This is the debut feature film from British filmmaker James G. Wall. Shot over 14 days in July 2012 for £250. The film was debut on YouTube at the end of June 2013, making it one of the (if not the) first film to premiere on YouTube. In 2014 it was featured in national publication Digital Filmmaker Magazine.
On Saturday 29th March I did a talk at Bradford Film Festival (Filmmakers’ Weekend) and it went along the lines of this (my story).
Hello, I’m James G. Wall, a filmmaker from Leeds. I made the feature film The Truth About Romance, I released it on YouTube and it’s gone on to reach over 300,000 views.
So, a little history about me. Like most filmmakers, I imagine, I had a fascination with films and filmmaking from a young age. Starting with filming anything with my parents video camcorder to making short films with friends in my teens. I eventually went to study filmmaking at Leeds College of Art, and graduated in 2010 with a First Class Degree.
After I graduated I thought I was a big deal! I had a top degree and a really good grad short film (Fish Food). When I originally uploaded it to YouTube and it did the rounds I got great feedback. I thought everybody would want to work with me. I soon found out that wasn’t the case, and the advice I was given was to get some experience.
I spent a few months looking for experience, but I didn’t really find much, I managed to do a couple of days on a feature film, which was great. Other than that there wasn’t much experience to gain in Yorkshire. I spent a lot of this time practicing and improving my writing, whilst making contacts and networking.
It was around then I decided to make my own experience, and I made a ton of short films and uploaded them to YouTube.
I’d always known I wanted to be a writer/director, but whilst I was studying I took advantage of learning every aspect of filmmaking, I worked on fellow students projects in a variety of roles. I’d also invested much of my student loan on equipment and software.
This made making short films much easier when I’d left college. I didn’t have to rely on a sound guy, editor etc, I could do it myself. I had all the tools to get out there and start creating.
I set myself weekly challenges to see what I was capable of. See if I could write, shoot, edit and upload a short film in one week. My portfolio really started to grow. It also gave me the opportunity to work with local actors. Plus it was a great way to practice my craft, as well as shooting with no budget and limited time. Time has always been my worst nightmare, but whilst making short films I’d developed my own style and techniques of shooting quickly.
I’d average a few hundred views per short film on YouTube, although I had a small audience they seemed to really enjoy what I was making.
The problem with YouTube is it’s massively over saturated, and there’s millions of videos being uploaded every day. If I wanted to get noticed I knew I had to do something really special.
In the Summer of 2011 I started thinking about the idea of making a feature film. I started making a few notes, story lines, ideas etc, but didn’t really think much more about it. However, I’d started telling some of the actors I’d been working with that I wanted to make a feature film and they were up for it, completely onboard with the idea.
By the end of 2011 I was determined to make it. I had an idea I really liked.
I spent a couple of weeks in January writing the script, then a couple more in February and by March I had the first draft finished.
I sent the script to some of the actors I had in mind whilst writing it, and they loved it. They knew I had no money so agreed to work for free.
It was finding the rest of the cast and locations which was challenging. Plus, I was pretty much doing all this on my own. I’m still shocked today that I managed to pull it together.