How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
I’ve struggled with deep anxiety and agoraphobia since school… things got so bad that I became a hikikomori kid/young adult.
My primary driver at this stage was knowing that I had to find a way out of my bleak hole… I had two loves from childhood, art, and physics. I had (luckily) gotten all my Secondary School exams out of the way with minimum school attendance for various reasons tied to my agoraphobia. I took myself on as a challenge and taught myself all I could (I know that I’ll have to continue learning and never stop).
From day one, my reasoning was that I could pursue my interests, and surmount my challenges by taking my points-of-view to the creative field using art, music, acting, and singing to make animated/film shorts.
I had heard various comments from family friends that my paintings were really “creative and thought-provoking” shortly after which, a musician contacted me through a third party on social media and asked if I could animate a music video for a single “Lady on a Motorbike”. Due to how little I thought I knew (It was just over a year and a half ago), I told him it was going to be a very experimental 2D/3D blend and he gave me carte blanche. That was also the first project I finished and I’m now working on a 4K remaster of it.
What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on?
I love watching or reading anything with a good solid story of almost any genre. Understanding that there are different treatments needed for all genres of filmmaking in terms of the pacing of the story and how you visually reveal what’s in the script is an exciting prospect. My goal is to create and amplify the desired emotion around the theme. The prerequisite? A good story. Right now I’m trying to focus on immersion and bringing people into another world. Those are the kinds of stories I want to write, direct and even have a cameo role in.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an indie filmmaker?
(Rolling on the floor crying with laughter). Challenges: lack of funds (cannot hire in help; decent enough equipment; lack of sponsorship; having to watch film credits roll and think “will I be able to have that kind of clout one day to get the right sort of help?
The small bright side? Now though, I’m working alone so it’s hard to say because I’m just pushing myself into doing more and ensuring good practice so that each film is given a deadline which I try to stick to. Isn’t that about how other people do it.
How challenging is it to fund indie films?
So far, my working budget has been from the bank of goodwill (family) which is minute.
Because I’m self-taught, I found a lot of funding avenues were either not known to or not open to someone with no professional/industry track record so I have yet to get funding/sponsorship.
I am open to all/any offers and being a consummate hard worker, my investment potential can be limitless.
What inspired you to make Copper Bone?
“Copper Bone” was about the light at the end of the tunnel that appears when people emerge from the pain and hardship of mental health struggles, finding that the future is bright. It’s that revelation that after the mind and body coming through the hardest times and really fighting for better, there is something intangible that you can hold on to.
Also, I write songs all the time and have been working on a very personal album while building my instrumental repertoire.
You write lyrics, painting, animations, music, and filmmaking. What is the impact of this approach on your work?
I hope it translates into an added richness to my work so that my audience can be reached. I use the visual in listening and apply listening to all the visual artwork (painting, drawing, singing or animating). Lack of funding has been the driving force, along with the need to convince others who are up-and-coming that they really don’t need to wait for the money tree to be shaken before they can start being creative.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. Have they been influential in your work?
Hard… I’ve got so many amazing film directors and musicians that I really rate but, I’m going to narrow it down by thinking of whose work I keep coming back to recently: Buster Keaton, Sylvain Chomet, Jordan Peele. I’ve probably watched almost all of Buster Keaton’s films.
I think everything is absorbed and becomes part of the experience that drives my creative expression so they definitely have been influential in my work. In terms of what I’ve taken away from each, I’d say they all have different ways of showing the expanse of an imagined world that resonates, draws in the viewer, and teaches a human message. They all do it with a wide emotional palette and with or without special effects as needed. You really feel the transient space between in their storytelling.
Why do you make films?
It’s a burning need to visually explore and express the world of people who could have been lost to time and milieu due to mental hardships while not forgetting, to have fun and tell stories that give people a little escape to another world.
What are you currently working on?
More music videos for my new singles, a remix of copper bone and four to five other songs so far, as well as the animated concept for the possibility of a feature film. Last but not least a story-driven video game prototype.
How can your work change lives and have an impact on the audience?
Given my willingness to bare my heart and share my story of dealing with anxiety, agoraphobia etc, my unconventional way of living with it; I have every intention and willingness to impact the boundaries of film-making through the lens of all those experiences.