Where did you train and what were the benefits of training there?
I went to Surrey Institute of Art and Design, now the University of Creative Arts or UCA.
I think University sets you up for the struggle, it gives you staying power and gives you contacts that might stay with you throughout your career.
But the real truth is that I am always training, day in day out, there is so much information out there about filmmaking that you should always be in education.
Is there a particular theme that runs through your films?
I certainly have my obsessions but I have only recently found my voice after writing around 10 screenplays. It’s taken a long time. I have written a lot of drama films of a certain niche, films that I haven’t really seen made down the years and that I wanted to see. As far as themes go the subject of identity seems to be a reoccurring fixture.
Which filmmaker(s) inspire or influence your films?
There are filmmakers I love like David Lynch or Hitchcock, but their films don’t seem to be anything like mine. I get inspired by the stories of hard work, sweat and toil. Some people get really dazzled by the lights of the industry and it’s many myths and clichés, but this is the business of buying and selling stories, nothing else. Get good at that and you have a shot in the business.
What’s the hardest part of getting yourself established as a filmmaker?
Finance is definitely an issue, it’s the main issue, if filmmaking was free every time, people would be making films all their lives. Money is what halts, stops or starts careers. You need to find a away of working in the early years, get an income then be prepared to work out of hours on your passion.
Some find a trade in the industry such as editing then work their way into directing. I think I’ve been pegging a 70-hour week for the last 8 years. I’m not complaining about that cause this is my passion. It’s the issue of money that divides the trade, the success stories from the failures.
If you have money behind you it’s a lot easier because you can work on your craft and not have to worry about living expenses. The next hardest part is learning your craft… this can take time, with writing it has been a lot easier cause essentially writing is free…it just takes time, but you don’t need money to do it.
Take advantage of this if you want to be a writer, there is no excuse really…write enough to find out how rubbish you are and work up from there.
What I know about being a filmmaker
I have learned loads over the years, I’m such a nerd really, I read all the time everyday and I write everyday. If I spend a day and I haven’t written I feel very guilty so I make up for it the next day.
Since I haven’t made a feature yet, I don’t really look at big Hollywood films, I focus on established directors first films, this is a good way to understand how to develop your voice and realize that everyone started somewhere. Also they will have interesting stories about how they got their first films funded, which is priceless information.
What advice would you offer other aspiring filmmakers?
Get realistic, decide what you want to do then go for it, don’t get put off by competition, it’s simply an ambiguous word, there are loads of aspiring filmmakers, good and bad, be one of the good ones and suddenly there is less competition.
Work really hard even when you don’t want to, being rubbish at something is part of the process, but if you don’t work through that you will always be rubbish. Outline your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Work on your character, how can you do this?
Read loads, no trash just worthwhile stuff, write loads if you wanna write and definitely network, go to events, meet the competition. Try and enjoy it as much as you can. Watch a film a day at least. Make filmmaking your lifestyle.
Chris has had his toe in the industry for some time now having spells at Sarah Radclyffe, Working Title, The BFI, UKFC and at Cyclops Vision working alongside double Bafta winning Director Stuart Urban. At Cyclops Vision Chris Production managed a multi award Winning documentary called Tovarisch, I am not dead.
Chris then set his sights to mastering the craft of writing, he has developed several short film projects and written several feature films both spec and commissioned. Chris is currently looking to direct his first feature film and he is using The Pugilist’s Son as a calling card short film to showcase his talents as a new up and coming writer director with a unique voice.
View trailer for The Pugilist’s Son:
FILMOGRAPHY AS WRITER & DIRECTOR
*Southern Discomfort (SHORT)
*Browns Soliloquy (SHORT)
*The Pugilist’s Son (SHORT
*The Summoning (FEATURE) SCRIPT
*An English Town (FEATURE) SCRIPT
*The Nationalist (FEATURE) SCRIPT
Click picture for The Pugilist’s Son website: