I specialise in making short video essays and explainers. I like to take topics that seem dry or boring, and by adding good writing, visual imagination, and a sense of humour, make them fascinating.
The examples on this page all have a sense of argument to them, which is why I put them here as 'video essays'. (I've put the more neutral 'explainers' on another page.)
Over the past 10 years we have seen a growing audience hunger for authored film and video. The success of individual YouTubers in this area, as well as projects like Vox and the New York Times' Op-Doc series, demonstrate a desire from audiences to hear from people with something to say. I see it as a new genre of video that is taking its place alongside more traditional forms like broadcast news and documentary.
Here are some examples of my work in this genre. Unless stated otherwise, all the creative roles are done by myself including writing, filming, editing, and animating.
Why the 'enemy narrative' won't fix climate change
This is a film I made for BBC Ideas. It presents the argument of campaigner George Marshall, who counsels against using ‘an enemy narrative’ when campaigning on climate change issues.
Why new things can make us sad
This is a short film I made for BBC Reel, which tells the unlikely story of what happened when the French philosopher Denis Diderot, was given a new dressing gown. Instead of causing him pleasure, the dressing gown made him sad, and led to him going on a destructive spending spree. Today, the "Diderot effect" is studied by marketers and anthropologists and helps explain much of our motivation to buy things.
Why the gender binary is bullsh*t
I made this film as an independent project for YouTube because of a frustration I had with the debate around gender. While many critics of trans rights and non-binary gender identities argue that science and common-sense are being ignored, I wanted to show that the science doesn't actually support the rigid 2-box model in the way they might think.
James Bond's problem with disability
This is a short film I made for BBC Three. It looks at the way James Bond films portray disability. By my count, of the 24 official films, 17 feature villains with impairments. It's an example of a trope that physical difference must cause or be caused by evil. The film was designed for Facebook and uses a square format and onscreen titles to make the argument.
Dark Skinned Girls Explain Colourism
This was a film for BBC Three produced by Sophie Duker and Liv Little which I oversaw and edited. I used contributors a lot on the series Things Not To Say, but for me this film was an attempt to produce a format that was more argued and opinionated than those films. At the time of writing it is one of BBC Three's most retweeted videos, and has had over 5m views on Facebook.
St George's day should be a holiday - here's 7 reasons why
I made this as an independent film for YouTube, which was also published by BBC Three on Facebook. I made the film because I wanted to challenge the way national identity (and Englishness in particular) is often viewed as something only conservatives or the political right is comfortable with.
Does the government really have a "mandate"?
This was the first independent essay film I made for YouTube. It was made after the 2015 UK election, and explored the way politicians feel they have strong moral authority for their policies, whilst only having the support of a small percentage of the population.