The Encampment Diaries – Diseased




We’re in dark times now, of course we are, it’s classic humanity. Things go from bad to worse all the time, sometimes you get brief respite with joy, or hope, or a glimmer of light, but things never stay that way. Nothing stays in any way. Status quo is an impossible achievement that would only become lamented after time spent within it, looking for the next lawn of greener grass down the road, that’s human nature.

Since last writing these posts, it’s been a strange amount of static meets crumbling.

I finished recording the main 4 characters’ dialogue, all other lines have been farmed out with about 50% of them completed too, and I feel like my performances are strong for scratch, which ultimately the end result will be.

Sadly I began constructing character templates and location images and, for the first time in a few decades, focussed on drawing things. My artistic nature, which was fine enough to have character, has fallen quite a lot. Consistency and strong character choices were hard to etch on paper or digitally, and for the past month it’s put a dark internal spin into everything. Can I even make this project happen? It’ll never look as it does in my mind, will it feel like it does in my heart? Can I somehow still transport viewers into the world I concoct? Or is this just destruction writ large?


But I must forge on, to not even finish a race is worse than hurting yourself until you’re dragging across the line, right?

It’s hard to figure that stuff out, you go in so deep things get blinding. I only wish I were further along this thing, I only wish I felt able to do things. I only wish I could have people to push me, to build me, to prop me up whenever I fall. But that’s not what happens. There’s no group, no collective. This is entirely me, misguided and self-serving, self-destructive, a sole goal to attempt to achieve because the real world doesn’t work anymore. Because the real world is broken. Because the real world is falling into disarray and I’m as alone and empty as I was before people started avoiding contact.

At least I finished writing an episode of a project that I began in September. I wrote two episodes between July and September, and the weakness and brokenness led to a prolonged fuck-up in that. Now it’s this. This and other things. Things that are entirely me. That don’t require others. That don’t expand to others. That nobody wants to be a part of.

It’s so much easier, stronger, better, healthier to work in a group.

Or so it seems.

Not had much chance.

Probably never will.

The Encampment Diaries – Who Cares? Just Me


Who Cares? Just Me

It’s been a weird road of doubt, uncertainty and aggressive self-destruction, making something on your own, asking people for help and getting much less of a response than you’d hope for. Bridges tirelessly built, favours done, kindness offered, friendships that turn out to be weighted to one direction. It’s drained me of everything, sitting around, alone, nobody to offer a kind of creative back-and-forth, a build, a drive, an exploration on a frequent basis. So much pent-up conceptual brilliance farted off down the road of life.


Today I walked out of a film that was a director spinning around the same things for the fifth time in a decade, offering no additional concepts or nuances or interests beyond setting it in a real life situation. I was annoyed that the last 4 films didn’t tell me not to go, that for months others called this one a return to form, that people paid for this, agreed to this, didn’t stop a man on a tearaway. But then, it must work for people, the singular art of one person speaks to many others out there. Maybe creating something on your own will one day open the doors to the world, finding kindreds, likened folk. The fear, of course, for me, is engaging others in discussing my works. So narcissistic. Come, listen to stories I want to tell, feelings I feel, and maybe join me in making MY work. Not yours, you must join MY world.


But, MY world can be so great, and offer so much to others. Otherwise why do I feel so connected to other works? Kindred.


I returned home to discover a project I spent months on a year and a half ago finally surfacing online, a small documentary I edited together, remembering as I watched the finished piece all the endless notes I took, breaking down the rushes into thematic moments, and cobbling it into the shape and structure that was more than ‘person talks’ and ‘person performs’. A film. I can make things.


I finally shoved my shit to the side today and recorded the full dialogue for 2 out of the 4 prominent figures in the script that I haven’t managed to get others to perform for me. The ones I didn’t have cemented voices for already, accent-wise. I think I brought it tonight, good performances. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll turn around and record the third, the other two have much more, and a lot of anguish, pain, full journeys to build vocally. Then onto, I dunno, designing the bloody things. Maybe I can still meet that May 5th deadline?


I hate myself, but I’m my only fan.

