inspire change. The Inspire programme is recognising the work our partners all round the UK are doing to help us achieve this vision now. I congratulate everyone involved in The Dog & The Palace Film & Workshops for securing the Inspire mark and wish you every success with your work.”

Working With Storyteller Jon potter, from Company Paradiso, The Project aims to inspire young children in Primary schools to think about what it will be like as they watch the Olympics in 2012, and as London welcomes the whole of the World to watch along side them. St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Essex will be the first school to host the workshops, which will also give young children a real insight into filmmaking .

The Film will be produced by Karen Gilchrist with artwork by Christine Wilkinson.

About the Inspire programme: The Inspire programme is run by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is an opportunity for everyone to be a part of the London 2012 Games – a broad participation programme spanning sport participation, education, sustainability, volunteering, and business opportunities & skills. New opportunities are being created to inspire young people and encourage the whole of the UK to join in.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 21 June 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 28 June 2011

Full 'stream' ahead

I've been thinking I need to do a new blog post for sometime now so here it is.

I've had a very busy time preparing and then 'doing' upstream, which was a major experience for me and one that I've been more than happy to be a part of. There was so much work I wanted to do in preparation for it that (along with everything else) for two or three weeks beforehand I felt like I didn't even have time to piss (I'm writing that cos I actually thought that a few times in the run up to it!)

So things were very hectic for me and rather exhausting as for one reason or another I didn't get much sleep that whole period which only adds to issues.

However, I knew what I wanted to show and what I needed to do to get it right, and what kind of impact I wanted to make, so along with doing all the PR stuff along side it, it had to be done.

A lot of this work I actually enjoyed, and it was great to be in the local paper as a result of being part of a major festival, and also to be there with everything sorted.
So during the week I was able to network with a few people I didn't know, and some more I haven't seen in a while, and also see some great work from others, which was one of the bonus' of being at the Brighton Festival.

There's so much going on in Brighton during the festival that I'd urge everyone to go, and being part of Upstream means that I now feel confident enough to submit a proposal to the main Brighton Festival for next year. Never done that before, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes. And, as a side note, The Brighton Festival in May 2012 will be the perfect showcase to premiere The Dog & The Palace, my new film.

All that preparation leads me nicely to the work I needed to do for my next event, Pitch! (great name huh?) which I've also been happy to be a part of. Pitch! is the final day of the 2 year Sync South East Development Programme, led by Jo Verrent, Sarah Pickthal, and Hannah Reynolds. The amount of work I've had to do for that, although I'm showing different things, seems far less because of the preparation already done for upstream, and I'm going to show two previews of works in progress, which I think best reflects my current working practice.

I'm looking forward to the day, networking with over 100 people, as well as seeing the 30 individual artists that have shared the development journey for the past two years. More on the impact of this in another blogpost, but the impact of both these programmes seems to be very high for me, both professionally and personally. And the effects of that is likely to continue well into the future.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 11 June 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 20 June 2011

Gary Thomas takes his film script forward after some successful pitching...

My brain is all mushy right now and I don't think I could be any more tired unless I was actually giving birth. I'm not, so that's fine.

Anyway, I'm this way because rather than JUST doing loads of prep for the film shoot on Wednesday & Thursday I also went to a comedy writing festival on Saturday and a producers talk on Sunday in London. I stayed overnight in a hotel in Finchley (of all places!) and I got to practice pitch my feature film script to two of the biggest names in indie film producing. Whilst I shall be thinking about the enormity of what happened over the weekend with the pitching thing (and the amount of information gained) for a while to come, I learnt loads, and realised it's a lot about being prepared for opportunities.

And so I now have to put that aside for a moment while I get my mushy head around making a film for the next two days with a 9 year old actor. In Winchester. All of this, as I've written about previously (I think!) has happened pretty fast, and because I'm on twitter (@2weddings, now 600+ followers, I thank you) I was able to get in touch with a casting agent (Leoni Kibbey) who did a great job (in about two weeks) of getting eight 9-12 year olds into audition for my film.

Leoni did all the work so I sat there behind the desk with the producer and thought about whether any of them sound like the voices in my head. Thankfully one of them did, and he was unexpectedly very funny, so we cast him. 

