364. Conclusion

In conclusion for 364, I feel it’s been an interesting module that could have benefited from more personal guidance by sessions with my tutor, but that ‘lack’ of focus has allowed me to explore areas I didn’t consider in October, such as branching out freelance in Journalism (and then pursuing that to travel abroad, interview professionals about their careers, and then get my portfolio banded around to professionals and my FMP seen by film directors) or attempting to do more filming work alongside the module to improve my own knowledge and experience so I grow technically alongside knowledgeably.

I also feel that I’ve branched out more as a professional individual during this module, increasing my online digital reach through platforms such as LinkedIn/FB/Twitter and making regular contact with others in my circle, but also getting my website seen by unknowns, approaching jobs and applying for them throughout the module, having the confidence to put work online and take myself seriously, and stepping away from that title of ‘student’ as I’ve not really considered myself one since I got back from filming my FMP. I feel that my portfolio is beneficial and covers all the aspects that I want to portray myself as; working as a camera operator and editor, a photographer and a freelance journalist. It could perhaps benefit from having more visual work on there, but there isn’t currently much online I’m happy with showing or that is under embargo for other employees who I’ve created content for, so there is a downside to progressing as an individual because the scope of work you can show becomes less.

Overall, I feel that the module has been a lot more beneficial than professional experience in the 2nd year, or the FMP this year, as it’s given me the ability to go out and learn in places I’ve wanted to, to expand where I felt that it was crucial, and to develop in ways that I feel benefitted me the most. It’s allowed me to cut the faff out and focus on the bits that matter and will be relevant, directly targeting my aims and growth more as a ‘media professional’, which will be crucial to carry on developing and become beneficial after University.

364. Analysis

Looking back on the work for the 364 module, I feel that I have put a lot of time and effort into research both the background of the careers I’m interested in (as it’s not just one), but also the kind of portfolio I may need for each one. I also feel that I’ve put a lot of effort into my new portfolio/website to make it appealable and include elements for each of these aspects. Such as wanting to work more as a hobby photographer, so I’ve included my flickr link and a photography page, or as a freelance journalist so I’ve briefly talked about it in my about sections and included a link to the pages where I write for, and the over-reaching camera-op/editor job where i’ve included my previous written experience and visual examples.

Taking that all into account, perhaps i could have tried harder or included more for this module, one of the downsides being sacrificing greater detail in each area for getting an overview and some grounding details in a variety of careers/areas I’m interested in. Maybe I could have contacted more professionals in each area, getting a variety of feedback from professionals in each category (editor/journalist/ect) so I could compare their background and advice, and how I could have benefitted from each one and the information they would have partaken, but then the flip side to this is that I contacted a lot of individuals I know and only a handful replied to me, some also replied saying that they didn’t want to answer the questions or it was impolite to ask, so these answers I thanked for their time, but overall I’ve learnt that some people don’t mind discussing their work and experience whilst others feel it is rude or prying, so I’ve had to be careful when getting wider research into portfolios and the background of a professional’s experience. I also feel that attending events down in London and travelling out to Italy for work was incredibly beneficial as I’ve met a lot of professionals and discussed with them about their work, which has added to my own portfolio and knowledge, and research into my chosen careers whilst giving an insight into how to get onto that path.

At times I feel like I haven’t done enough for this module as it’s been self-taught mostly, and we’ve had to go out and find all the information for ourselves and discover what we wanted, so perhaps I could have done with more direction in the beginning by sitting with my tutor and discussing the aims of the module and where I wanted to take it or see myself. Without this direction however, I feel that I’ve done an admirable job in approaching professional contacts and getting feedback from people I never expected replies off. I definitely feel that my knowledge of the career choices I’m interested in has grown, and that this has benefitted my portfolio improvement greatly as I built the website up from their feedback and the research I did into other portfolios.

