Before I started working full-time, I made a lot of films. Some of this was freelance filmmaking as a way to make money; other films I made to enter into small contests, and similar.
Here are some highlights:
The Packhorse documentary (unfinished)
The Packhorse Pub in Bath is a 600 year-old building in the village of South Stoke. In 2015, it was shut down, and the derelict building was bought by a property developer with a plan to convert it to an office or residential building. While applications to change it were blocked by the village, the building fell into disrepair.
Then a group of volunteers in the village began an effort to save the pub by buying it back as a collective. So began a lengthy effort to raise the funds needed to buy and restore the Packhorse to the communal heart of the village.
This was the story I wanted to tell in a short documentary. I started filming in around 2017, and collected dozens of hours of footage. My favourite interview was with a man who was born in the pub in 1930, and married his wife Edith after he got notice about being posted to Egypt in the air force:
In 1951, I began my National Service and was given short notice of my posting to Egypt. Edith and I decided to marry that weekend. I was allowed 48 hours’ leave for the purpose. As soon as he had finished his delivery round, Farmer Wilson drove Edith in the milk van to obtain a special licence from the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Our wedding, after a frantic two days of preparations, took place in St James’ on 3 November 1951, with a reception in Bob and Doris’ front room in the Packhorse. Doris stayed up late the night before, transforming a birthday cake into a wedding cake. Everyone contributed food, at a time when rationing was still in effect. This month we celebrated our 65th anniversary and, as we do every year, we returned to the church and the village to reminisce.
I was part of the way through editing the film before I got tied up in my studies, and later in full-time work. The film would have been around half an hour long. If anyone would like to finish editing a film about a pub in a village in Somerset — drop me a line.
Growth is a short animation about a farmer who grows a corn maze. The landscapes of the films were made through a mix of photography, paper cut-outs, and 3D models. For instance, the farmer himself and his house were cut out of card and digitally scanned,and the fields of grass and wheat were modelled and animated in Blender. I was 14 years old when I made it and I would hve done some things differently today. Still, I’m still quite proud of it.
In 2015 I was given the opportunity to produce three films for a live orchestral accompaniment, to be projected during a concert in the Bath Assembly Rooms. Composer Mark David Boden scored the music and handed the result to me to work from.
The first film uses footage from a trip to Kenya. The second is a short wordless film following my little sister as she wakes up early to take a photo of the sunrise. It won a ‘Future8’ award. The third is an animation about a man who opens his office door to a series of new worlds.
You can read about the performance here (permalink), and you can watch the first and second movements here and here.
I made videos for Strength in Depth, a series of ‘fitness racing’ competitions across the UK.
I covered the events, interviewed atheletes, made animated promotional films, and similar. Crossfit competitions are surprisingly fun to be part of.
You can watch some of the videos on the YouTube channel, although not all of them are mine. Here’s an example of a promotional clip.
These are from 2016 (when I was 17), a year or so before I stopped making films.