Don’t Be Afraid To Be You

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At times I’ve felt the need to put myself into a box and to be exactly like those around me and those I admire to in order to have self-worth. However this made me feel inadequate as I began to shy away from being me.
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I had the revelation that if I keep trying to emulate every aspect of the people I admire I’m only going to limit myself and not be the best person and filmmaker that I can be. It’s important to be inspired by your heroes and motivated by their success. But we all have unique qualities and abilities to offer to the world. There’s nothing wrong with wearing your heart on your sleeve and just being you.
The only way to really do this is to be truthful and listen to that little voice inside you that knows what you really need – it might be subtle, but it’s always there quietly humming in the background.
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It’s important to embrace who you are and be proud of it. You could be a surfer who loves knitting – there’s nothing wrong with that and you never know it might just be the next big thing! This is where originality comes from and if you are genuine about your passions it will shine through and become contagious! I’m currently working with the  talented Tom Hiddleston on an exciting movie called ‘High-Rise‘. It’s been an absolute pleasure collaborating with him and I found a great quote of his that’s very relevant – “the more authentic and honest you are in your interaction with the world, both professionally and personally, the better you will be placed to do the kind of work which will touch others and move their hearts and minds. Because if YOU mean it, the chances are it’s going to mean something to somebody else.”
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 All you have to do is knock down the walls from around you and trust that your passions and intuition will take you in the right direction. This can be terrifying but be brave, don’t be obsessed with what others think and instead listen to that voice inside your head that’s yearning to be free. Unless you’re a serial killer in which case ignore all of the above.

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Talent Lab 2014

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I’ve just come back from the Edinburgh Film Festival where I was chosen to be part of the Talent Lab. I had the most incredible time meeting inspired and motivated filmmakers from all walks of life! The EIFF Talent Lab was set up in 2011 to give up-and-coming filmmakers the opportunity to learn from and meet some of the best filmmakers in the industry. It was an intense four days of meetings, networking and learning!

We were given the opportunity to pitch our feature films ideas to a panel of industry professionals. It was the first time I’d pitched in public so I was very nervous. When I pitched my film there was a moment where I went completely blank, but I stopped, composed myself, and carried on. Amazingly my pitch won ‘BEST STORY’! I couldn’t believe it!

My biggest highlight from the trip was meeting the other filmmakers on the lab and hearing all their stories of how they got to where they are now. It was very motivating to have so many like minded people in one location!

Despite the huge collaborations that are involved with filmmaking it can be very lonely at times. The Talent Lab is a great way to meet like minded people, for any directors, producers and writers out there I would highly recommend applying next year. You will honestly have the time of your life! It’s such a wonderful initiative!

I would like to say a huge thank you to Holly Daniel, Maija Hietala, Mathew Niccolls and the festival for having me. I’ll be back soon! x

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The Benefits of Failure

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“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill

We’ve all had days where it feels like everything is against us and we’re pushing a huge boulder up a mountain. We feel like we’re failures while everyone else is speeding past us with success. The bigger the dream, the harder it is and the bigger the temptation to give up. But it’s those tough days that really shape who we are and determine our success.

Those who’ve had the greatest success have also had the biggest failures but what defines them is their resilience, self-belief and determination. They’re in it for the long game! They keep going even when all the odds are against them and when those around them say they can’t do it!

Prolific author Stephen King wrote every single day for 9 years before he finally got his first book published, Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school not once but three times, The Beatles were dropped by their first record company and told they had no future in the business, Michael Jordan was dropped from his school basket ball team because they didn’t think he was good enough and the list goes on.

On those days you feel like a complete failure, pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and move on. With any discipline it takes time to become good at it, as Eddie Cantor once said “it takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”

When I first started making films they were beyond terrible and I hope they never see the light of day. I made so many mistakes it’s embarrassing but each time I learnt something new. This allowed me to expand my skill set for the next project and dream even bigger!

  Here’s a fantastic speech that I highly recommend watching where J.K. Rowling talks about failure and how it helped shape her success:

Here are a couple of my favourite quotes on success and failure:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas A. Edison

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. – George S. Patton

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. – Edwin Land

If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative. – Woody Allen

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It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. J. K. Rowling

What are your goals? Have you had times when you felt like giving up? What got you through those tough times?

Photo Credits: Miles Holden & Emily Martin

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Face in the Crowd

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6 Page Feature in Digital Filmmaker Magazine

I was interviewed by Digital Filmmaker Magazine where I spoke about 50 Kisses, the success of Modern Man and what I’ve got planned for the future!

Here’s a little taster:

Sometimes you get a run of good luck and, for writer and director Sebastian Solberg, this is exactly what seems to be happening at the moment. The filmmaker was first featured a few issues ago when we took a look at the making of his Modern Man short film. Since then Sebastian has been kept busy with a variety of projects, while Modern Man has been in the background, quietly bubbling away and brewing up extended interest. In fact, only recently, the short was picked up for a worldwide festival showing, so things are definitely on the up.

“Last year Digital Filmmaker Magazine featured a piece on Modern Man and things have really taken off since then,” says an enthusiastic Sebastian. “The film tells the story of an accidental time traveling cavewoman and her chance encounter
with Rupert on the day he plans to propose to his girlfriend. I had an incredible time making the short and we attracted an amazing team including stunt co-ordinator, Dani Barnet who’s worked on over 400 major productions for directors including Martin Scorsese, Marc Forster, George Lucas, Sam Mendes and Danny Boyle. The film was shot by cinematographer Dale McCready who’s filmed Doctor Who, Merlin, Being Human and is currently working on season two of BBC’s Atlantis. It was a little daunting to be working with such a high calibre of crew, but it also gave me huge confidence as I knew we had the potential to make something amazing!”

