People who inspire me

When I first started this blog I talked about my Grandad and my uncle and how that poor terriers insides convinced me being a vet wasn’t for me and that my uncle and his photography inspired me to pursue a career in videography.

Since then though there have been a lot of people who have inspired me, guided me and people who’s careers I have followed with great interest.

The first person I want to mention who has inspired me in my work is someone probably every aspiring cinematographer in the world would say is an inspiration of some kind and thats Roger Deakins. Completely by accident I became a huge fan of his as a teenager. One of my favourite films was 1984 and I was a big fan of things like Shawshank redemption, Jarhead and Skyfall all films DOP’d on. Last year when doing research on him for a piece of coursework at university I realised something even more surprising he started his career in Documentary filmmaking and thats when I became an even bigger fan. Wanting to be a documentary filmmaker who loves showing real humanity and something visually attractive and real it fascinated me that arguably one of the greatest cinematographers ever had started in the same place and I began to watch some of his old documentaries.screen-shot-2016-04-14-at-19-21-17

Other cinematographers I quickly want to mention that I think are great are Christopher Doyle who is a prolific DOP in Asian cinema who does some of the most beautiful cinematography i’ve ever seen and has also done some amazing documentaries and lastly Philip Bloom.

Philip Bloom is arguably more famous for his blog and youtube video’s than he is his work but the show wonderlist he dop’d on is probably my dream job and definitely something people should watch. I’d also like to mention Philip Bloom for his youtube. He was one of the first filmy youtubes I started watching and his tutorials and reviews have taught me an incredible amount.

When it comes to film youtubers though, I can’t carry on without mentioning film riot. Film riot for people who don’t know it is probably the greatest channel on youtube for budding filmmakers. The best part of it is how they explain stuff with such humour and simplicity and there tutorials on indie filmmaker hacks on things like how to make a slider and other equipment on the cheap gave me and my friends hours of fun, with drills in our garage making our own for short films when we were younger. It also feels incredibly accessible as the guys on the shows are just two brothers and there friends trying to make it in the film industry and you can completely relate to everything they do and talk about.thumbnail_fullsizerender-1

The next person I want to talk about is someone i’ve mentioned a few times in this blog and thats simply my mate Tom. It might seem like a simple thing to do to thank you friends for support etc through your career but it is a lot more than that when it comes to Tom. Firstly Tom is one of my best friends and obviously the support of your friend and house mate is great but if they are in the industry already that builds a different type of relationship. Tom has been in the industry a lot longer than me and has done a lot of really interesting work and about a year ago I was going through quite a difficult time in my life and one day I met him and we instantly got on like a house on fire with similar interests and hobbies and we both wanted to get into the same industry. Tom gave me my first proper professional job and thats a big thing in everyones career and i’m incredibly thankful for that and I credit him with revitalising my passion for getting into film.

The last person I want to mention again sounds incredibly soppy but its actually my mum. The first thing to say about my mum is that she is on the autistic spectrum and she struggles with a lot of social aspects of life. For half of my life she brought me up on her own with little support and she did an amazing job and I obviously am incredibly grateful of that but its now that i’m older that my mum seems to have more of an impact. Getting into a career like film is really hard and the chances are you will have more failure at the beginning than success. Everyone at some point will want to give up or lose there passion its inevitable. If you have good people around you however it helps, a lot! my mum is one of those good people, she may not be graced with the talents and intelligence of someone who can achieve high success as a doctor or a lawyer or whatever they wish to achieve but she has what is most important in the world an unlimited amount of love and support and that is crucial for anyone when they are pursuing there career. I can be sat at uni, struggling with an essay or tired at the end of a shoot not feeling amazing and having someone there who will blindly support you and tell you how proud they are for you is incredible and shouldn’t be underrated.

Everyone has people who inspire them in the world and its important to look and appreciate other peoples achievements and aspire to follow in there foot steps but crucially everyone is different and everyones life and story will be different, some people fly through life with no worries at all and other have a bloody hard time of it. My word to everyone whatever career they wish to pursue is to have people who you aspire to be and inspire you and have people around you who can support you when you’re down because at the end of the day someone who puts there own life aside for a second to support you is far more inspirational than anyone. This works the other way as well. There will always be people in your life that need support and love and if you can even do the tiniest thing to support them you can become someone that inspires them and thats a beautiful thing.

