When I was younger I was struck by various films. I grew up in Newcastle in the northeast and, as most people know, it’s a very working class very grounded place. I’m incredibly proud of my heritage in that respect but on the flip side, growing up in that period of time there was very little opportunity to get access to the creative industries. So the idea of that never really felt like an option. Whilst I was very passionate and interested in film and filmmaking I had no idea how to navigate that path.
Long story short I started off as an actor, I did the national youth theatre, I kind of didn’t tell anyone and then I auditioned and I got a place, and then I thought actually I can do this and this is something I might actually be good at. Then through working as an actor, I still felt like there was an element of me which wasn’t being satisfied. As an actor, you’re only able to be involved in the filmmaking process to a point. I wanted more than that.
I started writing my own stuff over ten years ago and started making short films, with a group of friends, who have all kind of gone on to work in the industry in one form or another. These films got more and more ambitious, and then my short film Man and Boy won at Tribeca and that gave us the momentum to go on and make a feature. It has evolved, but I knew probably pretty early on I wanted more than just to act. I love acting and will always continue to do that, but it’s nice to mix it up and to be able have the contrast. I would define myself on a daily basis more as a filmmaker which encompasses all of those things.