Stephen Agnew – Editor/Director

Stephen is a Northern Irish creative editor and director who has been living in London for about 8 years. Technically skilled and experienced in both the music and advertising industry – his whole career has been centred around video production and moving image design. He has developed an acute knowledge of audience consumption patterns focusing on how the landscape is changing, and how to direct and customise content for individual platforms.

Road to success – Ups and Downs

Any ‘success’ I’ve experienced has often stemmed from working with the right people on the right projects. Developing a sense of mutual trust in both recurring clients and collaborators is of paramount importance for things to work out smoothly. I think it’s inevitable for the down moments to occur if this kind of relationships aren’t nurtured. Creative work is collaborative, so collaborate openly and wisely.

Projects I’m most proud of

Editing the music video for “Fuckabout” by alternative rock duo Drenge’s was so much fun and the core a great articulation of what I enjoy doing from a creative standpoint. Whereas working on Royal Blood’s music video for their song “Ten Tonne Skeleton” was appealing to me because of its scale and polish.

Biggest lessons in life and work

I guess the best lesson I’ve ever learned in my career is that you should let your work speak for you (and to put crisps in a sandwich).

View Stephen’s full portfolio

Philip Davies – Creative Director / Director / Illustrator / Motion Graphic Designer / Animator

Originally from Pretoria, South Africa, Philip trained as a graphic designer but moved into animation when he realized it was actually a job you could have. He has traveled around a lot whilst growing up, being exposed to a lot of different cultures and experiences.

He uses his training as an illustrator and designer in hand with his VFX experience to make motion graphics and experimental visuals. These are for short form, long form, live events, museum installations, TV shows, indie films, music videos, and art projects that have no real purpose.

At parties he says he’s an animator, for ease of conversation, but if he just hangs out with other animators he feels like he would disappear into his own navel. He started a studio called Battlecat! in order to meet and collaborate with artists from other disciplines – fine artists, musicians, dancers, programmers, poets, architects, etc.

Road to success – Ups and Downs

I’ve had a fair share of ups and downs – it can be difficult to stay focused on work you are passionate about when there are bills to pay. I’ve definitely struggled a lot with remembering to do the stuff I actually care about. Someone once told me “do the work you want to do more of”, but it takes a lot of psyching yourself up and faith to pursue personal projects that no one asked for and maybe no one cares about. If you just do whatever is asked of you, you end up doing more of that.

Greatest achievements so far – Projects I’m most proud of

My greatest achievement so far was helping a young friend of mine who has Aspergers syndrome make a movie about what his life is like. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy working on projects with purely commercial aims, or projects that don’t seem to have any lasting impact, so I’m proud that I was able to make something that felt like it means something to someone. That’s a rare privilege for me.

Biggest lessons in life and work

I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I can remember, it’s always been my passion, and although I’ve accepted that I probably will never direct multi-million dollar science fiction epics like I wanted to as a kid, I am very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I don’t feel like I’ve learned any life lessons that aren’t already summarized by Baz Luhrman in ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’.

View Philip’s full portfolio

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016

Despite a long journey with cancelled trains & diverted routes, as per our tradition, the Blueberry family made it to Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 which took place June 10-15 and needless to say this year’s edition didn’t disappoint. Our Creative Consultants Bhavinee and Kirsty were in attendance since the opening night and were later joined by our Managing Director Irantzu for a few days of wonderful documentaries, interesting talks with amazing talent and great networking events.

The opening night film, Where to Invade Nextincluded a post-screening Q&A with director Michael Moore. In his new documentary, funny and thought-provoking as ever, the American filmmaker visits other nations to steal ideas that can enrich the lives of American citizens. Although the Q&A steered off too much towards the EU referendum instead of the film, Michael Moore was really funny and energetic – a nice start to the festival, worth queuing in the rain for hours – and the theatre was beautiful, the perfect venue for an opening night film.

Day two was off to a great start with The Happy Film where a graphic designer uses himself as a project, through 3 different steps – meditation, therapy and drugs – in order to find what makes him happy. It was a very beautiful film to watch as lots of well put together designs were used to illustrate his journey.