My day at Microsoft

So about 3 weeks ago my friend Tom said to me “Luke fancy working with Microsoft next week”. What a stupid question of course I wanted to work with Microsoft! Unfortunately Bill gates wasn’t there but it was a fun day. As you’d expect Microsoft Uk headquarter is pretty cool, its not quite the hipster paradise tech company offices seem to look in film and tv but it wasn’t far off it.

The shoot itself was quite a simple one but still fun. Our friend Sophie was working in collaboration with global give n go a fund raising event for Microsoft employees. Sophie was brought in to take some employees on a 5km to promote good health and raise money. The shoot involved just documenting the event and speeches and then following Sophie and the employee’s on there run (luckily in a car) and how they felt the fundraising was going and how they felt afterwards.

Working with a company like Microsoft is a little bit surreal but an amazing opportunity and more than anything looks great on the CV. Names matter and if you ever get the chance however small it is to work for a big name i’d always say take it because if someone see’s it on your CV it can give you the opportunity of a job.

Investing in yourself

About 9 months ago I made my first big investment in my future career. I invested in my first proper professional camera. I bought a newly released A7Sii and I love it, its the best thing I’ve ever bought. It took me probably about a year to work out what camera I wanted to buy and it was a scary experience. It wasn’t £300 on a 600d I bought when I started college this was a serious chunk of money and a big commitment.

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Investing in yourself is a terrifying thing to do when you start in the industry. Of course you don’t need to buy a camera to work but getting into freelance jobs like I wanted I decided it would be very beneficial and make me look more professional and more appealing to employers who don’t want to pay to rent a camera and a person. Both in one package is just more of an attractive proposition. Investing in myself for me was a lot more than saving up for ages it was about showing faith in myself. For me that can be tricky sometimes and I can suffer from a lack of self confidence on occasions.

Investing in myself taught me an important lesson, Investing in yourself is one of the best returns on investments you can have. I learnt that investing in yourself, sends a powerful message to yourself and the world. The message is that the value and potential that I possess, is important enough to me that I’m going to give it the energy, space and time to grow and create results.

Investing in yourself however doesn’t always mean money, a lot of investing in yourself means mentally backing yourself and having a plan for succeeding in what you want too. For me one of the most important things to do is set goals. It took me a while to realise I needed to set personal and business goals for myself. I realised if i’m not taking the time to set goals it’s like driving in the dark with the headlights turned off. I would never know where I was going and would waste my time. Another vital thing for me was backing my intuition. Simply trusting yourself, your gut and the message that it’s sending. Listening to your intuition, will allow you to make better decisions. Valuing your intuition, by not allowing the thoughts, feelings or statements of others to take away from what you know to be true is very empowering. By paying attention to how you feel, it will help you to make better, smarter and quicker decisions. I know for me personally, if I choose to ignore my gut or intuition when I feel a strong feeling about something, it almost always is a decision or action that I end up regretting. I have learned to always trust my intuition and that is what leads me in my life and business.

Budgeting a indie movie

I’ve recently been organising funding for my final year film, a documentary on the psychology of endurance athletes called the pain cave. Since i’ve been starting this process i’ve read a lot on budgeting for indie films and how the UK film industry works.

Through all of this I found a really interesting article looking in depth at a independent British film called Papadopoulos & sons. The article goes into depth on how the budget was distributed and its story from being written to getting released and is a fascinating read for anyone looking at budgeting and selling a film.

Full costs and income of a $1m independent feature film

Working on a feature film

I’ve always been a bit of a film buff, if I wasn’t outside as a kid I was watching a film and once I knew I wanted to be in film I had always wanted to get into feature films and make huge blockbusters, thats changed a bit now but a passion for them is still there.

In May 2016 I was offered the chance to work on a Norwegian feature film called Fugazi, it wasn’t a huge budget but it seemed like a really cool opportunity and completely different to the corporate and documentary work i’d already been doing. It was also as a producer something i’d always thought i’d never do. I can barely organise getting up in the morning how would I be able to organise a film. I decided to try anyway and i’m very glad I did.

Fugazi was a bit of a fly on the wall film and involved a lot of handheld camera work which for me was good because working on mainly corporate and documentary films it meant it wasn’t quite as big a jump. It also meant there was a much smaller crew. In total we had myself, the director, camera, sound and a runner. It was very similar to a lot of work i’d done before and was a really interesting way of working.

