Updated: May 18, 2018
" Art, at least art as I define it, is the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change into another person." ~ Seth Godin ( author and former dot com business executive)
I'm not a fan of bogged down 'About Us' pages that seeks to wear down clients and visitors with a car salesman approach - so I've chosen to take a more 'flesh and blood' angle, which is to write up a nice blog that offers a tiny glimpse into the backstory of Paper Sky Productions.
The shortest version I can offer: Paper Sky is a company founded on lifelong passion, after the name and company logo sat in my head and drove me crazy for over two years, whilst I made film-after-film, month-to-month. Until I decided that I had to step up and act on something that I had become fevered over once and for all – hand in my notice and start my own production company.
Want the long version? Well, let’s start at the beginning…
At the age of seven, I discovered stop-motion animation - painfully configuring plasticine models one frame a time with a bazooka-sized camcorder that I found buried beneath a pile of old rain coats underneath the stairs. From then, I decided that I wanted to become a filmmaker.
No one ever tells the working-class kid that he can grow up to be a producer or a director or a screenwriter or an editor or a cinematographer – those roles were foreign, far beyond reach and understanding of your "average working Joe". But on and on I dreamt, slowly discovering ways to develop my skills independently and resourcefully; film-making, art and creativity was my vice throughout my life, my crutch and therapy during my turbulent years as a teenager, coping with the pressure of expectations from those around me. I found solace behind the lens, comfort playing the guitar, release with a pen, pencil or paintbrush – creativity was there for me every step of the way.
WAIT…PEOPLE GET PAID TO DO THIS?!
I banked my hopes on becoming an author and illustrator, combining both my writing and art skills to one day become a scribe of fantasy and science fiction – then came my later teenage where I wasn’t particularly enjoying a pursuit in creative writing, mostly thanks to an unfulfilling course at university, it did however introduce me to script-writing; there was a lot of attractive white space on those pages! Then it clicked: writer, producer and director!
Further research as a late teen proceeded and so I discovered that – who knew? – a career in the TV, film and media industry was actually feasible!
Much to my father’s disappointment, I dropped out of university and spent a gap year as a bartender, to wash the bitter taste of a bad experience out of my mouth – I was never a good student, but non-stop education and dancing to the tune of ‘the system’ became exhausting and I needed to hunger for greater things all over again. I came home from each shift, opened up Movie Magic Screenwriter (which, I recommend over Final Draft) and wrote script after script after script. Of course – they were all terrible.
There was one particular script that I had written, one which I wasn’t too pleased with but I liked the title: Paper Sky.
I kept a mental note of it for a future project and moved on.
FAST-FORWARD FIVE YEARS
I finally graduated from university. I have made five short films and the last one was circulating small film festivals – but I was still bartending and waiting tables, working double shifts before heading home to write or grabbing my camera to head out and do some unpaid freelance work to build my portfolio.
They were exhausting and soul-crushing years, but I certainly do look back at those struggling days with some nostalgia as they certainly served me sizeable portions of humble pie, as I survived from wage-to-wage on a zero hour contract where no one would know what the next week’s rota would look like whilst those from higher-up would seek to slash workers’ hours left, right and centre. All the while, I held on tight to my dream of leaving that place to become a full-time filmmaker; making a living doing what I loved.
DREAMS COME TRUE! …KINDA
Two more short films were made and a pile of unpaid work garnered me enough merit to earn a position as a video producer for a nationwide charity media production company.
It was a unique experience to say the least, I never made the same film twice and had a lot of creative control that otherwise wouldn’t be granted to those working at other production companies. I did it all: conceptualising a story, budgets, treatments, scripts, producing everything from finding actors to sourcing locations, risk assessments and call sheets, self-shooting, cinematography, sound recording and design, editing and mixing.
Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
But I quickly became outgrown, my lifelong itch was not being scratched and I was becoming restless – more than 200 short films, I wasn’t getting the challenges nor was I indulging in the creative potential I know I have.
I needed to strike out on my own – do things my own way, with my own niche and style.
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT
The name “Paper Sky” re-emerged and the logo materialised in my imagination just as fast and there it remained in my mind for over two years. "Perhaps when I’m ‘more established’ I can get it off the ground, when people respect and know me better in the industry." Those were my thoughts at the time.
Well, those two years of sitting on an idea had shown me in many, many ways that life is way too short to box up your passion in hopes that it will be ‘ready’ someday. When 2018 arrived, I knew that I was as ready as I will ever be and so left my job, leaving the comfortable monthly salary, the structure and routine, the familiarity and everything that had been a big part of my life as a filmmaker for over half a decade.
STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD
It’s quite a tiresome cliché when companies declare themselves as something different and unique, given that video production companies are such a common enterprise these days given the nature of media distribution – thanks mostly to social networks and online media. But as I was seeking bigger opportunities, I got in on the ground floor on a good number of those companies – taking in my surroundings, the types of individuals who were running these businesses and measuring personalities, work ethic and, of course, their portfolios and bodies of work – this is what mostly inspired me to start Paper Sky Productions.
Because I knew that my work and style does genuinely stand out from the crowd – not through quality or scope or scale, but through ideas. That’s where I would focus, as we are beings that love story-telling, entertainment, empathy and engagement on a human level, utilising the power of visual aesthetics and beautiful imagery, you can say so much with so little.
PASSIONATE ABOUT POSSIBILITY
I had a name that I was happy with, a logo that I was proud of, with a lifelong passion and years of industry experience and hundreds of films under my belt – I knew I had a chance of making something worthwhile, not just for myself, but for those I work with.
Paper Sky is a new-born, sure – but it won’t be beaten for passion and for ideas; you can’t undervalue the power of a great a story.
The tagline goes: ‘Passionate About Possibility’ and that is the heart and soul of what Paper Sky represents, where the company can go and what it can do for those it collaborates with.
A working-class kid was never told ‘You can make films for a living’ and they are never told ‘You can run your own video production company and tell stories with and for other people’ – but here we are, at the starting point of something that excites me more than anything.
GET IN TOUCH
Whether you want a video made or not, let’s have a conversation – email@example.com.
The idea behind this production company is passion and creativity, and I like to encourage an open door policy for visitors to reach out and talk to us.
As I’m also a believer in constant learning, growth and development, Paper Sky also seeks to subcontract work to others where specific skills, criteria and locations apply. So if you’re a passionate creative, with a niche skill then drop us a line and you’ll be kept in mind for incoming projects that may require someone as wonderful as yourself.
If you’ve read this far, I salute you! I hope this blog has offered an interesting enough backdrop behind the inception of Paper Sky Productions to encourage you to follow our movements, hire us or to get in touch.
As the opening quote by the great Seth Godin states: “Art is the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person.”