This past weekend I took a journey to London to take part in the Guerilla Filmmaking Masterclass a very intense (and long) look at what really goes into making a film. The event was run by Chris Jones who’s short ‘Gone Fishing’ was ohhhh so close to oscar glory last year.
Chris has worked in the film industry for over 20 years and has a hell of a lot of interesting and often funny stories to tell (such as his time spent in jail) about all the features and shorts he’s worked on. The course was really insightful it literally covered everything ranging from finding a script to financing, producing and actually selling the final piece.
Before the class actually started on the Friday evening we had a really interesting bonus.Gareth Unwin and David Seidler the Producer and Writer of “The Kings Speech” respectively came and spoke to us about their experiences making the film. What a great pair of guy both funny and interesting in equal amounts. Gareth only recently got into Producing with his background really lying in AD work so what a hell of a project to suddenly produce. David was a character and a half deciding he wanted to get into screenwriting at the ripe young age of 40 his first major screenplay was amazingly Tucker directed by Francis Ford Coppola (or as David lovingly called him Franny) you can tell this is a man whose life could be a film in itself. I’m not going to go into too much detail about what they said but David did tell us his main inspiration for writing The Kings Speech was that he also suffered from a stutter when he was a young boy. All together it was an amazing evening and Gareth even bought an oscar with him. I’ve got to say it was shiny as a bastard.
The masterclass didn’t take any prisoners, it was made very clear that this is an industry that can and will take over your life and you may well never get that lucky break. Come on though if you’re reading this you were probably bitten by the film making bug long ago such as myself and if afraid there’s no going back. We spent the whole of 2 beautiful, sunny, hot days……sat in a lecture theatre, at least there was air conditioning as 350 people sat in there for 2 whole days could have gotten bloody ripe by the end.
I think it’s really a testament to both Chris’s teaching style and the dedication of everyone involved that we all managed to stay so glued to what was going on. 9am till 7pm sat in a hall is a hell of a long time to keep people interested but Chris managed it even when the subject got a little heavy.
Other than the masterclass there was another essential element to the weekend, networking. This is a great opportunity to meet a whole host of like-minded people so why not take advantage of that. I’ve got to say I met a whole host of people who I cant wait to work with whether they’re writers, directors or producers. A nearby pub and pizza hut made for our usual destinations in the evening which gave plenty of time to talk to people from all walks of life, there were some people still at university and other people waiting for their new film to premiere. I think I must have handed out about 30 business cards whilst there and these weren’t just quick “Here’s my card” moments they were all people I sat down with and had a good talk too.
I’m sure everyone that attended the course came away feeling like that film bug had just bitten them all over again. You could feel the amount of passion in the room by the end of the event. We all just wanted to get out there and bloody make something. Without a doubt I would recommend going on “the Gorilla Filmmakers masterclass” if you get the opportunity I’m sure you can tell I had a hell of a time and for the price of £60 you really can’t go wrong. One last massive thank you to everyone involved whether it be Chris, everyone else behind the scenes or just the people I met during our time together. In those immortal words ‘it’s been emotional’
This really is a quick look over the whole event and I could go much more in-depth but to be honest I’d rather leave that to someone else and get making something. If nothing else the course taught me that now is the time to get working on my film, no more waiting for tomorrow
carpe diem and all that