This week…

An update on what I’ve been up to of late. A week ago, I had a meeting with some NESTA folks about this project we’re trying to do (that’s the one I haven’t explained here – I will, promise). We met in York, in – of all places – Betty’s tea room, and discussed some of the fine detail over fat rascals. It was a useful reality check for me: it’s all well and good my coming up with a scheme, writing a large budget, and saying ‘We should do this! It’ll be great!’, but does it really stand any chance of happening?

Well, yes and no, but mostly ‘yes.’ It’s clearly the sort of thing they might go for, and they’re extremely enthusiastic and supportive. However, NESTA itself is going through some changes at the moment, and there’s some uncertainty about how their self-perceived rôle might change in the short term. So the timing is a bit iffy. However, the project scales rather well. That is, we could go huge… or quite small. So, given the enthusiasm, I’m reasonably confident that something will happen. Fingers crossed because it’s still on a bit of a knife-edge, but I’m optimistic.

So it’s been full steam ahead since then. The first product of the pilot project is finished, more-or-less, and next week I’m heading up to a school in Dingwall to run a workshop for a day or so. It’s also looking hopeful that something will happen with the Glasgow Science Centre, and with Ben.

This week has mostly been planning, including getting seriously stuck into copyright law and Creative Commons licenses. A slightly unexpected twist of the project is that I’m going to be introducing 13 year-olds to intellectual property issues, which is surprisingly fun. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say that they’ll find it straightforward, but their teachers will flounder. We’ll see. It’s at least provoked some interesting discussions with and within NESTA about open licensing, and there’s already some lasting value in what we’ve done there.

Friday saw a welcome change of pace, as I joined SMG again for a day working as a camera operator. It didn’t occur to me until we started that I’ve never done this before – I’ve always been in production, setting everything up, gathering props and writing scripts. I’ve never just turned up on the day and pointed a camera at stuff. And you know what? It’s a hoot. I’m not a half-bad cameraman, either.

It’s easy to become bogged down in all the nonsense and politics and bullshit of TV, and to forget the central truth: larking about with a camera, making films, is a blast. I think I’d started to forget how much I enjoy it. On some levels, this year is about my rediscovering that sense of fun, by opting out of some of the conventional politics.

So while it’s all feeling terribly precarious at the moment, if it comes together I think it’s going to be a wonderful year. Scary, challenging, and doubtless there’ll be moment of appalling awfulness – but emotions more raw than ‘frustration’ are what it’s all about.

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