The BBC Interview with Reggie Yates was also a highlight. They talked about his career progression from a kids TV presenter and DJ to a serious doc-maker now on track to follow into Louis Theroux’s footsteps. In The Insider: Reggie Yates in a Texan Jail, the first of two immersive documentaries available on BBC Three from June 28th, Yates enters Bexar County Jail in Texas, to experience what it’s like to be an inmate in the American criminal justice system, and understand how prisoners with mental health problems are treated behind bars. His upcoming projects sound amazing, showing how far he has come and how dedicated he is to each project and the topics he explores.

The touching and emotional Jim: The James Foley Story wrapped the second day leaving us speechless with its powerful portrait of James Foley, who was kidnapped and beheaded in Syria in 2014. This was such a moving documentary from the beginning as we share his journey into journalism up until his beheading and the stories from his friends, family and others who were captured.

On day three Ants on a Shrimp – an in-depth look at the restaurant Noma moving to Japan to create a new food experience over there – was quite uplifting and beautiful, making you feel connected with the chefs and their emotions through their Japanese journey.

The discussion A Reasonably Adjusted Debate: Disability On & Off Screen gave us an insight into other aspects of the industry that we don’t see day to day and had some great contributors, including Adam Pearson who is featured in a lot of docs on TV about appearance and disability. It was interesting and shocking to hear the statistics of how many disabled people work in the industry and how many are represented on TV (20%). Channel 4 and Betty TV (client of ours) were complimented for being so supportive when working with disabled people and for how they endeavour to include more diversity in broadcast.

Highlight of the day was seeing The Absolutely Adventurous Joanna Lumley in Conversation – she was fascinating, and such a pleasure to listen to. We knew she was fabulous but had no idea about the span of her documentary career and how much she had worked on. A very warm, endearing and really funny lady – she brought with her the makeshift shoes she created out of a bra!

Southwest of Salem: The San Antonio Four was quite relevant with the current trend of true crime and wrongful imprisonment docs. Looking at 4 women in the 90s who were falsely accused of gang-raping 2 little girls (one of the women’s nieces). This one was moving, especially as the case is still ongoing and these women haven’t been completely cleared yet – it’s hard to not sympathise with these women’s journey and all they’ve been through.

One of the festival’s biggest highlights was on day four – Sir David Attenborough in Conversation, which discussed his career history and his involvement with the intro of colour to television. The footage spanning from the start of his career to present day was spectacular, beautifully shot and such a rollercoaster of emotions. It was so awe-inspiring to see how much he has explored and how even at 90 years old he still wants to carry on for as long as he can! What a legend! And he had such great sense of humour too.

The Hard Stop – an insight in to the background of the Tottenham Riots & the shooting of Mark Duggan – was particularly interesting for Kirsty as she it all kicked off within streets of where she lives.

Great start to day five with Miso Hungry – a funny yet insightful film in to the journey of a filmmaker/editor who travels to Japan in order to loose weight by eating only their foods and adopt their habits, which led him to lose 3.5 stone in 3 months!

Set for broadcast on Channel 5 later this year, Inside the Gangexplores how gangs operate in London and their involvement with drugs and gun crime. The filmmakers had to make drop offs at particular points with Go Pros so the gang members could film the footage themselves, not knowing if the cameras and footage would even return. They eventually build up trust and this doc was born, getting the audience to see (sometimes in graphic detail) the lengths these people go in order to transport the drugs.

We finished our festival experience in style with My Scientology Movie by Louis Theroux – an insight into the world of Scientology in LA. The popular British filmmaker talks to ex-members of the church and they reenact experiences they’ve been through with the church leader – David Miscavige. Theroux’s harmlessly blunt and honest approach was as funny as always, especially the way he deals with conflict and harassment from Scientology members.

Two other documentaries were the special highlights of our Managing Director. National Bird, about drone warfare programme, was made with the contribution of whistleblowers and victims on both sides – US military personnel and Afghan people whose families have been destroyed by imprecise drone attacks. It’s a devastating film that brings to the surface inhumane and disconnected war tactics that countries all over the world partake to ‘in our name’, ‘in the fight against terror’, but all it’s doing is actually creating terror.

