Tagged: BBC

Careers: Tattooed Art Director & Blogger

We chat to 28-year-old Ayden Millar an art director and lifestyle blogger from Glasgow, about the projects she has worked on, running her blog and her tattoo collection…

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Can you tell us about your freelance work for film and TV? I’ve worked freelance in the film and television industry for around seven years now! I’m self employed, and literally every day is different. I could be on a job for six days or six months, and go from making props and designing fake graphics one day, to arranging special effects and dressing sets the next.

How did you get your current role or previous roles? Did you study or did you fall into it? What sorts of things have you been involved in? The past seven years have absolutely flown, and although I still feel quite new to the industry, when I look back on my CV I’ve definitely accumulated a whole load of different jobs over the years. From kids telly to sketch and comedy shows, feature films and adverts, music videos, and quite a lot of horror/murder dramas (I seem to end up working on a lot of them, worryingly). The designer who employs me on a regular basis was the production designer for some really great British films, including This Is England, Neds, and The Magdalene Sisters. So I do always get really excited when he calls me up with details of a job, because I know the script will always be something really good and gritty we can get our design teeth into!

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What do you enjoy the most about your job?I love the fact that every day is different. I love the buzz of working with and meeting loads of people from different walks of life. And I really love seeing all of our hard work up on the big screen. It’s scary at times being your own boss and not knowing where or when the next job will be, and I suffer from extremely bad anxiety which I’ve been on medication for for a numbers of year now. But despite the fear of the unknown, my work brings out the best in me and makes me thrive. I work with the most open minded and supportive people! And although it’s stressful at times, my confidence has gone from strength to strength over the years, and I hope that can continue.

How does this coincide with your blog, or the other way around? I can sometimes have days or weeks off between jobs, so during this time I’m really able to focus on my blog and get writing and planning lots of new content. Sometimes it does suffer when I’m on a long TV job, working 8am-7pm can often frazzle my brain by the weekend and I don’t have time to write as much as I’d like to. I rely on Instagram and Twitter lots to keep in touch with my readers, let them know what I’m up to, and also keep up to date with reading some of my favourite blogs too.

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What sorts of things do you blog about, what inspires you? What can people expect to see? My blog is essentially a grown up diary, a mish mash of thoughts and photos and general gal chat! Some weeks I’ll write about cruelty free beauty, and others I could be visiting a new food place in town or exploring the outdoors in Scotland. I tend to just write about whatever is going on in my life at that moment in time, and one time a reader said that my posts felt like sitting down with a girlfriend on the phone or over a cup of coffee and having a good old catch up and laugh about life. That meant so much to me, and I do hope it’s the way I come across. There are so many beautiful, polished blogs out there these days – all gorgeously curated and edited with flawless professional photography. Pretty much like magazines! I think they’re amazing, but I must admit my blog doesn’t really fall under that category. If you’re down for a giggle and some honest life musings (with the odd selfie and puppy/cat picture thrown in for good measure) then I’m your gal.

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How would you describe your style, how do your tattoos fit in with this? I have quite an eclectic sense of style, I like to be fun, colourful and comfortable! I pretty much dress the same was I did when I was a moody 16 year old emo kid, but with a bit of added sass. My tattoos are probably a fashionista’s nightmare, they clash with anything and everything that’s colourful and/or patterned. But I don’t care in the slightest, I’ve never been one for the minimalist look. Plus, glitter and a few sequins go with everything, right?

Do your tattoos make you feel more confident, or help you to see your body differently? I definitely feel more comfortable with my body now than what I did 10 years ago, pre tattoos. They feel like a part of me. To the point that I often forget I have any until somebody mentions them or asks me a tattoo related question! They make me feel empowered and illustrate the story of my life, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way. Well, some of them do – a lot of my tattoos I got ‘just cause’. Just because I like biscuits is a good enough reason to get a Jammy Dodger tattooed… surely!?

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Any future plans either tattoos, work or blog posts? Tattoo wise, my arms are full now so I’d like to continue adding to my legs (especially my feet which I KEEP putting off). I’ve not had any new tattoo ideas in a while, so I won’t get something for the sake of it, I’ll wait until a little bit of unexpected inspiration hits me one day and then I’ll get booked in for something. I’m currently on the last week of filming a six part crime drama for the BBC called Shetland, so after this I’m gonna take a month or so off. I’m going on holiday to Ibiza, have some plans to redecorate my flat, and look forward to spending time catching up with friends and family. I’ve got a few blog post ideas up my sleeve too, so I’m excited to have some more free time over the next couple of weeks to get typing to my heart’s content.

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TV Review: Stag

Our resident film reviewer is writer Harry Casey-Woodward who will be sharing his opinions on things he has watched…

Stag, 2016, cert 15, dir Jim Field Smith, 3/5

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It’s great when something comes along that you know you shouldn’t like because it’s so ridiculously horrible but it’s also genius so you love it. When people told me about this programme, they seemed both amused and horrified at the madness they were describing to me. I was certainly surprised to hear about a TV programme that had such a darkly humorous take on violence and knew I had to see it.

Stag was a three part miniseries put out earlier this month on BBC 2 and still available on iPlayer.  The word ‘stag’ has more than one meaning in the show. It is about a stag weekend in which a band of young males set off into the Scottish highlands for, funnily enough, a stag hunting trip. Unfortunately for them, it’s not the stags that end up getting hunted.

The unlikely hero of the bunch is a Geography teacher named Ian (played by Jim Howick). He says he is the brother of the bride, but the groom Johnners (Stephen Campbell Moore) doesn’t even remember him. As Ian says, he’s not somebody you’re likely to remember. Compared to the other blokes, he is rather meek and timid and thus an easy target for the louder, more obnoxious males. You certainly get the impression from Ian that he would rather be anywhere but there, but he is keeping a promise to his sister to look after her future husband.

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Quite soon into episode one, everyone needs looking after as they end up stranded in some remote Scottish woods and start getting picked off one by one by a mysterious killer, in comically gruesome fashion. It is Ian, with his geological knowledge and calm head, who ends up offering some help to the other squabbling, selfish stags.

BBC is not new to horror comedy. The presence of Reece Shearsmith among the cast reminds me of his own hilariously disturbed BBC series, such as League of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Inside No. 9. But Stag certainly takes the comic horror up to a new level. If the episodes were put together, they would make a decent slasher.

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It is tempting to compare Stag to British horror film Dog Soldiers, a black comedy about blokey soldiers getting hunted by werewolves in Scotland. But the plot of Stag is smarter and funnier than Dog Soldiers, along with many other slashers. Strip away the swearing and comic violence and you get a decent thriller. I was kept guessing all the way through who was the killer and who was next to get dispatched.

The characters also make this worth watching. Writer/director Jim Field Smith said on the BBC blog that he wanted to ‘skewer masculinity’ but at the same time give these blokes vulnerabilities so the audience care about them. I found myself rooting for each guy even though you’re never really sure who to trust. Overall this is very entertaining and original television, with plenty of twists and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Images from BBC blog and BBC media centre.