In Pictures: Smartphone Filmmaking Class by SF3 and WIFT NSW

This Smartphone filmmaking class was presented by Angela Blake and Megan Riakos.

Angela Blake is a Sydney girl who grew up dancing, singing, and acting from the age of four. The last few years have seen her working as an actor primarily in television. TV credits include the recurring role of Duty Nurse on Season 6 of Channel 7 and Foxtel’s, A Place To Call Home, Love Child Season 1, Top of the Lake Season 2, and Deadly Women Season’s 9 & 10.

She has worked as a performer on stages all over the world for companies including Princess Cruise Lines, M.E.I., The Entertainment Store, and many others. She lived in LA from 2010-2012, graduating from The New York Film Academy’s Acting for Screen Program. She then went on to shoot countless shorts and web series, many touring the festival circuit. She has also worked extensively in theatre and her credits include: The Silence Came, Love Game, Surprises, The Odyssey, The Crucible, The Silence Came, Popesical-The Musical and the Off-Broadway Production of Sex, Relationships and Sometimes Love in NY.

As a director, Angela’s first play was Eating Out, which she also co-wrote and produced in LA. Since then she has won the Wildcards and Audience Favourite Award for the short play Weeing on a Stick at the 2012 Short and Sweet Festival. She worked with writer, Adele Shelley to turn this into a film. In 2015 she directed her very first Shakespeare, Romeo, and Juliet, for Sydney Classic Theatre Company and she was also Assistant Director for the immersive theatre company, Mongrel Mouth’s The Age of Entitlement and co-wrote and acted in Like Me. in 2019, she directed the comedy short, Upsold, which is currently on the festival circuit and has won numerous awards.

Angela also has her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Journalism and is in the development phase for her first feature film, Burnu, plus a stack of shorts she plans to shoot on her iPhone! In 2016, her 1 minute iPhone film, The Circle Game, was a finalist in the Mobile Film Festival in Paris, the Miniature Film Festival in Vancouver, and the Flash Film Festival in Berlin, and it just won Best SmartPhone Film at the Buddha International Film Festival in India. Since then her smartphone short films have played in many festivals around the world including MINA, the Dublin International Smartphone Film Festival, and more.

Angela Co-Founded the smartphone film festival, SF3 – the SmartFone Flick Fest, with Ali Crew in 2015 and since then they have received thousands of entries, hosted countless workshops, and inspired a new generation of filmmakers the world over, especially in their home of Australia. SF3’s Ambassadors include Phillip Noyce, Kriv Stenders, Kerry Armstrong, Stan Grant, and more. SF3 has been included in the American Express Festivals to Travel To List (alongside festivals such as Cannes and Sundance), the World’s Best Smartphone Film Festivals List, and the Australian Traveller Magazine’s Most Unique Festivals in Australia list.

As an actor, she has also shot ads for Elgas, Keystart, Queensland Bananas, and Verizon Wireless.

Megan Riakos is a dynamic filmmaker bringing a distinctive female lens to the world of genre filmmaking. Her debut feature as writer/director/producer of the thriller Crushed received strong reviews with The Australian calling it “a tense, bloody mystery thriller”, and The Hollywood Reporter labelling it “A solid debut.” Crushed completed a successful festival run before a strong limited theatrical release in Australia and acquisitions by channel 10 and Qantas. Megan’s next feature-length project was as creator and producer of Australia’s first female horror anthology Dark Whispers – Volume 1 in which she wrote and directed the wraparound segment. Dark Whispers is currently screening on SBS On Demand. Megan was also brought on to write and direct an episode of Deadhouse Dark currently streaming on Shudder, for which she was nominated for an Australian Directors’ Guild Award.

Her screenplays have also garnered acclaim. Her mystery period feature The Last Reprieve was awarded the Grand Prize in the Greater Philadelphia SIP Screenplay competition. Her political drama Victory and Defeat made the semi-finals in the Final Draft Big Break Competition and was shortlisted for the Nate Wilson Award at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Megan compliments her filmmaking with her advocacy for gender equality. She is the co-founder of the Not-For-Profit organisation Women in Film & Television (WIFT) Australia and merges these two fields of creativity and advocacy via her company Hemlock & Cedar Films, which focuses on amplifying female voices.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Media Arts & Production) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), has a Graduate Diploma in Directing at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and has also completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA.

