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TCM Classic Film Festival 2012

I was back in LA in April for the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival, watching another impressive line-up of movies that have stood the test of time with some of the cast and crew who made them.

Before I went I wrote about the 2011 Festival over on the Guardian Travel website (you can also read a round-up of last year’s coverage elsewhere on this blog), trying to explain why TCM is more than just a chance to watch films on the big screen.

I also covered the Festival for the Edinburgh Evening News once again, wondering if Edinburgh could take over from Hollywood before looking at the cinemas themselves in LA and San Francisco.

While I was in LA I caught over a dozen special screenings and met some fantastic people, many of whom have been viewers of the US TCM channel for many years. I’d been commissioned by Cinema Retro magazine to write a follow-up report of my festival, which was published in May.

Some of the people I met at 2011’s TCM were the team behind the excellent Cinementals blog, who allowed me to write about a film festival closer to home last week. The 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival will be screening a retrospective strand dedicated to Hollywood director Gregory La Cava and I interviewed EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara for the Cinementals.

Finally, I wanted to experiment with the iMovie app on my iPhone earlier in the week and decided to use some photos from TCM to do so. It’s not the best video you’ll see on the Festival but here’s the experiment

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Film Online Writing

A Month of Multimedia

In order to keep the creative juices flowing during these cold days of January, the start of the month found me coming up with a challenge for myself in the shape of A Month of Multimedia, to be housed over on my new Posterous account.

The idea, inspired by a post on multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook’s excellent blog, was to try to create a new piece of multimedia content every day of the month, experimenting with audio, video, photos and whatever else I could find in my metaphorical online toolbox.

Adam’s advice is to stop thinking about doing things and to just start doing them. As a digital editor I’ve used a number of tools in my work, but usually when asked to do so by a client. This time I decided not to wait for a commission and got going on my own ideas, though real life and paid work got in the way of something new being published every day.

Starting on the first of the month with a short introductory audioboo, I next booted up the Flickr account to create a visual guide to the location of a small plaque dedicated to Sean Connery here in Edinburgh.

After trying out the video tools associated with Posterous, both the upload and email options, my next piece of content was larger, an audio slideshow looking at the success of Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguincam at the end of 2010. I interviewed the Zoo’s Marketing Assistant and taking some photos, I was able to combine the two in a slideshow which I then uploaded to Vimeo:

The day after the video was published I contacted Edinburgh Guardian blog, who had shown an interest in the Penguincam last year, and they invited me to publish it on their site, a move which resulted in a surge of traffic and a huge amount of interest on Twitter.

Scotland’s leading marketing magazine, The Drum, also picked up the video and by the end of the day the story had been shared so often I was trending on Twitter in Edinburgh.

My next piece of content, an audio interview with Paul Wilson from Volunteer Centre Edinburgh on the rise of micro-volunteering which I’d already recorded, was also published on the Guardian site and generated more interest.

The success of the first couple of weeks of the project hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm but it has taken me in a slightly different direction than planned.

Rather than only creating a wealth of content for my own interest I’ve decided to spend more time on fewer projects, including committing to following up the volunteer story for the Guardian over the next few weeks. This should involve video content as well as audio, the former something I’m trying to perfect after early attempts for ReelScotland’s YouTube account.

I’ve also carried out two film-related interviews for ReelScotland, one of which is likely to be another addition to the audioboo account I launched in 2010, and I plan a larger video/audio/photo project for the end of the month, which is shaping up to be quite exciting.

It’s amazing what can happen when you take some initiative and don’t wait for that next email to come through about a new piece of paid work. While I’m still looking to create exciting new content for clients in 2011, I hope to continue my own pet projects in areas I think are worth exploring and with tools which are perhaps not part of my everyday work at present – at least this way I’ll be ready when I do get asked about them.