Mark Versus

Blurring the line between self improvement and self punishment

Category: Uncategorized

My Evernotepad

EvernotepadI have been trying to include Evernote in my note-taking effectively across all platforms.  The paper based notes were always the weakest link.

With a bit of time free I have knocked up a printable that I can use to re-purpose scrap paper into an Evernotepad that will hopefully solve a few of my issues, namely:-

  1. Remembering to snap. Having a custom notepad will remind me to photograph and upload the notes either as I take them or as I dispose of the paper.
  2. Keeping it neat. As much as I try to keep them tidy my notes rarely are. The Evernotepad provides a boundary that matches the aspect ratio of my phone camera and a tags box that I can use to ensure that at least key words are legible.

It makes good use of wasted paper and I am hoping it will fit in easily with my processes and I will try and comment to let people know.

In the meantime, if it is useful to anyone, here it is –  Evernotepad.

If there is anything else out there similar to this (perhaps that caters to different paper sizes and phone cameras) let me know and I will update the post with links.


Weeknotes for 11/07/2011

Things at the moment feel much like a reconstruction. I am rebuilding habits and enthusiasms. I am trying to restore some old, best practices and create new ones. Most of all I am trying to work out what direction to go in and how best to do so.

The positive aspect of the week of this week is that all of the steps I have been taking (small as they may have been) have felt like they were in the right direction.  This, after recent weeks, is a substantial victory, for no less reason than it makes me want to move them forward.

There is still a lot of filtering and prioritising to be done, but a cloud is lifting.

What it does leave me thinking about is how long I can allow this process to take. There are pressures. Financial pressures. Pressures from the people who have also been involved in those projects. Personal pressure to see these things (and myself) succeed.

With these pressures (of their varying degrees) how much time do I allow myself this reconstructive process? I have always believed in preparation and doing things right first time out, but there is precedent of this not working. I need to maintain a momentum throughout this process. Hopefully the small repetitive tasks I am setting myself, including the increased activity on this site, will have the effect they are designed for. That being exercise for the work muscles that have lost their definition.

The end of a positive week though.

In the absence of a Weeknote (Don’t call it comeback)

It has been a little while since the last Weeknote. In its absence, and as a catch-up, I want to summarise what has been going on in the gap and what, if anything, has been learned.

The first (let’s call it a) lesson I have encountered is that there are good writers in the world and that I am not of their number. Christopher Hitchens is teaching me this on a sentence by sentence basis in his autobiography “Hitch 22”, which is by turns an English lesson, a History lesson, a Politics lesson and generally an all-round education. He writes beautifully and expertly. As someone who thinks quickly and well, but when I am called upon to set those thoughts down on paper (of course I mean screen) have lost the plot or changed my mind before the words are made permanent, I can only imagine the mental muscle that is required to hold on to the good stuff until it is typed out. And this book is the good stuff.

I continue to visit the brain gym nonetheless in the hope of improvement. As I do so, it is heartening to read Hitchens description of Martin Amis (an occasional hero of mine) calling him out for weary phrases and “pepper-shaker punctuation”.

I have also encountered a listlessness, an invigoration, a frustration and an inspiration these weeks. I anticipated the vacuum that would be caused following the close of the film production but was not prepared for it to hit so hard. Previously, and this dates back to the days when I would act in plays, I would run out and buy a notebook and pen and start scribbling whatever filled the gap.  This time however I became occupied with more existential issues. I have been questioning my enthusiasms, grand plans, endeavours for their value. I am used to being changeable – particularly under those conditions – but generally these changes manifest in positivity and creativity. This time there was ‘owt but doubt both in my ability to choose and to execute the ideas I have been having and also in the validity of those ideas outright. The result was a low-down week or so. Not fun.

It took a dinner with @taigmcnab and @manxmidge, both of whom had outstanding energy over their own exciting ongoings, to break the spell. I anticipate a regularly prescribed dose of something like this as necessary to maintain balanced mental wellbeing. I was forced to remind myself how much I continue to enjoy the projects I have laid out and that enthusiasm was reflected. I found myself the next day looking at problems as opportunities and goals to achieve rather than obstacles and barriers.  A new business plan is beginning to form. I will keep you posted, but as a taster I will put out that one result of the evening is that I am looking into setting up a conference in London that will roundtable new models for independent content makers that looks beyond refactoring existing financing/distribution for the web and brainstorms new media (not ‘new media’).

