• Gisborne Volunteer Centre

Festival Winner Tom McGregor

Tom is inspired by film makers like Canadian YouTuber Peter McKinnon and he gets inspiration from some of the many GoPro films on YouTube. He describes winning the film festival as his biggest success in film making to date. It was actually the first time Tom had ever had his films screened in a public platform and he was surprised and pleased to win the festival.

Tom enjoys the medium of film making because it creates the opportunity to tell a story. When asked what his future film making goals are he says, “I want to make really cool epic cinematic films with drones and DSR’s.”We think he is well on his way, and the judges picked his film featuring the Gisborne Toy Library from a selection of eight two-minute films highlighting the work of non-profit groups in Tairawhiti.

Film makers that signed up to the project as volunteers had the option of choosing the non-profit group that they would most like to work with. Tom was happy to be paired with the Gisborne Toy Library and he had some ideas straight away about the type of shots, content and information he wanted to include.

Tom highlights finding engaging and relevant content as one of the challenges he finds as a film maker. The Two Minutes of Good Stuff Film Festival was a great opportunity in this respect as it brought film makers together with community groups that wanted to tell their story about the work they do, the services they offer and the ways volunteers support that. Tom reflects on the opportunity, “It was my first real experience of making a promotional film where I worked with a client, got feedback and followed a brief to produce a film within a time period. It was such a bonus that I won, it was very surprising for me and so unexpected.”

Viewing the film festival as a learning opportunity Tom asked to be matched with a mentor that he could learn from. While volunteer Nikki Liversage didn’t have direct film experience, she did have contacts in film making and experience in project management. She was able to work with Tom to plan clear expectations, helping him to set short-term goals and complete tasks within a time frame. Tom found the reporting process they developed, valuable as was the timeline giving Tom the focus he needed resulting in him being the first film maker to submit his completed film entry. “We had a conversation early on about what the technological requirements would be so I could ensure we had all of the resources I needed. I used three cameras, including GoPro,” recalls Tom.

Since volunteering in this project Tom has had a lot of opportunities come his way. He has been expanding his skills by working on some real-estate photography and has the opportunity to do some vlogging work with Dreamspace. He has also received his first paid film making job with another in the pipeline. Tom’s next goals are to continue to work with and learn from other film makers to create better films. He wants his future films to be vibrant, creative and dramatic. Since the festival another contestant and professional film maker, has offered Tom some mentoring. Tom is looking forward to shadowing him in his professional film making role and hopes to learn even more about film making as a mentee to get some valuable feedback about his work.

After the launch Tom was quick to acknowledge all those that had supported him on social media. When asked about the support he received Tom shares “I think it’s important to thank people. I always say a special thanks because I’m aware that I have to start somewhere. I want to let people know that I’m grateful and respectful of their time and their skills.” Tom acknowledges these are the people that helped him get to a place where he could make the film. Tom reflects on his volunteer experience throughout the project and like most volunteering he feels he got more out of the experience than he gave. “Hopefully I made a nice video that people can enjoy, with some good information about the Toy Library. I’m so glad I was involved in a project that increases your skills and it was great to see an end result.” Tom’s advice to others considering an experience like this is to give it a go. "It's a nice privilege to do something for other people, it’s a good thing to do.”