In their last workshop, Angela Blake and Megan Riakos taught some very useful techniques on how to utilise and shoot professional films and content on your smartphones. SF3 is now the world’s biggest smartphone film festival and co-founder and director, Angela Blake provided some very useful tips and techniques on how to shoot on your phone. Megan Riakos, an award-winning director/writer/producer has been on the SF3 judging panel since its inception and has made a swathe of incredible films. Megan guided everyone not only on how to craft an award-winning film yourself but also on what to do with it once it’s completed and how to achieve film festival success and get on the streaming networks.

SF3 is one of the most respected smartphone film festivals in the world, attracting filmmakers of all ages and levels from across the globe. All entries are shot entirely on smartphones or tablets, forging an accessible and affordable entry platform into the film industry.

5 Important Tips For Aspiring Talents Looking To Break Into The Entertainment Industry In 2020

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Image via Shutterstock / lassedesignen

Here’s something most people aren’t aware of – talent alone is actually not enough to make you succeed in the entertainment industry. Besides being talented, if you want to succeed in the entertainment industry you also need monetary investment, the right connections, dedication, persistence as well as a great deal of planning.

Now here are top five tips for aspiring artists, models and actors looking to break into the entertainment industry.

1. Think smart

In business, we call it strategy. In acting, we call it “attack.” In every other aspect of life, we call it a plan. If you want to succeed, you need to be clear in what you want to achieve in your career. Be smart. Plan smart. Create goals and objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

First of all, you wouldn’t want to be wading in an ocean of all sorts of dreams of other aspiring artists, without you first having a definite idea what you are aiming at. You need to specify goals (either long-term or short-term) that can be quantified as doable. These goals should also likewise be pertinent to your career and should also be set to be achieved at a particular time.

If you want to move forward with your career then you need to be smart. Plan ahead and think smart.

2. Network your way to stardom

No one really got anywhere in their career by just doing his/her own thing without anyone’s help. Over the process of building careers, personal as well as business networks are likewise built. You will need the right agents, managers, and producers to help you out on your way to success and be the shining star that you are meant to be.

Can you think of any actor who did not go through personal connections or contacts before actually getting into the spotlight? I bet you can’t even name one!

As you meet people in your quest to stardom, make sure that you keep in constant contact with them—even the most insignificant people you meet. You will never know who these people are related to unless you have already built a steady relationship with them.

Keeping a calling card will also come handy from time to time. Make sure yours had been printed legibly and with the exact details. Always hand them over to people any time there’s an opportunity.

3. Leverage the power of the internet

Consider those people who were discovered through their video uploads via YouTube. Perhaps, you can also leverage on this social media platform as well as other online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. to meet other people who might be able to help your career in the future.

Did you know that Justin Bieber grew up in a small town, and that he didn’t have an agent or any valid connections? He actually only started uploading videos on YouTube for his friends and family who couldn’t make it to his singing competitions, Someone important came across his videos though and liked his voice and voila – Bieber fever was born!

4. Promote yourself

Your first follower is yourself. If you believe in yourself and you are passionate in what you can do then others will catch on and they will inevitably share that same belief with others they come in contact with. It’ll be a ripple effect. Once a portion of water is activated it will set the surrounding water to create the same action.

Preparing your personal portfolio will come in handy any time. Just make sure that the data you include are updated, including the headshots. You should always stick to the truth. Your portfolio may be customised to how you think agents or directors might want to see in it, however the truth will always come out in the end so just be accurate and honest.

Think about Zac Efron who started by auditioning for the Disney Channel movie “High School Musical.” All he did was turn up at the auditions and promote himself and now look at what he has accomplished: High School Musical 1/2/3, 17 Again, Hairspray…The list goes on!

5. Take Charge

Let your passion drive you to your way to stardom. Invest in yourself and commit to learning and mastering your craft. If you’re an actor perhaps you can check out acting workshops or organizations who offer trainings and seminars. You can even start with your local theatre. If there’s any available role you think you are able to perform, audition. Once you’ve appeared in a few performances, you’ll have the experience needed to get an agent’s attention that may be able to find other related jobs for you. A number of stage actors work in commercials, TV and movies, so your theatre colleagues will be able to advise you, and even recommend agents who may be able to help you.

If you’re a model you can always start by doing things for free to get your foot in the door. Start doing portfolio shoots with legitimate photographers and start getting involved in various runway events even if initially it’s for free to get exposure and you never know – someone important might spot you and give you the break you’ve been waiting for.

If you’re an aspiring artist you always can start with the best and easiest social media platform out there – YouTube. Start uploading videos and start making appearances in various events even if there’s no talent fee in the beginning because you’ll never know who will be on these events. You need to start somewhere to get somewhere right?

Building a career is a process, as much as becoming one in a million and shining the brightest. Start with tip number one and then proceed with the other tips. This will pave the way for your next stop over—success!