Looking back at 2011 (part 1)
This is a series of short, personal, posts looking back at the last year. They’re not really intended for anyone (hence why they’re not on the main blog) but just for my own thoughts.
New Years Resolutions
Here’s how I did against the new years resolutions I set in January of this year.
- Grow my multimedia production business video fu to bring in a certain amount each month: this has gone really well this year, and beaten the target I set for each month.
- Pay off some debts: I used some of the extra money to clear some troublesome credit cards & get my finances back under control. I’ve been able to treat myself a bit more towards the end of the year too.
- Invest in new equipment: I did this as well and bulked up my professional camera gear.
- Learn how to light films properly & color correct professionally: I never got round to really doing either of these things (I haven’t needed to either) but disappointing.
- Finally go to the dentist (after 8 years): this was the easiest resolution, and I did it straight away in January.
- Run another 1/2 marathon for charity: done, and raised £400.
- Pick up my French again: I signed up for two courses at City Lit in London and feel more confident with grammar and speaking.
- Write the 2nd edition of Next Generation Journalist: this didn’t happen this year, I’ve been too busy, but also I didn’t feel I had enough new stuff to add to it.
- Start an ambitious new project: this has been the most disappointing failure of the year (see below).
What went well in 2011?
The demand for online video storytelling has grown (as I predicted last Christmas) and I’ve found my services in demand all year. I’ve had a couple of good repeat clients as well as some one-off films, including publishers, think-tanks, news organisations and businesses. I’ve been flown to China to make a film and my motion graphic skills have been sought too. Towards the end of the year I’ve had to turn down work, something I didn’t think was possible a year ago. It’s been a really big boost to my confidence and I’ve learned lots about what I can, and like to, do.
The training & consulting side of things has gone well too, again with enough (but not too much) opportunities popping up. I’ve been flown to Spain and Moldova to run workshops, as well as speak at a few high profile events. I don’t ever want this to become the main part of my business but it’s great to have on the side.
A big success has been the myNewsBiz competition which I organised with Kingston University. We gave away £1500 to two groups of young journalists with an entrepreneurial idea. One of them is looking set to become a fully-fledged magazine on the shelves in May 2012 which is really exciting. My leadership & organisation of the whole thing wasn’t brilliant, but I’ve learned some lessons from it.
I set myself another running goal and trained for the East London half marathon in September. I raised money for charity, pushed myself physically, and injured myself in the process. But it felt good to sign it off as a tangible achievement, when so many other goals aren’t so cut and dry. I won’t be doing another event next year (that injury) but hope to run again casually.
I’ve kept the blog going, without building much momentum this year. I have stuck by my plan to blog at least once a week every week, and for most of the year had a regular 2-post a week routine going on. It’s brought in 150,000 page views and hundreds of new subscribers. I’m not sure where to take the blog in 2012 though, and for much of this year was thinking of winding it down.
What didn’t go well in 2011?
Although 2011 was a brilliant year for work, it has also been mixed with lots of failures.
I really wanted to start something big and ambitious in 2011, but comprehensively failed to do this. For most of the year, it was because I didn’t have something big I wanted to do, but by the end of the year a new magazine project was coming together in my head. The plan was to get it up and running by November, but that soon became December, and now here we are and it still isn’t live.
This is partly because the ideas and concepts are still fluid and I’m toying with lots of ideas, but the key process of creation and iteration isn’t really there. In some ways it’s been down to other commitments taking all my time, but I’m also painfully aware the failure to ship is mine alone.
A few individual projects failed on the way too: a film I made in the summer never got published because the subject didn’t feel comfortable with it; almost all other projects I managed to ship, but didn’t get the traction I wanted them to.
Looking back, I although I’m a bit more financially secure, practiced and probably smarter than I was a year ago, professionally I’ve not made great strides. That is what I want to change in 2012.