Jack’s Jolly Journey With Rife

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Jack came to Rife as a filmmaker. He left as a storyteller. Here’s how.

I came to Rife with the ambition of sharing some of the skills I’d picked up in my freelance career and studies. I wanted to not only give something back but also take something away. I came with the ambition of learning more office-based skills and getting myself better connected with the filmmaking network in Bristol, which I have done. When we first got here we were all a bit awkward and shy…

Highlights

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I’ve thought long and hard about what the highlight of working at Rife has been. Thankfully there’s been so many to choose from. The most exciting and scary thing I’ve done was give a seminar at Encounters Short Film Festival on Smartphone Cinematography. I stood in front of 60 people for an hour and offered up every bit of information I could on using smartphones to acquire great images, and I was amazed that people actually listened and cared about what I had to say.

I’ve been to cinematography festivals and spoken with Oscar-winning directors of photography, music festivals, interviewed amazing people and been surrounded by such awesome people that it’s really sad to be leaving. Being part of the Watershed alone was an amazing thing as it got my foot in the door of so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance with.

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I got to flex my creative muscles in my own way, and actually wrote a fair few articles which I didn’t really think I’d be capable of doing. I’ve finally understood Twitter and become more adept at social media.

Lowlights

It’s hard to pick out a low point in my Rife journey as it’s been so much fun and I’ve learned so much with so many opportunities, but if I had to pick one moment in my journey that truly sucked, it was actually my second-to-last day. I’d spent three months working on a documentary and had worked on it relentlessly staying late most nights and doing a lot of work on it from home. And that’s where the problem came in, I’d taken the hard-drive with the footage on it home. I got into the office on the penultimate day to find to my horror the hard-drive that I’d put in my bag suddenly not there. At first I thought I’d just left it at home, but then after running home and searching for it for three hours, realised it wasn’t there. I was literally close to tears and in a state of despair for the entire morning, I had backed up all of the raw files, but the edit itself I’d forgotten to back up for a week meaning a huge amount of the work I’d done had been lost. I finally accepted defeat and gave up looking, I settled into acceptance and began planning how I’d start the edit again when I went to pick up one of my lenses and guess what was hiding there:

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That’s right, the hard-drive had somehow managed to fit itself perfectly into the hood of my lens. I couldn’t believe it, how could I have ever thought to check there? Suffice to say the worst day at Rife was in fact just three hours of an emotional rollercoaster, which ended in euphoria.

What I’ve Learned

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…you’ve got to make mistakes to learn from them.

To be completely honest from day one was the best thing I learned, I was honest about the fact that I’d never written an article in my life before and somehow still got offered a place due to my other skills. And that honesty was the number one thing that was reinforced regularly, I made mistakes and that was ok, I was late and that was (not quite as much but still) ok. The main point was to be honest about it, owning your mistakes is what matters most and making it right in the end. At first I was scared to look like I didn’t know what I was doing or having messed up but that’s the point of an internship; you’ve got to make mistakes to learn from them.

I’ve had the privilege of working on two projects, which is one of the main things I wanted to get out of being at Rife. I feel like over the last few years I’ve gained a wealth of experience from working in film and as a camera man and I always hoped to one day be the person that I never had when I was trying to learn. Someone who’d sit down and talk you through the ins and outs of cameras and film and also offer as much advise as possible. The first partnership project I worked on was with 1625 Independent People on Hidden Homelessness and it gave me the opportunity to meet with homeless young adults under 25 and help facilitate a documentary on their experiences of homelessness. The second one is still currently in progress and is with AAA Disability group.

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Where I plan to go next

Now that I’ve learned a wealth of transferable skills from Rife I plan to set off into the big world of filmmaking and keep creating. Having gained new confidence from my smartphone filmmaking masterclass series I plan to keep making youtube videos about films and camera technology. I’m reaching out to filmmakers and production companies in Bristol with the hope to get involved in the camera department. As well as having my foot in the door with a lot more new companies and creatives, I’ve managed to keep my place on the PWA World Tour livestream team and will be flying back to New Caledonia again this year.

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Thank you to everyone at the Watershed and especially Nikesh, Vanessa and Hannah for helping me on my path into the industry and also putting up with the obnoxious drum and bass that’s always bleeding out of my headphones.

Jack’s best bits are here