Experience? Such an overrated quality. When a cameraman tries to sell himself to me with the line “I have over twenty years of experience”, my first thought is: “that could very well be twenty years of the wrong experience.” Perhaps it helps if you make apple pies, or build mega container ships, but in film experience is not a great currency, only a comfort for the insecure.

After directing and/or producing some twenty feature films I face the horror of decision making still every day. You do learn that as a director you sit on a pedestal, almost all people around you think that you know what you’re doing, after all you’re the director! But do you really know? Of course not. At best you trust your instincts (and that is not the same as experience).

We just finished the shooting of a new film with the working title LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER. Many filmmakersfriends ask “How much was the budget? How many shooting days.” No one asks about the deeper layers. It’s a given that the film will have a valuable message, but no use talking about it. Filmmakers don’t care about content. I for many years agreed. Though not anymore. Talking about budget and shooting days is so quickly an apologetic story. “Oh you only had 8 shooting days? Well if the film is total shit, you are forgiven.” These days your film is in competition with everyone and you better not count on any sympathy if it doesn’t look good. The only things that matters are the story, the characters and the theme.

TIP ONE for aspiring filmmakers (but you’re only allowed to read on if you help us with our survey): You need technical tools to make a film. You need to know the power of a camera, the suggestive quality of light, the persuasion of sound. But they are tools. Love them. Crave them. But never put them above your vision. And believe me it is very, very tempting to hide behind the tools, but only your vision will communicate with your audience.

Time for the quid pro quo. We asked the Raindance fans about our title a week ago in a survey. An overwhelming and quite heart-warming response came back with many suggestions. We distilled all those answers and this is the top five. Which one do you like best?

Our film is a modern Romeo and Juliet tale between Vida from a rich London family and Arthur from a working class Welsh background. They love each other, but their families have other ideas. Off beat, quirky, touching and always utterly truthful with Johnny Flynn and Lydia Wilson in the leads, and Juliet Stevenson, Henry Goodman, Jessica Gunning and Matt Barber.

Our current title choices are

  • THICKER THAN WATER
  • VIDA & ARTHUR
  • FISH GET LOST TOO
  • HOPEFULLY, MAYBE

Please send us your opinion. It will really help us.

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

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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