I had been employed full-time, in one way or another, for seven years in jobs I didn't care for before my mental health took the ultimate dive. Going to the office, the coffee shop or the bar became impossible. Anxiety, sadness and severe mental pain enveloped me in the sheer thought of spending all my time and effort for the next 8-9 hours doing something that didn't fulfil me emotionally and spiritually.
The anxiety, sadness and mental pain were always there, since I turned 18 and stepped into a generic, unsatisfying and boring workplace for the first time.
But, over the years, these feelings grew larger, darker, and more painful.
Eventually, a couple of years ago, I realised if I didn't drastically change my life and start doing what my soul's craving, I would fail to keep on going.
I remember I was in our old car with my girlfriend, Jo; we've just pulled over to our previous home.
We didn't get out of the car. Instead, I just sat there. Thinking.
Eventually, I mustered up the courage to tell her what's been in my mind for some time. I told her I wanted to go to college and study film.
To me, in that moment, this was the only and last option I felt was left for me to take.
I waited for her to tell me this is a bad idea. I waited for her to tell me I'm too old and too talentless to do this. Not because she's like that. She's nothing like that.
I expected she'd say these things because this is what everyone else had told me up to that point.
She didn't. What she did was think. Then, she said something along the lines of, "If this is what you want to do, you should do it."
I love her. And, what she said in that car that day is one of the many reasons why.
The next couple of months were very exciting. I applied to a few colleges in Glasgow, where I lived, and I got an interview with the one I've heard the best things about; Glasgow Clyde College.
I put together a portfolio of some of my previous films and scripts, and off I went to the interview. Stephen, who later on became one of my lecturers, was the interviewer.
I felt the interview was going well. I was looking forward to hearing back from him in the next couple of weeks, which is what I was told the procedure would be.
Stephen finished the interview by saying, "I'd like to make you an unconditional offer", and he handed me a piece of paper with my offer on it.
Just remembering this moment, I feel tears are about to well up in my eyes.
I rushed out of the college and called my Mum first thing. Then my girlfriend. They were both over the moon.
My parents approving my decision to go to college, and their celebration to me being accepted to one, are also things that bring me to tears. In the past, my parents never saw filmmaking as anything more than a hobby, or a phase. For them to accept this is something very important to me and that if I want to pursue it, I should, is something I wished for from them but believed I would never get.
And then I did. And it's wonderful.
I studied at Glasgow Clyde College for two extraordinary years. I learned how to operate a camera, light, record sound, edit, and a bunch of other valuable skills I've been and will continue to utilise throughout my career.
I also met some wonderful people and got to collaborate with them on a number of wonderful projects. A couple of which won us some prestigious awards; Craftext 2018, for Ryan S. Bain's Brawhide, a wonderful short documentary I worked as a PA and sound recordist, looking at the life and work of Hamish Half-Goat Odinson, a leatherworker specialising in recreating Pictish clothes.
And, the 2019 Royal Television Society Scotland Student Award for Best Comedy and
Entertainment for Kenneth Maguire's Maroon,
a wonderful poem brought to life, for which
I took care of camera work and lighting.
At the same time, I made some films outwith college and had some great success there too. I'm part of a brilliant 48 Hour Film Project group, called "How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 48 Hour Film Project", consisting of a first-class cast and crew, and ran by my wonderful girlfriend and extremely talented filmmaker, Jo Osborne.
In 2017, we won Best Film at Glasgow's 48 Hour Film Project, and in 2018 we won Best Sound Design, Best Screenwriting, and Best Directing. The latter award came with funds for me to travel to Orlando, Florida, and attend Filmapalooza; the big, yearly festival where all the 48 Hour city winners compete against one another.
It was an extraordinary time, in an extraordinary place.
The other day, I received my Higher National Diploma in the mail from Glasgow Clyde College. As I held it in my hands for the first time, I felt joy, satisfaction, nostalgia and a healthy dosage of pride.
Right as I finished college, I moved to London. My girlfriend had already started living and working here a few months prior to
my arrival, and I thought to myself, "What a
better place to go to and try to get a job within
the filmmaking industry than London?"
And, here I am.
Shortly before finishing college, I discovered what the role of bookings coordinator is for a film and TV equipment rental house, and immediately knew I'd love to turn this into my bread and butter.
After a month of emailing my CV around and going to interviews, I landed a job as a bookings assistant at Feral Equipment; a fantastic rental house offering high-end cameras and their very own, exceptionally-built custom rigs.
My aim now is to continue making short films
and honing my craft as a director. On most days, I'm positive and hopeful for the future.
There are bad days, like always. But, there are
many good days too. More so than ever before.