It is Autumn in Central Coast, Australia, as Spring is in full-swing in Bristol, United Kingdom. Tash Bass is just two weeks away from her twenty-second birthday. Her story is compelling and the precipice of her story is yet to come. After her stint in the American summer camp, Bass returned to Australia with itchy feet, and quickly made the decision to journey to Bristol, United Kingdom.
Many who live and work in Bristol often comment on its integral network of artists and creatives. Bass was no different. “You could instantly see the prominence of Bristol’s art scene everywhere. The street art, the students, theatres… everything just made you feel creative. Central Coast had a good theatre culture, but the filmmakers scene was very limited.” Her words are reminiscent of the many aspiring creatives who make the pilgrimage. “Bristol is home to me, and I don’t regret moving there one bit.”
However, with Bristol’s culture came its challenges. “Finding work was difficult. You find that all jobs are freelance. I had a few gigs filming a wedding and making a showreel.” The story seemed too similar: the saturation of the job market within Bristol’s creative industry, which leads to disappointment for many. Bass found herself focusing much more on self-motivated music projects. “I followed my gut, and where my gut told me to move to Bristol, to which I still do not regret the decision, my gut also told me to head back to Australia. I had so many more connections and a much more established network of potential jobs here. It wasn’t meant to be, it would seem.” In October 2016, after eighteen months, Bass moved back to Australia.
Disappointment can be the catalyst for disengagement. However, in the face of such a thing, Bass chose pragmatism. The next six months would see her career take increasingly positive steps. At the beginning of our talk, Bass mentioned that it was simply being in the right place at the right time that gave her opportunities. Bass began working with The Filmery in Australia. “A friend posted a casting call for extras in their company and I immediately started researching the company.” A production company started by singer-songwriter, Duncan Tombs, The Filmery produces corporate videos and, perhaps more notably, music videos for country musicians around Australia.
“I stalked them on social media, and absolutely loved their work. As a singer-songwriter myself, being able to combine music and film is the ideal for me and this was the dream job. They invited me to their studio for a chat. I went and the next day I was at a four-in-the-morning until ten-in-the-evening shoot.” A week after her trial shoot, Bass was whisked away to Melbourne to shoot a music video for popular country singer, Kasey Chambers.
Whilst working for the Filmery, Bass also arranged a side project with young actor and long-time friend, Jessica Hughes. The concept was simple: two short videos released a week, appealing to the consensual attention span of social media followers. Hughes starred as the titular character in the skit show That’s Jaz, depicting the louder-than-life misadventures of Jaz attempting to conquer all of life’s small challenges in overzealous fashion.
The first episode went live in January, and a modest fan base of around four-hundred followers ensued within the first two months. It was, however, a short skit about Ed Sheeran’s new album, which gained over one million views overnight. “I was actually on a shoot the day that it went viral and it went from around one million views that morning to about four million by midnight that day… Jess [Hughes] was messaging me throughout the day. We went from four hundred followers to nearly seven thousand almost instantly, so we realised we had to now up our game.” The game was certainly on for Bass and Hughes.
“There’s something I read recently that said: Those who dream big, ironically, don’t sleep much.” Evidently so; at present, Bass holds down two jobs and films That’s Jaz synonymously. As our interview drew to a close we asked her, Australia or United Kingdom? What do you feel is best for young aspiring filmmakers? “The UK has a much larger industry, and therefore there are a lot more opportunities, however, that means that there is so much more competition. It is all about networking. Australia has a much smaller industry, but the chances of getting that good opportunity is much higher. You’re much less likely to just be making somebody's coffee.”
We asked her what was next for Tash Bass; it was hard for her to determine. “My dream would be to return to England, maybe even Bristol and develop a career there, but as it stands, my career seems Australia-based for the foreseeable future. For now I’m just riding the wave.” Twenty-two and viral, associated with a promising music video company, and surrounded by Canon 5D mark IIIs (she has a lot of love for that camera), Tash Bass’ future looks like the wave is carrying her in the perfect direction.