The journey is circular, like seasons in a year and day into night.
This time last year I had just begun directing splinter unit on Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1.
I have been under an NDA or I would have been sharing so many extraordinary stories every single day. I have learned and grown so much during the experience, and in ways I could never have predicted.
Perhaps the greatest thing I have learned is how much I don’t know.
Every day while on set, I was gifted with a challenge, insight or experience that revealed something new to me.
Greatest of all was working to the highest possible standards of art and craft imaginable. Of course that manifests in extremely polished work. But it’s more than that. Much more. And it’s actually hard to define, but we can all see it in the final movie.
If forced to put it into words, I would say it’s an unwavering commitment to outstanding storytelling and filmmaking, to deliver the most exquisite experience for audiences.
Ironically, some of these revelations occurred to me when watching other films from other filmmakers.
It was like seeing the matrix for the first time.
In these films, I could see uninspired and sloppy filmmaking, verging on ‘phoning it in’. I had always been aware of it, well kind of, but now I could point right at it and say, ‘there, that is why this is not working as well as it should’. These were movies that ended upo being a bit ‘meh’ when they should have been ‘wowsers’.
These were not low budget films either, but huge franchise movies that should have been extraordinary. Because of this. I became very aware of just how committed the MI team really are to something beyond what others would accept as passable.
And now that I have seen and participated in how that standard is achieved, I can’t go back.
Tonight, I will see the completed ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ on the big screen in London for the very first time, along with the band of sisters and brothers, the cast and crew, who made it all happen.
What a privilege, and a memory that I will never forget.
The journey is circulary AND reflective.
Decades ago, I began my filmmaking journey on stage at the premiere of my Super 8mm horror film at my sixth form college in Wigan, in the north west of England.
Yesterday, I spent the day at that college, Winstanley College, standing on that very same stage, presenting to sixth formers and exploring the opportunities for them in creative industries.
It was a magnificent day. To be allowed to open young minds and hearts to opportunities, while offering hard won guidance, is a another privelidge. And another one I will never forget.
The photos below are separated by decades but taken in the same spot. One from the lunchtime premiere of my Super8mm horror film, the other from my talk yesterday.
It reminds me of the patterns we see in great stories.
The journey is circular.
We end at the beginning.
And we begin at the end.
The journey never ends.
Nor does the adventure.
If we choose it.
A new adventure is always beginning. Make it one worthy of your time, focus, passion and precious time.
Onwards and upwards!
Filmmaker, Author and Firewalk Instructor
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What am I doing now?
Directing splinter unit on Mission: Impossible 8
Exec producing The Enfield Poltergeist
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