I am a tv drama director, a photographer and a potter.
For 27 years I have made my living directing tv drama. It is work I love and am proud of, and surprisingly, increasingly enjoy. As a place to spend time a shooting set is capricious and chaotic. Constantly holding up the yin of exceptional outcomes and the yang of exceptional cost. Intense practicality, industrial purpose, ludicrous pace hidden beneath glacial slowness and random repetition.
Repetition... 10,000 hours, 10,000 pots, across so many practices 10 years reveals how long it takes to learn anything. Repetition teaches skill, and the skill is in using the repetition to seek out freshness.
The 'glamour of the shoot' is a massive distraction, it is where the money is spent, where actors work, where the action is enacted, it's a workbench. But I so understand why Hitchcock hated shooting, he felt constrained by the realities which stood between him and his perfect plans. The script is the dream that becomes a road map. If the map is clear, the shoot follows it and delivers you and your dream into the cutting room. There the work truly begins.
Personally I love shooting, that could be my downfall. I love the friendships and the intensity of the struggle to make what is not real, appear truthful. Most of the time it is completely enthralling, and some of the time it is total fuckwittery.
As I get older how I earn my living is changing. Partly it is age, but, as I see it, the changes that are coming are the same for most of us. The value of labour is moving steadily towards zero. Making stuff is now a tiny part of anyone's output. We earn our money from selling services and charging rents. And the work making physical things is increasingly banal.
As a director I make things which have no literal value: they are blocks of digital information which get passed around - it is the sharing that raises money. The stuff itself, the ones and zeros can never be given a gold standard cost.
But, the pots I make are gifts, they are real things to pick up and use. Ten years ago Andrew Crouch proposed teaching me to throw. His teaching has been a wonderful and inspired gift. Passing the gift on, as a bowl, coffee cup or jug, has created changes both personally and professionally. To make things which are beautiful, useful and durable (Satish Kumar's "bud") and which are gifts, has an intimacy that creates change. It is a different rate of exchange, it's visible and creates engagement. That is the theory anyway... And, recently, I have started to sell from the Marches Pottery. It is a new step, a new perception of who and what objects are made for. The care has to remain as engaged as if the recipient were a friend or relative.
Pottery raises a conversation about skill and art and repetition that fascinates me. A conversation that, I hope, will continue here. Making pots has unlocked blocks in my work as a director, and bounced outwards to my love of taking pictures. Curiosity becomes easier through repetition. Skill comes from continually turning up... again and again and again.
I have always taken photographs. Imagining how a picture could be, and working out how to take it, print it and show it, is an investigation. There is an intimacy both in a portrait, and in photographing a landscape. Getting to know a person or a place, or a person in a place. So my plan is to build a portfolio of work and commissions. It's an exploration and enjoyment of the communities I live and work in.
Since last September I have been teaching part time at Salford University. I lecture on screenwriting and film production as part of their BA Sons in Film Production. I have learnt far more than my students, and have enjoyed the demands of learning how teaching and parenting are not the same. How both require stepping away from the 'fixing' of things.
I don't know exactly what this website 'is for', but it is something made of nothing that brings together a whole lot of stuff. It is also a place you can come to to commission a film, a pot or a picture.