Did you steal this from Cilla Black? I’m Neill and maybe I just showed my age there. I was born in Liverpool and grew up on a council estate, went to university in Sheffield when I was 23. I worked from the age of 16 just to be able to afford to go. After uni, I got a job teaching in Japan and for the last 13 years I have lived there. So technically, I came here from Tokyo. Which sounds exciting but when you’ve lived there for 13 years it’s just normal.
Well, my BA was in Film but that was a long time ago. So I guess I came into it from writing. I did my MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University via distance learning. It was the first time I finally stopped being just potentially good academically and did well: I finished with a distinction and top of the class. While on the course, I started to conceptualize my first feature film script, Poster of a Girl.
The turning point was getting involved in the Tokyo film community. It’s really taken off over the last 6 years and I met a few people from that thanks to my writing. From there I began to get invited to shoots and that led to working on a lot of corporate gigs and eventually commercials. I started out just helping but was eventually working as an AC or a gaffer and finally doing my own shoots run and gun style. The Tokyo scene is kinda crazy as you have one-man bands running around with REDs and even an Alexa LF but there’s still room to compete or to pick up gigs from people when they have no time.
I was also able to put a lot of time and money, probably too much, into my passion projections. My first short, An Honest Witness Does not Deceive, was a big turning point as I had to fix a lot of mistakes that were made on the shoot. It was released 2 years after it was shot and went on to win several awards and was shown in the iMax cinema in London. We also managed to make the script that started it all and, again after a long post-production period, we released Poster of a Girl, last year. That’s been a tough festival run but we’ve still been shown in some festivals and picked up some awards.
I originally found the job on REED and when I started researching I found the vlogs. I think it was Lee and Adam that made me want to join. There was one moment when Adam said he wanted to give blue-collar workers the same information that white-collar workers grow up with and that struck a chord with me- as did a lot they were saying.
The free sweets are a big plus. But no, there are a lot of things, and every day I notice small details that demonstrate how much empathy there is from within the upper management. I love that we have a Head of People instead of Human Resources, I love that we’ve signed up for a support number for all employees and their families and I love that we now have Wellbeing Wednesday whereby the company closes on the last Wednesday of the month to help people’s mental health. I think it goes back to what I saw in the vlogs: Electric House knows the value of their employees.
For our previous article, click here.