The sharing economy has created all kinds of opportunities for people and organizations to come together in new ways. Recently, ride-sharing giant Uber connected with 90 Seconds to create a contest, inviting filmmakers to submit a film concept around the theme “a shared ride.” Finalists were selected to compete for votes in the Uber & 90 Seconds Short Film Festival, and first prize was taken home by New York Film Academy Sydney filmmaking student Michael Gosden for his short, “Hitchin’ a Trike.” Michael’s video has since surpassed 3 million views on Youtube.
We had a chance to sit down with Michael and hear a little bit about his journey with NYFA and the inspiration behind his film “Hitchin’ a Trike.”
NYFA: Congratulations on your success in the Uber & 90 Seconds Short Film Festival! First, can you tell us a little about yourself and why you chose New York Film Academy?
I originally grew up on the Central Coast and moved to Melbourne in 2011 to study acting with the Victorian College of the Arts. Being there solidified my passion for storytelling and, with a few friends, I started to create work outside of acting. We would shoot short films, web series, music clips and even a few feature films. I quickly found that being behind the camera was just as exciting as being in front of it. But I found that our guerrilla filmmaking approach was limited by my day-to-day obligations, and I wanted to commit to immersing myself in film as much as possible for a period of time. That’s what attracted me to the New York Film Academy Australia. The hands-on approach to study was exactly what I wanted.
How did your entry to the UBER competition come about? What drew you to it?
It popped up on my news feed and this was around a time between semesters, so there was a tiny gap in my hectic schedule to pursue. I had a great little team of friends that were available and the story I came up with was a simple one. Also, it had a pretty great cash prize attached to it, and being a student in Sydney is hard!
What inspired your idea for “Hitchin’ a Trike”?
Nostalgia was my biggest inspiration, to be honest. The only thing Uber attached specifically to the brief was the theme “shared ride,” and it made me think about the moments I spent with my older brothers in our little kid bike gang, and how we would often have to share bikes if one of the other had broken down for whatever reason. I just ran with that idea and intertwined it to what I understood Uber to be at the time.
Would you say your time at NYFA was useful in terms of preparing you for your work in the competition?
Definitely. Primarily in my preparation, which I severely lacked the skills for beforehand. We had one day to shoot, so we couldn’t waste time with shot listing or anything like that.
With over 3 million views on your UBER video, what are you planning next?
I have a mockumentary web series that I shot before starting at NYFA about a group of master sommeliers (expert wine tasters) and how they are put through different tests to be inducted into the Grand Master Sommilier Society, the Illuminati of wine society. I put that on hold while studying and now I want to edit and distribute that to the world.
I also have a one-shot feature film that I wrote and directed, with a friend, a few years ago that is premiering at the Perth Revelation International film festival. I also have a treatments for a TV show and three features that I want to explore more and hopefully get some funding for. So I’m guessing that will keep me busy over the next few years.
As a filmmaker, what is your driving passion?
For who I am at the moment, the driving force has always been to try and tell the story of people or communities that wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance. I don’t know if I necessarily have an overall goal or message: That usually comes when I start focusing onto a story. But the passion definitely comes from the excitement I feel when a film leaves you with a greater sense of that topic than when you first walked in, good or bad. I just hope that people are changed by the stories I create.
Is there anything I missed that you’d like to talk about?
The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Michael Gosden on his success with “Hitchin’ a Trike” and thank him for sharing some of his story with the NYFA community.