Cows, Cash & Coverups: Investigating vCJD


I’m shooting my first feature length documentary and I’d appreciate any support in funding or publicising the project.


Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of BSE (Mad Cow Disease) is a disease that has a long incubation period, spanning several decades, with government scientists warning over a potential “second wave” of cases.

BSE is still being detected on farms in Britain, Ireland & America, with the latest case found in Ireland as recently as this month.

The aim of this film is to highlight the story of the victims of vCJD, to examine the Governments handling of the BSE crises and to explore the ethics of the farming and food industry.

As the recent horse meat scandal highlighted – do we honestly know what’s going in our food?

Scottish Film Summit at Film City Glasgow

Film, News, Politics


The latest gathering of the Scottish Film Summit was held at Film City in Glasgow, as part of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. The event attracted a wide range of industry professionals from the world of film and TV in Scotland and it was apt that we should be convening in the old Govan Burgh Hall, on the banks of the River Clyde, an area once world-renowned for shipbuilding and is now making waves to be a global player in the film industry.

The event combined a series of panel sessions and networking with a special focus on training and development in Scotland. The panel sessions covered topics such as; A Film Charter for Scotland, Young People and Talent Development, Insights into Programming, Independent Distribution for Independent Films, The Future of Scottish Screenwriting and Thoughts on Incentives, Co-Productions and Film Finance.

The open format of the panel sessions allowed the audience to ask questions and to spark further discussion and debate. The variety of panelists, from established and experienced film industry figures to up-and-coming filmmakers provided an opportunity for a cross-section of society to have an inclusive and open debate on the state of the industry in Scotland. It was encouraging to hear some of the Scottish success stories, including the major film productions that have recently been produced by companies based at Film City and to learn of new development programmes and incentives such as the Scottish Film Talent Network. However it was also disheartening to realise that major Scottish production companies face the same funding issues as the smaller players, when it comes to getting projects from script to screen. It was also sad to hear that a grassroots organisation like GMAC has had it’s funding cut this year, which beggars belief at a time when the industry should be doing all it can to engage and nurture the next generation of filmmakers in this country.

After the final panel sessions, guests mingled during the networking drinks in the café, mulling over a day they’d spent dissecting and discussing the film industry in Scotland. The general consensus seemed to be that our industry has a wealth of talent, but there is a severe lack of funding and infrastructure to allow it to flourish. The saga over the location of a Scottish Film Studio is a case in point, by stagnating over a decision we have lost out on major productions to our Celtic neighbours and has probably set the industry back several years.

It’s evident that we need a drastic overhaul of the industry in Scotland if we are to develop and nurture homegrown talent and prevent a talent drain to other countries. We need a dedicated film body, backed by substantial government investment in order to fund Scottish projects and to attract major film productions to this country. The funding bodies and government must realise that we have to speculate to accumulate, the longer we dilly-dally on key decisions then the further we fall behind.

It might be auspicious that the Film Summit took place in Govan, as the Govan Burgh Arms motto, which is proudly displayed at the front entrance of Film City states ‘Nihil Sine Labore’ – nothing without work. Scotland has the workforce, the skills and talent, we also have the tenacity to be world-renowned once again, but without the infrastructure we have little chance of success.

The Insecurity of My Creativity

Entertainment, Film, News

Joseph Andrew Mclean

I’ve neglected my blog, or as I like to refer to it, the online diary of a mentalist, for a few months. During this barren spell I’ve missed venting my spleen about things and stuff. I’ve missed having a proper rant about a subject out-with the limited 140 characters that are available on Twitter. So to make up for lost time I’m going to pour my heart and soul out about my experience of living with the insecurity of creativity. I feel as manic as Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire, when he spews out his memo/mission statement and then wakes up in a blind panic thinking “what have I done?” I also don’t need to rush off to a 24/7 printers shop in the pouring rain, I just hit post and it’s out there in cyberspace to be spammed, hopefully read and who knows maybe even inspire someone to learn from a few of my mistakes. As the print shop guy says to Jerry Maguire “That’s how you become great man, hang your balls out there.”

So here I go, balls out there style – Why am I so insecure about creativity? I’m not insecure in a financial sense or in a panic about future job prospects. I wish it was that simple, but it’s more complicated. It may seem trivial to some, but I’ve been crippled by a self-induced insecurity about my creativity. How could I, a boy from Partick have the nerve to call himself a writer or a filmmaker? An admission such as this leaves you wide open to some derisory mocking about getting a ‘real’ job. But I’ve never really had a real job. I’m 34 years old and I feel like I’ve served my apprenticeship, I’ve gained the qualifications to back up my claim, but yet there’s still that niggling doubt hanging over me, like a pin being held millimetres away from a balloon, it’s ready to burst my grand plans in an implosion of self-sabotage.