Overall, I feel that my work on this module has been a good attempt, and whilst I could have approached aspects differently or maybe had more of a concrete focus at times, the outcome has been the same either way and the plethora of research and knowledge gained from this is the aspect that means the most, so whilst the journey could have done with improvement the destination was good. I feel that my portfolio reflects well all my past work and acts well as a professional visual platform for myself, and that it will be helpful after University when finding work.

361. FMP. Conclusion

LANDSCAPE THE BROTHER CODE LOW RES

In conclusion for 361, I feel it’s been an interesting module where I’ve had the freedom and expression to develop where I was interested, and create something that I feel reflects my own skills well that have developed whilst at University.

Some of the highlights of the module include getting well known stars to act on my FMP, professional contacts to do steadicam, music and graphics work, and getting the film seen by other film directors who are interested in my work. I feel that I’ve branched out more and learnt a lot in my research, and the development of my FMP has been more productive than it would have if I had lectures to constantly focus upon. But the other side of this is that I feel I could have got Clifton or Karen to discuss more on my FMP or give feedback, so I could have developed it better.

My skills have grown more through the module, learning more about coordinating actors and acting as a producer by getting paperwork and organisation sorted, running a crew and organising filming for a whole week. All of this is stuff that I can use in the future and will contribute to work outside of Uni or any other productions I want to create afterwards. The process of getting a composer, graphic designer and steadicam op to work on the production has been helpful as I feel it has raised the quality of the work, ensuring that this is the best thing I’ve made out of University.

Looking back 3 years ago when I started ‘planning’ my FMP by saving up money and considering ideas to film, the current product is nowhere near what I wanted to do, as indeed I only wrote the script a few months ago, however I’m very happy with the idea I’ve produced. My original idea of a documentary has been put on the sidelines and I’m going to develop this externally, but overall I feel that my FMP summarises everything about me and everything I’ve done whilst at University.

361. FMP. Analysis

I feel that the 361 FMP module has been the most beneficial whilst being at University, as it’s provided the freedom (alongside 360) to learn about and explore what i’m most interested in about film.

This module has enabled me to research into the films I enjoy and discover more about the people behind them, the techniques that go into them, and then to utilise that as part of my own personal growth and incorporation into the work. I also feel that I’ve learnt more, by choosing to create a film, about the film making process and the work that goes into that through hiring actors, organising a budget, writing out contracts, spending several days shooting, ect. Every aspect of the FMP I’ve tried to conduct professionally and of an industry standard, so I’ve strived to do things in a way that I’d learn from and benefit in the future, and I feel this has been beneficial when you compare my other work at University (such as Cowboys Vs Zombies or Life of Crime) to that of The Brother Code, and I feel that the standard of the research and paperwork is much higher than before, and so is that of the production through paying out for professional actors/equipment/crew.

I feel that my learning and personal development throughout this module has been interesting, as I’ve researched from a variety of indie and professional sources, looking further into the background of big productions and smaller films and how they were created, and all of this has been more beneficial than sitting in lectures or reading power points, giving me the opportunity to look into and learn about subjects that directly appeal to me or things that I feel would be useful for the production. On the flip side of this, I feel that there may have been aspects I’ve unknowingly overlooked, so could have benefitted from more research or tutor discussions to iron out what I have and haven’t done, or came to a consensus on wider materials that I could have looked at.

I also feel that for the budget of the production, whilst substantial, I should have utilised a better location or a larger place, both for betting filming and so I could take more crew, as having a lack of people whilst on set wasn’t beneficial and hindered the production in aspects. Overall the production looks well and I feel that I researched into a wide range of sources, both to understand the context behind what I was making, but to also include new techniques into the film and ensure I was going the right way about making the production. One of the aspects I feel let down on is the distribution of short film productions, as It’s proved hard to find out more about this online so I had to resort to asking my contacts at festivals, ect. I wish this was something we were taught more about on the course, as everyone just says “submit to festivals” but nobody understands or teaches about the process and when you start it actually turns out to be a lot lengthier, expensive and harder than expected.

Overall I feel that the amount of work and research I’ve done for the FMP has been beneficial, and I’ve learnt a lot more through self exploration than I would have by being in lectures. I’m happy with the end product and everything I’ve done to get there, there are things that could have been improved on but overall I am satisfied with how my work on the FMP has progressed and developed.

