Hi, I'm James.
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
I'm a filmmaker raised in Cambridge, now living in Kingston-Upon-Thames. Although I've got a little rundown about me on my 'About' page, for my first post here I thought I'd write a little bit more.
I love being outdoors, whether that's climbing, hiking, kayaking, or even just a spot of Frisbee. I love going new places and meeting new people— I've been around the world a bit, but I'm always wanting to do more. I'm a sucker for a good coffee and have received formal barista training; I'm currently loving Crankhouse's offerings brewed with an Aeropress and I'll always go for a pour-over from Panama.
Although I dabble in many creative areas, I"m a writer at heart. I am constantly taking notes for story ideas, inspired by the world we live in. All my ideas range in length, complexity, (quality,) and genre. That said, there is one type of idea that seems to come up more often than others: comedy.
Spoon & Driver
For years, I've been writing sketches and fleshing out the idea behind Spoon & Driver.
Spoon & Driver follows the tale of an aspiring sketch-comedy duo... Spoon and Driver. Set in a magical-surrealist comedy world, the duo embark on their extra-mundane adventures in their quest to becoming a successful sketch-comedy duo.
The sketches expand into the greater world that is rich in lore from years of world-building. This world comprises the setting and backdrop for the series.
Right now, these sketches exist outside of episodes, uploaded solo online. Our hope is that, one day soon, we'll have the time and money to be able to produce the full episodes we've always envisioned.
Coming from a small town, collaboration with other filmmakers was never really possible. As I'm sure is similar with many other filmmakers, for a lot of my starter projects I ended up assuming every crew role there was—occasionally starring too. It wasn't until I got to University, after three 'gap-years', that it all started to change.
Below, is the first film group film I made at University with some great friends. Pub Crawl (2017) is a surreal short—the first in a series—about some friends on a night out (written, shot and edited by me):
As you can read more about on my 'About' page, when I was 7 I got my hands on my first camcorder and a copy of Adobe Premiere Pro 1.0. Nearly 20 years of experience with the Adobe suite later, much of my professional work lies in post-production.
There's something very satisfying about working on the start and end of a film, the writing and the edit, that I really enjoy being a part of. To me, these are two of the most important moments in the filmmaking process. Sure, being on-set is great fun—not being stuck behind a screen is great too—but for me, it's the start and the finish where some of the greatest creation can occur.
I few years ago, for a University project, our team set out to produce a non-narrative documentary in Iceland. We wanted to create something that followed the elements through their life and death, producing a cyclical film. We were inspired by such films as Baraka (1992) and Samsara (2011). Both are beautiful films and I'd recommend setting some time aside to watch them both.
Unfortunately, we had some technical issues. Freezing weather, water from all angles, and heavy wind proved a great hinderance. From about 300 hours of footage from two camera-crews, less than half ended up being usable. Of the useable footage, 11 minutes were used for the final piece.
Even though we followed the script, and took precautions when shooting, still the film had to be 'made in the edit'. Sometimes these things just happen. Sometimes there's more jank in some areas than other. For me, this is a tale of success for 'the edit', truly proving that it's one of the greatest and most versatile areas of the filmmaking process.
Jobs & Projects
As much as I love making films, I've largely stepped down in that area for the time being to focus on my job and other projects.
Teaching and Learning
I currently work as a Film Technician and Teacher at a post-16 academy. I've just finished the first year of my PGCE (teacher training) and will be qualified this time next year. Teaching and Learning is something that I've always been passionate about. I believe that education is one of the most important and limiting factors in the world. While I'm currently teaching filmmaking and learning about teaching, my dream is to elaborate on what I'm already learning and complete further studies in Philosophy and Cognitive Science with a focus on visual perception and metacognition.
Kingston Film Festival
Further to my aspirations of teaching and learning, I'm also a founding Director of Kingston Film Festival. Our slogan, 'Students and Beyond' represents much of what we stand for as a company. We want to give more to student filmmakers; more experiences, more education, more exposure. We're planning on running workshops in the local areas as well as producing some great content for people to engage and learn from. 'Beyond' is a calling to all international filmmakers as well as those who may no longer be students.
Kingston Film Festival is a place where you can make, share, and learn from the filmmaking experience.
I hope you've enjoyed my first post here. If you've got any questions or comments, please do get in contact with me; I'm always happy to have a chat and grab a coffee—in-person or virtually.