Monday, 21 December 2015

What Does Christmas Look Like Around the World? 9 International Traditions



 
We are full swing with Christmas vibes at the Wolfestone office this year. We’re all wearing Christmas jumpers as we speak, spreading joy and putting our playlist on full – which is available below to spread cheer in your office, the commute or at home in front of a fire.

As we’re an international company with staff from all around, we started to discuss what Christmas looks like at home. That led us to the thought of ‘what does Christmas look like around the world?’
Not every country celebrates Christmas, of course, so below we gathered some of the traditions from around the world of the countries that do to celebrate a multilingual, multicultural Christmas.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Top 5 Things to Know About Multilingual SEO


You are probably sick of the term SEO. Everyone seems to bring it up, everyone seems to know what it is and can promise you that glorious first page, but no one gives definitive answers about how to do it. Now multilingual SEO one of the latest considerations in the world of topping rankings.

Years ago, there was a way to win easily with search engines and push yourself right to the top. Keyword stuffing and a tonne of links to yourself were all the rage, but the world of search engines has changed significantly.

Regular quality content pushes you up because search engines like activity. More than that, backlinks from reputable websites are ways to boost your website’s reputation rather than the old blackhat method of being put on directories.

Now that you know the basics of the world of search engine optimisation, the impact provided by translating your website in more languages is an aspect often overlooked. This is especially true if your business is currently in global markets. By translating your website, you will instantly boost your ranks.

That’s why we compiled this short list of the top 5 things to know about multilingual SEO and how they can benefit your business internationally.

Friday, 13 November 2015

6 Facts That Prove Renewable Energy is Global


Fuel suffers from being a finite amount. Renewable energy does not have this problem which is why the industry seeing an enormous growth annually. Many countries are now putting green initiatives as a main part of plans of action. The switch is happening now, but can you provide for the worldwide demand?

Renewable energy is a global sector and market. Despite the belief that it might be a more Western-centric idea, occurring more in North America and Europe, but the majority of countries in the top 10 are outside these continents. China, for example, has planned to produce 20% of their energy through renewable sources to wean off fossil fuels. The world is in demand of infinite energy. Don’t stay local. Take your business everywhere and here’s why you should do it.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Why Aren't You Exporting? Four Ways to Export Now!

Exports can seem a little out of reach for businesses, a feat reserved for the big companies, but it isn’t. You could be doing it right now. It is not as complicated as you believe, especially considering your ability to reach global markets without physically setting up an office out there.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Are You Prepared to Travel Through Translation?

Travel Further with Translation

As the World Travel Market event heads to London next week, we thought it would be fitting to look at how translation and other multilingual services play a role in the travel industry. Of course language goes hand-in-hand with translation, the necessity is undeniable. Everyone has tried picking up a phrase or two to say while in a foreign country, some making a mistake and accidentally personally insulting their family… but hey-ho, live and learn, right?

Thursday, 22 October 2015

AfterDeath Review

Synopsis:
Five strangers wake-up dead on the beach after a nightclub got too full. They sit inside a mysterious cabin surrounded by an unusual monster and two paintings that may hold the answer to their questions… and perhaps their escape.

With the sign ‘Tabula Rasa’ and a black smoke monster, it is impossible to not draw similarities to Lost, the TV programme. Lost did not invent it all, of course, it drew on famous mythologies to interlock it with its own weird wonderfulness. Lost left some cold with its form, captured the imaginations of others and frustrated almost everyone due to its lack of answers. Back to the main focus of this review, though, AfterDeath does a worse job of controlling the mythology than the crazy, unplanned and writers’ strike riddled TV series that managed to make everything much more interesting even in this chaos. AfterDeath had a production much less tumultuous presumably and has managed to make nothing from it – none of the grandiose mythology, thrilling entertainment, intriguing characters, nor thought-provoking themes.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

FrightFest 2015 Coverage

FrightFest is one of the best genre film festivals around. It continually gives us sneak peeks at exciting prospects while allowing attendees to discover films from out of the blue. As always, the selection is eclectic and ranges from genre exploitation pictures like Stung to dramatic thrillers like Emelie (pictured above).

