I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge this year, and I hadn’t even planned it (some might argue these are the best challenges to set yourself). Rather inadvertently, as of this moment I’ve managed to watch 47 films in 2012 alone – that’s just short of one movie per day, and does not as yet include any visits to the cinema.

The funny thing is, as stated above, I hadn’t planned to do this. I started keeping a list of films I’d seen recently around the end of January, just to track my viewing habits. On reading the list I realised I’d watched 27 films throughout January – it really didn’t feel that much. At that point I realised that, impending apocalypse aside, I could easily watch 366 films this year, with the majority being first time viewings. Of the 47 so far, I’ve only seen 5 of them before. I’m expecting the 1 a day figure to drop when I’m through with Lovefilm, only 70 movies remaining on my list, and then after that the drop will come. Possibly. I’ve always had an interest in films – my movie collection on DVD comes to about 600 films, with almost another 100 or so on Blu-Ray (okay, it’s 92). Scary stuff. I think my excuse for watching so many is that, through some kind of osmosis, I will gain a better understanding of plotting, pace and structure of films. I usually stick with science fiction, but my collection is varied enough to suit most moods. No rom-coms in sight, naturally, unless you count Shaun of the Dead (that’s a rom-zom-com anyway, so no it doesn’t), but there’s so many hours worth of entertainment in my collection you can forgive the fact I own Super Mario Bros and Dungeons & Dragons. Or is admission of owning those films still punishable by death? If so, I retract my statement.

I’d say that osmosis is working to an extent – whilst it’s an audio series, it took me 6 months to finalise the story for Trent Samuels series 2. Once I nailed that plot (to the wall. With a nail gun. Or No More Nails) the stories for 3-6 flowed naturally. Shot myself in the foot slightly given that I’m planning to re-write series 1, but still… Films from a variety of sources and directors are helping shape my own writing style, even if so far I’ve been writing sci-fi comedy that’s hugely derivative of other, more popular source material, it’s made something like Trent Samuels start off as a Flash Gordon homage and slowly morph into its own thing. Yes, each episode ends on a cliffhanger (ignore the specials) and follows the traditional serial structure, but otherwise it’s a beast unto itself, and I think a lot of writing ends up like that. Going back to movies, the Transformers trilogy (as it currently stands) receives slight disdain from me for focusing too much on the humans, or on the other side of the coin having something like X-Men First Class treat the characters, history and more importantly the story with some respect. Those two examples have taught me to respect my characters, respect the story and, most importantly, to not call something “Transformers” and find out that they’re really only the focus for 50% of the running time. I’ll keep watching films throughout 2012, both old favourites and first time viewings, and subsequently keep learning, absorbing information and honing the work I do. It’s the sensible way of doing things, I feel.

I’ll be keeping the blog updated with regards to my progress. It’s not a particularly interesting or noteworthy goal, but I’m going to persevere. On that note, my other targets for the year are…

  1. To read on average 2 books a month – this started well in January (four full length novels and a novella), but February hasn’t seen me complete a single novel as yet. Right now I’m halfway through Let The Right One In, so that just leaves me to choose which book I’ll move onto next. There’s that many to choose from it could take a while. I’ve had to lay off buying books on the Kindle for a while, just so I can catch up on what I have. I still check the Daily Deal every day though. Idiot.

  2. To write and release a ridiculous amount of material. I have this goal every year, but my time management and planning has improved immensely so I foresee no problems with this. He said. 60 Second Gamer is back on track and we have loads of material ready for this, so it leaves me plenty of time to go and work on other projects, compared to previous years.

  3. To listen to every show we released for Digital Village Radio. I have an archive of episodes that would take approximately 7 days of non-stop listening to get through. We recorded them way back in 2009 and it’s taken me this long to listen to them. I’ve got the three longest running shows left to work through – Ant’s, Rich’s and my own. Slightly narcissistic listening to my own radio shows, but it’s been that long since I made them I can’t remember anything beyond the first few episodes and the crushing disappointment of having no listeners at the very end of the project. Still, it was a good practice run for when we launched 60 Second Gamer and our many, many podcasts…

  4. Finally, for now, is my goal of listening to all of the music in my rather hefty library. I’ve been working through it for a few years and only reached the letter K. Bearing the lengthy gestation period of this goal, you might think finishing off half the alphabet in a year is impossible. Previously, yes, but I’ve finally got my iPod to scrobble everything I play to Last.fm. Before I was limited to listening to music solely on the PC/Mac in order to scrobble tracks as it was always a bit patchy on the move, but apart from a few flubs now and again it works perfectly and I can scrobble to my heart’s content.