I have just spent a lovely morning helping my friend Jojo make a short film. I first met him in 2009 when I had a photoshoot with him, which turned out marvellously. We quickly became excellent friends and have spent a lot of time drinking coffee, lunching, wandering about various places with no particular purpose other than mooching, drinking more coffee and discussing life, the universe and everything.
Jojo has been involved in all sorts of artistic media – from television, to books, to photography, to directing in the theatre, acting etc. He is currently focussing on learning how to make documentaries/films and is coming on in leaps and bounds. He said that he wanted to get some actors in to make short films in order for him to learn different techniques and to get some practice in. I was more than happy to help.
I had never been filmed specifically before. My background is in theatre (mostly outdoor theatre) so this was something I was really interested in doing. I thought that it would be a fun thing to do, it would be helping Jojo in his learning and it was something new to try!
He said, at one point, that he was so used to directing in the theatre where everything has to be bigger. Bigger, more, exaggerated, larger than life. Of course it does — and I can understand that having been on stage however many times before. The difference here is that things need to be smaller. Subtle. Almost understated, because your audience are right up close. This was interesting for me as I am used to making the expressions and actions so much bigger than they would naturally be. At one point, something I thought wasn’t a particularly big expression change apparently was bigger than required so we shot that bit again!
Neither of us really know how the film is going to turn out but, in a way, that doesn’t matter. The point of it is for Jojo to develop his techniques and if it turns out that elements of it haven’t worked, or don’t look as he had hoped they would, he can learn from that, try something new or adjust what was done this time for next time and thus become better and more skilled. Hopefully, I will be able to see the completed short film that we made today within the next week or so!
It’s really exciting to be involved in someone’s development like this. Already, if you look at his older work and compare it to a documentary piece he made recently you can really see just how far he has already come. It is really quite remarkable.
He is taking small steps with the film making, building slowly and eventually looking to shoot something bigger and I have said that I will be on hand for acting as much as I can be.
As he said: “Without people to help me, I’m fucked!”
His videos can be seen here: jojosfilms and I would particularly recommend the documentary Closer to Heaven.