My FrightFest 2015 coverage is in two parts for Next Projection: Part 1 and Part 2.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Black Coal, Thin Ice Review


China has a lot of filmic potential and considering the size of its country, it feels like we do not receive enough artistic creations from the population leader. Around the large cityscapes are huge swathes of agrarian gorgeous land that is barely touched. With all the repression, poverty and negatives of the country, cut it and it’s bound to bleed noir. Diao Yi’nan’s does in this murder mystery that scars its ex-cop protagonist and continues to scratch it open for the next six years to make sure the wound is always raw. Sadly, the lack of disciplined filmmaking sags the middle like a leaking roof which restricts its ability to be great.

Bait Review


Dominic Brunt moved into directing with Before Dawn, a zombie film by the self-confessed zombie-obsessive. Now Dominic Brunt has turned to something all the too real for comfort: loan sharks. After the fast-paced zombies showing the inevitability of death during a dramatic crisis, this shows the inevitability of destruction that debt causes. Bait, also known internationally as The Taking, focuses on the characters in the unenviable position of ambitious business owners with the lack of credit behind them to put their plan into action. That is until they meet a generous stranger with a wallet of gold who is willing to be a silent partner in their café dream. What follows is more of a nightmare.

Ultimate Guide: Market Power of Translating Media


Let your media travel

There is no better time to accentuate this than now: domestic box-office is not as integral as it used to be. Hollywood relied on most of its gross coming from its own shores, but there are a few reasons for the sudden decline in influence. The first being piracy, no matter what people say it is detrimental to box office and becoming increasingly so in America and the UK to some degree; the second being that there is a realisation of the power of overseas market and the sheer potential by numbers; and thirdly, foreign markets now want to see these huge-scale blockbusters that only Hollywood has the resources to make. Hollywood is a global commodity. How does Hollywood reach these audiences? They use subtitle services and dubbing services according to each nation’s preference.

Ultimate Guide: Market Power of Translating Literature

Statistics of Translating Literature

Now, more than ever, with further globalisation by internet and online platforms (video on-demand, eBooks and so on) comes increased power of translating media. You can now reach bigger audiences making diving in out of these countries easy, but you do have to cater to their language which requires translation services.
That does not mean you cannot get into main bookstores and cinemas. Foreign box-office is where it’s at, usually being the majority of gross for Hollywood films. It simply means there’s another ‘market-within-the-market’ through VOD (video on-demand) and other electronic marketplaces. Even translating music can be beneficial as proven by ‘99 Red Balloons’ and the ‘Ketchup Song’.
Below is largely based on estimations from websites like Box Office Mojo, IMDb and other media statistic outlets. It is to show the potential of translating your literature/media for other marketplaces. With VOD and eBooks, figures are scarce as companies like Netflix like to keep them under wraps . We shall soon  see if it changes and becomes bragging material like the Box Office has become in the next few years. Studios often use the box office as a measure of success, barometer of quality, guide for future investment. It would be interesting to see if online sales and VOD becomes a similar guiding measurement.

Dominic Brunt Interview



Although Dominic Brunt has appeared in over 1200 episodes of Emmerdale as Paddy, you may start to recognise him as a horror director. After his debut feature, Before Dawn, where fast-paced zombies are introduced during a dramatic moment, Dominic returns with a horror film a lot closer to home. Debt is something that a lot of people can relate to and when debt is actualised into a terrifying loan shark who will do whatever to get his money.
Before Dominic Brunt’s sophomore feature premieres at FrightFest, Ashley Norris got a chance to discuss the film in-depth with the director to learn more about how the film came to him, New French Extremism and if the film is an allegory…

Monday, 17 August 2015

Why Your Business Doesn't Need to be in London Any More


London is one of the most famous cities in the world with an estimated 18.82 million tourists this year. Foot traffic, sadly, is not free. It is 10% more expensive to live in London than it is New York. In the age of the internet putting us all together in the palm of our hand or at your desk or in both of your hands with the large tablets, is there any need any more to be in a hub? Why be at the base of the communication, when your message can get there instantly from thousands of miles away?
With the higher wage necessary to live and commute around London, comes higher overheads for employers. Here are a list of some of the benefits we at Wolfestone have as a company outside of London:

My article on the benefits of business outside of London was written for Wolfestone, but was also picked up by the national press, WalesOnline.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dubai: The Future of Globalisation


The United Arab Emirates struck liquid gold in the form of oil and are now the seventh-largest reserve in the world. The country was established in December 1971 as a federation of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi (capital), Dubai (largest city), Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. The main two cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, used this money wisely. They invested directly into healthcare, infrastructure and education. Dubai especially focused on becoming a hub of international trade and transport with a diverse population of expats, large companies and, obviously, magnificent architecture. Dubai has re-invented many things: luxury holidays with seven-star hotels, the world’s tallest building, featured in large films like this year’s record-breaking Furious 7 and many more illustrations of success.

