My First TV Interview

My first TV interview, on Made in Cardiff’s The Crunch, discussing my award-winning films and filmmaking in general. Overall, it was a good experience, that’ll hopefully prepare me for many more future TV appearances. The sound was out of sync on the clip from Bob, but it was still an excellent opportunity to promote my work, and I didn’t stumble over my words too much. More details on much of what I discuss, including my aspirations and my films and their development, can be found in the Films and CV and Contact categories and by exploring the rest of my website.

Advertisements

Handy Tips for Film Festival Submitters

This post was inspired by an ordeal with Zero Film Festival, for which my film Bob was selected but later withdrawn by myself due to the festival’s gross incompetence. They didn’t contact me after my selection, and I was only able to get hold of them a month later – less than two weeks before the event was stated as taking place – after pursuing a number of avenues and wasting a great deal of time and effort. At one point, even coming close to calling the police, suspecting I could have been conned. When I finally received a reply from the organiser – after tracking down his personal email by contacting a venue where the festival previously took place – it was childish and aggressive, berating me for suggesting there was anything wrong with the festival’s conduct and belittling my experience. It turned out the festival wasn’t even taking place on the date they’d given, and they hadn’t even organised a venue. Their excuse for not informing filmmakers? They were busy with other things and didn’t have the staff. More an admission of their inability than an excuse, although it wasn’t presented that way. Also, I was criticised for contacting one of the listed organisers and asking for help. It turned out they hadn’t worked for the festival for seven years – the fact this info hadn’t been updated providing more evidence of inefficiency – but they were happy to contact the current organiser and ask him to get in touch. For some reason, he found my actions inappropriate; perhaps because they drew attention to his organisation’s ineptitude. I asked him for a refund and was told one would be provided if I sent my PayPal details. I sent my email address, explaining that’s all you need, but heard nothing and received no refund. Needless to say, they pass none of the criteria listed here for spotting a good festival.

1. Use FilmFreeway, not Withoutabox. It’s far easier to setup, upload and navigate, the festivals are generally far cheaper (Withoutabox take a big cut), and Withoutabox are useless if you have an issue with a festival; they take ages to get back and basically tell you it’s not their responsibility and to deal with it yourself. You would have thought they’d just be able to contact the festival in question, right? Nope.

2. Check the festival’s contact info works before submitting. Call, email: make sure they’re quick to reply, polite and attentive. You don’t want to submit to a festival then find out they’re impossible to contact (believe me!).

3. Check the festival’s reviews. Do they have good ratings and reviews? Have they even turned the review option on? If they haven’t, they’ve likely done this for a reason. Note, Withoutabox don’t have a review option. Another reason to be wary of them.

4. When did the festival last take place? If a festival has been regularly taking place for a number of years, they’re likely a winner. If they’re taking place erratically every few years, they’re likely disorganised or failing to generate submitters due to their incompetence.

5. Look for further evidence that the festival is professionally run. A regularly updated website, a Facebook page with plenty of activity (again, make sure these are easy to contact), and videos of their most recent event; search for past ones too, but if that’s all they have, there could be a reason.

6. Lastly, think carefully and make sure the festival is appropriate for your film. Does your film fit the festival’s criteria/objective/rules/terms? Is it within your price range? A lot of festivals might pass the £20 mark, but you can find plenty for under a tenner if you search hard enough. If a festival seems overly expensive, check to see if the regular deadline has passed. Many festivals have earlybird deadlines that are far cheaper. So plan ahead and get your film in early!

Killer Cells

Here’s a trailer I was employed to produce for Avant Cymru’s theatrical production, Killer Cells. Killer Cells is a play about recurrent miscarriage. It manages to capture the pain and trauma of these tragedies with palpable authenticity – the script being based on real-life experience – but it is in no way depressive or negative, ultimately being a story of optimism and resilience. It illustrates the importance of strong friendships and relationships, at times with a lightness and humour, yet this never distracts from the serious subject matter, and crucially, it doesn’t neglect to show things from the man’s perspective; depicting the male experience with equal validity. Killer Cells tackles a taboo subject, rarely discussed in public, with both bravery and sensitivity, creating something uniquely entertaining, informative and moving. I highly recommend you try and catch the play next time it tours, and together we can help #BreakTheSilence.

Lands of Our Fathers

Lands of Our Fathers is a documentary about the immigrant ancestry of the people of the Rhondda Valley. It was produced by Avant Cymru, and filmed and edited by myself, representing my company, Outré Media. It was screened as part of Age Cymru‘s Gwyl Gwanwyn Festival.

Toast

Toast is a script I wrote as a possible contender to be filmed for Cardiff Mini Film Festival. It ended up being rejected in favour of other scripts as its plot was more complex and it would require a more elaborate production: the festival favours simplicity. It’s a comedy about how lack of communication and pent-up feelings lead to antagonism. It’s, in a way, a reboot (well, they are in fashion) of an earlier film, The Housemate from Hell. There is much I still admire about that film. In particular, its themes of suppressed anxiety (that weren’t intentional, but I’ve since recognised), and as my ability has developed greatly in the four years since its conception, I felt I could write a more focused and efficient script in a similar vein.

Bob

When setting myself the task of writing multiple films for Cardiff Mini Film Festival, I formulated many of my ideas, not by thinking of a social issue I’d like to tackle or a theme I’d like to convey, as has often been my method in the past, but by picturing a striking image and then forming the plot and the theme around that. It’s a method I plan to employ regularly from now on as it produced great results; showing memorable imagery is equally as important to a film’s success as meaningful substance. Bob (script) was one such film for which I used this method. Another was Goldfish, which originated from the image of a man staring into a goldfish bowl. The image Bob originated from was that of a grown man on a park bench holding a red balloon. Once I had this image, it led to questions such as why would a grown man carry a balloon, and what could this symbolise? The themes of insecurity,  benevolence, and release developed from this.

Synopsis

Bob carries his red balloon everywhere he goes, even though it prevents him joining in and causes him to be teased. But is it the balloon he needs to let go of, or something else?

Additional: Since my original post, Bob has been selected for the Oniros Film Awards August 2017, Hellfire Short Film Festival’s 12th Round 2017, Cardiff International Film Festival 2017 and St Neots Film Festival 2017, and won Short Film Sharer May 2017!