Not soon after I published an article on 18 year old Ben Hughes’ upcoming DIY feature “Continuum”, I received an email from Chris Gatewood, an 18 year old filmmaker from St. Louis. This is becoming an awesome trend. With the digital learning curve faster than ever before, there should be more people in their late teens and early 20s making features.
Chris has since gone on to shoot a documentary featuring his highly diverse senior class, and it’s called ‘Seniors’. The idea started as a short film and it turned into an entire feature that will be available shortly. Chris’ DP was his classmate Lindsey Emery.
This is the trailer:
It looks like a very well made and touching documentary. What’s so crazy to me is that if Chris went to NYU, he wouldn’t even be shooting a short form documentary until his third year! (And this is a film school known for documentary).
Chris started our making short films and now, like Ben Hughes, has his own DSLR system and is shooting videos for school and his own clients. Chris made a spoof video of the “Old Spice Man Your Man Could Smell Like” guy and was actually awarded a free trip to the Super Bowl for his efforts last year.
Chris and Ben both have something awesome that you probably have too: the intense, unbridled energy of youth and a sense of anything is possible without having been taught how to do it. That’s something you lose when you apply to and enroll in a film school. You lose the inspiring and creative confidence of not knowing how it is done but doing it anyway.
Documentary is a great way to start; because you have more interesting things around you than you can imagine. In fact there is nothing more boring than a film student in a school trying to make a movie about an “issue”. Chris is a great example; he was around such a diverse group of teens and he dug in and found moving, touching, interesting stories right around him. I bet you have plenty of those kinds of people and situations in your life and in your community that would be make a great documentary.
So don’t wait. There’s no difference between you and these guys, other than that they took action. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to pay a fortune for film school and make silent black and white art films or film exercises in order to be a filmmaker. Just come up with an idea, grab a camera and start shooting like Chris and Ben!