Where to from here?

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Michael Slowe
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Michael Slowe » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:47 pm

I do feel it necessary to point out that nobody has the right to criticise the people who currently run the IAC without offering themselves as possible members of Council. Tim rightly says that it takes commitment to be a member of any body responsible for any organisation and I do think that some of the comments made in this thread are rather unfair. I have commented on a few of the points raised but have deliberately refrained from attacking those in 'power'. I repeat, if you really want to make a difference then put yourself forward for election to office, I'm certain that you would be welcomed with open arms.

col lamb
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by col lamb » Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:26 am

Everyone has the right to criticise any management, the management were elected by and work for the members, so if they do not have dialogue with the members and interact with them they are failing us.

It has nothing to do with if you do not like it stand for the committee yourself mentality.

Is the present method of retaining and gaining new members working?

If not then things need to change or the IAC dies

The Institute is amateur not only by name but by actions, it needs active leadership with marketing skills.

Lets get real, it is not going to change but do we want it to change?

Apathy generally rules most clubs at some time, and only major change will change that.

The main activity of the IAC is social, thats it, nothing else substantive, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Personally if I knew how to fix it I would have put myself forward years ago, but I do not. Somewhere someone has the skills, HELP
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Lee Prescott
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Lee Prescott » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:00 pm

OK Tim you are without doubt telling it as it is - unfortunately!

Of course some would no doubt say something to ME along the lines of "shut-up and stop criticising" the "management"
and join "The Volunteers"....Sorry can't 'coz I'm (a lot) older than them so that would be contradictory would it not?


This does not however require me to "put up and shut up" - after all I pay my dues as well! Also being concerned that the IaC continues...............???

So a quote from the days of my Military Service - "Ensure the fail safe mechanism is working" !!!

The rest, whatever, inevitably follows!!!

:( LEE.

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Dave Watterson
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:58 pm

I suspect that with many clubs and with IAC national council, what you have is not a set of idealistic people keen to introduce their ideas (whether conservative or adventurous) but people who can be cajoled into filling the council places, because no one else wants to.

Forgive me if I am maligning some enthusiasts on committees who are doing their best. I know such people exist and have very much enjoyed meeting them, whether I agree with their ideas or not. But they seem to me to be in the minority.

It takes a commitment of time, energy and money to be part of IAC Council. Wherever meetings are held some people will have to travel a very long way to get to them and may need at least one overnight stay. Since meetings are usually on Sundays that can involve tricky journeys with public transport running reduced timetables. Unless things have changed recently there are no expenses payments.

Beyond that, if we are to have the kind of activities people want, Council members have to be prepared to do more on their own or in sub-groups. They have to be prepared to energise a lot of other people, they have to throw themselves into making things happen.

It is not surprising that it is difficult to fill council places and I cannot recall an election to choose between rival candidates.

Lee Prescott
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Lee Prescott » Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:44 pm

8) Well Dave - your posting sets out a whole new "ball game" - not only is a completely new style of management
needed - also a completely new concept!

Travelling on Sundays - most people use cars don't they? That also often involves sticky tricky journeys too.

I think very reasonable expenses should be paid, after all, the meetings I read somewhere, are only 4 times
per year. I don't think any MPs are involved!!!

Again: For myself, I look back over the now considerable unrecoverable years - and - I wouldn't fit in to the present
set up anyway!

*** Also, if my reading and understanding is correct - the SOCO Regional Committee needs new members too!

YES IaC, "Where do we go from here"!!!

:roll: LEE.

Frank Maxwell
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Frank Maxwell » Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:24 pm

Just out of interest and no disrespect even this forum is suffering from new people regards input. The people who do contribute to this forum are well respected and never fail to help.
Which makes me wonder who actually looks at this forum from a younger point of view?
I can't say much about the IAC at its present stage, but in the day of cine it was a joy to be associated with them.
I guess this form of communication is all we need today?.

Lee Prescott
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Lee Prescott » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:16 pm

Frank wrote:Just out of interest and no disrespect even this forum is suffering from new people regards input
:roll:
Umbriago Frank: Quite right and the reason is that there are few "young people" - even less who are interested - which again points up the fact; "Where have all the Young People gone" to misquote the song! -- That is apart from John Roberts.

