Blog : Self Employed

Over Mountains and Under Water

Over Mountains and Under Water

We drove over 1300 miles, our car with teeth that bit into the ice sheeted roads.

Iceland is every bit as magical as you can imagine. You look up to the sky of dancing lights, you look out to the mountainous horizon and you look down to the snow and lava fields that crunch beneath your feet.

On the road in Iceland
                                                                                  

   The city of Reykjavik has a strong arts culture/community and we happened across the Winter Lights Festival, where all the art museums and swimming pools were open for the weekend and creative happenings were located throughout the city. We managed to be at the opening of the festival, where Icelandic Artist Ingvar Björn, projected volcanic eruptions on to the Hallgrímskirkja church whilst orchestral music played in the background.

Hallgrímskirkja church

After a long day out exploring the golden circle we were driving back to our accommodation when we saw the green shimmer of light in the sky. It felt so sudden and easy, to stumble across this phenomenon. We chased it to a well known spot and sat in awe for over an hour watching the lights play in the sky.

Northern Lights

The little island, Videy, near Reykjavik, gave us stunning views of the nearby landscape. The grass shone golden and the sky sat moodily with heavy rain clouds.

Mountains from Videy

We walked for an hour over snow to the D3-Plane Wreck, which sat alien in its environment. Tourists clambered over, under and in the plane to get the best photo.

D3-Plane Wreck

A storm hit on our last day and we spent three hours in the Blue Lagoon being blown around the warm pool. The sheltered spots were a welcome rest from the prevailing wind.

Iceland has a rugged beauty with a stark, harsh environment.

Tourism is starting to take hold of Reykjavik. Whilst the locals try to preserve the culture, there is a tension between the rise of tourism-based buildings and the fall of community-led space. We spoke to one of the owners of a co-operative art gallery, who told us that their gallery was soon to be torn down for new tourist accommodation. We wished her luck and walked out into the high street of Reykjavik.

Even though there was an apparent creeping in of American influence, there was still a real beating heart in Iceland’s capital city. The art within the Winter Lights Festival was full of young and old blood and had an amazing energy that we had happened to walk into.

The Icelandic humour was very apparent and dry; little signs would catch you by surprise and make you smile.

Bus stop

I look back on this adventure with a real mix of feelings, a little sad but most of all with a sense of respect for the people of Iceland who brave the cold, harsh climate and dark hours with a persistence and humour that can teach us all about not taking life too seriously.

Till next time, Iceland.

jess in iceland

Maybe I am a collaboration kind of girl?

Maybe I am a collaboration kind of girl?

From the start of Shimnix I have been scouting out for a team. In my head a team meant many things, companionship, help, more minds, better ideas, bigger projects, faster learning.

Everything comes in time, so I didn’t go out looking hard for people to work with, I set in my mind that I wanted to work with like minded people and they then started to cross my path.

I noticed that great people crossed my path, but they weren’t always going to create a great collaboration. For example, they didn’t have the same interests or were on their own journey, traveling off in a different direction. I think following your gut in this instance is the best thing to do. If you don’t think you are going to complement each other then there is no point trying to work together.

Everyone knows that to many chefs spoil the broth, so you have to be able to work in harmony and not let ego get the better of you. Whilst talking about ego, yes I most definitely have one, as do most people! For me I can get rather bossy when I get my director head on. In a lot of respects this is important as the buck falls with the director but I have found that working with people who take direction well, but also bring me back down to earth with laughter is so important.

Last year when creating Sophie Sutton’s Music video for Futureless, I properly had to get my director head on. We had limited daylight, being in November, the temperature was cold, people were giving up their time to help and it had taken us months to pull the location, props, people together. It suddenly dawned on me that I had to take control of the situation, this strangely came as a shock and pushed me well out of my comfort zone. I did swear a bit but then stopped my swirling head and started to direct. Sam Dowden, who was a part of the collaboration, took great direction, but also added laughter and fun. This completely changed the mood and lifted everyone’s spirits. Sophie Sutton had also worked hard with us on the concept and was very much a part of the collaboration, this created a great atmosphere. Sophie, whose video we were making, was involved and therefore the pressure to act like I knew what I was doing wasn’t needed, I could be myself and muddle through without judgement. The mix of direction, laughter, hard work and nurture really created a great space and produced our first ever music video.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Only great things can come from this.

I can be the director, however, I can be the assistant, I can be the runner, I can be the sound woman, I can be the editor. In every collaboration you may fit in, in a different way. Allow this to happen,  you learn so much from being different parts of the jigsaw puzzle.

I always try and get to know someone before I decide to work with them. Have a good chat, I soon know if we are on the same page.

I am always looking for new collaborations, they add so much energy and magic to my life and filming.

So maybe a collaboration will lead me to creating a Shimnix team, having said that I am enjoying finding new people to work with and my films, our films are progressing for it.

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No one said it would be easy.

No one said it would be easy.

When I decided to become self employed, no one ever said it would be easy. In fact, I had a lot of people warning me about the endless hours or work, the tax and account bore, the difficulty in taking time off to rest and holidays with no pay, the constant worry of where work would come from next…the list went on.

At the time I was 25 years and had never found any work situation that had made me excited and make me spring out of bed, (if that is even possible.)

I knew what I loved to do and that was to create, to make films. It made sense to me to make my work something that I loved to do, why do anything else?

For the first time, I felt the hunger. The hunger to learn every aspect of business to make this work, whatever ‘this’ was. I set out to make sure I had help where I had weaknesses. I went through The Princes Trust, The Bideford Bridge Trust and found lots of amazing courses with North Devon Plus, Princes Trust, Women do Business, School of Social Entrepreneurs and many more. I came out with a healthy grant, a 2 year mentor ship and better knowledge.

None of this felt difficult it came quite naturally to me to want to learn how to make a living from my love.

Something that has been very interesting and difficult at times was protecting my love. Once you step into Business territory you have many people telling you how to get sales, to market, to remove emotion, to hard sell, to get the biggest clients, to win, to trample your competitors. It becomes, you against the world, and the love is easily lost, is too easily forgotten. This is all good advice and often works in business, however, it doesn’t work for every business and I constantly ask myself why I am doing this, working endless hours, working hard to learn, to progress, to evolve and its for the love.

The love is the only thing that is IMPORTANT. If the love makes you money, great, if it simply makes you happy then that is more than enough.

No one said it would be easy and sometimes it’s not, but as long as you protect your love, then it is all easier than you may think or expect.

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