All opinions written within this post are my own. All photography was taken by myself. To book for Videography or Photography, please visit my website http://www.chandlermedia.co.uk
I finished High School in 2014.
I went to prom, completed my GCSE’s and went to results day.
*Most* of the people I was surrounded by during school were fine with the idea of exams, didn’t stress and most of the time, were over the moon with their results giving them a ticket into their next stage in life.
This wasn’t quite the case with me.
I found the last two years of high school particularly hard and for a while, I couldn’t quite understand why. Throughout years 7, 8 and 9 I enjoyed school, loved spending time with my friends and despite not thoroughly enjoying every subject I had – I felt no pressure. However, approaching year 10 I started to feel my first burst of anxiety and pressure. This was new to me and for the first few months, I felt so odd and almost abnormal in a way. I didn’t tell any of my friends that I felt anxious, as I was afraid people would judge me or not quite understand – giving that I didn’t know anyone in my close circle struggling with the same issues. I realised my “panicky moments” and horrendous anxiety stemmed from exams. It started out that I would simply worry about the exam and then during my time to complete it, started to forget my revision as I was concentrating so hard on not freaking out.
Fast forward to results day and to cut it short, my results weren’t quite what I wanted. They weren’t by any means terrible or something to be ashamed of – however me being me, put a ton of pressure on myself to get the best of the best.
This threw me off completely.
All of my friends seemed to know what they wanted to do, and more importantly at the time – knew what college they were going to attend and what subjects they were going to take.
This is when I fell into film.
I am a massive believer of “everything happens for a reason” and still to this day, believe that although at the time I was so upset, my results lead me onto a path that I am so incredibly happy in. A path that allows me to be creative every moment of the day, allows me to tell stories and portray emotions through content I create and more importantly – an industry that I have settled on doing for the rest of my life.
I was 15, with my results in my hand and unsure of where to go from there.
Fast forward, and I chose a college away from the rest of my friendship group – which was a little weird at first – but I soon found it easy. This is where I fell into Film Production. The college I chose to go too wasn’t a sixth form, it was a college / university where you could study more “niche” subjects.
My chosen course was a diploma in Creative Media Production, and after a couple of weeks of studying – I soon realised that this was my calling in life.
Fast forward a little more, four years down the line and I have graduated from University in Bristol with a BA Honors in Filmmaking. After utilising University not only as a place of study, but a time where during the months I had off where other students would get drunk and spend most of their remaining funds on going out, I travelled. A lot.
In the three years I studied, I travelled to Sydney, Brisbane, Amsterdam, Iceland, Toronto, Vancouver, Whistler, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami and Barbados in between semesters. And whilst travelling to each of these places, I began documenting my travels through photography and film to eventually come to the end of my time at University with hard drives full of footage and my mind set on starting my own Film Production Business.
I’m not going to beat around the bush – at 20 years old – this is hard. Really hard. But made much easier with my two best-friends either side of me.
The company officially began in May of this year, now 21 the business has been going around seven months. Like anything, there are positives and negatives to everything you do in life – however it became apparent to me that I find there are far more positives to this job than down sides.
This sounds like a dream. Its is, in some ways. Essentially you have nobody telling you what you can and can’t do, you can take a holiday whenever you feel like it and in my position – I’m working alongside my two colleagues which happen to be two of the hardest working people I have ever met.
However, the “no boss thing” comes at a cost. Something I found particularly hard in the first few months wasn’t anything to do with the admin side of work, but more with finding motivation each day to get out of bed and to work your arse off – to put it bluntly. It isn’t easy. In the first few months, years, whatever it may be – money won’t be the best. Especially in the film business, you need to be prepared to do a lot of free work simply for the experience or as a piece to add to your showreel for little or no money. Doing this everyday and knowing you aren’t making as much as you’d like can be hard. You need to find that tiny ounce of motivation inside of you and grasp onto it everyday in order of pushing yourself. At the end of the day, if you don’t work – you won’t get paid. As simple as. You need to be searching for work everyday, updating your portfolio, connecting with other people – doing everything you can to push yourself and your business.
