VOTM Award winning film for @supadanceshoes

Winner of VOTM for November 2013
Video Artisan’s VOTM award winning film for November

Another award winning film for Supadance

I had some great news last week. The documentary I produced for Supadance on the Same-Sex Dance Festival in Blackpool was voted as the winner of the IOV’s Video of the Month (VOTM) competition for November. Yay!

Like all competitions, sometimes you win but more often you lose! To me that just makes winning things that much nicer. However, winning the VOTM with this entry was especially pleasing for a number of other reasons. Firstly, it’s probably my favourite film to date. I’m the first to say that there’s always room for improvement on every film I produce (including my other award winning film for Supadance) but this was the closest I’ve come to date to having something I’m totally happy with as far as meeting the brief is concerned. It was also a double-bonus to find that the first draft was pretty much exactly what ended up being released as a final edit.

People to please

Supadance are great clients but there’s normally always more than one person to satisfy on their commissions. In this instance I also had to win approval for the film from the organisers of the Same-Sex Dance Festival, namely Bradley and Soren from the Sugar Dandies. Whilst Supadance wanted a film that would promote their shoes in a new and developing avenue of ballroom and Latin dance, Bradley and Soren were keen to have something that would explain and promote Same-Sex dance in general and promote participation in the event itself. This was especially important to them this year as in June 2014 they will be hosting the European Same-Sex Dance Festival alongside Gay Pride in Blackpool. This should result in a much wider attendance and participation in the event so there was a lot riding on me producing something that helped them achieve this.

Group at SSDF
Recognising the talent in Same-Sex dancing

I’m also really pleased about winning VOTM with this film as it was a challenge for me to make on a personal level. Working with Supadance for the past couple of years has really got me into ballroom dance. I’ve become an avid Strictly Come Dancing fan and, in recent weeks, have broken down under mounting pressure from my wife to take up ballroom dancing lessons. Having produced five films for Supadance now I thought I knew how challenging ballroom dancing was – but now I really know! I justify this to my macho mates by saying that it helps me interpret dance when I’m filming it but, the truth is, I really enjoy it (don’t tell the Mrs. that though).

Anyway, before making this film I was unsure of the value and need for same-sex dancing. The process of making the film, meeting the people involved and listening to the reasons why same-sex dance should have its own platform (or indeed incorporated into mainstream dance) has completely changed my point of view. I hope that watching the film does that for you too.

It is a shame that you never know what other entries your film was up against in the IOV’s VOTM competition but it is especially pleasing to have an award winning film that’s judged by your piers. I was a little bit sceptical about entering this film into the competition as the subject matter is not everyone’s cup of tea, which made it even more satisfying as the content and production values must have overcome any potential biases within the judging panel (if indeed there was any!).

My next award winning film – maybe?

Right now I’m about to complete the finishing touches on yet another film for Supadance. That will have to wait until next year to be entered into anything but once again I’m pretty chuffed with the way it’s turning out. Keep an eye on my blog as I hope to have this one launched before Christmas! I have entered something into the December VOTM competition though and my fingers are crossed. If you aren’t in it you can’t win it!

PS. A big thanks to Martin Baker for his help in making this film. As a relative newbie-shooter he spends most of the time at these events running the audio for me during interviews. But at other times I set him loose with the Canon 550D and a vintage f1.8, 50mm lens to get b-roll footage.

Martin shooting at the SSDF
Thanks to Martin for his part in this award winning film

As anyone who shoots with a DSLR with a wide aperture and shallow depth of field will know, it’s a real challenge getting usable footage – especially when the subject is moving rapidly towards or away from you. Each time Martin shoots footage for me I manage to use more and more of it in the final edit so this baptism of fire is certainly making a videographer of him. Thanks Martin – I reckon you own some of the ‘award winning film’ bragging rights.

PPS. There’s a little more info on the making of this film on a previous blog here.

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