Blog of a FilmMaker – a long time waiting

Hi, Its been a long time since I last posted but I’ve been quite busy with various things. As you may know, I am a job seeker who is trying to become a full on self employed freelancing film producer. I am now at a very good stage with my princes trust explore enterprise and I seem to be starting to get some where with my commercial client work as well as getting somewhere with my more self commissioned side of things.

As you know I have S.J.Lees Media as my main professional media and portfolio site / network, but while working on the business planning I decided to branch out within S.J.Lees Media to have a site / network space just for my own self commissioned work; this business (owned and under the main S.J.Lees Media) is MagicKraft Media. This is where all my short films and other bigger scale projects will go. On S.J.Lees Media I will still have all the projects and things I create like Vlogs, mini projects, experiments and etc. So It is still an outputting site where I’ll put my work (and they will get more regular) like cgi animations and other odd playlists of work etc. I just want to organise stuff and make my creative stuff more streamlined and professional. Its all so new and exciting and a bit confusing but I couldn’t be happier.

Control Loss my first short film since uni (through and under S.J.Lees Media) is now all finished and distributed and I will link up to it.

I have (through my MagicKraft Media) started my next short film Spook Hunters. Its a homage to Most haunted and monster quest etc and is all set and shot out on location in the birmingham suburbs (uk).

I will be posting and updating this blog and posting up all the work I’ve done on my networks. I’ll also try and make this regular again and organise everything. I have a few blog post on here I want to get up. So see you next time.

check out the links below for more on my work ad stuff:-

MagicKraft Media Blog Site

S.J.Lees Media Blog site

S.J.Lees Media WebSIte


Blog Of A FilmMaker:- My Day In The Life Of A FilmMaker (Wednesday 14 October 2015)

Hi, Sophie J Lees here, filmmaker (and currently a job seeker). This post is a diary of my typical day. It will have all about my day to day activities plus thoughts and updates on my projects and progress.

It is currently 6:35 am, I have been up since 5:30 am but now I am just starting my work day with a pointless job hunt as I have to go and sign on later this afternoon.

Its now 7:21 am, job hunt is finished and just checked certain finances ready to run errands when I go job centre and etc.

Now 8:49 am, I have done paper filling and ad various paper work and had a couple breaks.

10:13 now, I have been continuing with business plan and etc plus being a full time stay at home mom to my puppies (lol) plus doing various house and hobby choirs.

The media work part of my day is over for now as, with the way the day is scheduled with job centre and going to town for various shopping and errands too, I have to cut it short (media part) to do various housework and ext.

Sorry if this post was short and boring, i plan to record a full / longer day tomorrow and post it up as well as recording a week diary in next few weeks. Keep looking our for various other blogs and updates on my network.

Blog Of A FilmMaker:- General and Overall Update – Tuesday 6 October 2015

Hi, Sophie J Less here. If you don’t already know, i am a indie filmmaker, writer, director, producer and editor and I am in the process of setting up my SJLees Media Business.

Although in the very beginning stages and planning stages, my business stuff is going quite well, especially with creative and good ideas as well as project ideas. I am getting help and inspiration by the fact that i am on the Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise and the fact that working on it and seeing my vision of its success is giving me something to do while, “job hunting and being in the unemployed sector”.

As you may know, I am currently on the editing stages of Control Loss, my first short professional film since Uni. I am on edit stage 4 / cut 4 which is the advanced edit stage where the SFX and visual effects. It is also where I dod the colour grading, advanced lighting and colouring like day for night, CGI, animation and the visual effects add ons. I love the editing stage so much as it is so fun and you get to see the evolution and moulding of the whole and finished film. Its also exciting to see the ending of a project that has taken so long to get to screen. There is an important schedule announcement coming in the next hour from the Control Loss blog and site. So check Control Loss blog .

Also the next main thing I am working on is another short film, my 2nd professional short film / project since uni. This will or could be a pilot for a possible mini or general web series on Video on demand sites. It is in the preproduction stages. It is the seed of an idea that is quickly growing to a written idea which my imagination can clearly see ripening. This is so exciting as the writing, idea creation / idea construction and planning stages are also my other favourite stages like editing. This is because i love seeming my scribbles – the seeds – becoming the plans – the roots – and then growing into the written script – the fruit. I then love taking that script to film then the screen for all to see. And I am very excited about this project as it is al the genres and genre mixes and styles I love. At the moment its slow going and not much is flowing as i am concentrating on finishing Control Loss.

Along side all this, I have at the very least 2 other ideas ready to go into pre-production. These are in the pre-preproduction stages as there is just a few odd bits and bobs written down for them. This is also very exciting for me as usually i get all my ideas for future projects while knee deep in another project so i have to log and back log these other ideas to come back to. This is good as you can come bad fresh and better to develop these ideas at a later stage. Also its good as it gives me a library so that when I’m in between projects i have something ready to look through. I also like having 1-3 or more projects on the go so that work flows are quick and production turn-arounds are constant and consistent.

