Calgary can be stifling. I don’t think any artist in this city can deny that. How to balance corporate and creative has always been a tug of war for artists residing in the oil and gas driven metropolis. Film producer Scott Westby and his partner Matt Watterworth are trying to balance the two with their independent film company, Full Swing Productions.
The merger of these two seemingly separate entities have come together for these local film producers. After slogging it for four years, their little company has become the talk of the town.
Freq: What’s it like being an independent film company in Calgary?
Scott Westby: It’s tough in Calgary for sure. I think there are some great opportunities for film producers to do creative corporate video here because there’s a lot of marketing that goes on. But as far as a creative standpoint goes, Calgary is a hard city for that. A lot of creative filmmakers will move to Vancouver or Toronto for greener pastures. Matt and I are blending corporate and creative production. We’re both tossing the coin a bit and seeing where it falls. The corporate stuff pays the bills and then hopefully we have time to focus on creative production.
Freq: How did Full Swing Productions get started?
SW: It started with three people: Matt Watterworth, Tyler Provincial and myself. We met at SAIT where we were taking film and video production and we bonded quite a bit. Shortly after SAIT, Matt and Tyler asked me to produce a short film in 2009, Tell Me a Lie, and we worked extremely well together so we decided to keep making movies. That became Full Swing Productions.
Freq: You guys started out as bright and bushy-tailed college students. Has that feeling changed over the last few years?
SW: I think it did change. About two years into Full Swing, Matt and I got into the serious business/producing aspect of it — we both recognized that we wanted to make a living out of this and take in a serious career direction. We still love it but we’re trying to take a serious slant to it.
Freq: What’s the difference between having your own production company to do your own fun stuff as opposed to what you and Matt are trying to do?
SW: I think having it to do fun stuff is great for a while because you get to practice the craft of filmmaking. But when you want to do this for a living, you want to be the best of the best, you want to get paid and you want to eventually start seeing yourself as a professional. There’s a shift in the approach you take to it and, unfortunately, it becomes about money as much as it is about the art of doing it. It’s the nature of a business plan.
Freq: How are you going to turn this passion into a day job?
SW: It depends on how things shake down in the coming months. Matt is making a full-time go of it now. We just pick up any job we can and build a client base. A lot of video production companies have issues with creating a sustainable business model — you do a video for a client and they don’t need another one. You have to find a way to get clients stay for a long time and keep the ball rolling.