A new generation of filmmakers is coming…
Looking at the quality and range of videos on Jake Dunn‘s YouTube channel, which include films, artistic spoken word pieces, and Casey Neistat-style life updates, you’d be excused for thinking that the young creator was perhaps a full-time filmmaker with several years of experience under his belt. But in fact, Jake has successfully managed to become one of the most exciting content creators out there at the tender age of just 17.
Not only do his videos contain more aestheticism in a single frame than most dream to achieve within an entire video, they are often clever and incredibly emotional.
“I kind of feel like a lot of artists, either consciously or subconsciously, write about themselves,” explains Jake. “One of my short films, titled Paroxysm, was about how lonely I was two years ago. It takes a lot of guts to talk about something like that, and it can take a long time to form a decent script that goes with those feelings. But when it comes together, that is the most exciting thing.”
The time that’s gone into creating his three (and counting) films is well spent. Often exploring topics such as loss, being young, and life in general, they’re a joy to watch and, as a viewer, it’s easy to feel just as excited about what Jake is creating as he is. His favourite videos include January is a Weird One and his most recent film, Detrimental. “They’re both really short and, funnily enough, weird,” he says. “The January video also got me some crazy cool responses and I literally wrote and made that within in a few hours, which was, again, very cool!”
Jake began YouTube at the age of 11 with a gaming channel (“Needless to say, that channel didn’t work”). He then restarted his career on the site as a vlogger, and watching the videos he’s made in the years since, it’s fascinating to watch him grow from boy to man, and Jake is aware of this: “It’s an online diary,” he says. “I’m so interested in being able to pinpoint exactly who I was at a particular moment in my life, and I’m so grateful that my generation can do that so easily through this platform.”
Between school, work, and life as a teenager, creating online videos isn’t always easy. “School has started to consume me recently (pray for my AS grades, please), which means I’m drained all the time, and to turn on a camera and show the best version of myself instantly becomes the hardest thing.”
However, Jake remains positive about YouTube’s role in his life, including its influence on his career: “It makes me feel mega-productive, and sitting down and having a chat about what’s going on in my life can actually have a really positive impact on myself and my audience.
“Sometimes freelance work can come through people seeing my channel – clients in the past have liked seeing a face being a product. I think it helps create a bond. YouTube is probably the best portfolio for me at the moment, which I am very thankful for.”
Jake also notes that “most of my closest friends have come through the platform”. Watch enough of his videos and you’ll surely notice that some of the faces start to become familiar.
One likely culprit is friend and fellow creator Ewan McIntosh, who features in many behind-the-scenes videos, challenges, and vlogs: “Ewan inspires me both through the work he creates and [through] just how passionate we both are about filmmaking,” says Jake. “The moviemaker I am today is completely because of him. I think we’ve helped each other so much over the past couple of years and have released content that people genuinely love.”
Another familiar face is Dan Stokes, who has acted in several of Jake and Ewan’s films, such as Detrimental and Rubix. “Dan helped me out so much on my new film and was a great energy to have on set. He’s someone I’m paying a close eye [on], his content is very good.”
Together, the trio form an intensely creative bubble of creators, producing some of the most intriguing new content on YouTube.
There’s plenty to look forward to, including Jake’s new film The Complex, set for release this May:
“Essentially, it’s about a group of teenagers who have to deal with a very difficult and dark situation that revolves around a block of flats,” Jake explains. “The film is about youth – it’s about being young and doing stupid things and realising who you are. In weird ways, it’s a film about identity and the effects of love and drugs. But then again, it’s also about mindless violence and the slaughtering of innocent people. Cheery stuff, right?!”
Despite the occasional mindless violence and slaughtering of innocent people, Jake has learnt a lot through being a content creator: “I’ve learned how to make movies, how to be more confident and [how to] express myself. I’ve learnt how to use my platform for good, [and] to always spread love and equality. It’s shown me the career path I want to take in film – it’s actually kind of crazy how much YouTube has helped me.”
So, what does the future hold for Jake?
“Hopefully, to continue making movies and progressively get bigger and better. But who knows for definite, eh?! We’ll all just have to wait and see!”
It’s a good thing we love promoting YouTubers then, isn’t it? Check out our other Channel Spotlights and prepare for your sub box to be filled with hours and hours of entertainment: