Jeremy, could you tell us how you got into the industry?
I originally started out studying languages and drama, studied German and drama at Manchester University and ran an English language theatre company in Germany, set up for a couple of years and taught English and Drama there. And that's how I got involved in movie making, by being there and helping out on people's films, in a community film school. I came back to London, stopped teaching and started working in the industry in corporate films as an editor and a cameraman.
Then I started to get interested in making my own shorts. I worked for a very strange company, an Argentinean company, making language-teaching films. They were called Emargo Productions and I found myself the only person making these films. I had a 16mm camera, an editing suite, and a company flat and very little work to do and I thought well, I'm going to make a short film with this stuff.
Where did you go from there?
Basically I bought the books, all the stuff on how to make a short film on 16mm. I made my first short in 1988, that was black and white 16mm, and that was a contemporary view of London through the poetry of William Blake. And thats really how my love of London started out.
That's how I got into the film industry and since then I've done everything from running to directing. Really only in the last year, I've been trying to make a living as a director but it's been quite a long time coming but I've learnt quite a bit along the way.
When did you actually decide to make a trilogy?
Yeah, the trilogy stemmed from Paris Brixton. Paris Brixton is the first 15 minute, 35mm film that I've done. That was based on my co-script writers Neil Spencer's short story called Skylight and that was based on a real life incident where a young woman who lived in an attic had a cat burglar break in one night. He actually stayed and lived with her and had an affair with her and the police busted them both for handling stolen goods. He got put in jail but she didn't.
Neil Spencer wrote a short story about that and we turned that into a short film script. This was back in like, '92. And it was like an half an hour script and that sort of bubbled away for more than five, six years in fact, but in the end I just thought, well I really want to make this, and I'm going to make it. I decided to make it on video, that was going to be Paris Brixton. We changed the name from Skylight because David Hare had a play out at the time called Skylight .
So it was originally a short film from Neil's selection of short stories which were all set in London. When we finished Paris Brixton we decided we actually wanted to write a more, an original script that wasn't based on a short story. And we so we decided to sit down and write what became Sari & Trainers. But before we did that we decided that it would not be a trilogy but a quartet of films. It was going to be North, South, East and West points of London.
Visually I'd say that all of your shorts are very strong. How important is cinematography to you? I mean, how much do you storyboard, how much to you actually plan your shots ahead?
This is the question you want to know? (Laughter) Because we've had this conversation. Anthony storyboards the whole of his shorts which I did to a certain extent on Paris Brixton that was the only one I really storyboarded. I did key frames on it, simply because I was working the DP Jono Smith for the first time and the art director for the first time and it just gives us a chance to have a kind of common knowledge on what we're dealing with. I didn't do every scene and every frame because for fifteen minutes that would be a hell of a lot of work but it was useful as a reference point to talk to the art director and the DP and use that as a blue print to improvise on really.