Although we had 3 different meetings with 3 different directors in Sydney, we decided to just make one post about these meetings. What have these 3 directors in common? All three have worked (or are still working) for Hillsong, one of (if not) the biggest international christian organizations in the world. Better known by the music from Hillsong United for example which we have used for some video blogs. Salomon and Paul are full time employed and Glenn has done some freelance work for Hillsong. But thats not the main reason why we wanted to visit these directors.
Salomon for example is more known for his personal work projects. Recently he released a short called “Pater Noster” which was an immediate online hit and is also a Vimeo Staff pick with over 60K views and counting in just 1 week. But for me (Jordi) it’s his way of telling a story that really inspires my own work. I recognize something of myself in his work and that’s what triggers me. So naturally I wanted to connect with Salomon to ask him some simple questions. The main question of many people online is “how do you actually make money doing your own projects?” and the (maybe not so) surprising answer from Salomon; “you don’t”. At least… not yet! For Salomon it’s also all about the passion and communicate the message. He works a full time job at Hillsong but next to that he works full time on his own projects. This guy breaths creativity and lives on it, but that’s not for everyone of course. His holiday to New Zealand turned into a short film called “Evidence of things unseen“.
The cool thing is he actually started as a music composer, he studied in music and didn’t pick up a camera after he finished his study. The strength of his pieces are (in our opinion) the balance between a brilliant score and his unique way of telling the story. He manages to tell one story with diverse video material. He told us about some new projects in the making, so keep an eye on his site!
Meeting with Salomon Ligthelm
A couple days later we had the chance to meet up with Glenn Stewart. A short film director who works full time as a designer. A similar story as with Salomon; Glenn also has a full time job in the business, but works on his personal projects in his own time. A lot of investment of time and money goes into this passion. But above all Glenn inspires in his persistence! He often got discouraged by people around him, they didn’t saw the value of his short film(s) he invested so much time and money in. But he kept going because he believed in it. Even with his last short film “Red Valentine” it was a hard process. Glenn said he is scared of mediocrity, he always keeps on going because he wants to be better. Maybe that’s why the theme ‘redemption’ plays a big roll in many of his own stories: you can never make a mistake that’s so big that there is no way back. There is always a possibility of redemption. And knowing that, the ‘fear’ of mediocrity becomes a drive to persist and go out and do stuff. When he commits to a project he goes all in and will finish it. Like he said: “I will rather fail trying, than fail by not trying at all”. And with a mentality like that you can grow. It’s not only an investment in ‘a film’, it’s an investment in yourself. And we can see the result of that investment in his soon to be released short film “Red Valentine”.
Sadly enough we forgot to take a photo with Glenn, you just have to believe from us that he’s a very handsome guy!
Meeting with Paul Nevison
Just before we left Sydney we had a meeting with Paul Nevison, a short film / documentary director who has worked over 12 years for Hillsong. An experienced filmmaker with a passion to tell stories. Stories that touch people and like he said “open up a conversation”. That’s his main goal with his films, he wants to communicate stories that open up conversations about the subject. When we met him he was just back from a trip to Bulgaria to film a story about human trafficking. A topic which is so absurd that we can’t even imagine what it’s all about until you really see the women and girls who are being sold without them even knowing about it. Film is a medium that can be such a strong tool to open up conversations and make the audience feel empathy through images and stories. Topics as human trafficking are suddenly possible to talk about where it’s sometimes a subject we rather not discuss. That’s where film is the strongest, but film is also a business. That’s why we see so much action movies; not much dialogue and more action; it’s entertainment. And it’s OK to make films for others entertainment. But Paul hopes to bring more with his films, communicate something real. The film ‘Seven Pounds’ is a good example that it is possible also in Hollywood. We’re looking out to see more of these films being released!
All three directors have their own unique style, but all three directors have one thing in common: they want to tell stories that matter. And to do this they live the passion and keep pushing their own boundaries. Overcome their fears and go out, do, see and experience. Invest, fail and persist in what they believe in. That’s what we call an inspiring process!
Thanks Salomon, Glenn and Paul for inspiring us and sharing your process!
– Jordi & Daan