Part I of III
I have been invited by Terry and Jason to write this blog about the experiences of the onset culture I have seen at first hand. Working with Mr Terry Bamber has been both an honour and a privilege and I still work with Terry to this day.
Let me take you back a few years, to when I was serving in the British armed forces in many conflicts from the Bosnia, Former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, and Iraq to where, little did I realise, my military career would come to an end. I was injured in 2003 when I suffered a spinal injury and damage to my legs and sustained some brain damage. Sadly, 10 October 2005 I was told my military career was over. If it wasn’t enough that the injures that I had sustained were life-changing injures in Iraq, I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD for short). Being told that I was no longer good enough to do the work that I had being doing for 16 years had become heart breaking, leading to my relationship with my then partner and kids breaking down for many months.
One thing I will say for the military you get to learn, and when I mean learn I mean learn from courses in leadership to advanced driving courses. Being in the armed forces you are in a position where if you want to learn a new skill you can. Since being injured, I have been able to adapt and learn new ways in dealing with the injuries I sustained from Iraq. Over the next 18 years learning has become a natural thing for me to do, studying everything from military history to flying drones commercially. Having experience in flying from my military career did help one hell of a lot.
Fast forward to 2014, I was competing on the very first Invictus Games in London. While in London I managed to meet-up with a good friend who worked in television. He was an engineer for ITV and we decided to meet at BAFTA for a cuppa and a catch-up. While I was there I bumped into Terry, literally. My friendship with Terry remains strong to this day. I met-up with Terry again though Help for Heroes, when Terry and several others came to one of the recovery centres that were then run by H4H. Terry brought a second unit crew to film a scene with us. Taking part in a seminar, this also included using the director’s equipment, camera equipment, as well as working with the grip equipment.
Now working in the industry, if it hadn’t been for Terry Bamber believing in my skills and knowledge I would probably still be trying to get into the industry. Terry looked past my disabilities and has allowed me to work on some very big productions, from Brighton (Stephen Cookson, 2019), staring Larry Lamb and Phil Davis, where I started off as a set runner and got my first look at what an assistant director’s job entailed. The next project I worked on with Terry was a rather large step up the ladder. Terry was working on Military Wives (Peter Cattaneo, 2020), staring Dame Kirsten Scott Thomas. Little did I know, not only was I Terry’s Military Adviser, but I was also the Military Adviser to Dame Scott Thomas. Being part of this production and understanding what the film was about brought home to me how hard it was for my family when I was injured in Iraq.