#CREATORTALK- Don’t You Dare Give Up [Article]

This article first appeared at http://pastelwasteland.com/creator/creatortalk-dont-you-dare-give-up/ 

 

The ticking clock is an illusion.

When I tell people I have a passion for filmmaking and have been steadily building towards it for almost a decade, I’ve had a few responses. Many are positive, with people wishing me well, asking to see my work and even asking how they could get into such a thing.

Then there are the others. A number of people have stared at me blankly. “That’s great, but what’s your real job?” or “Why aren’t you famous yet if you’ve been doing it so long?” (true story).

You see, as a society we have an obsession with youth culture- it’s been the same way for a long time. As a society, we see the wunderkinds achieving dreams at crazy young ages. There are teenagers blowing up in music and film, unfathomably young YouTube stars raking in money we could only dream of.

The problem is, what about the rest of us? Only a few people will ever have the luck to make it super young. It is instinctive and natural to compare ourselves to others in our respective fields, and think “well if they have achieved that at this age, surely I should have done that… and more. I’m 25for God sake”.

25. A quarter of a century. Wow. In real terms, I’m actually closer to 26 now. And I’ve heard this from people my age, and at 35, 45 and older.

I read an analogy recently, by author MARIE-CLAIRE KUJAIt summed up all of my feelings around this issue. Here is a snippet of what she wrote:

New York is threehours ahead of California, but that does not make California slow

Cameroon is six hours ahead of New York but it does not make New York slow.

Someone graduated from college at 22 but waited five years before securing a job.

Someone became a CEO at 25 but died at 50.

Someone became a CEO at 50 but lived to 90 years.

Absolutely, everyone in this world works based on their own time zone.

People around you might seem to be ahead of you.

That’s total fine. Some are behind you.

Everyone is running their own race in their own time zone.

Don’t envy or mock them.

They are in their own time zone and you are in yours.

Life is about waiting for the right moment to react.

Doesn’t that make you feel better? Even just a little bit?

You see, I’ve struggled with these feelings for as long as I’ve had this as a dream. As a teenager, I started early, securing placements on the set of huge films, getting good responses for my early work. And of course, me and everyone around me had the feeling it was coming quite easily.

But these things never come easily. Those experiences, and my passion in the last decade has built a foundation. That’s what I’ve been building since I was 14. A foundation that has kept me strong when dealing with crazy amount of rejection and critique. A foundation that has supported me even when every possible sign has pointed towards me giving in.

If you get your dream handed to you at a young age, and only a few people ever do, there is a huge risk that your inexperience could one day be your undoing. There are countless reports of child stars who seemed to be en-route to amazing careers, but they didn’t have the guidance or support to keep them from being lead down a dark road. And of course, some manage to navigate the waters and have hugely successful career. But we are all on our own journey. Our own time zones, if you will.

Some people achieved magical things before the age of 27, and then passed away suddenly. And that was the end of their journey. Some people didn’t get started until 40, and are still achieving amazing successes.

So build that foundation. Build a thick skin and be ready for the ride. Take a few minutes to get out of your head, experience life, enjoy the moment. Whatever you are doing, whatever you are building towards, you’ve taken the scariest step- putting yourself out there. Now is the time to bring everything you have, knock down doors, keep building your foundations and become unstoppable.

Don’t you dare give up. The ticking clock is an illusion.

 

#CREATORDIARY- MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION \\ WORLD MACHINE \\

Last week, I travelled back up to UNIQ STUDIOS in London to shoot a brand new music video. New band 'World Machine' first emailed me around six weeks ago, and working alongside them on this 80's inspired video was one of my best experiences to date. The video will be released soon, so keep your eyes peeled on the blog. Until then, enjoy some screenshots from the editing process! 

- Rob 

#CREATORDIARY- Derby Film Festival and "Taste of Phobia"

A couple of weeks back, I travelled up to Derby for the first time to catch the premiere of "Taste Of Phobia", the feature horror anthology containing my short film "Gerascophobia". 

The film was made almost a year ago to the day, so it was a really nice way to end the production journey. I'm super excited about how it's been received, and I can't wait to show you all when it comes out on DVD/ VOD. I'll make a blog update when it does. 

In the meantime, check out my interview with Ginger Nuts of Horror's Alex Davis

#CREATORDIARY- MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION PORTSMOUTH \\ RALPH DE LUFFA \\

I just released a new music video for Midlands- based artist Ralph De Luffa. Ralph contacted me after seeing a post on Facebook, and we hit it off immediately. 