The Encampment Diaries – Year 2


Year 2

We’ve gone past a milestone, we’ve lost another year, and what have we learnt? A mess, dear boy, a mess indeed is on our hands.

More pain and more irritations and constant failures and nothing close to a glimpse on the horizon to grab hold of, a spiral downwards like some sort of Nine Inch Nails album.

The more I watch films released recently, the more I realise we’re in a bad state, the more I wish I could be involved with making something with other people, create, build, inspire and be inspired, as it stands everything feels off, questionably off, like there’s a world going on adjacent, and that’s not being seen by the likes of me. What is it? Where is it? Is it?


I’m 30 in a few months, and charting what I’ve done is insane, whilst also no where near satisfactory when it comes to normal human lives. I shouldn’t look to others as a balanced assessment of my status, but to not examine the status quo against yourself would be to live in some fantasy world in your head, and that’s a dangerous precedent, losing track of reality means losing track of humanity. A writer who doesn’t clutch on to humanity cannot offer insight, only distraction pieces.


I am hoping to kick-start all my shit in the coming weeks, a mind-over-matter situation given the pain and strife that occurs and expounds every waking moment, some inescapable, some built on regrets of living life incorrectly as a youth (again, based on metrics of others). I have so much I want to do, NEED to do. Stories to tell, characters to bring to life, worlds to explore, but sitting at home writing is a lonely experience. Sitting at home, building a movie, is even lonelier. I miss others, even as an introvert there’s a limit. Creativity and inspiration stems from others and ripples beyond too, in a small bubble nothing conducive can happen. I wish to be with others, to create with others, to inspire and be inspired. This, sadly, does not seem like something a city like London can offer, especially as the world has gotten desolate thanks to confirmation by a small-minded mass of humans.

The Encampment Diaries – Damned If You Do…


Damned If You Do


Goddamn. Frak. Frik. Balls. Crap. Shoot

I try not to use expletives in writing, script or prose, because, well, it’s just grotesque. In person I abuse the curses, but audio can flitter away into thin air, into the night. Writing is semi-permanent. Writing can be read, Writing can be mis-read.

Anyway, I feel like swearing a lot more than usual these past weeks.

I’ve had two pressures on me this year, a heavy depressive funk that strangles me, and a skin condition that disables me. In the past few months both of these have flared up so brutally that I’ve been broken in every manner and hidden from the world for the majority.

Maybe in this time I could try and build, create, work on projects, right? That’s what friends have said when I mention all this ‘time off’ I’m fortunate to have.

I’ve been in no shape mentally or physically to do anything but find quick distractions to stop both forms of pain take over my entire living nightmare.


At the end of September I went on my annual trip to a film festival in Norway. What this gave me was a weekend of friends, films and freedom. The brief respite, however, brought a bevvy of bad cinema (This year has been crushing for me as a fan of the artform, offering little in distraction, inspiration or reward) and whilst it was great to reconnect with people, it has now been a month since returning home and since then I’ve seen not a single non-family human with the exception of one person…

My skin condition has been put into the ‘trying out some experimental drugs’ stage, and so I’ve had a nurse every few weeks stab me with medicine. As a full-on needle-phobe this has been hell, and the promise that ‘this is not a fix, this will be ongoing treatment, every fortnight, forever’ is…. Well, my mental state has broken into pieces.


I stare at a laptop, where a healthier, stable human might create a world, invent, build, succeed. And I just fail. I stop. I struggle. I ache, I hurt. I can’t.

I’m looking at the deadlines I set for myself, and how each one has sailed by without any movement, only increased pain, and I stare at myself. I’m a mess. I’m a broken, bruised piece of shit.


And nobody will care anyway.


Nobody ever truly cares.

The Encampment Diaries – Two Roads Diverging


Two Roads Diverging

Another long hiatus, health problems keep destroying, be it mental or physical, which are intertwined… It has been a weird year, as I look to the next, and the start of another decade, I’m worried I’ll never achieve anything. And trying to make things happen always falls apart.


In the time since I last wrote, I have just returned from a week in another country, mostly spent with my writing partner painstakingly beating out scene after scene in a theoretical miniseries that I have much higher intentions of than he, aspirations, dreams, are things I hold close. I like to write, but I prefer knowing I can put something out there. Self-indulgence, yes, but it’s my sole egotistical vice.


