When I was in the first year of my art degree, I signed up for a module called ‘Film and Moving Image’, I was really excited about it. I spent weeks imagining the films I would make. Then I went to the first class and found out that the module only ran every six weeks, for the first six weeks we were supposed to work on an independent project storyboarding and making a film under five minutes long. I can remember the tutor telling us not to worry because we could ask the technicians for support and most of us would be learning how to use a camera in the photography module anyway. I wasn’t taking the photography module, I was universally intimidated by all technicians, I was worried. I dropped the module in favour of poetry, and I have always regretted it.
(Could I just have a quick aside to acknowledge the fact that technicians are super intimidating and I never successfully had a conversation with one on either my degree or my MA. Tutors saying ‘You can always ask the technicians for support’ are basically saying ‘You can always ask these super judgemental wizards who don’t want you touching their expensive magical tools for support’.)
Writing my most recent blog post about pulling back knitting and the unsuccessful film I spent three weeks making and then deleted without showing it to anyone, really brought that regret back to the forefront of my mind. If I could go back in time and do my art degree over I would be much bolder about taking up space and braver about asking for the support I need. This is what I tell myself anyway, but then I remember all the recent occasions where I’ve been rubbish at taking up space and asking for help. I’m still a work in progress in that department.
One thing I can fix is not doing that filmmaking module, because guess what, I’m still alive and have the ability to learn things. Also, I find the equipment involved in film making significantly less daunting now you can just do it with your phone (and win the Turner Prize).
A few weeks ago I did a week-long course about making films with your phone, which set the challenge of making a short film about your life every day. It was good for me as a person with prior problems with perfectionism and procrastination to make and finish films fast and move onto the next one. The films peppered throughout this post are the ones I made on that course.
One of the things I learnt on the course is that it’s liberating to just embrace your mistakes instead of trying to hide them, like in this first film I made where absolutely everything went wrong. (Or I should say a thing I re-learned, I feel like I will never stop having to learn this lesson.)
I’m hoping to do a longer course in film making before the end of the year, I’m looking for the right one. I’m also trying to embrace the learn by doing ethos of the handmade film making course and just keep playing around with film and audio.
I want to make sort of video essays, it feels like quite a steep learning curve at the moment, but I’m trying to get better at showing my mistakes and workings out as well, so I’ll keep sharing as I go.