Jameson First Shot: Golden Nuggets of Advice
We know entering Jameson First Shot can be intimidating. You have to really get out of your comfort zone, put yourself out there and share your creative work – an uncomfortable process even for the most experienced filmmakers. So we asked someone who has been through the process from start to finish to share some golden nuggets of advice.
Cue Mark Middlewick, a South African filmmaker who previously won Jameson First Shot. In 2015 Mark submitted a script titled ‘The Mascot‘, which tells the story of an out of work mascot’s spiralling identity crisis. His vision won him the chance to shoot a short film in Hollywood featuring award-winning actor Adrien Brody, with the help and support of Trigger Fish co-founder Kevin Spacey.
Mark also directed ‘Security‘, a short film about a lonely security guard working the graveyard shift in a colossal Johannesburg shopping mall, who finds solace in a storefront mannequin. He’s made a bunch of music videos too, including one for Nakhané Toure’s song ‘Fog’, which was nominated for Most Beautiful Object In South Africa at the Design Indaba.
Watch ‘The Mascot’:
Mark’s tips for filmmakers entering Jameson First Shot:
Submitting A Script
“Look at Dominic West’s body of work. Take note of what kind of actor he is and the stuff he seems to gravitate toward. At the same time write something that only you could write, something simple, personal and contained.”
Working in Hollywood
“The surprising fact about working in LA is that there’s not a big difference to shooting here. There might be a few more people on set, but at the end of the day all that matters is what the camera captures.”
The Hardest Part
“Taking a deep breath and listening to your gut amidst the crazy circus around you.”
What I’d Do Differently
“I’d take a moment to really soak it in and enjoy the shooting process.”
What I Gained From The Experience
“It has instilled a deep-seated confidence in my work. It’s not necessarily tangible, but I believe I’m now making work that’s more authentic and honest to who I am.”
Life After Jameson First Shot
“It is an incredible opportunity that opens a multitude of doors. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a monumental stepping-stone, and it helped launch my career as a filmmaker and commercials director.”
See more of his work at markmiddlewick.com.
Want to enter Jameson First Shot? Submissions close 1 June 2017, so get on it! Find the details here.