How I stay motivated despite some film failures: by a past REC Ya Shorts winner

It’s only weeks till submissions deadline. We know that editing and finishing off your film can feel a bit hairy in these final days. So we caught up with Tallulah Remond-Stephen. Although Tallulah was a REC Ya Shorts winner last year for her very personal story about “failure”, even she admits she’s having her challenging moments with finishing off her entry for this year…


When you’re making a short film – or anything creative, for that matter – things don’t always turn out how you’d hoped. Tallulah Remond-Stephen knows this only too well. The Year 10 student, from Bishop Druitt College in Coffs Harbour, won Most Original Concept last year in REC Ya Shorts – but only after pushing through disappointment and turning things around.

She says her winning short film, The Inventor (below), was actually a metaphor about her own challenges in film-making and creativity.

“Before REC Ya Shorts, I’d made a film with a couple of people who live in my town and I entered it in Trop Jnr,” she said. “I didn’t end up getting anywhere with it in that competition! I was pretty heartbroken.

“I like making metaphor short films. So I decided to make a film about things you create not working, or things not working out.”

“So The Inventor was about trying new things and failure ¬– coming back from failure. It’s about this girl who builds a machine and cuts up her favourite belonging and puts it in the machine to get repaired. She thinks it will come out fine but it doesn’t work at all.

“The ending is kind of ironic, because she stitches it back together herself, so it’s about getting over stuff and moving on to the next thing.”

As well as winning, Tallulah said that one of her biggest buzzes was attending the regional screening tour – which this year is coming up in early September – and having her film screened in front of friends, family and classmates.

She said: “I’ve never done anything like that before – I’d already made a few films, but I had never had any of them recognised or shown for a competition. My main audience member until then had pretty much only been my dad!”

While it was a buzz, there were some nerves too, she said.

“You’re really putting yourself out there. Film-making is a big thing for me personally, and then I’m putting it in front of everyone to see – so it’s like totally putting yourself in front of them and letting them think whatever they want about you. It’s kind of like being inside-out! Everyone can see everything that’s going on for you on the inside.”

She acknowledges that it’s worth taking that leap though, especially when telling a very personal story – because you never know who else is at the screening who you could inspire in the process.

“I’ve got friends entering this year who are now making much more personal films. Film-making isn’t just great if you’re interested in film, it’s also a great way to show other people how you’re feeling, and helping other people and stuff. So I think it’s a good thing to enter!”

Since winning REC Ya Shorts last year, Tallulah did a six-month exchange in France, where her host dad was a film producer and host mum was a costume technician for films. It meant Tallulah got the opportunity to be an extra in a few films in France. She’s also since finished two short films, as well as shooting a pile of footage which she intends to edit – including for her entry for REC Ya Shorts 2017…

“I know the deadline’s close and I have to start finalising it,” she says. “I’m not big on editing. I really enjoy the filming part, just not the editing!

“But personally when I start something, and I’ve put effort into it, I can’t not finish it. I think I’d just hate myself if I didn’t finish it! Sometimes I want to give up but I like to see the end product – that’s what keeps me going when it gets hard.”

And her final words of advice to other entrants for this year? “If you’re having any doubts about entering, I think you may as well try it. You’re always going to get good and bad. I’ve failed before – everyone fails. The only people who ever get anywhere are the ones who said ‘yep, I’ve failed before, but failure is a part of it’. If you just stop, well, you really will never know.”

REC Ya Shorts 2017 is coming to its final stages! To make sure you get your film in on time, check out the details on how to enter. You can also check out who’s on this year’s celebrity judging panel.

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