I am 23 years old and have neither a film school background nor a professional credit to my name. But I have found myself working as a corporate film 'runner' in the central belt of Scotland over the past year and, touch wood, I will be again soon.
And I am also working on my own short film, Falling for Fitzgerald.
I've estimated I need £1500 to make it to broadcast quality. I need to hire decent camera, sound and lighting equipment and want to pay everyone involved at least the minimum wage. Falling for Fitzgerald – which I'd describe as a tongue-in-cheek comedy about a woman who thinks she's living in a Jane Austen novel but is actually in love with her gay best friend - could be the porfolio piece I require to get myself known to people in the industry.
The challenge, of course, is funding and for that I have turned to a system that invites lots of people to each donate a little. It's called 'crowd funding' or 'crowd sourced capital' and I have been using a website called IndieGoGo.com.
With sites like IndieGoGo, funders get unique and special kinds of 'returns' on their money.
Give us a dollar, and you'll get on the weekly mailing list for Falling for Fitzgerald.
Give us $5 and you'll also get a thank you credit in the film.
Give us $60 and you'll also get a DVD, an executive producer credit and an invitation to the premiere in summer of next year, plus an extras part in the film and a professional one-hour violin lesson in Glasgow worth £25.
Give $350 and I'll also make you a tailored three-minute video to put on your website.
You get the idea.
I'm using IndieGoGo to try and raise £1500 over the next 90 days. I have until midnight on January 31. If I make my target, I owe the site four per cent commission. If I don't make my target, I owe them nine.
When I was a student, the short films I made were essentially budget-less. That was all very well and good, and the experiences I put myself though taught me how to do and not to do some very basic things.
Fundraising, no matter in what format, can be akin to knocking your head against a brick wall – it's easy to get started, but the longer it goes on the more difficult and painful it becomes. When your fundraising is taking place in an isolated medium like the internet, you can't even be sure that anybody's listening to the bumps and yells. But at least you don't have to experience constant rejection by public walking past your rattling can in the street, and you can unleash your campaign to the world from the comfort of your own sofa.
I like the fact that, although I am naturally promoting my page to the best of my ability online and encouraging potential funders to visit it, my funders make the choice to visit the site and pledge money completely by themselves, with no contact from myself. It almost makes the whole process that much kinder, because my funders don't know me and are instilling a little bit of faith in my project with every dollar that they offer.
I'm determined to do so much more than before.
I'm determined that nobody is going to work on this film without receiving at least minimum wage. I'm determined to use a actress that has film or TV credits. I'm determined to film in a beautiful manor house location in Scotland. I'm determined to use a jib (I love those things). I'm determined this film will be broadcast-quality and hopefully sent round the festival circuit.
And I'm determined to make this a production that people will be proud to be a part of.
If you'd like to find out any more about my project, please visit my website: www.amyhawes.com
If you would like to donate, visit www.indiegogo.com/Falling-for-Fitzgerald