So I shall be on the 6.35pm train heading to Winchester with friend who's coming along to help.
I had a meeting yesterday and we went through the outline, which has made me feel much more calmer about what I'm doing, but ultimately I won't know how it'll be till I get there on the day.
I shall have people asking me all sorts of questions and trying to answer them as quickly as possible so we can get things done. I shall then be working with the actors and getting a really good performance out of them. One of whom I've worked with before, and one is a friend, so it actually shouldn't be that bad. But I'm still panicking, and I will do until I get there. 

Once there it will be a timely reminder of why I do what I do, and why I'm always looking for opportunities to do it. It'll happen again when I see the footage, and it'll happen again when I get the money to finish the film. Nothing like listening to two independent film producers to convince you that you can do anything.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 12 April 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 14 April 2011

Pulling it all together

Go Team Gary!
I didn't write that, a friend put it at the end of an email and it does seem rather apt at the moment. You see, things are moving way faster than I could have imagined, and that's what needs to happen right now because time is indeed of the essence.

How did this happen? I hear you cry. Even if you didn't I'll tell you anyway. I asked a friend I've known for a relatively short time (Christine Wilkinson) if she would write an application to ACE for R&D funding. She said yes, and suggested a couple of other people I should work with, so got in touch with Jon Potter from Company Paradiso & the other one, Karen Gilchrist, I already knew.

And they both know others. Especially Karen, who's pulling a lot of things together. So as we were successful in getting the R&D funding, suddenly we're filming on 13 & 14th April.

I know a casting director from twitter, I got in touch with her & now she's finding lord knows how many child actors to audition this Thursday in London (this is the one task I thought impossible!).

I know an actress to play the mother who I worked with in my last short film, I asked her to read the treatment & now she's on board. I visited filmLondon on Friday to chat to a friend who I haven't seen in ages, & that was really useful & they're going to send me location ideas & a list of venues that we need to think about to show the film.

So, its all coming together. Not slowly this time, but in the time we need to do it. Hooray!
 
 

Posted by Gary Thomas, 3 April 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 5 April 2011

PR Sweetie!

Everyone needs PR even if we're not sure what we're doing or how to do it. If you're an artist its crucial to get your success' out there and let people know about it.

Here is a 'Press release' that I sent to a few people and am putting it here to tell even more people about my journey in the Arts.

Gary Thomas has been selected for UPSTREAM, a major showcase of deaf & disabled artists in the South East. Work will be show as part of the Brighton Festival, 24th - 26th May 2011. A development award has also been given to artists involved to explore further options for working within the arts.
This follows on directly from Gary receiving a grants for the arts award from Arts Council England for a separate Research & Development Project, 'The Queen & My Little Doggy', a split screen installation film set a few days AFTER the London 2012 Olympics & Paralympics.

Gary Says:
Both these opportunities have really given me the confidence to go for the things I want and to achieve the best quality work that I can. The Queen & My Little Doggy is a hugely ambitious film installation and being selected for Upstream with two previous works proves that the work I do is going in the right direction, and is definitely worth doing. I am now involved in three separate Accentuate Projects, Driving Inspirations (as filmmaker teaching students), Sync South East (as a mentee) and now Upstream.

The Arts have given me the opportunity to come off benefits and move into self employment, which proves that people's lives can change because of the Arts, no matter what form it's in. This simply proves how vital it is to keep these opportunities running through 2012 and beyond.

Gary is also working on a number of other projects including a Wedding Comedy feature screenplay (2 Weddings) and a number of TV spec pilots.

More information about me, as ever is on my website here

Posted by Gary Thomas, 25 March 2011

Last modified by Gary Thomas, 25 March 2011

Embracing 'Interference'

I've recently subscribed to Chris Brogan's blog posts email, which contains useful information and suggestions on what to write about. The recent email is all about confidence, and suggests writing a post on where I'm headed, so here it is.

Er.... Who knows? Really, I mean I think about where I'm heading a lot, and as much as I like having plans, things conspire to interfere. Now, sometimes what happens when 'things' interfere with plans is WAY more interesting than the original plan. And that's what interests me the most. There are some things that have happened that I could never really have planned. I think you just need to be prepared for those moments.

A good example is my recent success with Arts Council. I applied for Research and Development funding for The Queen and My Little Doggy, and was successful. (Yay!)

So over the next few weeks, along with everything else I want to do, there will be a period of very intense work on my split screen installation film, which will form the basis of a major piece of work that will be completed by very early next year.