Care was Irantzu’s absolute favourite though. The film explores the work and relationships of four private caregivers and the elderly, infirm and disabled people they care for. A poignant story of underrecognised and undervalued care workers in the US. In the face of a private health care system, with an elderly population predicted to grow by 65% over the next 20 years, and care workers only by 2%, the film emphasises the urgent need to recognise and invest in caregivers. The storytelling was sublime and very graceful, whilst handling a difficult subject matter and the Q&A with the director and producer was simply wonderful.

Irantzu also attended the Grierson DocLab‘s reception for their trainees in the Winter Garden. She was delighted to catch up with the trainees after the workshop she hosted at last month’s Doclab and she looks forward to continuing with individual one-on-one CV workshops for each of them. The event buzzed with great energy and networking – it’s clear the Grierson Trust are actively developing a quality pool of future talent.

Last but not least it was great to hang out with some of our talent in attendance. We bumped into our editors Marius Grose and Lisa Forrest at the BBC party in the Sheffield Cathedral and it was lovely to catch up about our festival highlights and chat about the films. It’s fun to see friendly faces outside of the usual work environment and have the rare chance to check out their dance moves. ‘Till next year Sheffield!

The 2016 Degree Show at Ravensbourne

The 2016 edition of The Degree Show took place last week (June 15-17) at Ravensbourne‘s headquarters in North Greenwich. This innovative, industry-focused, university sector college, located right next to The O2, champions creativity and collaboration to give their students the skills and opportunities to achieve outstanding careers in digital media and design.

The Degree Show is Ravensbourne’s end of year graduate event, showcasing across three days the diverse, specialised and exceptional work that graduates produce. It marks a step from their collaborative education into the professional industries they aspire to innovate and excel in. Projects from over 15 creative disciplines are on show throughout the campus and industry professionals are invited to explore it and scout for potential talent to work with in the not-so-distant future.

Blueberry was in attendance like every year. Our Creative Consultant Liam Beirne – who handles Short Form Editing and Motion Graphic Design – was impressed with the quality on offer during his visit. The campus was buzzing with creativity from the moment you made your way in through the revolving doors. The whole event is organised and hosted by Ravensbourne’s students, who welcome guests at the entrance and are at hand  around the venue as ushers and supervisors for each panel.

Each year the graduating class’ work gets stronger and stronger and 2016 was no exception. The showreels of the graduates in the Motion Graphics Hons Programme were very slick and polished. This high skill level was also reflected in the confidence these young creatives displayed. Of note is that several of the graduates we spoke with wish to dive into the world of freelance work.

This new perspective is a departure from previous years, where most graduates were looking to put down roots and grow in a permanent role upon graduating. Such an outlook on their career aspirations underlines the graduates’ level of confidence, as well as the current industry atmosphere. It’s a talent-short market and this state of affairs, combined with the often-squeezed budgets of advertising and branding agencies, provides a perfect atmosphere for young designers to get their foot in the door.

Another highlight was the new digital advertising showcase which spanned creatives, strategy, art direction, branding and experiential. There were indeed a lot of great projects and showreels to browse and get lost into at The Degree Show but most importantly there were lots of young minds driven by an endless artistic passion and dedication to their craft, who are hungry for an opportunity to shine.

For more information on Ravensbourne check out their website.

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2016 Launch – Q&A with Julian Fellowes

This year’s London Screenwriters’ Festival was launched last night at Regents University in Regents Park, with a special Q&A event hosted by Producer and NFTS Director Nik Powell. The guest of honour was brilliant screenwriter Julian Fellowes, best known as the Emmy-winning creator and writer of ITV’s hit period drama Downton Abbey and for his Oscar-winning script of period murder mystery Gosford Park, directed by the late great Robert Altman.

Our Creative Consultant Maureen Hascoet and Marketing Coordinator Francesco Cerniglia loved the inspirational talk with the loveable, humble yet charismatic Fellowes whilst Powell was a candid, digressing moderator with self humour who couldn’t be more opposite to the composed screenwriter, yet they formed a very entertaining duo.

