I’m sure when I say that I am an Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy winner, some people don’t believe me!
I was going through some “old” photos and came across this … myself with a BAFTA.
Before starting my SEO and digital marketing company, Blue Square Management, back in 2010, I had a number or jobs in other creative industries. These included working as a sports photographer, working for Formula One as a photographer and broadcast graphics operator and designer, wedding photographer and a visual effects artist in the film industry. It is the latter where I was part of the award-winning visual effects team.
As a 12-year-old, I watched a TV programme about the “Making of Star Wars” and at that point, decided that is what I wanted to do. I went to the school’s careers advice and asked about how I get into special or visual effects. All they had was an A4 leaflet from the BBC with a short section about special effects. It said you needed a BA(Hons) degree. So off I went, did my O-levels, A-levels and BA (Hons) degree.
During my A-levels, I started to write – yes, pen and paper, no emails back then – to visual effect companies, asking if they had any vacancies. I got an interview and was even offered a job as a runner. However, I decided to continue my education, get my degree, and then get a job as an effect’s artist. Unfortunately, that did not happen. So, I pursued my other second passion, photography.
After finishing my Art and Design degree, I started my photography career as a photographer’s assistant with Darius Photography, commercial photographers in Coulsdon, South London.
This was relatively short lived as I was given an opportunity to work with a sports picture agency, as a junior sports photographer. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands.
In 1996, I was able to combine my love for photography and Formula One, by becoming a photographer for Formula One Management. I travelled the world and followed the F1 circus. I can tell you now, it is not as glamorous as it sounds! During the racing season it was airport, fly to destinations, circuit, hotel, hotel to circuit, circuit to hotel (for 4-5 days), then fly home.
This gave me the chance to travel. I have been to places I would like to go back to and there are places I would never like to go back to!
Unfortunately, some aspirations end abruptly.
Back in Christmas of 2002, just after my mum died of cancer and my son being born three weeks later, I was made redundant from Formula One! As were many of us. Great timing! Yes, this was tough, but it allowed me to follow a dream that I had since I was 12 years old.
I did not know what to do after being made redundant! Yet, 23 years later, there was an opportunity for me to follow my boy hood dream, and that is exactly what I did. I looked to see if there were any visual effects training courses and came across Escape Studios. I enrolled on a Compositing for Visual Effects course. All of us on that course wanted to find work in the industry, so the course was adapted to help us gain the skills to find work as rotoscope artists.
Within six months of the course, I started my first job in the film industry, in London’s Soho. Working as a junior rotoscope artist for The Moving Picture Company (MPC) on the film, “Troy”. This was the start of the “spears and saddles” genre!
There are very few “staff” jobs within the effects industry. Most artists are freelancers, which can be very challenging, especially in 2020/21 with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, back in 2003/2004 it was not so tough. There was plenty or work.
While at The Moving Picture Company, I worked on:
During 2005, I started a small, part-time wedding photography business. As the majority of weddings are held on the weekend, this did not interfere with my “day” job.
The contract at MPC ended, so moved to Cinesite Studios, where I worked on:
Then moved to Double Negative, where I worked on:
After “Stranger Than Fiction” I received a longer rolling contract with Cinesite Studios. It is during this time that I was part of the visual effects team that won an Oscar and BAFT for visual effects for “The Golden Compass”. I also worked on:
From 2005 to 2010, I turned my passion for photography into an additional income by becoming a “part-time” wedding photographer. This was brought to a rather abrupt end with the financial crash, so I had to decide what to do. You can see more of my wedding photography here on YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/user/BlueSquareImages/
Having created my own website and optimised it with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) I had done quite well in ranking it in the search engines. So I thought to myself, if I can do this for myself, I am pretty sure I can help other businesses. Getting them more customers by ranking their website higher in Google and other search engines. So Blue Square Management was born.
This is where my visual effects career ended. Due longer working hours, shorter project times, I decided, for me, it was not very family oriented, so moved on to the next chapter of my working life … as a SEO and digital marketing consultant.
So there you have it, I achieved a boyhood dream. You can see my filmography on IMBD : https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1668226/
For me, it has been about following my dreams and aspirations and doing things I enjoy.