Finding your people
Writing and filmmaking in general can be lonely. When you try to explain your latest film endeavour to your office job friend over coffee, after about a minute you see a slight glaze cross their eyes and their encouraging smile starts to set.
We are very lucky in that where we live has a small yet vibrant filmmaking community.
NEFSoc (North East Film-maker's Society) celebrated its 2 year anniversary last month. The non-profit organisation holds a monthly networking event in Middlesbrough and occasionally Newcastle, promoting film-makers in the North East. Though young it is very effective. I first came across this group last year, in a small club in town. It was great to meet a whole bunch of new people, all making films, all involved in various aspects of film production and most importantly, all willing to help each other out.
NEFSoc was founded by Matthew Hammond while he was studying at Teesside University. For the past 2 years he has been tirelessly bringing North-East filmmakers together, arranging venues, collating films, hooking up equipment and still finding time to work his way round the room and noting what everyone is working on. He is one of those rare individuals who gives a lot of his time and energy to encouraging others, while quietly working his socks off in the background.
One of the aspects of the meetup I particularly like is that they screen short films of filmmakers in the area. These can range from 5 minutes to 35. It is rare that amatuer or even professional filmmakers get to see their work screened before release. What is wonderful about it is that not only are you meeting other people from your sector, but they are seeing what you are capable of and they know what you have done so far.
Through NEFSoc I was able to meet several people, one of which are production team Robert McDougal & Emily Grew who together form Little Betty Films and have produced some top quality short films which you can see on their FB page. Through NEFSoc we met, got to know each other and are now collaborating on a couple of film projects together. One of them is a teaser for Ruth The Musical, a feature film I am trying to get made and the other one is, well...you'll have to wait and see! I also met our sound guy for Ruth at a NEFSoc meetup too, Philip Quinton, a freelance sound recordist who has worked on a range of productions from shorts to feature films and we are really excited to have him on board.
I would probably never have met any of these people without the existence of NEFSoc. I also came across, Zoe Birkbeck the actress who is playing the lead of Ruth in our teaser, through a short film screened at NEFSoc written and directed by Anna Rosie Frior. Check it out - I think it was her first film and it's very powerful.
Finding a filmmaking community is important for all sorts of reasons, but I will name a few:
1) Watching other people's work inspires you and challenges you in your own productions.
2) Only other filmmakers understand why you do this. Friends and family who don't get how much you love this will never fully meet you on the level other creatives will.
3) You may meet the crew for your next film! Finding crew who you enjoy being with AND who are super talented is really, really difficult. It's almost as hard as finding someone to spend the rest of your life with and almost as much time and thought should be put into it. Think about it! You could be filming in hard situations and troubleshooting in the cold and the rain - you're gonna want people who are worth spending those times with!
My name is Jay, I'm a writer and filmmaker and I run a YouTube channel called The Director's Logbook where I give beginner tips for filmmakers, as well as documenting my filmmaking journey. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook