Blog : Art

The First Step

The First Step

I am an introvert at heart, and filming allows me to meet people and visit places without me even realising that I am pushing myself into being an extrovert.

I guess it’s a subconscious pattern I have created that allows me to live and expand myself in the world.

My latest self-funded project is definitely allowing me to stretch my skills and personal goals. Last May, I asked myself, ‘How do people go on adventures’? Is it a childhood dream, a stumble across an explorer’s journal, or a push from someone friendly?

What if the thought of adventure has never crossed your mind, no pages of that book read, or you have never met that pushy person – then what?

But maybe you don’t need to go on an adventure – what would be gained? What if a small step outside the ordinary meant a little achievement, an inner tiny celebration that you could cherish and sit with, cupping in your hand to pull out when the ‘hard thought parade’ marched in to say you weren’t good enough?
The knowing that you did something to stretch your mind and body.

What is there, when you wake up in the middle of the night dreaming big about snowy mountains, or when you sit sipping tea looking out the window at the sea’s horizon?

How do you go on adventures? The organisation of it all, the time, the money. The: ‘Oh give up! Don’t be silly. Who do you think you are? You’re no adventurer, explorer, walker, hitcher, camper, sailor. You can’t do this. Pah!’ Go back to dreaming.

Dreaming, dreaming, head  filling with ideas – but where to start?

Trawling on the Internet for inspiration, connection, the mountain, seems massive. The kit, the: ‘Oh my gosh I am so unfit, how am I ever going to do this?’

‘How am I ever going to film this!’

I start with a bump, grabbing at an opportunity to travel and film. Maybe I will film an explorer? Yes that’s what I should do, and then she can do the adventure for me. I can tag along.

After tagging along and taking a big step outside my comfort zone, I realised that following was not enough.

So let’s do things differently. I know myself, I know how scared I get, how much I worry, fret, lose sleep. I will tread softly this time. Take small steps, I want to talk and listen.

So I ask friends and they lead me to friends of friends who have done adventure, been adventure, seen adventure. I email them, and enthusiastic emails bounce back. This is suddenly easy but still terrifying. Do I know how to interview…. Uh… I know how to talk, and especially if I like what we are talking about. Let’s try that.

Now talking and listening and answering and recording – and checking the camera is still on – was a quick learning curve. One that I was told I would pick up.

I realise I am tricking myself into adventure. If you ask me, this was the plan all along. But a big part of me is still happy with the naïvety of it all and really I am just filming stuff so all is completely safe and for the greater good of my filming career.

I know it won’t all be easy, it won’t all be safe, it won’t all be naïve – but it will all be an adventure.

The first film in the series, ‘The Space Outside’, has been released.

Over the next 6 months my journey will be to trawl the internet, talk to and visit people to get to grips on how to go on adventures, big and small. Like any journey I have no idea where I will end up and who I will meet but all that really matters is that I stay authentic and keep curious.

I have already made friends from the first film and I hope some of them will join me in this next film.

The amazing founders of the Women Adventure Expo, Rebecca and Tania Hughes, have come on board to be assistant producers in the future films. I am very humbled and excited at this prospect.

This film was never mine, the journey is mine, but the film is yours to have and watch when you feel frustrated about being scared to take a step outside your comfort zone.

My Big Bulgarian Adventure

My Big Bulgarian Adventure

Last December I was asked by Emma from  to join an exciting team of  artists, film makers and photographers for a collaborative, creative trip to Bulgaria.  Ever since I have been hugely inspired and this blog is sharing some of the amazing journey’s we went on, the people we met and what we got up to.

We started our journey in Sofia, Bulgaria’s Capital City. Here we met Davios, an amazing street juggler. When filming Davios I knew that I was capturing a very special moment. His charismatic charm, vulnerability to perform in the freezing cold weather and generosity of spirit was truly magical to witness. I knew I wanted to feature him in my ‘Snomads Experience’ film which I produced for the sustainable chalet company .

 

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Sofia had the hustle and bustle of city life whilst also having a rugged charm. We visited an amazing ‘art hostel’, where Mel, Matt and Daryl fromworked for hours to create beautiful wall art.

Whilst the 7th Pencil team were hard at work, Jody, Emma and I traveled to join them at the ‘art hostel’  via a tram – but were escorted off the tram for accidentally failing to buy a ticket! After paying a fine – 20 Lev each – we stood awkwardly with the ticket inspectors until the next tram came along and we could carry on with our journey.

After a few days in Sofia; painting, filming, and photographing, Emma drove us two and a half hours to Bansko, where we stayed in the Old Town.

Arriving in the evening, we went straight out on a hunt for a Bulgarian feast. We were not disappointed when our neighbouring restaurant welcomed us in. After lots of hearty food, I stepped out into the cold night to the sound of drumming drifting to my ears and leading to an authentic little pub.

Three men were serenading around an empty table, so I shouted to the others to follow me. We spent the evening enjoying energetic Balkan music whilst drinking wine. There was soon lots of dancing, chatting, singing and laughing.

 

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In the days to follow we drove a little further out of Bansko to Snomads’ amazing Chalet. We visited the local market so that Maks and Ewen from Snomads could buy produce to cook on the open fire for our dinner. Whilst at the market I found myself shadowsocks in the middle of six big Bulgarian men. As they shouted across me, I stood still wondering if I should make a swift escape. Just before I decided to walk away, one of the men turned to me and asked in a deep, powerful Bulgarian voice”Are you from the Daily Express?!” I laughed and, shaking my head, said, “No!” They decided that I was harmless and proceeded to take me around the market and introduced me to many market sellers. I ended up with a bag of clementines, a pear and many faces peering into my camera lens.

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We visited Bezbog via a ski lift up into the beautiful mountains. I had never been on a ski lift, so was a tad scared! On the way down I was accompanied by Stefan, one of the Ski lift operators. He proceeded to tell me how much he loves his job!

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Bezbog, which is the name of a hotel at the top of ski lift, has a lake and walk further up into the mountains, when we got to the top we were greeted with stunning views.

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We set out to drive the four hours to a Buzludzha Communist headquarters on our last day. I shared the journey with Emma, Jody, Martin and , little did we know that the experience would be quite so dramatic. Those four hours turned into eight when we drove in the wrong direction for two, our car got a puncture and then we broke down. It was bad luck, but we landed on our feet since we had broken down right outside a mechanic’s workshop!  Whilst there, we hung out with 14 cats and a dog called Jack.

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We finally drove up Mount Buzludzha to the headquarters as night drew in and the temperature plummeted. The mist was thick as we walked up to the ominous structure.

We climbed into the building with the help from two Danish lads and stood in the darkness, exploring via flash light. All we could make out were beautiful crumbling mosaic walls, tarnished marble floors and the odd mark of a graffiti artist. The building was eerie and otherworldly.

With help from Jody – of   – we managed to get some amazing photos inside this historic building.

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Bulgaria was truly an amazing place, and the people I travelled with definitely enhanced my experience. Working alongside artists, film makers and photographers was really inspiring and throughly refreshing.

Authentic is the word that I would use to describe the Bulgarian people I met. They smiled, were welcoming with a warm heart, and acted out of generosity and kindness.

I returned home with my mind full of inspiration, my heart full of warmth and Bulgarian spirit, my bag full of locally produced honey and a hard drive full of colourful memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I dream of the time I will visit again.

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Boot Camp for the Soul

Boot Camp for the Soul

North Devon is perceived by many as a hard place to make a career and life you love. This is why a lot of young people move out – to go live in a city or a place that is better established for connections, creativity, events and jobs.

I love living in North Devon and I want to tell you why.

North Devon produces ‘Makers’, people who see potential and make stuff happen, whether it be events, musical gigs, community groups or creative projects.

A lot of people have the perception that North Devon is sleepy compared to South Devon or Cornwall. I combat this perception through searching, asking and creating.

  • If there isn’t a group for something that you love, Search for other people who also enjoy your passion.
  • Ask people what they want from a group.
  • Create the group.

Not every group flourishes, but you’ll never know till you try! North Devon has great spaces to hold groups, including village halls, art centres, theatres. Remember, people often have to travel a long way to be a part of something so, like most things, promoting your group/event and creating a buzz of excitement, is really important!

North Devon is stunning, raw, gritty and a blank canvas. Some people see the blank canvas as a negative, but a blank canvas is a source for potential, with endless possibilities.

North Devon hones people’s passion-  a Boot Camp for the soul. People who love to live in North Devon are people who have determination, drive, stamina and a passion that is shaped by the surrounding beauty, rugged charm and silent remoteness.

