Tell us about your career so far, how did you become a director?
Ignoring all the weird homemade Handycam movies I did when I was younger, my first real experience with promo and commercial work came whilst I was at University. Me and a few friends started a bit of a side hustle on our evenings and weekends, reaching out to local businesses offering our somewhat sketchy creative services in exchange for a few quid. This slowly developed and before you know it we were shooting Fatboy Slim in a warehouse basement along the bank of the Thames, a proper pinch yourself moment for me.
From then on and now finding myself out of University, I started to lean towards editorial work, having previously cut all of my own films it only felt natural to look for work that combined self-shooting with editing, and that’s when I found The Mill.
Coming into The Mill pre-graduation I instantly (and naively) dived headfirst into shooting and editing behind the scenes work, a role that not only gave me the opportunity to creatively lead little bitesize projects end-to-end but one that essentially gave me an access all areas pass to some of the biggest shoots I’d ever been on – a prime opportunity for me build my stills portfolio and to test the patience of every AD I worked with.
Outside of the “day job” (I put in speech-marks because it never really was your typical day job), I continued to pick up freelance shoot and edit work, taking on whatever odd jobs I could, essentially trying to get on set in whatever way possible – running, camera training, literally anything and everything just so I could absorb information.
Then as I became more confident in my ability as an editor, I began to help out friends by cutting promos and other branded content. This combined with everything else I’d learnt over the years of running around trying out a bit of everything, finally came together when I was approached to direct my first music video – Foxes ‘Love Not Loving You’.
How would you describe your style?
As someone who shoots as well as edits, I’m always looking to incorporate multiple formats in a dynamic and engaging way. I try to play with textures where possible, merging analogue with digital. Personally, I think it gives a film a bit more oomph, a bit more tangibility, perhaps that just comes down to my own interpretation of ‘art’ and what makes things interesting, or perhaps it’s just to do with the fact I grew up in a world that was mid-transition from tape to disc.
You recently worked on the Sea Mirror architecture films, what was the brief from the client and how did you find this process?
Sea Mirror was a bit of a unicorn, it’s unusual that you come across a commercial project that essentially gives you full reign to experiment and explore. The main brand film was already well underway with Will McGregor and Tom Dibb at the helm and the team wanted to create a set of experimental films that supplemented the wider campaign. Bradley Fletcher and the Creative Strategy team had padded out the foundations and I came in to help develop the look and feel, so it was executed in a way that created hype and intrigue into the brains of the brilliant people behind each of the Sea Mirror homes.
In essence, the client was looking to do a ‘deep dive’ into the worlds of each architect, shining a light on the processes and inspiration behind each of the buildings.
You also regularly take stills, what sort of projects have you worked on and how have you found them?
It started as a bit of a hobby, bringing my camera everywhere I went, trips, events, and eventually on set when I was running, assisting, or shooting BTS. It then developed from cheekily testing my luck and asking the talent for a quick snap in between takes, to then actually being asked by friends to come and shoot in a more formal sense. Since then it’s kind of spiralled and over the years I’ve ended up shooting with artists such as JME, Ashnikko, Greentea Peng, Paloma Faith & IAMDDB.
In a way, I think my approach helped me establish a bit of a run and gun style, I got used to having to get in, get the shot and get out again quickly with as little disturbance to the wider shoot or event.