When filming a video for a debut single, a filmmaker holds a certain responsibility for making sure the project really captures the brand and vibe of the artist, as it's often the first thing the audience will see other than a few promo stills. Ralph had a tonne of ideas, and we found a shared love of 90's nostalgia, which really informed the direction the video went in. 

Ralph came down to Portsmouth for the shoot, and we filmed across two days. For the shoot, we decided to keep it conceptual and performance based, but with a small narrative, so we also roped in excellent actor Ellis Tustin down from London to play the lead role. 

The shoot was a blast, and after a focused two weeks of editing, the video is finished! As always, I'd love your thoughts, so leave them in the comment section below! And if you're looking for a music video or video content, don't hesitate to get in touch! 

 

 

#CREATORDIARY- MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION \\ GARY O'CONNOR \\

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

I've been busy shooting a few videos recently, but I wanted to think back to a recent project- a music video for Hayling Island artist Gary O'Connor. Gary is a staple of the music community over in Hayling, and it was an honour to make an official music video for his track "Where Are You Now?". 

The song is a powerful and masterfully produced track, and echoes themes of war, loss and love. When thinking up concepts for the video, the theme of regret really struck a chord with me, and from that, the video almost wrote itself. 

I decided to employ a familiar music video visual- the holding of cards with writing on them, but wanted to put my own spin on it. I gathered a group of local friends and colleagues, and asked them all two questions. "What is your biggest regret?" and "What are you most thankful for?" Each of them shared a personal snapshot of their lives, and offered a unique perspective on two universal emotions- regret and gratitude. 

The main references I used on this video were The All American Rejects' 'Dirty Little Secret' and one of my favourites from the 90's, Green Day's 'Time Of Your Life'. 

I hope you all enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed making it. Watch the finished project below, and look out for an in-depth article on my latest shoot, coming very soon. 

-Rob 

#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 8

INT. ROB'S HOME OFFICE- AFTERNOON

I've just sent off the second draft of my script to my friend and awesome reader Michelle Goode (I have linked her website in one of my previous posts, and this isn't a sponsored shoutout of any kind- I just love Michelle's work!) 

The thing I find with scriptwriting is that nothing ever really comes together until you finish. I mentioned in my last post that I was worried about my idea, and whether I could really bring it to life in the way I wanted, but upon finishing the last couple of pages and tweaking a few things, I am very happy with the direction it is going in. 

I realise that a lot of my blog posts are a bit of a ramble, so I'd like to offer some information and advice today- and that is on scriptwriting software. 

Now, scriptwriting is enough of a pain in the ass, without having to try and battle some unruly software (or even worse, trying to align things in Microsoft Word... *shudder*) My software of choice is Fade In Professional Scriptwriting Software.  Again, all of this is just my opinion and I haven't been paid/ persuaded to give a review. 

The power of Fade In is evident in its stability, affordable price and ease of use. I have been using the software for a few years now, and haven't had a single problem. There is a great iPhone/ Android app which is highly functional, and you can save drafts to Dropbox with a click of the button, to resume writing on a desktop, or vice versa. 

The navigation menus include helpful details such as character, navigation of every scene, and colour coding, all at a glance. For full specs, check out the FEATURES page here.

At the time of writing, Fade In is available for $75, about £54. This price is less than an update for Final Draft, let alone the full version- plus all updates to Fade In are free, so the price you pay is all-in-one, no subscriptions or ongoing payments. An absolute steal in the days of Adobe Creative Cloud and subscription models. 

Now, how does it compare to other software? I never used Final Draft due to its price, but as I understand, Fade In does everything Final Draft can do, and I have absolutely no complaints. Before using this, I was a fan of Celtx, however I feel that they have really dropped the ball in the past few years, so I won't be going back. 

So, what are your thoughts? Do you use Fade In and have something to say? Or perhaps you use a different piece of software, and would like to change my mind. Please do post in the comments, I'd love to chat more about this!

Until next time, 

-Rob 

"TASTE OF PHOBIA" ACQUIRED BY ARTSPLOITATION FILMS

GERASCOPHOBIA- THE FEAR OF AGING

Those who have been following my work for a little while might be aware that last year, I shot "GERASCOPHOBIA", a short film for the international horror anthology "PHOBIA". 

The title has now changed to "TASTE OF PHOBIA" , with EuroObscura distributing in Europe and Artsploitation distributing in the U.S. and Canada. Check out the press release and trailer below. I can't wait for you all to see!

