I recently attended 'Striking Film Festival' in Melbourne for a short film called 'Charlie Floyd's Visionarium' that I shot a few years ago in New Zealand. I went along by myself for the night to represent the film and do a bit of networking. Meeting creatives in your area is so important for marketing your work and potentially scoring you that next big break in TV and Film. In this article I'll share a few networking ice breakers I used and spread a bit of knowledge about festival environments for filmmakers.
The venue for the Striking festival was simple, yet stunning. Tucked away in the corner of a high end shopping mall, the organisers set up fairy lights, food/wine outlets and small hang out areas for networking creatives. The venue came complete with a live band and posters sat on easels of all the films showing on the night.
I arrived about 15 minutes late which gave me 45 minutes of networking before everyone was seated to view the films. In this time I probably met 2-3 filmmakers and a few people attending to support friends. With each person I encountered I straight away asked "Hey, do you have a film showing?" Those that did, I took note of which film they said so I could keep them in mind after the screenings.
In these industry environments it is a very common feeling for you to show up by yourself or with a friend and feel like you can't talk to anyone new as everyone is seemingly already deeply in conversation in their groups of close knit co workers. The key thing is to get out of your comfort zone and look for openings into groups where you can meet one, two or even five people at once. Even if you don't have any of your own work showing you can ask them about theirs! This is the case for gallery openings, festivals, art scenes, business events and much more. Networking is a great skill because you can transfer it to any industry and I can guarantee it will get you opportunities.
The fact is that people hire based on personality, not just experience. So networking is an important skill to nurture. A good practice I've found is to go to something outside of your normal industry and treat it as an important networking opportunity, like a theatre or musical show, and network your butt off like your life depends on it. Then when you actually have a big event in your space, you will already have those social skills under your belt and be able to avoid those awkward silences we all know and fear.
On a side note, I met some nice Filipino guys who insisted I get a photo next to our film's poster.
Charlie Floyd's Visionarium is a collaborative film I worked on as Director of Photography. Set in a 1920's black and white world, it is about a reclusive inventor called Charlie Floyd. Charlie accidentally invents colour in his laboratory with his old camera and it changes everything for him, including his love life. It was directed by Emma Schranz and produced by the talented people at Electric Shoelace Productions in New Zealand.
The film was a real labour of love. And a very collaborative process between everyone who worked on the project. The cast and crew slept above the set for 5 nights. During that time it was all about the film, 24/7. CFV was shot in a small deserted town in south NZ called Mataura. I shot the piece on a Sony PMW-F3 and we decided to use a Samurai recorder for 10-bit output for colour grading latitude. While shooting I had an amazing camera and lighting team assisting me in setting up gear and giving the piece world class lighting and camera moves.
Though shooting only took less than a week. The planning before hand took months of preparation, stress, laughter, stress, preparation, bonding, did I mention preparation?
After the film was finally finished in main shooting production my job was done for a while. It went into the edit room for months, and then I was back to the Colour Grading suite to finish it off with style after our editor and animation team had worked their magic. Post production took a very, very long time before the film was finished and finally went to festivals like Striking and Tropfest.
So make sure, especially if it involves a labour of love, that you get out there and give your work the respect it deserves by putting yourself and your work in front of others, venues and even festivals to market your unique creative voice out to the world. Because you never know when that producer, that HR rep, that label or government rep is going to be there and is going to want to meet the person who's work blew their socks off.
Check out below some behind the scenes still from Charlie Floyd's Visionarium.
A link to the full film is available for your viewing pleasure, if you liked it then please let us know!
Check out the film on the viewer below!
A quick note on the format of this blog. I am a Videographer by trade, so I will be going into a bit of tech detail about each interview set up. For those that aren't here for the filming side, bare with the camera jargon and you'll be rewarded with some massive takeaways from the interview - J
The Interview Set Up.
Over the past few weeks I was given the opportunity to travel to Auckland, Sydney and even Florida in the States to film high profile interviews in the personal development space. We arrived at John's hotel opposite the Skytower in Auckland, NZ and it was all go. I had about 10 minutes after arriving in the room for the first time, to rearrange furniture for filming, set up both DSLR cameras (Canon 5D MKIII & 700D), mic up both Ryan and John with their lapel microphones and test audio levels. After sitting both subjects opposite each other for over the shoulder shots I then had John, who has done over 8,000 interviews in his time, ask me if the lighting was good, which it wasn't at that stage.
I ended up using a standing lamp as a key light source for John and bouncing the light off the mirror door of his wardrobe, giving him enough fill light on his face. For Ryan I opened the curtained and used the day's cloud covered lighting.
When filming overseas you won't always have the full kit that you'd like, such as proper lighting and a boom mic, so, you have to improvise! And that is part of the fun of what I do. I love problem solving under pressure and rolling with what you have available. That being said, it's about being as prepared as you can before the shoot so everything runs smoothly on the day.
Personal Development Takeaways from Demartini
John is a massive thought leader in his space as a human behavioural specialist. He makes $600,000 for every consulting event that he runs through Australia and America. He has also read over 30,000 literatures and has given over 8,000 interviews. He was someone who struggled massively with reading and writing when he was younger. He was failing high school, but because of the people in his life at the time, he decided to make a change. He began reading dictionaries and learning 30 words a day, pretty soon he couldn't stop. The secret to his success? It was nothing other than his mindset. Everyday John would tell himself that he was a genius, and after awhile you start to believe yourself. In his words, soon the fibres in your body tingle with it and the person you were and the world will change with you.
