Being a Cardiff based filmmaker

June 29, 2010 No Comments »
cast crew pizzaman

Cast and crew of Pizzaman, third from right is James Robson – creator of Pizzaman

I hate being broke but I love being creative. At a beginning of a career it is quite obvious you cant have one without the other. There is of course a distinction; being straight broke, and then being creative with your finances in order to survive. The truth is that during the production of Pizzaman I have wondered where the next meal is coming from. I’ve wondered how the hell I’m going to pay rent.

There have been months there where I’ve been so blind to the future; I’ve worked so hard on Pizzaman I’ve forgotten that I’m not earning. To my fortune there has always been something to help me along the way but I have felt I’ve sold my soul on a few occasions; telesales to pay my bills or when I made sandwiches for a month.

In any event it has become clear that I’ve stepped onto the precarious career path of the filmmaker who gets by on the variety of skills developed over many years. This has in turn made myself too arrogant to start from the bottom and not experienced enough to step in at the top for someone else. I am in the void in-between. My answer must be perseverance, keep going or forever sell myself to the service sector, which is not something I’m prepared to do. I’ve always known I will never make money out of this and whatever does come is by coincidental fortune. T

The one question I always have to ask myself is: do I want this? To the dreamer who wishes to be a successful filmmaker believing in the romance of the industry then the answer is a resounding yes but a more truthful adaptation of this question should be: can I survive on cheap beans alone to make my dreams come true?

I have realised that if I was in this for the money then I should’ve retrained a while ago and taken those tinted glasses off. I know I will give talks and lectures and seminars but it’s not certain, there’s no guarantee. I know I will be respected but people are brutally honest when it comes to TV and film if they don’t know you made it. Can I handle such an incredible rejection that could be on its way? Can I handle that I paid for that rejection? The next question to ask is whom did I do this for?

There is no quick fix here and if I was on a diet I would be praised for my lifestyle choices but we’re talking of literally being able to have money to eat, putting money where our mouth is as we go hungry for a project. Its ironic that I gave advice, to a student in a lecture I gave, about finding people who do not just want to be filmmakers, to help you, but people who are hungry to be in the field. Hunger will do a great number of things to a person but if we starve to death as a result then has it all really been worth it? The proof is in the eating.

This is a guest post from James Robson, creator of Pizzaman – the web drama shot in Cardiff. It premieres at Cardiff Arts Institute at 8 PM tonight.

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