Many people live a happy, fulfilled, passion-driven life in North Devon, if you are not one of them, take off your shoes and go for a long walk on one of North Devon’s beaches. Put on walking boots and hike in one of it’s many woods. Or stretch on your wetsuit and go for a refreshing swim in a North Devon harbour. You may just realise that North Devon has the space to allow your mind to wander, wonder and to figure out what it is you want and need from life.

Feature Photo credit: Wend Baker “Wuzzy Point, Westward Ho! North Devon”

Title Credit: Pete Yeo

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The Why, The How, The What

The Why, The How, The What

I recently watched a great ted talk from Simon Sinek, “How great leaders inspire action.”

He states that when engaging people, it is so much more important that we look and discuss the Why, then the How and lastly the What.

Why we do what we do, How we do it and then lastly What we do.

I am interested in how this relates to film and how I am developing my films to explore my own way of engaging with audience’s.

I strive to make films of people who have passion. This is simply because passionate people engage me. The spark in their eye, their love for life and drive to work hard at what they cherish, is captivating.

Passion is an authentic ‘Why’.

My favourite films to watch, and films that are generally really well received, including promotional films, are creating or portraying this authentic Why.

“Find Your Love” promotional film, doesn’t even seem like a promotional film. It is way more than just promoting a yoga retreat; it promotes a passion for life, a way of life and also talks about not regretting life.

Films are using this passion to invite people to be inspired by the notion of a more fulfilling life. This becomes way more than just a promotional for a yoga retreat, it is a mantra!

Life has become pretty disconnected and these films are tapping into this lack of connection to engage.

I recently saw a viral promotional film for an up market spa.  It featured elderly ladies talking to camera about what they would have done differently in their lives.  This included emotive things such as, worrying less, kissing for longer, staying up later with a loved one and eventually led to the fact they wished they should have relaxed more. The promotion ends with the solution, The Spa.

Why- To help people relax and enjoy their lives. To not regret their lives.

How – By giving them a place to relax.

What – An upmarket spa.

The emotion and the message is relatable to a wide range of women and men watching the film. It is inspiring whilst also offering up a life lesson. People feel engaged when they can relate.

I think people who really love what they do in life, often emphasise the Why within conversation.   The Why is the most important part for them, the How and the What could be manifested in a 100 different ways, but the Why foundation stays the same.

We have all been asked in a social situation, “so what do you do?”. This question conditions us to answer with What we do. This so easily stops the conversation, what if we answered with Why?

So try this out in your next conversation and see how you feel about it and what comes from it.

Also check out the Ted talk and see what you think.

Feature Photo Credit: Ruth Farrar from Shextreme http://www.shextreme.tv

Jess Pearson, Shimnix Films and Jody Hartley, Jody Hartley Photography, Bulgaria December 2015

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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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Hickory Nines

Hickory Nines

Another beautiful evening, another marvelous sunset! I felt honored to film my second sunset in the same week. This time it was at Hickory Nines Cruel & Curious Art Exhibit. What a talent filled evening I shared with the other art lovers. My eyes boggled at all the amazing angles, light, shapes and beautiful curiosities to film. I had an excellent evening and will be editing a short film of the event soon. If you don’t know of Hickory Nines Art society then they are well worth looking up on the web and facebook. I look forward to editing the events footage and next years exhibit.

Tapeley Sessions

Tapeley Sessions

What a beautiful evening filled with fire, music, dance and joy. It was a wonderful experience to film such an event and I am looking forward to this promo. Its great to be involved in such a project. Tapeley Sessions are organised by local etoro music enthusiasts that want to link North Devon to other locations within the UK though the love of music. If you are in the local area (Instow, North Devon) on the last Wednesday of the month then Tapeley Sessions are well worth checking out!

Watch this space for fire dancers and vibrant music.10668800_1559505677603195_480068657916734553_o

Organic Mural Time Lapse

Organic Mural Time Lapse

Collaboration with Mel Saggs 7th Pencil (artist) and Luke Brown (musician).
It was wonderful to see the mural grow. I always feel privileged when someone asks me to capture their work, their passion. The music that accompanies the time lapse adds a beautiful atmosphere and is perfect to set the scene as the light fades during an actual storm outside. This is the first time lapse I have ever created, I learnt a lot from the 8ish hours of capturing this progression of work. I really hope it is just the beginning of working along side these two very talented creators.

 

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