We’ve all been told it’s best to arrive at an event “fashionably late”, and I took this to heart: for the majority of my film career I’d arrive after most of the guests had left or were about to grab their coat. I started shooting films on celluloid in university and then as soon as I was about to graduate min-DV arrived on the scene.
Looking back, I think that was the time to embrace the medium and really make my mark as a filmmaker as it was easier than ever to make a film. However, my mind was focused on getting some experience working in the film industry and after that getting back into academia. Once completing both these goals, I started finding my way back to filmmaking, but not before overcoming some personal demons that were distracting my progress. I managed to make a couple of shorts, but nothing that really picked up any momentum and again struggled to find my path. As a result, filmmakers feverishly embraced mini-DV and were churning out more and more films every year. I certainly took notice of this, but couldn’t move quickly as again I was distracted by my own insecurities. Time passed and the DSLR revolution arrived.
This time I was more prepared and embraced it by making a short and a couple of no budget features. However, I was still reminiscing about the heyday of mini-DV and thinking that it would be easy to make my mark if I made a film that was personal, intimate, and daring. Boy was I wrong as I didn’t realize how much the film world had changed until I got all those film festival rejection emails.
I again fell in a transition period thinking about how to make the next film, when I discovered VR and realized that a lot of filmmakers were yet making movies for this medium. Not wanting to let the opportunity slip away, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and be one of the first. That decision changed everything for me as for the first time I felt what it was like to be at the party before the party even started. Looking around now, there are more and more filmmakers starting to shoot for this medium, but it’s still early days. However, I am very hopeful as I’m building my reputation as a person who is knowledgeable about this field as I was one of the first to create a film in it. I know this won’t last and the challenge is to keep making films. Sustainability is still a challenge as there some barriers for people to see the content. However, next month we plan on launching our film “I Am You” for the Samsung Gear VR, which will help get our content out in the wild. How successful we will be, I’m not sure but the idea of getting to party is what drives. I’ve also recently been given a lot of opportunities to talk about my experience making this film at a couple of upcoming conferences like WEST, and VIFF Industry.
So where does this all lead me? I feel that I have finally hit a medium at the right time and it’s important to be first whether it’s on a new platform or with a new story your trying to tell. The key lesson that I learned is to take inspiration from the past and make something new of it, not rehash what has already been done. Finally, I keep trying to make it to the party before it ends which is the biggest lesson of all.
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