With regards the film, I feel so fucking fucked right now. Talking to actors, the ones that do respond, makes me depressed. They don’t have time, and I get it, it’s barely paying and it’s such a blip on the radar for not-me people, but to me it is the world and seeing it crushed so frequently with so little care has put me through five different ringers, laid out side-by-side by some sort of lazy Rude Goldbird.


This has made me think that, like EVERY OTHER TERRIFYING PART OF THIS EFFORT, to make something happen I’m going to have to actively step in where none of my expertise lies, and hurt the project to see it completed. Better a flawed finished film than strands of ‘almost-was-but-never’.


My self-belief is low, my headspace is completely broken, my hopes for the future are pretty devoid, and all I can do is write, think and write, and provide jokes for others whilst I die inside. Things are going so well.


Maybe by the next post something would have happened. Positive something, let’s not shake another beehive.

The Encampment Diaries – Those Bad Days


Those Bad Days


It’s been a while…

Oh lordy has it been a while.


The thing about making something by yourself is that you have to be proactive and ready to do things. The thing about me is my mind is in a constant battle to try and do things, when it also wants to hide away and do nothing because it is nothing, and my body is in a constant pain to boot, making everything so fucking hard to get out of bed, let alone try and make things.

Distractions bring small, fleeting relief, but the long game is still yet to be figured out. I’m a fucking mess, I hate it, and it sucks. Is this permanent? Probably. Should I figure out a successful way to keep fighting things? Of course. Will I? Blowed if I know.


Thankfully between times I have recorded a third of the protagonist’s voice lines, my lead actor has devoted some time to help out, thank goodness for that. And I briefly met my other lead actor, snippets of progress.


My mind has focussed on other projects, not only a release of a stupid-big Star Wars script made as a joke to a friend, but with real commitment, no bullshit, and a weekly podcast where I get to unleash the most Andrew things. Prepping for a writing holiday in the summer with a co-writer on a project has also been a bit of a pickle, but has got me back into working on another script. And then some back-and-forths with former writing teams on Facebook has stupidly started up a new endeavour. I’m never short of concepts, just the agony and the ecstacy is pretty brutal a balance.


It’s tough to make things that are intrinsically you when you hate everything you are, but who else are you making stories for at the end of the day? If you don’t come from an honest, earnest place, everything is hollow and devoid of reason, it’s something that exists, but doesn’t live, and a storyteller wants their work to live, to rise, to react and create into others something deep.

The Encampment Diaries – Laurels and Hardly Working


Laurels and Hardly Working


I try and write these things weekly for the sake of giving me something to do, but I’ve had to break things up due to commitments and lack of commitments. This one I wanted to write last Saturday, during a weekend where I was home with nothing to do, nobody to hang out with, and an intention of clearing up my other threads so I could focus on making Encampment. Of course this didn’t happen, and mostly due to procrastination.


I’ve been working on something stupid and huge for most of the past year (He says in a blog about another stupid and huge unnecessity) and I wanted to get that done this past weekend, I was staring down at writing a third act full of action and knocking down all the set-up, it’s all written in outline of course, but to put it to visualisable script is something so insane I struggled to build up to it. So I’m writing this post later, and late at night, as I’ve managed to do 30 pages this day, taking the page count from 123 to 153, and I’m…. phew, I’m done, I’ve done it, and it’ll be on this site in a few weeks time.


There’s always other projects hanging over my head, something I’ve been building with a friend over the last few years, three trips to Norway have turned it from one thing into another and finally into something tangible, so that’ll have to come up at some point. I have an epic piece of script that’s about ⅓ done at the moment, and the outlining is only 3/4ers done, so I’m chasing my own tail on that one, and so many other pieces wanting my brilliant mind to work on it.


And I can be that rare thing, immodest, as I had an email arrive during a low ebb this weekend.