Fellowes touched upon several interesting topics over a generous hour and also answered many questions from the audience in insightful and graceful manner.

On writing the final episode of Downton Abbey: Fellowes noted how different it was for him as opposed to crafting any other given instalment of the series. Rather than have a story to entice potential new viewers and occasional ones, he was solely concerned with rewarding the loyal audience that had been on board since day one. 

On how he got into writing: he called it a random fall into a rabbit hole. He started off as an actor and his serendipitous initiative-taking on a project that was falling apart launched him into the new career path. 

On the late great Robert Altman: Fellowes said he owes everything to the Gosford Park’s director as that was the writer’s big career break and Altman managed to use his influence to keep Fellowes’ script unaltered by the studio machine.

On working with actors and directors: he advised the aspiring writers in the audience to always listen to notes because even if they’re wrong, they might help identify how other elements which need fixing.

On careers’ ups and downs: Fellowes encouraged to not be held back by the possibility of making a fool of yourself because eventually it will happen. You just need to accept it and move on. Also, one thing you must learn in your career as well as in your life is when something is just not going to go to fruition.

On writing great female characters: he noted that he was always surrounded by strong women in his life and that informed his writing. He finds women in period dramas very interesting as they were operating with many limitations and rules so they had to get what they wanted within the limits of that society. He was impressed by their manoeuvring and lateral thinking. 

On his style and his process: Fellowes acknowledged how the recurrent theme in all his work is self knowledge or lack thereof, which he considers the most important thing in life. Becoming a writer later in his career and getting success at 50 years old informed his craft when developing characters because as you get older you’re more forgiving of people’s different views.

The evening was everything it promised to be, setting quite a tone and a bar for LSF 2016 which will take place September 2-4 at Regents University. This year, Blueberry will be actively involved in producing a few panels at the festival. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon. Meanwhile get your passes while they last!

Aldo Paternostro – Editor

Aldo is a London-based editor, who has a wide number of credits in both short and long form programs for broadcast TV.

Whilst attending film school in New York City, he particularly enjoyed being in the film department’s edit lab – a hot basement with a row of small cubicles equipped with Steenbecks and KEMs. Cutting 16mm short films on a flatbed with guillotine splicers was where Aldo’s interest in post-production kicked in. The ability to handle the film, smell it, be close to it and find the right frame to splice, like if it was some kind of investigative work, was something he fell in love with. That’s arguably when he learned the most about storytelling. And he still has the scars on his fingers to show for it.

Growing up, his love for films was the one constant thing he could rely on as his family moved around a bit. Back in high school in Colombia, Aldo would host a geeky film club where he would write his own synopsis and criticism for each film he’d introduce. The memories of his first movie-going milestones are still vivid in his mind – E.T.RaidersEmpire – all those early 80’s childhood favourites. However, it was really the cinema from the 70s that influenced him and still does to this day because of its American toughness kind-of-style and its European sense of realism.

Road to success – Ups and Downs

I moved to London 15 years ago, working as an editor ever since. This is home now. However, when I first arrived I didn’t know anyone in town. I went through that pride-swallowing experience of dropping CVs in every post-production house in Soho. I think of that every time I go into an edit suite to do a job.

Greatest achievements so far

My family by a long shot. My 2 year old daughter and my partner are my greatest achievements. All else pales in comparison.

Projects I’m most proud of

Aside from the feeling I get when I finish my own scripts, it’s hard to pick one project. I recently worked on a series of short films for Vice last year called “Night Visions” and on a short film for ID with a new director that won a competition. I was pleased with how they both turned out. So were the client and the director. In the end, that’s what you are there for as an editor – to service the director by helping him find the best film in the edit. As Orson Welles once said, “The notion of directing a film is the invention of critics – the whole eloquence of cinema is achieved in the editing room.”

Biggest lessons in life and work

There are always going to be busy times and quiet times. It’s best to stay as productive as possible in the quiet times. They never last as long as you’d expect.

