Ever since I saw the curtains part at my local cinema and the bombastic music of John Williams blast out during Superman 2, I have been obsessed with cinema. I always thought that I would be involved with it, in some aspect, but of course, I didn’t know how. I would watch all of the film programmes, and cut out articles and stuck them in my book. I hassled my mum, at every opportunity to take me to the cinema, and collected posters and postcards by the drawfull, and with it pre-internet, I sent off to Italy for my radio cassettes of film soundtracks.
When all of the other kids at school were listening to the latest pop songs, I was listening to film scores – I was immersed in it!
I loved drama at school and when I left I auditioned for my local drama course but was told, because I was working full time as a bouncer and the other students were funded by their parents, I wouldn’t be able to devote the time to the course. I was bitterly disappointed but vowed to try again the next year, which I did. This time I was told I wouldn’t fit in as my ‘lifestyle’ wasn’t conducive with the course and other students. I was devastated and felt my dreams were over before they had begun. Looking back now it angers me that a tutor would say that to a young person who showed such interest and was desperate to learn.
So a lost decade ensued.
I was in and out of every job going, the army, taxidriver, labourer, receptionist, window cleaner, you name it. I tried various courses, but I couldn’t settle into anything as I wasn’t following my dream and hearts passion. I became self destructive with drugs and was going nowhere fast.
When I was 31 I knew I had to do something as the years were falling by like the rain and I was directionless. I went back to the same course, this time it was a different tutor and was placed on the degree course and thankfully passed, even though I was working full time as a care worker by day and bouncer by night. It wasn’t the actual grade that inspired me, it was the course. I had lost my way and confidence in my wilderness years, but this inspired me, and I regained that confidence and knew this was what I wanted to do.
After the course I sat down in my room and decided I would write a play based on everything I was feeling at that time. I wanted to be in films, but I didn’t hang around in ‘arty’ circles and didn’t know how, so I thought the next best thing would be a play.
I wrote DOORWAYS, based on my 25 years experience as a bouncer. Even although I had never written a play, I just did it. I wasn’t to critical of myself during the process as I knew I just had to finish it and get it done. I took it to a local drama group and Cristina Artemis encouraged me all of the way to do it. (Click here to find out how I did the play and made the DOORWAYS feature film)
I then staged my second play SEARCHING, based on my experiences of trying to find my way and time in the army.
Through DOORWAYS I was fortunate enough to win a writing scholarship with The National Theatre and an acting one with New York Film Academy. But, I needed the cash to live in manhattan for a year – I bought myself a taxi so I could work as hard as possible and I entered a cage fighting tournament as there was a prize of £5,000, which would have helped significantly, but unfortunately I broke my leg!
My New York dream was over, but every cloud has a silver lining and it spurred me on to turn DOORWAYS into a feature film myself, writing, acting, co-producing, and directing, as I couldn’t afford to bring a director in.
I then went on to make my second feature MY SAVIOUR, again, writing, co-producing, acting and directing. (Click here to find out more)
I have recently completed my latest feature RELENTLESS and in the process of finding a distributor. It has already been very successful at several festivals.
I will begin work on my new feature film SKULL HUNTER in the new year!
I often wish I had started this journey much much earlier and think back to my first attempts to get on my drama course and being rejected, it sometimes it fills me with bitterness but at the same time I know I have had so much life experience that it has filled me with so many more stories and emotions that I want to explore in my films, utilising all of the feelings and emotions I have ever felt, this way it ensures that none of this life has been wasted.
Follow your heart
Just try… then you can taste fulfillment!