Building your own website

A step-by-step guide to creating your own (film) website with Wordpress

Picture this. Someone posts on a film forum that they’re looking for a crew or cast member. They’re looking for x, and x is what you do. Your friend recommends you. It’s a professional gig — yay, you could get paid.

The first thing this potential client is going to do is check out your website. They’re going to google. They’re going to see if you have a twitter, a blog, a Vimeo or youtube channel, a facebook page. Basically they’ll check your online presence, to:

  1. see if you have one (an online presence that is);
  2. see examples of your work; and
  3. decide if they want to work with you.

(I suppose there is also 4: find your contact details.

Three of my friends have had this situation in the past two weeks. If you don’t have a website, then you could be missing out on work.

Filmmakers nowadays have to be their own brand. In every meeting, you could be meeting a potential collaborator or a potential client. You are effectively pitching and selling yourself as a commodity with every interaction. There is a lot of competition in this industry, and it is difficult to break through that noise.

Film is a relationship industry. When hiring cast or crew, producers make their decisions based on the following, in the following order:

  1. people they have worked with before (and like);
  2. people personally recommended to them (by collaborators they trust);
  3. people who look professional.

This latter point can be covered by people who have a good amount of credits, credits from reputable professional projects, and people who have a personal brand.

This could be through having a social media presence (twitter, instagram), by having a reputable blog, by having an up-to-date profile on industry pages (shooting people, filmandtvcrewpro), or, most importantly, having a professional looking website.

You need to develop a personal brand identity. I’m not going to go into that now. If you’re interested in finding out more about personal brands, check out this post from Raindance.

But what I am going to cover is the basics of setting up a website, and some of the pros and cons of different social media.

Continue reading “Building your own website”

Moving house

I moved house recently.

All the way 15 minutes walk from where I used to live.

My new room needed furniture. So, for the first time ever, I went to Ikea.

Now, we don’t have Ikea in New Zealand. Apparently our market is too small to ever justify it. But I had heard of this magical place. So I went along, and live-tweeted my experience (I think for the first time ever).

I borrowed tools from a friend, took a day off work, and set to work setting up the pieces.

Bedside tables, check.
Bookshelf, check.
Drawers …

So, apparently Ikea recommends having a friend help you with furniture. Yeah right, I don’t have people sitting around when I’m free. And the other pieces went together alright.

So there I am, frame all set up. About to put a heavy lid on top. And … It slips.

And smashes through the frame.

You can’t do anything about it. It’s done, it’s a great big fat waste of money. A pile of useless, sitting there. Waste of time, waste of money, waste of space.

Gaffer tape didn’t work.
Wood glue didn’t work.

Nothing to do but out together what you can, sulk and mope for ages, and eventually give in and waste more money on a new piece.

Damn Ikea.


I was given flowers and wine at work recently for finishing a huge project.

I scheduled the Undergraduate Course Offerings and created the London Undergraduate Course Catalogue for the full 2014-15 Academic Year.

That worked out to be about 80 courses in Fall 2014, 80 courses in Winter 2015, 45 courses in Spring 2015, and course options for Summers one and two 2015.

The Course Catalogue was released to all students. Then we opened Online Registration. This was the first time our students registered for the full academic year. And it went well. I think about 90% of the students have registered for next year.

I also trained the new San Francisco Undergraduate Registrar, who came over to join us for two weeks.


I am ill.

I’ve had most of the week off work, and have spent this entire weekend in bed. It’s a virus.

Usually when I’m ill, it’s psychosomatic. It’s my body saying, “you haven’t had a break in weeks; things have slowed down a bit, so now I’m going to make you ill so you rest”. And then I have a day or so off, and am back at it. Actually, I find the best way to get over it is to power through and clear up some of the things that have been stressing me out. Then I can destress and relax and get better.

This time doesn’t feel psychosomatic. However, in an attempt to destress so I can feel better, I’m updating my blog with the things I have been up to. This is killing two birds with one stone. I haven’t updated some people with what I’ve been up to, so now it’s public and out in the great ether.

