When I was a kid I used to draw pictures of my future filmography and what a box set of my films would look like. That might seem a little sad, and you're probably right, but I've always dreamed of being a writer/director, for as long as I can remember.
I know that's something you hear a lot of people say, but I often wonder how true it is. For me, I remember being four years old, drawing pictures of mountains that I would then stick to my wall to act as a backdrop for a scene in my films. I can remember setting my mum's shed on fire because I wanted an exciting climax for a short. I can remember spending all my pocket money on props like masks and fake severed hands. Halloween was always my favourite time of year because it meant that was when I'd be able to get a whole load of new stuff for my movies.
I used to argue with my friends over the fact that I was taking film-making too seriously, my dad worried that I was becoming obsessed and desperately tried to get me to show interest in anything but films, my mum insisted that I go out and play like a "normal kid" rather than stay at home watching films, writing and coming up with ideas.
All of this is a really round-about way of telling you just how much I've always wanted to tell stories through film. I love it, it is quite literally my passion, and while I appreciate that if you don't have something similar in your life then you're going to struggle to understand what it's like, just trust me when I say that's so all consuming that it can make things really difficult.
It's endangered my relationship, it's gotten in the way of my life, it's made me a nightmare to live with. It's meant that I've struggled to hold down a "proper job", as so many people like to put it, and it's genuinely made me depressed in the past, that I work so hard at something so out of reach. I know it sounds insane - I want to make movies is like saying you want to be dinosaur to some people. You just can't.
Well, recently something has started to happen.
After we finished working on Follow the Crows I felt a little lost and directionless. I'd done The Door during post-production, and I knew I wanted to make some shorts, which I got to work doing, but there didn't seem to be much in the way of forward momentum, at least not in the sense that I had imagined. Perhaps it was somewhat naive of me, but I'd assumed making a feature film was going to make a few people take notice. Apparently it didn't.
So I started doing what I always do when I'm in a slump; write. I started writing about movies, because, hey, I freaking love movies. I started this blog to try and get some ideas out there and as a place to collect my thoughts and I started sending off these pieces to film sites in the hopes that maybe one of them might pick me up as a feature writer.
One of them did! I'm now a feature writer for Battle Royale With Cheese, an awesome movie blog run by genuine movie fans. There's a lot a freedom afforded to me to be able to write what I want when I want and that's really cool. Plus, they've given me the regular job of writing up a weekly round-up of movie news, and that's really cool.
The podcast I host, Cultish, is still going strong and has a steady set of listeners. It's not mega successful or anything, but we average around 40 listens each episode and they're not people I know, and that's pretty cool.
Follow the Crows won an award, but so did my short film Headlights, which absolutely blew me away, and then yesterday, while on set for my next short, I was asked to feature on BBC Radio Wiltshire discussing sequels, which... yeah, I mean, that's just awesome. I can't stress how cool that is! I'm chuffed.
And while I led in bed last night mulling over these recent events it occurred to me. I may not be at a place where I have my own box set filmography, but I'm not doing too badly, all things considered. I think that little boy who used to spend all his time designing the posters for his future films, imagining what his career would look like as a big-budget film director, I think he's be pretty pleased with how things have turned out. And I'm really excited to see where things go next.
Thank you everyone who has supported me in someway. From the actors and crew who continue to do amazing work with me on shorts and features, to my wonderful partner and children who love and support me no matter what. I wouldn't be here without all of you, and I wouldn't get to wherever I'm going either. Things are starting to feel like they're working, at least in their own small way, and I'm pretty damn happy about that.