As a writer I'm currently a participant of the FLEX programme with Screen Yorkshire - supported by SIGN. The programme, launched in June 2021, is supporting writers, directors and producers to develop dynamic, authentic and fluid stories fit for 2021 and beyond. Its fundamental goal is to work with talent that is inspired by the creative freedom afforded by FLEX and ready to innovate to connect diverse stories with new audiences.
(Photo: Lisa Stonehouse)
My comedy short film THE MAYORESS (as writer-director), which was nominated for an RTS award in November after being made as part of RTS Futures 48 Film Challenge is now online.
My comedy short film THE MAN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GARDEN (as writer-director) recently won the Audience Award at Purbeck Film Festival as well as Best North West Short Film Award at Wigan and Leigh Film Festival. The short was produced by Karen Newman of Hidden Door Production and features Denise Black, Paul Bradley and Clare Calbraith.
In November the script for the short was shortlisted for Best Script (Over 19) at the Film the House UK competition. The competition will culminate in a ceremony at the House of Commons in January 2022 and is sponsored by Directors UK. Disney, Motion Picture Association, ViacomCBS, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, WarnerMedia and Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS).
The film also saw we shortlisted as a director for the British Comedy Guide Talent Awards for my comedy short THE MAN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GARDEN The awards recognise and champions emerging comedy talent and this year were judged by a panel comprised of six industry figures at the top of their fields: Sky Studios producer Adnan Ahmed; TV director Andrew Chaplin; producer Claire Broughton, who is head of podcasts at Hat Trick Productions; Sky Studios producer Katie Churchill; Yellow Door Productions founder Lucy Lumsden; and Mark Wynter, from leading post production facility The Farm.
The script was originally written for a BBC Writersroom callout, where it made the final 50 of InterConnected, out of almost 7,000 scripts.
8 selected scripts were ultimately produced and then screened across the BBC's platforms.
In 2021 I was selected to be as a mentee on Set ccess: A UK Film Talent Development Programme from Creative Access and Guy Ritchie.
During lockdown I also produced and directed the short film HAND TO HAND COMBAT. It was written by Jayne Marshall and filmed remotely with a company of 45 women (both actors and non-actors) to raise public awareness of domestic abuse and to give a voice to women. Everyone involved volunteered their time and it was cast through an open call - with everyone who expressed an interest in the project was invited to participate. On the film's release we were incredibly grateful to have received public support from Women's Aid, Manchester Women's Aid, Creative England and numerous support organisations from across the country.
In addition to be available online the film has screened at the BAFTA-qualifying Bolton Film Festival, at HOME in Manchester as part of Filmed Up and won Best Drama at the Deep Fried Film Festival.
In September 2020 I was invited onto the Story Futures Academy Ideate Bootcamp in partnership with Creative England, The two-day Bootcamp was open to those in the film, television, theatre or games industry keen to explore immersive storytelling and develop the skills and knowledge required to become a creator in VR/AR or MR.
My short comedy audio monologue FEEDING TIME (as writer-director) featuring Cathy Breeze premiered on BBC Radio Manchester as part of BBC Upload in July 2020.
In 202o I was grateful to have been a part of the Widening the Lens scheme with Encounters Film Festival supported by ScreenSkills.
In February 2020 (as director-producer) the final episode of the four part audio drama OMEGA was released by BBC Audio Drama Award winning prodution company Wireless Theatre.
At the end of 2019 I was chosen (as a director-producer) to be one of four finalists in Audible's Audio Drama Production Competition with sound designer extraordinaire Paul Darling and had the pleasure of working with a great team at Audible's studios to produce a 21 minute audio drama that I'm incredibly proud of. Though we didn't win - missing out on a £5000 budget for our next production, the feedback we've received was fantastic.
At the end of 2019 I was selected to be part of Open Horizons #2, a 6 month initiative to help early career professionals overcome disadvantages caused by their geographical location. The scheme is financed by The Film & TV Charity and managed by Northern Film + Media and NFM Academy.
In January 2019 I made the final three of The Pitch - Film Competition 2018 with THE END after pitching live to a panel of industry judges at Pinewood Studios - narrowly missing out on £30,000 of short film funding and production support.
My initial 2-minute proof of concept film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/333841377
Having secured development funding the script is now locked and I'm in the process of applying for funding in order to take the short into production.
(Runner-up in The Pitch - Film Competiton 2018 - award presented by Toyah Willcox - Photo: Scot Openshaw)
In the past I've been incredibly lucky to have benefited from The Family Support Fund, which specifically targets parents and carers who need financial help with childcare or caring responsibilities. The 12-month pilot scheme was a joint partnership with Raising Films and the Film & Television Charity to provide short term financial support.
I'd also like to extend my thanks to The Film & Television Charity and Northern Film + Media for the previous support they provided through their Going Places Fund - which offers grants to cover travel and subsistence expenses for individuals needing to attend training, interviews or pitches.