I’ve been trying to grow as a person recently, and have realised that I have a bad habit. When things get too much and I have too much to handle, I shrink into my shell and disappear. And I won’t come out until I have finished whatever it was I needed to. Now, this means if you’re meant to be communicating with someone, and saying “I suck, I can’t finish this right now cause I have too much more”, you can avoid admitting that you suck and avoid the person/people hating you, and avoid admitting weakness. Until you finish the thing, and then can turn up with it and say “look! It’s done! I don’t suck! Sorry for not communicating, but look at the thing I finished! Please forgive me.”

I suck.

I’ve been massively busy at work for, oh, a year and a half. I had months of ‘too-busy-to-think’, especially whilst teaching. I picked up too many film projects and don’t want to come out of my shell and admit I suck until I’ve finished them.

Do any of you suffer from this affliction as well?

I also worked out that I suffer from another bad habit. I love starting projects! Love it! I’m like a magpie: seeing “ooh shiny!” and reaching forward, grasping, “gimme gimme!”.

Finishing projects is harder. Because if they’re not 100% gold-standard perfect, your name is on them, and having ‘not-awesome’ work out there is, well, not awesome. And sometimes you run out of energy and time and passion for a project. Films take a long time to finish (and sometimes they never are finished), so you need to be passionate and dedicated to the project until the end.

I’m learning to say ‘no’ and not ‘gimme gimme’ to the shiny new projects, until I finish my previous ones.

Right, there we go. Dirty laundry in the open. Growing as a a person. New blog posts on their way, with my updates. And hopefully being communicative and less stressed will help my body to kick this virus thing.


2013 in review

Wordpress report on my blog, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 Reflection

I thought, why don’t I make a video with my achievements for 2013. Then I could share it with my friends online. It could be a new tradition.

Then I realised I don’t have enough time!

So, here is the new tradition. The reflection on a year gone by.


  • Co-Produced and 1st ADd two films with Shiftwork Productions which were shot in December but completed in 2013 (‘Now Wash Your Hands’, ‘Don’t Do It’)
  • 1st ADd & Co-Produced ‘The P.A.’ with This Big Productions
  • Started Production Managing/1st ADing/Co-Producing ‘All I Do Is Dream’
  • Had four films entered in the Virgin Media Shorts Competition (‘The P.A.’, ‘Now Wash Your Hands’, ‘Don’t Do It’, ‘Tragedia’)
  • Screened ‘Tragedia’ at Whirlygig Cinema’s Making Tracks (My first Q+A)
  • Screened ‘Tragedia’ at KinoLondon #57
  • Had a second interview with Adelaide Screenwriter published online
  • Co-Produced / 1st ADd ‘The Estate Agent’ with Shiftwork Productions
  • Produced and Directed ‘Dead Letter’ with Shiftwork Productions
  • DPd ‘The Meeting Place’
  • DPd my first feature film. Got fired from the same feature film. Learnt a lot from the experience, including who not to work with, research who you’re working with, and don’t assume that people who are making a feature have gained experience from shorts or other projects.
  • ‘Copper’ completed with an update. ‘A Party For Me’ is very very close to completion. Starting entering these into festivals.
  • Took part in the inaugural Action On The Side in July 2013. Produced ‘Elle Fatale’.
  • Started helping James to run Action On The Side. Helped run Action On The Side in November 2013. Produced and wrote ‘WhosApp’; 1st AD’d & Co-Produced ‘Facetracker’.
  • Production Managed and 1st AD’d (pick-ups) of ‘NightStrike’ with This Big Pictures
  • Worked on the London Film London Calling application for ‘
  • Attended the BAFTA New Filmmakers Market and the Screen Film Summit.
  • Attended networking events and met loads of filmmakers.
  • Started teaching (see Career below)


  • Performed with the Arab Quarterly at the Hoxton Hall (London Belly Dance Debut)
  • Took Teachers Training Workshops and Dance Performance workshops with Elis Pinheiro
  • Took weekly classes with Farah Nasri
  • Performed with Farah’s class at the Bellydance Trophies
  • Joined and performed with the London Algerian Ballet
  • Completed a Performance Development Course with Ozgen
  • Took numerous workshops and attended numerous performances


