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 🙂

Blog of a Film Maker – Low budget equipment and buying equipment at amazon

Hi, Today I will be looking at buying low cost and low budget equipment and the advantages of getting equipment on mainly amazon and other similar sites.

As I mentioned in my last post I am just starting out with my freelance filmmaking and film producing, I have 2 self produced projects (1 with a shoot date looming) in the pipeline and a professional promo project in the works and very little funds. This is a position most, if not all, filmmakers find them selves in as they start out. 

So with this dilemma, I bought a DSLR CANON EOS 1200D which is a god sent as I pointed out In my last post. Now for the rest of my low budget equipment. Here I found useful videos of fellow film makers’ low budget kits. by DSLR FILM NOOB by Mathew Pearce 

While budgeting and doing equipment research I found all my equipment on amazon as I was cutting my spending and experimenting with my budgets. Here i found how far you can stretch a budget with almost industry quality equipment. I have saved a basket of a full DSLR film kit for just about £430 give or take. This is really good as the rest of the budget can be spent on location, actors and crew etc. Now I admit i may not have the top lights and just the small square portable lights as well as the top high end brands but the low end kit I’ve gone for will get the job done well for a short film and a starting out producers.

I hope this helps and gives an insight. Thanks for reading.

Blog of a Filmmaker – DSLR Film Making: My Beginners Insight and Guide

Hi, In this edition to the Blog of a Filmmaker I will be talking about being a dslr filmmaker and dslr filming.

As a filmmaker starting out (freelancing and self producing) and being unemployed, I didn’t have or know where to get the funds for industry equipment and ended up sitting around, saving and buying cheap home filming equipment which was fine for the time and purpose i used it for but not professional (as it started to break after 1-2 years use) for branching out and properly starting. Then came the problem i had been stuck on, I have a self produced film project shoot looming and professional work / work experience jobs suddenly popping up, i needed an industry camera and fast. So do I dip further into my pocket and scrape to get a sony z5 or something similar or hire equipment?. Then salvation came whilst I was researching and self educating my self on film making and a video on DSLR film making came up, a video I had seen but not taken in before. I found that yes I could get DSLR camera and other equipment and get the broadcast quality of industry equipment.

Here is the video which introduced me to DSLR filmmaking and micro crew filming.

Here are some videos below on why DSLR cameras are good for filmmaking and their features. Also they provide good tutorials and tips.

by Fenchel & Janisch

by Jake Coppinger

by DSLRguide

For me the decision was, I need to kick start my media and filmmaking career and at the moment I am stuck. So with the revelation of DSLR filmmaking and how it is a good stepping stone from home cameras to industry equipment I thought Yes DSLR filmmaking is my next step. This has been the best thing for my career and journey. I love that you can do so much with DSLRs and get so many accessories and lenses to enhance the film and stills.

As a conclusion, for low and no budget films, indie and short film and for start outs, DSLR filmmaking is the best way forward. However I would use it as a stepping stone and as an alternative or back up to a sony z5 or other industry film Cameras when i have bigger projects and more budgets. But I am growing more and more attached to DSLR filmmaking and highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading. I will be posting more soon. Happy film making.

Blog of a film maker series launch

Hi, welcome to my Blog. I have had this site since my media degree years at uni. I am now a film graduate in Birmingham West Midlands UK. I have unfortunately been unemployed since graduating due to the tough competition, and yes of course the economic crisis and austerity. Regardless of politics and etc I have kept my dream going through thick and thin and eventually the prospect of being a freelance and self producing filmmaker and media worker is beginning to bloom into opportunity. I have had a great 2 years to find and define myself and to learn about the industry as much as i can without getting paid work. For example I have been producing special and visual effects along with CGI animations and actual promo video work experience. I have also gained work experience as a PR officer for a charity group i am a member of.

Things are on the up as I have 2 self produced projects in the works, short films, and a professional job. Also the fact that I have a clear business plan and a self image to market for both business and myself as film maker.

This blog series will be a blog of a film maker and spreading knowledge i have and useful tips along with my work and behind the scenes info. My areas of interests are music videos (least favourite), TV and films. I will share anything media and film / TV related and mainly the filmmaking side of things.