The year 2000 had just struck and everyone thought the world was going to end. (Um…..nope! Sorry not this time). I started the turn of the century like any other work day. I unlocked the doors to the video store for my shift and eager to watch the arrival of “Gone in 60 Seconds”, “Gladiator” and “X-Men”. But…..who would have thought that just over 10 years later I would be working in the industry and producing movie.
After completing my sound engineering certificate at the end of 2001, I started my own company “Fatboy Productions” with a fellow studio associate. Music album recordings spurred on the need to shoot music videos. This was the platform that launched me into film and video. For a yearlong we shot music videos, TV series and corporate work. Eventually I found myself in a difference of an opinion in which direction the company should go, thus, I left the company to pursue my dreams and it was the best decision I could have ever made.
Being stuck with an uncomfortable amount of debt to pay off due to the company split, I travelled abroad for work and used the exchange rate in my favour. (What a plan even if I do say so myself!). After 2 years of work and travel between the USA, UK and Taiwan, long after the debts were settled, I decided to return home and applied for work at RT Concerts, and Entertainment Company that was in need of the audio and picture editing skills that I had to offer.
October 2004, I spurred on the need to further my knowledge about the film industry and decided to enroll myself into film school at the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. Much to my disappointment the University told me that I could not be accepted due to the fact that my overall “M-Score” was too low. (HUH?)
Anyhow, I camped out on the steps of the film school and with a bit of luck the wonderful Karen Jordaan (secretary at the time) was willing to give me a chance and helped me fight the system. Turns out that even though my M-Score was just too low there was a loophole which worked in my favour that stated by having my tertiary education in sound engineering the University could not deny me further tertiary education. (Haha, I win!)
It was an interesting challenge to go back to study after working for some time. Most students had just come straight out of high school and were in that party varsity mode. It was like being 18 again. At the time I was an eager picture and sound editor wanting to learn more about the craft and trade, but there was so much more to be exposed to.
I aspired to push myself as far as I could go within film school and gave every project my best as this is what would be expected of me one day. Working in different positions and doing different jobs on various short films and features showed me what my talents were. I grew into writing, directing and producing of projects and was lucky to always have a dedicated crew by my side that believed in what we were creating. Film school for me was a great platform to launch myself further into the industry with what I was learning on a daily basis.
Reflecting back on those times bring back many fond memories. Having the opportunity to work on short films, feature films, Coca Cola TV game shows, various corporate work, 8mm film to DVD conversions, working in conjunction with a broadcaster on a MNET edit project, shooting on 16mm film and most of the time just flying by the seat of your pants. There are some amazing things you can get to do while at film school, because you are at film school….the platform to learn and make mistakes.
I had the chance to meet new amazing people that I still work with today like Christopher Grant Harvey, Gerrit Van Zyl and Barend Stofberg to name a few. Doing a variety of work only refines your talents and eventually you become bold and go to places that feel scary at the time but once you overcome those hurdles and feel smaller, only to attempt even bigger challenges.
So all in all, it has an unexpected journey but it has shown me what I can do if I put my mind to it. I treasure the fact of winning numerous awards for my work, maintaining above 85% average to pass with Cum Laude and receiving the “Best Academic Student” award four years in a row. Thinking back will always make me smile……..BECAUSE…… the University wouldn’t accept me in the first place!
This is one of many unexpected journeys that I will have and it has taught a valuable lesson: “Always believe in myself and not let anyone tell me “YOU CANT!”
The journey has just begun...........