From passion project to funded brand film, Joel Egan DP chats filmmaking – Shooting for the highest of highs and lows.
So Joel, introduce yourself and what kind of projects you’ve been working on recently?
I guess I see myself an emerging Melbourne Cinematographer. In the past three years I’ve been working on branded content video series to shooting TVCs and this year have mainly focused on shooting music videos and short films.
Tell us us about the Volley project and how it came about – From a passion project to funded brand film series.
The volley project was an idea I conceived in September 2017 on the back of a branded content series which focused on telling authentic stories about real people. At the time, I felt there wasn’t a true piece of work in the Melbourne Market that reflected, firstly, the hustle and challengers we as creatives go through, and secondly, a montage stylised piece that showed the real Melbourne I know – In my eyes a place that is diverse in landscape and full of creatives pushing themselves to live out their dreams every day!
From pulling together a crew of close collaborators ready to push the button on the concept to pitching the idea to Volley in between other paid work it was a good 6 month process which now I’m really proud of.
Tell me about the brand film and the direction you took this moody stylised montage piece in…
I feel this brand film is more of a montage spec TVC which is a hybrid film making approach that combines stylised cinematic music video / short film making techniques and, real, raw and authentic documentary film making to real stories about inspiring artists / creatives / athletes.
From a cinematographers point of view I wanted to show our talent in their normal everyday environments by filming ‘objective normal everyday live footage’ but then through using colour, locations and props show how each of our talent subjectively see or perceive their actual, real or perceived selves.
What is the project about and who it is for?
As a half funded passion project initiated by Joel Egan DP and crew, we all share a common bond of having to hustle, push through the roller coaster which is the freelance world to follow our dreams, in my experience a commercial cinematographer / DP.
In terms of creative and talent – I wanted to create a series of vignettes which explored real creatives, athletes and makers who have to overcome personal obstacles everyday to follow their dreams and do what they love – Ultimately I’d love this piece to inspire other creatives to keep pushing, hustling and go out and live their dreams everyday with permission from other role models not what society norms tells us. This is a really common battle for all artists but also the fuel that drives a lot of us!
At the end of the day this stylised inspirational documentary video series is for artists, athletes and makers who push themselves everyday to be more. From the hustle and inner thoughts of doubt to dreaming of success, these are the moments that make us – Volley ‘Play On’.
Shot on location in Melbourne Australia in collaboration with Volley Australia, Now Motion & Crew.
What made you make this?
As an emerging Melbourne cinematographer I felt I was ready to really express myself and wanted to see how far I could push myself and the images – which could not have been down without the amazing talent and crew!
More importantly as a freelance DP but also owning my own small production group Now Motion, I’ve experienced first hand and seen the industry being dealt a hand where it’s about producing high volumes of content on small budgets where often quality is second thought.
This piece hopefully shows that with the right film making process, know how and tools on set that things like shooting on higher end cinema cameras, and seeking out the best talent to ensuring a solid colour grade, sound mix is thought about and carries though from pre to post production and the end product is that 2-3 better than any project complete to date – at the end of the day we’re doing this to engage the end viewer and express creatively who we are and what the brands we work for are about, so what not do it right!
The argument is usually quantity vs quality due to time and budget pressures, but I wanted to do a piece of work that shows how a project can be done.
Where do you see it going?
I would love for this project to be shared via the 50 plus people that made this happen; from the talent, crew, volley and all of our industry camera and lighting hire groups that supported us to any person or platform online that wants to inspire other creatives to push harder and be better regardless of their own internal struggles, people around them or society saying what we are doing is not sustainable or a real path – this is actually the fuel that drives me everyday!
What inspired you?
First and for most – My family of crew and other creatives / artists / athletes that I’ve met over the years that push themselves everyday regardless of societies norms or our own internal struggles is what inspired me.
I’m super passionate about telling real stories through cinematic filmmaking and I wanted to tell individual real, true and authentic stories that could help other creatives relate and ultimately inspire them push them selves.
Secondly – Film making, montage lifestyle commercials and content from the US and EU really influences this piece but ultimately what inspired me was wanting to find similar true and honest stories of the real creatives, artists and athletes that we don’t always see or hear about every day.
Thirdly: Being Authentic – Capturing the hustle, grit of everyday life in Melbourne but also the beauty of our artists in their natural environments was really important to being authentic and it not feeling cheap or overdone. It’s a fine line.
What would you say to aspiring filmmakers/creatives/artists?
Just Keep Pushing!
When looking back this was a passion project that I had in the vault since September 2017 and at the time I was slammed with brand and more corporate driven work. I got to the point where I just had to say no to paid work to have the time to get this project into production.
I’d say to other creatives to not take no for an answer and that road of no’s is actually the road to yes! So enjoy that place and when you get there, honor the project and surround yourself with your family. Like all good families we have our up and downs on set at times, but we are there and do it for the right reasons – for the project and to make each other more well rounded individuals!