  • Went to the Global Powwow in Dubai
  • Attended the CAMS Conference in St Louis
  • Filmed a friend’s wedding in Bristol
  • Returned to New Zealand for a week. Sorted things out at the house and with films; caught up with friends and family.
  • Spent Christmas with friends in Inverness


  • Attended the Global Powwow in Dubai and the CAMS Conference in St Louis
  • Scheduled the entire 2013-14 Academic Calendar before registration for FA2013
  • Promoted to Registrar of the Undergraduate Program
  • Got a new Assistant Registrar
  • Successfully implemented Online Registration for FA2013 (200+ students in September, 700+ students in November/December). Included running training sessions for students and staff, my team creating statuses and uploading worksheets for all 700+ students.
  • Started teaching: taught one Independent Study on Film Production Assisting and one Independent Study on Scriptwriting.
  • Hired to teach a course on Practical Film Producing in Winter.


So often on social media, we all promote our best times and fail to mention our worst. From the outside, our lives are awesome. But some people had a crappy 2013 and just want it to be over. I think it is important to reflect on the crappy as well. Our lives aren’t all perfect, and it is important to talk about the bad stuff too. So, a few of of the downers.

  • Got fired from my first feature: this was a major learning experience. The Producer still owes me over £600 for the days I worked. Never trust people who want you to work without giving you a contract.
  • I filmed too much stuff that I have not had the time to edit. I unfortunately still do not have the time to edit it, or the money to pay someone to edit it.
  • I picked up too many projects: I hit my limit towards the end of the year, and have been declining projects until I finish a few.
  • There are some people I will not be working with again or at least for a while.
  • Didn’t get to see enough movies. Am especially gutted for not supporting the Independent Film Industry enough by seeing Indie Films at the cinema.
  • I still haven’t worked out my work/life balance. I have had a few too many nights working till 8pm/9pm/10pm/11pm with the day job, due to short-staffing and over-work. I work long hours at the day job without a break, then do a dance class then a production meeting. The way I see it is I am building my careers.
  • I spent too much time on tumblr and not enough time exercising. Man I wish I kept up doing yoga or pilates every morning.
  • I ran late and took too long to do things too often.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to in 2014

  • Teaching my Practical Film Producing course in WI2014. Producing a short alongside the course.
  • Running Action On The Side (next edition in February)
  • Performing at Arabesque Nights: Thursday 03 July for Strictly Egyptian and Thursday 04 September for Rock The Casbah
  • Working on and finishing ‘All I Do Is Dream
  • Submitting my films into Film Festivals – thereby increasing my IMDb page
  • Attending a large film market
  • More workshops, more dance, more film, more friends, more travel!

Wishing you the best for 2014!


8 tips for coping with work and art

Where I explain my lifestyle choices and give tips.

How do you do it?

A friend recently asked me how I manage working full-time and doing film stuff in my spare time. He got his first full-time office job recently, and has been struggling with having the energy to do anything else.

Hard workIt’s hard.

It. is. hard.

Continue reading “8 tips for coping with work and art”

Interview with Adelaide Screenwriter

Yo! Go and read Henry’s blog, Adelaide Screenwriter. There’s an interview with me on it.

Hi all,

You should head over to Adelaide Screenwriter. One, to read the interview that I did there. Two, to read the other posts and pages that Henry has written.

Oh, and if you’ve come across my blog from Henry’s … welcome 🙂

Did I mention I was busy?

Where I’m a glutton for busy-ness and stress, and get to be in on making two short films in as many weeks.


Oh, the joys of double booking…


  • The last day of the busiest week of the year at work; then
  • Standing in the Globe Theatre and watching Taming Of The Shrew with some of my lovely friends, and
  • Trying to get over this cold, in preparation for…



  • Sound editing for this competition.
  • Sleep?

Continue reading “Did I mention I was busy?”

Meeting deadlines and editing

Assorted things, but really I’m just busy editing and trying to clear my plate.


Apologies if you haven’t heard from me lately. I’ve been working on finishing two projects and getting them out. All of my spare time is going into these projects. I think that’s a good thing. Nothing clears the head like clearing what has been stressing you out.

Continue reading “Meeting deadlines and editing”