This is pretty much it for now. Thanks for reading.

Please check out: SJLees Media Blog and Control Loss blog

See you next Time. 😀

Blog Of A Filmmaker:- Filmmaking Career & Job Centre

Hi, I’m writing (again) about my filmmaking career and the obstacles of the job centre. 

It’s no secret that technically and on paper I am unemployed and on job seekers benefits, yet in my head and heart I am a self employed filmmaker and will become successful with my SJLees Media business. I am also a big champion of law of attraction and self help stuff along with having strong faith. This is what led me to the “quantum” leap in the faith that I should go ahead with this career path and persue my dream of a filmmaking and self employment.

This however isn’t without its challenges. Mine, is of course, the job centre. The job centre is only doing its job and has a role to play, but like the whole employment industry it seems to have a dislike or disconnection for creative graduates like me. Now I’ve learnt that the system can not be completely to blame for current situations and problems because it’s up to is to take all responsibility and decide what have we done and what do we do next. Yes the job centre plays the role of antagonist so well that it’s no wonder it’s system gets the blame so much for many things.

So what can we do then to get to our goals etc. Well I have drive, faith, vision and put a lot of hard work in. My faith (self help, law of attraction and christo-paganism / Gnosticism) believes the more energy, work, intent and sacrifice you put in plus gratitude then the more you rep. From my experience this is true. Now I know you will have different beliefs and faith systems and that’s fine, there’s no right or wrong; apart from faith in your self and gut instinct – that remains a common factor for everyone. 

Should you just settle for just getting a stable job in office or dead end jobs to get by til you get to your goal, for some it’ll be a yes but for most I advise go for the goal completely. For me my media and filmmaking is a full time job but I just need to figure out getting paid work from it. 

For me the following is true: do what you love and satisfies you and money will follow, never work FOR money money must work FOR you. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Thanks for reading.

Blog Of A FilmMaker – Editing’s Gloomy and Bright Days

Hi, It’s been a while.

Currently I am editing the short film Control Loss, which I have written, directed, produced and shot. (here is the link to the film site blog) .

The whole editing process has to be one of my most favourite parts of the whole film making process. Whether it is video editing, colour correction, SFX, CGI and animation, the sound mix or music composition; I just love the whole part and job it and always look forward to it. Yet there is a down side and negative for this part of the job. That is if you are a passionate perfectionist as I am. This dark side is the bit that deludes you that your project is rubbish and poor quality and shows no sign of improving ever. It’s also that depressing anti climax stage where you are like, was it worth all this? What is this thing I’ve made?

However this is perfectly normal, after having gone through this up and down stage a few times during the Control Loss Edit. The reason this happens to some of us, well I speak for me, is that the project is at it’s bare minim and skeleton stage. It never looks as good as the end film. There are many layers and processes that have to be gone through until the edit cycle reaches the next stage. Plus when you are a creative perfectionist everything gets overthought to the nth detail, however big or small the thing or problem, it always seems bigger and never-ending at the first half of the edit stages. There’s a light at the end of this gloomy tunnel though; It gets better, always.

In all the professional film work and professional film work experience I have done, this is always a stage I go through. I would never wish for it to go away though because that dark time or hard time is what pushes me to get the job done. It can put me off doing the work sometimes, however with the darkness and hardship it makes me strive and learn better for the next projects (of which I have a few lined up) in all the areas of filmmaking. It teaches me what I should do to make it slightly easier the next time round or new ways of achieving the same if not better effects. It then forces me to see the good and fun times and drives my adrenaline for the next projects in my minds eye. In fact its always at the end of a shoot / end of pre-production or all the way through an edit when my next ideas come rushing in; or at the most inconvenient times ever to write a note down lol. 🙂

Thanks for reading, join me in my next post where I will discuss the job centre and media careers. Also join me for a near future post on my work in progress and etc.

PS check out:- for all the project updates etc.

Blog Of A Film Maker:-Building a Career While Stuck on JobSeekers

Hi, I am a filmmaker, writer, producer, director and editor as well as an all rounder in filmmaking and media production. I am sophie j lees. I am also stuck on the welfare state and job seeker system. As many people from a creative background with big dreams and ideas, will know and experience how hard it is to realise your film making or other projects ideas and visions. This is no fault of the individual, and (with a lot of reluctantce to admit) it’s not really the fault of the global or national welfare systems or creative employment systems. Instead I have found that the fault lies in between those lines with the current culture of employment and the old fashioned possibly “capitalist” model of find a job and get a stable living to provide for a family and etc. focusing on dreams is always last in mass modern culture Long with fears of failures that hold so any back.