View Aldo’s full portfolio

Steve Donlon – Colourist

Originally from Yorkshire, Steve started out at a post-house in Manchester 4 years ago as a tech-assistant working mainly on children’s television. Steve moved to London to work at a larger post-house on higher profile TV shows, broadening his knowledge of post production workflows. Settling at Silverglade, where he spent almost 2 years, giving him the opportunity to learn Baselight and grade television programmes. During this time he also took on small projects and short films, editing and grading in his spare time. Steve then took the leap into the world of freelancing giving him the chance to work on a broader range of projects, with lots of different people.

Road to Success – Ups and Down

I think for me, part of my success has always been being on the lookout for that next big opportunity and not just getting complacent in the same position. The first facility I worked at was one of my favourites, despite it being low pay and long hours, the people were what made it. Needless to say, leaving that job and moving to London was a very hard thing to do and it was quite a culture shock moving to such a large city! Despite this it was definitely the right move and I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I hadn’t of made the move.

Greatest Achievements so far

I would say my greatest achievement so far is getting to the position I’m in today in a relatively short space of time. Prior to discovering my love for post production and the TV and film industry, I was studying Biomedicine and Biochemistry at University. Part way through I decided that it wasn’t for me and took on a part time TV and Film course, I managed to bag my first job a couple of years after that. It was tough going at the time but I have been very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time – and I am actually a BSc Hons!

Projects you are most proud of and why

Our Cilla – TX’d on Christmas Day 2015 on ITV. It was great to work on something about such a well loved public figure.

Reza Spice Prince – This was the first programme that I graded for TX, Food Network UK. Some wonderful locations, and a really friendly chap too!

Delusions – A short sci-fi film directed by Michael Etherington. This was one of the side projects I worked on. It was good to get into something a bit different and have the freedom to experiment with some different grading looks.

Biggest Lessons in Life and Work

Don’t make any enemies, they’ll come back to bite you one day!

View Steve’s full profile

 

 

Ed Kinnear – Editor

Who is Ed Kinnear?

I’m a freelance offline editor, working in the industry since 2001 and editing for companies such as BBC, Dot to Dot Productions, Sixth Sense Media, Tiger Aspect and Twenty Twenty. I’m experienced in both long and short form, broadcast and corporate. Recent projects have included children’s programmes for CBBC and CBeebies including the BAFTA nominated series “Our Family”. I’ve also worked on documentaries and educational dramas for Brook Lapping, TV promos for CBS Drama and Food Network, infomercials for BT Vision and JD Williams, and Cartoon Network’s international game show Ben 10 Ultimate Challenge.

How did your career path develop?

I began as a runner at a London-based film editors’ company, becoming an assistant and junior editor there and working on commercials, pop promos, and television programmes. After six years I moved on to The Money Channel, editing its varied factual and current affairs programme output. Although the company only lasted just over a year, it was a great learning environment in broadcast TV and long form programme editing and by the end of its run I was able to take the experience I’d gained there and become a freelancer.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

Fulfilling my ambition to work in TV and Film and working on many different projects across varied genres. Finding new clients and meeting some fantastic people along the way.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

A 3-part documentary series for Teachers TV called Brit Camp. It has a good pace and is a meaningful journey of discovery for the young participants who are dealing with issues of nationality, race and identity.

Episode links for CBS Drama’s initial transmissons of CSI. Challenging to edit in a short space of time, around 30 links in 10 days, with a combination of specially shot footage, CGI and episode footage.

Footy Pups for CBeebies. It’s become a very popular series including being rated number 1 children’s programme in the viewing figures.

Our Family for CBeebies. Wonderful fly-on-the-wall documentary series told from the perspective of the children about everyday family life which appeals to both children and adults.

Totally Rubbish for CBBC, a children’s art series full of creativity and imagination.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Over the years clients have come and gone, there have been exceptionally busy periods and others of inactivity so I have learned not to rely on one client and I have always attempted to do a variety of things and never give up. Although I am never one to turn down work, I always feel that I should take on projects that are a good fit for both parties and I am 100% confident I can deliver to the highest of standards. I think reputation is everything, overconfidence is a weakness and being honest is the best policy.

View Ed’s Full Portfolio