May 2010

Hello all and welcome to my blog!

This is the first time I’ve done one of these so I hope it’s of some interest to someone. As I’m currently attempting to start up a career as a young director I thought I’d post about my experiences here, not only to shamelessly plug what I’m working on at the time, but also to share my trials and tribulations with other aspiring film-makers as I navigate the minefield that is low-budget film-making. Will I succeed or completely crash and burn? Stay tuned to find out!

You’ll see from the home-page that I already work as a freelance editor and camera-man (sorry, operator – sexist!), whilst I attempt to set up my own films in the hopes of one day directing full-time. I tend to develop these with my long-time writing partner Chris Marshfield, who I’ve known since secondary school and whom I first began making shorts with. Thus far, the projects we have produced together have been under the pseudonym of CBA Productions, about which you can find out more by going to our other site:

In 2008, I had my first real success to speak of, when I was given the chance to direct “SHANK”, a low-budget, feature length coming of age drama set in Bristol, written & produced by Christian Martin and Darren Flaxstone. I have to say a huge thank-you to both of them for giving me such an amazing opportunity so early into my career, and for their constant support and encouragement throughout the production and beyond. Since the film’s premiere in Melbourne at their annual Lesbian & Gay Film Festival early last year, I have been absolutely blown away by the success “SHANK” has had, and how audiences have reacted to it around the world. It is currently on DVD in the UK and US, as well as a number of other territories, and continues to find legs on the festival circuit – in fact, it is about to go on a tour of South America! Crazy, for a film that was shot nearly two years ago now – and all of this is down to the hard work of Christian, constantly and tirelessly pushing the film to new audiences and markets. I have learnt a lot from both he and Darren, particularly how strategic marketing can decide a film’s fate – it’s not enough to just make a film and put it out there – in those first few months it’s up to you to make sure the right people see it and then eventually if it goes down well word of mouth should do the rest for you, but you absolutely have to keep pushing and pushing to get it seen. Get it to festivals, critics, distributors and know how to sell it to these people as well – something I am still learning myself – because there’s a lot out there. Don’t be put off if it is ignored or put down by some, if you have confidence in your film and believe in what you’ve made (and you must do otherwise you wouldn’t have made it!) then just keep at it and it should hopefully pay off. There’s a lot of straight to DVD crap out there that people still buy so if they can do it…! 

Now for the shameless plug – if you haven’t seen “SHANK” and you would like to (and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you?) it’s available now from Amazon, Play and all good DVD retailers! By the way, this is not to be confused with another “SHANK” (2010) that was released in cinemas this year, set in a near future London. Ours is the better one. Lol, no I’m kidding – I haven’t seen the other one so I can’t possibly comment…. why not buy both and make up your own minds?

Anyway, so what have I been doing since “SHANK” and will all my blog posts be this long? The answer to the latter is ‘no’. Just thought as this is my first one it would be nice to give you a bit of back-story. Feel free to check out some of the other pages on this site if you’re bored, perhaps you can read this in chunks, or just go elsewhere. (Like, or, or amazon to buy “SHANK”, it’s up to you).

So, as for the former question, I did attempt recently to get myself an agent off the back of “SHANK”, sending screeners and the usual C.V. stuff to a few agencies in London, but most simply told me they weren’t taking anyone new on at the moment, which is fair enough. I did have interest from one who liked the film, but I think they want to wait to see what I do next before they make a decision. So, back to the question – what am I doing next?

Well, you’ll see on the news page that I’m currently developing a feature project entitled “Thieves”, which we hope to shoot later this year. Chris and I spent a lot of time developing feature projects in 2009, but we found the battle and search for investors not only time consuming but also extremely difficult and frustrating. They’re interested, then they’re not – or they don’t want to commit just now, or you can never get them locked into a face-to-face meeting…. I actually think in some ways its easier to make a film for nothing. If you have access to the kit you can just pick up the camera and go do it without all the waiting around.

Thus far we’d been working with a local production company in my hometown of Bristol to raise the finance, and I realised that with everything we had access to between us, why not start developing something that can be made on a much lower budget, but still sell to a market in order to hopefully make a return, and just get on with it whilst we wait for investment on the larger projects to come in?

And so, “Thieves” was born. Now this won’t be made for nothing either, but as I said for a much smaller budget that we know we can get. Chris is about a week away from delivering the first draft and we hope to be able to shoot in August, so it’s an exciting, but also nerve-wracking time at the moment. I also have a short I am currently developing so that’s potentially a second project for me this year, to be made either before or after “Thieves”. Of course I will be keeping you up to date on casting, development and production of all those projects here, so if you want to track our progress then check back here regularly for more info!

I can’t wait to get started, though I’ve been working, I’ve not directed since “SHANK”, and prior to that I usually had a project on the go each year, so the directing part of my brain is screaming to get going on a new film!

I’ll just end by saying that if you want to make films, start now. Get a camera, grab some friends and go do it and keep doing it. You will learn something on every project you work on, even if its your own and you think you don’t know anything. Show it to other people and get their feedback – does the story make sense? What works, what doesn’t work? Watch films you like closely – look at the techniques they use that are successful and think about why. Then, with each film, you can get more ambitious, they can be longer – you can put out a casting call for professional actors instead of your friends, you can strive for more ambitious locations – even if you haven’t got money to spend you’ll be surprised what a polite phone-call to the right person can do for you. The worst thing they’ll say is no. So try somewhere else. There are a lot of sites and email lists like and talentcircle where you can find cast and crew to work with, people who are just as keen to get something made and to find someone with whom they can collaborate regularly in future.

By the way, I’m not claiming to be any kind of authority on how to get into the industry, be a director or anything like that, I’m just speaking from my own personal experiences – I myself have a lot to learn!

That’s enough bullsh*t from me for now, thanks for reading and speak to you again soon!

One Response to “May 2010”
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