The year kicked of with a reading of Ghoster in the Attic Studio, which was a great start to the year. Chased away those winter cobwebs and got things rolling straight away. I got a lot from that and had hoped to get a rewrite of Ghoster soon after, but as it happened, I haven't had the chance to do that yet.
Right after that came my first photography exhibition Old Shoes and Broken Walls and the screening of Bill, For Short. That kicked off at the end of January and ran all through February. I think went well, I had a lot of good reactions from it and people really seemed to connect with it. The RTE show Nationwide picked up the story and ran a piece on it, which really nice, my first dedicated TV appearance - and some welcome national publicity for the film.
That lead to March, which mainly consisted of organising, casting and raising money for my next short film, Slán agus Beannacht, which really happened thanks to JJ Rolfe, cinematographer, who called looking for scripts with an offer of time and equipment. Was a bit of a rush to get things done but we managed it and on the first week of April we were shooting. (It was right in the middle of this shoot that I found out my wife Maryann was pregnant - certainly put things into perspective after a stressful day of shooting!)
It was around this time that I came up with the idea for 140. That fairly took over my life there after and indeed ate into my editing time on Slán. After a great deal of thought, organising, emailing and press I managed to get 140 filmmakers and on June 21st we shot the film. What proceeded, right up until a couple of weeks ago, was a steady influx of clips from around the world.
I started cutting the film in September in a rush to premiere the rough cut at Hatch Fest on the 2nd of October, which we did, and by all accounts it was well received. I continued editing there after with several new clips.
Then I had the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland screening, where I screened the film to an intimate group for general feedback and constructive discussion. Gave me plenty of food for thought and some ideas to improve the film. So I'm still cutting.
Around this time I sign a distribution deal for Bill, For Short, last years short film, so I was happy about that. I also finally signed of on Slán agus Beannacht and held a screening in town where cast, crew, family and friends attended, again, well received. RTE's Nationwide also picked up on this story, at least the story of the man the main character was based on and ran with it. They came to Drogheda and spent the day with Bosco, with an interview with me at the end, another nice mention for Slán.
During all of this of course I was writing with Thomas on our second feature script together Night, now renamed Iscariot. A dark and twisted noir thriller that has so far divided readers right down the middle. We finished the first draft a couple of weeks ago and held a reading at the Attic Studio, which, once again, was huge help. The script is now in the hands of a few people who may be able to help get it made. But that's next years adventure!
So the year ends as it began, with a reading in the Attic Studio and lots in between. I'll be dragging 140 into 2010 and promoting Slán all through the year, hopefully getting into a few festival around the world with both. I hope to shoot at least two short films, I have the scripts ready and waiting. And it would be nice if we finally had some sign that a feature was happening, even if it looked like it would be until 2011! But we'll wait and see, you never know what's around the corner. This time last year I had no idea Slán would happen, never even heard of twitter let alone had any inclinations to make a worldwide film project and didn't imagine I would be a father by the end of this year - by far the biggest surprise and delight.
As I type this Maryann, my wife, is one day overdue, so any minute now really! And I'm sure once the little one arrives nothing will ever be the same again. Who knows what the future holds. So I guess I can say I've had a pretty good year.
God knows there have been disappointment and difficulties. Financial speaking things have been in the toilet! Plenty of stress and trouble with bills. It's been a constant struggle to stay afloat. We've spent most of this year in the red, only this very week getting back in the black. I had to close Pale Stone Productions, the company I personally have been working on for several years. I put a lot of time and effort into making that name mean something, but it wasn't to be. There were a couple of films I wanted to make that didn't happen, much to my disappointment, Caroline Farrell's Adam and my own Angelina. But they still might ;)
I'm hoping for balance in 2010, and perhaps to get paid for all this work!
Anyway, if I don't write beforehand, have a great holiday and best of luck for 2010. I'll see you there.