Hey, I'm Rowan! I'm a filmmaker with 4 years of experience in creating Independent and Commercial films. I specialize mostly in Screenwriting and Directing but also have large amounts of experience in Editing. If this was an interview I'd also tell you that I have experience in Producing, Production Design and as a DOP too (sometimes all on the same film... but that's student film-making for you).
How did you get into Filmmaking?
My journey with filmmaking didn't start at an ultra-early age. I wasn't swept away by the deep and meaningful cinematography of Toy Story at the age of 4. Neither was I blown away by the beautifully subtle imagery in Transformers 3: Dark Side of the moon when I was 12. To be truthful, I only began to actually notice Film at the embarrassingly late age of about 16/17. Before this time I simply wasn't a Film person and instead adopted other passions such as novel writing, video games, photography, and the occasional series of Doctor Who.
It was during my sixth form days that I began to get excited about films and started noticing the intricate details that make an excellent story in general. It's around this time that I unknowingly realized that my dream was to turn one of my novels into a film.
And so, I decided to cut out the middle man and instead focussed on doing this myself by learning how to write screenplays. In A-Level Media, I created my first 'films'. I use the term lightly as they are mostly terrible, but it's always fun to look at how far you have come from time to time. I also became very passionate about my isolated surroundings in Cornwall, and I think this is reflected in my cinematography choices at the time.
After Sixth Form, I set my sights on a Film Production degree at Salford University. It's here that I learned pretty much everything I know about creating a short film. Majorly from the course, but mostly just from working with other filmmakers and creatives. During my 3 years at University, I also fell deeply in love with the city of Manchester and its rich history. I am incredibly proud to live in this amazing place and can't wait for Covid to piss off in order to properly enjoy it again.
In my 2nd year (2018) I helped found City Projections along with Noah, Emily, Freddie, Tom, and Nathan. In the years that followed, we spent a ridiculous amount of time together producing a number of different projects... I am now the Creative Director at the company.
Main filmmaking inspiration?
While I could easily name lists of filmmakers and films I love, I've always struggled to fully identify what creative pieces/people inspired me over the years. I think this is largely due to the fact that I haven't yet worked out what my cinematic/writing 'style' is yet. I am still very much growing as a film-maker, and I am yet to produce a film (and tell a story) that I believe is my perfect vision. Maybe I never will? Maybe I'll just keep growing and evolving and never adopt one style of film-making. Either way, it's all very exciting!
Instead, I find most of my inspiration from other areas. For example, I fully believe that the best way to find Characters is to just be around people. Whether this be sitting on a bus, walking around a busy city centre, or just chatting with friends. Why go to the effort of designing a realistic and believable character when limitless amounts of interesting and unique people are all around you (well, maybe not RIGHT now... but soon).
I also find inspiration in different locations and the cultural/political histories of those locations. For example, a script I am currently working on follows a bitter elderly man living in the extremely rural landscape of the Cornish moorlands. The story tackles themes of isolation and brings to light a community that is slowly being forgotten about as public transport and local shops disappear. In short, I am writing about what it's like to live in my home village.
Another great inspiration for me is photography. I will regularly take pictures to serve as inspiration for a future script/shot and sometimes come across photos online and in magazines (eg. National Geographic) that I think would translate perfectly into an idea I have.
What films have you Directed/Written?
LOU: Lou (2020), follows the lives of Lou and Lee as they struggle to cope with the first signs of Dementia. Told through the first and final years of their married lives, the film asks the question; 'How important are memories?'
The film achieved a large amount of success in the film festival circuit, winning Lift-Off Film Festivals Best Film and being selected for a number of others.
Although I had prior experience as a Director/Screenwriter, Lou really felt like my first proper go in these roles. I can't overstate just how much I learned during the production of this film. It was one of the hardest projects I've ever been a part of but also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding.
The film is loosely based on a close family member of mine, so throughout each stage of production, I felt an incredible responsibility to get it right. Luckily, the cast and crew were absolutely amazing and I was very lucky to have such talented a Co-Writer in Tom and Co-Director in Freddie.
