Are there things during a PhD that you might consider in retrospect were career building
Well yeah I met this film producer who was trying to put the New Testament into animation. And he made this pilot and he was running out of money and I said to him 'this'll never work' and he said 'why not?' he was going to have 52 episodes, every Sunday there was going to be a piece of the New Testament on Sunday morning television and I said 'but children can't remember what they had for breakfast far less what happened last Sunday, television is not episodic is it? It's not like having a book and telling you the chapters before you go to bed every night. You're trying to remember what happened seven days ago, and it won't work, for seven to eight year olds, that kind of thing. It won't work. And he said 'well would you work on it then?' so I said 'well let me think about it' and I went away and I wrote this outline pitch for this film series called The Story Keepers and I said this will work by making them stand alone episodes and with a story teller involved and all sorts of stuff. Within 4 weeks we had a deal to make 15 films and 27 books so that was part of that as well. It was like, okay, I could go into the film industry or I could do this or I could do both as an academic but the film industry's very precarious. You can work for five years and then do nothing for five years. So you get paid great money but you only get paid great money when you're working and it can be lying fallow for five, six years. So being an academic allowed me to juggle both sides of that career.
Did you make that break with the TV and the book deal whilst being a PhD student?
Yeah. Yeah. I kind of juggled them both. It wasn't as hard as it sounds. As a PhD student you've got much, much, much more time on your hands than you think you have. There's 24 hours in every day you know. There's twenty-four hours every day and there's seven days in a week and you just have to organise your time. Because normally I mean when I was doing the films I was flying to Los Angeles once a week, once every 10 days but 10 hours on the plane and you just work. You know you've got time in a hotel room in Los Angeles so you just are in the room, sitting around the pool, writing notes on Adam's script. I mean, you know, so you've got time, well that's what I think anyway, that's how it worked for me.