Skip to main content

Bootleg 2.0

The first time I sat down to write a blog, I don't think I really gave much thought to what I was about to do. At that point, I was a little nervous, tepid even, unsure of what the point was.

Back then, I saw it as nothing more than a mouthpiece for all my filmmaking efforts, and I spent my blogger's virginity on some half-assed thank-you note to everybody i'd just worked with on Icharus Broken. That takes it back to around 2006, and I had about a quarter of a clue as to what letting loose my voice would lead me in to. In the three and something years since, gunning with my head locked in the barrel has put me in all kinds of scrapes, mishaps and adventures. From writing about my LA adventures, to finding my busted heart in New York and almost having my ass handed to me by my employers as they threatened to sue me, putting my elasticated mind on the net has been equal parts smart and stupid.

But when you're meant to be a writer, what else can you do but write?

This head-first approach is what got me into being a filmmaker in the first place. And, as a natural course on the way, it's what took the door off the hinges as I set out to launch the Bootleg Film Festival.

I literally had a heap of time on my hands and a belly full of frustration as I waited for things to start moving on my follow-up feature film. At the time, I felt like the heavyweight champion of indie filmmakers - that cockysonofabitch who'd written, shot and cut a feature in six months, for the price of a rusty second hand wheelbarrow. Of course, now the film was coming out, I not only had bragging rights, I also had contacts - gold dust in the movie business.

So I took that maverick-haven't-got-a-fucken-clue approach to putting together movies, and decided to launch a platform for other filmmakers trying get their movies noticed: I set up the Bootleg Film Festival.

Again, as the story of my twisted career goes, I didn't have a clue whether it'd work or not, and was evidently overwhelmed by the response it received as movies from all over the world started to come in. Suddenly, my little one-man-mission to break a few more rules in this stifled business had a whole raft of films to sit through, all as rightful as each other of getting their 15 minutes of showtime.

After I sifted through all 500 and something films, I was left with what I felt were the best of the bunch, and then set about programming the thing, still desperately trying to nail the venue and the screening equipment.

As ever with things of these scale, you just have to ride your instincts and trust that shit is gonna come good. And, over three days last September, Offshore Coffee Shop in Glasgow's West End played host to the first Bootleg Film Festival. The basement art gallery made a perfect nickleodeon style viewing space, and the buzz that ran through the festival was immense. The films rocked, people linked in, and the audience were treated to the freshest (and bravest) new movies out there.

Following on from the three day chaos, I linked the movies in to some of those all important contacts, and a couple of the movies went on to make waves elsewhere in movieland.

But post-Bootleg, I ended up back on the road, having my ass served to me once more (a recurring theme) as I was made homeless. Anyhoo, this is no orchestra, so I'm not going to play violin, but what it taught me was no matter how successful you might be in one area of your life, you'll always pay for it somewhere else. Now that's not to say I have any regrets (I'm a bottle rocket - there's no time for those), but rather I've been collecting experiences.

So as I get ready to open the doors to Bootleg 2.0 and the rest of Project Bootleg, I hope that whilst diving in head first, I might at least this time have my eyes open.

In the spirit of everything I do, it's going to be bigger and bolder than last time, and for sure filled with exceptional films that'll remove you from your shoes as they blow you away.

Anybody that Bootlegged with me last year, drop me a line. Everybody else, clear a little space in your diary for February '10, because we're not calling this a comeback, it's bigger than that.