Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Giving something back

Last year I was invited on to a panel to assess short films by third year film students. I found it incredibly rewarding and enjoyed the process of following their progress over the months from initial pitch to their finished film.
I especially enjoyed being able to help the students refine their work and build their confidence and make sure they were able to express themselves fully as filmmakers.

After being on the panel it made me think about how I never had any kind of support when I started off, and then I met a couple of young filmmakers who also felt very isolated and in need of help and support themselves.

To this end, I've begun to give some of my time to more film students to try and share my experience, as someone who is out there doing it for themselves.
I don't think it's about me telling people what they should or shouldn't do, but more a case of don't make the mistakes I made! And hopefully making them feel that there is someone they can talk to and learn from.

It's always a tricky balance to work as a filmmaker and also do other things, but hopefully I've got the balance right and it will mean I will be able to lend my knowledge as an active filmmaker rather than come at it academically.
Whilst, the academic side of things has a vital role to play, I hope my own approach will supplement the students learning, coming "from the coal face" as it were.

I also have strong feelings on the industry that surrounds budding writers and directors etc. For me, there are too many people out there who call themselves script doctors or film experts who simply don't have the body of work or the industry experience to justify their fees or the "knowledge" they are imparting.
Some of those workshops and services genuinely make me angry.
In fact I hope to be able to announce something I'm putting together to address this situation very soon.

You know... I'm not doing any of this to be worthy and make my halo glow any brighter.
I'm doing it because I enjoy it, and to be honest, I'm tired of the media world becoming more and more elitist because of the need to have money behind you if you want to make it.
I want to try and empower people and help set their creativity free. Not break scripts or films down into "beats" and "acts" and other anodyne analytical phrases.
I want to encourage a creative atmosphere and a creative state of mind. To say "it's okay to call yourself an artist".

I'd love it, if any of the students I'm working with, benefited in their career from the advice I gave them. Whether thats a tip on filming, or a piece of motivation when they are feeling low. That would be a really great feeling.

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