Online Talk

Talk at the SCVO Media Matters conference

Before I go any further, take a look at this list of names speaking at the upcoming Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) Media Matters conference on Friday 25 March:

  • Bill Jamieson, Executive Editor, The Scotsman;
  • Marie McQuade, Communications Director, Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres;
  • Edd McCracken, arts and education correspondent, Sunday Herald;
  • Sam Booth, features writer, Daily Record;
  • Lorraine Herbison, Head of News and Sport, Radio Clyde;
  • Eleanor Bradford, Health Correspondent, BBC;
  • Jackie Houston, Reporting Scotland, BBC;
  • Iain Hepburn, Executive Editor, STV Local;
  • Paula McNulty, Account Director, Weber Shandwick;
  • Rebecca McQuillan, The Herald;
  • Mike Wilson, allmediascotland;
  • Christina Cran, Cran Communications;
  • Kirsty Sinclair, Snook;
  • Paul Murricane, Axis Media Group; and
  • Callum Bennetts & Richard Scott, Maverick Photo Agency.

Pretty impressive isn’t it? I thought so when I was asked to join them to discuss social media on the morning of the event – you’ll see me sandwiched between Reporting Scotland’s Jackie Houston and Iain Hepburn from STV over on the SCVO website.

Taking place in Edinburgh, the conference is aimed PR and communications professionals from the third sector, letting them hear from and network with key names from the Scottish media.

I’m looking forward to my hour-long presentation/chat on the merits of social and how to communicate online and hope to hang around after my piece is over to hear what else is discussed on the day.

You can also watch a presentation I carried out at the end of 2010 in Glasgow on a similar subject – head to the AmbITion website to see the e-copywriting seminar.

Online seminar

Film Filming Online

Slapstick 2011 video on YouTube

Following my recent filming blitz for the Glasgow Film Festival I went back to the audio slideshow format for my latest project.

At the end of January I ventured off back down to Bristol for what has become one of the highlights of my film festival-going year: Slapstick 2011.

The event celebrates the silent era’s greats – Chaplin, Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy and my favourite, Keaton – while allowing some of the lesser known stars of the 1920s to have some space to shine. This year also so a tribute to the lats Marty Feldman and a celebration of Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep, so they’re not just about the distant past.

In 2010 I was asked by BBC Radio Scotland’s Movie Café to record a short feature from the event but this year I couldn’t resist going a step further and creating my own audio slideshow.

I approached some celebrities, including the three Goodies, Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, as well as Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender and TV presenter Chris Searle, for their views on Slapstick. I also took a number of photos over the weekend on the same camera I used for the Glasgow videos.

Due to the nature of the event, time was short between talks and screenings, hence the decision not to film the interviews. Also,  a lot of the guests were off duty when I approached them for a comment and it seemed rude to film them. Audio seemed to go down much better.

The video is now on YouTube and I think has turned out well, though in 2012 I might try fully fledged filming with some more preparation of interviews…if they’ll let me.


Film Filming Online

Videos from Glasgow Film Festival 2011

Ten days. Eleven videos. One rather tired vlogger. That was the end result of my time at the 2011 Glasgow Film Festival, where I was hired to film interviews with as many actors, directors and producers as possible for the official YouTube site.

Commuting back and forth from Edinburgh, I filmed, edited and uploaded videos as fast as possible, sometimes within a 4-5 hour period (getting the train added time to my schedule). The downside was that I didn’t quite see as many films as I wanted to, but when you’re getting the chance to speak to some fascinating people it makes it all worthwhile.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will be looking for more opportunities to shoot some quick and simple videos for clients in the coming months.

One surprise was the success of the Colin Morgan video, which currently sits at almost 4000 views. I was also given the opportunity to interview one of my favourite actors, Anthony LaPaglia: the video below was shot on my camera but a longer version was filmed by local students who will hopefully publish it online soon:


I’ve added all the videos into a Glasgow Film Festival 2011 playlist on my YouTube account and have embedded two of my favourites below.

Angela Allen was continuity girl on The African Queen and also worked on my favourite film, The Third Man:


For this video, I grabbed Mark Millar and Frank Quitely for a quick chat about breaking into comics:


Film Uncategorized Writing

Celebrating two years of weekly film columns

The above title is slightly misleading as I actually celebrated two years worth of Edinburgh Evening News film columns in January, but it’s been a busy 2011 so far and I haven’t had a chance to mention it before now.

It was in June 2008 that I began writing for the Evening News, first covering the Edinburgh International Film Festival in a vaguely blog-like way on the website and also in the paper itself.

From then on I was contributing reviews of plays, stand-up shows, music gigs and even some of Bob Dylan’s art before my editor approached me to write a weekly film column, Reel Time, in January 2009. With the word count varying over the years it’s hard to be precise about the amount written, but somewhere in the region of 50,000 must be close.

With a readership of around 50,000 a day for the print version of the paper alone, never mind the website, that’s a lot of people to cater for and the topics have been as varied as I can make them.

If anyone was to look back through them I suspect there would be more space to silent cinema than 3D spectaculars, with classics and forgotten or overlooked movies also getting a lot of love.

I’ve enjoyed writing every one of them and it’s fantastic to be able to challenge yourself every week to create something new and (hopefully) interesting. I’d urge everyone to do the same, even if it’s just on their own blog or a diary.

There’s also the spin-off blog which allows me to get even more obscure.

I’m not sure if I have a favourite column but a few I’d like more people to read are my Bill Douglas celebration from July 2009 and some thoughts on film-going during the recession.

A full list can also be accessed on the Evening News site.