Testimonials & Other Projects

Testimonials are filmed monologues of people’s stories, and they can be a powerful tool for communication. Making these films can help a huge variety of people, including those with mental health issues and those who have been on the streets for many years and want change in their lives. I believe it could also help a myriad of other organisations, including hospices, youth charities and refugee organisations.

Testimonials help people to be seen and heard. They provide an individual with the cathartic process of making a film that they’re in control of, also potentially helping to reunite them with their family. Starting conversations with loved ones after a long period, or about a difficult subject, can be incredibly difficult and these testimonials can work as an important first step.

Following previous testimonials I’ve made, one man met with his mother, who he hadn’t seen for fifteen years. Another started talking to his daughter again after five years. In these films, I simply allow people to talk about their lives and encourage them to do so without judgement or self-pity. While I edit the film, the impetus comes from the person giving the testimonial and they have control over the final cut. I always work in conjunction with the relevant charities, which provide funding, a professional support network and the transparency required to work with adults who might be vulnerable.

Walk About With Jack

Commissioned by Wintercomfort, this film is a good example of finding a creative solution for someone who did not want to be filmed. Jack’s owner, and the subject of the film, didn’t want to be in front of the camera, so I attached a GoPro camera to his dog as we walked around Cambridge, adding his voice over, which was recorded separately, to tell his story.

This is Mark

This film shows, amongst other things, that not all homeless people have drug or alcohol issues and everyone has their own story. Having been a guest at Jimmy’s, the message Mark wanted to convey was that there is “light at the end of the tunnel,” making this primarily a film about hope.

This is Smiffy

Abandoned by his father at the age of six, Smiffy was put into care and he grew up in the system. Here, he talks about how he turned first to a gang of skinheads, then to the drug culture, looking for an alternative to the family he never had. He then looks to what his future with recovery might look like, including poetry, working with animals and contact with his family.

This is Robert

Robert was hard to work with due to his chaotic lifestyle, often not turning up when he said he would, so making this film required flexibility and patience. Being completely battery powered, I was able to set up anywhere, and this was key to the eventual success of this film, allowing me to work within the limitations presented by Robert’s situation.

Singing from the some song sheet

Made at Jimmy’s with a group of service users and support workers, this film explores the challenges, hopes and fears facing those with addiction, what recovery means to them, and how they might best be supported. People were generally uncomfortable appearing on film, so I used just their eyes with voiceovers to keep all the participants anonymous.

Standing Still

Filming of the studio recording of a song, written and composed by Toby, played by a band. This captures the filming process of the making of a song.

This Feeling

Shot on a simple black background, this is an example of a small budget film made with very little equipment and shows how you can make a cost effective video out of almost anything. Music by Toby Peters. Lyrics by Paul

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