FROM MODERNHORRORS.COM:

TASTE OF PHOBIA is a new anthology film set to hit DVD and VOD platforms this May in the U.S. and Canada thanks to Artsploitation Films acquiring the rights. The movie gives 14 phobias to 14 international directors and sets them loose to make material for your next panic attack.

Phobias you’ll soon be Googling include caetophobia (fear of hairs), henophobia (fear of young virgin girls), coprophobia (fear of feces), mysophobia (fear of contamination and germs), mazeophobia (fear of being lost), astrophobia (fear of celestial objects), mageirocophobia (fear of cooking) and oneirophobia (fear of dreams). Talk about an assortment of things you didn’t know people were afraid of.

#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 7

END OF THE HONEYMOON PERIOD... 

It's been over two weeks since I last posted on this "weekly" blog. When I decided to document the process of making my first feature film, I had expected to hit a couple of bumps in the road, and wanted to be honest about the obstacles that came my way. 

So here's the first one! I haven't wanted to look at the script since my last post, and though I  forced out a few pages, I just didn't feel like I was making any progress. There comes a time in every creative project where you question the basis of what you are making. Is this idea strong enough? Will anyone want to watch the film I'm writing? Would I even want to watch this? 

Sometimes life gets in the way, and I think that's okay. Sometimes your brain gets in the way too. That's also fine. 

After a bit of soul searching, I feel even more committed to making this project a reality. It's a process that takes a huge amount of time and re-writing, but the more effort I put in at this stage, the better the blueprint I have to bring it to screen. 

This morning I wrote almost ten pages. It flowed and seemed to fit in like clockwork. It's funny what a break can do. 

I think the main thing I've learnt through this is to take small steps daily and don't forget to take a break. The world is allowed to move on without you for a few moments whilst you regather your energy. The timing is right, and you're bang on track. 

I'll keep you updated

- Rob

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#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 6

MIDPOINT (TAKE 2) 

I'm back at the midpoint. The second draft of the script has been a little touch and go, but I feel like I'm making progress. This draft is much stronger, and much more succinct. 

Aside from the scriptwriting, at this stage of the game, I have started to make some rough plans. I want to shoot at either Easter or the start of Summer (around June time) depending on the script and also on the availability of crew and cast. One thing I want to make sure of, however, is that I don't rush into things. I have a habit of trying to keep to self-imposed deadlines, but this time around, I want to give the project the space to develop. 

As I write the script, I have questions in my head- will I be able to afford a location like this? Is there a more economical way to write this? Although I think this is a sensible exercise when writing, I feel like taking too much notice of questions such as these can actually hinder creativity. 

Though I need to be realistic in what I will be able to afford, there are ways to get around difficult logistics. When clients come to me, they often ask for things I haven't done before, or for locations that might be out of reach of their budgets. However, I have been quite successful in negotiating lower prices for things like this in the past, so I think it's important to put my Producer brain to sleep a little more when the Writer hat is on. 

As always, I'll keep you updated. 

- Rob 

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MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION PORTSMOUTH AND BEYOND

Despite huge changes in the industry, music videos are just as important for artists now as they have ever been. A great way to introduce and strengthen your brand as your career grows, a great music video can be worth its weight in gold. 

Many people think that to get a top-notch music video made, you need to have a budget in the tens of thousands (or more), as well as travelling to London or another big city to get a "professional" look. Whilst a Top-40 style video is going to cost that kind of money, there are creative ways to shoot on low budgets, which don't compromise creativity. 

As a filmmaker in Portsmouth, I have built a name for myself by shooting unique, conceptual videos across a range of budgets. I signed to EPiK Music Videos in London in 2017, however I still produce the majority of my work in Hampshire. 

Many companies, both locally and nationwide, tend to be "generalists"- they shoot weddings, promos, corporate videos, events, seminars, take photos, do graphic design etc. This is perfect for clients who are looking for something decent but not overly creative. These companies do everything to a good standard, but lack focus and a distinctive style, which could be dangerous when pairing with an artist from the music industry, where individuality and uniqueness are key. 

I take pride in the fact that I work best when making conceptual content. I grew up in the 90's, where music videos were always pushing boundaries, mixing art and commercialism. Each video seemed almost like an event in itself, existing outside the traditional formats and encouraging creativity and risk-taking. 

If you're looking for a music video in Portsmouth, Hampshire or worldwide, I can help. Once you've sent your track over, we will discuss initial ideas and budgets. I will create a treatment which outlines my idea and how we would pull it off logistically, and then we will start the production process! Quick turnarounds, and always on-brand and on-budget. 

