Since launching in 2009, D.A. Films has had a strong history of international clients ranging from global brands to mainstream celebs including MTV, Apple, 106 & Park, BET, KISS, Channel 4, Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson (just to name a few).
What do general tasks in your career consist of on a daily basis?
On a daily basis my usual activities involve directing, shooting or editing creative content for television, cinema or domestic viewing. It’s usually a split between being hired to produce peoples content or actually producing my own films and creative projects, so the balance is a nice mix that keeps me loving what I do. Luckily, most of what I do allows me to travel to a lot of nice places, I filmed in over 7 different countries last year so sometimes it doesn’t feel like work, more so an adventure working hard at my passion. I have also recently started producing my own filmmaking related products for other directors to use such as CINEPRE, which is a colour grading tool, so this allows me to be creative in software development too.
Why did you decide to become involved in film production?
I’ve always loved telling stories, and creating something out of nothing. I had a passion for technology too, so mixing the two allowed me to fully express myself in a way that allowed me to turn what I love doing into something that could financially sustain me. I think for me, being able to express myself is the biggest form of release I have in life, it allows me to feel like I’m really living, as I can take my experiences and journeys and then relive them through film and share that journey with other people. It’s just a digitalised form of what people have been doing since the beginning of time, creating and passing down stories.
When did you make a start on your career?
I started my career when I was 25; it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. Before film I was involved in audio engineering in studios for musicians and finally decided to take a complete change in direction and start my own visual production company. I never had any official training, nor did I have schooling or lessons in video production so I pretty much taught myself through just getting out there and learning by making lots of mistakes and figuring it out along the way. A few years ago I did try to attend Uni to network with like-minded filmmakers but I ended up leaving after the first year as I had a hard time operating within a formal education setting.
How did you set up?
I think my approach to setting up my business may be a little different and not exactly the way people are taught in business school. Once I honed my skills and realised I could make money from what I did, I decided to simply start acting like a business. That meant setting up a website, designing logos, researching branding and the power behind presenting yourself professionally, and then slowly but surely I was being approached and spoken about as an actual business. People will see you by what you show them. After this I registered my business and started taking jobs producing various content, ranging from short films, documentaries, adverts and music videos. So looking back, the only thing I needed to set up a business was to simply start acting like one.
Who helped you?
I never received any help setting up, it was a lone venture that took many months of practicing, experimenting and training myself to the point where I could effectively produce work people would pay for. Since then I have worked with many people who have all contributed to me growing as a person and being part of different segments of my journey, but as a business I started that alone.
What have you learnt during your experience?
The most valuable lesson I have learnt along the way is that anything you want to achieve is very, very doable along as you actively make steps towards that vision on a daily basis. I remember when I needed my first ‘proper’ camera which at the time was £5000, and this was a lot of money to me at the time and it seemed almost impossible to get it. I decided that not getting it was not an option so I simply looked for the highest paying client I could find and after about 100 no’s I finally got one yes that was enough to buy the camera. So the lesson was a good one, in business sometimes you will get 100 no’s and countless knock backs but you only need one good yes to take you where you want to be.
What advice can you offer to aspiring Film Editors and Directors?
The advice I would give to aspiring film directors is to remember this….if you want to be something, then don’t wait, be it. Too many people live in the safety of the future and plan so long that time and opportunity passes them by, Don’t be afraid to get things wrong, or something not coming out how you planned it. Until you take those risks, and make a few ‘not so good’ productions, you won’t get to where you want to be anyway. Stop planning for years, start working today!