News Reel & Blog

Written by Flora Kimberley on 25th July 2019

Comic-Con has moved on from its infancy. It is no longer a part of fringe society but the hub of the most popular franchises that have ever been created. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con the titan Marvel revealed its line up for phase four, the cast of Game of Thrones answered burning questions on the final season, and there was the world premiere trailer of the adaption of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

This week Avengers: Endgame surpassed Avatar as the highest-grossing film to ever be created, generating $2.78 billion globally. The Franchise dominated Comic-Con, announcing the plans for phase four, including a new TV series that will be streaming across the Disney+ SVOD service. The first announcement was the flashback standalone Black Widow debuting in May 2020  staring Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour. The next large notification was regarding the new Marvel streaming content, with series such as Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Loki being created for Disney+. This is somewhat ground-breaking as they have managed to keep all the original castings (such as Tom Hiddlestone, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan). It is set in the world post-Endgame allowing the audience to gravitate perspective across multiple channels and universes. The next publication was  The Eternal’s movie with a star-studded cast featuring Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani and Salma Hayek which will be released on November 2020. It will depict a group of space deities who have protected the earth for 35 thousand years, which will certainly distort from the typical Marvel canon. Thor: Love and Thunder delivered one of the biggest surprises at this year convention. Oscar-Winning Natalie Portman is returning to the cinematic universe, not just as the love interest but appearing as Thor, no not ‘female Thor’, the original Thor. It was also mentioned that Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) will be the first LGBTQ superhero. Additionally introducing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The character Shang-Chi was created in the 1970s as a master of Kung Fu and will be played by Simu Liu. The last- but by no means the least- reveal was that the two times Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (yes, of Moonlight and Green Book) will be appearing as the vampire hunter Blade. It didn’t even stop there - with the David Lynch style horror Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Hawkeye, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and the newly acquired Fantastic Four and Mutants were all announced to thunderous applause.

HBO might now be Throneless but their new fantasy content was a highlight of Comic-Con. Recently commissioned Watchmen was originally a 12-issue collection from the mid-1980s remains one of the most popular superhero comics of all time. The comics explore in fantastic detail the social and political implications of vigilantes, some of them with magical powers, some of them just ordinary. Damon Lindelof seems to have taken extreme care over costumes and casting, including Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandias. Next, they released the trailer for the revival of His Dark Materials franchise. The high fantasy book trilogy is set in an out-of-time location with a mixture of design elements emulating the height of steampunk-  futuristic airships mixed with vintage hourglasses. The trailer has you immediately hooked with its stunning visual effects and the focus on the dystopian narrative. HBO is certainly not dead yet.

He is back! The Terminator franchise is trying again after the past two disasters. Deadpool Director Tim Miller under the supervision of James Cameron seems to have stripped the white noise and created a sleek look for Terminator: Dark Fate, with most of the original cast back in action once more, including everyone’s favourite Arnold “Arnie” Schwarzenegger. And finally another 80’s throwback: a sequel to Top Gun has been made. Top Gun: Maverick is directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) featuring Russia VS America once more. However, with the Russo brothers still reeling from their Endgame success, another Top Gun is all that we all need.

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 17th July 2019

It’s that time again, the awards season is coming back around. The Emmys 2019 have just released their nominations for the 71st time celebrating the best shows and performances across broadcast and streaming services. The final season of the fantasy drama Game of Thrones leads the board with 32 nominations across the categories with four actresses in the race for best actress in a supporting role.

HBO has grown into network powerhouse of the year, securing nominations in both of the major categories. Veep and Game of Thrones have secured multiple nominations for their final seasons, despite the critical complaints. It would be the shock of the evening is Game of Thrones doesn't cruise to its fourth win of the Outstanding Drama Series prize. HBO's prowess continues with nominations in almost every category with Barry, Succession, Chernobyl and Sharp Objects all picking up nods. It even secured three of the five nominations for the made-for-TV movie category. Notably, HBO is even missing some of their big hitters such as Westworld and Big Little Lies which aren't eligible due to the Emmys submission cut off date. HBO’s dominance seems to have taken away nominations from other networks. For example FX took home 50 nominations in 2018 to just 32 this year. Sure, there were some networks who fought against this with AMC back up to eleven nominations after receiving only one last year, thanks to Better Call Saul’s eligibility.

The streaming services have continued their dominance in the media world even with Netflix losing its “most nominated” title to HBO. Netflix secured a massive one hundred and seventeen nominations this year, whilst missing its awards magnets Stanger Things and The Crown. Yet, the biggest growth for a streaming platform belongs to Amazon Prime which grabbed 47 nominations. This comes from the outlandish success of its comedy content: The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (most-nominated comedy) and Fleabag. They even received four nominations for the limited series A Very English Scandal starring Hugh Grant. Hulu is the only service which underperformed with fewer nominations than last year with The Handmaid’s Tale being the only show to have any nominations from that platform.

