Monday, 1 April 2013

My journey into filmmaking

I started making films in 2003 when we got our first digital video camera, a JVC mini-dv one. I still can't believe that was 10 years ago. I spent the summer making random videos with my brother and I had no editing capability. Being able to tell a visual story appealed to me and I wanted to learn more about filmmaking. In 2005 I finally got hold of a firewire cable and this allowed me to transfer footage to my PC so I could edit it for the first time. This opened up a whole new dimension for me and the quality of my films would increase from that point. Initially, I used Windows Movie Maker but then I moved onto Pinnacle Studio which had a lot more features. During the summer of 2005 I made a weird horror movie that I forgot all about until I found it on my old computer recently. This was probably the first time I used fake blood extensively and it looked like crap. Too pink and obviously fake. 

My special effects improved the following year when I found a tutorial on the internet demonstrating the compressed air blood squib effect. Eventually, I was able to create this special effect myself but it took many years for me to perfect it. I still had a lot to learn but the internet was there and much of what I know is down to stuff I have found on the web. In 2007 I delved into visual effects and this allowed me to experiment with adding muzzle flashes to gunshots. A year later, I started to experiment with green screen effects which I created using a Subbuteo mat. That same year, I discovered Grindhouse. This inspired me to make my films look old and damaged like the exploitation films from the 70s and 80s. I actually made my own fake trailer back then titled MacHaggis which was about a stereotypical Scottish guy defending his village from the British army. 

I got a High Definition Panasonic video camera for Christmas and I used it a lot throughout 2009. This was also my last year at sixth form and I had to start planning for the the future. My school organised a lot of visits to different universities and one particular university made me finally realise what I wanted to do. Staffordshire University had a Film Production Technology course and their facilities and equipment impressed me a lot so I decided that I wanted to do film after I left school. In my last year of sixth form, I was a senior member of the school's newly established TV channel and I coordinated the production team as we reported on events. This developed important skills in teamwork and communication that would no doubt benefit me when I started projects at university. After my A-levels, I had the whole summer to make more films. I also filmed a band at a local venue and produced a DVD for them.

In August, I went to the school for the last time to collect my A-level results and I was disappointed because I didn't get the required grades. For half an hour I thought that I had missed out on my chance to study film at university but at home I checked online and to my relief the university had offered me a place on their film foundation course. This would last for 2 years but would then allow me to top-up with the degree course. I was so relieved because it meant that I would be going to the same university and eventually I would get to do the degree.

So the summer ended and I started university. Everybody was a stranger but I made new friends straight away because for the first time I was around people who had the same passion as me. In my first year I studied many different modules including film, scriptwriting, digital image production, 3D modelling, website design and history of film. My first year at university was probably the happiest I've even been in my life. The work became more intense in my second year but I still enjoyed it because it was something I loved doing. By summer 2011 I had done my big project for the foundation course and got a very high mark (a distinction). This allowed me to move onto the degree course and I graduated with a HND that same year. 

In my third year (technically my second according to the university level) the modules became harder but I managed. I passed all my modules but I was close to failing a few of them. In my final year, I only had to do the Final Year Project dissertation but I only had 3 months to do it in. I worked very hard and I no longer had the support of working in a team. I managed though and got all my work in before the deadline. I also started my own film production company. So what does the future hold?

I want to get more experience working in a film environment. I've already worked on a few video projects for my local football club and I've approached various organisations offering my film and video services. I'll also continue to make my own films and maybe one day I'll get a top job in the film industry.  


No comments:

Post a comment