As I've commented /published previously = certain "IaC judges" due entirely to their stupid comments LOST around 25, at the time, "Interested" Young PPL from my area (including almost wrecking our new "Unit"). Their arrogant "infallibility" knows no bounds! FVM was even provided FREE by me to the local secondary school library - no longer!

For the "days of cine" and the past - I'll leave that to "rest".

:( LEE.

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TimStannard
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by TimStannard » Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:59 pm

Frank Maxwell wrote: Which makes me wonder who actually looks at this forum from a younger point of view?
To be honest, those who do, probably never visit again, leaving with the (correct) impression it's just a lot of old men (worst case) whinging or (best case) being undecided about what to do.

EDIT: And I do realise I am one of the guilty parties :lol:
Last edited by TimStannard on Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tim
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TimStannard
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by TimStannard » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:00 pm

Lee Prescott wrote:"Where have all the Young People gone" to misquote the song! -- That is apart from John Roberts.
Don't feel too lonely, John. I'm not THAT much older than you :)
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

ned c
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by ned c » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:45 pm

When I started this thread it was not my intention to get into a discussion about past complaints, age of participants, quality of judges comments etc. but rather hoping for some supporting comments from the management. However, the AGM is approaching and perhaps that will be the venue for updates.

What is it that all n-c film makers want? In my opinion the benefit of copyright relief as in the case of the music licence, a well run Festival/Competition which the iAC all ready does. Drawing a wider age band into the organisation needs some incentive and in my opinion the best opportunity is by adding a specific Student section to the BIAFF with judges drawn from the world of independent film and academia. Plus a resource where help with projects can be found - to some extent filled by Shooting People but still room for a forum aimed more at the n-c film maker. Communication is paramount and the magazine is an essential part of this; you know my views on the role of hard copies and their escalating costs but I bow to the majority who want something to read in the bath.

The problem for most clubs seems to be attracting members of any age, in my opinion this may be helped by using the core technical membership as production unit(s) for people who want to make films but are not interested in the technical side. I suspect that most video clubs are essentially video camera owner clubs but cameras are just a means to an end.

All very well for me 5,000 miles away and in no danger of being elected to the management but having been a member for many years and respecting what the iAC has achieved I want it to succeed. I plan to be over for BIAFF next year.

ned c

edin
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by edin » Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:06 am

Most Universities have their own filmmaking section and this can be a very productive element or become just another social film viewing group. I don't know if the IAC has any links to these filmmaking groups, one of the problems is that due to the nature of their membership, continuity and ongoing communication is difficult.

However this may be one area that the IAC could actively seek new member ship from. Student membership could be offered on a free basis for a limited period to encourage new members to enter their individual or club productions into the various competitions, and network with the others. Please keep me right if the student film club sector has been tried out for recruiting new members in the past.

A more inclusive attitude to independent filmmakers may also attract new members, rather than an old and dated outlook on the status of amateur versus professional filmmaker. How many 'amateur' filmmakers in their previous existence made wedding films, etc, on a commercial basis. Either to make a living or to fund their 'amateur' filmmaking!

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TimStannard
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by TimStannard » Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:15 am

edin wrote:Most Universities have their own filmmaking section and this can be a very productive element or become just another social film viewing group. I don't know if the IAC has any links to these filmmaking groups, one of the problems is that due to the nature of their membership, continuity and ongoing communication is difficult.
I agree that it would be good to have a national body forging links with universities. As a club we (like others) have several times tried to forge links with local uni's film sections and after initial enthusiasm from the uni, this very quickly evaporates and results in unanswered calls. Something national, backing up our drive would help, I'm sure.

