Doing it because we love it

We get lots of letters and emails from graduates and young people who are looking to get into the business, and we always try to make time to respond.

It’s hard when you’re trying to get started. But the most important thing so far as we’re concerned, is that you’ve got a portfolio that really stands up.

You need to show that you’re making work because you genuinely love doing it; you’re not waiting for anyone to give you permission or money, or telling you to do it for an assignment, you’re actually doing it because you love the process and the story.

It doesn’t matter what camera you’ve got, if you can frame a shot, follow the action, catch the light and tell a story then you’ll have done a good job. And then you’ve got to cut it. Few people realise the importance of editing. Shoot all the lovely footage you want, if you can’t cut it – or can’t get someone else to cut it properly for you – then your work is doomed. You might weave lovely cloth, but can you make a suit?

Sometimes, just because we want to, we make a film where nobody is paying us and we’re just doing it because we love it.

When no-one else is setting the parameters, then you have to set your own. You work within the technical constraints of your camera, the time available, the light, the setting, the people (including your own abilities) and the story.

So it’s up to you to understand what those constraints are and tell it as well as you can.

It’s nearly Hull Fair week, so perhaps it’s timely to bring up our Gilbert film – one of the films we made just because we wanted to.

Here it is:


Gilbert The Showman from Nova Studios on Vimeo.

In 2016, Gilbert was the oldest showman on Hull Fair – a man with a story to tell. And so we took a simple approach – we sat down with Gilbert and listened to his story. And then we spent an evening with Gilbert showing us around Hull Fair.

We made it simply because we wanted to – but the film did lead to more work…

Since 2006 we’ve been working regularly in Hull’s partner city of Freetown, Sierra Leone and in early 2016 we were pleased to facilitate the visit of a Hull City Council and Hull2017 to the city to investigate how Freetown and Hull might work together during the City of Culture year.

During the bid process we’d suggested the idea of finding counterparts in Hull and Freetown – a taxi driver in Hull, a taxi driver in Freetown, a boxer in Hull, a boxer in Freetown – and seeing what those people shared in common.

The Gilbert film is centred around one simple question: How do you have a happy life?

When we pitched our Hull and Freetown ideas the Gilbert film was the ideal springboard for a new commission for 2017.

Here are the Happy Life films

And so a film that had started out as a labour of love, actually led to one the most enjoyable commissions we’ve worked on.

Which just goes to show that it’s worth doing something for the love of it – and who knows where it will take you.

Enjoy Hull Fair 🙂

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