Ant-Man Review

Ant-Man is already at a disadvantage for those who know its production story. Of course not everyone will, so here is a brief summary.Edgar Wright wrote the script for years with Joe Cornish. Edgar Wright was going to direct the film. The studio wanted something different and Wright did not want to compromise his vision and left. We still don’t know the full story on why and what disagreements, especially since Wright has producer, writer and story by credits. The studio asked Adam McKay to direct. He passed, but did a rewrite of the script for them. Finally, Peyton Reed (comedy director famous for Yes ManThe Break-Up and Bring it On) decided to direct it with another rewrite (according to the credits) by Paul Rudd.

The Full Circle – From Caveman Paintings, Language, to Emojis


Language was born from images and now it looks like we have gone all the way back to it.

First there were cave paintings from which language (and possibly art) evolved and now we are back to images with ‘Emojis’. Are images the future of language or just tonal confirmations? History is said to not repeat itself, but what if it is?

Burying the Ex Review


Dante is back, resurrected, and it feels fitting that he bring someone back from the dead as it is the biggest return to form by the director since Small Soldiers. After some disappointing features, none have come close to the Dante treasures from the previous decades. Burying the Ex may not be that good, it may not be a classic that we have come to expect from Dante, but the weight of expectations mean that one cannot deem it a good Dante without it sounding like faint praise. It is like the director has painted himself into the corner and must hit five star classics because anything else is a waste. That is unfair. The expectations themselves are burdening an appreciation of Dante’s work so please, appreciate this.

British English vs American English

British English vs American English: the battle of the Atlantic.
England and America may share a language and have a history together, but that does not mean they have developed parallel to each other. In fact, in regards to language, British English and American English have diverted from one another to become separate and individual languages with the possibility of some confusion and awkward conversations.

11 Common English Language Mistakes


The English language is almost superfluous in its own complications, which is the beauty of it. Whether it’s misusing a word (looking at you, plethora) or common grammatical errors, the English language sometimes suffers due to the majority using these incorrectly.
Although language is defined by its volume of use – the words lol and selfie are now in the Oxford English Dictionary – there still must be care over mistakes that will alter the context of what you are trying to say. At Wolfestone, we actively avoid grammatical and language-related misconceptions.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Clinger Review

Synopsis: Fern, an athletic track-runner with her sights on MIT, meets Robert, a seemingly perfect boyfriend. As things start to get a bit claustrophobic for Fern, she realises there’s nothing scarier than your first love.

Clinger’s opening perfectly encapsulates the tone that will follow. Fern and Robert’s meet-cute at the beginning and subsequent relationship speaks volumes of the clingy nature of high school romance. That heightened experience of first love is captured to recreate the similar feelings experienced. In a way, Clinger is your first relationship: fun, bizarre and a little sickly. Not entirely though, as I doubt many of us have resurrected and become permanently paranormally attached to your girlfriend.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Dark Summer Review


Early on it creates a great atmosphere effectively using its tiny budget, but unfortunately the goodness ends there. What follows is a good idea for a narrative with characters shoehorned in to serve its narrative, not the other way around. The characterless characters devoid of any personality and even an idiosyncrasy panic their way through a narrative that is typical of supernatural horrors, but is strong enough on its own. It is hard to compliment the narrative when the characters do not complement it, forcing the viewer to grow resentment for the film as the vacuums suffer the haunting. After noticing the characters are cardboard cut-outs placed in the story for the correct moments, you start to notice the poor technique and craftsmanship that follows.

Click here to continue reading my Dark Summer Review for Scream Horror Magazine.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Mine and Ray's 2015 Oscar Predictions




 Mine and Ray’s 2015 Oscar Predictions

That time of year again, I’m running late (again) writing my post because of the unfortunate lack of cinema screenings in Aberystwyth. Now, the Oscars don’t go off my opinion anyway much to my dismay, therefore it is still easy to predict who will win what. The Academy Awards is filled with predictability due to the run up award shows like the BAFTAs, DGAs and so on which share some of the same voter pool. Another reason it is predictable is because of the politics of voting as THR’s “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballots” where a few admit to voting for films due to their ad campaigns when they haven’t seen them – one said they voted for Leviathan because of the carcass advertising imagery. Last year I said I’d hope to hand out the crudely titled Nozzers but alas it seems to be a one-year thing so far. Hopefully I will do them next year as I should be somewhere and near places with cinema releases unless a job pulls me away.

