Blog : Filming

Taking The Plunge

Taking The Plunge

 

 

I have decided to explore some of the suggested adventures, which are featured in my second film. My main aim is to create an introduction with movement before the interviews commence. I started with a journey to Spitchwick River on Dartmoor, which was recommended to my boyfriend and I by some dear friends and was also mentioned in the Wild Guide South West book by Daniel Start, who is also featured in the second film.

“Ed, my boyfriend, drives us through the autumnal woodland till we get to a very busy car park. Kayaks and people fill every available space and there is lots of energy and adventure around us. I, however, sit in the car looking at all these people outside thinking ahhh! How do I get up the nerve to go to the river, take off my warm clothes and get into the river? I also have the added pressure I have created for myself, to film this event for the second Space Outside film. After some encouragement from Ed, I step outside and film him flicking through the pages of the Wild Guidebook. I then have a freakout and sit back in the car. This is out of my comfort zone and this is going to take a big step to push myself out into going on an adventure. We have a chat, mostly about how I feel a fraud and how high my anxiety levels are. But in this talk, Ed brings me around and I find calm, the car door opens and I step out. I have no idea how to film myself, I am used to filming other people. So I organise my kit the best I can and we set off. The walk does me good and I focus on the beautiful surroundings. Then we reach the section of the river that is well known for swimming in the warmth of the summer months. However it is mid-November and no one is around and only Kayakers can be found on the river, which is perhaps a good thing! I settle on wanting to film a section of the river that is hit with red, yellow and orange reflections of autumnal beech Trees, it is so beautiful that I do not take in to account the height of the water in this section. I look around, still no one. I have brought my wetsuit but the light is going to be behind trees soon so I discard the suit and after some explaining to Ed how to focus the camera manually, I whip my clothes off, realising how white and hairy I am, eek! Great now my body will be on camera and I forgot to shave. But I had the reassurance that it was my footage and if I didn’t like it I didn’t need to show it. Suddenly two people turn up, oh great! Now I have an audience, however, they yell out encouragement and I shout back with my thanks.

Remembering some advice from Myrtle Simpson, who’s advice features in the second The Space Outside film, I walk into the river very slowly and go up to my knees. I then start to walk in the middle of the river to get deeper but the levels stay at my knees, so I slowly with lots of panting and deep breathing sit down. I then declare that this is enough and stand up, take one step and slip, plunging myself up to the neck, I yelp and Ed shouts out, after laughing at my clumsiness “well you’re in now, so you may as well swim!” I turn around and start to breaststroke the width of the river, the current is quite strong and I am very aware of this so make sure I swim against the current.  I think I lasted maybe 2 minutes before striding out of the water to my towel. But I did it and my body feels tingly and revitalised. I slowly and very shakily put my clothes back on and Ed commands me to run to a distant tree and back due to my dramatic shaking. I run and run and feel even more exhilarated. *

We walk back and I sit back in the car, where I had sat only an hour before, crying from the fear of stepping outside my comfort zone. But I did it and now I know that it is not that bad, in fact, it was great and in that step into the water and that accidental slip I stretched my comfort zone. “

*I have recently been told, by Freyja Hedinsson, who features in the second The Space Outside film, that during and after being in the cold water some people can experience a drop in core body temperature; due to the blood rushing to the bodies extremities. So make sure after your wild swim, you have a warm beverage and if this is not to hand wrap up warm and have a run.

If anyone has any more tips please do share!

Be a Badass

Be a Badass

I have seen some really inspiring films about women recently – and more often than not they are being a badass.

To me, badass doesn’t mean they are arrogant, ego-driven, or that they set out to hurt people. Badass means being authentic.

When you’re a badass, you feel confident, powerful, grounded and you stand up for yourself and others. You have a deep connection with your true self and you stand by your power.

Sometimes though, I find it hard to be badass. I often shy away from confrontation and the whispers of my gut. Even though I can’t always act out what I viscerally feel to be true, I do listen to it.

I need a chain of events to escalate the feeling, and often I let the chain break; I think it takes me quite a lot to feel confident.

For me, confidence is a fragile, elusive and vulnerable essence – the kind of confidence that isn’t fronted with aggression and ego. Instead, this is the ‘I’ve got your back’ kind of confidence that takes the presence of a wall, built up behind you to stop you from tumbling down if you get knocked.

My job really pushes me to be vulnerable and can often highlight to me a lack of confidence.

So why on earth do I make films?

Well, it doesn’t mean that, just because I can lack confidence, that I don’t believe that one day I will be ‘confident’. I put myself in difficult places to learn, to feel, and to respond. Some people may see that as a punishment – but I see it as a way of life.