 

361. FMP. EPK Finished

I’ve finally received the finished version of my EPK, and I feel it looks very professional and summarises all the relevant details about The Brother Code. I feel that it’s been an interesting experience, as I got a graphic designer to create it for me, so finding that middle ground between what I send over and what he creates has been a learning experience of occasionally agreeing to his professional outtake and trying to balance what I want in there. Also the pictures, having to go through all the production stills and choosing the best ones I feel that epitomise the film, has been a hard experience as I needed to summarise the film in a few simple shots and couldn’t easily do that. I’ve also learnt a lot about the kind of information that is necessary to include through the research into other EPK’s, and including my own ‘style’ into it through the writing and detail partaken, so the reader gets a feel for the film through the written style of the EPK.

Overall I’m very pleased with how it looks and feel that sending it off to some festivals online is going to create a bit of feedback or get some notice, both because of the visual style and the short anecdotes and jokes throughout the EPK. I also feel it looks very professional and outsourcing this has helped me grow as a director/producer by getting more experience working with other media creatives, and also learning how to create a larger project by getting people with the relevant skills to do the work that I’m after, instead of doing it for a sub-par quality myself. I feel that if I had to improve the EPK, I may add more pictures, or instead would swap some of the text around, maybe even throw crew/actor bios into it, however that may be going too overboard and presumptuous for a short film.

364. Contacting Professionals. Pt 6

I’ve known Rowan Johnson for about 2 years now, as I originally met him through the National Student TV Association. He’s a great guy who is completely dedicated to his craft and knows his equipment and skills well, he’s also worked as a freelance videographer for a number of years and set up his own company, recently buying out a larger one and expanding into full-time work as a commercial videographer. He’s been instrumental to my development, as we’re always talking over Facebook and asking each other for advice on shoots, and he’s been talking to me a lot about his work setting up the company and sharing our FMPs, as he does a similar course at his Uni. Whilst I feel that kicking out on my own as a company owner/freelancer isn’t something I’d do completely, getting advice from him and finding out more about that to continue in my free time is still something useful and beneficial that I can utilise, whilst doing work on the side as a hobby/favours. His website is at the bottom for more information.

How did you first start your career? Was it easy, or was there a hard path to where you currently are?

“I started freelancing in my final year of university by picking up a few clients through the creative agency based there. From there it snowballed into me starting my own production company and culminated with me taking over Southpoint Films, another production company in my area that was closing down”

What skills are needed by your job on a daily basis?

“I’m still a one-man-band at the moment so I’m responsible for everything in my company; production, admin, customer relations, finance, marketing, etc. So my skills need to stretch across all of those areas. Although they don’t always stretch as far as I’d like them to…”

What was the first job that you think helped you get where you are now?

“In a general capacity, the most helpful job I’ve ever had was working in an Apple Store part time throughout university. It taught me a lot about business, customer relationships and embracing change on a regular basis. Plus it helped me with saving money towards buying camera equipment, which now serves as the backbone of my business. On the production side of things my most helpful gig has been working on the car-centric Youtube channel Life On Unleaded”

 

How did you benefit from that?

“Supercars looks fantastic on camera, so they’re a great showreel booster! It also gave me an opportunity to flex my filmmaker muscles a bit and show off what I can do. Our first few videos got a lot of very complimentary comparisons to Top Gear which boosted my confidence a lot when I was just starting out”

What skills did you need to get that job, what did you learn from it?

“Strong editing skills got me the job. I worked as an editor on a TV show which sadly never went to air, and afterwards the Director put me in touch with Louis (owner and presenter of Life on Unleaded). We had a rocky start due to various technical issues but we persisted and now we’ve got almost 8,000 subscribers on Youtube”

Do you currently have a portfolio of work? (such as a digital website) What is included in it?

