I’ve been busy and neglectful, but I’m here to make amends, sharing how Dave Pimm is making it in the film world after uni. (Ah, I can always rely on Skype to give good chat)

Dave Pimm: Heyy, how’s it going?

The Wonder : hello! right on time!

DP: I know, look at us eager beavers!

TW: how’ve you been?

DP: Really good. Very busy! I think there’s a good amount to talk about – this is well timed really

TW: Great! first question- what made you want to be a filmmaker?

DP: I’ve always very specifically enjoyed the visual aspect of films. I think that’s been the case from an early age. So as soon as I could get my hands on a camera and start having a play, I did. There are all sorts of influences that led me to want to make films, but that’s one of the main points. Being drawn into the whole spectacle and story.

TW: do you have a particular message or philosophy you would like to put across in your films?

DP: I’m really interested in the way images and ideas can be linked in different ways, I’m interested in human psychology and how people interact and I enjoy watching films that show realistic characters. Whether those characters find themselves in realistic or surreal circumstances doesn’t really matter, as emotion tends to remain as a constant between genres.

I think I would like to get across a positive philosophy in the films I make. I’m in the process of co-writing a short film about quite a deluded, marginalised character, but the story is hopefully quite touching and sweet as he is very sincere and genuine as a person, in spite of his oddities. I like to watch that kind of film – Lars and the Real Girl is one of my favourite examples of that kind of thing.

TW: what are your influences?

DP: I think one of the early films was Jurassic Park. Not so much because I want to make that kind of film specifically, but just because I found the whole thing so exciting. Because I have a vested interest in cinematography, more recently I think I have come to love the work of cinematographers like Christopher Doyle, Wally Phister and Emmanuel Lubezki.

I also really like Vincent Laforet‘s photography – he plays with scale so brilliantly. Lots of really wide shots where people look like ants, or like a pattern if viewed from a distance.

TW: it seems like being a filmmaker was a response to films and photography that excited you. do you get that excitement from being behind the camera lens as well?

DP: Definitely. It’s a lot more stressful! Though it’s a positive kind of stress. It’s all about problem solving. All the time. I guess I try to strive to mimic the kind of films or shots that have stuck in my mind. I’m a long way off, of course.

TW: my blog is all about process and about maintaining or trying to maintain that wonder we have about what we’re doing. i think it’s great you have a passion for what you do. how do you feel when you hear the hard times some filmmakers have suffered for their art? have you had such times yourself?

DP: It’s a great thing to focus on. When people are truly passionate about what they do I really think it’s infectious. There’s something completely satisfying about watching someone who is exceptionally talented at whatever it is that they do.

There are plenty of completely dedicated filmmakers who do crazy things like mortgage their house or sell thecars/family to fund a project though. You can’t fault it when someone’s that passionate.

TW: definitely. are there any crazy passionate directors’ careers you would love to emulate?

DP: Gareth Edwards, who directed Monsters, which came out last year and was his debut feature length film. The man is quite simply a genius. A multi-talented genius. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to emulate his career, but what I love is just how much he takes on single handedly and how well he executes.

He wrote, directed, shot and did all of the visual effects for the film, with very little additional help. Usually you have camera assistants and lighting and art departments and volumes of other people organising things and making everything run smoothly. The whole film looks incredible and the story, the acting, everything, is very organic and very true to life.

So yeah, I’m going to follow his career very closely-along with the rest of the world I’m sure. From that film he’s set to direct the next Godzilla movie I’ve been told. He shot Monsters on more or less the same camera rig as I’ve been using and edited it on a couple of computers. It’s guerilla filmmaking taken to a whole new level. Very inspiring.

TW: so what have you learnt about filmmaking since graduating? judging by your website you’ve been busy!

DP: I think in retrospect I knew very little about filmmaking before I graduated. I now know a little, but there’s just a mountain of practical knowledge that I don’t have yet that you can only get with experience. I think you can maybe split things up into two categories: the first being independant filmmaking. There aren’t real

ly too many rules if you’re shooting something on your own or with a couple of other friends. You just need to be driven and make it happen.

The second scenario is on a professional film shoot, which is a completely different thing from what I’m gathered from my limited experience. There’s a whole lot of terminology, kit and methods of filmmaking that you just won’t come across on your own if you want to make it in any role in film.

The most important thing is to be enthusiastic, to smile and to talk to people. That’s one of the things that crosses over, regardless of the scale of production. People will want to work with you again if you come across sincerely and show you really want it. What I’ve learnt is it really is all about networking – but not just meeting people. You’ve got to work with them, show you have a good personality and show that you’re hard working and driven and you’ll do fine.

Oh and don’t drop any expensive lenses. I haven’t done that yet, but one of the clapper loaders I was trainee for told me about when that happened to her.

TW: I rarely think of a distinction between independent and professional filmmaking. and since we’re talking about distinctions, do you make a clear distinction between tv and film? do you find tv shows just as inspiring? shows like twin peaks, breaking bad, deadwood, dexter, mad men, etc.

DP: I keep meaning to watch Twin Peaks! Is that David Lynch or am I totally off the mark.

TW: yep, it’s mr lynch himself

DP: Yeah, that kind of thing is great. I think those big series probably work in much the same way as film productions. I’ve had series one of Dexter sat on my dvd player for about 2 months and I’ve only watched 4 episodes. My friend probably really wants it back now.

There’s definitely a lot to be said for that kind of television. I would jump at the chance to work on any of those shows. Lots of crew swap between film and tv formats like that I think.

TW: that makes sense- the reason i love these shows is because they are of the same high standard as films.

DP: Yeah, absolutely. I was reading a crowd funding pitch for a tv pilot and the director goes on about how the script was originally for a feature, but he was encouraged to re-write for tv to develop the characters more. So that’s definitely a strong point that film might not always be able to match.

TW: there are pros and cons, but as long as there’s a good storyline and characters- I’ll watch.

DP: I think that’s always the most important thing, for sure.

TW: what are your plans for the future?

DP: I want to keep making my own films – there are a couple of short narrative pieces which I have the stories for. Same thing with music videos for bands who I think have a lot of potential. Then the next step is to work my way into the film industry full time as a camera assistant. This will be what I’ll do for at least a few years I think. You need that time to get the experience and get to know people.

Alongside those things, I’m going to try and nab myself a place at the National Film and Television school to study a masters in Cinematography. Each route compliments the other, so I think it’s the way to go. Whether I make a living from it is another matter. I’m saving now to make it realistic!

TW: I wish you luck in everything, application, films, assisting…it sure sounds exciting!

DP: Thank you very much. It really is exciting, that’s what I love about the whole thing. There isn’t a ‘right’ way to get going in film I don’t think, but I know I would have hugely benefited from a bit of knowledge a year ago.

TW: Things happen at different times for everyone, it took Derek Cianfrance 12 years to make ‘blue valentine’. when i first heard that, i thought i bet he wishes it only took two! but his perspective was that he believed those years doing other things made it a better film

DP: And he probably wouldn’t have got such a great cast if the timing was different too. Very true I think and that’s a great mentality to carry.

TW: well, i think we’ll end the interview there, on quite a contemplative note.

If you’d like to see Dave’s work head over to his site www.davidpimm.com.

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