So I’ve been stuck in a mini rut recently with my filmmaking. Rut isn’t the right word, because I’ve been very lucky to be getting some very cool work in at the minute and I’m blessed to be doing what I do. I’ll never stop being grateful for everything I have, so I’m not going to moan, I guess I’ve just got an itch that needs scratching, a yearning for something slightly different. Career wise, things are moving in the right direction and I’m always busy with some project or another. I’m still a nobody in this huge industry so I’m not trying to overstate where I am, but I’m getting there slowly, juggling shooting with university and all that. So this isn’t about the direction I’m going in, it’s about missing my roots of making fun little hand held films with no point other than pleasure (see below for examples of silly little edits).
I guess reflecting and longing for your roots and the beginnings of a path is natural with every aspect of life. Like the university student missing school days or the married couple longing for the fire of their first dates. This is because the first step on a journey is exciting and fresh and as the journey progresses, you encounter difficulties and grow weary from the road, so it’s an easy thing to look fondly on those first steps. The steps itself may not be all that valuable in and of themselves but perhaps it is the process of memory and longing itself which holds the power. Deep. That’s what you get from a filmmaker studying philosophy with a blog to spout crap on. I know full well that in and of itself, a quick little film about my parents drinking coffee is nowhere near as technically good as the snowboard film I’m editing…and yet…I’m yearning for the fun little quick films with no organisation or hardship required.
Maybe as you get better at things, they get more complicated because expectations increase and what you’re trying to pull of is harder to orchestrate. I think that works across all walks of life. So I guess I’m looking for easy thrills. It’s not what I want to do exclusively, but I guess I need that quick out every so often. I used to carry my camera around everywhere and shoot anything I fancied and now I only shoot when I’m hired for a job. Obviously my kit and my techniques back then weren’t honed so it was all rough but even now, my style on the corporate jobs emulates my early stuff but in a more refined, tidy, deliberate way with tripods instead of cameras pressed against my bossom and expesnive lenses instead of plastic kit lenses. But I really miss the whole just doing it thing. Maybe I’ve changed so much as a filmmaker that I won’t even be able to make those spontaneous little movies, maybe that stuff was just part of the process of getting the crap out before moving onto better things. Or maybe I’ll be able to revisit the mundane things I love filming but with an even better eye and make something that crosses that line between professional and fun. I’ll see. There’s no doubt that I’m going to try, whatever the outcome. But the trick is being spontaneous…and yet I’m planning the spontaneity…that’s a contradiction so it just won’t work. I’ll have to just keep my camera by my side in case I feel that inspiration.
Being totally unchained without confines ultimately leads to a lack of direction. Structure is the natural progression of something worthwile so that you’re able to replicate, repeat and move forward. So I’m not saying ditch the career for the fun, I’m saying take the career path but also have the fun times too. It’s like football I guess. Having a kick about with mates is well and good but you’ll never become a world star unless you follow some kind of structure; training, being scouted, playing for a club etc. Once you’re in that system and that structure, you can keep progressing up that ladder which you just wouldn’t be able to do if you were JUST playing football in the park. But even in that structured world, the footballer needs to make time for those kickabouts in the park again just for the fun to reconnect with his passion. But the kickabouts won’t make you a pro, but they will make you happy. Strike the right balance and you can be a happy pro. That’s what I want and hopefully as I move up the ladder the lines between fun and work become more blurred until they merge and I can make the fun stuff that is good and with a purpose. That’s the dream for everyone I think.
SO. My promise to myself this summer is to make more fun little edits, shake off all the constraints and just run free. If I make crap, it’s crap. I don’t care as long as I’m having a good time. It’s what I used to do. But I also miss going out and filming with friends and sharing that passion. So, because of that, I also want to start a loose, easy going thing for filmmakers and actors to meet up. An event or something where people just quit their yapping and ‘networking’ and just get their creative juices flowing and shoot films. No script needed, no grand plans – just making. If the film is garbage, who cares as long as you’ve learnt something. If the concept is worthwhile then people can develop it it and it doesn’t matter if it takes 10 minutes to do or 10 days. My proposal is just putting people in a pot together and seeing what happens from that initial spontaneous energy. So you’d get people turning up with cameras, props, makeup or monologues – if all the tools are there then I’m sure something cool can be crafted. If it can’t, then we should all just stop calling ourselves creative. Right now, I’m pitching the idea to some filmmakers in my contacts list to see what they think and if they would get involved with something like this one day in the summer. If the feedback is positive from my peers then I’ll get on organising it. A human petri dish designed to breed films and frolics. What do you think?