Aspiring filmmakers tend to equate brilliant cinematic work with expensive sets, talented actors and a sublime script. The truth is, however, it actually requires much less – just your imagination. That was the underlying message veteran BBC filmmaker Jeremy Humphries and local film wunderkind Royston Tan had to share at the 3rd Creative Video Awards (CVA) seminar held on 5 Nov at the Mandarin Orchard’s Grand Ballroom.

The seminar, presented by Canon, served to draw entries for the video awards that offers $40,000 worth of prizes and cash , before the deadline for entries of Dec 9. Drawing an audience of more than 500, the 3-hour event featured the 2 experienced speakers above.

Director of Photography and cameraman Jeremy Humphries has spent 26 years filming for the BBC and other independent studios, working on highly acclaimed projects such as TV series The F Word (featuring Michelin Star-studded chef Gordon Ramsay), and Edge of Darkness (remade into a movie starring Mel Gibson in 2010).

The young audience could probably identify as he recounted his personal experiences, including his earliest filming attempt– at age 11, using a Super 8 camera – and the little mistakes that came with this first try. The crowd paid full attention during his “Art of Videography” talk, as he went into specific details on camerawork (with a camcorder). He used one of Canon’s latest LEGRIA camcorders as an example for his technical lecture, and drove home the point that a good film doesn’t always need a huge budget.

Finally, Humphries urged the audience to be as creative as possible in their filmmaking pursuits, citing the most valuable piece advice he’d received from his mother: “Use your imagination.”

Evidently, the 1-hour-long talk had piqued the interests of those present, as they fired off some burning questions with regards to cinematography in the short Q&A session rounding off the talk. During the tea break afterwards, Canon presented its range of LEGRIA camcorders for the budding directors to get some hands-on experience.

The last speaker for the day was one of Singapore’s best known filmmakers, Royston Tan.

The name behind the hit 2007 musical comedy 881, Royston was the best fit for speaking to the largely Singaporean audience, most of whom aspired towards achieving a similar measure of success. Speaking to an audience with complete improvisation, Royston opted for a heartfelt and sincere exploration of his creative impulses in a talk titled “Creating Great Stories”.

Royston, who’s also the chief judge of the CVA, screened a short film, FishLove, which he recently shot entirely on a Canon 7D. He then went into detail on the film’s inspiration – a tribute to late actor Hiroaki Muragishi, who’d worked on its prequel, MonkeyLove.

Royston captivated the audience from start to finish with the story of his eventual decision to be a director, and the idea behind his highly controversial gangster film 15. From his story ideas to the creative process behind each new film, Royston shared valuable gems of advice on writing enrapturing tales, gleaned from his years of experience.

The Q&A session that followed was frenzied, with many attendees eagerly posing questions. He was more than happy to answer them, whether they were about his opinion on Singapore’s censorship laws (the theatrical release of his film 15 had a whopping 27 cuts made) or tips for scriptwriters on conquering writers’ block.

Indeed, as the deadline for Open Category registrations for the 3rd season of the CVA draws closer, the seminar was also an excellent call for amateur filmmakers to put their skills to the test with short, camcorder-produced films.

Interested in taking part in the 3rd Creative Video Awards? Visit the CVA website to register and submit your video for the Open Category by Dec 9 and stand to win $40,000 worth of cash and prizes sponsored by Canon. Competition results will be announced on Jan 13, 2012.