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To be a good documentary filmmaker, you have to love people

UK-based director, producer, shooter and editor Adrian Storey - aka Uchujin - finds inspiration in diversity of lifestyles.

MZed is more than an educational resource - we're also a community of thousands of filmmakers from around the globe, connected through our shared love of filmmaking and learning.

Let's learn about each other, who we are, our passions and philosophies, where our creative drives come from. We want to share your story! Please get in touch if you're an MZed Pro member and would like to be featured on our blog and social media channels.

This week's feature is Adrian Storey, also known as UCHUJIN, a UK-based DOP, Camera Operator, Producer, and Editor. (He's also a talented motion graphics animator and has created sequences for several MZed courses.)

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Introduce yourself - who are you, where are you located, and what kind of creative work do you do?

 

My name is Adrian Storey, I'm a UK born Self Shooting Director, Documentary DOP, Video Editor and I dabble in motion graphics. After 20 years in Asia with extended periods in India, Nepal & Thailand and 10 years in Japan I returned to the UK a couple of years ago. I'm currently based near Cambridge.

I predominately shoot both long and short form documentary for a variety of international clients. I very occasionally make music videos. Obviously I also shoot commercial work in the form of corporate interviews, business promos and charity films to make ends meet.

 

 

What do you love best about your type of work?

 

Every shoot, every project is so different and I get to learn about and be around all kinds of people I might otherwise not get to spend anytime with.

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Adrian Storey working with Ben Chesterton / Duckrabbit and Courtney Daniella

People are infinitely fascinating to me, the breadth of humans and ways of living their lives, the sheer diversity of lifestyles and interests!

I love fiction movies and books but real stories about real people are a never ending source of fascination.

 

Tell us about a project you're especially proud of.

 

I'm incredibly proud of the 3 multi award winning feature documentary projects I've DOP'd:

 2011's "Twende Berlin"

 

 

2017's "Boys For Sale" (www.boysforsale.com)

 

 

2018's "Traces Of The Soul" (www.tracesofthesoul.com)

 

“Traces Of The Soul” Official Trailer from Uchujin on Vimeo.

 

All of those were long and very involved undertakings, with "Boys For Sale" in particular involving some significant challenges in bringing them to completion.

From my personal projects I have a particular affection for the pieces I've made promoting the work of other artists.

It's difficult to pick one project to single out, either from those three or all my other work as I always tend to feel the last thing I did was my best work. In fact I’m a strong believer if you look back on something you did a year ago and don’t see loads of things you could have done better then you are not really progressing.

 

How do you like to learn - to improve your craft and grow your passion for your work?

 

Whenever possible, I love working with people more experienced than myself, or with different skill sets. Soaking up as much information as possible and not being afraid to ask questions and admitting I don't know how to do something.

I also really enjoy figuring things out by starting on something I don't know how to do and using the amazing resources available on the internet.

 

I've always loved the problem solving aspect of what I do and the fact that there is always more to learn and always someone who is better or knows more than I do to learn from.

I think learning by doing is the key to retaining new skills.

 

What are your future goals for your creative work?

 

I'd really like to direct and shoot my own feature documentary project, but 2020 had other ideas about letting me start on that. There is something hugely satisfying about the immersion that a multi year long form project brings.

I also hope to shoot/DOP more long form projects with talented directors I've worked with before. There is an understanding that develops with people you've worked with on multiple projects that enriches the process in a way I particularly enjoy.

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Adrian Storey frequently collaborates with Christian Payne a.k.a. Documentally

I'm of course always interested in working with/collaborating with new people as that inevitably means I learn new things and hopefully at this point in my career I bring some experience and expertise to the table too.

Ultimately the goal is to keep making engaging, interesting and beautiful looking work that shows people something about the world that they didn't know before.

 

What are the challenges - or misconceptions - about the type of creative work you do?

 

The technical challenges of documentary or documentary style shoots are constant and come up on every shoot. We do not work in controlled environments where the lighting can be made perfect, one can call for a quiet set, or ask the sun to stay behind that cloud.

Overcoming those challenges either with the constantly improving gear or by learning skills and coping strategies to best utilise the gear you have is a constant learning curve. Those challenges are at once the biggest headache and yet figuring out solutions is one of the greatest joys for me.

uchujin-films-uk-filmmaker

 

What do you like about being an MZed Pro?

 

I am entirely self taught as a DOP/camera op and most of it I learned from the internet -- be that video content or forums.

The free content available on the internet is without any shadow of a doubt an amazing resource, but the contradictory information and pandering to algorithms that has become common place on a number of online platforms has made them close to unwatchable.

The calibre of the courses on MZed and the trusted professionals with years of experience in their industries and specialities that present them elevate them head and shoulders above 90% of most of the free content available. The depth that can be covered in multi hour courses on a subject mean that even if I think I might not learn anything important, I always inevitably do.

Plus I get the huge satisfaction of seeing a number of motion graphics animations that I've done for MZed as part of courses by some truly amazing educators.

 

Connect with Adrian Storey a.k.a. UCHUJIN

 

uchujin.co.uk | instagram.com/uchujinfilms | twitter.com/uchujinphoto | facebook.com/uchujinfilms | linkedin.com/in/adrianstorey

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