I began my television and film career back in 1995. I had just finished my Higher National Diploma course at Newcastle when I got the opportunity to create some ‘Tag’ art for a new character in the long running children’s drama Byker Grove.
Obviously I jumped at the opportunity which eventually led to my employment with the BBC as an Art Director.
It was whilst working on the Byker Grove programme that I undertook my first Special Effects job, it was to help create the Salon fire that took place on the programme. I came in to help Emergency House SFX, at the time one of the leading effects companies in Britain, having done many of the big BBC and ITV drama’s that included ‘The Lion and Witch and the Wardrobe’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘The Box of Delights.’
The experience was thrilling and it wasn’t long until I found myself packing my bags for Yorkshire to begin a new career as a special effects trainee for Emergency House.
I was now learning the art of television film making from a whole new perspective, from working with large film crews on feature films to a small skeleton crew on a local advertising campaign, I was now regularly adapting to the demands of different types of production with completely different aims. Doing rain one day, snow the next my working life became rich and varied, never doing the same job twice, always new challenges to face. However I was about to begin my greatest creative challenge when a group of comedians walked into our building looking for a company to provide the effects for their new comedy series, The League of Gentlemen.
For the League of Gentlemen we not only realised the physical effects gags, such as atmosphere and fires but I was also given the task to produce the model making gags too. I had made a few things in the past, a goat for Byker Grove, some rats for a Catherine Cookson episode but nothing on the scale of this. The various animal effects where complex and I was hugely ill prepared for such an undertaking, I had little idea of what I was doing, I was learning on the job without a guidance of an experienced model maker to help. A recipe for disaster! Yet thankfully it wasn’t. Looking back I shudder at some of the gags that I made, but they have a charm and they worked, the effects were well shot and have remained memorable and well loved, something I feel very proud about even if perhaps I would do things differently now.
I left fulltime work with Emergency House in 2002 to undertake some much needed life experience in Australia, at least that’s what I like to call a year travelling and having fun. I came back to the UK to a changing film making climate, budgets being slashed, and a general downward trend, effects companies where seen as a luxury and where taking the hit.
I freelanced for Emergency House for several years before the company decided to ‘call it a day’ in 2006.
Now I continue to freelance and have also returned to my first love, special make-up effects, where I have been steadily developing my portfolio on numerous productions including shorts, television drama and feature films.
What exciting projects will the future hold? I’m for one looking forward to find out.
For more information about me or my work, call me on 07880 652 359 or use the form below.