It will pay off and I promise you’ll end up better off in the long run.
You need to be strict.
There are no two ways about this. Being strict and setting rules is simply part of growing your business to the biggest and most successful company it can be. Rules can be anything from setting scheduled “working hours” as I’m guessing when you first start out – you are going to be working from home. A tip I would like to give is if possible, try not to make your working space your bedroom. Try and keep your bedroom as your bedroom. A place where you sleep, relax and take time out from work. I was very lucky in the sense that I was able to move away from home immediately, and work in a large office space that enabled us to be as creative as possible.
Try and get together an “office space”, whether this be at the kitchen table, in an office or on your sofa. Having set places in the house will help you to separate your sociable hours from your working hours.
Outside of your working hours – you should adopt a habit of finding inspiration all the time. Whether this be through social platforms or by getting outside and seeing new work – inspiration is key.
For me, I definitely use Instagram as a form of inspiration and as a form of motivation to work harder. Following people that you aspire to be like, or people that produce work you love will allow you to feel a constant sense of urge to better your work. I love this feeling.
All in all, starting your own business, properly, is a massive learning curve. I still at times, find it extremely difficult but in the long run and with the dreams I have – starting my own company may be one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s tough, but you’ll get through it. Stay focused and keep your eyes on a goal.
The very best of the Lake District, summed in one blog post.
I am very lucky to of had the upbringing I did, and something that I will be forever grateful for – is the location I spent a large proportion of my childhood.
The Lake District.
Known across the world for it’s stunning views and spectacular scenery – I thought it was only right I shared a few of my favourite photography spots I have gathered together over the years, with you.
With the second biggest lake in the Lake District, Ullswater is truly stunning – especially during the Autumn and Winter months. I decided to go back there, last month after not visiting for a while and it really didn’t disappoint. The autumnal colours that transferred through the reflections were unreal, and made such a pretty picture.
If you are a keen photographer and looking for a real picturesque view – I would highly recommend taking a trip to Ullswater whether it be during the Summer months with a picnic, or visiting in the Winter – the view will not disappoint and add to your Instagram feed.
Tarn hows is located 2 miles northeast of Coniston and 1.5 miles northeast of Hawkshead. Surrounded by beautiful mountainous land and forestry, Tarn Hows features a picturesque tarn that makes a stunning picture during the four seasons of the year.
A short walk surrounding the tarn means that everyone gets the chance to see the incredible views without an issue, making it a popular walk that myself and my family do multiple times during the year with the dogs.
Honey, spice and all things nice.
December. The perfect time to start baking in my eyes.
Christmas time is known for all of the glorious food, a time to indulge, so why not try making these perfect little Christmas biscuits – which in the grand scheme of things – aren’t too bad for you.
To make these biscuits please see the following recipe:
First, you need to gently knead the butter and flour together, to almost form crumbs.
Once this is done, you should add the half teaspoons of spices, teaspoon of honey and sugar and give the mixture a stir so everything is binded together.
After this, add the one beaten egg and stir the mixture until it starts to forma large ball of mixture. This is when you can start rolling out the mixture, and using cutters to make your biscuits.
Find a flat surface and coat in flour, once this is done you can roll out the mixture and begin cutting your biscuits into shapes.
Place onto a baking sheet on a tray, and leave in the oven for around 10 minutes. Depending on your oven this may be a little too long so start checking them every few seconds from the 8 minute mark.
Finish by dusting each of the biscuits with a little icing sugar, and you are finished!
Obviously, you can choose to decorate these biscuits however you wish – with icing or without.
My experience spending the night in a Bothy.
Something I had never even heard of up until a couple of weeks ago, when I made the decision to stay in one overnight for the purpose of a documentary myself and my team were shooting.
What is a bothy you ask?
