iThis year, I decided to go back into TV Production and see what was out there! It's a booming industry and like many other industries post Covid, there's a great need for skilled individuals in the TV Production Space.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
- Theodore Roosevelt -
2022 - Production Manager on Location "The Singles' Table"
Working in the Reality Entertainment genre is "not for the fainthearted", as MY HOP Jody Collins at Initial TV said. This wedding dating series for ITVBe was a baptism of fire, as we needed to fit in and around the wedding couple and venue's timetable. A superb crew, with a team of varied personalities, we achieved much in a short space of time. I had a dedicated small but perfectly formed Production Team and I'm looking forward to seeing how all our hard work looks on screen!
2016 - Production Crew Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France
I assisted Fanny Productions, an independent production company from the south of France, in their filming of the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc marathons over the course of a week in the Alps, spanning Switzerland, France and Italy. With 4am starts, lugging a tripod in the beautiful mountains, my fitness certainly improved - the highlight was being on a helicopter shoot in Italy with Mont Blanc in the background, and meeting ultra athletes from all over the world.
2015 - TV Consultant - set up the NY office for London TV Indie
For this wonderful TV consulting project, I was tasked with setting up the US head office for UK Independent Production Company, October Films, in New York. This included dealing with Commercial realtors to find suitable commercial office space in Manhattan, negotiating the lease, engaging tradesmen, building out the location with glass offices and getting the computer and phone networks and security installed. We also needed an in-house edit suite and ongoing support for the office and edit suite. I had 7 weeks from arrival in New York to take possession of the empty office space to completing the job - it was a great experience, and October Films is a wonderful company to work with.
2014 - TV Production Manager
My role was Production Manager - organising this shoot in Argentina for the Rheas sequences of this Natural World documentary which aired in June 2016. It was filmed in the remote Rincón del Socorro, part of The Iberá National Park in Argentina. It was a challenging shoot to organise due to its remote location, and it all went well.
2006 - 2014 - Managing Director +
In 2006, I set up and then ran Primate Planet Productions Ltd with the late Jim Cronin, based at the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset. Following Jim's tragic death, I continued working with Dr Alison Cronin and Animal Director Jeremy Keeling (who set up Monkey World with Jim Cronin). In 2010, I became joint owner of Primate Planet Productions Ltd.
MONKEY LIFE - SERIES 1 to 7 and filmed 2/3 of SERIES 8 - Primate Planet Productions Ltd.
Under my directorship, we produced seven landmark series of MONKEY LIFE and shot 2/3 of the footage for Series 8 before I put a succession plan in place. Monkey Life was shown on Channel 5 and on Discovery's Animal Planet Channel and Nat Geo WILD in over 140 countries around the world. We had a small but hard-working team.
As Managing Director of Primate Planet Productions, I was responsible for the strategic direction of the company, managing all aspects of legal, finance, HR, marketing and Head of Production. I was responsible for negotiating the commercial contracts with Broadcasters, managing the production budgets, overseeing series filming, staff and series production of the first seven series of MONKEY LIFE (134 episodes). The first three series were created in conjunction with Athena Films. After Series One's 14 episodes, MONKEY LIFE - SERIES 2 - 7 thereafter contained 20 x half hour episodes. Monkey Life is still being documented.
Executive Producer for Monkey Life - Series 4,5,6 & 7, Head of Production for Series 1-7. Director of sequences in each series on local shoots as well as international shoots. I directed shoots in Vietnam and South Africa, and filmed second camera for a number of shoots including for Series 8 (2015).
During my time running Primate Planet Productions I worked with rock solid media lawyer and friend, Jonathan Groves, and some amazing wildlife and documentary cameramen and women, sound recordists, and editors. Full credits are on the back of each DVD.
It was tragic to say goodbye to Jim Cronin and the amazing Veterinary Surgeon and Big Cat Specialist, Dr John Lewis, who became a very dear friend. Sadly we've also said goodbye to Chris Godden (editor) and Roger Whitby (soundie), two extremely talented and wonderful creatives. RIP my friends. You are missed.
Monkey World is an amazing home to rescued primates, and the series Monkey Life is such an important record of monkeys and apes, and their social interactions in captivity. I would urge everyone who loves primates to watch the Monkey Life series and visit the park in person.
At Monkey World, I had the privilege of working with the late Jim Cronin who set up the centre with Animal Director Jeremy Keeling, as well as Dr Alison Cronin and the late Dr John Lewis, one of the best Wildlife Vets and Big Cat specialists in the UK, a highly experienced anaesthetist and a very dear friend. RIP John.
2002 - Deciding to change career into Factual Television
Whilst taking a sabbatical and travelling for three months in Australia and New Zealand with my backpack and my tent, gave me time to evaluate my life and decide on next steps. I spent time hiking, diving on the Great Barrier Reef and immersing myself in the nature. When in Dunedin, NZ, I went to the University to investigate a post graduate in Natural History Filmmaking, but decided to come back to the UK and apply for jobs in Television production instead. With my background in Marketing and Advertising as well as IT Project Management, applying these skills to the Television Industry, made perfect sense.
2002 - TV Production Assistant
I worked at Oxford Scientific Films on a History Series, series called Industrial Revelations with Mark Williams for the Discovery Channel (10x1hr)
2004 - IT Ubuntu and Canonical Websites Project Manager (see below)
I was then was offered an opportunity back in IT that I couldn't refuse - working with an old school and University of Cape Town friend, Mark Shuttleworth. This also led to further consultancy work, before I got back into Television.
2005 - 2006 - TV Production Assistant
Thereafter, I worked at Bonza TV, set up by Filmmaker Chris Lethbridge, on a History Series called "More Industrial Revelations with Mark Williams" (10 x 1hr), extremely popular on the Discovery Channel. I worked with a great team at Bonza, based at Salon Rentals in Acton. Nic and Nick provided all the edit suites and tech support (they're an amazing team!). DVDs can be purchased on Amazon.
2006 - TV Development
I worked with Joe Kennedy, Wildlife producer/Director and now owner of Table Mountain Films in South Africa, developing a six part series, called Wild Rites for Off The Fence (TV Production Company and Distributer in Amsterdam headed by Ellen Windemuth) and Talking Pictures (SA).
Some of the wonderful cameramen and sound recordists I worked with along my journey, became part of my Primate Planet Productions Ltd. team.