Thursday, 5 May 2016

INDIE INTERVIEWS : FILMMAKER JASON IMPEY

Jason Impey has had quite a prolific career as a filmmaker. The UK based filmmaker with titles like 'Tortured', 'Home Made' and 'Fluid Boy' under his belt has almost 100 director credits to his name on IMDB and wears his love of exploitation cinema on his sleeve. 

MicroBudget Massacre talked to Jason about his approach to DIY filmmaking and the pit falls of taking on the daunting task of making feature length movies with very little money. 


Every journey starts with an origin story, How did you know you wanted to make films?

My story starts way back when I was just 5 years old and loved sitting at home watching good old VHS’s and TV. I was a bit crafty and watched a few horror videos at a young age I sneakily got my hands on and have been hooked ever since. I really enjoyed viewing all this stuff - but it went further in my head. I was interested in how and why a film was made, why shoot it that way, why use those shots, and was very intrigued as to how it was all put together and ended up being in my hands on this tape. 

This lead to only one thing, I armed myself with my fathers family home movie camera and went out shooting amateur shorts at the age of 10 getting my dad to edit them together on the VCR. Eventually this hobby led me to college to study media and filmmaking and I have never looked back since. It makes me happy, is a way of life and I honestly could not imagine doing anything else! 


With more and more people choosing to just go out and shoot their own movies now, what made you take the DIY approach to making movies?

As I was so young and inexperienced when I started making films it was the only real way to go about it, but I am so glad I did as I learned so much by just going out and giving it a go, and if anything it just fuelled my curiosity in to the world of film and allowed me to discover a real passion I have. I grew a better appreciation of independent filmmaking and discovered I actually really like raw DIY movies and it pleases me to contribute to this society.


As we all now DIY filmmaking can be tough, what were some of the downside of going out on your own?

Finance is always going to be a downside for me unfortunately. Its sad but true that DIY filmmaking can cost a fair bit of your money and extremely hard to make money from, but don’t get me wrong, it can be very rewarding and in some ways wouldn’t change it for the world, but living as a full time freelance indie filmmaker I’ve had the odd tight month and a few scary weeks here and there not knowing where the hell my next pay cheque is coming from.


Another sort of downside I would say is restrictions on your production. Its not always possible to get on camera what you hope for if your doing it all yourself, however there is an up side to this as it makes you think outside the box and can sometimes make the process more creative, it certainly keeps you on your toes!


Time is one of my biggest enemies. Theres never enough of it to get everything done, mainly on the actual filming days and this leads to a major downside for me - stress! I can get really down and a bit depressed when everything starts falling apart like running out of time, not being able to get a location, not finding enough cast members, when it goes wrong it can go wrong bad and be very upsetting and get right on top of you, however you have to try and remain strong and keep trying as when you do get through it you hopefully have a movie there that you can take some pride in and be proud that you made it.

On the flip side, what were the upsides?

Through making films in a DIY manner I’ve met some great people that share the same passion and interests as I have and become good friends. I have had fun times, and being on a indie film set is really one of my main ways of socialising. A real upside is when everything is complete and you realised you actually made a film, that is your special piece of art that will last and can be seen again & again, it feels like a real achievement when you get through it and you have something to show for it, and at the end of the day I’m doing something I love doing so I can’t really complain that much!


You've Produced and Directed nearly 100 films now including shorts over the last 20 years, what is your process for making so much stuff so quickly?

My main way of achieving such a prolific track record of films was just literally go out and make stuff. I managed to get a few good people together and had a bit of equipment as I freelance in the world of film anyway which allowed me to have access to the odd thing I needed, so luckily I was able to phone up who I thought I needed, grab my camera and go out guerrilla style and just shoot stuff. 

I would even sometimes just map the rough idea out back in the day and ad-lib the film and just shoot the coverage I thought I needed to tell the story in a location that was quiet that I thought we would not get bothered at! A bit naughty I know but did the trick, and some of my best work was made this way! As I did most of the jobs on the production myself I really only needed a simple idea I could play with, a few people in front of camera and a place to shoot, once that was sorted the rest was just fun playing about and being creative.


Apart from 'Just make movies' what advice would you give people starting out making their own films?

I would say if you want to make a film don’t run before you can walk. Start with a short, find your own style and way you like to work. Experiment and play about a bit before you get too stuck in and choose who you work with very wisely, it only takes one bad seed to ruin a production.

And finally, what is next for Jason Impey?

Well, I am a lot slower at making films than I used to be. I have become a lot more fanatical how I like stuff over the years and become more OCD with everything. I also take on a lot more freelancing work to get by as a filmmaker, but there are new productions on the way, including shorts and a feature in which I am returning to my roots - the horror genre!

You can check out more of Jason's work at his official site : http://jasonimpey.co.uk

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