Overnight success is something that resonates more in the viral world today than ever before. For twenty-one year old Tash Bass, going viral happened suddenly and on a grand scale. Currently one half the joint effort behind a Facebook mini-skit series titled That’s Jaz (available here), Bass reflects on her story as being very much in the right place at the right time. At such a young age, Bass boasts a showreel of work as impressive as some professionals twice her age, spanning across Australia, UK and the USA.
Born in Bristol, United Kingdom, Bass moved with her parents to Central Coast, Australia at the age of four; a short journey North of Sydney. Attending high school with a keen focus on Musical Theatre, Bass was asked by a friend to begin recording performances. It was an instant love for the camera: “I began filming social events, productions, everything. Anything I could see, and anytime I had a camera I would film.” Bass developed a very distinct style as a cinematographer from a young age, working in her abilities as a singer-songwriter and musical actress with her love of filmmaking to create her own music videos.
Studying Screen Media, Film and Television at Tafe College in Sydney, Bass quickly gained a reputation among the teaching staff as something of a prodigy. “Basically, I was told in the course by almost every teacher that the value of hands-on experience in film is worth so much more than learning the craft in education, and I found that so true. I found that I already knew most of what they were teaching me due to what was self-taught throughout high school.” It's advice that she has now used to full effect. Making connections with a casting agent, Bass began developing her editing craft by editing actor showreels, while in the meantime gaining more experience within the musical theatre circle, filming live musical and dance shows.
Bass’ ambitious scale began to grow as she developed, eventually landing freelance work at the end of 2014 with RAW, an international showcasing company for artists. Bass’ job was to interview thirty artists a month and use the footage to edit together a showcase piece for the company. However, the Australian film industry soon began to seem rather contained and scarce, and Bass began to cast her net overseas, for that all important gig of a lifetime.
Bass eventually took up the opportunity to travel to America for two months, and attend a summer camp as a videographer of activities, which is no easy feat: “I was basically filming with a Canon 5D mk.III every day, nearly twenty-four hours, for two months.” This was the beginning of Bass’ unbridled love for this particular icon of Canon’s camera models. “I definitely gained some muscle, filming from 7am all day, and then editing the footage until 1am every night.” Not only did Bass take part in her most ambitious project to date, but she unearthed a new side to her driven nature: the drive to explore.
We asked her if there was any defining moment for her in her young days; one that sparked the drive she possesses to this day? “I knew from my early days of making home videos that this was what I wanted to do and through my own drive, I’ve just made sure that this is what I continue to do. I guess you could call it tunnel visioning. There was never a defining moment when I realised that this was what I wanted; it was just there.”
It was her first taste of film work that solidified her love for the craft. Similarly, her two months in America was the first instance in which she found herself with the desire to take her work around the world. After arriving home from the experience, Bass continued to find odd freelance work, whilst working in retail as a day job. “I definitely got the traveller's blues [after America]. The film industry in Australia is small, but developing, and actually with not too much competition, but I wanted to see the industry around the world.”
Bass could not recall any of her early life in Bristol, where she was born. It was perhaps this that inspired her decision to return to the United Kingdom. For better or worse, Tash Bass was determined to explore her opportunities globally. This opportunity was an easy one to take for her. This opportunity was not one for her to deliberate on. “Literally, two weeks after the decision was made, I up and left.” Bass was fearless with the decision to cross the globe, but with the highly competitive nature of the British film industry, does fortune always favour the brave?To be continued next week.