My working life has changed significantly over the past year. I am no longer just navigating the often stressful, uncertain world of freelance work, which I admit, has it’s perks and moments of brilliance.
Over a year ago now I stuck my neck out and applied for a job teaching film production in post 16 further education. It was an experiment at the time really, as an unqualified, largely self-taught filmmaker I felt I had little chance of getting the job but wanted to aim high. Now over a year has passed, I am a teacher for four days a week and I happily look back on how far I have come.
Teaching is hard. You have to be resilient, pick yourself up time and time again, come face to face with your own flaws, and somehow justify your place in an educational system that is constantly squeezed, shifted and jeopardised by cuts from politicians like Gove. You get some holidays but holy shit you have to work for them.
Although at times this stuff can dominate, I try to stay mindful of the personal things that teaching has given me. From the moment I walked in that door on my first day I had to learn to listen, be less selfish, more compassionate, more adaptable, open to different ways of thinking and being, to look at my own film work and consider it’s quality and importance. Without doubt, since I started teaching others, I have developed personal and professional qualities that I never imaged I would. It’s not for everyone, and it might not be forever, but I’m glad I stuck my neck out.
I now have a stable income which allows a little time to pursue the projects that re-kindle my love for film, which is a great thing. This is something I filmed in Sprint Mill a few months ago, with my friend Sam, whom I respect greatly for his raw style and the integrity of his ideas and beliefs. I hope you enjoy it.
Communications have been a little quiet recently as I have been in an editing frenzy at every possible opportunity. But the trailer has gone live and the film is nearly done! Bring on the premiere!
In the Frame has been a hugely challenging project for me, I’m a short term goals man and I find it hard to stay focussed over long periods of time. When Joe wheeled himself up to me on the Lakeside in Bowness on Windermere 18 months ago I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.
I had seen Joe around the Lakes but never spoken to him. Two blond, bearded, identical twin brothers are hard to miss! However I hadn’t seen him in a wheelchair with a large mechano style puzzle holding his leg together so I was intrigued to know his story. He told me he felt self conscious in a wheelchair and proceeded to recount his tale. After telling me about his accident he asked if I wanted to make a film, this was new to me, usually it was me pestering people. And so it began!
Two weeks ago we summited Ben Nevis by the tourist path from the valley, there were a bunch of us there to support Joe, and two very excitable dogs. We had planned to climb Tower Ridge now that Joe was in much better form but the weather had other ideas as is so often the case around here, so we opted for the long walk. We knew the way down would be pretty punishing for Joe as that is when he feels more pain, so we carried Joe’s bike half way up so he could at least ride some of the descent and take the weight off his legs. We reached the top in heavy cloud with 100 other tourists passing by, it was an atmospheric scene as the wind whipped the cloud up and over the summit plateau. Tower Ridge was nowhere to be seen and we applauded our decision to avoid the climb. We shared a nip of whisky on the summit cairn and a quick hug. There was no song and dance, no deep emotional speeches, just relief and an appreciation of our surroundings.
So In the Frame is in it’s final stage, a stage where everyone can relax…..apart from me as I have to edit the flipping thing. I now sit in that funny place where I know I have some great material but I have nothing to show for it yet. It can be a lonely place because there is a lot of work still to do and I’m the only one who can do it. I really feel that with all it’s twists and turns this will be a much better film than it would have had it all gone to plan. We have all had time to ruminate, plan more thoroughly, relax and reflect on the project and Joe has had time to heal and grow. I hope all that comes across in the final ‘product’. I hate that word.
Once again I must thank everyone who has supported this project either with kind words, bike riding, cake making, financial donations, emotional and physical support. We’ll see you all at KMF!
Here is the finished film, I hope you enjoy it! You can read a previous blog post about the making of the bowl and the film > here <
A little while ago I made I was commissioned to make a film for Pippa Murray about a green wood moulding process she had been developing. The film would be shown as part of a her final show at the Royal College of Art in London where she was studying. I really enjoyed this project, the topic was new and interesting and it meant I could spend time in the woods. You can see the film > here <
Since finishing this I have embarked on a project with Jonathan Leech, a friend of Pippa’s and old friend of mine. Jonny is a woodturner, creating natural edge hand turned wooden bowls which he sells over the web and at local craft fares, you can see some work on his site > here <
Jonny has been commissioned to turn an enormous 3ft wooden light shade for a new deli bar in London that Pippa is project managing and I have been on hand to document the process.
We began the project in a rainy wood yard near Kirkbride with an uncut lump of Ash which was gradually cut down and shaped, ready to be mounted on the lathe at a wood yard near by.
The turning process took around two and a half days as the lump of ash gradually reduced in size and took shape. A specific piece of the tree was chosen so that the double grain would be visible in the finished piece, the shade became more and more beautiful as the grain of the wood began to show.
We hope to carry on filming this week to capture the finishing touches on the shade and then I will be on with the edit. Once finished and shipped down to London we plan to film the shade in its new home and the whole process will be complete. Plucked from a wind blown tree in a Cumbrian field to be the centre piece of a contemporary urban deli in the big smoke, pretty cool I reckon. Watch this space!
The Way You Used to do – Paddy Rogan from Dom Bush on Vimeo.
I feel myself drawn to document music more and more, it seems like one of the most fundamental elements of life. When we are born our bodies are set to rhythm of breath and heartbeat, and we continue to chase the rhythm of song and drumbeat as we grow, mastering instruments that can add melody and manipulate the rhythm all around us.
The concept for the Sprint Mill Sessions was born out of many parties, gatherings, evenings in the woods with friends. I wanted to capture that moment, when out of the hum someone picks up their guitar, a hushed silence spreads and the melody rings out. I have many talented friends so this is a fairly regular occurrence when people get together. So I gathered people, many I knew and some I didn’t for a night of music around the fire in the hope I could re-create some of the magic of those nights. I think we succeeded.
Alongside musicians and a willing crowd we had a 4 man crew. Myself, Tomo and Simon on Cameras and Ben recording live sound. I never hoped to achieve perfection, I wanted to create something real and live that could be easily edited and released gradually as the months rolled by. A live video album of talented local artists. It has been a joy, new friendships have come from it and ideas for more musical films, what could be more perfect?
There are 8 Sprint Mill Sessions all together with one still to come, they are on a dedicated Vimeo channel and you can visit them here – SPRINT MILL SESSIONS
Enjoy and thanks for checking in!