Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pause for thought - When making films isn't enough.

The last year has been beyond words. Shooting one feature film, completing post-production and then shooting another.

It's been full-on and at times pretty bloody difficult.
It's no co-incidence that my health has taken a turn for the worse, and my love for what I do has been very very tested.

I've been making films on and off since the early nineties, and now and again I've wondered if I should quit and find something less stressful to do. The feeling has usually passed and been replaced by the enthusiasm for a new project.

I remember after finishing my first feature film Experiment that I never wanted to make another film... For one week.
The week after, I was itching to do another.

That's how it's been. Some crazy force has driven me along, no matter how tough it's been to get things off the ground, and no matter how many people told me I couldn't do it. Usually when people tell me things are impossible it makes me even more determined.

I've had projects that's have worked, and others that I wish were better.
I've had projects like Splendid, that I believe in, to this day, but have never been given the chance, let alone screened!
But I always take the positives, and each filmed project adds a new set of experiences and a new set of skills gained. Plus a new set of friends and work colleagues for the future.

Sadly, this last year I have been exposed to a side of the film industry that's truly turned my stomach. (quite literally, as it turns out).
There are people whose motivations and humanity make me deeply uncomfortable.
There are things I've seen, heard and experienced that I simply can't agree with.

Don't get me wrong, I know that for the creative process to find a voice, it has to accept the business side of the industry and it's not our God given right as filmmakers to be successful/be commissioned etc. Projects have to be commercial and there has to be an audience for them.

But... I believe, and will always believe, that ethics and simple human considerations like respect and gratitude should be placed above all other things.

I know this sounds a bit touchy-feely. But I'm old-fashioned like that.
I believe in words like co-operation and team work.
I believe in everyone sharing in success and helping each other through the rough patches.
I believe in paying people for what they are worth.
I believe in storytelling above all else. The (perhaps naive) notion of a group of people coming together to create something they all believe in, and fighting for that vision. I then believe they should all be rewarded for their hard work.

At this time I'm deciding what I should do next. It's a strange time, and the first time in my life as a filmmaker where I've fallen out of love with what I do.

I do believe however, that if I do decide to return to filmmaking it will be to make the right projects with the right people.

Any other motivation would simply be contrary to everything I believe in.

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