Future Human: Total Filmmaking

In Day to Day on November 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm


The Book Club on Leonard Street plays host to club nights, discussions and meetings. The best thing about the venue is undoubtedly the amazing ceiling in the downstairs function room, made entirely out of lightbulbs, and the plants hanging from the bare brick walls (concept designed by Shai Akram and Andrew Haythornthwaite). Owned by the same people that created the Queen of Hoxton on Curtain Road, it has a smarter feel and is usually hired out for talks, workshops, cultural showcases and event nights, all of which are listed on their website. The Independent recently described them as ‘the venue for hip literary events’.

My reason for going? Last night they hosted the Future Human Total Filmmaking event organised by Jack Roberts, creator of the Future Human Network and www.badidea.com.

Live Projected Twitter Feed

Ceiling at The Book Club

In my quest to become a more intelligent and well rounded individual, I thought this would be a good event to attend: it promised industry experts, audience participation and a great venue. Already a fan of The Book Club‘s interior design, I hoped that the evening would deliver on the rest of its promises.

Total filmmaking is the idea that one can fund, produce and promote a film using their own initiative and news forms of assistance such as crowd funding. Beginning with a presentation discussing the intricacies of the amateur-mogul filmmaking industry, we looked at how people are now able to create brilliant cinema with limited resources, and then produce, market and distribute it as well. I was surprised at how accessible it was to someone who has never had a great interest or involvement in the film industry (me). 

A lot of the evening centred on how young/new filmmakers can make films on cheap budgets and non-costly equipment. This was supported by a quick history of the major film companies and the way in which deals are made and negotiated, it is shocking how many cuts are taken from a films projected profits before it is even released. Comparisons between the major blockbusters, and the films that cost under £100 to make followed, for example Inland Empire, directed by David Lynch. Mark Herbert, managing director and founder of Warp films said, ‘With this film Lynch proves that all he needs is a simple DV camera to show the world the entire range of human emotions and the human experience from the happiest to the darkest moments’. Heavy stuff, but I still plan to watch it.

Inland Empire

I liked the very interesting and funny point made by Marc Price, director of £45 budget film ‘Colin’, that Matthew McConoughay leans on women in almost all the promo shots in his films. Make of that what you will.

It’s been in the papers quite recently that the BFC is wrapping up its operations in an attempt to stop haemorrhaging money, and consequently this was also subject to some lively debate on the evening. The National Lottery are still contributing the same amount of money to the cause so if all goes to plan, more of it will end up with independent filmmakers rather than being swallowed up in large salaries for luvvies.

My two favourite parts of the evening were the live twitter board (despite some rather banal and repetitive tweets) and the short scene from The Social Network acted brilliantly by people in the audience, watch it here. Questions that arose that I consider important to answer are: Do we just need to make bankable films that please investors and tourists? Or can we circumvent traditional funding routes intelligently, and carry on making exciting, independent, non-blockbusting films?

This was an event and topic totally out of my comfort zone, and one which I became thoroughly interested in as the evening progressed. Although I have always enjoyed watching films, their provenance and processes behind them have always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I feel that now I have a much clearer, deeper understanding of the industry and will make the effort in future to seek out smaller independent films as well as the commercial blockbusters.

Their next event, DataJournalism, will be on February 9.

  1. Great little write up Florence!

  2. […] clubbing and a recently renovated garden, from the same people behind The Book Club, read my review here to see why I had some high […]

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