Career Four - Voice Acting (current)
Three - MD of a Television Production Company and Consultancy
Two - IT Project Management and Consultancy
One - Advertising and Marketing (below the line)
University - Bachelor of Commerce - Major in Informations Systems Analysis & Design
Being a Voice Actor is a wonderful way to bring all my skills learnt in previous careers to the fore. I'm so grateful for the learning and opportunities I've had. Voice Actors are entrepreneurs - we need to market ourselves and advertise our services, and find our own clients. We manage our own legal contracts, NDAs, and we do our accounts. I'm a storyteller. Executive Producing TV shows has helped me self-direct and ensure the final product of my Voice Acting is both top quality, as well as engaging.
As Voice Actors, we maintain and manage the equipment in our Home Studio. We record our audio, editing our auditions and master broadcast audio to finished files. My knowledge of IT has been invaluable in all my following careers - in TV when I set up Primate Planet Productions' edit suites with tech suppliers, and ensured our IT infrastructure and footage workflow was optimised for each TV series. It also proved invaluable when I set up October Films' NY office - and specified and oversaw the installation of the communications and computer networks, as well as an edit suite.
My BCom degree and the experience being MD of an Independent TV Production Company fo 8 years, helps me to run my own Voice Acting business well.
Every job we've done, mistakes made and successes celebrated...all these experiences make us better Voice Actors. It's been a rollercoaster ride and I learn something new every day. "The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind... is akin to that of the religious worshipper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.” - Albert Einstein
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.
My Major for my Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town, was Information Systems - Analysis and Design. I had some really interesting jobs in IT and bringing this learning into my voice acting has been invaluable. It made sense for me to specialise in E-Learning for computer companies as I am very comfortable with the jargon of the industry, and spent many years writing Functional Specifications. I'd be delighted to use my previous skills for your project.
As a Voice Actor with our own Home Studio, we need to be tech savvy and comfortable with trouble shooting recording issues. Not only do we need to record top class audio, we also need to edit our own work and make sure we deliver a broadcast quality audio product. I'm so grateful to have a background in information technology - it makes me a better Voice Actor.
2004 - 2005 - IT Project Manager
Mark Shuttleworth (entrepreneur, first South African tourist in Space) and created a free Open Source operating system called Ubuntu, based on the Debian Linux distribution. Mark needed a Project Manager to help on a range of projects. I joined the Canonical Team (then only 33 people) and shared time with some of the most intelligent people I've ever had the privilege of working with, thanks to Mark. He is an incredible visionary and after fifteen years of dedicated effort (2020), he and his team have created Ubuntu, an operating system that is self sustainable and competes with Microsoft and the Apple OS - an incredible feat.
2001 - 2003 - IT Consultant and Project Manager
I was asked to visualise, specify and Project Manage the creation of a website for the British Education and Communications & Technology Agency (BECTA). The site was Becta's Independent (ICT) Procurement Advisory Service (Ipas) up in Derby, to help schools with their procurement of Information and Communications Technology. I also worked on specifying BECTA's IT hardware infrastructure and did some consulting on an Ofsted project. I consulted for InFront Solutions specifying an online Building solution called Repair-IT for Insurance Companies to validate potential building insurance claims.
1999 - 2001 - IT Product, Project and Programme Manager
I worked with Managing Director of Nettec PLC. Lee Barnes, in the Joint Venture and Incubator area of the company, to come up with creative solutions for businesses in the dot com era. My first task was to specify, and project manage the creation of an Internet Recruitment Solution for the web and JobMagnet was born. A marketing and sales team came on board and Price Waterhouse Coopers procured it as their online recruitment solution. Together with MD Lee Barnes, we created a JV with Mos Bros called Our Big Day, a wedding website bringing together multiple wedding-related companies in a wedding portal. I was Senior Project Manager on First Choice Holidays - specifying and designing how the user would navigate the user interface, and progress through the online hotel and flight booking system to purchase flights and holidays. I also wrote the Functional Specifications for the web and Digital Television solutions.
Having worked in the Marketing and Advertising industry has been hugely helpful in every career I have had thereafter.
Every company needs to promote their brand or product to generate sales. Developing a product or brand, and bringing it to your customers or target audience in a way why reflects the integrity of your company and brand values is vital. I'd love to partner with you and help you promote your business.
As a Voice Actor, we are entrepreneurs and we have to promote and market ourselves in order to be seen, find our own clients and get our own voice acting work. I am very glad to have this wonderful foundation in communication, and the skills of good presentation of any idea, business or story.
1998 - 1999 - Freelance Account Manager
When I moved to the UK in 1998, I worked as a freelance Marketing and Advertising Account Manager for various Marketing and Advertising agencies, working in the FMCG arena.
The most prominent campaign was working at Geoff Howe and Associates on the Football World Cup in 1998 in France, for Annheuser Busch's Budweiser beer brand.
1997 - 1998 - Co-owner Exhibition Stand company
My partner and I set up and ran a business Space Shuttle Designs Ltd and we worked in the Exhibition Stand industry, creating most notably a 3/4 replica of the US Space Shuttle for Telkom (equivalent of British Telecom in SA). It was 18m long and 10m high made of fibreglass with banks of computers and a lounge and bar in the nose area. We also created electricity and water saving display stands for Eskom, South Africa's government-owned electricity public utility company.
1996 - 1997 - Account Manager
I moved on to Underline Promotions, working on Richard Branson's Virgin Vodka launch in South Africa, to Douglas Green Bellingham wines. My main client was Multichoice DSTV (equivalent of UK's SKY in SA) a paid bouquet of TV channels. New Metro Cinemas, L'Oreal and Blossom Margarine.
It was a lot of fun, hard work and this is where I honed my marketing and advertising expertise, under the beady eye of director Carl Wakeham.
1995 - 1996 - Account Executive
I started out in Marketing and Advertising working for Radio 5 DJ Brian Oxley and his wife, Irene, in Oxley Marketing, Advertising and PR firm, where I learnt the fundamentals of good campaigns. I did everything from selling advertising and creating brochures, and running promotional events for musicians, to looking after a Shopping Centre full of clients, running competitions, exhibitions and promotions to increase sales across the board.
1992 - 1994 - University of Cape Town
I so enjoyed my time at University, and completed a Bachelor of Commerce - major in Information Technology - Systems Analysis & Design.
My degree was filled with subjects like Accounts, Economics, Statistics, Tax, Managerial Accounts & Finance, Contract Law and Information Systems, which has served me so well in every career I've followed.
UCT is a beautiful university, nestled at the base of the mountain. When the ivy turns red, one should have started studying for exams! Not only was there a lot of work, but wonderful opportunities to serve in our less advantaged communities.
So, I joined committees on Remember and Give (RAG) to do humanitarian work, following on from Interact (Junior Rotary) at school. I also took up gymnastics - we had loads of fun competing against other universities and I met some amazing friends.
Springbok gymnastic coach Lawrence Flude now runs a very successful Branding and Marketing company called Fludium.
I highly recommend their innovative approach. Please email Lawrence or Clare, or get in touch via their website.
Mark Shuttleworth and I studied the same Information Systems Major and I was so privileged to be a part of the Canonical team in the early years of the creation of Ubuntu Linux, the innovative Open Source operating system.
Mark is a philanthropist - please see The Shuttleworth Foundation for more information.