Have a vision… Pt. I


Ben Mark Films

One of my favourite quiet spots in London to sit and put my headphones in.


Welcome to the 3rd blog on my new website. This is going to be a series of blogs focused around on how ‘Vision’ is such an important aspect of being a creative and why it should always be the first thing you should seek before writing a story or picking up a camera.

It took me a while to realise how crucial the concept of visualising really was, but looking back at the reason I first even wanted to start taking pictures or make videos, was because I was pouring out these images from my head onto paper.
Music more often than not was my biggest inspiration; you know when see that meme on Facebook ‘When that emotional song comes on in the car and you are looking out of the window in deep thought’? We’ve all done it. Well, in a nutshell that’s exactly what I base all of my work around. Not to the extent of having to go sit and look out of a car window all the time, but more being able to sit with my headphones on in a calm space or even a dark room, and visualise images that I believe reflect the emotion, dynamic or story of the song.

Sounds a bit simple and cheesy I guess, but in reality, it makes complete sense. We all have to find a way that gets our creativity flowing, my background focused heavily on dance and naturally with dance comes music. We were often tested with a range of choreography that had many different styles, intent, rhythms or timings which helped make my ears more attuned to certain accents and climax’s in a piece of music. I was never as talented as the movers around me, but I was obsessed with music and being able to share a vision in an artistic way, even if it meant having to visualise someone else moving rather myself, which 99% of the time… was the case. So shutting my eyes, putting my headphones in and letting my mind take me to places, is something that I’ve grown quite addicted to.

I believe it’s an organic technique that requires you to dig deep and just react to sound.

So you may be asking right now, why? Why are you telling me this. The answer is because if we’re brutally honest, 90% of the stories and movies we love so much are driven by the music. Yes of course the work put into characters, storylines, cinematography, actors and locations all provide the same amount of importance but music is the driving force that allows us to experience the feeling of it all. It’s why I’m so obsessed with film soundtracks too, some of these composers like Hans Zimmer,  Thomas Newman or the master John Williams and so many more are true visualisers; who take that concept, storyline or character and compose a sound to reflect best their personality, aura or emotion.

I’m basically trying to take that same idea, but with the music already provided. Where as Someone like Christopher Nolan would write a story with a vision of how Hans is going to construct the music around it, I try let the music arrange my story. Christopher Nolan however, is great example of someone who realises how key the soundtrack is to his story. His relationship with Hans Zimmer must be so special, the way he’s able to put a story together and also know that he has Hans Zimmer there working with him on the intention of the soundtrack and how it will all reflect every moment of the film makes for truly spectacular film-making e.g. the wonderful use of the ticking in ‘Dunkirk’ or the organs used in pirates of the Caribbean and Interstellar.

Ben Mark Films

Another one of my favourite spots to zone out and get my creativity flowing.

So the next time your stuck for a new concept or stuck writing a storyline, character, apex of a movie or maybe even just art for the sake of art… get your headphones in and get inspired. It may not be for you, but why not try it out. Why spend hours trying to be over clever, or wondering how you find this moment that brings your whole story to life? For example, I listened to this beautiful track by a soundtrack artist called ‘Tambour’ called ‘Sleepers’, I caught it on my Spotify playlist by complete chance and within the first 40 seconds, I’d found my climatic ending for my new concept video I’ll be doing in June. It’s not even the track I’m using for the concept video, but the music made me feel a particular emotion which in turn drew out an image in my head of how I could reflect that same emotion through a character on screen.

I believe it’s an real natural technique that requires you to just kinda’ react to sound. I often argue that sometimes my videos, especially my drone videos are also just visuals for the sake of visuals. Some people may argue ‘that isn’t storytelling’, I’d agree its not, but it’s not to the extent where it becomes a process that you haven’t even thought it.
Every shot has to be carefully thought about, listen to that song, mood board the images, that speak about how your mind reacts to that music and then go film it. I think sometimes that stripping it down to that basic stage, to not overcomplicate things or try to be too clever is so important to being a creative person. As I mentioned before, it’s trusting your gut instinct, stripping away all the pressure of trying to put together something that you think is ‘cool’ or ‘the norm’ and just putting together a series of images that again, reflect you, the music and your art.

More to come in this series of ‘Have a vision’. Keep in the loop with all my blogs, coming weekly.