Indie film - it’s a bit of a passion of mine and something I’ve been involved with for a long time and probably what’s given me more opportunity to be creative than anything else since I’ve been freelancing as a makeup artist.
The global independent film industry is massive – with crowdfunding making it more possible for small-time, enthusiastic filmmakers to get their projects off the ground, although personally I think crowdfunding has been over-exploited now and has definitely peaked with fewer investors looking at being part of a low budget short compared to people wanting to have some big screen/top talent financial involvement in a movie – Kickstarter and Indiegogo are both now used by big established names in the Hollywood film industry to fund their features. Access to high spec and more affordable cameras has also made it even more possible to make big savings on tight budgets to produce good quality films and with social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram used as platforms to showcase teasers and trailers it makes for a much healthier place for the independent filmmaker than ever before.
It all starts with a script, and I’ve read many…
I’ve worked on many indies and continue to work closely with a handful of filmmakers who I know and trust to produce top quality film. It’s just as important for the makeup artist to have faith in the film as much as the director and producer – we all have our reputation to consider and if you’re putting your name to something then you need to know that it’s in safe hands. Most independently produced shorts I work on are made specifically with film festivals in mind as a means of getting noticed by the film industry for funding and commissioning of bigger and better films. Features are different and obviously there is more time and commitment needed by the cast and crew but this paid off on one project I worked on with Steve Davies of Kent Indie Film. His first film, Christmas Slay, was sold for worldwide distribution and hit the top five US AmazonPrime downloads last year. Click here for the trailer https://youtu.be/Zih7KD6-oVY
What I like about indie filmmaking is the passion and camaraderie on location, the laughs and the seriousness of it all – I guess you get that on big production too but to me, the closeness of an indie film crew is what it’s all about with my job.
I also get the chance on some productions to really go for it with the effects and also to work in some great locations, so what’s not to like – although long hours, cold wind, rain and countless takes of the same scene might put some off! Walking back across a broken causeway by torchlight in the middle of the night with heavy kit bags and the tide coming in is not for the faint-hearted and not least to mention howling wolves up a cold mountain in Bulgaria at two in the morning.... Glamourous it is not!
Whatever the situation though, I always like to have a laugh when I’m working – actually that’s my philosophy for life but I’m always calm and professional which I hope puts people at ease. A couple of weeks ago I was filming in London, met an actor for the first time and within two minutes of shaking his hand I’d asked him to take his shirt off and lie down on a bed so being too serious and anxious in my profession just wouldn’t work!
There’s one element of indie filmmaking that is a huge bugbear of mine and one that I guess will never change. The budget. Or lack of generally. This in turn means that the majority of indie film enquiries I get will be asking me to work for free. I get the usual story of how one day they’ll be famous or it’ll lead to more (paid) work but actually it never does. I wouldn’t expect an electrician to rewire my house for free or for my accountant to do my tax return for free so please don’t insult me by asking me to give up my valuable time for nothing in return! Unless of course, there’s a CurlyWurly involved….
That's a joke, by the way, just in case you were wondering if I actually would work for a CurlyWurly...