Meet the Member - Brett Chapman
For our Meet the Member feature this month we are shining a spotlight on filmmaker Brett Chapman. After graduating from The University of Sheffield with a degree in Journalism he spent five years working at a PR, design & advertising agency before taking the leap into self-employment. You can find out more and connect with Brett here.
Hi Brett! Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
I work primarily as a filmmaker based out of my studio in Sheffield. My day to day process involves a lot of short form content for online but I produce a huge range of work. I’ve always thought that cinema is a really powerful way to take note of all the beautiful moments that are hidden in the trivialities of day-to-day life, so I try to use my work to find something authentic to say that represents my point of view. I’m all about recognising the romance that exists in the world. The way we unconsciously play into the storification of our own lives is also something that fascinates me and I hope that shows through in everything that I make.
So how did you get into making films?
I’ve probably got a similar story to most filmmakers - I was given a video camera when I was very young and started making little movies, documentaries really, and took it from there. I think that the cinema helped to educate me as a young person so I’ve always had a lot of reverence for movies. The films I watched when I was growing up made me who I am today. I went on to study Journalism at University and that helped me figure out how to shape a narrative and get to the core, or the truth, of any story I tell.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I suppose that anyone experimenting with their creativity is putting stuff out into the world in the secret hope that someone who shares their perspective will find that work and feel some sort of connection. The biggest pleasure in producing a film for me is when someone finds their own piece of real estate in an idea or feeling that I had and then it becomes their own. I’m not sure that has ever actually happened for me yet but it’s the ambition. Before fandom became a more organised thing, liking the same movies was a good shorthand to finding ‘your people’. I still feel like any sort of creative endeavour is a great way to chip away at your little corner of the universe and invite other people in.
Who inspires you?
One of the first people to really inspire me was my Dad. We’d go on long walks when I was a little kid and he’d reinvent the plots of movies that I wasn’t old enough to see. I guess he was the first person to give me the storytelling bug. After him it was an English teacher in high school called Jo Pollitt who made it seem like it was actually possible to do this for a living. In terms of filmmakers though, I think Richard Linklater makes incredible work that I absolutely connect with. The Before Sunrise trilogy is probably the finest trilogy every committed to film. I’m also a massive fan of the artist Simon Evans, the filmmaker and graphic designer Mike Mills and the makers of a podcast called Radiolab. I have too many inspirations to mention fully - everything I do is just an amalgamation of other people who’ve got inside my head in a really memorable way.
Why did you join the Guild?
It seemed like a really exciting organisation to have in Sheffield. It’s attracted a really exciting group of people and I think it’s so important in a city like ours to have a strong community of creatives who can support one another.
I joined because I hoped that it would be a good way for me to keep ahead of any creative opportunities that arise in the city but also that idea of belonging to something positive that’s bigger than just myself was really appealing. Sometimes when you work as a lone freelancer it can be a little isolating so it’s good to have a group of like-minded folk around you.
My main hope with the Guild is that it will help increase the circle of creative people who I know and can call friends. There’s nothing better for your own work than talking to other people about theirs and bouncing ideas around.
The Guild seems to be populated by people who are serious about what they do and I like that. It’s also the case that the team behind the Guild are super responsive and supportive with members which makes a nice change from some similar groups that exist out there in the world. It just feels like a very positive thing to be involved in.
How have you benefited from being Guild member?
The Guild has actually been a great help to me since I started and I’ve even picked up some jobs via its website. I’m currently working as a Digital Producer for a theatre company called Slung Low, this is all part of the Hull City of Culture events taking place in 2017, and I only heard about the role because of a posting by the Guild. I spotted another job with Leeds Art Gallery and booked that job as well so I have to say that being a member, from a purely business point of view, has been worth its weight in gold so far.
Its great to hear that! So how can we find out more about you and your work?
The majority of my work can be found on my website but for a quick look at who I am and what I’m capable of I’d suggest watching this:
I currently have a documentary called The Residue of a Relationship doing the rounds at festivals and it’s a really good summation of who I am as a filmmaker and probably even as a person too. It’d be lovely if people kept an eye out for that, there’s a trailer available below:
We love chatting to members and finding out what you are all up to. If you want to be featured on the blog or just want to let us know about something great you are working on, please do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org