Catherine has worked for several film companies and is based in London, where most of the film industry in England lives. She has lots of experience and contacts in the industry and has previously recommended opportunities to me before but due to University commitments they haven’t worked out.
I feel as though Catherine is an important contact as she is very well connected individual and is a very good networker. She could potentially be useful for me as a source of knowledge, and more importantly a potential source of work in the future.
I am pleased with how my professional portfolio has turned out. Squarespace was really easy to use and I was able to get a clean looking design that would fit in amongst the websites of other film directors.
I have kept the website very simple, with only a few pages to navigate through, making it very easy for people using to check out my work and find out how to contact me, which they can also do directly through the website.
The first page users see when they visit the site is a cover page which quickly tells you who the site belongs to and that this person is a director. Its a nice introduction to the site and it gives it that extra touch. It has a couple of behind the scenes stills that rotate between each other, which gives people a look at me in action straight off the bat. After that, the rest of the website is clean looking, simple and to the point. There aren’t long pieces of text to read through, the about section is very brief which keeps in fitting with the ethos of the whole site, and my work and points of contact are clear and easy to locate.
I sent the link to my site to one of my professional contacts, Ross Hammond, so I could get some feedback. I felt that Ross would be a good person to send it to as he works as a graphic designer for a marketing company, so that puts him in a good position to say whether the site is professional hand would have the desired impact on people visiting.
As you can see in the screenshot from the out email discussion, Ross feels as though the site works well as a professional portfolio, stylistically and practically, but has suggested more imagery could be used to give a better look into the processes of the filmmaking. This is something I agree with, but at the moment I simply do not have enough behind the scenes footage form the work I have done, which is something I need to think about when carrying out future projects.
Overall I am really happy with the portfolio, and I feel as though It suits its purpose perfectly. My only worry about the site, and something I am going to put some thought into, is the uniqueness of it, or the lack of. Although the work and info is about me, of which there is only one of in the world, the style and presentation is very similar to other professional portfolios out there. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would be good, potentially when I have more work under my belt, to come up with a more creative way to show it off, perhaps with just a film, or at least some sort of creative experience rather than just a normal website. However, this is not of the upmost importance just yet, and for the foreseeable future I think the portfolio as it is is more than suitable.
You can view the finished portfolio here: www.alextwamley.com
Johnny Webb is the co-founder and managing director on independent film and television company, Sundog Pictures. I was fortunate enough to have taken on a month long internship with Sundog Pictures last year, and had the chance to work with Johnny.
Since carrying out the internship around a year ago, I have since been asked to comeback for a two day trial in regards to an edit assistant role at the company. For this, I had to be interviewed by Johnny and another person from Sundog Pictures. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job as it was not suited to the experience I have, but they have said they will keep me in mind for future roles that might fit me better.
Johnny is an important contact for me as I know he could potentially have junior role for me at the company in the near future, which could be my beginning in the film industry.
Whilst in pre-production for my FMP, I thought it would be a good idea to get some advice from directors who have made similar style films to mine. After watching some of the previous years FMP’s I stumbled across the short film Citizen by a former student, Dale Driver. Citizen is a very well made short SciFi film that is very dark and atmospheric, which is was something I wanted to achieve with my own film. And although made on an extremely small budget, it has a high production value feel, something else I wanted to replicate.
I connected with Dale on Linkedin and messaged him for advice on various aspects of the filmmaking process. Getting advice from someone who had been in the exact same situation the previous year was really useful to me, as it helped to put what was ahead of me into perspective, and the task of making a short SciFi film felt a lot more achievable.
Dale is an important contact because he has been almost exactly the same thing process I am about to go through, and it is good to know someone who has gotten through that and come out with a job. He also works for a film production company called Blue Ridge Films, which could potentially be a source of freelance directing work in the future.
blueridgefilms [online]. (2015). Available from: <http://www.blueridgefilms.co.uk/>. [Accessed 18th May 2015].
Martin Howden is another contact I have gained through my internship at at Sundog Pictures. Whilst at the company, I carried out a lot of work for Martin, creating promotional material with Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, for the BBC3 series Reggie Yates: Extreme South Africa.
Martin was the social media producer for Sundog Pictures, but has recently move on to become channel producer at a company called Bigballs Films, a creative media agency in London.
I feel that Martin will be an important contact for me as we have already worked closely together at Sundog Pictures, and with his experience, contact, and knowledge of the industry, Martin could have a part to play in getting my foot in the door of the film industry.
bigballsfilms [online]. (2015). Available from: <http://bigballsfilms.com/>. [Accessed 15th May 2015].
If I want to become a film director, I need to know what skills I need to develop, and figure out how I am going to develop them. Creative Skillset sets out a number of skills a director needs to fill the role successfully, for example “be a strong and confident leader”, “have excellent communication and interpersonal skills”, and “inspire and motivate the team” (creativeskillset.org, 2015), amongst others. With those in mind, what can I be doing to develop these skill to increase my chance of success in the future.
Creative Skillset suggests one way to develop these skills is by “observing successful directors at work” (creativeskillset.org, 2015), this way you get to witness someone who has years of experience in the area, and more importantly, has perfected the craft of directing. This is something I need to be doing more of, and no doubt will in the future when working as a runner on film shoots. Another practical way of developing directing skills is to ‘direct’, which sounds like an obvious one, but this has two major benefits. The first is the very obvious fact that the more you do something the better you become at it, and the more you direct, the more the art of directing can be crafted and a personal style can be developed. The second reason as to why going out and directing is beneficial, is that you are constantly building our portfolio, which is how you sell yourself, and the more work you have to choose from for your portfolio or showreel, the better.
There are non-physical ways of learning how the skills of a film director, including online resources, such as the Vimeo Video School. Creative Skillset determines one major skill of the director to be an “extensive understanding of the entire filmmaking process, from both technical and creative points of view” (creativeskillset.org, 2015), which make the Vimeo Video School a more than suitable toolbox for the job, as it offers a wealth of knowledge in the form of video tutorials about all the technical aspects of filmmaking. As for an online resource for directors, NoFilmSchool.com offers a similar service as Vimeo, but covers a much broader range of skills from creative to technical, and claims to be “the leading worldwide community of filmmakers, video producers, and independent creatives.” (nofilmschool.com, 2015).
Another valuable resource that can be used to help develop directorial skills is the increasingly overlooked medium of books. After seeking directing advice from Mouse X (2014) director Justin Tagg, he highlighted the importance of a book by Judith Weston called ‘Directing Actors’. The book covers numerous elements of directing, specifically that of directing actors, which is something I have recently done, and plan to be doing a lot of in the future.
In conclusion, it is very important that I further my understanding of what it means to be a director and skills required to be a successful one. Not only do I need to identify these skills, but I need to actively develop them through practical experience and filmmaking opportunities, as well as any useful resources I can get my hands on.
creativeskillset [online]. (2015). Available from: <http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/758_director>. [Accessed 16th May 2015].
Judith Weston (1996). Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television. N/A. ed. US: Michael Wiese Productions.
Mouse X. (2014). Short Film. Directed by Justin Tagg. UK: Attercop Productions.
nofilmschool [online]. (2015). Available from: <http://nofilmschool.com/about>. [Accessed 16th May 2015].
Vimeo [online]. (2015). Available from: <https://vimeo.com/videoschool>. [Accessed 16th May 2015].