Filmmaker Of The Month: Francisco Najera

The first question is obvious … How and why did you start with Userfarm?

If I am not mistaken,  it was with the project named “1001 ways to drink coffee”, and I just found Userfarm surfing the internet.

From the first moment I realised that the idea of making a video for an international brand was really attractive. The possibility of being rewarded for my work and that many people would get to see it was also very attractive.


How was the beginning of your experience with Userfarm and do you consider yourself as “filmmaker” now?

At the beginning, as with most things, you go slowly, you try to familiarize yourself with how the platform works and participate in projects that you think are more accessible. For me, the concept of crowdsourcing was something totally new and I was a bit scared to make video content for such famous brands.

Nowadays, Userfarm is the largest single portion of my work. For me it has become a vital part of my career as a filmmaker. I face the projects with the same creativity that I had at the beginning, but now I impose even fewer limits on myself. I always want to take a step forward, evolve and improve with each new challenge. I think I still have a lot to things to learn but I also have so much to offer. With Userfarm I have found the perfect place to do it.


Your Filmmaker profile shows you have joined many Userfarm projects. How do you approach a Brief?

This depends largely on the time I have available to prepare the project. If I have plenty of time I will approach things calmly, waiting until the idea sort of comes to me. Then, as well as this first idea, I try to think of an alternative. Once I am clear about the creative path, I start to write the script, set up the work plan, contact the team and organise the filming dates and the post-production. If the deadline is tighter, the process is quite similar, but I need to do everything quicker to develop the idea, research references, stories, styles and formats which suit the call’s needs.

In other words, in the first scenario the idea comes to you; in the second scenario, it’s you that has to run after the idea.


What do you find most difficult in making video content? How do you solve this?

In general the most complicated part is adapting your ideas to the technical resources you have available. I solve this by being aware of the limitations. It is important to find solutions that allow you to tell the story that you have in mind even if you have to use a different technical solution


What do you think of the fastest-growing video format – Vertical 9:16?

I love the new era of 9:16, I had never worked with this format before I made “Scars” for the Nespresso Talents project and the results were very satisfactory. Nowadays, I think it’s a perfect format because it is relevant to the type of content being watched on smartphones.

It’s an interesting format because I like to play with the composition, the lighting and the representation of the space. I feel really comfortable with it, and we can’t forget that the essence of good work is always in the storytelling, no matter what format you are working in. I really like the Vertical videos that I have seen and I am sure that they would work exactly the same in 16:9.


You were actually one of the filmmakers selected for the global Nespresso Talents 2016 contest for your short-film “Scars”. What was the Cannes Film Festival like?

The experience in Cannes was amazing. You can imagine what it means for a film lover like me to get the chance to attend the most famous film festival in the world. It was something truly memorable, like a dream come true. And the recognition of my personal work “Scars” is something that I will never forget.


In recent contests we have noticed your animated work has achieved outstanding results. How did you manage to develop this new approach?

It’s funny, because the first video that I did in my life when I was 11 years old, was stop motion animation made with plasticine and recorded with my mom’s camera. The style and above all, the techniques have now changed a great deal, but animation has always been very present in my life. It is something that I enjoy and I would like to spend more time on it.

The problem is that 10 seconds of animation video requires the same work as a week of shooting, so you have to be very wary of the time it takes to develop an animated project. On the other hand you have the freedom and autonomy to be able to carry out a project alone with just your computer.


Do you have any reference that it inspires you in the world of film?

I have spent a lot of time of my life watching movies. Now, I don’t have as much time as I’d like, but it’s my favourite hobby in my free time … when my kids allow me that is!

I enjoy every kind of film, any age or type of film, but the American filmmakers of the 80s and 90s influenced me more than others (Scorsese, Lynch, Spielberg, DePalma, Coen brothers, Spike Lee and many more …)

Then like everyone, I have my favourite movies: Twin Peaks, “Arrebato”, “Stand by me” by Rob Reiner, Accattone, “Touch of Evil”, “Irma la Douce”, “Easy Rider”…


And my last question for the videomakers who are starting their film career … Would you recommend Userfarm to them?

Of course! No doubt!

I encourage everyone who enjoys telling stories to take their camera and take part in the challenges of this incredible community. Forget the budget, no matter the media, it does not matter that the result is not what you expected, it does not matter to try once or a thousand times … If you are really passionate, free your imagination and fight for it, with modesty, with honesty, and most important of all: always wanting to improve and learn.

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