“I currently have two as I’m greedy. I maintain my own personal website rowanjohnson.co.uk and also my company website southpointfilms.com. My personal site is strictly for projects that I’ve worked on and features pretty much everything I’ve ever worked on that’s currently available online. My company website southpointfilms.com features a portfolio section with few selected videos created by both myself and the wider Southpoint Films family”

If you didn’t see, Rowan also gave some great feedback on my own portfolio/website and comparisons to his work were positive. I feel that talking with him about his work and experience has been great, as we’re both of similar ages so finding out how someone else is progressing in their work as an individual and becoming a media professional is interesting, both as a comparison and to see how I can learn from that. I feel that from this angle, there’s not a lot I can take from and develop into my own professional practise, as it’s a career path I don’t want to pursue, however the advice about the websites/skills necessary and persistence are all definitely things I can take heed for the future.

364. Contacting Professionals. Pt 5

I met a freelance journalist whilst at the Udine Far East Film Festival, he was introduced to me by another of my freelance contacts Fred, and over the week Mathew Scott talked to me quite a lot, we discussed films and general work, we worked together during one or two interviews with the VIPS teaming up with questions, and he gave me a lot of knowledge and advice about his job, agreeing to give me an interview for PPP about his own work as a freelance journalist in Asia.

I’m Mathew Scott and I’m a hong kong based freelance journalist, formerly film editor of the South China Morning Post for 8 years and now I cover Asian Cinema, still for the SCMP and for magazines across Asia and also French news agencies.

I was trained as a sports journalist in Austraila, then I moved to Hong Kong in the mid 90’s to join the SCMP as a sports journalist, and I always had a serious interest in cinema, and as I developed as a writer then I wanted to do more than sports, so I approached the features editor and asked if I could submit occasional film articles. 2 months after there was a management upheavel, they reconfigured the features and the editor liked what I was writing at the time so she invited me over as film editor. She liked my approach and they needed fresh eyes, so that got me into promoting primarily Hong Kong cinema, but these were the days of film junkets and I was lucky to get flown around onto sets all over Hollywood and Asia, meeting big productions and stars (which you don’t do anymore).

What do you think originally helped you get to where you are?

I think what helped with me, was as a sports journalist you’re dealing in drama and creating (you have to be more creative than news writing), and I think that helped me enormously because I was developing a style of writing that was suited to features anyway. Feature writing is about developing your interview technique and telling people stories, which cinema is about as well. I used to watch films from 13 onwards, I was obsessed with cinema. I was lucky as when I became film editor, it was right on the time crouching tiger when it’s Oscars so interest in Asian cinema up til that point had never been bigger. It went crazy in Hong Kong and there were productions everywhere. I’ve been lucky enough to be witness to the growth of the biggest film industry in the world, especially in the coming 3 to 4 years. The development of the Busan Film Festival, Udine, Hong Kong, and to see the interest internationally is amazing.

How is Hong Kong to work there as a westerner? 

Hong Kong is the easiest place to work in for a non-Asian as there are little language barriers, it’s a rare Asian city where as a westerner you can survive without learning the local language. Which is a bit bad in retrospect as it makes you lazy, and it would have benefitted me enormously to learn Cantonese. China is very hard and the Hong Kong film industry is hard as stars aren’t comfortable being interviewed in something that’s not their native tongue, that’s not just Asian anyone isn’t comfortable doing that, it’s made it hard getting interviews but that’s where Festivals come in helpful getting those interviews.

What kind of skills do you think I need as a freelance journalist?

Skills you need… well number one is curiosity, you need to constantly be questioning everything, thinking about stories…. You’ve got to want to know why things happen, to tell people stories. It’s a job you have to go at all the time. It’s less a job than a lifestyle, it’s like being in the pub 24 hours of the day and always talking to people, you’re just a channel for stories to tell other people. You see people who come in as interns and they aren’t curious, and they stand out a mile and it makes you question what they’re doing here. Freelancing now, the way media has changed and evolved, it’s creeping up now to change and it’s become a rut. The landscape of media is broader and wider than it’s ever been, but the earning capacity has shrunk as a lot more people will do stuff for little or no money now, the freedom of the job is also the restriction of the job as you’ve got to work everyday to keep pitching stories and working to survive.