What is different about this year is that it will feature a head-to-head. A friend of mine sent over his Oscar choices for this year too, meaning for the first time there will be a champion of Oscar predictions on here; a title so empty, it would definitely have health benefits at an American company. Ray Kenderdine’s Oscar list will follow mine.

My Oscar Predictions

Best Picture: Birdman
Best Director: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (Should be Keaton)
Best Actress: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Best Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Should be Nightcrawler!)
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Cinematography: Birdman
Best Documentary: Citizenfour
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Film Editing: Boyhood
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Editing: American Sniper
Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash (American Sniper probably a close second)
Best Visual Effects: Interstellar (Should be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Best Original Score: The Theory of Everything
Best Original Song:Glory” for Selma
Best Live Action Short: The Phone Call (Butter Lamp close second)
Best Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Best Animated Short: Feast

Ray Kenderdine’s Oscar Predictions

Best picture: The Imitation Game
Best Actor: Michael Keaton
Best Actress: Julianne Moore
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons
Supporting Actress: Laura Dern
Animated Feature: Boxtrolls
Cinematography: Birdman
Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Director: Alajandre G. Iñárritu
Documentary: Finding Vivian Maier
Documentary Short: Our Curse
Editing: Boyhood
Foreign Language: Tangerines
Makeup and Hair: Guardians of the Galaxy
Original Score: The Imitation Game
Original Song: Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Short Animated: The Dam Keeper
Short Live Action: Parvaneh
Sound Editing: Birdman
Sound Mixing: Birdman
Visual Effects: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel


“I guess that American Sniper and Interstellar get totally snubbed.
Of course I would LOVE to see Wes Anderson get best director but I just don't see it happening. Grand Budapest Hotel was really a great film and I think it's his best by far.”

Here we are. Last year I got a whopping 21 correct, I’m hoping for all 24 correct this year after some research into the categories involving shorts. Have a good Oscars night everyone.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service Review



Matthew Vaughn loves embracing a genre wholeheartedly whilst subverting it with affectionate self-reflexive pokes. This time it’s the spy movie era before Bond got badass. Vaughn plays with the genre with knowing nods to the audience without being a parody or a spoof. Kingsman: The Secret Service is still a great spy movie, a welcome addition to the earlier Bond canon, that is action packed, stylish with plenty to say about the modern era. Although not everything is as bright as the colours of the film.

Secret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) works for a secret, private spy company called Kingsman. Dressed to the nines in suits, they stylishly clear a room without spilling a single drop of whiskey. It would be rude to. After the unfortunate death of his father, Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (played by North Walian Taron Egerton) seems to go through life by the intervening hand of London poverty. With a clear cockney accent and a penchant for mischief, Eggsy is a man of a broken system that society has given up hope on which, in effect, makes him give up on himself. Harry Hart offers assistance in reforming this troubled youth’s life by adding him to the Kingsman programme to unlock his full potential.

There is much fun to have with Kingsman: The Secret Service. Most of which is performance related. Colin Firth shows us how he would have played Bond before the Craig realism reboot, a fun image that we may have missed out on otherwise. Outside that we have Samuel L. Jackson‘s hilarious theatrical billionaire villain, Valentine, suffering from an aversion to violence and a prominent lisp. Mark Strong proves again that he can assimilate to any nationality with his easy adaption to the Scottish accent. His tech character could have been another exposition droid that we see, but the way Strong performs the comedy makes him more than a desk jockey.

The standouts aren’t the familiars though, they are 100% the newcomers. Sophie Cookson‘s Roxy does not get the most to do or really say, more a serious character within a silly world, but it utilises her talents. Sofia Boutella may be famous for StreetDance 2 but all that will change after a physical, threatening performance as Gazelle, Valentine’s right-hand woman with deadly blades. The real star of the hour is of course its lead, Taron Egerton. It is a surprise to find out that the actor was born in North Wales, but even more a surprise that he managed to make the accent and the lingo endearing, charming and sympathetic at the same time. This is a star-making role for a man who should (and will) be having many a phonecall after this.

