Blog

My Week In Film

Last month, I was sat in the Jobcentre. It’s a dark, depressing place, especially for a nearly 21 year old. I want a job, a life, a future. Unfortunately for some bizarre reason, I’m yet to succeed in the job market. Where was I? Oh yeah, the Jobcentre.

So I was sat waiting for an appointment, minding my own business, when I was approached by a young bubbly woman. I never got her name, as this was the only time she popped up. She asked me how old I was and if I was interested in any courses provided by The Princes Trust. The courses on offer were; working in a hospital, working in a shop, or working on a film (in that order).

Hospitals are not my cup of tea, and I haven’t had any success in retail, but the idea of working in film intrigued me. The night before I had been talking to my Mum about throwing myself in the deep-end and taking life as it comes, rather than waiting around and wondering what went wrong. The nice bubbly woman finished explaining the course and asked me what I thought, to which I (without giving it any more thought) said yes.

She explained to my advisor, who was more than happy for me to be doing a course. More on my CV, less time sat at home doing nothing, and if I passed I got a qualification. It was a win-win situation.

After my appointment with my advisor, nice bubbly woman took me to her colleague, Camilla. Just had a quick Google, so glad I spelt colleague right… Camilla was really great. She took my details, emailed me information about a taster day and unlike most advisors in that sort of area, took a bit of time to get to know me. I left happy, and excited for the week that was to follow.

The next week came pretty quickly, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re excited. I was nervous too, won’t lie there, but the idea of a new opportunity and meeting new people felt great. I wasn’t sure I was in the right place, and I was a little late due to traffic (bloody roadworks and slow buses) but I eventually made my way into the Creator College in town.

It’s not really a town, it’s actually a city (also the UK City Of Culture for 2017 – cheap plug) but the people of Hull seem to call it town, so I might as well. I’ve been here 7 years…

The college was rather interesting from a presentation standpoint. I was expecting a classroom, tables, chairs, interactive whiteboard, generic carpet and walls. The usual stuff you see in school. Whilst some of those things were there, it was so much different.

Big wooden floor, open space in the middle, settee’s, chairs, 2 desks, some computers, and a lot of filming equiptment (including a green screen). I guess I got chills walking in, not just because it was cold in there (jumpers are a must, even in heatwaves), but because suddenly it was so real. I was going to be making a film.

The first person I met was Paul, a Princes Trust worker, who oversaw the whole project from start to finish. The next person I met, wasn’t just one person but in fact the whole group. Paul had apparently had the great idea to get us into the spirit of things by arranging a circle of people and throwing a bean bag around. Then two bean bags. Then three bean bags. Five minutes of that and my brain was already hurting. What happened next?

You guessed it, more bean bags and more games, sitting down this time. Wonderful start to the day. At least I learnt some names. Then came an introduction to the course. Local film maker Mal. Not sure of his full name and hadn’t heard of him prior, but he was alright. Admittedly didn’t think much of him at first, but eventually I came to respect him and understand his methods. He isn’t a film making teacher for no reason, and I know that now.

Mal informed us of what we would be doing the next week, and spoke a little about the basics of film, before introducing us to an artist named Jon Keen, who we would be working with the following week. We learnt how to use the lights, green screen and then how to edit. I was convinced, and signed up for the full week. We all said our goodbyes as Jeremy (another guy who signed up) played us out with music on the piano.

The next time we met was for our first day. We were greeted to more shenanigans by Paul, this time a game that went completely wrong. Not quite sure what he expected, asking 22 people to each hold drain pipe pieces and carry a small ball around 4 tables length ways. Then came the learning, from Mal. He asked us to come up with our ideas, and arrange teams.

I’d spent all morning scouting, deciding who I want on my team, only for all those people to end up on different teams. I spoke to the remaining few. Emalie, Jade, Ben and Liam. I decided to just go with it, and hope for the best. I suggested the idea of a Jobcentre mockumentary, which they all liked the idea of. We then sat and tweaked our idea, deciding what we would do next.

Right off the bat I had an idea, so we piled outside. It turned out to be a terrible idea and was scrapped. Not much more was done that day, a little bit too much talking going on and I went home very tightly wound. I felt like I was the only one taking it seriously, and was already prepared to quit. The team convinced me to stay that night, and I did. I’m glad too, because what followed was a fantastic week. I seriously regret doubting the team at first, they all contributed with ideas, using the equiptment, everything. I wouldn’t have wanted another team.

The week was busy, but fun. We learnt a lot from Mal and Jon, and got a fair bit of filming done. Ben improvised everything, and nailed his performances, Emalie was a great sound person, and Liam was great too. He probably worked harder than us all, being on camera, doing some camera work (all of which was better than what I filmed) and did the majority of the editing with Ben. We also had Jade and later, Shaunna who joined us the second day. They were hilarious.

Both doing well in their roles, despite clearly being a little nervous, although that might’ve just been the Monster Energy flowing through them. I have since dubbed them Giggles Galore, as they wouldn’t stop laughing. I like to think we all enjoyed making our film, I know I did and Jon definitely did. Also throughout the week, I got to mingle and talk with other teams. I got on really well with Sam, James and Tom who I guess I knew prior, but had never spoken too.

Their film was so much better than ours, and featured a voice over cameo from Emalie. We had special guests talking to us too. Most notably Chris Hees, a BAFTA winning film maker, who much like Mal I hadn’t heard of before. We listened to him talk and watched a film he had made. Needless to say, I won’t be forgetting his name anytime soon. We also met Annmarie, a photographer turned film maker. She took our details for potential future opportunities.

On the Friday, it was showtime. We finished our films, added music (thanks Sam for the tip) and got ready to show them. We invited our own guests, as well as having Princes Trust guests in the back. My guests included my girlfriend and her parents, along with my best friend and her boyfriend.

It was a short, but fun day. We showed our films, got our Bronze Arts Awards and all had a laugh. Despite being a purposely bad film that ended up even worse than intended, our film “Alan’s Empty Pockets” seemed to go down well with people. Everyone again said their goodbyes, Jeremy once again played us out to music and we all went our own ways.

In closing of this rather long blog post, I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. I met some great people, learnt more skills and even learnt more about myself. I came out of it more confident, with new friends, an award, and a desire to carry on making films.

So what does the future hold? Do I go on to actually make more films? Do I leave it and move on? I’m really not sure at the moment, but I do know that if I get an opportunity to get involved again, it will be hard to say no.

To all involved, thank you. Thank you for teaching me so much, and for helping me achieve something for once. I hope I get to see you all again soon, and remember that Harambabe loves you. Especially you Sam…

-Mikey