one day more

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I shared on the weekend that I had been working, and how rare that was (working on the weekend, not working full stop!). I’m now further into that particular grind, working through Day 8 of a nine-day stretch.

I’m very much feeling it now. At times through a stretch like this you’re in the zone, you find your flow. But then there are times like now, when you feel like there’s nothing left.

It’s like a day after a rough night’s sleep; but just lengthened over a period of days.

One more day tomorrow – a full day, but away from the office. A time to discuss, to reflect, to plan.

Then two perfectly-planned research days, to get my head back into reading and thinking mode.

Then a long weekend.

I can do this.

Come sail away

It’s been over a year since I worked on the weekend. Since some pretty severe burnout I’ve had to make sure that weekends and most weeknights are kept free, though sometimes the latter is unavoidable.

But this weekend, between a full and crazy week last week, and an equally insane three days from tomorrow (Monday), I literally ran out of time to get everything done.

I would now never advocate for weekend work, but occasionally – very occasionally – the grind can have its satisfactions. Particularly if it’s a typically grey and awful Melbourne day outside.

The task I ran out of time to complete was a paper I’m delivering at a symposium tomorrow. To be fair, I think I’d be forgiven for running out of time, given I organised the symposium, but I really did want something semi-decent to present.

I’ve basically kicked off conference season myself; after this talk, I have another 2-3 to prepare for late November/early December. But I think I’m being strategic here: with 4ish papers done, I can then work to convert one or two into full articles/chapters next year.

The RMS Publish or Perish sails on…

the freshness of being

The doggo at the end of the world.

I couldn’t stop watching it. Again.

Like, the film is two hours and forty fucking minutes long.

It’s also been a solid two years or so since the first time I saw it. And it’s not the same.

I thought it would feel slower. That I would be made to feel each agonising camera movement again and again.

But honestly: it felt speedy. It felt measured. It felt right.

Yesterday I watched Dave Grohl’s Sound City, and in that they get a bunch of musos to define ‘feel’.

Essentially ‘feel’ is that moment where everything else fades away, where it’s just you and the music, where everyone is just on the same wavelength.

I was feeling this film today. It was just me and the film. I was on its wavelength (I promise I’m not high, though can you imagine).

This time I thought about the doggo. This time I thought a lot about Annihilation (and I’m not the first).

I came in thinking eco-cinema, and once again that narrowness of vision was devastated.

What. A. Film.

Notes on a theme

It’s happened again. I hit a certain point, usually every twelve months, sometimes sooner, where I get annoyed with my WordPress theme. This layout for my website that I have handpicked from dozens of options, that at the time of choosing I was most satisfied with, has now outstayed its welcome. Its geometries, its fonts, its white spaces, no longer hold any appeal, and I find in them nothing but frustrations.

Why? Why do I care this much?

An academic career shifts and morphs like sand dunes. I’ve only been in this game some eight or nine years and I can already look back over the different, distant chapters, each with their own opportunities, challenges, roads taken or ignored. The one constant has been this site, with its patient recording of my achievements and publications. The site is more personal, too, in that among the more formal, reviewed outputs, there are half-formed thoughts, works in progress, and other fleeting words, images, visions.

It is a mode of performance, but one that is not held in the strictures of yearly reviews, promotion criteria, or key performance indicators. It is a more accurate record of the long periods of absence, or busy-ness, or chaos, or calm, or joy, or sadness, or heartbreak, that this life I’ve chosen can encapsulate.

This year has been very, very long. It began with the passing of a close colleague, and it feels as though we have been dragging ourselves through two long semesters of teaching, trying to stoke the fires of thinking, innovation, writing, and making sure a brave and supportive face is put on for our students: this face is never a mask, but like a mask it’s harder to wear on some days more than others.

This year has also held opportunities: travel, creative work, and in the last few weeks, a great acceleration in word output in order to complete a first working draft of a manuscript. I’ve watched some wonderful films, and managed to leave the house on multiple occasions to Have Some Fun(tm).

In short, perhaps, it has been a year like any other, with many ups and many downs. I have a week still to work, and I plan to spend most of that week watching, thinking, and writing.

All years are similar, then. Some ups, some downs. Each year is a variation on a theme. So maybe that’s why I feel this annual need to change mine.

Inhuman Screens

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I am thrilled to announce that I’ve been invited to present at the inaugural Inhuman Screens conference, convened in conjunction with Sydney Underground Film Festival.

I’ll be presenting my research on drones and cinematography. This work considers the embodied experience of flying a drone, and some of the philosophical/existential questions that experience raises, as well as how drone shots might be brought into the language of film distinctly from other aerial footage.

All speakers, keynotes and primary stream, comprise many of my film theory faves, so I look forward mostly to getting my presentation over and done with, and simply basking in the awesome to follow.

Tickets available at the Inhuman Screens website.

the daily DAN

 

A week ago, I posted this on Twitter. Must’ve been something of a shock to my Twitter followers, as I haven’t really used that social platform in quite some time.

The push to take up this challenge came partly from current research — I’m looking into Casey Neistat’s vlog practice for an article — but also partly from a need to kickstart my own creative practice. The short film we shot in July last year has sat pretty well dormant in post-production for over a year, and I’d barely touched any kind of creative software during that time.

I needed to get back into shooting, back into editing, back into writing, to get myself back up to speed with both the gear, the software, and with my own creativity.

The video-a-day thing hasn’t worked: I don’t think it trucks too well with a full-time job, relationships, family and such, but I’ve done five thus far, and fully intend to keep going, shooting and cutting whenever I can, until I reach the promised fourteen videos.

It’s been enormous fun: sometimes shooting new stuff, sometimes delving into the archives, always cutting something new, something fresh. Recording voiceover and featuring myself in the videos is not easy: as much as the challenge emerged from analysing vloggers, I don’t really want to be the main focus. That said, I received some feedback that the voiceover would lend itself well to a video essay, which may well be one of the videos to come.

Creativity begets creativity

On Monday, a few days into the challenge, I opened Final Draft for the first time in a year and smashed out the first draft of a short film I’ve been thinking about for a long time. And I think a few colleagues and I are going to shoot it — quick’n’dirty style — late next week, so expect an upcoming video to be something of a behind the scenes.

The producer of last year’s film and I are also spending three hours in an edit suite tomorrow, to finish off this damn short. Nothing like time pressure.

Don’t sweat it

Perfection is overrated. I think this is a lesson from Casey. But I’m learning to not kill myself over the edits, over colour correction, over getting the timing or the music just right. Do it quick, get it done — the satisfaction of a completed video far outweighs the hours you may have spent to get things perfect.

More reflections, hopefully to follow, but for now, here’s the playlist…