Andrew Jones | Special Guest Judge at Cardiff Mini Film Festival
We recently welcomed Andrew Jones as a special guest judge at Cardiff Mini Film Festival. Andrew Jones is a successful documentary and horror film producer, writer and director. Andrew has won awards for his work including ‘Best feature under 75 mins’ for Teenage Wasteland at the Swansea Bay Film Festival and also ‘Best UK feature’ for The Feral Generation at the Swansea Life Film Festival. He has recently released his horror feature, ‘Night of the living dead: Resurrection’ and has many projects in the pipeline for his production company, Northbank
How did it all start for you?
I wrote,directed and produced a no budget film called ‘Teenage Wasteland’ and it won an award at a film festival which led to me getting funding for another feature I wrote and directed ‘The Feral Generation’. That second film was a positive shoot but afterwards there were disputes between the producers that prevented the film getting a commercial release. I realised that in order to steer my career in the right direction I had to set up my own production company and produce the films myself. So I set up North Bank Entertainment and came up with a business model which allows me to produce low budget feature films for the Home Entertainment market place and control the creative direction of everything we do. I love horror films and they always have strong commercial potential so our films are focused mainly in that genre.
What tips do you have for people trying to make a career of film making?
I think to succeed you need to realise that film making is not glamorous. Particularly low budget independent films. You have to work extremely hard to get anywhere, no one is going to hand you anything on a plate. You have to fight tooth and nail for everything and spend years working your way up the ladder. Be prepared to bounce back from lots of disappointment and harsh criticism. It’s unrealistic to think that when you get into film making it won’t take long for you to be getting huge pay cheques and big budget projects. You’ve got to be willing to do low or no paid work just to get yourself out there first, success never happens over night.
“Be prepared to bounce back from lots of disappointment and harsh criticism.”
As a film-maker you have to learn about every aspect of the industry, not just the fun creative stuff. Learning about business plans, tax benefits, distribution deliverables and the ever changing market conditions of the film industry are just as important as learning how to write a script or working with different camera formats. Film-making is a business so if you want to succeed you have to embrace that and realise that having a track record of films that make money is more important to investors and distributors than how talented you are.
What has been the most shocking or saddening thing you have discovered about the industry?
Personally, I always struggle with people who are egotistical, particularly those who act that way when they haven’t achieved anything in the industry. Everyone needs to believe in themselves but some people are delusional in how highly they view themselves. You can always spot those people because they don’t work as hard as everyone else but have the biggest sense of entitlement. People who get into films because they want to be famous are very irritating too. Fame can come as a result of success but people who set out just to be famous will never be taken seriously.
Which aspect of film making do you enjoy most?
For all of it’s challenges, being on set with a group of people all pulling together to make a film is the most enjoyable thing for me. If you have a great production team the camaraderie is unlike any other, it’s such an intense experience that you instantly bond with each other. I’m thrilled to see that so many people who have worked on our films have become good friends. That’s why we like to work with the same people as much as possible. It makes working hard a lot easier when you’re working hard for friends.