When I watch the film back now I do so with absolute pride in what we achieved, but I also squirm at how much better it would be now. All of us at City Projections have evolved massively, and I can't wait to bring another of my visions to life with this group!
SIGN HERE (2020): Co-Directed and Co-Written.
EMILY BARNES FASHION SHOOT (2019): Director/Editor.
For all my work, click here.
What are you working on currently?
New Short Film - Wheelbarrow Man
There's a number of writing projects I could name in this section, but for the sake of my sanity and the word count (why can't I just do 1 project at a time), I'll just name this project...
A few years ago, I became aware of an elderly man with a wheelbarrow. Every day without fail this individual would be seen walking up and down a busy country lane linking my village with the nearest town. The reason for risking his life on this busy road? A small vegetable patch in an allotment. This individual fascinated me, and eventually, I began creating stories in my head about why he did this. Was he lonely? Why didn’t he drive? What sort of life did he lead? This year, during the first lockdown, I began to write these story ideas down in script form. The result was a short film titled; ‘Wheelbarrow Man
The film itself follows a character based on this individual and uses the wild and rural Cornish countryside as the harsh backdrop for his life. The script is one of the most visual I've ever written, with the possibilities of beautiful moorland and coastal imagery threaded throughout the plot.
I won't give any more details about the story itself as I'm still in the early drafting stages of the script. But I'm hoping to finish the script and shoot the film this year (COVID depending)!
Full-Time Editing Role - CubeCraft Games
It's here that I should probably mention that I am currently working full time as a Video Editor and Digital Marketer for CubeCraft Games and their parent company Digital Tree Media. Within this role, I get the produce a huge amount of different content for the gaming company. Some of the most common are video game trailers and YouTube videos. However, I also spend a lot of time creating graphic design content for their branding and social content.
Last year, I spent a few months designing and creating a large re-brand for the server and their social media pages. The company had already seen their brand image and logo re-brand in the summer, so this was the obvious next step. The project itself was massive and meant me designing over 200 different icons and pieces of artwork. The art style I designed is now implemented in most CubeCraft branding and will be for a long time.
I have had a large amount of success since joining the company in June 2020, so far-reaching a number of milestones across all of their social accounts. In December, one of my trailers became their most viewed video ever on YouTube, bringing in nearly 400,000 views. More recently, I launched a TikTok account for the company and managed to gain over 20,000 followers in 1 month. That's right, I am officially down with the kids. The TikTok's I have created so far have reached between 10,000-600,000 views.
I have also been fortunate enough to work on some Microsoft / Playstation trailers!
Here is a selection of work that I have produced for CubeCraft:
For all of my CubeCraft work, check out my personal blog.
3 Goals for the future?
Produce a story about OCD - This might seem like a strange goal to have but hold on I'll explain. So, all my life I have suffered from an extreme form of OCD. In my teenage years, I undertook therapy sessions, and in the years since I have had bad patches and relatively good ones. It pains me to see this condition still bitterly misunderstood within the media and general knowledge in 2021 (no, it's not just being tidy). Some great progress has been made over the past few years with the illness and mental health in general, but I'd still love to see a film/TV properly highlight this illness and I'd love to be involved with it. I have started planning a story and this is my next project after Wheelbarrow Man. I wrote a blog post about this issue recently, check it out!
Produce a feature film - I feel like this one might make me seem like a bit of a 'basic bitch' filmmaker. But it's hard to deny that writing and shooting a feature film would be amazing
Produce a music video - This one is a bit of an odd goal because I have also been in two music video-esque projects. However, I absolutely love music, and Manchester is one of the best cities in the world to be a music lover. While I am located in Manny, I would love to create another music video with some independent musicians.
Anyway, that's me. I hope that wasn't too boring!
This is the first in a series of writing pieces we will be posting to highlight various filmmakers and creatives around Greater Manchester. If you didn't enjoy this, I can say with absolute certainty that everyone else's posts will be 10x better than mine...
Thanks for reading!