I may change down the line, but right now I want to be better, stronger and more connected to myself, and my way of progressing is to put myself in an uncomfortable place, outside of my comfort zone.

It doesn’t matter how people connect, show authenticity or feel confident, whether it takes a piece of clothing, a religion, a mindful practice, or affirmations. I personally have an antique Japanese silk coat that gives me confidence!

As long as we acknowledge that there is a part of us, no matter how small, that does offer a spark of confidence, this is enough for now.

Go gently and nurture that knowing.

 

 

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 .

 

davios

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.

 

music.jpg

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.

wool market lady.jpg

violinman.jpg

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!

Bezbog.jpg

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.

mountains.jpg

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.

car man 2.jpg

kitty.jpg

Jack.jpg

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.

HQ.jpg

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.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXSHIMNIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

 

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXSHIMNIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

Confessions of a Film Maker

Confessions of a Film Maker

I find it hard to remember that no one starts at the top.

Not many people, if any, try their hand at something for the first time and have an amazing business within the first month.  Like anything it takes a lot of learning.

It’s hard being at a level you are not happy with, but this also sparks the drive to progress.

People who seem to get great quick, often have years of experience that aren’t always connected to their new found talent. They have a background in being able to sell their ideas, they are able to market themselves well, they are good at branding, networking, or have a specific skill set that creates a good foundation for their new work.

Being the person going through every step, making every mistake and not getting things right every time can give you a perspective that you’re not very good. But if you want it, you don’t give up; you spend more time learning, listening, adapting and watching out for what you do want and where you want to be.

Smoke and Mirrors.  If someone looks like they have it all sussed out and they are great in every aspect of their business, it has more than likely taken years to achieve this and/or they are great at the magic illusion of smoke and mirrors. They make everything look great on the outside whilst they learning and make mistakes away from the public eye.

The word excruciating comes to mind when you put work out that you know could be better, a website that doesn’t live up to your vision, or a blog where you wish your grammar was better! You need to embrace this exact moment, sit with it, however uncomfortable and learn from it. It doesn’t prove you’re not worthy, you’re not talented or you’re not good enough.

Everyone has horror stories, where they mucked up, made a big mistake, but this is what makes you who you are, your business what it is.

Also remember how who see the consequences of a mistake is just a perception, you could see it as the end of your business or you could see it as a quality control gage. Ever mistake you make, your quality control gage becomes more attuned. You simply work towards not making that mistake again so that future work is smoother, easier and more enjoyable.

I confess I have made films that I am not happy with , I still have a business that I strive to be better, but I also do see how far I have come and how much more confident I am when taking on a job and how my work is progressing. I have a wealth of knowledge and an effective quality control gage, which arose from getting stuff wrong. The more you get wrong, make mistakes, the easier you find problem solving and the quicker you progress.

So when you next see a business and think, “I want to be as good as them or better”. Just know that they have been exactly where you are now, they made mistakes, rose to the challenge and progressed to create a flourishing strong business.

Embrace and cherish your mistakes, they are truly a very important part of progression.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXSHIMNIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXSHIMNIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

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.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSHIMNIXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Shimnix Productions Promotional

Shimnix Productions Promotional

Wend Baker and I took a day to film this quirky promotional. We were accompanied by my dog lily who especially liked running around in the woods, whilst me and Wend got on with the filming. I had brought 100 sparklers and I think we got through half. We had sunshine, wind, hale, rain and the temperature was quite cold, so we did well to keep on schedule throughout the day. The hardest moment was when we were huddled, trying to light a sparkler on Instow Beach,  whilst we had 30mph winds relentlessly pounding us. It was a successful day and the sunshine did shine enough to get some good shots.

I hope you enjoy this little film, please do share

 

xx

Picture 1

Like a Kid in a Toyshop

Like a Kid in a Toyshop

When I am asked to produce something that I have never done before it is like being a kid with a new toy.

The toy is the idea. When you have the toy in front of you have a vehicle for play. Then come the Instructions, usually followed with leaving them in the box whilst you try to work it out yourself. This being usually longer but you have no concept of doing it any other way.

Until you sit down, scratch your head and look at the instructions. Then you think you know exactly how to assemble the toy.

When you go to play with the toy it does not always work, but this is great, the learning, playing, solving bit.

Every time you play with the toy you encounter different ways to play with it, until you realise that your imagination is actually the only limitation.

This is one of the things I love about filming, I get to play everyday.

 DSC00993_2