Will anything happen to interfere with that work? Of course it will. Already two people who I want to work with are unavailable, so that means working with others, but that's just given me time to remember the others. So I have lots of choices to make, and need to find people who I want to collaborate with based on who they are and what they can do.

So with that in mind, the next month or so will be really interesting, I'll be doing things that I've never done before (again) and working with some new people too. All very exciting, really.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 14 March 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 15 March 2011

Gary Thomas asks AM I ready to move on?

This may sound silly, but I've ummed a lot over the past month about how personal my blog posts should be, as potentially EVERYONE I know could read them (I'm tempted to say here 'they won't', but I'm not going too).

The past month has been difficult because my step dad died on 23 January, and I've been wondering how and whether I should write about it. I've decided that I'm going to, as it all fits in with the whole notion of things being difficult, things going slowly, things not going right, which after all, if you're disabled all that stuff happens anyway.

So when my step dad died I set myself a month before I got back into things fully again, and that month is nearly up. Trouble is, I still want to sleep more than normal, I still don't really want to do that many things, I still don't really want to be in 'full swing'. And there in lies the thought:

When the hell have I EVER been in full swing? One of the movies on my list still to watch (I have many on that list) is 'Girl Interrupted'. (I've also had a really strong urge to watch Six Feet Under)

Girl Interrupted is about a girl in a mental asylum in the 1960s. As I say I haven't seen it yet, its on my computer waiting for me to be in the 'right mood' to watch it. But I think the title sums up what its like when we all have issues come up that affect our lives.

This past year I've been struggling a lot with an issue that I haven't had to deal with very much for over 10 years, and so things have been going really slow, and you could say I've been very ill. This has been a HUGE interruption in what I want to do with my life and unfortunately it hasn't gone away as quickly or easily as I'd hoped.

I've come to the conclusion that a lot of this is down to my own expectations, both in the ones that I have for myself (all these things that I want to do) and with what I can 'realistically' cope with. This one in particular has been a battle raging in my head ever since I can remember. So, if I didn't have these expectations of myself, then I wouldn't have to do so much, right?

Trouble is there ARE things that excite me, new opportunities, and things that I really want to do.

So I still have things on my list, like finishing the next draft of my feature script, arranging meetings, making a showreel for my new website, finishing courses, writing up a fundraising document... and another, and another...

If you know me, you can drop me a gentle email towards the end of March asking me how I'm doing with any of this stuff. I'll reply to it, though I'm not sure how quick I'll be.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 28 February 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 1 March 2011

Gary Thomas on what we can learn from 'everyone else'

I've been talking to a couple of people recently about ambitions. Okay, mainly my ambitions, but certainly ambitions.

You see, I want to aim quite high, so at a recent arts meeting in London (more to be revealed eventually!) I stated in a sort of unsure voice in a room full of disabled artists - “I want to be mainstream”.

And then, after a pause: “I want to be nominated for the Turner Prize.” Yep. That's what I said. And now I've written it down. Shit me. Silly isn't it?

Well, nope, not really. Definitely not silly. You see, I'm an artist and filmmaker, and albeit I didn't go to Central St. Martins or where ever most artists go to study, I've had funding from the Arts Council, I've been commissioned, I've had a short film bought by a distributor in LA.

So why shouldn't we look at our work and say 'I want to win...' whatever it is that will take your career to the next level?

But where on earth do I get these notions from?

One such influence is Chris Jones,  and his filmmaking course which I have just started taking this weekend. 

Chris set out to make a short film and said, in a rather public way: “I want to win an Oscar.” He asked people for money, got the money, and made a film that reached the final round of voting in the Oscars, just before they chose the actual nominations. They missed out on an Oscar, but the got very very close, and made a good film because of it. Which got people's attention. And although Chris is a 'mainstream' filmmaker (I'm assuming that) there's a lot we can learn from everyone who put themselves out there.

They documented the process & they've now put it online with interviews, clips, and everything you need to look at your filmmaking journey.

I'm on section 3 of the course at the moment, and already there's been some valuable insights into where I am, and what to do next. Some of which has reconfirmed what I already know, others have been first time insights. And when I get to the next stage of the course, there will be more. If the film-making journey is something you'd like to learn more about, I'd definitely recommend taking the course yourself.