Matthew Vaughn’s flair brought to the action sequences makes them great yet grating to watch. The hyperstylised sequences can be off-putting in areas. Fights are stretched out by abusing slo-mo while the camera (too plainly CGI in many moments) throws itself around the room to match the kinetics of the dynamic fight. This does work at times – a sequence in the church is brilliantly inventive – but fatigue kicks in for the third act of the film. One sequence that should be the most fun and is the most anticipated is the run of a mill fight sequence seemingly choreographed by Capoeira  fighters to match the hyperstyle. That final sequence is better from the surrounding environment than in the actual battle. It is, at best, a one-minute fight stretched out by flips and slow-motion.

Despite problems with the an over-reliance on CGI, creating garish visuals like the unfortunate, ugly titles, it does not hinder every aspect of the aesthetics. It does feel like the budget either needed to be bigger or there needed to be a mixture of practical effects to then improve the detail on the CGI. Vaughn, after X-Men: First Class, should know the importance of visual effects in a large-scale actioner, pointed out as the main weakness of a rushed blockbuster. Kingsman: The Secret Service is still maniacally fun; it is Austin Powers with grand action sequences. The theatricality of the spy-genre is both welcoming and enjoyably silly, making Kingsman: The Secret Service guaranteed as a mainstay of the year’s most fun and pleasing films. Stellar star-making performances, a whirring hyperstyle, something that is poignant and righteous to say, create a dizzying, visceral comedic actioner that does end on a bum note.

★★½

Saturday, 3 January 2015

My 2014 in Film, TV and Numbers







Last year I reflected on the year that passed in terms of films and television, calculating just how much time I wasted watching Kevin Bacon adverts in the cinema. I think this may be a good tradition to keep as it is interesting to see how well or poorly I did in terms of targets, film and TV watching and other stuff. Last year was a successful year for my journalistic film writing, whereas this year has been disappointing and that is mainly my fault. Last year I got to do some amazing interviews with people like Nicolas Winding Refn, Gareth Evans, Zal Batmanglij, William Fichtner, Simon Barrett, Aaron Guzikowski, Andrés and Barbara Muschetti and plenty of other people I'd brag about. This year I've not had a chance to interview many people unfortunately, but I did get to interview Amy Seimetz which was a great one to do. Hopefully I'll get my foot back on the pedal a bit in 2015 in terms of interviews, reviews and features.

Instead of doing that type of writing, I've moved a bit to scriptwriting as it is something that I liked doing a little in the past. My target from last year was to write one feature length script at least. Thankfully I doubled that and wrote two which have been entered to competitions - a little unsuccessfully so far unfortunately but the feedback from BlueCat was positive - and are there for me as practice and a useful portfolio. Like last year there are many people to thank. Howard Gorman of Cinema Chords for still being a great editor who finds great stuff, apologies for not being as prolific as I was last year. Christopher Misch from Next Projection for having a great website that differs from usual film websites and was rightly featured on RogerEbert.com's great film sites thanks to the writing of people like Ronan Doyle (who is currently working on a book, the site misses him greatly). Then there's Jon Lyus and David Sztypuljak who still have me on board at HeyUGuys and the site continues to gather momentum, it is a remarkable creation now to be endlessly proud of and it is an honour to be a part of it.

There is also a thank you that is very much necessary to Paul Furr (@JustCallMeFurry) who not only was the first person to publish my writing which started an entire new life path (changing degree schemes from economics to film etc.), but also offered his home to me while I completed an internship at Abundant in London. Paul allowed me to stay for no charge, cooked me food and even gave me a lift every morning (and once at night because a bus was cancelled - I am still very sorry about that) so I could get my way from Hemel Hempstead to London for the internship. I really am grateful. He also reads my scripts like a proofreader and gives his critical opinion which improves them tenfold. He'll probably read this and mock me, as he does, but in fairness I did say I prefer his dog to him.

Another huge thank you is to Emyr ap Richard of Lenah Films. Thanks to Emyr, I went to Hong Kong to work as an intern on his latest directorial effort which I cannot say much about. All I can say is that it was an invaluable experience where I learned more in six days on location on production than my years doing an actual film degree. There I got to witness real actors on set, how the directors work with the cast and crew (he co-directs with Erdenibulag Darhad) and the problems of making it rain on set - although it does look really good. I also learnt a lot about cameras thanks to Emyr, from the RED Epic, the Alexa, to the one that he prefers to use, the Ikonoskop DPII, which - from what I saw on the monitor and a little in the editing suite - makes everything look beautiful. Here's to hoping his latest film is a success!

