British director Robin Schmidt is the winner of the recent 14 Islands Film Challenge, in which 14filmmakers were tasked with making a five minute short capturing the true spirit of the Bahamas. You can see Robin’s film at www.14islandsfilmchallenge.co.uk
What training have you received?
None! For some reason people have always assumed I could just do stuff and, being the idiot I am, I never told them I couldn’t! I’ve always had a bit of a punk attitude to filmmaking, believing I could do stuff better if I did it myself, which isn’t always the case but it gives you a massive sense of ownership over the work you produce. Eventually you stop making quite so many mistakes, but I still have that punk attitude.
What kind of projects attract you?
I hate being comfortable. I’m incredibly hard on myself and constantly pursue new areas to keep my creativity challenged. It means that I don’t really have a recognisable voice, per se. But, like Rocky, I’ll always drag up an uplifting montage sequence from somewhere and I’ll punch my way to victory.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a director?
‘Sorry mate, it can’t be done.’ That’s like a red rag to a bull. The harder stuff is, and the less likely stuff is to happen, the harder I’ll work to prove people wrong. On the whole people are lazy, which is why I’ve tried to learn as many skills as possible myself so when they tell me stuff can’t be done I can just go and do it myself. As a director you have to be the one leading the line, and if you start pulling miracles out your ass, then people suddenly start to take you seriously and perform miracles of their own.
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far
There are two. Winning the 14 Islands Film Challenge was special because the challenge was insanely hard and I really rated the filmmakers I was up against. Second, setting up a production company with two equally foolish friends with no experience. We believed we were too good to fail and we didn’t.
You’ll die happy when…
I win an Oscar for a film I’ve written and directed. I’ve had a taste of winning an award and it’s good. The further I progress in my career the more amazing the people I work with become and that in turn inspires me. That continual progression is everything for me. The knowledge that it’s always possible to be better, to try something different.
Taken from movieScope magazine, Issue 17 (May/June 2010)