Unusually, this year the Emmys seem to be celebrating new talent and new shows. Normally, there is minimal turnover in the Comedy and Drama Series categories, but not this year. The Outstanding Comedy series has four new nominees (Fleabag, The Good Place, Russian Doll and Schitt’s Creek), while the Drama Series category has five (The Bodyguard, Killing Eve, Ozark, Pose and Succession). All the drama nominees struggled against the Game of Thrones juggernaut, but on the comedy side many new shows racked up multiple nominations with Russian Doll securing thirteen.

Finally, there were many surprising performance nominations (both positive and negative). Game of Thrones dominated the performance categories with each principal actor/actress receiving a nomination. However, my personal favourite performance nomination was the nod to Kumail Nanjiani performance during the premiere episode of The Twilight Zone reboot where Nanjiani plays a stand-up comedian who discovers all of his jokes end up coming true. Nanjiani is poised to make history as the first Pakistani-American actor to be nominated in the Guest Actor category. However, there were a couple of shock snubs from the performance category. Julia Roberts (Amazon’s Homecoming), George Clooney (Hulu’s adaptation of Catch 22) and Emma Stone (Netflix’s Maniac) all made their way to streaming this year, yet none of them received a nomination. Controversially, with the success of Fleabag at this year’s Emmys Andrew Scott’s “hot priest” has been skipped over in the performance categories as well. Scott’s perfect rendition as the relaxed, foul-mouthed man of God was the only supporting character to not receive a nomination for their performance in season 2. This seems a serious oversight due to the overall effect of the sensitive, boisterous and vulnerable performance.

I for one cannot wait to see the results in September.

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 10th July 2019

When you are a freelance worker, it is important to take steps to avoid burning out, especially in the creative sector. You may not have a strict finish time and the anxiety of not knowing when the next job is coming can be daunting. As a freelancer, it is imperative that you account for your own time, finding positive ways to keep yourself happy and healthy. Here are some of the best ways to manage the stresses that come with freelance employment.

1. Set Yourself Boundaries

Freelancers might find there is less of an established work-life balance. As you are your own boss, it can be difficult to let go of work and unplug from the "office". Tips for establishing a better work/life balance can be as simple as creating a calendar and blocking off time for your personal life. The trick is sticking to it! If you generally work from home, you can also designate a physical workspace. Make a rule to leave your work mind-set in that space.

2. Take Breaks

In theory, the longer you work, the more money you make. Pressure to get through projects to take on new jobs can lead to fatigue, anxiety and feeling ‘creatively-drained’. Establishing break times in your day, like you might as a salary employee, can help keep things in perspective. We recommend a tea break and 10 minutes of downtime to clear the mind and reset!

3. Say “No”

“When it rains, it pours.” Freelance work can sometimes be all or nothing. The nature of the work can make it hard to turn down projects when they are offered. Say no when you need to, and yes when you can.

4. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

Other freelancers are your professional network (not always your competition). They will have different ways of working at almost every stage, and that is OK! In the creative sector particularly, differences are key. Cheer on diversity!

5. Take a Holiday Once a Year

Give yourself a proper break and leave your laptop at home! You’ve earned it.

If you are considering going freelance or just want to have a chat about your options, email our freelance division at freelance@searchlight.com.

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 4th July 2019

Deciding to go Freelance can be intimidating, but the latest stats are showing that for many creative, freelance is worth it. Freelance working can offer increased levels of freedom, autonomy and control of your own working life. If you are considering going freelance (or if you are already freelance and have forgotten why you went freelance in the first place), then this is the list for you.

  1. You are your own boss

When you are a freelancer you become your own boss, you don’t need appraisals, you can make all the decisions. If you want a day off? Take the day off! You can choose your own working hours. This style of work can suit people who don’t enjoy the standard office based work (yes, no more office politics).

  1. You can pick your own clients

When you originally go freelance, you’ll end up taking every bit of work you get offered.  Once you’re established, you can be more selective with who you want to work with. How flexible is that!

  1. You may see an increase in earnings

After the original shock of not having the safety of a salary, you may see that your earning potential is greater. You decide what you want to charge and profits go into your own bank account! Consider the benefits of working longer hours for a start; the more hours you work, the more money you can earn.

  1. You will learn a lot

Despite the challenges Freelancing brings, it always offers invaluable lessons. You will learn about yourself, about the way you want your work life to be, the skills you want to improve, the mistakes you make and how to handle people that you come across. The extra time you have away from an office will allow you to take courses and lessons to learn new skills (this is important especially within the creative and technical fields).

  1. It allows you to grow

When you are a freelancer, you can’t rely on anyone else as you are an independent worker. You may find yourself managing projects from start to finish – all that responsibility, what a confidence booster! You will face challenges that you may never have faced in a 9-5 working environment, so time to get used to thinking outside the box i.e. personal and professional growth.

  1. Love what you do

When you go freelance, you have total control. Hate admin? Hire someone to look after your receipts! Love clients? Take your top clients for coffee. Freelance can give you the opportunity to genuinely love what you do. You may well find it makes the challenges and hard work all the more worthwhile.

If you are considering going freelance or just want to have a chat about your options, email our freelance division at freelance@searchlight.com.

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