London filmmaker Robert McCallum is no stranger to following his dreams and doing everything to achieve them.
From a little comic book documentary to searching for his missing mother, McCallum has covered a unique gamut of subjects that have made it into his films. I wanted to learn a little more about this very busy documentarian and find out why, of all the places in the world, he wanted to live and work out of London.
When did you first realize that you wanted to make films?
In high school, I made a movie to get out of an oral presentation in French class.
What formal education do you have that applies to your filmmaking?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Film Studies and two post-grad certificates with focuses in directing/writing and producing/design.
What was your first professional gig?
A local independent comic book writer allowed me to shoot and edit a documentary called, “The Canadian Comic Book Connection.” I’m sure you can guess the subject matter.
What is it about London that made you want to work from here? What is it about London that you like so much, personally and professionally?
Most of the time, London feels really calm and easy-going – as do my frequent collaborators. It’s just easy to make projects work when there’s a laid-back approach to everything that’s also fun and yields professional results.
What makes you want to do the films that you’ve done? There must be a very personal component to your decision-making, but what is the deciding factor that has made you do the films you’ve done?
Usually, I make the films or TV series that I have because there’s an irresistible story component or a rare moment that needed to be caught on camera, or a moment I hoped I could catch on camera that I could build a story around. Most of my work is non-fiction, and I’ve managed to capture things that are far weirder and much more exhilarating than anything I’ve ever seen in the world of fiction.
Missing Mom, an autobiographical journey about finding your mother, is probably your most personal and impactful film. How did making this documentary affect you personally; what kind of feedback have you gotten from it?
I hear and receive messages every week, sometimes every day. People reach out for advice or to let me know they’ve discovered a sense of courage they didn’t know they had; courage they used to reach out to their lost loved ones. A lot of people have made connections with estranged family members and hunted down relatives they believed were dead or impossible to find. That’s pretty awesome. Making the film changed my life, but it’s like a lot of my other works, which focuses on a person or group of people trying to do the impossible, and follow their dreams.
Nintendo Quest, a film following your quest to find every single licensed Super Nintendo game, was a unique odyssey for you and your team. Why did you want to make that particular documentary and go on that long journey?
I’m all about the real-life adventures and quests. Who doesn’t like a good road trip? Not to mention a video game quest like the video games we love. It was too irresistible to ignore.
What is the future potential of filmmaking in London?
The future could be huge in London; the key to film being a normal thing around here is to ease the public into the reality of professional film crews closing down streets and venues, as well as making sure support for the industry is there as well. We have a ton of creative talent, passion and drive – let’s get the rest sorted.
What advice would you give to other young filmmakers out there?
If you have a cell phone, you have a really good tool to make movies, so there’s no excuse not to tell stories. If you don’t have a phone, I’m sure you have paper and pencil. Write something amazing and do whatever you can to make it into a movie.
What are you working on now? What exciting new projects are you developing?
Right now I am in production on season two of “The Jay and Rob Toy Show” and season two of “Action Figure Adventure.” I’m in pre-production on “Faking Filmation,” which is a doc about the evolution of cartoons. I’m also in development/pre-production on a documentary on “Mr. DressUp” as well as another documentary about “spirited” children. Visit RobMcZob.com and you’ll see links to my work as well as a series of blog posts about what I’ve done and my current projects too.
You can find more about Rob McCallum and all his works on various social media sites such as: