People don’t make films to win awards.
Or at least I don’t.
Yet, that doesn’t mean it isn’t very nice when awards come along. It’s a collective of people telling you that you did a good job and that’s really cool. I’ve won a couple of tiny, barely significant things in my short life as a filmmaker, but even they made me feel ‘accomplished’.
‘Back to the Start’ hasn’t won any awards.
What it has been, is officially selected by three film festivals. The Liverpool International Film Festival, The Birmingham Film Festival and The KinoFilm Festival. Very excitingly, in Birmingham, it has also been nominated for Best Original Score. For this, I only give myself the tiniest possible amount of credit because all of the rewards should fall upon Jordan, the man that actually wrote, crafted and mixed said award nominated score. I merely sat on his bed and said some vaguely pretentious things about themes and moods. Jordan took my, probably too vague and ambiguous, thoughts and turned it into actual music; music that embodied the themes and ideas that we were exploring in a way I didn’t realise that it could.
I will always remember when Jordan and I were working and him talking about having a musical representation of a ‘migraine’ within the piece. He then played me a section of score that brought that idea to life. A piece of music that fit brilliantly with the images on screen.
It would be boastful and borderline arrogant for me to talk about how effective ‘Back to the Start’ is at exploring it’s themes, I had such a close hand in ‘crafting’ them that I wouldn’t be able to, with any accuracy, tell you how effective it is. I, as the filmmaker, know what is supposed to be there and therefore will see it. What an audience sees can be, and often is, very different. And that is the fault of the filmmakers, if your audience doesn’t take from the film what you want then you’ve not done your job properly. Simple as that.
Anyway, I digress.
What I can talk about is the effectiveness of the score within the film because 1) I didn’t make it and 2) it’s been nominated for an award so the audience have obviously understood what the score it doing. Music in films is used to illicit an emotional response. Obvious, I know but an audience never really registers a piece of music doing this. Even when the score is big, dramatic and over the top, people don’t really sit there and say ‘wow, the way those violins complimented the piano cords made me sad’. It’s just a natural reaction as our brains make connections between the sounds and the pictures on screen. Jordan’s score does this but, I’d say it does more than that. For me, it doesn’t just tell you what you should be feeling but plants subtle ideas in your head, it foreshadows events later on and rather than just being a musical representation of sadness or anger, it evokes more complex, subtle and layered emotions.
What has this got to do with festivals? Not much really, but the fantastic score was nominated and I wanted to take a moment to praise it, because it does really deserve it. (Jordan will no doubt tell me to stop being so nice, our friendship usually consisting of a dark sense of humor and personal insults.)
So, what do Film Festivals mean for me? Or, what do I hope they mean.
It means that more than a few people think what I did is good. That’s pretty encouraging and I won’t pretend it didn’t give me a bit of an ego boost. So, at a base level, it makes me feel good about myself and gives me a bit more motivation for my future projects. It means that, when we start applying for funding for our next project, we have a little bit of proof that we know what we’re doing. We know how to make films and people have thought what we’ve made is successful. That can go a long way to convincing someone that we’re worth investing in.
Birmingham Film Festival is in late November, part 2 of ‘Film Festivals’ will come just after. The post could range from we had a good time and a few beers to we met a millionaire that loves our stuff and wants to invest in our next project.
Too much to ask for both?
P.S Our posters were made before we got into KinoFilm Festival. I’m sure we’ll have updated ones soon!