I’ve begun work editing Arms Race, the steampunk period peace set during an alternative Crimean War directed by my friend Nigel Clegg. We shot it last summer out in the wilds of Norfolk. So far it’s being kept under wraps, so that we don’t spoil the nifty set, costumes and miniatures we’ve got going on.

I was cinematographer during the shoot, which was quite a challenge given that I don’t really have any formal training. While I think I’m a decent cameraman and can work our HVX-200 nicely, and know how to frame a shot, I’m by no means a lighting man. This didn’t matter hugely given the micro-budget of the film and the location shoot, which rather limited how much control we had over such things. The weather played silly buggers all day, with the sun popping in and out of clouds every twenty minutes. It makes or some rather mis-matched footage, but hopefully nothing we can’t fix with a spot of grading magic.

Anyway, the edit hath begun: I really liked editing. It’s the most creative and least stressful part of the process, demanding you think laterally to work around potential limitations with the material. It’s also where the film can be reinvented or ballsed up. It’s essentially a counterpart to the scriptwriting process: the story begins with the script and ends with editing. Everything else is technique – vital nonetheless, of course.

What else? Well, Axel Wilkinson, a long-time remote colleague and (I’d like to say) friend of mine from the States is arriving in Norwich tomorrow morning. He should be in the air right now, in fact. He’s always been one of our most supportive customers, testers and community members at FXhome, as evidence by him winning a community-voted award in 2009. Great guy and I’m really looking forward to meeting him and working with him face-to-face for the first time while he’s here on a consultancy basis next week.

Currently pondering projects: my three at the moment are Evinden, Of Rock And Earth and Arms Race. Here’s their current status:

Evinden: First draft complete, currently with Slava and Nadia for some feedback. Regardless of when that feedback arrives, I’ll be moving into the second draft as soon as my other book hits first draft…

Of Rock And Earth: Three quarters towards a first draft. Slow going due to going back to work and being distracted by the likes of Dragon Age and Uncharted 2, but I’m hoping to accelerate progress soon. Which won’t be easy once I hit February and go skiing for a week. Anyway, this is my current main priority – need to get a first draft finished so I can go back to Evinden, as well as try my hand at some short stories.

Arms Race: Edit just begun, opening sequence complete in rough form. Hope to have a VERY rough first draft by the end of next week, ready for some extreme tightening. We can then identify and start work on the VFX shots.

Busy weekend coming up, meanwhile, which is never good for creative projects: Axeman arrives, we’re out for a meal with friends on Saturday, and off to my parents on Sunday. Plus we have to fit in buying skiing equipment at some point.

Right, Nadia’s busy stabbing hurlocks (evil things in Dragon Age, not the fat guy from Lost), so I think I’ll do some novel writing!


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