It’s a craft Danny has consciously striven to develop from the moment he enrolled at the University as a mature student more than a decade ago. Initially, having left school, he established himself as a freelance computer troubleshooter for a local store, visiting clients in their homes to fix their technical issues. But after seven years of ceaseless warfare on computer viruses, Danny was desperate for a new start, and so turned his sights to filmmaking, an art form that he’d experimented with as a teenager.
“At school, I’d been involved in the machinima scene, which is where you use videogame graphics to create short films,” he recalls. “And around the time that I started looking at possible courses, I had just finished the first piece with David Smith. I saw that Plymouth had a degree so I enrolled on the BA (Hons) Media Arts in 2010, and that was the start of a great time for me.
“During the first year, I slowly phased out my computer customers, so university was not just a learning period but a transitional one in my life. What was particularly great was that my lecturers saw that I was a very practical, skills-based student, and they helped me to bolt-on the theoretical side. I gained experience in photography and sound design, and had the opportunity to consider why it is I do certain things – and that has been very important for my growth as a filmmaker.”
The University was also where Danny met Amanda Bluglass, an Associate Lecturer on the course and an award-winning freelance director and producer. Amanda was immediately impressed by Danny’s film on Smith and asked him to join her on the 2011 project, Ray: A Life Underwater.
Danny was director of photography and editor on the 14-minute film, which introduced the world to Ray Ives, a retired saturation diver, whose colourful life at sea is enshrined in his remarkable collection of historical artefacts – from World War Two ammunition to centuries-old coins.