For me this really illustrated the potential for change in my own life through positivity and daily affirmations. He also mentioned in relation to spending our money, that we need to stop investing in material items for short term pleasure, and start investing our funds consistently for long term gain. ROI focused business investments, property, stocks, whatever that looks like for you. It's about making smart choices with funds and looking at what unnecessary expenditure we are investing too much of our assets into for short term pleasure.
Because before we can reach those millions of people to change the world with our work, we first need to realise where we are at with our own mindset. John really helped me see that in order to be successful I need to be living as the best version of myself. I definitely have a lot of work to do, as the whole personal development area is a new one for me. But I feel that these keys will be a massive help in my journey.
So guys, I went in to film John, I came out wanting to better myself, how's that for a productive interview session. Personal development is HUGE for artists and creative business owners. The power of a positive mindset has been the key driver in John's journey to successfully earning over
7 Figures. So make sure to take a moment in your schedule, perhaps first thing in the morning - Positivity: I am a genius... Or, I am unstoppable, a warrior, I am being the best I can be. Something along those lines to empower yourself to keep moving forwards, progressing your skills and achieving those goals.
Watch the full Interview (48 Minutes)
In my kit. (Tech talk)
Main O.S. shot on John - Canon 5DMKIII on tripod with Rode Wireless Lavaliere system feeding John's dialogue direct to camera.
O.S. shot on Ryan (Interviewer) - Canon 700D on tripod. In camera audio for reference.
Ryan Audio - Rode Lavaliere plugged into iPhone 6S using the Rode LE app.
Plenty of spare batteries and SD/CF cards for both cameras.
x2 2TB externals for backup with a MacBook Pro laptop
It's very easy in the creative industry to get stuck within your artistic niche once you get comfortable. While this can be an awesomely rewarding way of working, I'd like to shed a different light on the topic through a recent stills shoot I did in Melbourne.
I am a filmmaker. I wouldn't call myself a professional photographer purely due to the fact that I focus all my efforts on video. At least, that's the story I had in my head. Last month I had an urge to get out and shoot a new line of stills with an experienced model. It ended up taking some internal persuasion as I have been told in the past that photography is a distraction from my chosen business niche in the video world. An awesome, fun and rewarding distraction, but a distraction none the less.
I do see the value of this. A Jack of all trades is a master of none.
As creatives we definitely need to find what makes us tick in our chosen field or medium in distributing to the world, however I believe pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is just as important.
Going into this autumn themed fashion shoot I knew it was outside of what I usually do for work. The last notable fashion/creative portrait shoot I had done was all the way back in 2013. So I was out of practice in the area to say the least. Yes, I had fears of producing mediocre images as a result of inexperience, but what I did have on my side was a creative itch that I needed to scratch. And sometimes that is all it takes for you to try something new in or outside your medium.
If you have something outside your usual line of work that you've been holding back doing. Either you see it as a distraction from your focused energy or the story of "inexperience" is getting the better of you, just get out there and shoot.
Now that the shoot is finished and the photos are edited I can safely say that it was well worth it. I have a bunch of learnings I've taken away from the shoot from the planning stages with the model, through to shooting techniques and editing processes in post.
So this winter get out there and shoot! Try something out of your normal line of work.
And who knows, maybe it will create a new passion that you didn't know was there, and maybe, just maybe, you will start making a living from it.
Last sunday I went to check out the current trending technologies in today's main stream tech market at the Melbourne Exhibition centre.
Purchasing my $25 admission ticket, I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of countless treasure troves of tech that I could wow my friends and work mates with back at the office. Rolling through the wide front doors I was greeted with an indoor space the size of a football field. Stalls everywhere, people buzzing with excitement, trying out new toys and new ways to spend their cash. This was where it was all happening.
From Yamaha's auto tuning Guitars and self playing grand pianos to Kymera's electric body and surf boards with top speeds of 35km, the tech expo pulled out some interesting gems. However the real star of the day turned out to be... you guessed it, DRONES.
Drones, drones, drones. Half the convention hall was dominated by the flying beauties. DJI were out in force with their Inspire and Phantom lines for budding film makers. Competitors with water proof and higher pay load models flaunted their stuff nearby.
Drone racing proved to be a massive marketing focus with walls of the little devils for sale and a live demo, safely behind netting of course. The racing drones are operated by a person wearing VR goggles allowing them to see what the drone sees while you boost at crazy speeds around what ever obstacle course you have set up. I tried on the goggles while the demo guy raced the drone and I have to say, WOW. I now see what all the hype is about. It really does feel like you're flying. The barrel rolls and quick changes of orientation were actually quite disorientating, but this was far out weighed by the fun. I just can't wait to get my hands on one of my own!
For roughly $500 AUD you can pick up your own racing drone. The controller and goggles will set you back a further $600 AUD... so it's not a cheap hobby, especially when the racer will most likely need quick fix ups and part replacements every time you crash it, which you will, trust me.
Another huge focus for the expo was A.R. and V.R. or Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. The two main differences being one adds to our normal reality and the other creates an entirely new reality. Long queues were a common sight for the VR gaming stations. However I was more interested by the mysterious AR stands. Swinburne University gave a talk on AR developer software they intended to release very soon, allowing people who can't write code to make AR apps for games, businesses and other ventures.
This all came about a week before the release of Pokemon Go. An AR app which earned Nintendo over 8 Billion dollars in market value. Then you've got the infamous Snapchat AR selfie filters.
I think we will be seeing a lot more of AR in the future as well as VR. What excites me about AR is how well the consumer market has responded to recent ventures into the field. I like the idea of adding to our reality, rather than being transported to a different one. Adding value to the world around us is a huge breakthrough in the digital world.
So in light of this, whats your favourite emerging technology at the moment?
And how do you think Augmented Reality ventures could effect today's society?