Where are you based and how did you first get into this line of work?
I’m based in East London and have been living here for six years.
I’ve been making films since my late teens, started off with skateboarding & ghost hunting videos that manifested into a more fictional interest when I went to film school. I then worked as a runner at the production company Smuggler, worked my way up and was fortunate to have opportunities to direct commercials while continuing making short films.
A funny story is, my actual first proper filming experience was when I was 19, when I managed to blag myself on to the set of ‘The Young Victoria’ starring Emily Blunt and pretended I was doing a work experience placement. I spent three days on set before anyone realised. I always remember Jean-Marc Vallée’s (Director) advice to me was to work hard and stick to your guns.
It was the first real taste of a big production which inspired me to pursue a career in the film industry.
How did you get the LAND OF STEEL project?
LAND OF STEEL from the beginning was a passion project of mine. I’ve always wanted to make a film about Port Talbot.
As a young boy living in Llantwit Major (South Wales), I traveled through Port Talbot to visit family in West Wales. I was always fascinated with the landscape and the lights at night. For me, it was just about finding the right story within the town. As an outsider, it was important to make a film for the people of Port Talbot and to get across that the steelworks is an identity.
What gear/cameras did you use and why?
The equipment we used was an Arri Amira with Cooke S2 lenses. We also used the DJI Inspire 2 X5s Drone. There was only four crew members including myself so we had to keep things light and mobile which worked well for us.
Did you plan out the story structure from the beginning or did it come out in post?
I’m big on preparation, the more prep the merrier—even for a documentary where you’re always gonna find moments and new scenes during filming, I always like to build a basic storyboard that’s tells the story from A to B. On the location scout, I tend to think of interesting shots and points of interest and try and build the story around what’s available to us.
Looking back at the boards, it’s pretty close to be fair, and that’s not always the case.
What do you do differently from other filmmakers?
Tricky question, I guess your voice as a filmmaker is ever-growing and what’s nice is I’ve started to understand more and more what that is. I’ve always tried to make sure I’m not overly influenced by what’s trendy or what other filmmakers are doing and try and stick to a vision that I believe in, which hopefully opens up opportunities when the right job comes along.
….. I can’t decide if that makes me different or not?
If you had to go back and do it all again, how would you get a foothold in the business?
I would tell my younger self not to be at times, as ambitious in some of the films I ended up doing which completely missed the mark and try and keep things simple. If you go to university or film school, involve yourself in as many projects as you can, either your own or doing work experience, it all helps.
If you’re a pro in social or networking gatherings, that can be quite an advantage. I need a few glasses of wine to get me going in those situations.
What’s the one secret tip go-trick that you use often that takes your work to the next level?
If I told you that…I would have to kill you. (editors note: we… great answer 😬)
What is currently the hardest part of doing what you do?
Directing can be difficult at times, there can be pressures and creative restrictions depending on what you’re doing, but that’s always a part of the job and it’s something I’ve always embraced.
There’s of course a lot of filmmakers making great work and like anything creative it’s very competitive, but this gives you something to aim for and makes you more determined.
What is currently the best part of doing what you do?
Telling stories through the medium of film and meeting and working with some amazing people.
What are some of your favorite stories, web videos that you’ve gotten inspired by?
Signs by M Night Shyamalan. Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends & Bells from the Deep by Werner Herzog.
Where can people follow your work?