To celebrate its 20th anniversary I will be completing the remastered redux edition of my 1997 student graduate short Talk To Me, presented in full 16:9 HD. For my final year I dared to make a film that would strengthen my weaknesses rather than showing off my strengths. Talk To Me is a simple character study set within a decayed theatre that beautifully encapsulates the film's theme of abandonment.MORE
CLOSR is a is a groundbreaking new pilot programme of Personal and Network Development for filmmaker parents and carers in England. It is being delivered online at family-friendly times and is supported by Creative England, Directors UK, PACT and WGGB. Its aims are to clarify individual career objectives; expand regional networks/collaborators; and develop projects with peer and expert feedback.MORE
Over the years I have increasingly felt the urge to share my skills and experience in order to help others. As a result I have decided to develop a series of compelling micro-budget short films with people form particularly deprived, but cinematic areas of Kent. I am keen to minimise time wasted 'setting up' by using a minimal crew and limited resources, allowing me to work with these non-actors organically.MORE
Born in 1972, I spent the first few days of my life in an incubator after having an emergency blood transfusion. This early isolation might explain my need to be noticed, constantly showing-off and (as my Dad put it) buffooning around. In these early years I also indulged in scrupulous amounts of Dr Who, Basil Brush and Morecambe and Wise, but it wasn't until I experienced the phenomenon that was Star Wars, at my local Granada cinema in Maidstone, that my imagination was so joyfully ignited.
The 1980's began with my parents divorce, followed a few years later by the unexpected death of my Granny. Unbeknown to me at the time, these two events would be the basis behind several reoccurring themes in my work. At secondary school, the need to be accepted by my peers only encouraged my 'clowning around'. My school reports repeatedly described me as 'easily distracted in class' resulting in below-average marks. My only salvation was having a genuine talent for art, where I consistently achieved A grades.
Outside of school I had ambitions of becoming a world famous magician and developed some impressive sleight-of-hand skills (that I still use on my daughter today). Unfortunately by the time I was old enough to join the prestigious Medway Magical Society, the world of filmmaking had already reeled me in and by the end of the decade I was making spoof videos in a disused quarry as an excuse to experiment with home-made special effects.
Three years later, having moved up north, I wrote, produced, directed, edited (and starred in) my first 16mm film - A ridiculously ambitious fantasy short filled with stunts, pyrotechnics and animatronic dragons. Moving on to university I produced three slightly more sensible 16mm shorts, before heading into the feature-film industry, where I miraculously landed my first job on Star Wars - Episode One (Yes, I know).
The next four years were to be some of my most memorable, witnessing first-hand the talents of Tim Burton, George Lucas, Beeban Kidron and Robert Altman. By now I was itching to direct again and decided to apply to The National Film & Television School's fiction direction MA. Two years later I emerged with a spellbinding graduation short called The Happiness Thief that premiered in competition at Cannes in 2004 and went on to play at film festivals across the globe.
Attracting a reputable agent at Curtis Brown, I soon acquired my first drama commission from the BBC and directed a Digital Short for Screen South. My first screenplay was optioned by Ipso Facto Films, after the gripping thriller beat over 200 projects to the final of The Big Pitch. In 2011 I became a proud father to my wonderful daughter, whose vivid imagination inspires me daily. I now continue to build a slate of magical and emotionally engaging film projects in the hope that I will soon be able to share them with the world.
“Derek was a pleasure to work with. He had a great original script, wonderfully imaginative ideas and real clarity about what he wanted to achieve - so it was a really enjoyable experience.”
"Charming and fun to be around, Derek is an incredibly talented individual with that enviable blend of creativity and diligence. His impressive filmography is evidence of his skill as a filmmaker."
"Derek cares about sound and has some great ideas. He is also very good at getting the best out of limited resources and is good at directing child actors, which is a rare skill."
"Derek is an extremely talented and personable director. His professionalism and knowledge is highly valuable to any producer. I have loved working with Derek and highly recommend him."
"Derek was an enthusiastic and hard working writing partner. Full of ideas, he helped the project move forward and I appreciate the time spent working with him."
"Derek has a naturally engaging personality, which students immediately warm to. He is able to use his experience to enthuse and encourage youngsters to produce work of excellent quality."
"Derek's energy and good humour along with his dedication to a project made him, in my experience, a great person to work with."
Having had no professional guidance when I was younger I am keen to share my knowledge to help other aspiring filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds.
If you think you may be interested in using my skills and experience to help others, then please do get in touch.