Tuesday, 18 September 2012


I have been listening to people talk about "Personal Branding" for years. Do I think it's right to try and brand yourself? Until recently, I had a different view on this. Mainly because I see people branding themselves as experts in every sector, BEFORE they have a body of work that backs their shit up! 

Take the film business. If you mention the names "Kubrick", "David Lynch" "Christopher Nolan" "The Coens", "Speilberg", "Rodriguez", and many more. Right away you know the type of work you are going to get because of their body of WORK. Their name becomes a brand. The same goes for any business. Steve Jobs name is just as recognisable as Apple. He built Apple, THEN his name mean't something.

I have never wanted to be known for just being known. In fact, I could be perfectly happy being invisible if my WORK was successful. But I have woke up to the fact that sharing our experience can help make our work happen. When you pitch to the industry, you are not just pitching your project, you have to sell yourself to them. Selling what you do can be especially useful when people are sick of hearing about your latest project for the 100th time. If you share valuable experience from your life, work, then obviously you can continue to create fresh weekly content between projects. 


I went from Scotland last year to Tulsa to shoot my horror movie SCREEN I could have updated a lot more with tweets, pictures, videos, and blogs than I did. It was pretty ambitious to go to the other side of the world to make a flick with almost no money. I have made a film with international locations before, but I had a budget, producers, and a crew I took with me on my first film. SCREEN was more ambitious because I literally had no money, cast, or crew when I got on the plane to go there. So I could have turned that into a weekly iphone series. However, I never really put myself out there with as best as I could.

I was shooting footage for a documentary while I was on the move, which is for a later release for my backers. HUSTLE SHOOT SHARE. But I should also have used this opportunity more to build more of a following, share my experience. If you want to build something big, you need help from others that believe in YOU. Which in turn, means you need to share your ambition and experience. I recently spoke to my friend Oklahoma Ward about this, and we both admitted we have to get ourselves more out there, not just our work. 


At my level, I don't have what I would class as FANS. I don't get knickers thrown at me! I don't have a big enough body of successful work to have those type of people. (Although, I'm a bit old for the knicker throwing fans! The occasional G string would be flattering but a Kickstarter pledge is more attractive. Fuck I am getting old! ) Anyway, I do have some GREAT supporters. These people are better than fans in my opinion, because they support you BEFORE they even know if you can really pull off what you say you will do. I like to think they see potential in you, so thats why they back you, buy from you, or help to promote you. They are the best!

Crowd-funding sites have proved that people support PEOPLE. The PROJECT has to sound good of course, but at the early stage of someone's career, people have to believe in people. Whether that's an individual with a vision and a drive, or teams, or both. This comes back to the point about me not being serious enough in the past about getting MYSELF out there enough. But now I do really accept the fact that the two really have to go hand in hand. You will never get the body of work made without the help of supporters. Once you get the body of work established, then FANS also discover the WORK. And of course they eventually buy into you too.

I screwed up with this last year. Not totally, but I could have done a lot better charting my weekly journey on SCREEN with pictures, videos, blogs. Robert Rodriguez had a good balance at the start. When you hear his name, you do think of a particluar type of filmmaker.  You think multi talented, skilled, technical innovator, entrepreneur. But you also remember him BEFORE his body of work as the guy who made the movie for $7000. You remember the drug clinic film funding story, and you can't forget his book. His life story also helped his career. He never waited until he had a body of work to sell himself any way he could. He used his personal story too. 

Now if you say you are going to self fund a film today, and then make the film, who gives a flying fuck! Throw a rock and you will hit a filmmaker that's making an average film.  Also, If your ambition bar is down at your ankles, who's going to be bothered watching you pull off what everybody is doing. It's not like your building a rocket to go to the moon. That's not saying everybody should reach for the stars at the start. You should spend time just learning without having to be amazing. Make stuff cheap, fuck it up!

However, if you have experience, (I have three small movies) then I think you have to go for very ambitious goals. If you decide to 100% reject the old way of doing things at every stage, and you are prepared to aim for a bar much higher than your reach, then your life can also become material for a mini movie or a web series too. Which in turn means you should cover your journey. And not just about "filmmaking", but with a universal accessible feel. 

I intend to do this from now on, because I am dedicating my life to building my CITY OF SIN destination for my work. In order to build it, make it happen, then I need people to believe in ME so that I can get there. Then when I have it up and running, I am confident fans of the "content" of CITY OF SIN can also be cultivated. You can only get peoples confidence and support if you share your passion, and mission in life. My ambition is to make stuff that can't fail to attract attention, but I obviously need support to help build this world.

Also, I don't see the point of sharing your life if it's just about narcissism. Which is everywhere today on the web. "Check out my shit, like my shit!" I'm guilty of everything I talk about. We all fight for attention for ourselves or our work, but if you're screaming at me to check you out, you better have something worth shouting about when you get my attention. If you can't inspire, share experience, then sharing your life is pointless for others. 

I won't share all my stuff to the public, as I don't really believe in giving all your life to this new world.  There has to be some mystery in a world increasing transparency.  However, I will share a LOT more to the people that have supported me, and to potential future supporters on a private channel with CITY OF SIN. I have learned from a lot of past mistakes, but I don't regret any of them, because the willingness to make mistakes is such an essential ingredient to success. But I won't make the same mistakes again. 

Anyway, if you want to follow my shit! My CITY OF SIN campaign launches on the 28th Sept. If you want to check it out, join my facebook page on the top right. Or follow my twitter accounts below. I promise to push the envelope at every level with this route I am taking in life. There's nothing attractive in this business for me anymore. I'm done with the old way of doing things. I'm embracing the new world 100%! I want to be one of the people that helps to take story telling to another level.

Thanks for reading! 

PS. This is my new blog destination from now on. I am transferring all my posterous posts to here. 





  1. Congrats on the new site. Looks great.


    1. Thanks Katy! Plan on getting one site for all my stuff, but this serves me for the moment. Have a great day my friend. ;)