With Christmas plans dashed by the rampant COVID, filmmakers the world over are faced with the new challenge of how to celebrate Christmas in Tier 4 Lockdown.

Don’t yield to the despair of ruined Holiday plans. This is so-called second wave anxiety. And it’s normal to feel anxious after a most difficult year. If you are living alone, as many Raindancers are, then this holiday season will likely induce increased feelings of anxiety and loneliness.

The filmmakers who run Raindance Film Festival have devised a series of activities that not only alleviate gloom, but will add festival cheer.

6 Ways Filmmakers Celebrate Christmas in Tier 4 Lockdown

I hope this doesn’t sound pompous. I write this really as a note to self. As I read this again I realise how important it is to constantly revisit one’s daily life and adjust in order to keep one’s mind and body intact.

6. Routine is king

Routine adds structure to your day, no matter which day of the year it is. If you haven’t already, devise a diary for your day that includes waking, meditation and some self-love. Lockdown can really affect your self-esteem too.

Here’s some simple steps to re-build your self-esteem. Learn to banish lethargy. It’s especially important  over this disappointing Holiday season:

  • Satisfy your practical, physiological needs

Take care of yourself. Haircuts might not be possible right now. But you can still exercise, polish your shoes and iron your cloths. And nothing builds self-esteem more than a clean and fragrant body.

  • Safety and security needs

The new normal means new ways of being. Have you got your gel and mask at your ready when you are ready to go out? Look after your senses too. Turn off the COVID news. Make yourself a playlist of calming music. Set your speed-dial with a trusted friend you cn call if you need a shoulder to cry on. Decide what you need to feel safe, and make it happen.

  • Human contact needs

Humans are made for interaction. These long lockdown periods can really make you desperate for human contact. Make a list of those people that mean the most to you. Reach out to them. don’t wait for them to contact you. Be bold. Take the first step yourself and initiate your social interactions. You’ll feel really good about how you are taking charge of your life.

Raindance has frequent on-line networking events we call Boozin’ N’ Schmoozin’

There is another excellent creative community for creatives of all the disciplines called Collab Writers. They have monthly networking sessions, currently free during Lockdown. The next one on Thursday 7th January is with the media lawyer, Tony Morris. Why not book yourself a free ticket?

  • Accomplishment needs

Creating to-do list and ticking them off gives you a terrific feeling. Banish lockdown lethargy: Create a to-do list. Put down everything, no matter how trivial. And reward yourself every time you tick something off!

  • Creative needs

What turns you on? Do you love writing, painting, sewing, drawing or cooking? Has lockdown given you new passions like mindfulness or science? Whatever it is, structure your day and allow your creative side to take you over. Go with the flow.

5. Learn a new skill

If the hours are passing slowly like sticky molasses, why not burn up a few hours by learning a new skill? Have you ever thought of learning how to play a musical instrument?

Assuming you have a musical instrument, here is a great web page where you can learn 5 different music skills. If you don’t have an instrument, perhaps you can sing, or become a beat boxer!

4. Hone your craft

Studying filmmaking need not be expensive. There are countless new tutorials on Youtube.

My personal favourite is Studio Binder. They have a raft of fantastic blog posts. Here you can see Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins describing how he shot the movie 1917:

3. Manage your social media

Don’t waste this sequestered time! Spend an hour a day managing your social media. Even if you spend just 15 minutes a day, your social media should sparkle with dozens of new followers by the end of the holiday season. Remember, after the holiday season, and post-lockdown you are going to be super busy. You can find lots of online tools to assist you and maximise your precious hours. You can use tools like Hootsuite, to help you pre-schedule social media posts. It’s what we use at Raindance.

Here is the simple social media guide for filmmakers:

  • Aim for quantity, not quality
  • Develop a style and tone of voice
  • Be yourself. Be real. Let us get a feeling of who you are.

If you are really freaking insecure about your own social media and self-branding skills, fear not! Raindance has invited one of Europe’s top branding experts to give a series of 4 evening classes on self-branding and social media starting on Thursday January 7th.

2. Join a community

I’m assuming you are a filmmaker or screenwriter. And if you are, why not Join Raindance? Everyting at raindance starts with our members. There are over 2,000 filmmakers spread across the globe. Raindance members form meaningful collaborations. They share ideas and offer each other encouragement.

Did you know that Raindance has over 50 hours of online training. Everything from Storyboarding, Stop-frame Animation, screenwriting and film finance. Members get all this for free, And members get to call me up whenever you have filmmaker question! Get in on the creative dance. Join Raindance!

1.Be Creative

Creative expression is valuable. And important. With the current upheaval in politics and public health, your creativity matters more than ever before. Not only is creative expression excellent for your personal mental health and wellbeing – it is fabulous for those around you.

Here’s how I think it works.

I’ve worked with artists in many different media: writers, painters, dancers and sculptors. But cinema is the most important media. It’s really important not only because it combines so many different art forms. It is important because a great movie can influence and change the way people think and feel about the world and the plethora of social issues we face.

We live in troubled times. Much of the hatred in this world comes from basic misunderstanding of how people live and love and work in different cultures. When we don’t understand it is very easy to hate.

Here is where your creativity is so crucial.

A good movie, a good visual story, can do one of two things. It can take you to a new world – a world you know nothing about, and teach you how people live and love and work in different nations and culture – and through your movie you can teach us something valuable that will make us better people.

Or, it can take us to a world we already know and show us a new insight that we can use to become a better place.

Fade out

As we hunker down, close the shutters and retreat to our nests, my challenge to you is this: Be creative. I don’t care if you use clay, or letters, or pixels. All I know is that out there in the world of Raindance, there is a huge amount of talent.

Please seize the day. Banish negativity. Turn off the news. Express yourself. Tell us your stories. And remember: Raindance is here to help.

Ask me how Raindance Film School can help you fulfil your creative ambitions:

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About 

Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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