Pro Moviemaker Nov/Dec - Web



Filmmaker, colourist, educator, influencer… Ollie Kenchington wears many hats. We question him about the most unusual year ever

PM: How did you manage to survive through the tough times financially? OK: “We qualified for the government’s small business grant scheme. We already received small business rate relief for the studio we lease, and that was pretty much the only criteria needed in order to get access to this £10k grant. It was really simple to apply for, and the money was in the bank within a matter of weeks. The money massively helped our cashflow, at a time where the only money coming in was from online training. “The teamwho run the co-working space where our office is have been really helpful throughout. It was themwho brought the government grant scheme to my attention and assisted me with applying for it.” OK: “I’ve spent a huge amount of time with my kids and discovered numerous local trails for walking, running and mountain biking that I never even realised existed! In fact, the whole notion of community and working outside of London (I’m based PM: Has this unusual year made you rethink any of your plans? in Somerset) has been the highlight of 2020 for me. Before, I’d spend a couple of days each week in London, which I do still miss, but it’s been lovely to reconnect with my immediate surroundings and I’ll be making further efforts in the future to work with more clients who are situated in my local area. “I am planning to put more energy in to Just Grade It going forward, as it is a truly global platform that is placed perfectly to fit in to a more cost conscious and remote approach to colour-grading. Korro Academy will have all its courses available online by the end of this year and, with recent upgrades to our studio, Korro Films is now better placed to create content without the need to travel so extensively.”

Pro Moviemaker: How’s business? Ollie Kenchington: I run three businesses and the effects of Covid-19 have been different for each one. Korro Films is a corporate production agency and, therefore, has bore the brunt of the pandemic. We were unable to shoot anything for three months so, needless to say, I was unable to rely on any income from that side of the business. Our editor went freelance back in February, and we were in the process of interviewing replacements when this all began. We paused that recruitment process in March and I don’t intend to restart the search until next year, despite filmwork picking up considerably since July. Korro Films is now pretty much back up to the same level of activity as before lockdown, though I’d say budgets are definitely smaller than they were. “My training business, Korro Academy, began shifting all of its classroom-based training courses online a few years ago. Much like the decline of high street sales in retail, the pandemic has simply hastened the downturn of face-to-face teaching. Fortunately, I was already set up in my studio for Zoom training and webinars, and I ended up delivering more than 40 hours of live streams over lockdown. I also managed to squeeze in filming my latest colour-grading course for at the start of March, so editing that kept me busy throughout lockdown and, sales of that course, and indeed all my courses on MZed, have been very strong this year. “Just Grade It, the colour-grading platform I launched in February, is also picking up now, which is a huge relief. It got off to a flying start, adding 100 new members in just six weeks. Because of the delayed effect on post-production, we were still grading for our clients well into May, before it all ground to a halt. It is now ramping up again, fortunately.”

ABOVE Ollie Kenchington juggles filmmaking production with editing and education. This approach has kept him busy in lockdown PM: What advice would you offer to any filmmaking businesses or freelancers at the current time? OK: “It’s sad that freelancers have been hit so hard by all this. I feel terrible for all the young filmmakers who thought 2020 was going to be their year to set up and begin a career as a freelance creative. However, while any recession brings difficulties, there are also plenty of opportunities for those who are proactive and innovative. “Before, there were so many people out there, competing for the same jobs, who had no idea what they were doing. Times like these really shine a spotlight on the individuals who have genuine skill and determination. Those whose heart was never really into filmmaking, or thought work would simply fall in their laps, they will all fall by the wayside in circumstances like these. The ones who spent lockdown learning everything they could about cameras, sound, lighting or post-production, determined to hit the ground running when work ramped up again, those are the ones that stand a much better chance of succeeding, perhaps even more so than if Covid-19 had never come along and separated the wheat from the chaff.”

“Times like these really shine a spotlight on the individuals who have genuine skill and determination”



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