If you haven’t heard yet, the public are being invited to collaborate on a unique feature-length documentary film about Scotland. Northern Lights is a first in a lifetime mass participation film project funded by the Year Of Creative Scotland 2012, which aims to create a view of Scotland that goes beyond media stereotypes to reflect the lives, hopes and dreams of the people who live – or once lived – on these isles.

We’ve taken some time to talk to Nick Higgins, Creative Director of the project, to find out what tips and hints he can give you on creating your Northern Lights film. Read this, then get your submission in:

What makes a great submission?
Nick: Many things make a great submission; obviously something which stands out, says something unique or edgy is interesting but sometimes the strongest submissions are those that quite simply share a world we’ve never encountered in an honest and authentic way. It doesn’t need to be spectacular, just true to who you are and what you care about.

What should participants be asking themselves when thinking about making a video for Northern Lights?
Nick: We all have things we can video – that’s the easy part; the more interesting aspect of it is what we feel about what we see. What do you feel about your life? Does it make you happy, sad, angry, etc? What is it you want to communicate in your video? How can you convey that meaning and feeling to an audience?

What is the best way for a participant to engage with their chosen subject?
Nick: To challenge it; to find out what is unique and interesting about it. Try and share a point of view that we might not have seen before and that could be funny, angry or poetic.

What are the benefits of engaging with a subject in this way?
Nick: It makes for a more compelling video. But also, you may find something new in that subject, and you may find something new in yourself. It’s like keeping a diary; it’s not until we express how we feel about something that we really come to terms with what we think. This is why video diaries are so interesting. Why not keep one for the next three months?

What makes a video engaging?
Nick: This comes from you being engaged emotionally and personally with your subject. It also comes from asking questions about your subject; you don’t always need to know the answer but a good question or observation is always involving.

What else should we think about before we get started?
Nick: Don’t think too much, trust yourself. The key is to get started. Submissions are open for three months and you might be surprised by how engaged people are by a world you perhaps take for granted. This really is a chance to re-discover Scotland through the eyes and thoughts of the people who live here.

Get involved here.
Follow Northern Lights on Twitter here.
Visit Northern Lights on Facebook here.


Find out about more opportunities and calls for submissions here.