Richmond Park

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Richmond Park, it’s the place I go to be re-energised, inspired and motivated. It’s where I feel most home when in London and I love exploring all it’s nooks and crannies and capturing it’s beauty so I can share it with others. When I first discovered it I couldn’t quite believe that it was situated in England, let alone London. It’s a slice of paradise and without it, I honestly don’t think I could live in London.

Nature is a hugely important part of my life and at times I really struggle living in a concrete jungle with the constant noise and over stimulus. Nature allows me to take a breathe and reminds me to appreciate the everyday miracles – big and small and to just love life!

Richmond Park was officially born in 1625 when Charles the first brought his court to Richmond Palace to escape the plague in central London and turned the area on the hill above Richmond into a park for the hunting of red and fallow deer. The park now contains over 600 deer, 144 bird species, 139 spider species, about 750 butterfly and moth species and over 1350 beetle species and a variety of other animals including rabbits, foxes and mice.

If you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of London I’d highly recommend taking a trip to this beautiful place, it will momentarily transport you to another world! It’s like going down the rabbit hole in ‘Alice in Wonderland’! It’s awesome!

Here are a few shots that I’ve taken while on my adventures in this amazing park:

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The Ranger

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“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art”. – Orson Welles

Photography is a great way to express yourself and share the way you see the world with others.

I was really keen to do a photography project to get the creative juices flowing and use it as a way to develop a short film concept that I’d been thinking about for sometime. I contacted costume designer Georgia Lewis, production designer Joe Oliver Eason and actor Akshay Kumar to see if they’d be interested in getting involved. Amazingly, they all said yes!

The costume drew inspiration from Assassin Creed and Robin Hood. Georgia spent several weeks designing the costume and putting it together. However on the day of the shoot Georgia who was staying with a friend in London rang me saying her car had been broken into and the costume had been stolen – it must have been one awesome costume! With Georgia’s amazing creative ability to make something incredible from next to nothing, I knew we’d be ok. Using old rags that the thieves had deemed unworthy and had left behind in the car, we went to work. Testing, tearing and improvising! Two hours later we had our costume. Our talented production designer Joe added the final touches with the bow, arrow and quiver that he’d hand crafted from wood and bits of old material that he’d found around the house. Akshay was then smothered in mud from outside and boom, our ‘Ranger’ was born!

I’m a true believe that when limitations and problems occur creativity thrives. We’re forced to do things differently and go against the norm in order to make it work. It’s amazing what happy accidents can occur and often the end product is better because of it.

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Isle of Man Film Festival

Sebastian Solberg

Over the weekend I attended the Isle of Man Film Festival where my short film ‘Modern Man’ was screened. It was an awesome event with a huge variety of incredible films shown from all around the globe! It was exciting to be part of such a high calibre of filmmaking talent and we even won an award for BEST COMEDY SHORT!! Woohooo! The highly acclaimed film critic Mark Kermode was there to help with judging and to hand out the awards!

One of my favourite moments at the festival was watching the 1928 silent classic ‘Beggars of Life‘ scored by a live band. The band made the experience completely unique and magical! As a filmmaker it’s so exciting watching films from the past and seeing how this incredible art form has developed over the years!

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who made the Isle of Man Film Festival possible and for all the blood sweat and tears that was put into making it such an exciting event! Until next time, over and out.

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Mark Kermode & Sebastian Solberg at the Isle of Man Film Festival

Sebastian Solberg & Gail Hackston at the Isle of Man Film Festival

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Photo Credits: Dave Silvester and Ben Desmond

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Don’t Be Afraid To Be You

 Sebastian Solberg
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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Sebastian Solberg at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

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The Benefits of Failure

Sebastian Solberg

“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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