Being a pretty small crew was useful for myself and the cast was a similar size. There were only 6 characters and meant it wasn’t to hard to organise where they needed to be, paying them and there costume. What did prove more difficult however was communication. As I said the film was Norwegian and was set between London and Norway and with the Director being in Norway for the majority of the time meant a lot of Skype calls and emails and meant I had to organise travel to and from Norway.

The shoot went really well and was a interesting change to my normal work and something i’d like to do again. Although I definitely see my future in documentary, working on a feature film was a really cool experience and a great opportunity.

 

When you mess up on shoot

Sometimes on shoot you mess up, a lot of the time it is something small but sometimes you mess up big. Everyday people make mistakes its human nature and how you react to these mistake helps shape you as a person.

Last week I was working on an amazing shoot, I got hired to work for Barbarian FC doing the social media and match coverage for there game against South Africa. As someone who used to play rugby for his county before destroying his anterior cruciate ligament and a massive rugby fan in general it was a dream job for me, I was insanely excited, I was going to share a room with some absolute rugby royalty and I was very excited.

Arriving at wembley with the teams and getting to explore the depths of the stadium very few people get to see was very exciting. My main job was to shoot footage pre-match, half time and post match and quickly edit those for the barbarians to then release of there Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and official site. It was an intense shoot, you didn’t really get a second to breathe and by a very long way is the hardest shoot i’ve ever worked on. When under a lot of pressure people can make mistakes and unfortunately thats what I did, when doing some half time interviews in the rush some of my footage was a bit out of focus and it just wasn’t great. That is obviously an issue, you can save a lot of things in post, things being out of focus absolutely isn’t one of those.

It was a bit of a nightmare but like I said earlier its not the mistake that matters it is how you deal with those mistakes that helps you grow as a film maker and a person. There wasn’t a lot I could do with the out of focus interviews but luckily not all of it was out of focus so I had to improvise, I spoke to my producer and explained my cock up and suggested I made a snappy edit of people just saying how much they were enjoying the game instead of a long interview of them saying it in more detail and it just about worked.

It wasn’t ideal but I was able to make the best out of a bad situation and used my initiative to solve a problem. My advice to anyone who makes a mistake on shoot is to apologise, clear your mind and just calmly think of a solution the worst thing to do is to worry to much and overthink it and remember everyone makes mistakes its how you deal with them that matters.

 

 

Selling yourself on social media

 

Social media is huge, its very rare these days to find a person who does have some form of social media whether it better Twitter and facebook, instagram, snapchat and a wide selection of other small apps and sites built to connect people. For me until prety recently I wasn’t a fan, I don’t have Twitter, I used facebook to chat to people and I had snapchat and instagram but didn’t really use them, they didn’t appeal to me and I kind of didn’t see the point of them. However one day that changed and I got some fantastic advice. Working on a job in Scotland filming my friend Sophie she gave me some fantastic advice.

That advice was pretty simple use them they will help you a huge amount. Sophie is a social media master so I expected her to be a fan but her advice was actually invaluable.

A few years ago Sophie left her job to pursue her dreams of being an endurance athlete and inspirational speaker and has done amazingly achieving some huge physical challenges as well as having her own TED talk. During this time she has amassed a huge social media following especially on Instagram. When working with her about a year ago she said to me the amazing line “I have got most of my sponsors and jobs thanks to Instagram”. To me that sounded like an absolutely ludicrous statement to make, a hugely successful person who is sponsored by Adidas, Jeep, Gopro and a plethora of clothing brands thanks an app you put holiday pictures on for getting her work thats crazy. Sophie explained to me it is all about selling yourself and with instagram having the second highest monthly users (500 million) its a great way to do that. Instagram is a visual medium, you display pictures and videos on it and when you work in a visual industry why wouldn’t you want to display your work to a potential 500 million people a month.

I was so shocked why wasn’t I selling myself like this, it was so simple, just put a few hashtags people in your industry would search for like the name of your camera etc and you should hopefully get a few likes and the odd interested people and thats pretty much what happened. I think to date i’ve been offered three jobs from people who have liked my instagram and through people who have contacted me and given me contacts probably another two. So my advice to people is sell yourself on social media as much as you can Instagram is a great one, so is creating a page on facebook and of course things like linkedin. You have absolutely nothing to lose except 5 minutes of your day setting up an account and adding your work on it, you never known who could see it.

If you’re interested here is a link to a film I made with Sophie last year and you can see her blog from here too.

http://www.challengesophie.com/blog/category/one-life-live-it