Back in September, hanging out with friends, I got a buzz on my phone. I had reached the quarter finals of a script contest. Sure there’s a lot of finalists at that point, and it’s not exactly The Blacklist, but still, somebody dared to read my words, nodded along to it and said ‘this should be put forth for further scrutiny’. And that script was Encampment. This email was a kindly message reminding me this happened during a good time, and they even sent me some laurels to add should I want to. Nothing says official more than two arching images of leaves and some words.


That same day I received some early reads from a cast member, it was already strong, somebody got their role in the story, their place, their tone, their purpose, and played with it. I love watching performers sink into something I’ve given them and see a second pair of eyes, a second creativity shine amidst the piece. It makes it feel real, more real than writing something on a computer, to be locked away forever. I start recording the protagonist’s voice this week, I’m hoping my actor embraces their creativity, and I find my footing as a director. A laurelled writer turned director.

The Encampment Diaries – A Busy Time


A Busy Time


Well, this is a delayed second-week diary for a few weird reasons.

Firstly, I managed to grab a few folks to add their voices to the project, small roles, sure, but it all adds up, and I’m glad some people are kindly offering to give 5-10 minutes of their life to me (Will they be willing to give 90 minutes when this thing is done? Probably not, we’ll get to that)


But Friday night offered a mini-heartbreak. One of my cast messaged me at about 6pm, they were having gender dysmorphia and wondered if taking a strong female role was right as they were leaning more towards masculinity at the moment. It was terrifying, selfishly this is a friend I know has talents, and wanted to grab those talents before they go off and conquer the world, but it made me introspective of my inclusivity in writing.

I’ve always found a leaning into female protagonists, sometimes a male protagonist works, but when there’s a story that could have any gender binary take the centre stage I’ve always adopted the female lead, it’s more in my mindset and how I write. I like creating people, and nice people, and in my formative years it was rarely full of men, boys, who had kindness or a good sense of humour or interesting things to say or think about. Teenage boys are, sadly, very one-track for the most part, and that’s never been something I’ve given two hoots of a shit about. Clearly making my own half-phrases is where I’m at.


But whilst I’ve felt writing for a specific binary, I got it in my head, why have I not adopted more of a non-binary stance for characters? I could forgive myself for teenage years, when things were on the fringes as the internet hadn’t opened up much to let us experience others in such constant personal proximity like social media has allowed, but now we’re wildly aware of how many people live their truth, why haven’t I added characters beyond the binary? Nothing so much as to tell stories that are from someone’s experiences, I’m not talking taking moments from real lives and creating fiction, but why can’t a police officer or a desk clerk be anything?

It can, obviously, it’s a change of pronouns and an acceptance that they’re whoever they are, but it only truly crossed my mind as a writer with this conversation.


Thankfully a long discussion online (I don’t do in-person, who am I, a normal person?) led to helping talk through the current step of gender dysmorphia, and so far looks like we’re still on track for making things happen.


But getting people together, getting work done, finding those inspirado moments that help harness the passion and the epic scale of this process are terrifying me. What happens if I make something and not a soul notices? If my tree falls in the woods? I’m used to making things without anyone giving a shit, that’s been my life. Trying to scream amidst a wealth of screaming, and being quieter because, well, other people probably earned the right to be louder, right?

I love writing, I love editing, but the part where I take on the mantle of overlord of Encampment is scaring me. Being a director has always made me scared, but to be that PLUS, every department is me, every choice, every reason for doing it, is me. And if I can’t do something, what the frak happens? If someone else can’t do it, I find another, but when the buck stops with me, well, I’m freaking out before the cart before the horse, and working out the worth of the effort I’m putting in. Not like I’ve anything else to do, anything productive. People make things all the time, few make a whole film on their own, but that’s because it’s in-fucking-sane. And that’s what I am. In-fucking-sane Andrew.


I haven’t had time to create characters, or backdrops, and this week is insanely busy. Maybe by May, he says pushing things back, I’ll have a test scene built.



Maybe not………

The Encampment Diaries – First Week


First Week

It’s been a week since settling into doing focused, complete work on this project, and because I’m me, my body has been fighting a flu that’s not left me for the last month, really. Sod’s law, try to do something, but my world is all about failing before you even begin. An omen? Probably. I left the house one night to catch a film that was better than most this year so far, so there’s a positive.