I would also like to thank Ray Kenderdine of the same company for being helpful when it comes to scriptwriting. From long discussions about my script Under the Bridge when I was writing, rewriting and redrafting for the BlueCat competition, to conversations about the importance of a 'threshold moment' and getting to read another writer's work and give my insights on them to try and help progress a script. It is difficult when looking at another's project as sometimes the writer has everything planned out in their head, but it's interesting to see how two different people view the same script and refine it so that everything that is planned out does eventually come out on the page. Plenty of other stuff to thank him for too and wish him all the best in the future.

Last thank you goes to Eleri who has to listen to me whinge, worry and whine about everything for the past two and a half years. Especially my worry about getting a graduate job since a lot of people roll their eyes when I tell them I'm doing a film degree and I'm well aware of how competitive it is. So she deserves special praise for putting up with me when I doubt myself and worry that I'll end up working a job I hate after uni to pay bills, which would probably drive her up the wall. Thank you for reading my stuff and saying it's good (even though she is a bit biased), for making me work when I sometimes don't feel like it, for watching films I make you watch and for generally being awesome. 

2014 Targets.
Now that the thanking is out of the way, hopefully not in too sycophantic a way, it's time to see how i fared from my targets from last year.

"To write a full length screenplay - at least one"
Completed. I managed to write two, Hunt and Under the Bridge, which still need refining but it's better to refine something you have, than have nothing at all.

"To film a few short films."
Woops... I wrote some, I just haven't gotten around to filming them yet, but I will this year before I leave university to make use of the equipment.

"Learn how to edit properly, not shabbily."
This I sort of have done. There is a problem with my laptop not being powerful enough to edit which is a bit of a problem, but I have learnt how to cut, do multiple tracks and how to use Da Vinci Resolve to colour. 

"Write consistently the same amount - if not more."
Depends on what I wrote. I wrote a lot of scripts - shorts and features - which probably means I wrote as much overall, if a little less, so this is half-success and half-failure.

"Watch even more films."
I did, but as many more as I had hoped. I got sidetracked with a lot of television this year.

"Work my way through the IMDb 250 and Empire 500."
Did that.

"Attend a film festival."
Unfortunately, due to financial problems, I had to turn down a great opportunity to go to the San Sebastian film festival to cover it. Hopefully, next year I will attend a festival and be able to afford a trip with the company this year instead.

"Save up money for after university."
Opposite happened here. I ended up travelling to Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London and Reykjavik as well as buying a new car... My bad.

"Try to get more paid work."
Successful.

"Read a lot more than I have."
Half-successful. I managed to read 3 books in a week or so, then another the week after that, but then I slowed down with the reading. Instead, I managed to read about 15 screenplays, articles, academic reading and graphic novels.

Fairly successful targets-wise, which is impressive as I forgot I set them until I saw this article this week.

My Year in Numbers.

Films Watched: 336 (higher than last year)
2014 Releases: 87 (less than last year's 99)
Films Seen in the Cinema: 46 (47 if you inc. Gone Girl twice - less than last year's 54)

If we do the same as last year and take the average film to be 2 hours long, that means 672 hours of last year were spent watching films. 94 of those hours were in the cinema, usually with James, watching terrible EE adverts with screaming goats. If the average ticket is £5.30 (Super Saver Tuesday at Vue) then that means I spent £249.10 at the cinema this year which explains why I didn't save money for next year too. Usually, there are 5 trailers attached to a film at the cinema which usually are 2 minutes long each time. That means 10 minutes worth of trailers at least when at the cinema. That adds up to 470 minutes of trailers which I've had no choice but to watch, taking up 7.8 hours of my life. I can't begrudge the cinema for that though, I watch trailers in my own time anyway although I try to avoid most now because they run into the third act - looking at you Iron Man 3. Again, I won't calculate those annoying adverts beforehand for things like Cinime app (which never works), cars I cannot afford and other things depending on the film. Even Netflix got in on the game showing far too much from Breaking Bad for my liking.

My full diary of watched films, reviews and rankings is on my Letterboxd.

TV Series Watched.

