From my late teens until my early 20s, I studied film making, exploring a new medium through which I could tell the stories I wanted to tell.
Though I’ve since learned that good old pen and paper makes me far happier than camera and editing software, I’m still nonetheless proud of some of the film projects I worked on, even if they weren’t all as successful as I’d hoped.
For the sake of making my portfolio as complete as possible, I’ve provided some background on the few projects I worked with, along with images and any video I can still get my hands on.
Just Another Sport – Documentary – 2005
A documentary project I edited and co-directed which explored both the perceptions of young people as ‘yobs’ and ‘vandals,’ and the impact that developing skatepark facilities had on their local communities.
Just Another Sport was shot over three days thanks to funding from Douglas Valley Community, Manchester Airport, North West Arts, and the Learning & Skills Fund.
I’ll be posting a full copy of the film as soon as I can. Until then, I’ve written up a full background of the film, it’s purpose, and my involvement at the following page:
- Read more about Just Another Sport
- Article I wrote about what we learned from making the film, published on Blog Preston.
The Randoms – Bar Music – Music Video – 2005
It’s funny how so much of my work eventually makes it’s way back to either music or writing. In this case, my work on the video for Bar Music by The Randoms was a combination of both. I believe it was a review I wrote of one of their gigs that first put me in touch with the band, though I’m not sure how we became friends after that.
What I do know, is that in the years before the video, I’d had a lot of fun bringing my trusty video around the dive bars of Manchester, Liverpool, and Wigan, and shooting clips of various gigs.
Some how, all of this led to The Randoms asking me to work on a music video for them. The premise was simple; follow the lads around Manchester over a couple of weekends in the summer and film them basically walking around, hanging out, and -in keeping with the theme of the song Bar Music- having a drink or two in various pubs and bars around the city’s Northern Quarter.
I still remember the tremendous fun of the days we spent shooting, followed by the anxious knot in my stomach as I showed them the finished product -complete with the “grainy/scratchy” effect they’d asked for. Thankfully, there was no need to be anxious; the air of celebration, the hugs, and the handshakes that followed that initial screening were more reward for the job than I ever could’ve asked for.
Though I’m not sure that the video has aged well, I’m still very fond of it.
The Curse of See No Evil – Documentary – 2004
In my late teens I set out to make a feature-length horror film. Yet with only a tiny budget and apparently an even tinier imagination, the best I could come up with was See No Evil, a found-footage type film that was my attempt to fuse Kevin Smith type dialogue into a none-too-subtle Blair Witch rip-off.
Cobbling together a couple of hundred pounds, myself and a group of friends rented a holiday cabin somewhere in the Lake District, went out into the woods, and proceeded to learn how not to make a film.
It was pretty much a disaster, and I never got even remotely close to finishing it. About 18 months later, I dug out what footage I could find, got my old friends together to shoot some interviews, and pieced the whole thing together in a documentary about the disaster that was my first film that never was.
The Curse of See No Evil was never meant to be a fun project that I worked on just for myself, but I thought I’d mention it anyway because you, know fun times and all that.
Screenplay: Sod’s Law and Tequila – 2003
After writing the script for The Curse of See No Evil but before we actually tried -and failed- to make a movie out of it, I had a go at putting together two new scripts. I’ve since learned that I didn’t write either of them to “industry standard formatting,” but I’m OK with that. I was a young kid exploring a new way to tell the stories I had to tell, and I still like the work I did here.
One’s a Grade A student with a perfect girlfriend and an acceptance into Oxford University, the other’s a small-time pot dealer with nothing much to live for. Yet when the two old friends get together for one catch-up, the cruelty of fate is the only thing which decides who lives and who dies.
Four friends, two bottles, one night they won’t soon forget, no matter how much they may want to.
Tequila was a fictionalised retelling of a particularly memorable night that I had with an ex girlfriend and our two best friends. It’s a dialogue-driven story about how booze has the potential to tear relationships apart when you least expect it.
In time, I’ll reformat and edit both of these and publish them here.
Favourite films and film makers
Before I wrap up this page, I wanted to talk a little bit about the film makers I admire the most. My taste in film is pretty much like my taste in music, in that I like a large and varied assortment of styles, genres, and directors, all for completely different reasons.
Since I was first introduced to their work through my media studies course at college, I’ve been a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch, and made sure to see everything both men ever made, including the former’s earlier, less-well-known work. I think what I like about Kubrick and Lynch is their individual styles, and the look and feel of their stories.
In my teens, I was a big fan of Kevin Smith, and even ventured down to London to meet him and Jason Mewes (there’s even a split second clip of me sat in the audience on the DVD for An Evening with Kevin Smith 2 DVD, but as I got older I think I basically grew out of Smith, and typically find his stuff difficult to watch today.
A love of Silent Bob was replaced in my late 20s with a respect for Quentin Tarantino, and especially for Alfred Hitchcock, who I think is probably the best storyteller cinema has ever known.
Though not necessarily in order -and not necessarily all by my favorite film makers- here’s a few of my favourite all time films:
- Almost Famous
- North by North West
- Apocalypse Now
- Rear Window
- Dusk til Dawn
- Sin City
- Natural Born Killers
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- Mulholland Drive
- Easy Rider
- Dr. Strangelove
- A Clockwork Orange.