Alas, the enthusiasm of the week was blown away by a lack of focus and an excess of unfinished business of the kind that requires small, time consuming jobs. It is not even as though these jobs are not enjoyable or educational in and of themselves but the disorder gives me a headache just to look at it.

The crappy little jobs remain and continue to suck time and energy, but let this post demonstrate a renewed energy and direction that I shall maintain. Sometimes, it seems, I need a reminder that I have it in me.

Weeknotes for 17/01/2011

I wanted to get something up here for last week, even if shorter and less detailed than usual, knowing that with this week as a shoot week I am not going to have a lot of time to think and type at the same time.

Last week involved getting back into a pre-production swing for these last few shoot days. As predicted last week it dropped me into a funk.  If there are things to take from this week just gone they will be to man the heck up! It rarely ever is, and proved not to be, as bad or as tough as I imagine it, and the negative vibes are generally the result of the last enduring memory of the previous period. That is – exhaustion. Notwithstanding my need to stop psyching myself out I want to point out that the hours are stupid in production and rarely feel like they offer adequate reward.

See, there it is again.

The other thing to take from the week is the reminder that time marches on. Not in a fatalist, closer to death sense, but rather to day that despite any hiccups along the way I have never been involved in a lost day on a film. Shit gets filmed whether you achieved your precise (and occasionally impossible) goals.  Let this not be an excuse to let things slide, but a psychological reminder that no failure is going to stop the world.

There is a tendency in pre-production to make everything feel crucially important. Everything. Experience (which I don’t have so much of) is the tool that allows you to sift through other people’s priorities and work out your own. If you are going to take the weight of a film on your shoulders it helps to have a good filing system.

Highlight of the week was a convergence with @taigmcnab and @manxmidge for a brief but appetite-whetting session of shooting-the-shit. This is shooting-the-shit of the best order, where fun seems productive. Like watching The West Wing – it may technically be recreation, but I feel the smarter for it.

Weeknotes w/c 6/9/10

Generally done a lot of reading in the gaps this week thanks to the Kindle.  May start adding a reading list to this but for the time being the books on the go are: “Cognitive Surplus” – Clay Shirky, “The Django Book”, “The Python Cookbook” and “PHP – The Good Parts”. a few web tutorials to go along with it.

I started this week a trip to the library to proof the 3KMR script in preparation for people seeing it.  I have found that the library works well for stuff like that. Better than the flat at least.  I will have to wait and see whether it is very laptop/wifi friendly.  In the evening I had a meeting with the line producer of the new film to discuss what she needs. I have agreed to be production co-ordinator. It was indicated that this film is a bit of a sneak attack so I will have to be be a little thin on the ground with specifics again. Read the rest of this entry »

Weeknotes w/c 30/8/10

This week formed the first week of self-employment but was derailed
slightly by a) the Bank Holiday and b) a scheduled driving test on
Tuesday.  To get those out of the way, Monday was spent with Lisa, it
being the last real day of holiday that we would both be around and
concluded with Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Prince Charles Cinema.
Not work as such but brilliant.  Tuesday involved a mornings driving
lesson and then the test which was cancelled once I was in the waiting
room.  Incredibly frustrating given that, however little I enjoy
driving, I felt like I might just have made it.  Of course I can say
that now without having to worry about backing it up.  Test is
rescheduled for the 22nd September. Read the rest of this entry »

Weeknotes w/c 19 July 2010

This week was a frustrating one with the personnel that I needed support from not really available at any point.  Continued focus on delivery materials for the Film has left little time for anything else. This has felt like neglect.  In addition to delivery, the temporary production office will soon need vacating so preparations were made to store a number of the less critical archives from production.

Despite frustrations, being drawn into a conversation on Twitter on Tuesday led to an inspired outpouring of 2000 words on which garnered encouraging feedback.  The topic had some relevance to future endeavours. It felt good to be driven.  I also achieved Inbox Zero. That is not to say all work was done, but that all emails had been processed and listed.

At the end of the week, prior to a promotional trip for the Film there were some last minute emergency preparations and corrections that should have been avoided with better preparation on everyone’s part and greater expectation that nobody will have prepared on mine.  Took up too much time and energy and was ultimately pointless as the promotion trip was called off.

Other than that it has been a bit of a slog with brief distractions (mostly after hours).  BDO got a bit of a hacking and some good progress was made, and an old friend Ben was met for discussion of future plans.

Summary: The week maintained its momentum, but not its focus.  A lot of effort for little return.  Very happy with the personal output, though not all of it was well directed.

Goals: Again, to get a lot of the delivery list for the film sorted which remains priority 1.  Finish off BDO.