Well, a bothy (in Scotland) is described as a small hut or cottage, used to home farm labourers or for the use of mountain refuge. Or, in our case, a home for the night in the middle of the wilderness. After weeks of preparation and planning into the routes we were going to take across the Highlands, we decided to choose one specific Bothy and spend the night.
Jumping in at the deep end, the first time I was going to visit this Bothy, would also be the first time I stayed an entire night, and due to the nights drawing in a lot quicker this time of year – it would mean we spent a large amount of our time in darkness.
To give you an idea of what is inside a bothy – to be honest, very little. The simple purpose of a Bothy, to provide shelter and (very little) warmth. No signal, no facilities, no food or water just a room with a fireplace and window. To a few people, I’m sure this sounds slightly daunting and not everyone’s cup of tea. I understand that, and I was also slightly nervous about what I was letting myself in for.
However, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you are well prepared with food, water, warm clothing, a positive mindset and potentially a group of people – the entire experience of staying completely in the wilderness is exciting and almost something you could become addicted to.
How to stay in a Bothy
Simply turn up. One of the main differences between a hotel and a bothy, is the fact that you do not need to book. A Bothy is free to stay.
Although the idea of this is exciting, an aspect that I was certainly worried about was the fact that anyone could walk into the Bothy, at any point during the night, and would also be potentially sharing a room with you. This didn’t actually happen to me, however the Bothy we chose to stay in actually had numerous rooms – so this worry disappeared pretty quickly.
Our fascination with Bothies started when my colleague and bestfriend, Tom, grabbed ‘The Bothy Bible’ by Geoff Allan from Waterstones. The book tells the ins and outs of “bothying” and everything there is to offer. The book shares the locations of these odd little houses, how many people they sleep and a bit of background information on each.
We used this as our guide to Bothies.
As you can see in the image above, I managed to capture a picture of one of the visitor books left in the Bothy. These books were highly interested (a little strange in some areas), but told stories of each of the other guests that had previously taken our place and stayed in our Bothy. I was somewhat glad I read the book and some of the stories it had to offer after spending the night as some were a little creepy to say the least. (It goes without saying that I was glad we chose not to stay in the attic).
How the night went
After arriving at the Bothy mid-afternoon, we decided to grab as much (already fallen) wood that we could, before nightfall. This is something I would highly recommend you do as after the sun goes down, this task becomes significantly more difficult.
After this, we began setting out our sleeping bags, and began making the fire. We did this early so we could warm up the room before the evening when we knew the temperature was going to drop. After doing this, lighting a few candles and grabbing a bite to eat, the room instantly had a “cosy” feel to it. We played music and games, sat by the fire and had long, deep conversations late into the night.
When it came to sleeping, I’m going to be honest, I am a slight wimp when it comes to the dark and this is mainly down to being a horror movie fanatic. I slept OK – drifting in and out of sleep throughout the night, jumping up as soon as we saw the first signs of daylight. Apart from the odd noise or two and the loudest mouse I have ever heard, the night wasn’t so bad after all. One thing I am sure of however, is that it gets really cold in the Bothy. Ok, we didn’t choose the warmest time to year to start this expedition, but nevertheless a Bothy is essentially a wooden shed with no form of heating, so please do pack enough warm clothing and a heavy duty sleeping bag.
However, from a Filmmaker and Photographer’s point of view – these Bothies were well worth the trip. At least for the Bothy we stayed in, the views surrounding the exterior were utterly beautiful. Surrounding us for miles upon miles of stunning mountains, it really was a photographer’s dream, and I would highly recommend delving into a trip like this simply for the views and potential captures.
If you are planning a trip or even a stay in a Bothy, I would highly recommend purchasing Geoff Allan’s book and utilising his advice to do some serious research into the perfect Bothy for you. You can purchase his book below, using the following link:
Our documentary will be released within the next few weeks, so I will keep you updated on it’s progress and of course, post a link for you to watch when you have the chance.