As a child, editing in camera and working with a roster of roped-in friends, I would make Bond films on my Mum and Dad’s video camera, usually cutting straight to the third act showdown and a painfully unspectacular action set-piece that hinged around the detonation of French bangers which were invariably reluctant to ignite. In my teen years, I attempted a remake of Point Break, but this proved too challenging with principal photography taking place on a farm in Hampshire, so I switched to Fast Show-inspired sketch material, some of which I mistakenly stand by today, and some of which hinged around the detonation of French bangers which were no less reluctant to ignite.
This love of mucking around with cameras was eventually channeled in to a decade long career in factual and formatted TV production. Jumping in and out of fire-engines, police cars, and customs boats with a camera; filming with death row convicts, human-rights lawyers, graffiti writers, and cocaine smugglers were incredible and privileged experiences, even if TV executives proved resistant to French banger set-pieces.
Meanwhile, I developed a fun and challenging sideline in commercial film production which eventually became my full-time job, leading to my current standing as the third most prolific director of films about vacuum cleaners.
Professionally, I’m happiest with a camera/laptop/both in my hands trying something out: a new technique, a way of telling a story, the best way of showing something on screen. I’m at my most excited when I think it will work and I will get to shoot it for real with a crew who like solving problems with me, who are naturally happy to step outside of their craft/department to do that, and who remind me from time to time that not all films need French-banger set-pieces.
© 2017 James Martin