As a young child I would often visit Hyson Green library and travel to fascinating forests, or spectacular ice castles where I would escape from the snow queen, or the beautiful lands ofAfricaand be introduced to warriors…which set the foundations for my film making journey.
I followed an academic path into the film making, my secondary school had offered media and communication as a GCSE subject which I absolutely loved, I followed this up at college and proceeded to Middlesex uni,Londongraduating in 2005.
At this time I was surrounded with other like-minded creative’s that wanted to make films, so we did, by hook or crook. We shot music videos, shorts, documentaries’. We very rarely received a penny but I we were not working with money in mind- we treated every opportunity to work on a film/video project as a way to sharpen our creative blades, each time exploring new techniques and adding to our portfolio. I was evicted countless times, and ended up sleeping on friend floors’, sofas and offices (I had various part time jobs but still couldn’t make end meet in London) but I was content because I was out doing what I love.
People wouldn’t understand what I was doing, they equated success with money and because I wasn’t earning anything concluded that I wasn’t achieving anything. As well as working on independent projects, I would still apply for jobs within the industry. What would usually happen is I would secure a work experience placement with a TV station or film company for 3 months, a production job would arise and the manager would award the job to some one with no experience or even qualification’s in the industry (usually the boss’s friend daughter or son) and not even look in my direction.
A Part of me didn’t really want a conventional job within the industry (probably the rebellious part of me - which is a significant chunk) because I was learning and exploring and was free to work on what ever I chose, I wasn’t constrained to what sponsors, or a boss. I used this time to develop skills such as editing, directing, graphic design, and writing- skills that would equip me for my film making future.
In November 2007, being continuously rejected and broke, I made the spontaneous decision to travel toJamaicathe land where my parents and grandparents descend. I had been paid from the ‘After School club’ that I helped to run at a community centre in Harlesden and saw a flight on Virgin for £400 return. I couldn’t resist, so I went for it. What was supposed to be 6 weeks inJamaicaturned out to be a 2 and half year adventure… I was seduced by the sun, the spirit of the people and the pace of life.
I approached a few TV stations with my CV and portfolio of work and was immediately employed as a junior TV producer for Reggae Entertainment Television. A leading cable cannel on the Island that broadcast to 12 countries in theCaribbeanowned by RJR communication groups. RETV (and Jamaican TV in general), needs a bit of refining and polishing to reach the technical standards of British TV, but for me it was ideal. A great opportunity to put my skills into action and to broadcast, I produced a weekly flagship show called In The Streets, covered many stage shows, produced a weekly live entertainment show, met a colossal of accomplished reggae artists, Jamaican film & video directors- it was completely amazing experience for a 25 year old. The first year of being on the island was truly incredible, I was sent toAntigua,DominicaandNew Yorkto work on projects- it was an absolute dream.
The second year of being in Jamaica was a stark contrast- and I can only describe it as being the worst year of my life so far; life threatening, heart shattering, soul destroying, mentally crushing, confidence corroding, spirit breaking.
I returned to Nottingham aged 27 in February 2010 utterly destitute and traumatized but worst of all, all my work destroyed, my hard drive with all my work from 2002 gone; computer gone, show reel, scripts, photos, plans, designs, everything gone.
So I stared again. Slowly. My work may have been destroyed but I still possessed the skills and determination to animate my aspirations, so I embraced the opportunity to start form scratch.
I began with a pen (because it’s all I had) and wrote stories, all types of stories, most of them rubbished and binned but I treated this as’ warming up’.
I wrote a children’s story and began embracing poetry (again). I joined a dynamic poetry collective called Mouthy Poets lead by Deborah Stevenson (look out for her blog entry shortly).
Although I found a new passion and appreciation for poetry and writing I yearned for the electrifying buzz I get when working with film/video, so made an active decision to link up with local videographers/directors. I began by helping out on projects and generally making connections inNottinghamand slowly build up my show reel and confidence once again. In 18 months of being back form Jamaica I have worked on two short film sets Diary Of Thagee by Split second Films and Swagger Wars by LME films, collaborated on 6 music/poetry videos (with UrBen Media), filmed 4 live events, and produced three business promos.
Today, with my confidence back in tact, I feel extremely optimistic about the future. I am currently working on a few projects; one being ‘Jamlish’ a documentary charting the effect that Jamaican patois has on British culture, I am also working with Nottingham Black Archive documenting the history of Black people in the city, I’m also working on a script for a short film, so I’ll keep you posted!
Article by Ioney (Film) / 15th December 2011