I was about 10 years old and for a few years had already been snapping away with a Box Brownie camera given to me by my granddad. It took rolls of 127 film which I became adept at loading and developing. The turning point came when I was given a tour of the newly opened ITV studios in Leeds. For me it was magical seeing the lights, sets, cameras and bustling activity on the sets. They were producing an episode of a drama called Hadley. That was the moment I decided I wanted to work in TV.
Professionally speaking I am describing myself as a film producer because over about 20 years I produced films and “packages” for the BBC including BBC NEWS and Songs of Praise.
The thing I like about being a producer most is that they don’t work alone – it’s all about building a team and and fulfilling a vision. Producing is something akin to managing a building project; a builder takes the plans and makes them become real with the help of an excellent creative team. Over the years I have had some wonderful experiences working with some of the best actors, directors, writers, cinematographers. We’ve tried new things, made mistakes, won awards and had a great time. I still walk into a TV studio and get exactly the same feeling I got when I was 10 years old.
More recently I spent a lovely time based at ITV in Leeds for the launch of ITV Local, an online local news service. It brought me back to Yorkshire which I love with a passion. My role there was to manage launch and running of the service. Sadly ITV Local was a victim of one of the recent cutbacks, but I still have hope that ITV will return to something which engages with people where they are.
Leaving ITV has given me the opportunity to get involved with education. I did a bit more work for the BBC World Service in Ukraine, Far East and Africa delivering some workshop on promotional film production. I don’t count myself as a teacher, but I love running workshops and training sessions. I started doing these while at the BBC for the BBC’s Presentation department for trainee directors. I once even did a session on title sequences for Newsnight which was frightening (I have a natural fear of Jeremy Paxman).
My big project now is to establish The School Media Club. The focus for this is the production of cinema films by school children. www.schoolmediaclub.org
I hope you enjoy the blog which I confess I do as much for my own benefit as for yours, but I do hope you’ll read it and maybe comment on some of the posts.