Check out some examples here and get in touch here

 

#CREATORDIARY- Music Video Production \\ OFFING \\

"SIMON SAID HI, AND I DIDN'T ANSWER"

I love music videos. They are one of my favourite things to shoot, and I really enjoy collaborating with artists from different countries. Recently, I got in touch with an awesome artist from Seoul, South Korea called OFFING. She asked me to conceptualise an idea for her track 'SIMON SAID', placing an emphasis on unique ideas and a storyline structure. Check out the track here and check back for the official music video, coming very soon!

 

PRE- PRODUCTION

Whilst looking for inspiration for the video, going through references online and out and about, I came across a weird little product in a gift shop- a grow your own boyfriend. I'd seen these before and never really took any notice, but I thought this could be a really interesting prop to develop into a story. From there, I outlined a concept where a character would grow her own boyfriend (from a bath bomb, because, you know) and then be forced to fight for his affection against the woman next door. 

After sending the treatment over, I got to work on making a plan for the shoot. One thing the brief called for was a half-egg shaped bath bomb with a small man figure in the centre. This obviously wasn't a product the local Lush stocked, so I decided to learn how to make bath bombs. As you do. Initial tests were good. Then some of them fizzed all over my kitchen. But we got there in the end! Here is a cupcake-shaped example. 

PRODUCTION

We shot the video in one day at a basement flat in Southsea, and the surrounding beach/ pier area. Because this project is purely storyline driven, without any performance sections, we decided on a chronological schedule that would allow us enough time to shoot each scene, whilst ensuring we had enough footage for the edit. 

The weather on the day had other ideas, and was threatening to pour down consistently, which would have been disastrous- half of the video needed to be shot outdoors (side note, don't trust early weather reports ;P) Luckily, we managed to move all of the outdoor scenes to the morning, and shot them in a few hours. We then had the rest of the day to shoot the interiors. 

All in all, we wrapped up confident that the footage was the best it could be, and it was straight off to the edit. 

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POST-PRODUCTION

Editing is going well, and we are planning on releasing towards the beginning of February. I am excited to show you the finished video, keep checking back here or @robulitski on Instagram to see it. 

- Rob

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#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 5

HERE WE GO AGAIN...

It's been about two and a half weeks since I've looked at the script. Mentors and screenwriting gurus everywhere strongly suggest getting away from writing after finishing a draft, to give you time and clarity to look at it with fresh eyes. And who am I to argue with them? Plus I needed to earn some money so a break away from the screen was a great idea! 

I recently received a script report from Script Reader Michelle Goode (www.writesofluid.com) who has broken down the script in an easy-to-digest document, with information and tips on how to approach a subsequent, stronger draft. If you don't have a reader already, I highly recommend Michelle! This post is in no way sponsored/endorsed, I am talking from the amazing experience I have had with two script reports so far. 

So, after reading through the notes a few times, I noticed that one of the big issues in the first draft of the script was characterisation and the logic behind a few plot points. In hindsight, this could have been down to a lack of research into certain elements on my behalf, but I'm happy that I have a good starting point to start a stronger draft. 

I have three A4 sides of notes, with a plan for an improved structure and more realistic characters and plot logic. I'm excited to visit the story world in my head again to delve deeper, and come out with a strong and tight second draft of the script. 

I'll keep you updated :)

- Rob 

PART 6 RIGHT THIS WAY! 

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#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 4

MILESTONE #1

The first draft is done! As of 3am, I have 90 pages of something I am fairly happy with. Of course, there is lots more work to come, but I'm really excited for the process. 

The journey ahead fills me with excitement but also fear- and fear is a good thing in this situation. It would be totally wrong (and rather worrying) to go into a project like this without fear. This doesn't mean that I am quaking in my boots worrying about every little thing that can go wrong. But it does mean that I understand the magnitude of what I have chosen to do, and respect the path that so many filmmakers before me have taken. 

As creatives, we all have to take a leap of faith in our careers, usually multiple times. Change is scary. Risk is even scarier. But if you have a project that really lights you up from the inside and just feels right... I know how you feel. And I implore you to take that first step if you haven't already. TODAY. 

Every project imaginable can be broken into little pieces. Take some time to set a few small goals. As soon as you smash them, you will be well on the way to making that project you've only dreamed of. Until now. 

Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you're working on in the comments, I'd love to hear!

- Rob 

PART 5 HERE!

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