I can’t recall if the photo above was taken at sunrise or sunset and have no way of verifying what time it was taken. I tend to edit my photos days, weeks or months later, usually when travelling, and export them without the original metadata attached.
This sums up the last eighteen months for me. A blur of memory, work, sunrises and sunsets, rushing past all-too-fast.
And, before I realised… it’s August… 2019. Where did the last eighteen months go?
The past several years have become increasingly busy, scaling up constantly, and 2018 was no exception.
My promise of “one last job” backfired spectacularly at the end of the year when an international shoot required additional material that was scheduled in for January. All sexy Alexa goodness, culture and chrome... but still… it was supposed to be a clean break. A month or two off. Time, for me, my projects. My life.
Instead, more and more work flooded in. I did not (and am not) complain(ing). But I also never said no. As such, I rode the whirlwind.
Within six months, I ended up shooting across Saudi Arabia, Germany, New York, Doha, Kazakhstan, Tokyo and spent nine weeks in Norfolk directing recon for a six part U.S true crime drama doc. Here’s a still from the drama-doc (which I am not allowed to share any of just yet)…
And here is a photo of me enjoying the wonders of a wrap night in Shinjuku. And Japanese whiskey.
The work got stronger and stronger. New challenges, narratives, access to exciting new (and old) collaborators and kit... it made for a creatively indulgent seven months. I upped my game. Learned new things. Tested myself and passed. Mostly. I now have some beautiful new films to share, experiences you can’t pay for and a TV series to my name.
However, the travel? It got fierce. All I began to notice of the world were clouds and hotel room ceilings.
“But Mark!? Surely when you travel you get to see the world?”
No. Not really. Not when working hard. All that remains of visiting all these places are flight ticket stubs, the work itself and occasionally grabbed photos. If you’re working hard, you don’t get a chance to see much, so you have to make those snaps count…
As such, I also missed out on a lot back home. Film screenings (To Live & Die in L.A w/ Friedkin Q&A), gigs (Unkle), networking events, talks... but most importantly: friends and family. Having said that, when I have had time off, it’s been done right — much like this raver nailing a celebration of when the beat dropped at Jon Hopkins at this year’s Blue Dot festival…
Harking back to that photo of the tree line again, however… it’s time for a new sunset and sunrise ( apt considering a beautiful brand film I’m just finishing the edit for uses Unkle’s Sunrise to wonderful effect: a great chance to use music by a favourite band of mine).
I’ve been threatening to take time off for actual years. Now, with several projects almost finally ready, it’s time to change my narrative for a little bit. A mini break. And - if lucky - a mini breakthrough.
DELAYED is a draft away from packaging.
The Siren, The Captain, The Sea is a draft away from eyes.
A new short is in pre-pro.
A comic book one-shot is on the cards.
And The Paperhouse is Coming.
For the next several weeks I will be hunkering down and focussing solely on my own projects. The timing’s perfect, the environment’s right and I’ve learned to say no a little. It’s time to double-down on my luck (something I’ve had personified in ink) and crack on…
I’m also getting married. I should have probably mentioned that, too...
Anyway, a very belated review list.
GIG: Meute (Warsaw).
BEST CITY: Tokyo. Second visit. Just phenomenal.
BAD HABITS: Posters. Got seriously into the collection this year. This Japanese poster store didn’t help.
FILM: Hold the Dark.
BEST SCENE: This... The finest five minutes of any film for the past half decade… I could watch this every hour or every day… just sublime…
Pushing into August now. Hopefully it won’t be another eighteen months until my next update.
Be good to one another. And be good to yourselves.