Also the fault lies with creatives because of mind set of the creative individual “stuck” on the system of welfare is in that downward rut and self doubt. The mindset of the welfare people and governments and employers is “oh god not another creative arts grad” Are very much to blame.  Believe me I’ve witnessed job advisors at job centres rolling their eyes at me when they saw my media degree and their attitudes change to me. I can’t prove it and it’s even harder to prove in a job interview. I will admit and agree that there is a clear vendetta against creative grads, students and individuals. 

 Also the fault lies with us as creatives as we let the system at large and others dictate how we should go about our careers, dictate our control, dictate our images, dictate our inner world and self worth. Only we can control our outcomes and our freedom to live the life we want. Only we can help our selves. I get tired when I see other fellow film makers have the excuses and let their dreams die when all they needed was faith and to put the work in, basically you have to get up and do it. Now I’ve been in the whole rut phase with excuses and empathise with people stuck in the job seekers system and wanting to live your dreams. Believe me they at large seem to hate people like us (employers, job advisors and other similar authorities type – mostly if not all the time, parents want you to live your happy life and support you 100% in whatever). 

All this aside, I am experiencing this now and will have many ups and downs. Mainly I’m doing ok, I’m on job seekers, the explore enterprise scheme and am pushing myself to keep working. I was lucky to find my faith and self help to keep me going. My family support me in what I want to do and choosing my own path, my job advisor is an alright person but doesn’t get me and I’m a difficult client to all the job centre programmes because in my faith I know what I want and I’ve taken back control. That’s what you as creatives must have faith and courage to do when stuck in this terrible system.  

I have achieved, mostly, my goal of producing my short film CONTROL LOSS, and I’m just finishing the edits and so forth. This film is my first since uni and I’m so pleased to get it done and dusted as it’s taken a lot longer than it should have. I’m also working to become self employed as a film and media producer and freelancer, which is the way forward for me, no matter how little support I feel I get from my job centre people, I know I will make it.

In my conclusion and experience, we have support in various and oblivious places as well as opposition. When on job seekers, just play them at their game but treat your “I’m a professional film maker” hat on the rest of the time and you’ll find the whole fake it til you make it rings trues. I have done this and continue to do it (since August 2014 when I fits discovered and started practicing law of attraction and self help principles seriously). I understand many of will will discount my law of attraction and self help faith system and put in place your own which is fine, it’s just important to Have faith in yourself along with whatever you want. But I get up every morning and pretend, or even just be, the film maker I want to be and act as if my freelance and self employed career is happening right now and that I am a successful already. It sounds stupid and crazy I know but it really pushes you forward to keep going and eventually what you think and do turns into reality through hard work which comes eaiser through inspiration because you have that passion and faith that it will happen. I live this way now, and no, I’m not at the end or achievement of many of my short or long term goals of self employment or producting mega buck films or films with a promised pay cheque. But I am successful because I’m producing films and taking control of my career which is more than I had when I first signed on in 2013 and when I finally got my head down with my faith and career path. 

Blog of a FilmMaker :- Ideas & project creation

Hi, this is just a brief post on my experience creating the initial project and the ideas construction of a project. 

When starting a new short film or other media project I always start with ideas and odd notes jotted down in my notebooks (while working on other projects or just other work), and through this I have created an idea / project ideas back log 2014 & one for 2015 to come back to. Then any ideas that pop into my head are added to the mix then the research starts, this is on everything from topics & narrative content right through to the film production and style up to the post production and distribution. This is mixed in with any personal experience. 

I then bring all my research together and add more ideas and notes that come then I pull all those notes and ideas together into mind maps and lists and slowly tweak and cut through them. 

At this stage I read through my notes and ideas and decide on the general confirmed notes ie location area, the genre, how many characters, target audience and duration. This comes either in the research stage or when the feeling is right.

I then make a list of around 20 favourite brief idea outlines ie 2 people wake up in doll house and must find a way to lift curse to get home etc. Then I whittle it down to 10 then to 5 then to 3 until you get to that 1 to take forward. These are not set in stone numbers or methods just the rule of thumb I developed. I also add the 4-2 other good and favourite ideas to my idea backlog just in case. 

At this point when i have final project idea, I concentrate & focus all the creative ideas and notes and research on it until pre production reaches the final shooting script and production has wrapped as the idea is alive and evolving all the time. 

And 1 very important note is, the seed of your creation never looks like the final edit. That’s the best part. 

My film CONTROL LOSS looked completely different and had two different titles, tag-lines and a whole different narrative and style at the seed of its creation but it still keeps evolving and will look even more different at its distribution. As I said that’s the best part because it grows and changes with you; and that to me reminds me of when the renascence heros describe an idea as a living muse. 

Thanks for reading and see you next time 🙂