Adam Mclean works with Tangled Feet on Hartlepool Waterfront Film
We loved hearing more from Adam Mclean about his work with Hartlepool Waterfront and gaining insight in to how his initiative and opportunities have lead to successfully launching the first steps of his career. From degree to interning at The Arc to working with Hartlepool Waterfront and Tangled Feet to curating his first exhibition!
Read on to find out more:
Tell us about working with Tangled Feet and Hartlepool Waterfront?
During my final weeks of being at The Northern School Of Art an email was sent around about an Internship happening at Stockton Arc. I applied for the internship and was given it within a few days thanks to the showcase of work I had produced during my time at university and college.
While at Stockton Arc I was introduced to Sonya Curle who runs the Tees Valley New Creatives and it opened my eyes to how thriving the creative arts and film industry is in this area and just how interconnected everyone is. Tangled Feet had gotten in touch with Stockton Arc asking for camera operators to help shoot footage of their Waterfront Northgare Performance and when I was told of it I put my name down immediately as It sounded like it could’ve been a lot of fun and a great opportunity to get further from the safety net of the university and truly throw myself out into the world.
I asked my fellow Film graduate Connor Shephard if he was interested in helping with the project and he agreed that it seemed like a really fun project to tackle. Myself and Connor had worked together on the Final Year film Love Bethany so knew each other’s capabilities and knew we worked well with one another. Using the connections we’d made at the Northern School of Art we were able to put a deposit in place and borrow some of the filming equipment which helped greatly in capturing the footage in the best quality it could be.
Tangled Feet were a lively bunch and very welcoming when we arrived at the shoot but we didn’t get much time for a chat as the first bus-full of their audience arrived swiftly meaning Myself and Connor jumped into action.
We filmed from around 10 am until around 6:30 pm at North-Gare, getting the most exercise of our lives running up and down sand dunes in the middle of a heatwave lugging around tripods, heavy cameras and pockets full of extra batteries. It was only after our dinner break and after we’d both turned bright pink that we realised neither of us had applied any sun cream that day, leaving us very burnt and very sore but we powered on through and got some absolutely amazing footage. It was a great opportunity to film the actors playing out their scenes in different areas of Northgate and it was great fun following the audience and capturing their reactions and enjoyment. There was just some nice energy from everyone involved and I think you can really tell the passion and fun in the footage that we captured.
Talk us through the trailer you made!
During my time at The Northern School Of Art, I discovered a love for editing and honed in on this skill during my final year. Exploring editing gave me a better understanding of different editing techniques and it also allowed me to think ahead when shooting meaning I have a general idea of the kind of transitions I wanted for this project. So I went into this with certain transitions playing out in my head such as the use of masking to change the shot quickly hiding it in a member of the audience walking by and a lot of pull focus shots from behind members of the audience. Myself and Connor discussed different shots we could capture and had a rough idea of the kind of things we both needed from the day and gave ourselves little to-do lists of certain footage such as a focus on the actors for one scene or a focus on nature and landscapes for another.
When I sat down to look through the footage we had shot for that one day we had 300+ clips between us and next came the tedious task of going through them all one by one and picking out which were good and which were bad and which could be salvaged. This is a process that we used in The Northern Art and it helps to keep things organised making editing faster.
Once I got started editing the trailer I kept sending the director of the North Gare piece Nathan Curry the various different edits and each time he’d come back with a list of changes and tweaks. This process lasted a few weeks and during that time I experimented with overlays adding sun glares to some shots and colour grading to add a yellowish/orange summer blur to the footage. I experimented with the lengths of clips to try and create a sense of even pace to match the song and really tried to make a flow to the trailer showing the audience arriving, walking around the dunes, seeing the actors perform and then finally applauding at the end.
Let us know about anything you are working on!
While I was at Stockton Arc I got to see some of the exhibitions they had on the show and due to the work I was doing for them had a chance to see a lot of the work they had done in the past. So before I left Arc I got in contact with Chloe Lawrence who schedules what exhibitions go up and when and explained my idea for an exhibition to her. It was inspired by my Film idea for our Final Major Projects that didn’t get chosen to be put into production but instead of abandoning the idea I took the abstract and surrealist elements and created a brief for an exhibition with it.
Luckily she gave me the green light to do it so I got to work contacting all the creatives that I know. I didn’t want this exhibition to be just art and photos so I contacted a lot of my fellow graduates from The Northern Art and tried to get a good mix of people from production design to costume students to film students who crochet. I’ve recently asked The Hartlepool Creative Writing Group to participate in adding in some talented poems and stories around the theme of Interdimensional travel. This exhibition will be on display at Stockton Arc from march 25th – April 15th 2023.
Secondly earlier in the year Lecturer Johnathan Youdale invited the newly formed band Cigar Cigar in who were looking for volunteers to create a music video for them. I produced one called “The theme from (Cigar Cigar)” and after that project, the lead singer Russell Smith got in contact with me and asked me to create a second music video based on a remix of one of their songs. I’ve been gathering footage for this all summer and recently I’ve asked a film-maker from Blackpool that I met through the Arc internship if she’d be interested in shooting some footage for it as well and being a co-director on the project. It’s thrilling to be able to work with someone new and seeing the enthusiasm we both have for film has got the fire burning inside me again to want to go out and create something really special.
Finally, after joining The Hartlepool Creative Writing Group I was inspired to enter some writing competitions around the northeast such as Crossing the Tees. This has been a great way of exploring my writing abilities and creativity and its inspired me to want to apply for a master’s degree in creative writing for 2023.
What’s special about The Northern School of Art
The Northern School of Art will forever hold a place in my heart. What it lacks in size it makes up for with community. They boast the achievements of past students for all to see and tell tales of students who have come and gone to inspire fresh faces and encourage those about to leave. When you’re at The Northern School Of Art you can’t help but feel as if you’re part of something bigger whether that’s one of your films being discussed years into the future or one of your posters being displayed on the reception desk.
It’s an artsy place for artsy people. Hair from purple to green and just about every brand of Dungaree you could ever think of. Whether it’s drilling, model making, photography, drawing, or unwinding film reel in the dark, there’s always something exciting happening and you always want to poke your head in and have a little peek.
My time at The Northern School Of Art has helped me better understand my own limits when it comes to filmmaking. It’s helped me break the bounds of burnout and push my creativity to the brink. It’s helped me make connections and new-found friends and it’s helped me to define my style of Filmmaking giving me the opportunities to express myself with film and explore different genres and themes.
Special mention to Alyson Agar too she encouraged me to explore more world cinema and the abstract side of cinema which has had a domino effect on me experimenting with surrealism and feeling confident enough to ask for an exhibition.
Any advice for future students?
Firstly I think going to freshers is a great opportunity to re-invent yourself and express yourself. It’s a great way to make new friends and lifelong memories. It’ll be a good spring-board into your future at The Northern School Of Art.
Taking every opportunity that comes your way is important too. No matter how difficult it may seem it’ll give you more time to discover your style and discover what makes you stand out. It’ll help create contacts for the future it’ll help pad out your CV for future employers e and will give you a good reputation for being reliant meaning people will want to work with you more.
Don’t give up due to burnout! Give yourself some time to find your limits and how long you can stay passionate about a project, this will help with future projects and will help you work out a good working schedule for yourself. Experiment with projects outside of university and discover what makes you you and what makes you stand out from everyone else and then expand on that and build an online presence for yourself.
And finally, Never forget anyone as you never know, you may be five years down the line and need someone to make you a fake eye. It’s always great to keep in contact and keep on good terms with everyone.