Sunday, 10 June 2012

What am I?

That line - "what am I?" is from my first feature film Experiment, and has taken on extra meaning for me as a filmmaker.

One of the decisions you have to make in filmmaking is what kind of films you're going to make.
When I was younger I did what many people do and chase what I thought was popular. I was also trying to find my own voice as a filmmaker. As a result much of my work has no consistency and it's taken a long time to reach a point where I know the kind of films I want to make and to make them naturally without thinking about how to approach them.

I'm sure there are many directors who have the ability to just walk into filmmaking and make great work, but I've had to work a long time at it. I still have a long way to go, but at least I now know who I am as a filmmaker.

The next big decision is whether I'm prepared to compromise what I direct for financial reasons. This was an easy decision for me.
I've made things for the wrong reasons, and it's a source of regret. So, I've decided that I'll only make films that I want to make. I've turned down a film already this year, and although it was a hard thing to do, I'm very glad to have done it.
I'd much rather be a filmmaker motivated by the work, and if that means having to work harder or take on other work to supplement this choice, then so be it.

Some one said to me last year that it was enough to make a film for the sake of making a film. I disagree. It's my chosen profession and defines me as an artist and a person, so I want everything I make to mean something, and for it to be for the right reasons.

As July approaches, and with it, the prospect of seeing my film The Man Inside at cinemas, I am in a curious holding pattern.
If the film is well received, things could become easier in terms of the choices of films I get to make. If the film were to fade quickly away, for whatever reason, then things will remain as they are.

But regardless of the outcome, I know now that all the films I make will be films I feel passionately about.
Strong character-driven stories that venture into often difficult territories is what really interests me.

The projects I write myself will mostly likely be very personal ones, like The Man Inside, as that's where my writing tends to be the strongest, when I write close to home.

I was asked this week how I moved from short films to feature films, and what my career plan had been.
The truth is, ten years ago, I had it all mapped out. I was driven and had a series of targets ahead of me. But now, I'm happy to let it just unfold.
I realised some time ago that having a master-plan really doesn't work for me. I'm just not that type of person. I just want to make good films. Everything else is largely irrelevant.

Its a tremendous privilege to make films and tell stories and one I shall continue to do, Whether fully funded, or as a small personal project.

No comments: