“While I was at University I wrote to every director I could find, which was around a hundred. Ten replied and one, Steve Smith, gave me work experience on the show So Graham Norton.
From there I got a job as an assistant editor and that became one of the routes that led me to where I am now. It taught me a valuable lesson about persistence and the ratio of replies to expect when trying to build contacts.
At the same time, I saw a short film made by a local furniture salesman. It wasn’t very good but had a budget of £30,000 so I quickly offered my services to direct his next film. We made two together, in America and Europe, and an actress who worked on them introduced me to Terry Bamber, a First Assistant Director in the features world.
We’ve worked together a lot since and it was Terry who recommended me for my first feature film, A Christmas Star. That taught me to embrace any project that came along, as you never know where they’re going to take you.
By the time I was offered A Christmas Star I’d directed three series of the BBC’s M.I.High and worked with some high profile actors as an editor, so had the experience that helped get me the job.
Editing and directing are both marathons rather than sprints. You’re on a job for more than just the shoot and you need to maintain a passion for the story right up until the end.
As a director you’re fired with adrenaline throughout pre-production and production; it’s an amazing buzz creating a new world with the cast and crew, which you never get as an editor.
When I was editing I loved it when I was based on set as I could feed off that buzz, but it was always an isolated existence. There’s a huge team aware of the challenges on set, whereas the editor often faces their difficulties alone.
What made editing a joy was getting to see all the rushes come in and be the first one to piece the story together, plus you were usually in more comfortable surroundings than the set.”
You can find out more about Richard here.