I wanted to be an actor BUT was advised to not do that by my father. He instead thought I should take on a livelihood that that could survive Armageddon, after, all in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse Mankind will always have need for a farmer. Builder. Doctor.
I hedged my bets and went for Architecture which is an art yet a science. I now realize that of course we've always needed story tellers. We've been telling each other stories since we sat by the camp fire as cavemen arguing whose turn it was to do the school run. I digress.
So, I went to school in Zimbabwe. Architecture school in Kingston, England. Then onto a job at the BBC as a trainee presenter which then became Radio 1 DJ gig. Did the show after John Peel for a few years. Realized the end was nigh (not in a Zombie Apocalypse way but in my contract isn’t going to be renewed way.) Which was okay as by then I had fallen out of love with music. Another story.
I went to BBC Light Entertainment radio and produced hours and hours of network radio comedy including ‘Weekending’ the weekly topical news show. Loved that show. At Light Entertainment radio I worked with a lot of comedians including Pete Serafinowicz and Simon Munnery.
After a few years there I decided to try and give TV a go. I wrote the ‘Ian Wright Show’ for ITV. Made ‘The Beginner’s Guide’ series for BBC 2 while presenting the weekend breakfast show at Kiss 100. In late 1999 I tested some new digital cameras from Sony as I believed they would be the future. I shot 4 pilots that I self-financed, hired a cinema in the West End of London and invited the major channels. I sold 2 of them.
Produced through my company Shona Films and directed by Zoe Stewart, one of the projects ‘Homie and Way’ landed on the Comedy Lab slot on Channel 4, where we shared our half hour with Dom Joly of Trigger Happy TV, the other the hip hop sketch show ‘Uncut Funk’ landed on BBC 2. I wrote, directed, produced and acted in that one.
Next I wrote a film called DOG EAT DOG that was made and was released by Film 4. It's famous for having Ricky Gervais in it and being the first thing David Oylweyo did. After that I wrote and directed a number of shorts including the award nominated ‘Sarah Smile’ and raised the money for my first feature ‘Hush.’
Released in 2008 it was nominated for a British Independent Film award but crucially was seen by the studios in the US. I was then invited to pitch on a movie called HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET. I cast JEN LAWRENCE before the World discovered her. Made the film. Moved to America. The film came in at number one in the US. Made 66 million Worldwide. I then segue wayed into TV and directed the pilot and all ten episodes of the show ‘The Five’. I then shot the pilot of ‘Paranoid’ for ITV then Kevin Williamson (SCREAM) hired me for ‘Time after Time.’ I've also done ‘Lucifer’. ‘Gotham.’ ‘Impulse.’ ‘Black Lightening.’ George R. Martin's ‘Nightflyers’ including the season finale. Revamped the new ‘Dr. Who.’ ‘The Passage.’ ‘Tell me a Story.’ ‘LA’s Finest.’
What else? Oh I have a questionable taste in sneakers.
Jeremy Bell @ GOTHAM GROUP.
Abby Glusker @ UTA.
Josh Varney @ 42.