Shoot! directors, Joel Wilson and Jamie Campbell, talk about their short film Bitter and making it in the industry.
Given the PlayStation stimulus word Discover, Joel and Jamie created Bitter - a terse, humorous story set in a pub - with help from Michael Winterbottom as Executive Producer.
Why did you want to become a director?
Joel Wilson: I always enjoyed acting and then I realised at university that I preferred quietly sitting at the back and knowing that the work going on, giving people pleasure, was mine and without the audience necessarily knowing it. I preferred to sit there in the middle of the applause thinking, I did that.
Jamie Campbell: I like coming up with ideas, seeing them through from the beginning to the end, and direction is really the natural method to achieve that, that is why I tend to gravitate towards it.
Joel: We're both musical, we both can play instruments, we both have acted and we both write. We're perhaps jacks of all the trades. That is quite a useful thing to have as a director, to understand all of those things, to be able to do them to a certain degree but not necessarily be as expert in them as the people you work with.
What are your major influences? Do you bring different things to your films?
Jamie: I think we're quite different in lots of ways. Probably including what we're good at within the actual making of films and in terms of what our preferred films and influences are. I suspect they're quite different.
Joel: How can you define that? [laughs]
Jamie: Well you can ask what my favourite film is. [laughs]
What is your favourite film?
Joel: Jaws and early Woody Allen films. Perhaps I've got slightly coarser tastes generally; I think just generally I have coarser tastes than Jamie does. [laughs]
Jamie: I can't comment on that, at all. [laughs] Jaws and Woody Allen, right up my street. I thought you were going to say Back to the Future...
Joel: Back to the Future, Back to the Future II...
Jamie: And then I was going to say Dolce Vita and that would have been a nice...
Jamie: Well... Dove-split...
Joel: Yeah, we both enjoy... There isn't any conflict necessarily in the things we like, but I think Jamie's more literary... Is that a good way to put it? [laughs] Jamie's more involved in writing than I am and I'm more interested in... Equipment... [laughs]
Jamie: I think you should answer all the questions. It's hilarious. [laughs] Just to expand on that, in the documentaries that we make, as we mainly make documentaries together, we will be involved in all aspects of the project but often Joel will be more involved in the technical aspect of it, while I will be more involved in the writing of it.
How did you get involved in the Shoot! project?
Jamie: We had been developing a number of projects for a while and this seemed a great opportunity to try and put one of them into practice. We've been collaborating with George Kay the writer for quite a few years and this is the first opportunity to formalise our relationship and make something together. His last film [Where Have I Been All Your Life?] was directed by a guy called Jim Field Smith and starred Imelda Staunton and James Corden, and did very well. So we're really pleased to be working with him and Michael Winterbottom who we've known for quite a few years and admire greatly. It's a really fantastic opportunity for us to work with him.
How do you know Michael Winterbottom?
Joel: We went to university with someone who moved on to work for Michael's company, Revolution, and they have a very open and really inspiring setup. They're very good at helping people out, getting people involved; their constant mantra is, "just get out and do it." They've been very helpful to us and an example of that is Michael's involvement in this project.
Jamie: We've quite often made documentary films that haven't been commissioned at the beginning, we quite like seizing the initiative and going out, filming something that takes our fancy. I think the spirit of Michael's films is quite similar and so we're really pleased to be working with him.
What is your short film Bitter about?
Joel: It is about the awkward relationship between any father and his daughter's boyfriend. This relationship in particular is compounded by the fact that the boyfriend is the same age as the father, bringing up all sorts of psychological issues.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into film making?
Jamie: There quite often seems to be large barriers to making something that is both good and successful, so I think the film industry can be quite intimidating. But particularly given that the hardware is so accessible and increasingly cheap, and considering lots of people are often willing to help make your film with you for very little money or for nothing, we've always been of the opinion that you should just seize a project that you like and try and make it and see what happens.
Joel: And even if that project itself is not a success it will at least start to equip you with the skills and allow you to make mistakes, so that when you come to do something which has got money behind it, you won't make the mistakes and have a lot more of an idea how to go about it.
What is the most valuable thing you've learnt as a director?
Joel: If you have any suspicion when you're shooting something that you should do something again, or you should do anything at all in fact, do it, because you always should have done. Do it because you will always discover you're instinct was right in the first place.
Jamie: I think curiosity is an important attribute in directing, and it is quite a difficult thing to learn, but it seems to me curiosity often pays off.
Download Bitter, as well as interviews and a behind the scenes video by signing into PlayStation Store on your PlayStation 3 or PSP.