What are you waiting for?
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. No, wait, a filmmaker. I always get that wrong. As a kid my best mate had a VHS player and we’d watch everything from Stanley Kubrick to Sam Raimi (‘The Evil Dead’ and ‘The Shining’ having a particularly drastic impact on a young mind). That planted the seed. Film was the thing.
And Raindance really helped form that love into something real. You look at the professional film world and it can be an intimidating place. Elliot and his team do a great job of making it accessible, approachable, and most importantly, fun. I remember meeting wannabe filmmakers at the Raindance mixer events and thinking “there’s a lot of passion for filmmaking here”. But there was also a hesitancy in committing to making films. I spoke to one writer who’d penned 15 short films, I asked him “How many have you made?”, “None” he replied, looking a little sheepish. I told him to make a film, I told him to not think about what other people would think, or say, or whether they liked it or not – the first film you make is for you.
In that room, where dozens of people are all waiting for one person to stand up and say “Let’s do this”, there are hundreds of films desperate to be made – and all it needs a modest commitment to getting it done and the right people.
That sentiment is something I extoll all the time in both my commercial and personal work. There’s never a best time to make a film, so you might as well get on with it and get it done. Find a team, write a script that’s very doable, and make it. Learn from it. Then make another, better film. You are going to make mistakes, everyone does. Learn from it and move on.
I have really fond memories of The Saturday Film School. I met the lovely team of Andy Keen and Sue Moyce there, who I collaborated with on my first short film ‘The Last Intimate Thing’. Andy is a writer/producer, and Sue an Executive Producer. We set ourselves the goal of making a film there and then, which we did. No lie, it was a tough ride. But we ended up with an award-winning film and a sense of achievement & accomplishment that fuels our passion for filmmaking today. I’ve another two films in pre-production, one of them starting very soon.
If I was going to give one piece of advice to first-time filmmakers it would be “What are you waiting for? Go and make it happen”. No one will do it for you and once you’ve wrapped you’ll feel like the gangster filmmaker you are.