I look to find a balance between the ups and downs, it’s important in life to find equal, lest one shouldn’t keep going, right? In this sense – Being sick, unable to focus, body shaking = Very bad, but Good movie – Positive, Casting an actor – Very good, so it’s balanced.


I cast an actor this week. The last major one, actually. There’s spottings of smaller roles, a few pages at best, but the core is found and now the messy part comes, finding ways to get people in a room with me to record clearly, and direct in my way of being socially awkward, hard to talk to but specific in what I want, even if I like the performer trying other things out too.


This week also saw a viral-ish tweet, so that’s something. A quick photoshop launched 3 different sites to write articles. I mean, if any actual, hard-worked material could do that, we’d be crispy. As it stands, Tarantino jokes are the best we’ll get in this world of fast-moving emptiness that is the internet.


Here’s hoping week 2 might have me feeling better, and maybe drawing some character concepts. I’m feeling like I could make one scene as a test by April’s end. That’d be rad. But boy do I feel out of it right now. A bad start to a hopeful project.

The Encampment Diaries – The Final Day


The Final Day

As I type this I’m sitting in an office that’s been my work for 4 months. Not long in the grand scheme of things, but for someone who works freelance it’s been as permanent as one can get. Even if it’s just 3 days a week.

The gig has given me some time away from other projects and helped me refocus my goals. And it’s why I’m writing this piece. It’s my final day at this office, and after this I intend to embark nearly completely on a project so vast and insane that most people try to get, say, a crew together. I have one person kindly drawing a few pieces of art. And one actor agreed to perform. It’s good. It’s all good.

I’m 28, and whilst that number’s not a big deal, the imposing nature of humanity’s stigma of the ‘30th birthday’ has got in my head, so I’ve figured I can feel a little better about things by simply making something happen. Alas in every walk I’ve taken, nobody comes together on my behest despite pleading, begging and being as nice as is humanly possible. So the idea of doing something gigantic and foolish mostly on my own is only scary insomuch as I am the be-all and end-all, there are no other reasons for something to be incorrect. I’ve done plenty of things that aren’t to what I’d want as standard quality, but I put the blame on others. Namely because others decided not to help out. Others suck.

So, what am I doing? Oh, boy, well, it’s dumb, and needs some context, because I’m narcissistic.

I’m a writer. I’ve written about films, I’ve written films, one side of this has been seen by people, the other doesn’t seem to get a ‘received’ email from close friends, let alone actual people. Back in the mid-noughties a video game came out called ‘The Movies’ which allowed you to make short films within the game’s world, a tycoon simulation of a movie studio where you choose actors, directors, writers, extras and…janitors. They had an online platform to directly post your creations, and let others watch, review, and in the forums, form a community. I had limited success in this because, at 15, I wasn’t great at getting people together or convincing people I had value to add, and my films didn’t help, they were a product of one person trying to make everything work. I’m hardly a jack of all trades.

I found a calling doing online radio, despite complete introversion, I slowly came out of my shell and found folks to spend time with, to have fun and to discuss the ways films work and play with form. This, along with college and university studies, helped evolve my abilities, however not with the introversion and the getting people together.

Between university and time of writing I’ve worked on 2 scripts that came to fruition. Through the guiding voice of others, with more outreach and confidence. But maybe less assurance on the material.

So before I hit that ‘landmark’ I want to build something based on a script I’ve written that is, quintessentially, my voice.

This is Encampment.

For the next few months I’m going to slowly build visuals, along with my sister-in-law who has kindly given her time and great talents to paint some images, as I gather a cast to perform the voices of my characters. Hoping by the end of July I’ll have an audio play mostly ready.

And from that, I intend to build a slight-movement animated feature. Not still images, but not carefully created-with-inbetweens animated film. I’m not insane nor talented.

But I can move images. As an editor, and a writer, I’m using the two skills I have to create a film, even without the usual elements.

Why am I this insane? Because I believe in my work, even if nobody else will (Or they might if they opened the attachments I sent years ago).

And in the end, if I have a 90-minute CV to send to people, that’s not the worst thing, is it?

This is my final day, after this, everything changes, everything happens. Hopefully.