After a few harmless incidents recently I decided it was time to get a few things off my chest. I set up The C Project in 2011 because I was frustrated with the lack of collaboration on Independent film productions in Northern Ireland. Personally, I have always believed that having more than one creative mind on a project will produce a greater, richer result.
First of all, who the fuck is Marty Stalker? Exactly, I left full time employment in 2008 to pursue my dreams of making films. It has and still brings moments of financial uncertainty but has never broken my passion for storytelling and filmmaking. Five years on and I’m only now fully decided upon the path that I want to take, and that is to direct drama.
It’s in peoples’ nature to be curious and sceptical about non-funded, non-profit making programmes like The C Project. So, let’s get down to what many non-believers are asking: What’s in it for Marty Stalker? Surely there must be something malevolent involved from a guy whose taking weekdays, weekends and evenings out of his life when he should be spending the time with his wife and daughters? Surely, there must be an ulterior motive when the guy is pouring his own money into the productions when he should be more concerned with his own financial stability?
I don’t preach thinking that I know everything about film; I would be a very stupid man for doing so. My thoughts are always my own and my views do get challenged which I accept and respect. But most of the time, my written thoughts on an email or a Twitter feed are usually common sense. I learn through ‘doing’ rather than sitting in a classroom or reading a PDF online. Every time I’m out making films, I’m learning, I’m fucking up now and again but I’m always learning. I’m listening and accepting constructive feedback rather than being too defensive and precious about my work (which I see a lot of other people do unfortunately). If the critique is constructive then I’ll take it on the chin, rectify the problem in post or bring that newfound knowledge into my next project. As long as my studio is bringing in enough work then I can justify delivering The C Project each year. I’m working with new writers, filmmakers and crew members each time and it’s exciting. As long as this feeling remains, The C Project will continue. I will continue to work with passionate filmmakers and writers and help raise the profile of crew who are struggling to get noticed. Fundamentally we will continue to produce high quality self funded shorts that deserve to be up against the high budget productions out there.
The opportunities in making funded short films in Northern Ireland has improved a lot but I know people out there don’t believe that. They’re usually the people who have had scripts rejected in the past and the bitterness has manifested and spread onto others. What I do know about living here for the past five years is that Northern Ireland is a very small place and gobbing off about organisations and individuals is not a good idea. I find this bitterness is at its worst when I attend local film festivals in the UK and Ireland.
Personally, I have yet to receive funding for anything that I have done and I refuse to twist this rejection into a negative. I use the disappointment as a positive and rather than feel sorry for myself, I surround myself with positive people and I make a film. But, I’m not making self-funded films so I can put two fingers up at local funders and organisations. I’m showing them what I can do with fuck all money, proving that the fundamentals of filmmaking are not lost due to limited budgets. I will continue to keep my head down, learn from my mistakes, work with great people and tell the stories that I want to tell- with or without a budget.