The Office - 7 seasons (x6) = 42 seasons
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - 9 seasons (+6 seasons) = 15 seasons
House of Cards - 1 season
Orange is the New Black  - 1 season
BoJack Horseman - 1 season
Trailer Park Boys - 8 seasons (and the films)
Archer - 5 seasons
Bob's Burgers - 3 seasons
Scrubs - 5 seasons
Hannibal - 1 season
Friends - 10 seasons (x2) = 20 seasons
The Big Bang Theory - 3 seasons
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - 1 season
Peep Show - 3 seasons
The Walking Dead - 1 season
How I Met Your Mother - 2 seasons
Family Guy - 5 seasons
American Dad! - 2 seasons
Top Gear - 1 season
Parks and Recreation - 6 seasons (x2) = 12 seasons
South Park  - 1 season
The IT Crowd - 1 season
Modern Family - 3 seasons

Overall: 137 seasons

If we use the averages from last year, which is 14 episodes per season and the average length of each episode to be 30 minutes then that works out as 1918 episodes of television this year. That is 378 more episodes than last year, which could explain why there is less writing. That is an additional 11,340 minutes of television which is 189 hours. That is just more than last year. Overall it would be 57,540 minutes which is a whopping 959 hours! Considering how many are rewatches (I really love The Office) I think I should work on watching more new things. Although some were new or newer seasons of thing I'd seen before, it's time to finally get through programmes like Game of Thrones, Mad Men, The Wire, The Sopranos and The West Wing. There's plenty else to look forward to with the additional seasons of Archer, House of Cards and Peep Show's final season. Television is great to put on while you do work, especially if it's something you've seen countless times.

Writing.

Although last year I managed to pull out 112 articles which averaged out about 150,000 words thanks to extensive interview transcribing, this year is much less. With a measly 28 articles probably clocking in at about 35,000 words, it feels like a disappointment. However, I wrote two feature-length screenplays which ended up at 106 pages and 107 pages because I apparently lack brevity. The average length of that is around 26,000 words each, which means a rough 52,000 words of scriptwriting for features - this is excluding rewriting (which there is always a lot of), cutting down, additional scenes and so on. That is also not including the shorts I wrote this year. I wrote a fair few short films, probably another 35 pages which, if we use the same scale, would work out at about 8584 words on top of that. That works out, not including university work or story outlines, at 95,584 words perhaps. That is still successful in my eyes. It may be a significant decrease of 54,416 words but those are just averages. With spectacular trips to Hong Kong, Amsterdam, working in London and a holiday to Reykjavik, it is much more difficult to keep up writing when you are enjoying yourself outside of it. I do still love writing of course and will continue to write as much a I can, especially this year with deadlines that will request around 25,000 words within a week, but I will write more scripts, more articles and more of everything. There is even a possibility of writing an academic book, but I am not counting on that just yet. It is something that is only in the concept phase and would require a bit of funding. Here's to many more words in 2015!

2015 Targets.

As I did last year, I set myself targets. Hopefully, I will remember thee ones so I can work at them.

  • Get a graduate job. 
  • Write at least two more feature length screenplays.
  • Film at least one short film - even if it's just the noir one in February. 
  • Watch more films than last year. 
  • Watch more TV than last year. 
  • Watch more new discoveries rather than rewatches if possible. 
  • Work through your Blu-ray collection, it's going to waste otherwise. 
  • Continue to work through the greatest films of all time. 
  • Attend a film festival, if possible. 
  • Read more: I have The Blue Fox, Crash etc. to get through. Don't waste the shelf. 
  • Get at least a 2:1 in your degree, but really try to get a First Class degree. 
  • Write more consistently and more than 2014. 
  • Ambitious one: get representation, a writing credit or a film off the ground.

Although that list is ambitious, I will hopefully succeed in fulfilling it. Last year I liked summing things up. It's good to have statistics so you can see how much or little you did, it can be a good motivator. It's also important to thank people who have helped me this year. Last year I asked you to feel sorry for me for the amount I saw Kevin Bacon advertising EE, now I feel like it's my fault the EE Wednesday is finishing this year. How else will we get discount tickets?! Regardless, 2014 was a good year for film, just looking at my Letterboxd rankings proves that. Here's to hoping 2015 tops it. I'm off to break a target already to continue rewatching the Blade trilogy because it has been years since I last saw them.