I was born/grew up in: Northallerton, Yorkshire, England
I now live in: Toronto Ontario Canada
I completed my training/education at: BA from the University of Toronto
Describe what you do at work.
I am the leader of both the creative team and the business team. I help "pick" the creative projects we focus on. I help "pick" the team that works on the project. I help figure out how to get the project made and who to sell it to. On the business side, figuring out how to finance the budget is a big part of my job. In our business, financing is often achieved through multiple partners. So, that requires ensuring that everyone is on the same page creatively. Outside of my computer and a calculator, no other specialized equipment are required.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
I have always seen entertainment as a way to tell stories that matter. We aim to reach a large audience and perhaps to have influence on that audience. Some examples of content we have created are (all scripted TV series): Regenesis was about science; Murdoch Mysteries content is about history; Life with Derek is about blended families; and now Emerald Code about girls and coding/STEM.
What motivates you in your career?
This is a perfect career for me since I get to work on numerous projects at the same time. And, I get to use different skill sets - creative and business. I get to work with creative people to help them get their projects made. I get to "connect" people with others and people with projects. I love taking an idea and watching it go through the various stages and then seeing it made and seeing it enjoyed by audiences.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I had a general undergraduate degree. I am very much a generalist. I was an entrepreneur from my teenage years and had several careers before I settled on being a filmmaker/producer. Never for one moment did I think it would be this career at Smokebomb. I did realise that all the jobs I had before led me to this place. I knew that I had the skills to help creative people get their projects made. And ultimately, I realised that I had stories or story areas (like history and science) that I wanted to work on. There were certainly failures along the way and they made me stronger.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I work out twice a week - yoga and pilates. I volunteer with the Canadian Film Centre (where I am also chairman) as a way to give back. I am mentor to many young filmmakers. For fun, I spend time with my family.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Try everything. When you are young, volunteer so that you get experience. Don't be afraid to fail. Failure makes you stronger and smarter.