Contacting Directors

Ben Fitzgerald

https://vimeo.com/user3459937

Ben Fitzgerald is a director and writer, who makes a mixture of music videos, documentaries and dramas on Vimeo. When researching I found his production company (1331), which he runs with his friend. I really like the style of his videos and thought he’d be an interesting person to contact.

My favourite film he’s directed is ‘LOVE ESSAY.’ (Shown below.) This is a visual essay about two teenagers in love. The reason why I find this film so interesting is that is tells a story, or explains what love is without using any speaking. It’s just a series of shots that explain what love is, just through visuals and music. I would really like to look more into this style because I think it’s a very interesting and powerful way of telling a story.

Another one of his films that I find inspirational is ‘I Fell For You.’ This is a very similar style to his other film. This time, its visuals which go with a poem. It’s mainly filmed on a steady cam, which gives it a more personal feel. It’s filmed on a RED Epic with RED lenses, which gives it that very cinematic look.

Sending an Email

Email:

Hi Ben,

I am a film student from Cumbria, England. I am currently in my second year at college, and I have been given the task to chose a specialism and create a film for a festival. As my specialism I have chosen directing.  I wanted to contact some directors who I find inspirational. I really love your filming and directing style, especially in your film, ‘Love Essay’. A film like this is something that I want to work towards as I think it’s very powerful yet simple.

I would really love to find out more about your work and how you achieved a high standard within your films. I was wondering if you could ask a few questions?

  • What first inspired you start directing?
  • What were the first productions you worked on?
  • How did you get your work noticed?
  • How do you market your work?
  • What sort of professional work do you to currently?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email, hope to hear back from you soon.

Izzy Pye

 

Reply:

Hey Isobel!

How are you?
Thanks for reaching out to me, I’m so glad you like my films.
Love Essay is my personal favourite.
1. To answer this first question I’d have to say I’m not sure. I feel like it was a sequence of life experiences and events that got me here (well sort of… my dad is a 1st AD which helps haha).  When I finished school I mucked around a lot trying figure out what it was that I wanted to do, I tried a bunch of shit and learnt that I pretty much hated all work that wasn’t creative and that whatever I was doing I had to be in charge or I wouldn’t care. And then… In the meantime my Dad was constantly getting me on commercials doing extra work trying to help me make money though I still didn’t really take notice of film at this point and it wasn’t until my best friend who I work with now Jake started studying cinematography and asked me to help him on a project that I realised that this was what I wanted to do. And now I’m in my last like month of Film School, which is fresh.
2. The very first production I worked on was a toyota corolla ad when I was 12that my dad got me on and then from there just other stuff my Dad would get me on and terrible terrible film school productions that either I directed or other people in my class haha.
3. At the end of last year Jake and I decided to start a creative collaboration called (1331) as like a platform for the work we wanted to do together. And in that time we shot a music video that turned out pretty sweet and then at the beginning of this year we set ourselves the goal of hopefully getting a Staff Pick. It had then gotten a few months into the year and we still hadn’t shot anything when Jake denied to get more into photography a start shooting portraits of all our friends, which then gave me the idea for our first short documentary ’Portraits’.
We put it together fairly quickly and then I spent at least a week emailing every magazine, blog, website, film page you could think of until NOWNESS got back to me saying they loved the work and wanted us to put it on private with the potential chance that they would run it. They didn’t… haha But they liked the video and followed our page which exposed us to their following of 33,000 people. So very quickly we got like a bunch of followers but nothing really happened. Then I guess from there we made more and more videos and with each one someone with some credibility would like our videos or follow us or comment and then eventually I guess that got the attention of Vimeo staff members. And yeah then the video we made 6 months ago got Staff Picked.
5. At the moment I’m finishing my Major Work at film school so mainly focusing on that, but the other day I directed my first commercial for a horse stud, which is random but was sweet. And then yeah I want to put a reel together now and send it out to production companies to hopefully get hired as a junior director.
Thanks again for the kind words Isobel,
I hope this helps or was at least like insightful or something ahha
If you have any work you’ve done and want feed back on please send it my way.
or if you have any other questions hit me up.
Best Regards,
Ben

 


Tim Hautekiet

Tim Hautekiet was originally a ‘youtuber’ in the UK when we started out. He now is directing and producing films in America, and has shown his film at the Buffer Festival this year. I actually messaged him in 2014 when I was still questioning wether to go into filmmaking or not. I have defiantly drifted from watching his films, but I wanted to message him again as he was one of my main inspirations for making films in the first place.

 

 

Email:

Hi Tim,

I messaged you back in 2014 on Tumblr, saying I was interested in making films and you were one of my main inspiration for wanting to take that career path. To my amazement you actually messaged back! Honestly, that really gave me the confidence to carry on and go to college. I am now in my second year studying film production in Cumbria, England. I saw this email on your Facebook and thought it might be more professional then messaging you on Tumblr again!

I was wondering if you could actually help me out with my current college project. I’m currently working on a project where I have to choses a specialism and create a film for a festival. As my specialism I have chosen directing, which you also do a lot of.

I would really love to find out more about your work and how you achieved a high standard within your films. I was wondering if you could ask a few questions?

  • What first inspired you start directing?
  • What were the first productions you worked on?
  • How did you get your work noticed?
  • How do you market your work?
  • What sort of professional work do you to currently?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I hope to hear back from you soon.

Izzy Pye

 

Reply:

Hi Izzy

Nice to meet you. Firstly thanks for sharing your story. It’s honestly hearing things like this that keep me going sometimes! 
I can try to answer your questions as best I can (I apologise in advanced for any spelling errors, I’m dyslexic):

  • What first inspired you start directing?

I grew up watching behind the scenes videos of my favourite films (Indiana Jones, Star Wars at the time etc) and I was very attracted to the role of the director. I didn’t know why but seeing the directors talk about how they envisioned the film made me want to try and make my own films. 

  • What were the first productions you worked on?

My first productions were my own silly short films that I made in the backyard with my brother or my school friends. Usually a fan film of some kind etc. Then when I started going to university I began to work on more legitimate first projects.

  • How did you get your work noticed?

YouTube, I was lucky. I was making weekly videos and enough popular people noticed, gave shout-outs and that would help grow my channel. I kept at it and made a lot of connections. 

  • How do you market your work?

On social media usually and as mentioned before: by involving lots of people so we can all share the project when it’s complete. 

  • What sort of professional work do you to currently?

I’ve worked in various roles on short films, promotional sketches and bigger projects. On official productions I work as Production Assistant, on promo work that I create for YouTube I get to direct.


Hope these answers satisfy!

best of luck with everything

Cheers

Tim

 

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