Since graduating as a mature student from the University of Glasgow with an MA in English Literature and Politics, I’ve managed to set up my own production company and I’m producing work for a variety of clients, including shooting music and corporate videos. I’ve also been involved in ongoing meetings with a TV station about some of my projects and ideas. Yet there is still that niggling doubt of being accepted, but who am I trying to gain acceptance from and why do I crave their validation? I know I’m certainly not a member of the Glasgow media set, I’m as far removed from that as you can possibly get. I’m a BAFTA Scotland member and I attend regular screenings and talks, but I’m not one of them, I’m an outsider and I probably always will be, but should I let this bother me? After all, I’m working and I’m shooting projects on a regular basis and I’m happy, so why let an inconsequential thing like approval (from people who will never fully accept me as one of their own) get to me.

I’ve tried to convince myself that after studying at University, including studying screenwriting at the University of California, that I’ve proved my worth, but the insecurity is still there. If someone asks me what I do, I feel it’s pretentious to say filmmaker. I’ve actually caught myself saying I work for a media company! I sometimes question if this attitude will hold me back and ponder if I’m actually projecting my insecurity outwards towards industry targets, as it’s easier to lay the blame at their door for not getting a break or recognition? Maybe that break will come, as I feel like I’m chipping away at a metaphorical brick wall, armed with a dream, hunger and desire to succeed. To me it’s like grasping a small rock hammer and chisel to tear down a stone obstruction that’s of a Berlin wall scale. But as long as I keep writing, as long as I keep making stuff and getting it out there, then at least I will be ready to capitalise on any breaches of the industries defences. All I need is to see a little chink of light through the great wall and it could be enough to inspire me to work harder and faster to tear the fucking thing to a pile of rubble.

I ultimately know the insecurity of my creativity lies within and I know I’m going to have to work on being confident enough to call myself a filmmaker and not be embarrassed by it, after all, if I’d studied for 4 years to be in any other profession other than a creative one I highly doubt if I’d be embarrassed to say what I did for a living. So, here’s to being creative, making stuff and getting it out there into the ether, here’s to taking abstract ideas and transforming them into tangible and quantifiable end products that can be viewed, dissected and critiqued. Perhaps having enough of these end products will enable me to finally feel comfortable with the label that I’ve attached to myself – Joseph Andrew Mclean, filmmaker.

Utopia: The Temple of Paradise – Trailer

Entertainment, Film

One man’s heaven is another man’s hell.

Inspired by the real life events of Jim Jones and his 1970s Cult – The Peoples Temple, from their origins in America to their tragic end in Jonestown, Guyana. This drama set in California & Mexico, is the story of one man’s rise to power from salesman to cult leader within the ‘Temple of Paradise’

Written & Directed by Joseph Andrew Mclean
Stars: Evan Miller and Rachael Ferris


Short Film: First Impressions

Entertainment, Film

It’s said you only get one opportunity to make a first impression.

Through the journey of James we discover that appearances can be deceiving and sometimes we are too quick to judge others.

James is late for his first class at the University of Glasgow and his mind is working overtime as he tries to hurry along his journey, in order to make it to class on time.

James is agitated by the man’s behaviour at the bus stop and on the bus, so much so that he moves downstairs. The irony is the man is just as pent-up as James, as he’s in a rush to collect his car from the garage.

He receives a text telling him the garage will be closing at 5pm and this agitates him further. He is oblivious to James as he is focused on getting his car back and getting off public transport.

The mechanic texts back to tell the man he will meet him on Dumbarton Rd with his car keys so that he can collect his car. When the man steps off the bus and waves across the road to the mechanic, he notices James staring at him & the penny drops that James has been acting ‘shady’ the whole journey, at the bus stop, on the top deck and now on the bottom deck looking out the window.

As both men go on their separate journeys, they both come away with a first impression of each other. The man tells the mechanic of his encounter on the bus with James and James tells his new classmates, as part of an ice breaker exercise.

In the end they have both been influenced by ‘First Impressions’ and do not consider the other persons feelings, what’s maybe happening in their life or their personal issues. They form an opinion and an impression and as they tell their story, they project that onto others, the cycle keeps on going.

Soundtrack: Copyright
Moby “Brownie”
Moby “Repeater”
Moby “We Start”
Moby “Look Back In”