I’m a filmmaker and journalist, a contributing editor at Empire, and the world’s greatest procrastinator.
In 2015 I directed three shorts: the thriller BRICKS, starring Jason Flemyng and Blake Ritson; romantic comedy GHOSTED, starring Alice Lowe; and thriller LOCK IN starring Nicholas Pinnock (FORTITUDE) and Tim McInnerny (BLACKADDER) – the latter as part of the Creative England/BFI iShorts scheme. None of these are available online yet, but should emerge in 2016 at some point…
I have three features in development as director and various screenplays on spec and on commission. Previously I wrote the sci-fi short RAHAB, which starred David Oyelowo.
This is what I did in the 10 or so years beforehand:
My first job in journalism was at the North Devon Journal, in the summer of 1997, between years studying journalism at Bournemouth University.
I turned up for a week’s work experience… and stayed for three months.
It was a terrific apprenticeship, including everything from court reporting and investigating animal cruelty to writing film reviews and a front-page scoop on how smoking could, er, kill you.
After graduating (with a 2:1 and all the relevant NCTJ qualifications), I was elected as Communications Officer of BU Students’ Union. I spent a year editing its fortnightly paper The Nerve, learning about every aspect of publishing, from advertising to design to how long the human body can go without sleep when on deadline (58 hours, in my case).
In 1999, a week of work experience at Total Film lead to my becoming a regular freelance contributor, which continued during my time as production editor on Third Way, the prestigious current affairs magazine.
As the dotcom bubble expanded, I joined Popcorn.co.uk as reviews editor and spent a year developing an excellent movie website, watching
too many films and wondering how Carlton Communications could continue pouring millions into the web without any plausible hope of a return.
In 2001 Popcorn closed.
I returned to magazine journalism, contributing to FHM, Uncut and Total Film, before joining the latter as production editor. I spent a great year there, but left after being offered the chance to finally make my parents proud – by taking a job with the BBC.
I joined the corporation as news editor and chief reviewer for the film section of bbc.co.uk, the most popular website in Europe. I wrote daily news reports, a weekly column and reviewed many movies.
Despite having a face for radio, I also provided reviews for the BBC’s then-fledgling interactive TV service and produced and presented online reports from the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. The cameraman is still in therapy.
In September 2004, I returned to Total Film as Reviews Editor, before becoming Deputy and, in July 2006, Editor. During my two-year tenure, I secured several world exclusives, including becoming the only journalist to visit the sets of David Fincher’s Zodiac and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
I also interviewed the likes of Mel Gibson and Brad Pitt and annoyed the market-leading magazine Empire enough for this to happen.
From September 2008 until January 2016 I was Empire’s Editor-At-Large, chatting to filmmakers and stars in places as far-flung as Burundi and Cardiff. I still write for the magazine – as a contributing editor – but most of my time is spent on scripts and storyboards and speculating about who to cast.
I am a regular judge for The Pitch, a filmmaking competition so good I wish I was allowed to enter it.