Week notes: 15 – 21 April 2024

Marvellous hands, BFI doesn’t pivot, Fringe excitement, cholesterol.

I hope this blog post e-meets you well.

Work

There were 3 days of in-person workshops and I deemed them good. 

Day one was with wider leadership and I’m here to tell you the BFI is in marvellous hands.

Days two and three were exec-only, walking through the 24/5 roadmap of roadmaps, spotting the big themes, cross-checking the dependencies and flagging the overambition. 

Flagging, but not yet solving, due to (meta) overambition about our familiarity with the detail, and the novelty and complexity of the task. It will get easier and we’ll speed up – this first go was the worst the learning curve will ever be. 

There was big picture work too, about our strategy critical path (culminating in a big centenary moment) and diagnosing operational dysfunctions and inertia – revealing priorities we need folks to focus on in year 2 of 10. 

I offered an observation that hadn’t occurred to me before it came out of my mouth. That, as a body committed to (and passionate about) the preservation, creation and exhibition of all moving image formats, any innovation we do here will always be in addition to, never instead of, what we already do.

When we move with the times it’s cumulative. We don’t pivot, we augment. 

The horse in motion, Muybridge, animated.

That’s because cinema is literally the product of human storytelling x technology – from the cinematograph, through sound, colour and digital cinema, to today’s streaming, smartphones, game engines, VFX, VR and AI.

Which means the breadth and volume of the BFI’s activities will keep growing and getting more complicated exponentially as tech change accelerates, populations grow, and more people get to make and see stories on screen. 

And so – recursive improvements to our operational efficiency and responsiveness to change are vital. And that’s why digital matters.

For balance, I also said stuff that was stupid. 

In summary: a highly productive, enjoyable 3 days with brilliant colleagues and a regrettable amount of Crosstown Donuts. 🍩 

Then:

  • shortlisting for my assistant vacancy, which was joyous because I’m definitely gonna bag a good one; but depressing how many folks with Masters and PhDs in film are applying for admin work. 
  • misc bits and bobs, staving off email bankruptcy. One of these days I’m gonna get organize-ized.

Not work

We booked ourselves 5 days at Edinburgh Fringe for August with the kids and I’m dead excited. Went twice in my teens and once in my twenties and adored it – highlights included the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow (it was acceptable in the 90s), cabaret at the Spiegeltent, best of the fest comedy showcases, and Reservoir Dogs at EIFF. Plus just being in gorgeous Edinburgh.

But check out this terrible pattern on the fringe website:

Screenshot of a section of the ticket booking interface on Edinburgh Fringe website. It's a table with 3 columns, headed Type, Price, No. Tickets. In the Price column, text reads "Full Price, 2for1, Eligible for 2for1 discount". In price it reads £11.00. There is an input field for the no. tickets.

Are these tickets full price or 2 for 1? Is the price £22 discounted to £11, or will this £11 become £5.50? What number do I put to get 4 tickets in total? 😵

I had an NHS checkup and was warned (again) about my cholesterol being on the high-side. I’ll step up the diet changes but I’ve got limited room to manoeuvre as a non-drinker who eats fairly cleanly, so I’m expecting to join the statins club by my 50th (in 3 years 😱).

I’ve started working with a PT at the gym, called Finbar. I’d drop double entendres into our small talk to provoke fnarrs, but he’s of a generation Viz references will be wasted on (it’s not as funny as it used to be, etc.)

🔎 Found, interesting 🧐

Listening, watching, playing, reading, cooking

📽️ Civil War at the IMAX with a Q&A. Alex Garland’s least flawed feature yet? Still not great at women, or following through on the big idea. But I enjoyed it, Dunst is a delight, there’s a scene with her and Plemons together, and I barely breathed for the tense last 20 mins. 

📽️ Taxi Driver. Showing the kids in the right order: this first (then King of Comedy if time) before Joker, which is a must-see (with caveats!) in time for Folie à Deux. It was so good to revisit it, I had forgotten lots.

Fun spot for digital folks: the seedy cinema Travis Bickle goes to alone before meeting Cybill Shepherd is called Show and Tell. 

Scene from Taxi Driver. A young Robert De Niro is heading into an adult cinema in NYC called SHOW & TELL.

📺 Bad Vegan. Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. Raw food with a side order of psychopathy, gullibility, cultism, abusive relationships, embezzlement and gambling addiction. Fun!

🎧 The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson on Audible. Binged this in 3 days, it’s so good. Work-relevant stuff about PH’s A/B testing, IA and SEO – and their unintended consequences. 

🎧 The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson on Audible. So far so great.

📺 3 x Taskmaster and 2 x Ghosts

🎧 Dylan introduced me to JPEGMAFIA. In particular: Scaring the Hoes and Real Nega

🕹️ Still questing in Night City and 📓 reading about octopus linguistics

Distractions

Thanks for reading, please keep coming back! It means a lot to me. 

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