Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays

Filmmaker Duncan Cowles on how your own tone of voice can create the best audience reaction

Scottish filmmaker Duncan Cowles took to the stage at December’s Nicer Tuesdays event. With his deadpan humour in tow, Duncan talked us through his collection of films so far, from the infamous The Lady with the Lamp made while he was studying at Edinburgh College of Art, to his more recent Taking Stock for Channel 4’s Random Acts and It’s Not Amazing Enough for TED.

Throughout Duncan’s career to date there have been a few particular focal points to his filmmaking. Taking the audience through his phase of filming family members through to documenting the loneliness that being a freelancer can induce, it became clear during his talk that picking up on his own feelings led to films that caused a reaction. Handily, being true to himself has led to more work for Duncan, usually proffered by “people looking for someone with a miserable sense of humour.”

In an sweet twist of fate, his film Taking Stock which not only led to working with TED and ourselves here at It’s Nice That on his own Christmas advert, the aquarium where he filmed a collection of fish also got in touch. “It turns out that the owner of the aquarium was watching Channel 4 at midnight when the film played, recognised his fish on the TV and so I was panicking when I got an e-mail from them the next day,” Duncan told the audience. “But it was fine, they just wanted me to film some fish for them for their Facebook and Twitter… so you never know what’s going to happen.” Overall encouraging future filmmakers and creatives of any kind to be “honest, put it out there, say what you’re feeling even if it feels ridiculous. You’re very likely not the only person that feels that way. Especially if you’re a freelancer working alone.”

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