Some feelings on heartbreak.

Writing is my way of processing – pain, trauma, joy, struggle, conflict – whatever it is, I find my way through the tangle and tussle with words. Putting this out there because I’ve been in need of writing about heartbreak recently and what it actually feels like, and for me this is it…

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It’s as shit as everyone told you it would be. It’s worthy of ice-cream binges and pillow-smothered ugly cries and hours lost to reverie with your hair still wrapped in a bath towel.

It’s trekking halfway up a mountain, fuelled and equipped and intent on going further, not even considering whether you’re fit for the summit and discovering they’ve turned back to base camp without you. The fucker. 

It’s constantly battling your own mind. Daring yourself to remember and see if it still hurts. Memories become a weapon in this war of attrition. 

It’s wanting them to text, just so you can reply I really don’t want to talk to you right now. Even though you do, even just to tell them how much you’re hurting, even when you think that’s the last thing you should be doing. 

It’s realising that that person does not have a duty of care. They chose to care and nurture that relationship and ask how you were and what you were up to. And now they choose not to. They release you back into the wilds of independence, that churn of solitude with its periods of calm, followed by unexpected ferocity. 

It’s loving someone, violently. And realising, perhaps for the first time, what it feels like to be angry at and disappointed in them. To realise they’re fallible and human and imperfect, despite the beliefs you’d held otherwise.

It’s learning the hard way (the only way?) that how much you love someone correlates positively (although it sure as hell feels negative) with how much it sucks when it’s over (i.e alot = alot). 

It’s not knowing where to put the accumulation of details and desires and stories and jokes and intimacies that might never again have an audience. Do they have storage lockers for that?

It’s walking past the Greek restaurant where you first vocalised that you liked liked each other and feeling as skewered as the grilled vegetables you consumed.

It’s going to a gig you’d had plans to attend together and being asked how you became a fan of the band and stuttering that a friend recommended them. The friend was him. And it was the music we fell in love to.

It’s needing him back in my life because laughter is the best medicine.

It’s the lull of an evening that beckons a loneliness that creeps up on you like winter. It’s the urge to tell you I still love you, despite everything. It’s the stab of knowing I can’t, or shouldn’t or wouldn’t hear I love you too.

It’s knowing that a future version of yourself exists whose heart is fuller, whose eyes are wider and who stands taller because of this, and that there is no shortcut to acquainting yourself with that person. You’ll meet when it’s time. 

Episode 018: Jen Moss

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This week I go down rabbit hole of music supervision with Jen Moss. Jen is the director of music supervision at Warner Music, where she acts as the go-to person in helping directors establish musical soundscapes for their films within the budgetary constraints \ set out by the producers. This includes searching for and sourcing commercial and production music, commissioning bespoke tracks and negotiating clearance fees, among other things. Her credits include American Animals, I, Tonya, Calibre, Beast and Prevenge and Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love and I had a whale of time learning about this whole other aspect of creating and designing memorable scenes in movies.

Show notes:

Episode 017: Ruka Johnson

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I’m really excited for the episode this week as its completely new territory for me! I interviewed costume designer Ruka Johnson, who has a really varied CV across features, shorts, television and music videos. One of her most recent projects is Obey, a film that dramatises the 2011 London Riots, and she also worked on Sarah Gavron’s film Girl Untitled, which shrewd listeners will know has popped up on the pod quite a bit!

Hands down my favourite part of this chat is when Ruka says she wants to be really successful and completely owns it. I think its always really refreshing, perhaps sadly so, to hear a young woman claim that as their ambition. Even if you’re thinking it, we’re often told you have to keep your intentions on the down-low, and to be gracious and surprised and grateful when that success does find you. But its always super important to say what you want, to go after it and not feel shame about doing that, or shame about having success and wealth and creative fulfilment as a priority, so yeah that was cool to hear Ruka say and the rest of the chat is just as inspiring tbh. So enjoy! And thank you to Ruka for coming on.

Show notes:

Episode 016: Catherine Slater

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This week I spoke to Catherine Slater, an associate producer at The Imaginarium, the production outfit founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, and a BAFTA-nominated producer, whose first short film Wale was shortlisted for the Oscars.

It was brilliant to hear about Catherine’s journey from assistant to associate producer, as well as how she balanced a full-time job with the full-time job of producing a short film.

Show notes:

Episode 015: Chloe Trayner

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For this episode I spoke to Chloe Trayner, who was one of the first names I jotted down on my podcast guest wishlist, so it was a real treat for me for to record this interview.

Chloe is festival director at the Open City Docs, an organisation which celebrates the art of non-fiction and nurtures the next generation of filmmakers, audio producers and VR filmmakers through training programmes, an annual film festival, a feature documentary development lab, and other screening projects throughout the year.

Chloe is responsible for the direction of the festival as well as industry programming, partnerships and development and she has worked as a film & events programmer and producer with organisations such as BFI Future Film Festival, Overnight Film Festival, UnderWire Festival and Bertha DocHouse.

We talk about also these various positions she has held, as well as how she managed being freelance, the state of documentary funding in the UK and what she loves most about her job.

Show notes:

Episode 014: Harry Wootliff

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Way back in February I had the pleasure of meeting Harry Wootliff, a writer and director whose debut feature film Only You premiered at the BFI London Film Festival last year was also recently shortlisted for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award. Harry’s first short film Nits was BAFTA-nominated and premiered in official selection at Director’s Fortnight in Cannes.

We talk about self-belief when you’re first starting out as a writer, visual storytelling, coming up with ideas and directing for TV versus directing for film.

Only You will have a preview screening on the 4th May at the Barbican in London, and will include a screentalk with Harry, so I definitely recommend getting tickets for that and the film will be released later this year by Curzon.

Show notes:

  • The book Harry bought when she first started directing
  • Jerwood Arts Prize
  • The Bureau – the film company that helped develop, finance and produce Only You, there other credits include Lean on Pete, Daphne and 45 Years
  • Last year Harry was on the shortlist for the IWC Schaffhausen bursary, the biggest funding grant of its kind in the UK
  • Deep Water, the six-part ITV drama starring Anna Friel will be Harry’s next directorial venture

Episode 013: Síle Culley

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So for this week, I spoke to Síle Culley who is a Theatrical Sales Executive at Altitude Films and former colleague Episode Five guest Delphine Lievens. She is mind bogglingly knowledgable about the part of the industry in which she works and has lots of insightful nuggets for you to snack on. And stats, expects some stats.

Síle joined Altitude in 2017, after having working in production management and event cinema, and talks about her path into the industry from hometown in Dublin to her recent trip to Berlin for the festival’s talents programme, as well as enlightening me as to what theatrical sales actually entails (hint: they’re the people that book the films into cinemas!)

Síle is incredibly determined and actually quite inspirational in how focused she is in pursuit of her goals. I did this interview at the end of quite a long day and I was feeling pretty tired, but I came away from our chat feeling really renewed and invigorated, so I hope you do too. It’s like the podcast version of an exfoliator.

I should also mention that Altitude have a bevy of brilliant releases either currently out in cinemas, or coming very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for those. They include:

  • Being Frank, a documentary about the life of maverick Manchester comedian Frank Sidebottom and his hidden creator Chris Sievey which is out now in cinemas.
  • Mid 90s, Jonah Hill’s directorial debut about a 13-year-old kid in 90s LA who ingratiates himself with a skateboarding crew, that’s coming to cinemas this very Friday and I 100% recommend it.
  • And lastly but by no means least is Beats, also set in the 90s about two Scottish friends who go on one final rave before heading their separate ways. That’ll be dropping in UK and Irish cinemas on May 17.

Show notes