I recently shot a story for Madame magazine (May 09 issue) using my favourite theme: scale. The idea had been sitting on my sketchbook for a while and I finally got to shoot it.

The Ames room is an optical illusion created by a distorted/forced perspective. Objects or in this case people appear twice the size on one side as the other. The same technique was used in the Lord of The Rings films.

There are no manuals or books to tell you how to build such a room, at least none that I found, and I searched hard. So I had to go back to school and dust off my brain to work out the excrutiatingly (for me) complex trigonometry involved.

I blueprinted the room, which was also excruciating. From a very early age I wanted to be an architect, it was my dream for years until I reached my teens and found out that architects have to draw vents and RSJ’s and support columns, and then the dream was shattered. I blueprinted the room down to every nail, so the construction could run like an Ikea wardrobe.

This is the boys and me building it. I loved that nail gun.

And this is José shrinking and growing

The shoot crew

shoot crew

you can see some shots from the story in the gallery here


picture-271picture-28While the fashion shows were on in October I decided to keep myself busy with something other than shoots and ideas. My friend China is a director and writer and we go and see a lot of movies together and talk alot about the processes, so I thought I would try my hand at filmaking, not to any ends, it really was just an exercise in creativity, I don’t think I have a great novel or movie in me, but I get a lot of pleasure from just doing ‘stuff’.

Best to start small, I would write a short story, 15 mins.

My approach to ideas is as i’m sure, shared by a lot of people. I brainstorm words and simple concepts, write them down and as they evolve I usually hit a wall. If I try and force the idea it never works, I can get very het up and frustrated, so I sleep on it. Then in the middle of the night I will wake with a clearer mind and write or draw the story. I approached this the same way.

For about a week I woke up with snippits of plot and jotted them down. All based on things that happened to me in my teenage years, best to start with what you know. Then when i felt i had enough to start, I got my head round some open source screenwriting software celtx and began to write (to choral music of all things, the only music that would focus me and not distract. I usually grab my guitar every few songs and play along. but I’m no baritone. Fortunately).

The story is centred around two characters, a boy and a girl. Yes, sounds predictable already doesn’t it. Apparently there are only 7 types of plots, and every story is one or a combination. these are them:

1. Overcoming the monster
2. Rags to riches
3. A journey – the quest
4. A journey – the voyage and return
5. Comedies
6. Tragedies
7. Rebirth

Mine probably ticks nos. 3 and 5. For all intents and purposes it’s a modern Cinderella without the rags to riches. Girl loses her arm, boy finds it and tracks down girl, comedy ensues. If I get to make it, I think the trick will be to make it in such a way it’s not too predictable, or too earnest or clever either. But fuck it, it’s my first attempt, can’t expect it to be great.

China was good enough to read my drafts and give me some invaluable feedback, and recommended I submit it to Pulse London.

Another friend George is a producer and after a read was willing to put his name to it. So in a last minute frenzy we cobbled together a treatment, shoot schedule and budget under the £12,000 permitted and submitted it to Pulse.

Lot’s of people submitted apparently, 3 times more this year than last in fact, some 500+. I know because not only did it get mentioned in the thank-you email, but someone forgot to Bcc and instead CC’d everyone, and now I get bulk emails from the other applicants asking me to vote on their youtube films. At least now i know what i’m up against.

So here’s the anti-climax, the decision isn’t made until the end of January. But we have our fingers crossed. I will update as soon as I find out, for good or bad.


A director friend China Moo-Young was shooting a music video for Keith‘s new single Lullaby, and asked if I would like to come and shoot some stills.

The first half was shot in a nightclub with the wicked dancer and actress Sarah MacDonnell busting some freestyle moves, and the second half was shot in Hackney with the boys (truly nice lads, good music too) and Sarah walking/dancing down the streets.

The shots don’t do it justice but check out the video here


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