‘Into the Red’ dir. Geoffrey Taylor
Geoff, a redheaded film maker, travels dutch style to The Netherlands to the worlds largest ginger gathering, to find out what drives fellow redheads from all over the world to this event.
Director-Editor: Geoffrey Taylor
C8: Where did you come across the Redhead Festival and what made you want to document your experience?
GT: I’ve heard about this festival for a few years now and I was just curious about it. As a Redhead I was certainly not sold on the idea of getting together with other Redheads, I felt like it was a strange thing to go and do, but wanted to know more about it and why others wanted to meet, so that’s how I set out on my journey. I suppose a film was my excuse to go.
C8: Had you ever shot a film with you as the central subject?
GT: Not really. But years ago I piloted a project celled ‘Tandem Tales’, where I tried to single handedly cycle on a tandem to Edinburgh to pick up “talent” and also to meet up with a musician and artist friend who tracked me along the way as we headed up to the fringe festival, I filmed bits of it of it and put up short content along the way so got used to editing out all my worst bits.
C8: Were you nervous at all about putting yourself in the film? What has the reaction been like?
GT: I was not so much nervous, but more self-aware and critical of myself at the beginning. I’m used to directing and editing other people in films, so it took me a while to be less precious about what bits to put me in. I knew I had to tell the story.
As I did not travel with anyone else, I had to as honestly as I could, capture what was happening to me. I think the video diary style worked well in the end and I have had some really positive feedback from peers and friends who want to see me in the next one, although I would like an other camera operator with me, just to help capture me in those spontaneous moments.
C8: What advice would you give to emerging documentary filmmakers who are thinking about making themselves the centerpiece of their documentary?
GT: Well I’m still trying to learn more about it myself, but if you are putting yourself in the film it seems like you want to show the audience the journey you will be undertaking. So I think be as honest and genuine as you can. Be clear about what your setting out to make and why you are making it. Be open to the narrative changing or what you may learn, capture as much as you can as you never know what you might need, but try not to loose yourself in the actual moment and experience.
Every documentary is contrived in a way, whether that’s just asking someone to say something again in a shorter way, or filming yourself drinking beer, but at least trying to be honest about yourself, your role and the process will surely make more of an interesting film.
C8: What is the biggest misconception about the Redhead Festival?
GT: That it’s just for Redheads. I was surprised about the amount non-redheads, friends and family and also locals that attend to see all the redheads. I also pick up on a theme of single non-redheaded men heading to the festival to pick up redhead women. But I did not see much of this myself so I could not really show much of this in the film.
C8: What was the biggest challenge during the shoot and how did you overcome it?
GT: In general making a film on your own, cycling and camping in a one man tent with no power, uploading data and trying to keep all the batteries for video and audio equipment going was a task in itself, however it was hardly the Sahara desert, so I cannot complain too much.
But my main challenge was not being able to be in four places at once. There was so many things happening but I could not capture it all, and as this was not a promotional film for the festival, I could not just run around and get quick shots for my edit. I wanted to stay and take part in the events, spend time and meet people, however I also had this feeling I was always lacking cutaways and shots to portray the flavor of the festival and the people there.
C8: You also edited the film. Were there any scenes that you wanted to include but didn’t?
GT: Yes there were a few moments I would have liked to have shared but couldn’t quite do them justice in the edit, as I did not get enough footage whilst shooting and the scenes jut did not come across as well as I would have liked.
There were more sound bites and interesting stories from the interviewees but I could not share them all without ruining the rhythm of the film. What I like and hope the edit does in this current short format is allude to bigger stories and themes without going into too much detail.
C8: What did you shoot on and what was the reasoning behind the choice?
GT: I shot on my 60D DSLR, a mobile phone and GoPro and only because I had to as I just had to use what I owned. I resorted to the mobile phone when I knew I just had to simply capture a moment or it would be gone. I do not recommend the DSLR as a self-shooter kit because of its cumbersome and fiddly nature, especially when trying to do ‘to camera’ pieces although if you do not have any other choice like I did it, then don’t let it stop you as at least I captured something and made it into a film.
C8: What’s next for Geoffrey (Red) Taylor?
GT: I am trying to make the next documentary and do want to be in it again. But like I said before, I’d like to work with a cameraperson in some scenes to be able to be more fluid in the way I work and capture the in situ moments more easily and genuinely. But as a director with a wide range of interests I also understand the films when I might not be most suited to be on camera and would happily direct someone else more suitable in the film.
The next film will depend on if I can get any support or funding or whether I just go and make the next one no money and be led by those limitations. For now, when it comes to documentary, it’s more important just to make stuff I care about and is truthful rather than the overall production quality, although I would of course like the support just to help get the work out to be seen.
I am also working on my next fiction film too. The film is quite a dark absurd, comedy, it could possibly be done in one shot, it involves a boat and is actually about identity and how we view others, but has nothing to do with gingers.
You can find out more about Geoffrey Taylor at: geoffrey-taylor.com or wideeyed.co.uk