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Jim Hosking

Filmaker

British filmmaker Jim Hosking got his start directing promos for MTV before eventually making a name for himself by directing commercials for the likes of Cadbury, Travelocity, and XBox. In his short films, Little Clumps of Hair, Renegades, and Crabs, Hosking honed a knack for mixing the mundane and the fantastical, resulting in films that are often as poignant as they are willfully strange. His first feature film, 2016’s The Greasy Strangler, is a cult-classic in the making about a grease-encrusted maniac who murders the innocent. Variety described it as “an exercise in juvenile scatology that’s almost awesomely pure in its numbing, repetitious determination to annoy.”

What’s the best way to learn how to make films and share them with people? And what does success look like to you?

The obvious answer would be to become well-versed in the pantheon of important films by all the important filmmakers. Then you make films inspired by those filmmakers until you find your own style and make your own consummately tasteful and important film. But I don’t know about that. Since I’m being asked this question, I have to give my honest answer. I would rather watch a genuine expression, however flawed. I admire anyone who can make anything without a care for what an audience might think or for what is right and wrong, even if it is probably commercial suicide. But the best way to learn how to make films is to have a genuine passion for stories and images and to then try to stay true to that original desire, and to create something from the heart. It will connect with somebody. Or many people. My favorite filmmakers are all examples of this. Just make stuff you would want to see yourself, that you feel would never exist if you did not create it. Otherwise why make it? Why make something that someone else could make? As far as the best way to share them…ugh, that starts to sound very much like “business” which scares me or unsettles me because I am very English and terrible at self-promotion. But I guess you chuck them up online, share them with people you admire and respect, and so forth. Almost anybody is reachable these days. I’ve made very little and still people contact me all the time for some reason to share their work with me. Maybe I’m not really successful enough to answer these questions, but I can usually sniff out something true and real and something that isn’t. And those true artists inspire…and so they have to be the ones to aspire to.

What’s the best way to learn how to make films and share them with people? And what does success look like to you?

Weirdly, I just talked about not being successful enough, but I was meaning in the eyes of the cinematic community. However in my own eyes I am doing just fine. Success starts from this: When you are doing work you like that you believe in, and that is your motivation. It’s not being motivated by money or glory or kudos or slaps on the back. I get a buzz when I think of sharing stuff I have done that I like. That’s it. I get excited when actors that I like are reading aloud lines of dialogue that I have written. Not because it means I am important, but because it means I am involved in the creation of something that that excites me with people I admire or even love. It’s really simple. I would like to write a novel, paint, maybe write some songs. That’s freedom. And freedom is success. Success is compromising as little as possible. Success is also when you feel you have done something that is of some consequence, to have touched someone else, to have liberated them, to connect with and inspire someone. That is success. Success is personal. Professionally the first time I felt successful was when the New York Times ran an article about my film The Greasy Strangler saying that it was maybe the weirdest film ever. Look, that isn’t a positive: I mean I know that and you know that, and it might mean that the film is total shit. But I liked the look of the article, the layout, the photograph, and the fact that anybody was bothering to write about me. Yup, turns out I’m as shallow as the next person. I just wanted some bloody attention.

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