The benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club

What are the benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club?

I can only talk from my own experience but once I joined, I started to enjoy the benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club and this meant I was in for a serious learning curve if I was to take my aspirations seriously.

I liked the idea of writing a short film.  I like the idea of making it and putting it out there in competitions and winning awards and laurels for my efforts.  (It did happen but not for a few years)

I knew no one in the filmmaking business.  I was initially cautious about the club as they did not seem to have a fabulous online presence, the original website was not too clever although informative.  They never pushed or shouted out about how good they were. It was initially a group that numbered about thirty from every conceivable walk of life.  But importantly they were all nice people and welcoming.  They all had filmmaking in common. I have made many friends since I joined and some beneficial acquaintances. 

What the Sutton Filmmaking Club did was teach me that I was not about to achieve anything of production quality without gaining a lot more knowledge.  I needed to be in the company of all the filmmakers who had made films before me. I needed to speak to professionals and the other experienced members who were on hand and attended regularly and learn from them everything I could.

The Sutton Filmmaking Club was the only filmmaking club anywhere near where I lived  (a 20-minute drive)  that actually made films as opposed to watching them. 

It was a club that was run by its members. It was democratic and had officers of the club to consult if necessary as well as a constitution. It was run properly by professionals who gave up their time to encourage the art of making films. 

One of the main benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club was that it allowed and encouraged its members to be able to use their video equipment in a more professional way, from the picture framing to the sound quality. This is really its mission statement. It’s what the club is all about.

Another of the benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club membership was the social side of it.  It was not full of stuffy or pompous individuals.  It had a charitable ethos of helping the community charities to advertise themselves online with videos which can be so much more effective than the written word.

The usual behaviour of this bunch of very sociable filmmakers at the end of a club night was to go to the local pub (en masse)  ‘for a quick one’. To network and better understand each other’s skills. Christmas Parties were always very well attended.

Let’s get to the benefits of Sutton filmmaking club membership

Sutton Filmmaking Club is a member of the IAC a Film and Video Institute.  Why is this important?  

It gives access to our members to the International Amateur Film Festival (The BIAFF).   Not everyone wants to be a professional – some of us just want to make a professional-looking film that we can be proud of.  ( plus win plaudits, laurels and awards of course).  They have the patronage of filmmakers as such as john Boorman and Lord Putnam CBE.

I digress. The club has insurance through the IAC which is worth solid gold to our members.  It allows us to use copyrighted songs in our amateur films.  Intellectual property is a minefield even for professionals. It can be very expensive as well. Many have it all wrong and don’t know what they can and cannot use in their films, the when or the why not. We have people to ask about copyright at the Sutton Filmmaking Club.

benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club

Another, very useful one of the benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club, is it has insurance for the kit that is provided by the Sutton Filmmaking Club when on club projects so that if you are using it and it gets accidentally damaged, or it gets stolen or you accidentally injure a member of the public you are covered. 

This means you get to usually use filmmaking equipment and other gear well beyond an individual’s budget.

Yet another of the benefits of Sutton Filmmaking Club is that it has multiple cameras it can lay its hands on, dolly and track, jib arms ( a sort of crane), steady cams. tripods, and wheels etc. With people in the club able to show you how to use it. We recently used a 6k camera underwater in a murder scene – so we think and act outside the box if need be).

The club is very fortunate to have within its membership some professionals that work in the various disciplines and arts involved in filmmaking. These include cameramen, lighting and sound engineers, editors, writers, directors and fx artists to name but a few  They are a tremendous resource and mentor the newer members.  They give workshops in their fields from the basic to very advanced. 

Sutton Filmmaking Club costs so little to join and attend it is a no-brainer once you understand the advantages of joining it.  It does not exploit its members or anyone else for profit. A charge levelled at some Media Studies establishments I know of. 

I also liked the idea of any money, grant or donation we receive going back into the club for the purchase of new kit and in the running of the club.  No one gets paid, not the officers or crew on a club shoot. Just reimbursement of expenses and they get fed of course.  Our membership is or was £25 per annum with a fee of between £3.00 and £5.00 per evening depending on what is on the programme. 

Sutton Filmmaking Club is a not-for-profit organisation. 

We have always encouraged youth to get involved in filmmaking and have had more than a few young members pass through the club and successfully enter the profession, working in TV or as independents.  

I and another member of the Sutton Filmmaking Club formed a production company.  With the skill and knowledge, we gained over the years from the club and its members we were successfully running a commercial film business.   

That is why I continue to attend the Sutton Filmmaking Club not to laud my skills such as they are but to pass on what I have learnt to those who are in the same position as I was when I knew I wanted to make films. 

The knowledge gained from the members of this club over the years has allowed me to develop to a level where I have had the privilege of filming international figures of stage and screen, to mix with Oscar and Bafta winners, TV celebrities and the people who are the backbone of the charitable Institutions in Sutton Area from the Nurses and the Carers to the unsung helpers.  

All I need to do now is get a good script (LOL).

Sean Phelan

Sean is running a fascinating evening with state-of-the-art equipment on loan to the club it involves exploding blood, throats being cut and slashed wrists on April the 19th with a hands-on workshop the following week. See Special Effects blood and all that.

Leave a comment

Member Benefits

Development of skills

Help and support members

Interesting workshops

Networking with other members

Community Services

Helping not-for-profit organisations

Helping new filmmakers

Offering advice on filmmaking to local businesses and organisations

Contact us here

Sutton Filmmakers
Parochial Rooms,
42 The Broadway,
Cheam, Surrey,
SM3 8BL,
United Kingdom