The film has certainly struck a chord, with Sebastian and his crew of collaborators since being told that Modern Man has been officially selected for the 16th Très Court International Film Festival. “It’s going to be screened in over 100 cities in 27 countries around the world,” he beams. “It still hasn’t fully sunk in, I feel like someone’s going to say it’s all a big joke. It’s a great festival for Modern Man to be a part of as it aims to promote films that are three minutes or less in length. Each year approximately 50 short films are selected from over 1000 viewed. I’m going to be going to the screening in Paris. I’m interesting in seeing what international audiences think of it. The film has no dialogue so that should be an advantage as there will be no language barrier.”
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What are your top 5 filmmaking tips?

1) Choosing your team is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a director. Make sure you get it right and work with people who are hardworking and as passionate about the project as you are.

2) Make sure the script is the best it can be – rewrite, rewrite and rewrite! Show the script to your harshest critics and ask for feedback. You might not agree with all their thoughts and ideas but it will at least prompt you to improve on the script.

3) You can never have enough time for pre-production. Prepare for every possibility and visualise the film in your head before you set foot on set. This will give you the confidence to try new ideas.

4) Filmmaking is a collaborative process; you can’t do it alone. Always show your appreciation. A thank you can go a long way.

5) No one complains about a film being too short. Be brutal with your edit! Ask for feedback from those whose opinion you trust and make sure there’s no stone unturned.

Make sure you buy the latest issue of Digital Filmmaker Magazine to read the full 6 page article. Available from WHSmith or on the iTunes store.

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Modern Man Wins Best Film

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Last night I received some exciting news that my short film ‘Modern Man‘ won BEST FILM for the 3 Minute Wonders at the Kino International Film Festival!! Woop woop!

I’m so grateful to everyone who believed in this project and helped bring it to life!

The film has also been screened around the world as part of the Très Court Film Festival. I did a cheeky video blog when I visited Paris for one of the screenings. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here: 2 Nights in Paris

Watch Modern Man here:

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When In Rome

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Twenty fourteen has been the year of ‘Just Do It’! And what an amazing year it’s been so far! Rome has been a destination I’ve wanted to go to for a few years and I’ve finally ticked it off the list!

I had a lot of fun exploring this beautiful city and I even managed to have pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the occasional cheeky ice cream – it had to be done! I also explored all the historical landmarks and met some really interesting people along the way including some fellow New Zealanders – they’re everywhere!

My highlight was going inside the colosseum, the level of detail and history in that place is phenomenal! Oh and of course the ice cream, and not just any ice cream but beautiful delicious Gelato ice cream in every flavour imaginable! From mixed berry all the way through to lime! Yum yum!

As you can imagine I was firing my camera like a mad man with a loaded pistol, every where I looked there were interesting details and history. It was an overload of the senses with monuments, restaurants and ruins at every street corner. It was an incredible adventure and I look forward to exploring more of this amazing country in the near future!!

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

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Have you been to Rome? I’d love to hear what you think of it? Or if you haven’t do you have plans to go and what are you looking forward to the most?

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Film3Sixty Interview

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I was interviewed by the prestige Film3Sixty Magazine about Modern Man and my plans for the future as part of their 5 minutes with series! Previous interviewees for the series have included Terry Gilliam, Ralph Fiennes, Nicole Kidman and Joss Whedon.

F3S: You must be proud of Modern Man’s success. What has it been like?

Sebastian Solberg: It’s been amazing and I’m so proud of everyone who helped bring Modern Man to life. It wouldn’t have happened without all the long hours everyone put into this film and I’m so grateful to the cast and crew who believed in the idea and wanted to be a part of!

I’ve just come back from Paris where we had the first international screening. It was very daunting seeing it up on the big screen with a room full of complete strangers. Everyone laughed and clapped at the right moments so that was a relief. There’s no dialogue so I definitely think that was a benefit as it makes it more accessible to international audiences who don’t speak English.

F3S: Can you talk about how the project came about and what the development process was like?

Sebastian Solberg: The process of finding a concept I was happy with took a lot of thought. I spoke to close friends and family about a Charlie Chaplin-type silent films; having parallel-running time periods; windows into other worlds… nothing clicked. I was looking for simplicity. My last filmmaking experience had been so frustrating, full of difficult and wrong decisions that made it disheartening; this time, I wanted to make this film fun, quirky and a little bit ridiculous. My first thought: how can I make a fun, crazy film in a kitchen? Add time travel!

I find that when the right idea comes to me, everything starts falling into place. An image of a cavewoman facing-off to a very posh, clean person came to mind and instantly made me laugh aloud – I had to do it! I wanted an amazing writer to breathe life into the concept so I emailed my friend Simon Guerrier pitching the idea, and asked if he’d write it. We met the next day, and after two hours, we had a clear structure that I absolutely loved – and it hasn’t actually changed since that first meeting…

Red the full interview here:  http://www.film3sixtymagazine.com/index.php/2014/05/19/5-minutes-with-sebastian-solberg/

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