Category Archives: Work

Lots of new words: HitFilm 3 Pro announcement blog

A couple of weeks back I attended a communications workshop run by John Bates. He’s very American. It was probably the best 5 hours I’ve spent in my entire professional career as a writer. I really wasn’t expecting it to be quite so revelatory, packed full of valid advice for both work and home life.

The downside is that I had to then rewrite everything I’d been working on, as it became apparent that it simply wasn’t good enough. The first fruits of that training can be seen in today’s HitFilm 3 Pro announcement, which I wrote over on the HitFilm.com blog.

In its published state the article does a far better job of explaining and selling the product than the pre-Bates draft. All the same information was there in that earlier version but the copy didn’t bring it to life in the way I wanted.

The blog post itself is just a taster of what’s to come. Once the new HitFilm 3 Pro website hits at the end of November I’ll be particularly excited as it contains copy of which I’m really, genuinely quite proud. I’ve been writing this stuff for many years and I feel like I’ve injected some real freshness into it this time around.

The real test will be in how the readers and customers respond, of course – and there’s always improvements to be made. But I now have much more strategy and purpose in my communications and copywriting. If you get a chance to attend a John Bates training session, don’t hesitate. It’s time and money very, very well spent.

Spaceship time

My 21-month old son appears to be taking after me, as he’s entirely obsessed with ‘rockets’. I heartily approve.

I’m currently playing with three rocket-related projects.

First up, there’s Millennium Surfing, my first novelette (too big for a short story, too short for a novella). It’s about lots of things but mostly focuses on legacy (you know, because I’m a man in his mid-thirties who has just had a child). Currently halfway through editing the mofo, after which I’m going to attempt to actually sell it, on the advice of Kirstie. So I’ll blame her if nobody goes for it.

Then there’s a professional VFX project I’m working on which is currently under wraps but which I’m happy to say does include a spaceship. Not only that, but it’s a lovely custom spaceship built for the project and it’s looking spectacular. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk more about this around the new year. It’s pretty cool.

Lastly, following a pub chat with It’s A Trap’s Chris Burdett, I’m going to embark on a prototype/proof-of-concept sequence depicting some outer space shenanigans. Aside from anything else it’s to see just how far I can push the rendering quality in HitFilm 2, so it’ll likely also feed back into a tutorial over at FXHOME at some point.

Video

Kramer-style star

An occasional hobby is taking Andrew Kramer’s fantastic tutorials for After Effects and transposing them into HitFilm, to see how close I can get ‘em. Most of the time it works out pretty damn well.

So, his latest tutorial is a beautiful star close-up, and this is my own version, with texture contributions from the inimitable Axel Wilkinson.

I met Andrew at NAB a couple of years back and he was a thoroughly pleasant chap. I believe his words were “you’re the guys that make HitFilm! That’s pretty epic.”

How to run a successful Kickstarter

hitfilm-ks-header

Back in May I put together the HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter campaign for FXhome. We were asking for £25,000 and ended up with £58,126. Which was nice.

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how we approached the campaign. Hopefully this post will be useful to any of you looking to run your own Kickstarter. Continue reading

Tips for a successful online web series

I recently sent some advice to a friend who is looking to start an online audio drama series. He pointed out that the tips might be of interest to others in a similar situation.

Most of my advice focused around the Arms Race series created by It’s A Trap, of which I am a part.

Arms Race succeeded and found an audience due to a mix of things: Continue reading

Kickstarter spotlight

I’ve got my detailed breakdown of the HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter (and how we did it) coming up soon but in the meantime wanted to mention a couple of other campaigns:

Ren

I’ve worked with Kate Madison on numerous projects over the years, from Arms Race Escalation all the way back to NFN and a bunch of FXhome projects in-between. She’s an actor-director who is always professional and fun to work with, so I’m always happy to hear that she’s involved with a project.

She produced and directed a mental Lord of the Rings fanfilm years back called Born of Hope. It was a massive undertaking and quite a major achievement. While I have a fair few issues with the script, the production itself is impressive.

A month ago she launched a Kickstarter campaign for Ren, a new fantasy web series she’s developing. For most of the month it’s looked like the project was in serious trouble, which was rather depressing, but the last 48 hours has seen an incredible surge of support. Check out the Kicktraq:

ImageChrist on a bike, that was a close call.

As you can see, the campaign was trending well below the goal for almost its entire duration, despite a positive start. Other than a positive but momentary jump a week ago, it wasn’t looking good. But the last 48 hours saw the usual Kickstarter excitement-panic-rush, with a third of the funding achieved in the last few days.

Crazy. I imagine Kate needs a lie down. After she’s had her cake, at least.

Faileontology

Meanwhile, Tom and Tom took their successful Kickstarter show to the Edinburgh Fringe where they’ve been performing these last few weeks. They’ve recently hit upon a bunch of very positive reviews and even got an excellent mention on national radio this morning courtesy of the Radio 6 breakfast show.

Congrats to Tom, Tom and all their team (who aren’t called Tom). Always good to see a Kickstarter campaign come to fruition.

HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter

This is one of the more interesting projects I’ve worked on at FXhome. Our visual effects and video editing software HitFilm has been out on PC for a couple of years now and we’ve been asked continually about the possibility of a Mac version.

For various reasons that wasn’t a viable thing for a long while. Thankfully, that’s now changed and we’re doing HitFilm for Mac. But that’s easier said than done (there isn’t a “build for Mac” button, alas), so we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to give the project a literal kickstart.

Do check it out and back it if you can, or spread it amongst your friends and colleagues. Click here to check it out.