5 Years of Disrupting the Scottish Film Industry....
We’ll be profiling some of our older films over the next few weeks while we announce some of the new.
2014-2016: TF5 - Where Do We Go From Here?
A little preface...
DIY does not equate to vanity publishing. DIY is an ideology, a belief -which need only be temporary- that YOU have an equal right to have your voice heard. If something is standing in your way, then you use whatever means are available to shout and make sure you’re heard.
Industry Feature filmmaking has built itself an infrastructure designed to quieten even some of the loudest voices, and the challenges faced by emerging filmmakers with little money; or those just simply being ignored are often monumental. Emotional Resilience is as much an important part of the independent filmmakers skillset as understanding the differences between 4K and UHD. It’s a little known fact that Cool Hand Luke and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest were based on Scottish Filmmakers experiences of dealing with some of the current short film funding schemes. When it seems no-one is listening, the prospect of making your own feature film may as well seem like making your own space ship and flying to the moon. But you can make your own feature. And WDWGFH, and how it was made is proof that you can.
A part of filmmaking we feel is often ignored is The Process, not the scary 1960s cult which Charles Manson hung around with but the less tangible - but very special - aspects of making a film. By that we believe the experience of making a film is as important to emerging talent as current Scottish Funders do with their obsession of end-result sales and reviews. During our experience with the films we make, or promote we believe this ‘one chance’ narrow view is detrimental to creating a thriving independent filmmaking community, excitement and human flaws. Obviously everyone sets out to make a good film, and obviously regardless of process a well received Scottish film is beneficial to everyone. But the reliance on ‘end result’ is loosing important voices due to outmoded thinking.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The making of WDWGFH is a lesson in how resilience, DIY spirit and a very large amount of talent created a fantastic feature, a movie which a near entire Scottish Indie-Film community believed in - but an entire non Indie Industry did not. Beyond this, the film acted as a giant stepping stone to create one of the most talked about features of 2018, Anna and the Apocalypse; a film that has already received fantastic reviews and is being distributed by a major Hollywood studio. Surely, John McPhail’s next film will be even bigger. The conclusions are simple - If WDWGFH had not been made then AAtA would not have been made either. The lack of assistance from our industry to make this film is troubling. But it was made - by themselves.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
If John, and our own Lauren Lamaar had not used their incredible amounts of DIY ingenuity, belief and an amazing store of resilience - to face the knocks, then WDWGFH would not be here either. It’s worrying that there are likely hundreds of filmmakers, in Scotland alone who have the same fantastic amount of talent but don’t survive the knocks. Unfortunately there are many, many struggles on the way to making a film; and many filmmakers will eventually go unheard when they give up.
The purpose of this profile is to show that traditional funding is not always necessary, and that you can make films which eventually get to Hollywood - on your own. This is why the process of WDWGFH is so important, it can hopefully inspire others to see they too can do this, and they may eventually might see their own success when it feels nobody is listening to them. And that the process can be an inspiration for you, as well as others.
Apple, Red and many other successful companies base their marketing on lifestyle, and this is an area ignored by the Scottish film industry.
The established industry made a fundamental error in not understanding or recognising how much John inspired other emerging filmmakers - and this was before AAtA! It took festivals, and many awards in other countries before a grudging acknowledgement was made here, and when it was the industry realised they had been wrong. It amazingly needed a whole section of the independent film industry to show this when the film was finally shown here at GFF to rapturous applause and sold out screenings.
This is the power of being independent and doing things for yourself. Just because someone has a pot of gold does not mean they know what to do with it. And to John and Lauren’s credit they remained humble and pragmatic throughout. An industry failed to recognise the journey - and the inspiration fellow filmmakers gained from seeing it screen at a local festival earlier and being a part of that process.
Where do you go from here?
Here's how they did it and what they achieved hrough various articles online. Why not take some inspiration from them:
It all started with the shorts....
The Shorts -
Notes - Q+A with John
And more shorts, which started to win bigger awards...
That led to wanting to make a feature....
The Crowdfunding Campaign:
And then they had a feature....but where to screen it?
Everywhere but Scotland, where it managed to achieve a very large amount of awards.
And finally in Scotland...
The Wikipedia Page:
Which all led to the attention of people with money....Anna and the Apocalypse...
And the attention of more people with a LOT of money....
DIY, is such an important philosophy in independent filmmaking. You don't have to rely on traditional funding. And you can make a successful feature film on your own.
Go out an make your film, and don't let anyone tell you you can't.