February 24, 2015 at 2:50AM


Being proactive at the beginning of your career/re-starting your career

So, if you’re unfortunate enough to be in the same position as me (35+ hour contract job not related to film and no where near a big city that shoots film) and still want to make films, and you’re curious enough how I (or people) manage it, well, here’s what I’m currently doing and up to;

After moving to a small town in the north of Dorset, I immediately had to find a full time job to support my self and living at home and wanting to travel back to Hampshire, also it dawned on me that after my hiatus from film I really REALLY wanted to get back into it. It’s like having itchy feet but instead its over all your body and on your eyes. The eyes man.

So I’ve promised myself not to be in this job for a long long time, unless when my contract moves to permanent hours (and not floating) I can have them all bunched up to one part of the week and have the rest of the week free to focus on film.
At the moment, having just started I’m already eyeing up time off for a feature shoot in April and then in July /August (same film) but of course this is pending on wether or not I will get the time off work.

It gets me extremely down when I think I’ll be in this full and never achieve film. Then some days I can manage my thoughts and think no, you’ll be ok you will make it, it’s just a matter of patience.
So far, since updating my showreel, making my website and being more proactive I’ve had various job offers from a few people - most of which I've had to turn down because I cannot get the time off work. A DoP I met a few years ago and have done some work with has offered me a few jobs too, and they’re, again, pending time off work.
Then I have the work also with the Shaftesbury Art Centre (local art centre to me), but the opportunity with them will fit around me and my schedule which is great, what that will all amount to however will be subject to the interest meeting and further projects after that.
However, in the mean time, what do you do when you’re sat at home waiting for a few jobs to come up and praying that you can get the time off work and you're not properly established yet? (I.E You have a client base and network base that will regularly offer you work.

You be proactive.

Some people go out take pictures, other people watch and research a lot to do with film making, other people write, other people scour forums etc - there is SO many ways to be proactive.
I write, use instagram, freerun, jog and read. Writing I finds gives me an actual outlet (amongst other hobbies such as Parkour) to get my feelings down and to also add to a body of work should I need something to film some time, I have a group of scripts I can say “Hey this wont be amazing but we’d be shooting, practising and getting actual film on the web for people to see” - Sure the scripts are probably aload of rubbish - but that is irrelevant, do things, really try and inspire yourself. It’s hard sometimes but other times it’s easy also.
My second go to is instagram - I have a secret love affair with this app. I post a lot on there, I always take a while editing photos, making sure their the right size, the filters & grades etc are good too, I really love it because it’s a fantastic tool but also you can use it as a reference for stuff. I have images on there from months ago which I think - this would make a cool shot for a scene, or If I used this filter It would look this way, I could easily re-create that on camera, but also in the future should I, scrap that, WHEN I get clients and they need more references to my style other than my show reel - Look at my instagram - this shows you perfectly the type of shots and style I have, it represents me creatively and personally.
Freerunning and jogging make me feel like I’ve worked (immediate progression & results as apposed to waiting weeks for the project your booked into to come along) I ache, and I feel like I’ve actually achieved something - they’re more of a back up sometimes, but I freerun as much as I can anyway as like film, it’s something I’m passionate about too.
Finally reading - I read a lot on the internet about this camera, that camera, this project, this festival, this short film etc because it can be inspiring to read some times, but also you don’t want to appear completely ignorant of your field but I guess more reason than the last 2, I just find it interesting, film making isn’t something I just want to make money out of, but It’s something I love - ergo interest in the subject.

You’re never a failure until you give up. - This is what I tell myself.

I haven’t given up, and I wont, sure my situation isn’t perfect right now for film, it hasn’t been for a few years, but this year is about making my situation better and further establishing myself into a place where I can readily shoot every week or as often as I can with regular work.

By no means am I saying that this is the right way to do things, the only way to do things or that you should copy me at all, I'm stating what I do, I'm curious about what you guys do too!

What do you do to keep proactive?


These are interesting and good ideas. I've never thought of anything besides writing, brainstorming ideas and actually shooting to be helpful to the creative filmmaking process. But now that you mention it, yeah it does make sense to keep your mind progessing however possible- physical activity etc. so you dont stay stagnant and in one place.

I wish I could be a badass parkour junkie but I'm just not physically coordinated in that way; however I did enjoy weight training while I was in high school, and I always planned to start doing it again whenever I could get the time. I always thought that'd be kind of a waste of my time but hearing your thinking on the matter I believe it'd be a good thing.

Right now I work at a tire shop, 9-6, 5 day week most weeks. Sometimes I'll work a saturday or two. For being a highly physical labor, non-creative job, I really enjoy it and have a lot of fun with it. It doesn't leave me a lot of time to do film though. At least, I don't allow it to because I'm still a pretty terrible procrastinator.

My short film I was planning on shooting this winter fell through because we didn't get much snow, and since we waited too long, it's getting too warm. (It's set in Russia.) So I've decided to delay it another year, as much as it hurts, and focus on other projects. I have a friend who writes music and has a band, and soon I'll be shooting a video for him and an original song he wrote. I'm pretty excited for that because it'll be my first video shot and edited for another person.

When I'm not working on projects, I'm here on No Film School, checking out what's new, or over on Film Riot on youtube, where I'm always learning.

So I guess I'm not super proactive, but when I'm procrastinating, I mostly use the time to just check out film-related stuff, so it's not a total waste.

February 25, 2015 at 7:30AM

Torsten Pearson

That's fair enough.
Yeah man you should definitely try to stay physically active, like I come up with some of my favorite ideas when I'm training, because you're brain isn't thinking in it's normal way (if the physical outlet isn't your normal outlet) or rather it's thinking in a different medium, a more literal one (apposed to planning etc, you're actually doing something there and then)

Same thing with procrastinating! How do you control that?

I've now got 3 short films that I want to produce, however unlike your one I'm not reliant on the weather for the correct setting (Really hope you get the weather you want this coming winter) I'm waiting on people, but understand what you mean by the fact it hurts when you put it off!

It sounds like your proactive enough dude, thanks for replying!

By the way if you ever want to get in contact and discuss ideas and bounce off one another and talk film, let me know :)

February 25, 2015 at 9:20AM


That's the problem lol- I really don't control it. I think I've just kicked myself about it enough over the years that I've started to kind of unconsciously control it.

I have a whole list of project ideas- some shorts, features, and music videos, most of which I want to wait to make until I get a better camera and some decent equipment. I really wanted to get this short film (my first) done and send it to some local festivals this year, but I guess I can take a year to get the details planned out even more.

And hey yeah I'd love to get in contact, I definitely need another perspective on a lot of my ideas. I don't know how else than to give you my email, torsten @ pearsonseven . com. Hit me up!

February 25, 2015 at 7:13PM

Torsten Pearson

my bad, that's torstenpearson @ gmail.com. That other I haven't used in a year, I don't know why it suddenly popped up...

February 25, 2015 at 7:14PM

Torsten Pearson

At any time in any career one should be pro active :-p
Having said that as a real smart a$s:
Create your own chances.
Life is too short to wait for a project that might cross your path: that only happens when you are proactive :-)

March 20, 2015 at 7:47AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

Ive been in this exact place for a while. since Ive started back on going to the gym, my whole ability to plan and schedule has got way better. I completely agree that physical activity breaks up the monotony. I used to think my training got in the way, but that was just me trying to damn myself. Since starting to train Ive configured ideas, did some back log editing and updated business card/website.
Thanks for posting.

February 24, 2016 at 8:51AM

Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer

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