For the latest in our Creative Conversations series, E&M sat down with award-winning filmmaker Fraser Hinch, who has released several short films, to discuss his journey into film and plans for the future.
From Staffordshire, England, Fraser took A-level media studies at school. He then went on to complete a BSc in Film and Television Production – from which he graduated with first-class honours.
Since beginning his journey as a filmmaker and director, Fraser has released several short films, many of which have a charitable aspect to them, with the option to donate to altruistic causes. Parallel, Fraser’s first solo venture, tells the twisted tale of a psychopath killer, played by Ross Carradice, who also stars in Fraser’s first sitcom, Tad Bad Dad, which premieres this month.
Parallel won the exemplary student award and is shown to students of film as the go-to project when making their first short film. The film has also garnered more than 100 thousand views online.
When he is not involved in shooting creative films, Fraser also creates corporate-style videos for local businesses, as well as shooting weddings. Fraser, who reveals Martin Scorsese is one of his biggest inspirations, hopes to one day produce big-budget films.
The 25-year-old film director lives and works in Lichfield, a small city in the heart of the UK, home to an impressive three-spired medieval cathedral. Fraser’s latest release, Liability, was mostly filmed in his home city and neighbouring Birmingham, the UK’s second-biggest city.
The film portrays the lives of wayward brothers Lewis and Bobby who get caught up in a drug deal gone wrong. As events take a dark turn, the audience is taken on a rollercoaster ride of gritty emotion and violence before the drama builds to a climatic point.
The project spanned 72 hours of shooting over the course of three weekends, with 12-hour stints at a time. Fraser chose to shoot the film in Lichfield because he wanted to portray an English gangster movie in his own city. “I thought why not make a modern, gangster film somewhere that wasn’t in London,” he says. “I like the idea of filming in Birmingham.”
The director-actor relationship is fundamental in filmmaking. A good director must strike the balance between strong leadership and allowing the actor to work freely and spontaneously – which can produce some of the best moments in film. “The process is a lot more difficult than you might think,” Fraser tells E&M. “I’ve been told I am very easy to work with because I am quite relaxed but I get the job done.”
Like most good directors, Fraser allows his actors and crew members some artistic licence. “I put a lot of trust in people,” he says. “You have got to put a lot of trust in that person that they are going to deliver on the shots you want. I am quite happy to let other people do it but you have to know they are people you can trust and you are happy for them to do it. But if they weren’t getting it right, or their delivery wasn’t quite there, I would have to give them direction so they knew where we were going with something.”
Often directors return to the same actor to star in their films because they build a certain affinity with them over time. “A lot of directors will use the same actors. And I find when I find the right actor I will try and use them again,” Fraser divulges. “But when I am starting out with my short films, I am trying to use a variety of people.”
Soundtracks are also a vital part of the storytelling element to any movie. Fraser’s are no exception. “I love music – I make my own music all the time,” he explains. “The soundtracks in my films are always a huge thing for me. I have to use music that I am interested in and I enjoy as well as something that will fit in with the actual theme of the film.”
Modern filmmakers must be able to turn their hand to many different disciplines. “When I was first starting out I didn’t even direct,” Fraser says. “I have done every single job you can think of – when it comes to filmmaking. When you are working in this kind of industry, you have to be flexible.” Fraser says he learnt the ropes as a camera operator working on other people’s projects, and brought that experience with him to films of his own.
For Fraser, the sky is the limit when it comes to his aspirations as a director. “The dream is to get myself out there and start making films with huge budgets,” he says. “The dream is to make millions from the films. But the frustrating thing is it doesn’t happen overnight. I just need to get myself out there as best I can and show people what I can do.” Fraser is planning on making his next big project soon. “Within the next six months I will be planning the next big thing for me to create,” he reveals.
In the 24/7 internet age, our lives are saturated with content, making it difficult at times for young creatives to cut through. In this respect, the internet is both a blessing and a curse. “Anyone can put up a video of them singing in their bedroom or singing in the street,” Fraser explains. “Getting yourself out there is one thing but actually getting it seen and recognised is another. It is down to the person creating the content to create something that will stand out and will be different. You have got to persevere.”
Fraser takes inspiration from the directors he aspires to emulate. “My favourite director is Martin Scorsese,” he says. “I love the violence in the films, I love the humour in the films – it is very black comedy, quite quirky. His general character development in films is insane. He has got such a brilliant mind – how he comes up with these things I do not know. He is probably one of my biggest inspirations.”
For those looking to break into the world of filmmaking and directing, Fraser says it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a degree or qualification. The most important thing is a willingness to learn and ask others for advice. “You don’t necessarily have to have a degree,” he divulges. “Just go and do it – you don’t have to expect to get paid for it to begin with.”
If you would like to get in touch with Fraser and get involved with his projects or would like to hire his services, you find him on Facebook or visit Fraser Hinch Photo & Video Services.