Last night was the premiere of the short film I produced and co-directed. 'Flame' was shot over two manic days in May (with two of my models) and was finally ready to reveal to friends and colleagues at a private screening in Central London.
I was a bit nervous, but the event was a big success. We held it at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, a perfect setting for a dark and vaguely sinister film such as ours. We had some great partners at the event - Tanqueray Gin kept our guests merry, Q-Cumber provided a non alcoholic alternative and snacks were provided by Metcalfes Skinny popcorn and Sugar Tables provided us with a posh pick 'n' mix for our pop-up cinema foyer.
'Flame' has already been accepted into several international film festivals, however this was the first time that we'd seen the film in front of a live audience. It was a nail biting experience not knowing if people would like the film...or even turn up for that matter! Thankfully though, the film was met with a round of applause and some great feedback.
What made me think though is that now that all is said and done, we put hundreds of man hours into this event, not to mention the months of planning the actual film itself. We started working on this literally 16 months ago and it took this long to go from an idea to a film premiere.
I made this film for the simple reason that I love cinema and I had the means to do it. I enjoyed every minute of making it and I'm proud of what I achieved, but I'm equally as proud that people have actually watched and enjoyed it; which brings me to my point. As much as I loved creating something of artistic merit, the true enjoyment comes with sharing what I've produced with others. The film business is, as the name implies, a business after all; it reminds me what the late, infamous Hollywood producer Don Simpson once said, "We have no obligation to make art... Our obligation is to make money."
While I certainly don't think that's necessarily true, it's a reminder that everything artistic is part of a larger industry - painters, writers, photographers, all need to sell their work in order to make a living. It would be like a painter who finishes a painting then immediately locks it away in a vault...is there any point in making it in the first place?
These are the kinds of things that swirled in my mind as I watched my guests talk, laugh and sip cocktails. All of my hard work over the last year and a half boiling down to three hours at the end of the process. It was certainly something that I didn't think about when I set out to the make the film, but it's something that has become abundantly clear to me now.
Creativity is an amazing gift to have, but at the same time those practising it need to have a degree of business acumen in order to really make it. It's a shame that some of the most talented people never reach their full potential because they can't promote themselves well enough. On the other hand, less talented people have made a fortune because they know how to sell themselves.
I personally feel that on this occasion we got the balance just right. This was my first short film, but it's been a big success so far and hopefully the first part of a long journey in film. For all of the hard work and headaches the last year-and-a-bit has had, I can't wait to get started on my next project!