An interview with Ben Steiner Bursary  2011 winner Stephen Collins

Deaffest: In 4 mins, we are going to hear from the man himself, Stephen Collins. Again, if you’re thinking of applying or anything to ask, tweet him!

Deaffest: For those who don’t know Stephen – here is his blog. Nice picture of him

Deaffest: Great! Firstly, how are you getting on with your Movember?!

Stephen: Movember is going great. Have raised £220 so far for The Prostate Cancer Charity. It’s all groovy and itching.

Deaffest: Excellent, let’s get down to business. What was your experience of filmmaking before you applied for the Ben Steiner Bursary?

Stephen: I would say that I had very little experience before the Ben Steiner. I learnt how filming work and the process. Did lot of assisting work for others. But never with the budget and bigger responsibility that I had with The Ben Steiner.

Deaffest: Honest response there. Could you tell us more about what you had to go through to get the jackpot, my moustachioed friend?

Stephen: Of course we all had to come up with an idea, apply then pitch the film to the panel. The difficult part was the idea… but gradually found a story. I had a discussion with Deirdre Maguire about the story and she helped to shape up the direction I wanted to go. So with the story in place. We had to pitch via a video and questions from the panel. I really sold my pitch –

Deaffest: Oh yes. How could I forget the video pitch! What a performance!

Stephen: – by playing 4 different parts including dressing up as a woman. I wanted everyone to see what I wanted to do. Thankfully the panel liked it and I was picked to do Ben Steiner 2010!

Deaffest: May I ask a question? Why have you got that yellow duck on your shoulder…?

Stephen: Random! The duck (I call him Ducky) is a joke that he can grow a moustache quicker than I can as I’m a slow grower and it’s very light so difficult to see. I get annoyed with Ducky at first but we become friends and now he is missing! I’m weird like that. Like the film Luke Starr.

Deaffest: I see. My condolences. Anyway, when you won the £5,000 – describe the feeling man, tell it all!

Stephen: I was sinking to the ground before we heard the winner announced. Using the word from a friend Simon Herdman, (or was it Brian Duffy?) I felt elevated. I was equally so nervous and really happy to be given a chance to prove myself.  It was an amazing opportunity Deaffest & Ben Steiner could give to Deaf filmmakers.

Deaffest: Yes indeed it was that genius Brian Duffy & his accomplice Simon Herdman. Tell me the highs/lows of the whole experience.

Stephen: Ooooh tricky one. There are so many highs and lows. The highs would be directing the film over the two days with crew and cast and experimenting with the editing with Ted Evans & absolutely excited having John Kelly singing the film’s song.

Deaffest: Cool! What are the next steps in your career?

Stephen: Next for me film wise is that I will be setting up a small film group which hopefully will expand & to encourage Deaf filmmakers.

Deaffest: Thank you for your honest responses, now finally, what would be your advice for would-be Ben Steiner applicants, O wise one?

Stephen: My advice to would-be Ben Steiner applicants is to love your idea. Experiment with ideas. Try filming with your friends to see what work and what does not. Importantly talk to people who can support you and help with the idea they say two minds is better than one but not too many!

Oh and lastly watch lot of films & short films and see how you can be creative and different.

Deaffest: Thank you Stephen for your time.

Stephen: One person said to me, in fact the previous Ben Steiner winner Bim Ajadi. He said do your research!  Very important. Thank you Deaffest. Please everybody… do apply for the Ben Steiner. It’s a valuable experience and one I will treasure.