An insight into the life of an emerging filmmaker
We've been chatting to emerging filmmaker Ross Silcocks from Bristol, who has shot everything from Gambia documentaries to UK music tours. His portfolio is already jam packed and he's not ready to stop yet. Sean Delahay finds out about the man behind the camera.
Name: ROSS SILCOCKS
Occupation: Filmmaker / Photographer / Entirety Clothing CEO
So Ross what inspired you to make your very first video and what was it about?
I started off by filming promotional films for bands while studying Film Production at the University of Gloucestershire. Things really kicked off for me when I started planning to film a documentary in Gambia. I got funding from a local Bristol businesses and three months down the line I accompanied 20 UK students aged 15-16 to West Africa. An extremely high percentage of Gambian children aren’t lucky enough to receive education so this allowed the UK students to compare the Gambian schools to their compulsory free UK education system. This project gave me the drive to involve myself more within setting up my own productions and films.
THE HIGHEST PARTY IN THE WORLD from ROSS SILCOCKS FILM STUDIO on Vimeo.
What exactly do you video these days and what's your preference for video?
I never know what’s next. This year I’ve spent two months a filming and photographing snow sports. I make promotional films for all kinds of companies and bands. I film and photograph events including In:Motion Bristol and I’m also the videographer for Twoseasons and Element Skateboards UK. I have an up and coming shoot with the guys at Vibe Energy Gum, where we have some of the best UK extreme sports riders onboard for the video, however as of yet we have no idea how we’re going to achieve what we have planned. My preference is when a client comes to me with something challenging, I'll take it.
What equipment do you use?
I shoot on a Canon 60D as the flip screen is a must for fast paced film work, it came in extremely handy earlier this year when snowboarding backwards whilst filming a snowmobile. I used to use a GoPro HERO2 but have recently switched to Drift Innovation; they were kind enough to endorse me earlier this month with two brand new miniature 1080p cameras with screens. You can attach them to snowboards, surfboards, yourself and other people. Stage diving with a near invincible Full HD camera strapped to your head is a pretty awesome feeling.
Why video instead of stills?
Every single film I make is about creating atmosphere. That can happen in photography if a photo is taken well enough, but with video you can mix it up and show an event to its fullest. If I watch a short film of a festival or event I’ve been to I don’t want to be just watching a memory, I want to be as deeply involved with that moment as I was at the time. That’s how I try to include a true sense of atmosphere in my videos, whether it's diving into a moshpit or attaching the camera to a DJ at a festival. It’s all part of the process in helping create realism and take the audience back to that very moment. The power of film is incredible and it’s even more powerful if the person filming is just as involved as the people experiencing what’s happening themselves. Saying that I wouldn’t try attaching a camera to a bride at a wedding, it won’t have the same effect.
Do you have your own team or do you work alone?
I mostly work alone and do a 360 in production from pre-planning straight to the handover of the final edit. I recently worked with a team on the latest Element Skateboards film to make sure we covered the whole event. I knew we were in complete control of coverage and ended up getting some great stuff helping unleash a whole new feel to the overall film.
Whats the most intense video shoot you've ever done and why?
The most dangerous shoot I’ve ever done was in Berlin. I headed out with photographer Vicky MacPherson on May 1st to film the famous street parties, carnivals and riots in the Kreuzberg district. Demonstrators threw stones, bottles and fireworks at around 6,000 police who were tasked with keeping the protests in check. The front windows of several banks and shops were shattered. We ended up getting tear-gassed which affected our eyesight and we had to get out of the situation, which was getting pretty dangerous. The day was later named ‘Berlin's Peaceful Day of Rage.’ The day after we snuck into an abandoned theme park called Spreepark PlanterWald where we were chased out by a security guard and his German Shepard, I now hate German Shepards.
MAYDAYINBERLIN from ROSS SILCOCKS FILM STUDIO on Vimeo.
After meeting at Hevy festival in 2011 I’m lucky to have worked alongside possibly the most insane band in Britain at current, Feed the Rhino. I was on tour with them in October with the headline act, Gallows. I can honestly say that was one of the most intense months of my life. I filmed at 20 near enough sold out hardcore metal shows across the UK with only two days off. As you can imagine trying to edit a music video in a van with eight guys on tour who were a crazy lot was a bit of a struggle. It was however one of the best months of my life, without a doubt. The adrenaline and concentration of holding a thousand pound camera trying to dodge three swinging guitars and a microphone, on a stage in front of a roaring crowd whilst capturing good footage is such a massive rush. The music video ‘Nothing Lost’ is to be released on Scuzz TV in the next few days and if you give it a watch the above will begin to make more sense, they are seriously mental.
Where do your videos end up?
Some have been for DVD only, my promotional films usually go on Youtube, music videos on TV and I’ve had music documentaries and videos featured on Kerrang. It’s such a good feeling when you see your work on a professional platform. The best feeling however is showing a completed video to a client and watching them smile and tell you they love it, that’s what I do this for.
Who are the people that hire and approach you for work?
I’ve been offered such a diverse range of jobs this year. After filming a roller disco in one city I had to travel to another and shoot a party in an derelict barn and garage for an alcoholic energy drink company called Dragon Soop. This year has proven to me that the term ‘It’s who you know not what you know’ has never been more true. If you're going to be successful in this industry you have to be sociable, friendly, and reliable, but mainly just have a good time doing what you do, people will notice your passion and ask you back.
What's happening in the world of videography in the next few months for Ross Silcocks?
This year I’ve hooked up with the biggest snowsports company in Britain, Wasteland Ski. We’re heading off on the 15th December to four of the biggest resorts in France to snowboard, ski and party with 10,000 students. Sponsored by Relentless Energy and Drift innovation we’re taking a truck around these resorts with the DJ A.Skills. I’ll be creating a fast paced and action packed short documentary of the week which will premier around two of the UK’s biggest universities in January.
Do you do anything else apart from video's and photography?
I run a company called Entirety Clothing. The brand started from a skate and snow collective called Boardriders, a group of 15-20 best friends and the hub of my University life. I decided to create a t-shirt to help us remember the great group of people we spent day in day out with for the three memorable years university gifted us with. When we got back from the last snowboard trip, I released a video and a few photo albums and everyone online who saw it wanted a t-shirt so I decided to start selling them. Entirety began there and has been growing organically ever since. We’ve just recently opened a store in the centre of Bristol called Fabric with a collaboration of three other local Bristol artists. Anyone local come say hi! www.entiretyclothing.co.uk
Thanks Ross, one last question for you now. If someone wanted to contact you how would they go about it?
If you want to keep up to date, find me on Facebook. Things have really started heating up this year and I’ll definitely be looking to get people with a passion for film involved in future shoots be it in the UK or abroad. www.facebook.com/rosssilcocks If your not into social media (gasp) then drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
That's Fantastic, it all sounds incredibly exciting! Thanks again and best of luck in the future Ross.
Below is Ross's Showreel and one of his music video's...
ROSS SILCOCKS SHOWREEL  from ROSS SILCOCKS FILM STUDIO on Vimeo.
Feed The Rhino - Knives [HEVY 2011] from ROSS SILCOCKS FILM STUDIO on Vimeo.
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