End of an era – December will be our final photofilm workshop…Written by Peter
If you’ve been considering attending our three-day digital storytelling course this winter, don’t delay signing up: December will be the final time that we run this much-loved course.
“I left the duckrabbit course full of enthusiasm and confidence. It must have worked because only my second attempt at gathering material for a photofilm made the front page of the Guardian website.”
Emma Wigley, Interactive Media Officer, Christian Aid
Message from Benjamin.
Before I explain why we’re moving on from this course, here’s a bit of background: I started the training way back in 2010 after leaving the BBC. Back then, we were a company of two, struggling to work out if there was a living to be made from still photographs and documentary audio.
At the time, many photographers were grappling with the possibilities of the web and increasing demand on them to work with sound. Having spent fifteen years making radio documentaries and teaching, I started our course in an attempt to fill that gap.
Since then, we’ve had the privilege of sharing our knowledge with hundreds of people. We’ve trained people in as far-flung places as Canada, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Bangladesh. We’ve had journalists come from Reuters, the BBC, both the New York and London Times, along with more NGOs than I can remember. Increasingly, we’re asked to give in-house training. Before Christmas, we’ll be training WWF and MSF and next week I’ll be training World Nomads in Australia. It feels like we’ve come a long way from that first training course, which I ran in my living room in Birmingham…
We take pride in the fact that the large majority of people on our courses go away feeling encouraged, enthused and re-energised. Most importantly, they go away with a clear understanding of what it takes to create deeper, more meaningful, and more authentic work.
So why are we advertising this as our last three-day photofilm workshop?
As a company, we stopped producing photofilms three years ago. Although nobody at duckrabbit fell out of love with the product, the numbers just didn’t add up. On average, we’d bill three times as much for a film as we would for a photofilm.
I’d like to think that, even in the move away from stills, the aesthetic of our work hasn’t changed. We get close to people. We collaborate with them to tell their stories as honestly and as authentically as our skills will allow. But what we’re not doing is working with stills. Does that mean that photographers should abandon photofilms, or that they can’t make money out of them? Absolutely not. We were never paid less than £4500 to make a photofilm – and that was in 2009! If you’re a freelance photographer, that kind of money isn’t to be sniffed at. But I want our training to reflect a little more of our work as it is right now.
I still think that the vast majority of photographers would benefit massively from making photofilms, rather than jumping straight into video. If you need proof of why, just take a look at our portfolio page – you can see how we’ve developed over time.
For a photographer, I believe that working with the medium that you are most comfortable with – pictures – is the best place to start when making films. That’s why this course is still for you, but if you wait until January to find out, it’ll be too late.
Our final three-day photofilm workshop takes place in London on 9th – 11th December. If you’re interested, then please take a look at our training page for more detail. Places are limited, so be sure to book your place soon if you don’t want to miss out.
Drop us a line at [email protected] to book or if you have any queries.