How do you get contacts in the journalist/media industry?

Contacts in the industry, you get that through time. It’s just going out and meeting people constantly, going to events like film festivals, festivals like this are invaluable sources as everyone is there at the one place and time, and they have to talk to you as where else can they go? And I’ve sold work and got contacts specifically through festivals, as then people meet you because they won’t switch off once they’ve met you and they’ll read your email. But mainly Journalism and media is developing contacts over a period of time, such as you coming here to the festival Andrew, people will see your face and they’ll go “What the hell is that hairy dude doing?…”. Globally, the media industry is pretty small and you bump into people all the time. The other thing is once people see you enough times; they want to help you, as everyone is fearful of getting work again.

How did you first start out as a freelance journalist, what did you need?

When I first started as a freelancer, I told people well in advance that I’d be doing it and started asking what they sort of wanted or needed on a regular basis, to understand what I’d need to do. Then it took about 12 months to establish with some people that I could file on time and I was creative, then it all goes from there. The number one thing is enthusiasm, accuracy and punctuality, and they love it. If you get it in on time, it’s accurate and well put together then people will call you every time. You’ve just got to find your niche, the media industry is so varied and wide and you’ll think that you come here as one thing but you change and become something else.

“The number one thing is enthusiasm, accuracy and punctuality, and they love it. If you get it in on time, it’s accurate and well put together then people will call you every time”

How do you think I’ll be able to break into Journalism, what do I need or have to do?

I think the generation that’s coming into the industry now have more opportunities than we ever had with the rise of social media and broadening of the landscape means you’ll be much more skilled in other things than we were, all we were ever taught to do was write but you guys have to take photos, shoot videos, podcast or tweet or any of these things which people of your generation have the opportunity to learn a million different things. You’ve got to be multi-tasking all the time and have a range of skills.


Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.51.47

So the first thing to consider if that I haven’t mentioned throughout the blog about wanting to be a freelance journalist, however I have talked loosely about wanting to work as a ‘freelancer’ and as a writer for EasternKicks. Whatever I go on to do in the future, the knowledge from this interview is invaluable as it’s contributed to my own progression as a film writer for EK, and also given me an idea of how a freelance media professional operates in their field. The advice doesn’t apply to one sole field on my PPP but instead applies to a range of categories and is helpful in various aspects, and I feel this is detrimental in the future as I hope to meet Mathew again at future events.

He was helping me with questions for some of my VIP interviews, hinting at the kind of things I could ask or ways to change my questions to get better answers or come across more professionally, which I feel is detrimental to improving my own creative skills as a journalist/writer. He also let me tag-team/assist him on a few interviews in the press room and work with him on the audience talks, so this brief work as an assistant was interesting to observe how a professional journalist works when they’re collecting material and earning a living. His style of coming across as both well versed in all the subjects he asks questions about, but being friendly whilst needling to the core subject in his interviews was interesting, and I’d like to develop something similar as it was incredibly effective. One of the main things was his ‘plethora’ of knowledge, and like he stated himself it was all earned over time, however this is something I’d like to improve on, and I feel I can do this both by reading more books on cinema and wider history books of culture, but also watching a wider range of films from all eras and learning about them so I understand the topics.

One of the things I note is that this is an actual ‘contact’ in the industry, a lot of people have small ‘contacts’ who are some guy who works for a small film company which is 2 people making productions that only get seen locally, but this is a fully fledged guy who gets flown out and work as press on sets, has seen the rise of a whole cinema industry over a decade and half and now has worked published globally whilst he travels to events all over the world. I feel that the way I met him, through another of my contacts and only whilst at this event, was an interesting experience and something unique to know. If I didn’t attend then I wouldn’t have known him, worked with and found out more from his experience, and I feel this is reflected in the interview when he states such. Meeting Mathew has definitely been one of the highlights of the week and I can see it benefitting in the future from knowing him.