‘As technology has evolved, so has the access to making video ideas a reality. What I could have shot with an Iphone 6 when I was 14! Some people realise what they want to do, and with that passion, they make it happen. Sadly not a lot of people know what that thing is.’
I’ve never been academic, never achieved grade A’s, and never really read a book (out of choice). It’s ironic because this is the reason I fell into this content creating world.
Going to a strict all boys school in north London, surrounded by unenthusiastic troublemakers such as myself, what better way to remember the jokes we were creating than by filming it. Luckily enough, coming from a loving family, my mum would often sacrifice her yearly phone upgrade for me. Even though I never had credit, I did have the best phone on the market. I owe the trusted Nokia N70 for beginning my love of making videos.
The Nokia N70, with its 2mp camera, VGA video and Java editor, is where it all started. Following trends growing up with local ‘council estate videos,’ I would often create parodies of these. It was only when I bravely showed my media studies teacher Mr Laverty, who I owe a lot to, that for the first time I received some praise for my work. Yeah, it was a stupid video of my ASBO friends from Islington, kicking empty Dr Pepper cans onto the train tracks and having fire extinguisher fights on the northern line tube, but he enjoyed it, as I did creating it. Even though most of it looked a lot more menacing than it was in reality, this was when I realised the true power of moving images.
Having finished secondary school with standard C grades for everything (which was better than my predicted grades of D’s and E’s) I decided to follow in the thing I most enjoyed and went to college to study a multi-media BTEC. Again, never too great at the 3D design…or motion graphics or front end web development. However, I excelled in video production. We weren’t the most well equipped on the camera front, but I did fall in love with the Apple Mac and Final Cut 7. Our top grades were on our video advertising module, in which I made a safety awareness advert on the ‘Think’ Campaign (which was extremely relevant in 2009).
My studies at college quickly passed and I magically found myself being accepted in to Brighton University, something none of my teachers at school would have predicted…except Mr Laverty, of course. Broadcast Media was ready to meet its most unexpected student.
The Struggles of the Studies
University life was difficult to say the least, remembering the one time a tutor, who I will not name, stating, “Harry did you not learn basic grammar in secondary school!” And this was in a group email to my new university peers. You could argue this was bullying, but I’m not one to let someone bring me down. Instead, I used this as a drive to prove the doubters wrong. By the way tutor, who shall not be named, I am dyslexic, just never admitted it to anybody. But what I lack in academia and grammar, I make up with ideas, imagination and belief.
Final year quickly approached. Lots of stressful all-nighters and overcoming lots of obstacles in the editing room, my dissertation was complete. ‘How were the working class represented within social realism films depicted within the 80’s’ to go alongside my final project, in which I shot a short film titled ‘The Church, The Tramp and the Crackpipe.’ The university year was coming to a close. All written work was completed and grades were soon to be expected. This is where my greatest accomplishment was to be realised. No, not a First Class BA (Hons), but for my film to be voted to be shown at the end of year screening, voted by tutors and students alike.
This was the moment I realised, to be a good film maker you don’t need to be a grade-A student, be great on paper. These are gifts I unfortunately don’t possess, however, an imagination and a drive to make my visual work as good as it can be has brought me to where I am now. You are only as good as your last job, and you need to be proud of the work you achieve. If you don’t have that, then what’s the point?
The Next Chapter
Since finishing university I have been developing myself as a video producer. Over this time I have advanced my understanding of visual composition, perspective and movement with the ability to film in different styles to capture an intended audience. I have gained this experience by being flexible and working in different environments from the studio to festivals. I discovered that my passion is filming in the music industry. I believe just like any other story driven subject matter, music videos allow the public to gain insight into those people’s personalities and character. I like telling that story. Now this is what Max and I do for a living. If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.