the director of cannes-featured straight 8's: 'earth to earth', 'the other half' and 'visions of jack' shares his favourite straight 8's and what makes him tick.
read how nick calls himself a filmmaker first and an economic advisor second...
see nick’s selection.
earth to earth
nick scott, 2005
it can be very satisfying when you show a feeling or some kind of thought or idea you've had - however crazy it is - through this bizarre, intangible medium.
i'm 33. i grew up in colchester in essex. i lived about forty seconds from my school so i always used to get up really late and still haven't got over that: stay up late, get up late.
the first film that i really kind of worshipped was the goonies. i absolutely worshipped that film. i watched it so many times. all the little gadgets that the guy had, i used to make and i couldn't believe that some of them didn't work. i went back and watched them in the film and was like 'i'm sure that's how it worked'. and that's maybe when the fantasy started to break down and i realised maybe things weren't what they seemed. but i still loved it.
the film that i watched that made a really big impression on me was paris texas. i used to stay up late a lot on friday nights watching films and kind of stumbled into it. i watched this first shot of this guy walking through this desert and just was totally captivated by it and stayed up watching this amazing film. and probably ever since that's been one of my favourite films.
i've got two joint favourites... memento - which i know you hate, ha hah - and paris texas. they're both very different films and i like them for different reasons. they both made a big impact and i've watched them millions of times. the big lebowski is the other one which is a close third and that's probably going to upset a lot of people.
i describe myself as a filmmaker. a lot of people when they're asked that question they will say their job. but i now say that i make films because that is what i consider myself to do. i have a different job. but i like to and i enjoy and i live for making films.
as a job... i'm an economic advisor for the department of business. i advise them on climate change. that's the polished answer. the short answer is: i'm a civil servant. i did a masters in economics and it was halfway through doing that that i started making films, but i'm quite lucky in that i'm able to do a job part-time that allows me to pursue what i really love doing. i enjoy my job as well... i guess i am lucky.
climate change and policies relating to climate change is such a widespread and complex issue. you need policies domestically, internationally. they affect all of us... from us in our homes, us at work, people abroad, how we travel... you know. designing and advising on the sweep of policies which will help reduce carbon emissions to within a safe amount for us all is really fascinating and an unprecedented challenge.
the dude abides events... i worship 'the big lebowski'. i read about these guys that started an event in america and i was quite inspired. i wanted to go to an event like that and i knew so many people that would. i thought the only way that's going to happen is if i sort it out. i found a really accommodating bowling alley and the top floor of it looked identical to the film. i think they thought i was a bit crazy but i think they wanted to see it happen and the rest went from there. we enjoyed it so much. the great thing about it is the creativity that people bring, the costumes and everything... that's a real thrill. at the last one there were two real 'dudes'. first i saw a guy with a white russian and a dressing gown and i don't think he'd made any effort because he actually was a dude. then there was a kind of 'dude-off' cos there was another. so there were these two guys who looked identical apart from slightly different coloured dressing gowns.
definitely a few relationships have not enjoyed necessarily the amount of time that i'm doing stuff. also the kind of vast quantities of sort of super 8mm and 'general crap' as it's usually called that is kind of lingering around wherever i'm living. i guess it does suit single life but equally i think you just make different films when you're single than when you're with someone else.
i know precisely when it was. it was halfway through my masters course. and it was strange cos i was working very hard busting my balls to get my masters done. and randomly i had these strange kind of weird ideas, and i was also watching more and more films and i had this idea that i wanted to make, to see, this film. i'd stolen my mum's hi-8 video camera and had been messing around with that, but had started to have ideas that were more narrative based and more obviously film projects. i was working in this room slaving away with these books and i had this overwhelming feeling just to get out and make this film. it was about someone so focussed but who'd do other random things to apease that part of their personality. i think it would have been an awful film. i don't know why i felt the need to do it. and i didn't.
when i got to london i enrolled in various editing classes, filmmaking classes and started doing screenwriting and it just snowballed. and then i started meeting people that did it as well. and i just got the bug.
at work there are things you get satisfaction from but, having things that are necessarily direct, like the person who's watching your film is instantaneously accessing a thought or idea you had... that was the thing that really appealed to me. with my work you're so far away from the actual end-user being affected.
it can be very satisfying when you show a feeling or some kind of thought or idea you've had, however crazy it is through this bizarre, intangible medium.
i'd done a couple of other short film competitions and usually the films are quite disappointing: if they're made in a short time, they look like they've been made in a short time. and maybe not that many people turn up. and then they just go away. but the first screening i went to of straight 8 in 2004 at 'the other cinema'... straight away you could tell something was going on. there were masses of people outside bustling around. i said "what's going on?" and everyone was queueing for their tickets and all excited. and i remember feeling quite embarrassed as one of you asked me what film i'd made, and i shuffled in and said i hadn't made a film and was just here to watch. there was a huge difference in atmosphere and energy to this than any similar screenings i'd been to and everyone was just like laughing, cheering. the whole event was amazing and me and my friend were really struck by that, and as soon as i walked out the cinema i knew i was going to do one. the immediacy of having an impact on your audience, being in that location, seeing that energy, and seeing the response is something that you want to be a part of. even if your film hasn't worked out well, straight 8 is utterly celebratory. just the fact you've made the film should be celebrated rather than just let's show the best ones and be done with it, and i think that's part of the fun really: is that we watch all these peoples' creativity. it's just brilliant to see people clapping and cheering in a cinema.
the one where he drinks the beers is probably my favourite straight 8. i've watched it so many times and it's just.. really enjoyable.