Hey hey hey!
This weeks speaker was Ian Cudmore from Chutney Films.
Ian talked to us firstly about what he accomplished when he finished college. He graduated from NCAD in 2006 from Industrial Design and Product Design. He completed a Masters Degree in Trinity College Dublin studying Music and Media Technology. Ian done this course almost exclusively so as that he could learn more about music technology and also wanted to keep an open mind. This is where Ian started to play with video, which lead him veer into that direction. Ian thinks that we are in a better position than other people who have graduated and work in the sector because we are being taught more tools so will have a broader range of knowledge.
After this, he had a three month internship at One Productions,mainly working with Flash ads. He then moved onto Hyper Production Company. Unfortunately, the company closed. This resulted in him being shunted into freelance work, which was something he had never thought about doing. He done stuff on his own and there’s no reason you can’t do the work that you want to do and there is nothing stopping us making as big a splash as possible.
Ian made a number of music videos both as projects and on his own time. He created a video for a Scottish artist called James Yorkston. He sent the video that he had made through Myspace and expected nothing back. They contacted Ian and told him that they liked what he had created and if he would be interested in doing a documentary for him. He accepted and one thing then led to another. He also created a music video for him. He created an EPK, which is an Electronic Press Kit. This is a short documentary for the press so that you can make a good impression for the small artist to make a splash.
Ian met a guy called Donal Dineen through James. Donal does photography and creates loops from his photographs and projects them at concerts. Ian followed Donal around with a friend with basic equipment. Donal done the background for Lisa Hannigan’s first gig which led to her getting in touch with Donal and Ian to create an EPK for her. They had a small crew, but with better cameras. They spent the weekend in Kerry recording concerts and interviews. They didn’t get a lot of money but both parties benefitted from the experience. The particular song that they had done for Lisa was viewed by a talkshow host in America and invited her on to the show.
Maeve Higgins met Liam McGrath from Scratch Films. He asked Ian to do the pilate of Maeve’s show. They got commission to create a four part series. A small crew, but much better equipment. This was his first proper production job. The production of the show took 3 -4 months with editing, filminf and any archive footage. The stop-motion of the fish took 12 hours to do. After this, he started to tell people he was an editor.
When it comes to editing, we should be organised with all of our files because in a few years we could remember recording something that would fit well with a project, but spend too much time trying to find it! The ratio fro recording is 20:1, you have to film 20 times what you actually need. Ian was an assembly editor with Scratch Films on a show called ‘The School’. He started January of last year and they had been filming all year. He liased with the director on who should be focused on to get more interesting shots.
Ian got great experience with Liam and with RTÉ. He done a Christmas episode for Maeve which took about three weeks to cut. In the first week, the director sees the rough cut. Then there is a 40 minute rough cut which the RTÉ commissions editor gives notes to the director who in turn gives them notes to the editor on what to cut out. The hardest part of editing is trying to cut 28 minutes down to 24 minutes. The most important is leaving time at the end to make the last minute changes to the details which will make or break a project.
Ian then showed up eight tips for writing a short story from the writer Kurt Vonnegut.
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
- Give the reader at least on character he or she can root for.
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things; reveal character or advance the action.
- Start as close to the end as possible.
- Be a sadist.
- Write to please just one person.
- Give your readers as much information as possible, as soon as possible.
The following are extracts from Vonneguts’ book ‘A Man Without a Country’.
At the moment, Ian is ‘officially directing’ a three episode mock documentary called ‘We Own The Streets’ for Storyland, which is a quick way to get into RTÉ. The ‘show’ is about a guy called Tom Walsh, who is a friend of Ian’s, that created a character called ‘XL’. XL is thirty years old and unemployed. He likes music and “free running”. Everybody plays themselves in the episodes. It is masquerading as an edgy counter culture documentary, each episode being seven minutes in duration.
That was the end of the lecture. This is also something Ian said, ‘Beautiful things grow out of shit, Things come out of nothing and evolve out of nothing. The most promising seed may turn to nothing and the unpromising in the beginning to something…’
From this lecture, I have learned that it is a stressful road to getting into the filming business. But, with a lot of perseverance, it can be possible. I found this lecture to be the most interesting to date. Film and video is something that I have in mind to do when I graduate. I have always had an interest in making music videos and documentaries, especially the type of documentary that Ian is doing for Storyland. With the advice that Ian has given, I will definitely take all of this on board and hopefully I will be able to put this advice to good use in the future.
A favourite documentary of mine is ‘Dogtown and Z-boys’ which is about the history of skateboarding and also won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature amongst other numerous awards from the Sundance Film Festival.
‘Till the next time!