Sophie on: inflicting herself upon Youtube

Hi guys,

     A few weeks ago, I had just finished my work for the day - done a bucket load of emails, prepared for an upcoming casting session, and ordered some rewards for people who donated towards Jar of Angels - then I sat back in my chair, and realised something dreadful. I had nothing else to do that day. And, spare a few emails, nothing to do the next day, either.

     For some, this would be a blessing. Months ago - in the peak of juggling the filming of Wasteland and Jar of Angels, plus preparing for other projects in the pipeline - I found myself literally begging for some time off. Never too seriously, although I was exhausted. I hadn't had a holiday since October 2010. Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago, and I had 'time off' forced upon me. 
     I'm not the kind of person that can just twiddle their thumbs. If I have time off then I do it on my own terms - I'll even want to plan what I'm doing on my break well in advance. (I'm the kind of person that scheduled my Summer Holidays at school).

    So I caught up on my filing, cleaned my pets out, even got back into cooking for a couple of days. I had constant emails and the odd meeting or two to keep me sane. But eventually I had to try and find some more work, so I had a look on creative job sites. That was even more disheartening - a million projects coming up and none of them paid. With myself slipping back into my overdraft, and my pets having to be cleaned out with watered-down spray, I couldn't accept any more voluntary work outside of my usual companies. The few paid jobs I did see, I applied for. I even tried 'regular' job sites and couldn't find a single advertised job that I was qualified for. There weren't even any local retail jobs going. My heart sank.

   I spoke to other creative friends of mine and discovered that I wasn't the only one in this situation. Even people with a minor degree of fame and IMDB profiles confirmed they weren't getting as much work at this time of year. This season is not a productive time for anyone with an artistic proffession - come spring, we're booked up solid, myself included. Not to mention the fact that over 1 million people under 25 are unemployed in Britain at the moment. And I am part of that age group.

   After a mopey week, something in me snapped, and I tried to find other methods of promotion. I went to networking evenings, I joined more mailing lists, I chatted to my PR girl, and I even looked into applying for a grant. Then something else came to mind. Something which made me ever so slightly nervous.
   A few years ago, a young parent got out a dodgy camera (it could've even been a phone camera) to film his infant sons together. The younger boy bit the elder boy's finger, the Dad found this funny, and he put it on Youtube as 'Charlie Bit Me'. This clip was barely a few seconds long and cost nothing to make, but now that family are millionaires.
   Equally, an American teenage boy called Justin went online to record himself singing - as many young aspiring singers do. This boy must've had something special because he got noticed, recieved a record deal, and is now selling out tours and has his own documentary and perfume available.
   I'd rather make (another) perfume advert than make a perfume, but if it's good enough for Justin Bieber...

    Since planning my 'filmmaker diaries' I am happy to say I have become incredibly busy again. I'm still doing the regular daily emails but last week I had an amazing casting session for Ashes; I've got a few artistic projects for over the Christmas period including three shoots (one of which is Wasteland starting again); and I'm pretty much booked up for 2012. I'm even having a little dabble at acting for one music video, just for the fun of it, and as a favour to some dudes.

   All the same, I decided having myself 'out there' in an extra medium can't hurt. So I have started Sophie's 'filmmaker diaries', which will appear on Youtube whenever I'm free and allowed to report back from set. There should be more to follow but the first one is just a brief introduction and a little tour of my office, all filmed by my good friend, Josh Peacock.
   As my director and photographer friends all know, I'm notoriously difficult to put in front of a camera. I can 'play a part' but I struggle to portray myself due to a lack of self confidence. Any interviews of me are heavily edited, and this new video is no exception. But please understand - I'm not putting myself on the internet because I think I have a screenworthy face or because I think I'm particularly interesting. This is just a little video done on a camcorder in an afternoon and I'm not in any way taking myself seriously. I had a little fun with it and I hope you will do too.

    I apologise for the quality of the light in my office and for the marks on the camera. I would apologise for the camera itself but if I could afford a good camera, I wouldn't have to do shameless video plugs for my work.

   Also, Edgar Wright, if you see the video, I'm very, very sorry - it's just my sense of humour. (I do think you're wonderful though!)

   Here's the video. If you like it, let me know, and I'll do even more. And of course, it's all just a shameless please for attention - from one of many young, struggling creative types in this country:

Sophie x


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