The Short Films panel took place on Sunday at Summer in the City 2016. It featured panellists Bertie Gilbert, Sammy Paul, Tim H, Ewan McIntosh, Ciaran OBrien, and Hazel Hayes, and was moderated by Elliot Gough. The panel focussed on why the creators make short films, rather than the technical side of things.
Elliot opened the discussion by asking why the panellists make short films, and what benefits they gain from the experience. Hazel stated that everyone has a love for storytelling, something the panel agreed with. She explained that she was still learning to hone her craft, and starting small was her way to do it. When Ciaran was asked why he works on short films, he replied, “For money and I need to pay the rent”. Joking aside, he explained that he hoped to progress to longer and bigger projects by constantly working on films.
The conversation moved to the merits of constantly creating. Tim expressed his opinion that “what’s wrong with the film student model is that you make one short film at the end of uni or at the end of the year. I argue that the best way to learn is to just keep churning them out… continuously enhance your craft”. Sammy talked about how YouTube has a become an alternate model to the traditional one: “When you leave uni, you join at the bottom of the ladder. YouTube is a new kind of model and we’re sort of building a new ladder”. Bertie agreed, stating that “with the internet, not only can you show off your skills, but if people are actually watching, then that might lead to people to giving you bigger shots”.
Elliot asked if their short films were made to stand alone or more as a proof of concept. Overall, the panellists agreed that whilst they feel their short films always have the potential to be expanded upon, it was important to make them somewhat self-contained in order to tell a full story.
A member of the audience asked the creators about their writing process, and if they worked on one idea at a time or had several on the go. Bertie explained that generally, he always had a bunch of ideas on the go, “but it depends on what tools you have available at the time”, and that he will tend to favour one idea until it’s done. The panel agreed, with Hazel stating that if “there’s nothing else but the one idea, you might be in trouble”. When asked about collaborations, Ewan stated that it was important to work with other people and that “it’s a healthy process to collaborate and get feedback”. The creators expressed how they found it difficult to let go of full control but how valuable it is to work with a team.
Overall, the panellists emphasised the importance of constantly creating and putting your work out there, with Hazel encouraging people to “just start making stuff, even if it’s a bit raw and not quite how you want it in your head. People pick up on your potential”.
Photos by Aria Mark.
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