Dream Big: Q&A with the director

While Mel was powering up the centre of the UK, Jack and Lewis were close behind capturing the incredible journey on camera. 874miles. 7 days. Managing camera equipment is challenging enough. Capturing a constantly moving subject, and getting by on a couple of hours sleep, required serious experience and confidence. With the documentary hitting the screens in just under a month Here’s a Q&A with Jack to give you a little insight into what went into making the film.

Dream big is now available to watch online here!

What inspired you to make Dream Big?

Mel did! She’s an incredible force to be reckoned with and an incredibly positive person. We’ve not known each other long but whenever we chat about anything, she always has a positive spin. Her story is quite awe-inspiring, and it was a real honour to put it into a film.

Lands End to John O' Groats film
Mel Nicholls making Dream Big film.

What was your biggest challenge whilst making the film?

Probably just trying to make it look like Mel was actually trying hard to beat the record –  every time we pointed the camera near her, there was a great big beaming smile and a wave. Which is amazing! But c’mon Mel we need some drama too! Haha. But no really she absolutely smashed it and there really was only a few moments on the road that really felt dramatic, she’s just so pro and utterly focused. Also, the long hours. We didn’t sleep much for 8 days straight and the camera was rolling nearly the whole time.

What cameras did you shoot on?

Sony FS7mkii with a range of Cine primes and some big old zooms for dramatic shots. It’s such a workhorse and didn’t even blink at the torrential rain or getting smacked into the side of the car or living in a wet tent for a week.

Did you hit any roadblocks while you were filming Dream Big?

Well the police stopped us a few times wondering what one earth was happening… Accidentally ending up on the motorway probably didn’t help!

Mel Nicholls in Marquis motorhome making Dream Big film.

How did you find shooting for 7 days straight?

I’m used to shooting Adventure docs now, and I think it becomes a part of you in some ways. When dramatic stuff happens to me day to day now, I’m always wishing I had a camera in my hands to capture it. Sometimes it’s hard when Mel or whoever it is struggling, and all I should be doing is filming. But it’s part of the job and capturing every moment is the reason I’m there.

What did you learn from the experience of filming Dream Big?

I learnt a huge amount about human endurance. I watched first hand how it’s almost exclusively a mental game. You need the fitness, but there’s only so fit you can be. The rest is in the mind. I wish I had that kind of mental resolve! It’s awe-inspiring and gave me goose bumps to watch. 

What was the last film you watched? 

An absolute shitshow of a Netflix film called ‘Beats’ with ‘100%’ on Rotten Tomatoes because I think only 1 person rated it and they gave it five stars. Erratic weird storyline with a really sweet overall message covered in awful cheesy Americana and ’street’ references. 3/10 would not recommend.

What’s next for you?

Well this year was a year without the third part of our ‘Velo’ series. So some serious trip planning for that and hopefully a big jump up in production, story, adventure and overall film quality. Alongside that, we have a couple of other projects underway but they’re under wraps for now.

If you want to come to one of our film screenings, be sure to check out the event listings coming soon.

Dream Big is now live on Vimeo! Click here to watch the full documentary.