In a short while, I'm going to be blatantly asking people for money. I need to think about how I do this seriously, how can I do it with the right support from people etc, and how I can do it legally too. I want to make a major work set a couple of days after the 2012 London Olympics.

It's not something I can do on a low budget, so will be needing all the support from people and companies that I can convince. Although it's a 'short split screen film' it'll be a major work... So who's with me?

Posted by Gary Thomas, 13 February 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 13 February 2011

IT GETS BETTER... EVENTUALLY

Originally written on 5th October 2010.

I'm in a hotel in Buckingham as I write this and there is very little 3G signal. A couple of days ago I felt like shit. Truly awful, and I think I'm experiencing for the first time in my life (having had severe depression since I was 14) the 'black dog' that so many have spoken of.

All entirely ironic, considering I am thinking about a piece of film for the 'It Gets Better Campaign.' I'm thinking about it having not seen many of the videos. I'm not sure I would have the guts or whatever to look into a camera and talk about my experiences, although this is definitely something I would like to be okay with. But for now, or until I can use a couple of actors for a day and tell a story to a Melissa Etheridge song, here is what I have to say on the subject.

I was born with a flat nose and a cleft pallet. I couldn't talk properly until I was 9. I've spent the early part of my life from the age of 5 up until 24 in and out of hospital having operations. I had people making fun of me since I can remember until I was 17.

I've had depression since I was 14. I spent most of the last two years of my high school bunking off, wondering around a park, sometimes crying, nearly always listening to music, wondering why the hell I was born. Wondering what the hell I am going to do, and wondering when it's all going to end. And can I make it end? I couldn't see a future. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought I'd be dead by the time I'm 30.

There is no reason on Earth why I should be where I am now. In May this year I was filmed at the BFI talking about film development for the Uscreen website. A couple of months ago I was directing my first online comedy drama.

This time last year I was in LA pitching a wedding comedy feature script. The year before that I was paid to go to the Liverpool Disability Arts Festival DADAFest. The same year I went to Cannes Film Festival for the first time and sold my short film Early One Summer to a Hollywood Distributor.

I use film as a way of communication, as a way to express what I'm interested in, my ideas, my thoughts about the world. I use actors to tell stories with words that I've written. I use the written word to explore how I feel, and to explore different characters and scenarios that interest me. Last year in LA was one of the high points of my life. So was going to Liverpool in 2008. So was receiving my Arts Council funding in 2006, and so was receiving my first commission from DADA-South in 2003. All of this revolved around me making work that I'm passionate about. No matter how its received.

Getting excited about my feature script keeps me excited, keeps me thinking about those high points, and how I can achieve more of them, and how I can make opportunities happen. I pretty much do that with everything because I've just never been the sort of person to say 'make this, you keep the profits, I'll just write it...' or (more to the point) I thought I'd have to make stuff myself, because no one would take a chance on me because of the limited experience I've had.

A lot of that's now changed, and its a different game. Life is about taking opportunities, not thinking (so much) about the dark times, but carrying on through them, by any means necessary. Even if that means screaming for help from people you know, or from people you don't. I don't have a problem with saying 'please do this for me' now, and likewise I don't have a problem with going after what's important until I have it.

It gets better if you go after what you believe in. It gets better if you find something you're passionate about and put your efforts in that. It gets better as you get older, and for the most part, even the difficult times become slightly easier to get through.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 5 December 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 5 December 2010

Gary Thomas on frustration, risk & money.

I am an intellectual. No, I'm not just saying that to show off or anything, I did an online quiz at www.oprah.com and it told me so. It also said my need for helping others was my lowest score, (no surprise there) and creativity was up there in the highest marks (12 points) but my thirst for knowledge was paramount (14 points).

I wonder if this is why I'm feeling frustrated at the moment, which I really am right now. I would like to use this frustration to take risks that would mean I can get on with the work that I so want to do, but this all requires money, and there's the sticking point. So what to do? So many things revolve around money, but it takes other people to also make decisions (and I'm not talking about mental health or any systems here) so, should that be a reason why I can't get on and do stuff?

I can't progress with the choices I have until I have the money to do so. Although, that's not strictly true, I can write stuff, I can write an application, I can rewrite my feature screenplay. I can do quite a bit of writing really, though anything else pretty much relies on me having funding.

A friend put a post on Facebook I noticed which said, without Capitalism there wouldn't be any mental health problems. I thought this was kind of interesting, and actually hard for me to argue against.

Although, I'm sure if I lived somewhere without the 9-5 working hours and pressure on jobs etc. mental health 'issues' would still be around. Probably arising from boredom and frustration...

Which brings me back to where I am now. And out of that, I can only hope I'll grow, and change. But its a slow process, unless anyone has a spare five grand they want to donate, in which case I'll possibly be less frustrated...

Posted by Gary Thomas, 20 August 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 20 August 2010

Some more notes from Gary Thomas on filming 'Moving In',

This post was written on Friday 23 July 2010

Fifth day of shooting Moving In and I am realising why film is not art. I'm also realising that it takes a whole load of people (and we don't have a whole load of people) to make things happen, and I also realise that I'm coping relatively well with the responsibility, as the crew we do have is very good. The actors are good too.

Yesterday was a bit of a f*** up as we'd planned to do a load of scenes in the kitchen with all the actors, and for various reasons some of them couldn't make it. There's so much pre-production that hasn't been done or will be done last minute that it's a bit of a problem, along with people trying to do other things besides making the film.

What I am enjoying though (and what is art) is watching the actors perform, and working with the crew who then come up with ideas for how its shot, and me with my own ideas telling the actors what I want. Again, as in most of my films, this hasn't happened very often, as (most of) the actors we have are good.

Over a week long shoot, by yesterday I felt a hell of a lot more able to tell actors what I wanted, to say 'no' to some of their ideas and to remind them to say things if they do some thing that works well / sounds good. One scene had to be improvised between us as the locations changed last week, but we got it done on the day.

So we have about 20 pages left to do over the next 3 days, and as much as I don't want to tempt fate, we may not even need the last day at all.

Though I expect we will.

NOTE: We did need the last day of filming, though that was only five scenes, including a reshoot of one scene we'd already done.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 16 August 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 20 August 2010

Gary Thomas on his way to direct 'Moving In'

The first of these blog posts were written whilst filming 'Moving In', a couple of weeks ago on Sunday 18th July 2010.

I am currently on the train to Portsmouth. Despite being disabled I have managed to bring two rucksacks and two suitcases with me. Hence, I may well be hideously stressed by the end of the journey. I'm going to Portsmouth to direct a half hour film that my friend has written, about four students who discover life, love etc... and I think it'll be good.

Hopefully it will be better than good. But I have a feeling it'll be marred by the severe emotional pain that I've been feeling recently to do with some thing that happened 14 years ago. (Those of you who've seen 'Madness as a form of relaxation', will have an idea).

I'm trying not to think about what happened, but its been hard right now, especially when I can see that I need to use the experience to put the support in place, that I need. (I often ask myself 'What do I need to learn from this?) But I've had trouble arranging that support, mainly due to everybody else (well, nearly everyone) being so stupid.

So I've been distracting myself by various means including listening to Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention, which I love listening to, especially the last chapter. I'm currently listening to Lady Gaga, which has a slightly different meaning. But it's much more fun.

So when I get to Portsmouth I'll be meeting a friend, and some of the actors who I'll be working with. We're going to do a promo shoot and then get together with cast and crew at a pub this evening. Tomorrow we're having a first read-though of the script, which I'm sure will throw up all sorts of comments and hopefully more 'jokes' or I should say, comedy.

As I'm directing for the next week, I've been thinking about the kind of director I want to be. In all my short films so far I've kind of done everything, (producer, writer, director). This shoot has been good as my friend has been producing it. I've been working with him on the script editing, and writing the shooting script (how to turn a 39 page document into a 44 page document – add camera directions!) So now its the week where real directing will happen.

I want to remain with the actors, work with them closely. But in all my films, I've been surprised how little 'directing' there's actually been. That's mainly because I've been very lucky with the actors I've got (may that continue). So, as it's a collaboration, we've come together. They have their own ideas and I have mine. During the audition process, if the ideas meet in some way, then that's who I want in my film. This happened in Early One Summer, where Graeme Dalling got the part because the look that he gave Charlie Ross, the teacher, was exactly the look I had in my head. And I wanted to work with him.

So I'll be blogging about “Moving In” and the progress through post production and beyond, as well as my current arts practice, and what projects I'm most excited about.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 31 July 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 November 2010