The best advice is to document everything. Will tells us more about how he got into the industry and what keeps him thriving.
1. How did you get into filmmaking? What’s your background?
I actually got into filmmaking through parkour (also known as free running). A
friend of mine, who was already doing it, showed me a video and I was blown
away by what these people were able to do. I was instantly hooked and from
day one I took a little point and shoot camera with me so I could take photos and
video as well.
I still do parkour now, as it is a great way for me to put some
creative energy into something that isn’t film. After leaving school I went and
studied at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham for four
years where I expanded my skillset and taste by making various short films,
music videos, documentaries etc.
2. What have you been working on lately?
Most recently I was a camera operator and colourist on an art film, which
involved a lot of ping-pong balls, whips and red powder. It was really fun, a
pretty new experience for me. I’ve also been working on some music videos as
well as some branded content for companies.
3. How would you describe your style? And how does it differ from other production companies?
Interesting question, this isn’t something I’ve thought loads about, I just know
what I like when I see it. However, I think I would describe my style as
atmospheric; I like it to have an organic feel that helps the viewer immerse
themselves in the world I am showing whether it be fictional or factual. I like
there to be contrast in an image but still retain detail in the shadows, midtones
and highlights as best as possible. I’ve recently really enjoyed implementing
colour lighting to help create colour contrasts too. I also like to create depth by
shooting through objects or having objects in the foreground, shooting through
windows and glass is a particular favourite of mine at the moment, as I love the
reflections you can get.
Additionally, I would describe my style as versatile, because I do not think I am
limited to just shooting in one particular way. I can adapt to different
environments and shoot whichever way is best required for the project. For
example at the beginning of this year I shot a music video for Fast Car To
Florence where they wanted a really energetic performance video.
Before this I was used to shooting slow, smooth and elegant handheld shots with perfect
focus, but with this project the band wanted the exact opposite; loads of shake,
imperfect movements and not nailing focus every time added to the energy of
the video. It was a really fun project to work and it is one of my favourites so far.
I’m also a big fan of TV shows such as Sherlock and Mr. Robot; I think the
cinematography in them is very refreshing and unconventional so they definitely
influence my style of cinematography.
4. What kind of projects make you excited to do the work you do?
What’s your role on each project?
Something that is creative and new. The art film I mentioned was one of those
because it was a genre of film I haven’t work in before, plus it was a chance to
work with new people.
My role varies somewhat, depending on the project. If a client is hiring me then I
am usually a one-man- band so I direct, shoot and edit. If I am being hired as crew
for a bigger production I am usually hired as a Camera Operator and sometimes
Director of Photography. I’ve recently been looking for more work as a Colourist
5. Can you tell us about your process?
It depends on what is required from the project and client. Usually, I will have a
meeting or phone call with the client or director to find out what story they need
the video to tell. Sometimes I have a lot of freedom and trust from the client to
do what I think is best for the project and sometimes I am given a shot list to
work from. Quite often, I will watch films or videos that have a similar feel to
what the client has described to get a rough idea of what they may want from a
visual perspective. I’ll then start on a shot list and maybe even work up a mood
board if it helps. Sometimes, though, I just get hired to turn up and shoot which
is fun too.
6. What inspires most of your productions?
It’s probably a desire to produce something of higher quality than what is
typically expected, especially when it comes to the corporate films. I think a lot of
companies expect to get a very basic, functional and bland looking video so I
like to make something that exceeds their expectations. Even if the video needs
to have the typical interview with b-roll formula, I try and make the visuals
appealing so that even if the person watching isn’t interested in what the
company is selling, they will still watch the whole video.
When it comes to personal projects, they are mostly driven by a desire to
document life and preserve memories with friends and family. I’ve done a few
videos like this before, either documenting a whole year or a particular trip
abroad; they are so good to look back on after a year or longer. A lot has
happened this past year so it motivates me to document even more and it’s
something I encourage other people to do as well.
7. What kit do you use on a typical shoot?
At the moment I mostly use a Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro with the Sigma Art 18-
35mm, Sigma Art 50mm and occasionally a Canon 100mm Macro, plus a
SmallHD 502 monitor. For a B-Camera I have a Panasonic GH5.
8. What’s your favourite piece of kit?
It’s definitely the Ursa Mini Pro. The quality, image and functions you get are
fantastic for the price you pay. It feels like a very versatile camera that I can
shoot any genre with including documentaries. It’s nice to know it can match up
well with Arri and RED cameras too.
9. What is your most-used piece of kit?
It is probably my laptop as I use it literally everyday either for edits or general
admin such as emails, invoices etc.
10. What’s the best advice you’ve received in your time in the industry?
Do what you love, do it well, the money will come (eventually). Be patient and
11. What advice would you give, based on your experiences?
This might sound like an odd one, but make sure you have other hobbies. I
know a handful of filmmakers whose only hobby was film and now it has
become their full-time job they don’t know how to switch off and it burns them
out sometimes. So I think it is important to have something else to take your
mind off things, whether it’s a sport or another art form like painting, you
need to recharge every now and then.
12. What is something you wish someone would have told you early
days about the industry?
You will always be learning, so you don’t need to pretend to know everything.
It is always better to be honest and say you do not know how to do something
rather than try and make it up as you go along.
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