The accidental filmmaker

The Decisive Moment

By profession, I’m a tech writer. The world has changed a great deal since my first role at PC World back in 1983 – one of the biggest changes being that writers are expected to be photographers and, increasingly, videographers.

The photographer part was fine: I got my first SLR and darkroom when I was 14, did my first professional shoot at the same age (a fete for the local newspaper, for I was paid £5), and was for a few years a wedding photographer on the side.

The video part was a whole other ballgame …

My professional videographer colleagues at 9to5Mac set such a high bar that I kept on putting it off.

When I finally decided to bite the bullet and enter the world of moving images, my YouTube research took me deeply down the rabbit-hole of amateur filmmaking. In particular, one-minute films and other shorts.

Long story short, my first video with the new kit was a one-minute film called The Decisive Moment. It had a one-person crew (me), a cast of one (a friend); and a single location (our apartment). It was shot and edited in just over a day, with three very surprising results.

First, despite fully expecting this to be nothing more than practice, I was actually pleased with the result. Second, a professional filmmaker friend suggested I enter it into some film festivals, saying it was likely to be picked up. Third, she was right: it’s so far been selected for screenings at nine festivals, reached the finals in four, and won two awards at one of them (best one-minute film and best sound design).

Something else happened: I was hooked! I already have a plan for a second one-minute film and a documentary short, even before I begin planning my first tech shoot (though I do at least know what that is going to be). My talented cast was equally so – she has now volunteered herself as crew for the next film.

Having satisfied myself that this is more than a passing fancy, that left me with something of a dilemma when it came to kit – but that’s a topic for another blog post!

Published by Ben Lovejoy

EU Editor of 9to5Mac. Sometime novelist. Likes words, tech, photographs, bicycles, drones, places that are London, places that aren't London.

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