Behind the scenes with Lancs filmmaker who is eager to change the industry

·3-min read
Behind the scenes with Lancs filmmaker who is eager to change the industry <i>(Image: Ryan J Smith)</i>
Behind the scenes with Lancs filmmaker who is eager to change the industry (Image: Ryan J Smith)

A 24-year-old filmmaker who has just released his first feature film discusses how he hopes to change the movie industry for the better.

Ryan J Smith made his debut feature ‘Lottery’ for just £7,000 and is available to stream on Plex and Tubi. His second film, Talking to Ghosts will be out in the summer and that cost even less to make!

The Blackpool filmmaker was accepted into the prestigious MetFilm School in London and his experience as a working-class Northerner in an environment surrounded by privileged students with connections into the industry already motivated him to become successful.

Lancashire Telegraph: A still from Ryan's film, Lottery
Lancashire Telegraph: A still from Ryan's film, Lottery

A still from Ryan's film, Lottery (Image: Ryan J Smith)

Ryan said: “There’s always some sort of prejudice towards me because I come from Blackpool. When I was at film school I remember thinking, ‘why am I the only one making movies?’ and a friend said to me at the time that it’s because I’m not rich.

“What he meant was I couldn’t just graduate and walk onto a set like the other because of some industry connection I had. So I had to work very hard.”

His film, Lottery tells the story of a young tearaway who wins the lottery, but risks losing it all when  he becomes embroiled in a toxic love triangle with a pair of scam artists.

Ryan said: “It's the movie that I've learned all my lessons on in terms of running a studio and distribution. Lottery was me cutting my teeth as a producer.”

Two of Ryan’s friends from MetFilm School, Lewis William Robinson, sound recordist and Adam Bentley, VFX, are involved in the filmmaking process, but Ryan writes the screenplays, produces the films, directs, and edits the movies, provides the financing and takes control of the films’ distribution too.

After graduating, Ryan launched his own production firm, aptly named, Skint Film Company to create a healthy and caring working environment that he believes is scarce in a cut-throat industry like film.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ryan J Smith
Lancashire Telegraph: Ryan J Smith

Ryan J Smith (Image: Ryan J Smith)

He said: “I personally don’t think the film business is one that supports mental health and welIbeing. There’s a lot of hours and mental energy that goes into creating a film and you can’t stop when it gets too much so I wanted to create a studio where people are actually happy and enjoy working.

“I’ve been approached by a lot of people who wat to be part of this because what we do is make a good story that is told honestly.”

Speaking on making films in Lancashire, Ryan says he believes it’s important to support local businesses as a filmmaker to boost tourism. He added: “It’s a lot cheaper to shoot in Lancashire than it is in London but you’re also supporting the independent cafes and shops in the area which makes a huge difference.

“And who else is making movies in this town? No one.”

Offering advice to young filmmakers, Ryan says it’s important to exercise and stay fit because of how “mentally and physically draining” filmmaking is.

He added: “I wish someone would have told me that when I was in film school because you need to look after yourself.”

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