Here we are: it’s suddenly June.

The vfx tunnel has been a long and squirmy one this time — an epic five-monther, as opposed to my usual in-and-out crunch-time contracts. Why? A bunch of reasons, but mostly to get the chance to put on my big-boys’ supe pants for a change; getting deeply involved in a film, as opposed to cruising across the finish line with a couple of shots to my name.

It’s been…. fun, I guess. Different. A learning-curve. An eye-opener. A huge boost to my vfx skillset (I can’t wait to comp again, now that I’ve tasted the other side). But for all those things, it’s also been an experience that’s given my usual work-life balance quite a solid kicking. No complaints, if I’m being honest. More just a statement of fact: my 2016 has mostly been about a film. There hasn’t been the time for much else. (See the above pic for instance – my actual work desk right now. Hell, why not. Does a man really need much more than tequila, Spotify, and a wacom pen to enjoy a long Friday night stuck at his desk?)

Right about now is usually where I bang on about ‘hoping it’s all been worth it’. This one? As always, hard to tell, looking at it from the limited window us vfx types look out at the bigger motion picture, but it feels like it might be? Who knows. By the time it comes out, the aches in my bones, the slithers in the dark, and the wrap-party hangover will be such a distant memory. But I do think it might be. A unique project to have been part of, a director I’ve really enjoyed seeing work his craft, and a film whose story and content has taken us all to places of darkness in ways that feel almost…. refreshing… after working so many PG-13 comic book movies.

A little bit of dark-and-evil can be good for you sometimes.

My only regret in all this is the foolish (in hindsight) prediction that there’d be all this time available after hours to pitch a finished manuscript to a pile of literary agents. Nope. Nada.

And that’s okay too. What’s been interesting is that over the last week, I picked up ‘Winners’ again for the first time in a few months. And you know what? The extended rest has done us both some good. I’ve had the chance to read it almost fresh. Sink into it like I’d sink into any other novel. The verdict? Not bad. Still the polish I knew it would need, but far less than it could have been. Hell, I’ve quite enjoyed reading it. Messy pockets aside, it’s got pace. I still like the characters. I don’t hate the story. I wanted to continue reading. The only times I groaned were at some of the horrendous typos, and the occasional piece of dialogue-lameness, things that’ll be long gone before y’all get your eyeballs anywhere near them.

In short, all good. I’ll finish up on the movie soon, and take hold of something I’m not just ‘seeing through’ : there’s a genuine confidence in the book now. After such a solid rest, I know exactly what the book is (and isn’t), the positives far outweighing the negatives. I just hope I can capture and infect my upcoming pitch phase with that very same enthusiasm.

Wish me luck. Both with the pitching, and the wrap-party hangover.

D