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News & Events.

Finding a Creative Place.

Updated: Jan 5

I have a special place I like to sit while I work creatively. It’s a sizeable room with bright rays that, over some years, have bleached the blue sofa. The view is of a large area of common. I’m fortunate to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and it was only a 5-minute walk from here, past the sheep, and to the woods, where I first encountered the idea that has filled my head since 2021: the story of NeverBorn. It was a moment of magic. I came home and wrote it down.

My website is ready to launch. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. A holding bay of ideas that grow arms and legs and are sometimes uncontainable. I am blessed (or encumbered) with a quick imagination that has afforded me thousands of ideas for the delivery of creative classes, for which I am grateful. 

I began to write as a teenager. It was a diary, filled with dull things that I thought mattered, and that of course did at the time, but back then I self-censored, and pages had cross-references to code words that I hid in the back of other books. I must have been influenced by what was one of my favourite childhood reads, a Kit Williams book entitled Masquerade, where clues were buried deeply and eventually led to treasure.

My own treasure has taken many years and extreme conditions to “mine”. Before having children (who were particularly creative ones!) I wrestled with confidence and could probably have done with a mentor, such as I now have become for others. But I did manage as an adult to write stories, and in my late twenties, with no film school offer (I only wanted to attend the one I had heard of), I built a video facility house and set, naively, about writing to the BBC with my ideas.

...and then one day, once upon what seems like a very long time ago, I wrote a story that felt personal and authentic, although it was a fairy tale, called The Circle of Hope. It told the fate of a fictional land called Faerie, and in my truest style, I decided to turn it into a short film, hired a fairy tale castle, and set off to Wales with a small crew of mates and kit, a bunch of actors and their luggage, which we dropped at our accommodation, at the off-season Butlins, which became our crew base for the week-long ambitious outing.

I bought a set of Sachtler lights and told a few people I had them, and soon, with my box of tools, I began working on short films and teaching myself how not to expect others to do things you wouldn’t do yourself. I still remember the discomfort of contortion as I mic’d a scene from under a very low coffee table on the sixth or seventh take.

I was thrilled to get some funding from the BFI/Arts Council to shoot a madcap idea that I would love at some point to revisit. The story of a young dancer whose mother set her up in competition with the family dog. They say never work with animals or children, but I loved both! It was a joy to shoot. Our young leading lady, Lucy Hounsom, is now an author with a significant catalogue of published works set in her own fictional worlds.

A short film I didn’t work on, which featured two talented boys from our school, led me to work as an associate producer on a first feature by an up and coming and exceptionally ambitious grad of the Northern Film School. Tom Waller became De Warrenne Pictures, one of Thailand’s successful feature film producers. It was an exceptionally exhausting experience as Tom built his showpiece film with a magical cast (John Michie, Paula Hamilton, Rupert Vansittart, and Benedict Taylor, and hundreds and hundreds of extras on each day, collected by yours truly! How much easier it would have been to have had the internet and email back in 1996!

This experience shaped me. I was on the film from day one of preproduction to the wrap. It confirmed what I loved and also what I never wanted to do again. I promised myself at that time that I would one day make my own feature. It’s taken longer than I anticipated. I’ve grown another successful career, bought and renovated a country home, brought up a family that I treasure, and here we are...



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