I think the problem (possibly perceived rather than actual) is clubs can offer nothing (other than an aging audience) that students do not have access to at uni - and usually far better access to far better equipment and facilities.
edin wrote: A more inclusive attitude to independent filmmakers may also attract new members, rather than an old and dated outlook on the status of amateur versus professional filmmaker.
I entirely agree about the attitude. I've not really come across an outdated attitude about amateurs vs professional from clubs' point of view - possibly the "indies" feel that. But what I have come across is a sort of snobbery from some clubs and club members where they feel it is incumbent upon them to pick holes is films made by indies in a way which they wouldn't dream of for fellow club members. I know of one independent film maker whose reception at one club was so hostile, he has refused any future invitations to showcase his work at any IAC club.
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John Roberts
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by John Roberts » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:31 pm

My two-penneth (not a rant against anyone or any club, just an observation) with apologies in advance for content and length...

The best way of putting this over is as a brief-ish history. As an extremely young (in club membership terms) 30-something I had already made a few over-long meandering videos at home, mainly for my own enjoyment and showing to family, with nothing more than a camcorder. Completely by chance I found out about the existence of a local club; that story in itself is crazy because my girlfriend's father, who had passed away some years previously, was still receiving the club's programme! I did not know about the club's existence, growing up on the 'wrong' side of the city, as I soon found out.

In 1994 I trooped along with my girlfriend and I can honestly recall that 50% of the club welcomed me, the remainder eyed me with suspicion and didn't speak to me at all. How dare a youth from the other end of the city (with long hair to boot!) invade our hallowed space. I wanted to learn about the 'craft' of filmmaking and how to hang a story together, because I already 'knew' about the technicalities of using a camera. I wanted to make drama/fiction films because that is what all young people want to do! No-one in the club was making drama or fiction, only documentaries or holiday films. I learnt nothing apart from the need to keep the length short to fit into competition rules, which helped a little with pace and editing, if not content. No-one spoke to me about anything.

So my girlfriend and I went away and worked on a storyboard. I filmed some parts at home but we spent two nights in deepest Derbyshire during a cold winter filming in total darkness using some small 50W halogen bulbs powered by a car battery and stuck on microphone stands. We got stopped by the Police. We filmed in the local park and at the top of my garden. I then wrote the music for the film (there was no dialogue) and edited the location footage in black and white using a cheap videomixer. One of my music computers could generate text, so I created some credits that changed when pressing the space bar (and therefore in time with the music). For the final shot I built a motorised dolly out of Lego (don't ask) that wheeled the tripod mounted camcorder away from me, and thankfully stopped before the whole contraption tumbled down the stairs. This was our first film.

So it came to competition time and the film was shown. Readers of a certain generation will be familiar with P G Wodehouse's phrase 'a pregnant pause' and that's exactly what happened at the end. Why? I have no idea, but I remember sinking in my chair. Maybe it was shock that the long-haired youth from the wrong end of town could actually make a film! The film then went on to win every competition it was entered for, up to the South Yorkshire Amateur Film Competition. And there it stopped, but only because I didn't know of the existence of any other Regional or National competitions - no-one told me. I would've loved to have entered it into the BIAFF equivalent of the day. But still no-one asked us about any aspect of the film. No "how did you do such and such?" or "how did you make it black and white?" Nothing. No-one even noticed the dolly shot at the end!

So, fast forward 2 years and our last film offering of that era. A music based comedy/fiction with special effects (both real and computerised - via my Amiga 1200) with a decent story, snappy editing, filmed on S-VHS so nice quality, and it absolutely bombed. Why? Because the 'judges' didn't 'get it.' In the film, if one can't remove a weed from a garden by mowing it, pulling it, dragging it out by a large van or even blowing it up with a nuclear explosion (after which it still remained) then why on earth would a judge say "the film didn't work because all the weed needed was a thwapp with a large spade!" 0 out of 10...

But to be honest, this was the final straw. I had already become fed up with subjective judges that awarded first place to a film purely because it used incidental music from his or her favourite composer and completely disregarded the remainder of the film, or he would 'meet Fred in the pub later for a pint,' not to mention the plethora of films of footage shot on holiday (as a holiday film) then the same footage with added orchestra (a film to music) or the same footage with added commentary (a documentary) and I just began thinking "what's the point?" So I left.


15+ years later and I rejoined the club. I was the youngest member in 1994, I'm still the youngest member. I've matured since then, both mentally (some might question that) and in the way I make my films (again, also questionable.) So what else has changed...?

