Exclusive for beginners

Whilst I imagine most of you will know something about Hammer Films – British horror film company – I doubt the same can be said of Exclusive. That\’s part of the attraction for me with the PhD project.

Ironically, shortly after I officially started work on the project Hammer\’s owners announced that they were going back into film acquisition and distribution and so a new Exclusive was born. In the last month Hammer\’s parent company has changed its name from HS Media to Exclusive Media, mirroring the original corporate make-up from the 1930s. Exclusive was the parent company to Hammer, although the group of companies is better known as the Hammer group. Exclusive would also distribute films, as they do now… My project has unwittingly taken on an extra relevance and immediacy which will no doubt filter into my written work. Although this is primarily an historical study there is room for some speculation and critical analysis… otherwise this wouldn\’t be a PhD!

Anyway, I produced a paper for a conference in Trinity back in September, and gave it the day before I formally signed on for the course. That means it doesn\’t count for my current body of work, but thankfully I didn\’t do too much for it, and have left plenty of new material for the doctoral study. I turned the paper into a podcast (the first in a new series) so others could get a chance to listen to it. I might turn it back into a written paper at some point. If you\’re interested, you can get it on Itunes here.

I also wrote an article on the original Exclusive for the official Hammer Films when they announced the formation of the new Exclusive. \”It\’s Exclusive\” is a beginner\’s guide. I did a little consultation with them regarding their new logo and was delighted that they chose to go with something that pays homage to the classic imagery. I\’m hoping to explore that with an article that\’s been provisionally commissioned soon…

Funding headaches…

In a bid to spur myself on with my research I thought I\’d open up a blog. From time to time I\’ll drop by and update you on progress with the project. I already have a website in preparation which will contain some of the research material dug up during the project – www.exclusivefilms.co.uk.

I\’m a self-supporting student at the moment, working out of Trinity College Dublin, and some six months into my first year. So far I\’ve failed to secure funding through the university, but knowing how competitive it is decided to plough on anyway. Fees alone are over £4,000 per annum – several hundred pounds more expensive than if I\’d stayed on in Belfast.

This isn\’t meant to be a moan, but had I sat and really thought about the cost I\’d probably not have started. I\’m working part time at the moment, and have to take every additional shift I can get just to break even. Between rent, and food and fees I don\’t really have any spare cash now at all. The first few months were okay, but I\’m feeling it now. It\’s so easy to forget about the expense of travelling between Belfast and Dublin, or Belfast and London in order to do the archival research which is so crucial to my work. Even more frustrating, it has been paying off and I\’ve uncovered some very tantalising bits of information which are already altering my entire perception of the early Exclusive/Hammer and supporting some of my initial thesis.

When I do get away, time is incredibly short so I sit and work my way through as much as possible, and walk away armed with photocopies of periodicals wherever possible. Damn myself for working from contemporary publicity publications!

I just about managed to scrape together the £2k needed this month for the second half of this year\’s fees, but I\’m looking at having to cut back on the research for the next few months simply because I can\’t afford it. If anyone has good suggestions as to how to get private funding (I\’m assuming that attempts through the university will continue to fail), I\’d welcome them. Even to get someone to cover my basic fees – so around £13k over three years – would make a huge difference. Far removed from my friends who get their fees covered and in the region of £12k per annum support…