How & when did you get introduced to Casual Films?
I got involved with Casual through the Academy, a program that gets young people involved in film. The Academy is great because kids get actual experience for their CV, and their project is a charity film. So it’s a win-win, learning and helping.
We did a video for Manor Gardens, a charity that builds community for elderly people who don’t have much family or are just lonely.
What was the process like in the Academy?
Filmmaking was a three-day process. On day one we learned how to use the camera and planned our film. The next day we shot it. On day three we edited and finished it up completely.
I learned a lot about the world of film outside of just “film.” I was always interested in film, but I never knew that this world of corporate film even existed. So overnight the opportunities I thought were available grew enormously.
The culture of Casual Films is friendly and helpful. They noticed that I was hardworking and curious and that I knew that this was what I wanted. Even when there was downtime, I was always asking questions. So when the Academy session ended, Leah [Harris] and Nick [Francis] offered me a yearlong paid internship. They thought that with this experience I could put myself ahead of everyone else who got plugged into Uni. So I came on board and got stuck in with the whole process. If you find another way to get what you would from Uni, it’s a great way to go.
How’s everything going as a Casual intern?
I’m two months in. I’m loving it. Everyone’s nice and eager to help. I’m stuck into everything, straight to work. I feel like I have an advantage because I’m learning so much and working in every capacity. I get more independence and feel more mature and like an adult than I would had I gone to Uni. It’s really beneficial. They’ve taken me under their wing.
What kind of work are you doing?
I’m currently sitting in post, but if creative or production needs me, I’m always ready to jump in. I’m helping to create an animation that I’ve taken on as my own project. I’ve been having meetings with the client, which is amazing. I didn’t think I’d be doing things like that for an internship. I wrote the treatment, the client liked it, and things took off from there.
What do you think you'll do after the internship?
Nick [Francis] said that if I’m still not sure about going to Uni, then I could stay on at Casual for a while. I’d be doing what I’m doing now but at a higher level.
I want to build up my CV. The real goal is to be a filmmaker, so I’ll probably end up staying here. Not a lot of people get this kind of opportunity. If I’d gone to Uni, when I leave, where I am now will be the kind of job I’d be trying to get. I don’t think it makes sense to take that step backwards.
Do you have other projects going?
In my spare time I like to make short films and music videos with friends. I’ve plugged in with a couple of collaborators too. I work with Reggie Yates on his projects.
One of my good friends has a well-established production company. We just worked on a music video for Chris Loco, a Sony artist. We came up with the idea for this one-take shot with animated projections blasting over it. The video was featured on Complex News, which was pretty exciting.
Where did your interest in film first make itself apparent?
I’ve always been passionate about doing something in media or filmmaking in general, though I wasn’t always sure exactly what. During college I sat myself down and decided to separate myself from everyone: I was going to jump ahead of them as far as becoming a filmmaker was concerned. That was right before Casual Academy came into picture.
What films made you want to become a filmmaker?
First one is Boyz in the Hood. I was so interested in American culture when I first saw that movie. I must’ve seen it 70 times since I was a kid.
And also when I was growing up, Christopher Nolan’s Batman series was important to me. I’ve always loved action, and he made this whole world quite human. It was a realistic take on the concept. Nothing like the films George Clooney was in. It was kind of a turning point for me.
Nowadays Whiplash is one of those films that makes me really want to make a good film. I just want to make visually interesting stuff.
Filmmaker Khalil Joseph is someone I really admire. His video for Flying Lotus [“Until the Quiet Comes”] turns L.A. into this totally surreal and strange place.
I’d love to make films that highlight a similar strangeness in London, which is always just gangsters, or men sipping cognac, or the Queen or something. I want to make films for my generation. I don’t think we’re represented in a positive light, like ever. And I would love to make music videos and corporate films. I just love making things.