Nothing.

50% of the members didn't talk to me when I rejoined. Still no-one in the club makes fiction/drama. My films still fail at club level. 50% of members of some other clubs ignore us when we travel for challenge matches. Some judges are still openly subjective to the point of stupidity and the holiday/film to music/documentary versions of the same film are still out there. My club members don't ask anything at all about my films or how they are made. Plonk your average 'run and gun' 20-something avid filmmaker in that scenario and how long will they last before finding the exit?

I now make films for my own enjoyment, with one eye on the club/regional/national rules in order to get them out to a wider audience for their (hopeful) enjoyment too. I have recently chatted to and met some very knowledgeable, friendly and outgoing filmmakers, more than willing to talk about and teach their craft, and I am at last learning the stuff I should have been soaking up 15 years ago. The main reason for this is because of the internet, in particular emails, this forum and Vimeo and YouTube for examples and online tutorials. If I want to learn more about something I think of, or see in passing, it's literally now just a click away and I'm no longer restricted to or restricted by only being able to pop along to a local club.

But I also want feedback on my films; however I want constructive, justifiable and accountable feedback. Not 'the judges decision is final' club level feedback, but that of festivals such as BIAFF where everyone can see and discuss (or argue) about the awards given. I also want to know why a particular film has been awarded whatever it receives - maybe for something I can't see or possibly because I think I can see something the judge(s) can't.

So, my observations as a relatively young filmmaker, with a 15 year gap between being involved in the club scene, is that the majority of clubs have not moved with the times, even if the IAC might have done. As I briefly touched upon in a previous post, maybe the IAC as an organisation needs to look at attracting individual filmmakers (amateur, indie and even professionals willing to help others) into its fold in the first instance, as opposed to trying to route them through clubs. Once fledgling or established filmmakers are IAC members, then introduce them to the club system if they wish to support or enhance any club local to them.

I repeat - not a rant against anyone or any club, just a personal 'youthful' observation :D

John

*puts tin hat on and runs away* :D

Michael Slowe
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by Michael Slowe » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:38 am

John, you have my utter and complete sympathy BUT, you obviously joined the wrong club! I'm appalled at your treatment but perhaps you were too self conscious and not 'pushy' enough. Quite obviously you were different from the other members, both in age and appearance, all the more reason for them to make an effort in making you welcome.

I've already suggested that the IAC should be an end unto itself, the national association of non commercial film makers, the club scene can function alongside as people would choose. Of course we should seek indie and professional participation if they'd be interested, as well as universities and colleges, although that apparently has been tried.

John, judges comments, as I've often said, are subjective and not to be relied on as gospel. The more experienced you become and the more film viewing you do, the more able you will become in assessing the quality of your film and how it succeeds in its aims.

It is depressing to read your tale of woe, I hope that you have now fully recovered from that experience!

ned c
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Re: Where to from here?

Post by ned c » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

First; relating to Universities. we built our relationship by inviting two faculty members, one from the film department, one from the theatre department to be on the judging and review panels for our annual screenwriting competition. The review panel holds a seminar to which all the writers are invited and their scripts discussed and suggestions made. The film department representative went on to direct our winning entry one year (Four Way Stop). I feel there has to be an exchange of values, what do you want from the university, what do you have to offer them? This is where a student section of BIAFF would be valuable, an opportunity to build using academics as judges with decent awards to student winners. Also; the word "amateur" is not good news in educational circles, it is used to define poor quality work.

John Robert's story is a tale of woe but in many ways not surprising i'm just amazed you have somehow stuck it out! Looking at club profiles in terms of age and male domination would be enough to deter most young (by young I mean people in their late 20s early 30s) film makers on first contact. I realise that the problem is getting an audience and some sort of feedback but you don't need a traditional video club to do this. Find a room, a projector, a screen, sound and hold open screen evenings when anyone who has made a film can come long and show it. No doubt a slow start but many years ago I was a casual member of the London Film Co-Operative where we lay around on old mattresses watching our movies that would have driven the average video club member to drink or suicide. We had discussions, arguments and suffered.

Many interesting posts.

ned c

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