Thanks for visiting my website.
Well, here’s a bit about me. As they say, ‘Better the Devil you know.’
Foremost I am a writer/director, but to fuel this career I spend much of my time as an explorer (both wilderness and urban) capturing the world through photography and writing. It’s my inquisitive side which introduces me to interesting characters and stories.
Brought up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. My Dad died when I was seven. Yeah, I wish he was here, but his death triggered a life long interest in human nature. You see, my Mum did a great job, but it lacked the orthodox balance of a two parent family. I found myself fascinated how we develop as people. This interest was further fuelled by Richard Dawkins when I studied at Oxford University. I eschewed the scientific approach and opted for a creative exploration of nature versus nurture and how we develop and evolve as we try to grow up.
I had a crazy and exciting start. Serving in the British Army where I was involved in all the usual boys own situations such as shootings, bombings, sectarian violence, peace keeping and the reconstruction of a failed state. Everything a soldier signs up for, but with this commitment came the small print. I witnessed the darker sides of this world, and how it affected a person and a team. Stress, pressure, boredom, which in extreme cases led to attempted suicide and unfortunately a successful. It was a time of amazing highs and lows and a true eye opener. The key thing I learnt was how important family, friends and team are.
Not content to just let work push my buttons, holidays were spent exploring extreme parts of the world. Spending time in a jail in Uganda, almost beaten up by soldiers in the Congo and sipping tea in a police station with the Taliban or at a banquet with the Kirgiz Government. Some of the most amazing people and kindest people I have met have been in the wildest of places.
A few years working in the Far East in finance gave me an understanding of the commercial world and then I was ready to embark on a career in filmmaking.
Film career highlights include:
Studying at the American Film Institute in LA with Oscar nominated/winning mentors such as Frank Pierson (Cool Hand Luke, Dog Day Afternoon), Tom Rickman (the Coal Miner’s Daughter) and Gill Dennis (Walk the Line), with guest lecturers such as Sean Penn, Warren Beatty, Walter Hill and Marc Forster to mention but a few. Oh, a special note goes out to DC Fontana, one of the original writers of the Star Trek series and her husband Dennis Skotak who won an Oscar for the Abyss. DC just made me want to write and write and write.
Screening at the Venice Film Festival not once but twice was a surreal experience and a real honour.
Screening at the Sundance Film Festival rekindled my faith in filmmaking. What a fantastic bunch of people I met. They love film. They love filmmakers.
Was nominated for a British Independent Film Award.
Mentored by Sam Mendes. Spending time on the Bond set with Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem. Meeting Barbara Brocolli & Michael Wilson – such a great atmosphere and felt like a truly team orientated production. Long may the franchise last.
But these are all ephemeral accolades, although I hope they help me to make more films. But on the personal side the real highlights were:
My first ever screening of What Does Your Daddy Do? was at the Venice Film Festival. Half way through the film people walked out because they found it so uncomfortable, latter people booed and the when the film finished and the twist revealed, there was a moments silence and then a cheer. Thank god for emotional Italians! It was a great way to realise how film can affect people.
A producer who watched Family Jewels told me she cried at the end, while at Sundance a couple of people with relatives in the US Army came up and said how touching and painful the film was.
The thing I learnt from these two moments is that filmmaking is scary but worth the risk.
The amazing people and teams I have worked with. A big thank you to them as film is a truly collaborative medium.