What’s your role at MultiStory?
I had the pleasure of being a PD at MultiStory for Our Jubilee, which was part of the Fresh Cuts strand in its inaugural year. Trailblazing for all the new PD’s in 2023!
What made you want to get into TV and how did you make that a reality?
My career started in music as a producer before I transitioned to a completely different career in the corporate world. After too many years of denying to myself that I’m a creative, I started making plans to somehow return back “home”. Deciding that music was a young person’s game, my plan was to marry my years of working for strategic consultancies with my aptitude for creativity and storytelling. So I thought I’d become a Creative Strategist (see what I did there? I know….genius, right!) for a creative or communications agency. After realising that no one was going to just give me a job, I decided to bet on myself and concepted a project to demonstrate my thinking and approach. So I self-funded a music video which had a narrative of physical disability and intimacy, something I had never seen before. Not knowing any directors, I figured I’d direct it myself. The plan was never to become a director but as soon as we wrapped, I realised that this was what I had been searching for. To work collaboratively in bringing a vision to life. I knew I had to do this again, mostly because I needed a chance to correct everything I did wrong the first time! I think it’s safe to say that the desire to constantly do better clearly has me in a chokehold as I keep coming back to it!
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are?
Not knowing anyone in the industry and coming to it from a less than traditional route, which is why opportunities like Fresh Cuts are so very important. I essentially had to start a new career from the beginning which included running on sets which can be quite humbling, but also energising. My decision to switch careers came just before the pandemic, not something I’d recommend! I do think you need to be quite bold and reach out to as many people as you can. I literally cold emailed hundreds of people. You will get many no’s but it only takes one yes to change your trajectory. But ultimately, when you get that opportunity, it’s all about the work. You can have the best strategy in the world, but the only strategy should be to do great work.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I thought my year had peaked early in January when I was fortunate enough to have a short film I directed BAFTA longlisted for British Short Film in January. However receiving a BAFTA Craft Emerging Talent nomination in March for Our Jubilee was amazing. I’m now preparing myself for a very fallow few years but the first quarter of 2023 I’m sure will remain a very special time.
But equally, highlights for me is about the impact the work has. Whether that’s making someone laugh or cry, challenging their own viewpoints or making them challenge themselves. For example, I had cast a young woman with a prosthetic leg in the music video I’ve mentioned. After we wrapped, she had revealed to me that since her amputation she had been very shy about having anyone see her without her prosthetic so therefore hadn’t swam which was something she loved doing. But she expressed that the shoot gave her back the confidence that she had lost. A week later, I received an emotional call from her to say she had just come back from the pool. For me, that will always remain a highlight.
What was your biggest “pinch me’ moment?
Well….there was that time I was hanging out with David Beckham in a Jacuzzi but I’m guessing you’re asking about a career moment! I think it was when I watched my first documentary alone in a cinema. I was testing the DCP before a screening later that week and it was surreal to watch something I had concepted and directed in a 300 seater cinema, all alone. Granted, it wasn’t a Marvel movie but I had never thought I’d ever watch something I’d directed on a cinema screen. I’ve since had the opportunity to watch my films in a cinema at screenings and at festivals on a few occasions but it’s a feeling that never gets old. The Beckham story I’ll save for another time!
Are there any big learning curves or disaster moments you can look back and laugh about now?
There hasn’t been one big disaster as yet. But I’m sure now that you’ve asked, it’s coming real soon! But every day I’m learning something new. I went from not knowing anything at all to still not knowing much but working with amazing people and not being afraid to ask questions. There is something to be said about ignorance. It means you’re not governed by convention which can be quite liberating. For example, in preparation for my first shoot, I had emailed hundreds of directors asking them if I could shadow them and a great many got back to me. At the time, they were just a name I found online, but I now look back at that list and get quite embarrassed by my boldness. Ironically, some of them have become good friends and continue to offer words of advice. But I never would have done that if I wasn’t so naïve.
What are your favourite TV shows?
Too many! I love a well constructed documentary series like The Last Dance or The Defiant Ones. I love documentaries that have great access and pull back the curtain on stories and people we think we all know, so those two remain high on the list for me. For scripted it’s got to be Succession and This Is Us. The writing on Succession has to be best we’ve ever seen and the performances are fantastic. Telly at its best. And This Is Us is again so well crafted with exceptional writing. But I’m also known to watch Emily in Paris and Selling Sunset in a single sitting. I see you judging me! You don’t know me!