What is the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

It’s often as much about the execution as the idea, for me. I thought that recent EE campaign was just amazing. My favourite spot was the one about kids growing up with phones. I thought it was brave and intriguing for a mobile phone brand to engage with how complex it is for kids to have phones woven so completely into their lives. And in getting hold of both the joyful and the trickier elements of that experience, it felt like they really owned it. I loved the performances and the shooting style – it felt contemporary and effortlessly authentic, which is what really excited me. I felt like those kids and their experience had a real voice and that was great. This is a script I would love to have seen.

EE – EE Learn

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What website(s) do you use most regularly?

YouTube, Vimeo, The New Yorker, BFI Player; I’m always looking for inspiration for storytelling ideas, and for new angles and ideas to bring over into my film and commercial work. I just watched Knight Of Fortune on The New Yorker; it’s amazing I recommend giving it a look. 

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?

A Blackmagic 6K Cine Pro camera; it’s just a dream. I’ve used it on every project since I bought it. It cuts with the big cameras, so I can use it shoot around the main camera or for picks-ups, and I can rig it to stuff where I would never be allowed to put a big camera. When you see those stolen shots in my work that’s often the black magic.

What product could you not live without?

Sellotape! My office grinds to a halt when I run out. I’m forever sticking stuff on the walls, storyboards, random thoughts, stills from films or ads… story outlines. I find it really helpful to get everything up on the wall and surround myself with an idea while I’m developing it. 

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?

I just watched Rodeo. It’s a French movie about an outcast young woman joining a teenage biker gang. Beautifully shot, soulful and exciting. She is a tough character who is both gripping and empathetic. The aesthetic of the film really spoke to me and the story stayed with me. Last night I watched Saltburn – that’s pretty full on and beautifully crafted, I really enjoyed it, but Rodeo spoke louder to  me.

What film do you think everyone should have seen?

Central Station, City Of The Lost Children, All About My Mother, Rodeo… and, of course, The Princess Bride! They’re all films with childhood at their heart. I find the work I want to do often resonates with these themes. A lot of the films I really love speak to pain and struggle, but also to hope.

What’s your preferred social media platform? 

Insta, but I’m dipping my toes into TikTok. 

What’s your favourite TV show?

True Detective! I also love The Bear. I love that intense style, and the first person vibe. But those early box sets still have my heart. I loved The Sopranos and The Wire. Season Two of The Wire is probably my favourite ever TV series.

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently? 

I wish I’d been to an exhibition recently, but I spend all my time working on films or hanging out with my kids. 

If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be?

Johnny Cash. He never lets you down.

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

I love it when the process isn’t fearful. When people can trust the idea and we can shoot the treatment. It does still happen and, when it does, it's wonderful. Fortune favours the brave, so if could change one thing I’d make us all more brave.

Who or what has most influenced your career?

I used to work with young offenders, refugees and at-risk kids. That time really set the tone for my documentary work, which led me into commercials. I taught myself to shoot and edit in order to have something creative to do with the kids. It really enabled them to have a voice and to tell their own stories. That developed and grew into making faithful, intimate docs with lots of heart and energy. That world was where I found that love for an authentic voice and a hopeful tone, which became a big part of my work. I’ve also held onto the idea, which was important in that world, that you can do almost anything, and tell almost any story, if your heart is in the right place.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.

When I was little I used to have a secret mouse called Lucky who lived in a box under my bed. I saved up my dinner money and bought her on the cheap from a pet shop in Norwich – she only cost 20p because she had big tumour on her head. I loved her until she eventually nibbled her way out of the box and ran away, so maybe it wasn’t mutual.

I’ve just finished a short called MOUSE! It’s about a little boy who makes friends with a mouse which his dad is trying to kill. We trained five mice for two months straight - each one learning a different aspect of the script. They totally nailed it. The whole production was a brilliant experience and turned out better than I had hoped. I love working with kids and animals – I think there’s a lot of crossover skills between the two.