Blog: Sam Jones

The young director reveals how he was saved from a life of corporate-style videos

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A film I co-directed is now in a nationally touring exhibition called Playback. It’s a film about doing what you love. As the film sees new audiences, I can reflect on the journey of the film and how it’s all come full circle.

Back when I was 16, I thought that the only way into the film industry was through corporate-style videos for clients. So I invested all my spare time and effort into these kinds of films: wedding videos, adverts for companies and infomercials. I knew I loved making films, but I really didn’t love making these.

This is when I first heard about Random Acts – a funding and development programme whose ethos is to encourage the voice of the artist at the heart of the film made. It was the perfect platform for this next film.

I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a poem performed by a good friend, Kate Collins. It was about doing what you love. It’s an amazing poem and really spoke to me at this time when I felt I wasn’t finding what I loved doing within filmmaking. So I teamed up with co-director-animator Pip Watkins and we set about creating a film with the poem alongside Random Acts.

The film is called Skin, about a guy called Mark who works in the supermarket. But something shifts, and today a familiar rhythm starts to beat again – Mark rediscovers his love.

The culture of Random Acts is to inspire artists to really explore what they love doing within their art form. Whilst I can reflect on the film and see where things could have been done differently, the Random Acts process really pushed the refresh button on what I loved doing as a filmmaker. I’ve since created a short film called Lifeline, which went to a number of festivals. Amazingly, Matt Lucas tweeted about the film.

The journey behind Skin, of personally rediscovering my love for filmmaking, makes it special to me, especially as this journey is mirrored in the poem within the film itself. To have this story shared in the Playback exhibition alongside so many different artists feels important. Whilst every film has been made by a different artist who is totally unique in their own way, there’s one thing which brings every film together. At the heart of each film is an artist or a set of artists exploring. They’re all exploring what they love doing.

For more information on Sam Jones see samjonesfilms.com, @DirBySamJones. The Playback exhibition is at Home, Manchester, until 1 Sept. Join the filmmakers behind the exhibition in a special screening of their films, followed by a Q&A, on 22 August at 7pm

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