I first met Michelle Fox on a Masters in Creative Writing course over five years ago. Since then, we’ve become great friends and I’m really chuffed to have her on the blog reviewing her fab 2013.
2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
I have two! Firstly, getting a place on ‘Devise to Deliver‘, Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival’s cross-media development scheme with my project, ‘We Never Sleep‘ which is set in 1850’s Chicago and based on the true story of Kate Warne, the first female detective with the Pinkerton’s Detective Agency. It was hugely fascinating and a totally new way of thinking about my story and how a reader can engage with it on multiple media platforms. And, I had an absolutely brilliant mentor, Mark Atkins, who taught me so much about how to approach interactive storytelling. My project ended up being selected for the festival’s MeetMarket, which is really difficult to get on to, and not something I had imagined happening when I started the scheme! It was a fantastic experience, and over 3 days I had to pitch my project in 45 back-to-back meetings with film and media industry professionals from all over the world.
My second favourite memory was being commissioned by Northern Film and Media (NFM), The Baltic, and Channel 4 for the Random Acts scheme with my short film ‘Zominic’. This was really exciting for me, as I had been selected as a writer/director and had a very short time to turn the script around. In all honesty when I found out I had been commissioned I panicked and bashed out a first draft, which was terrible. But, thankfully I had great support from NFM, who put me in touch with writer/director Paul Fraser, who gave me great feedback. And to my shock and horror, everything he thought I was saying with my script, wasn’t what I wanted to say at all! It focused me and I got swiftly back on track. And in August I produced and directed my film, with a totally wonderful team on board. ‘Zominic‘ is a short dark comedy about a devoted mum, who’s willing to sacrifice anything for her bouncing zombie baby. It was broadcast on Channel 4 at 12midnight on Tues 26 November, and you can watch it on the C4 Random Acts website.
And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally?
Andy Murray winning Wimbledon! Tears of joy fell across the nation, and I made a contribution. It was an absolutely brilliant game.
Favourite book in 2013?
‘Ironweed‘ by William Kennedy. The writing in this book totally blew me away. It tells the story of Francis Phelan, an ex-baseball player, who is the victim of his guilty memories and alcoholic-fuelled hallucinations. It slips effortlessly between truth and memory, and it’s full of wonderful characters. Incredible writing.
Favourite film of 2013?
‘Gravity’ directed by Alfonso Cuaron. I watched this film in the beautiful Art-Deco Pathe Cinema in Amsterdam on my birthday. I was sat in an awe-inspiring environment watching an awe-inspiring film and every single aspect of this cinema-going experience was perfect for me.
Favourite song of the year?
‘Sham-a-ling-dong-ding‘ is a song I discovered this year when it was sung by Jesse Winchester on Elvis Costello’s show “Spectacle”. I’d never heard of Jesse before, and just happened to catch it by chance. I was totally mesmerised by his performance.
Any downsides for you in 2013?
No. I don’t really dwell on things and I get over disappointments pretty swiftly and move on. Also, I have a really bad memory, which helps.
Are you making resolutions for 2014?
No. I’m too impulsive and changeable to stick to any…
What are you hoping for from 2014?
Professionally, I’ve got some deadlines I need to hit, so I’m pretty excited about that. But in terms of hopes for next year, I’d just like to build on this year’s successes… Other than that, I’m happy to take things as they come…
If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?
I realise a dog is for life and not just for Xmas, but I would love a Border Terrier pup. I don’t have one because I live in an upstairs flat with no garden, so Santa would also have to bring me a house in the country (with easy access to Newcastle), so my pup would have plenty of room to romp about in… Failing that; bed socks.