Scripting – and what it brought me

My father was an enthusiastic photographer, and even more enthusiastic about creating genuinely exciting and informative shows with the pictures he took. It wasn’t long before we were working on them together. And, unwittingly, honing the skills I needed for what would become the most rewarding source of income in my freelance career…

Alarms and excursions

Alarms and excursions

There was one occasion when I got to use three different skill sets at the same event. Which, as it happened, was slated to take place in the basement of the DTI, just off Parliament Square. The event was to do with the future of banking, and Mervyn Pedelty, the CEO...

Meeting Lucia

Meeting Lucia

Getting to know Lucia Bird was definitely one of the blessings of my life. We met almost by chance because she was working on an event that also involved First Creative. Lucia's skill set - based on her acting training - was in preparing presenters to stand up in...

Frontier territory

Frontier territory

  Usually a scriptwriter sits alone in his draughty garret, bent over his word processor, churning out a script that will send the production team to exotic locations - while his own most exotic location is the chippy at the bottom of the road... I exaggerate, of...

Meeting Harry Hill

Meeting Harry Hill

It wasn't every day I got to write comedy sketches - let alone writing them for a comedian I've always hugely admired...! I was working with an agency specialising in healthcare, and we'd been tasked with preparing a series of training videos for Pfizer. They'd be...

Clients – can’t live with them, can’t live without them…

Clients – can’t live with them, can’t live without them…

I love a challenge, but there were times when I wondered if some of our clients were losing touch with reality... I remember one of the later jobs I tackled with the First Creative team. Our client was a big utilities company, and we were called to a briefing session...

“Jacinda! Get me two cappucinos and a Porsche!”

“Jacinda! Get me two cappucinos and a Porsche!”

At the time, he was one of the best-known comedians on TV, with a reputation for outrageous improvisation and over-the-top humour. His name was Tony Slattery. He was at the peak of his career. And I was working with him. It was 1990, I was newly married, and the job...

Exciting commissions (and slow payments…)

Exciting commissions (and slow payments…)

JCB's logo from 2003 - you can see its evolution here... I could scarcely believe my eyes. I was standing in the control room of JCB's gear manufacturing plant. Around me were the controls for a group of CNC lathes set up on the factory floor below. And scurrying...

The magic of Gandalf…

The magic of Gandalf…

They were a company specialising in networking technology. They'd called themselves 'Gandalf'. And the Tolkien estate weren't too happy about it... Even so, could I make them a promo video? That was the brief I good from my spectacularly good agency, One Stop. And the...

Thank you, One Stop

Thank you, One Stop

My budding career as a fiction writer had taught me one very useful lesson. You can always get a better deal if someone else is doing the negotiation for you. In other words, you can't beat a good agent. They earn their fee... That wasn't something I had as a...

Could you make this interesting…?

Could you make this interesting…?

Working with Tim Ball was a genuine pleasure, though some assignments were decidedly challenging. One in particular had me going to a remote spot in the Pennines to take a brief – from a company that manufactured wooden pallets. There is nothing – absolutely nothing –...