As Creative Director, Steven delicately balances Pocket Creatives’ business management with more creative responsibilities overseeing the team and our visual output.
Steven’s experience across both technical, creative, marketing and business brings a huge amount of flexible knowledge to the Pocket Creatives team.
“I started Pocket Creatives with Haider and Lauren in 2016, and together, we’ve never looked back. I saw Pocket as the gateway to building a working environment that slotted in nicely with our own creative desires. This aligned really nicely with the changes in the market as the world became increasingly more visual, and as attention spans dropped, being able to create great short form video and engaging photography.
Pocket Creatives has allowed me to combine my loves for image creation and travel, although i’ve not found that being a Spurs fan has any relevance yet – but i’ll keep searching!”
Some of my favourite videos:
After having delivered hundreds of mastered videos in our history, it’s funny how you have an affinity with certain projects. It may come from a tricky experience that we managed to turn around, or from a shoot that was just visually really rewarding.
I’ve chosen three videos below, from the Pocket Creatives video library. The first one for FoodStars is a great example of where having a plan works – even on a budget. We chose a relatively simple approach, made great by some great filming and verve in the edit. This was perhaps our first example of being brave in our approach and it set the tone for us at the time.
Our shoot for Cunard was a real ‘smash and grab’ – arriving at Southampton the evening before, we had a matter of hours to film a days worth of content on the QM2. Running a shoot like this is exactly what I love about the creative side of my role, keeping true to the brief, letting everyone do what they do best, and delivering some cracking results.
Lastly, our Meet The Producer series for Co-op Food was a real highlight, filming everything from ice cream in Cornwall to blueberries in Scotland, we travelled the country to hear people’s stories, learn something and had the express permission to go nuts with the macro lens!
Some of my favourite images:
I’ve selected quite a few below, from what feels like a very colourful Pocket Creatives career which has involved many wonderful people, places and products. These photographs either represent something that i’m most proud of, perhaps having created something memorable in tricky circumstances, or overcoming a challenge. Or it may be that they just bring back a wonderful memory of a particular shoot. Either way, there’s plenty to look at 🙂
What do you do in your role?
In my role at Pocket Creatives, I have to wear many hats. With the team’s expansion, i’m able to focus on my role as MD and Creative Director. Being a Creative Director is great, it involves being aware of what’s out there, finding new ways to shoot something, and fitting ideas to a client brief. I also need to provide leadership across the team, and help to keep people continually motivated and challenged.
When wearing my Managing Directors hat, I run the business: from overseeing our marketing to the finances, and the boring bits like insurance, process and policies. I never thought I’d say it, but I’ve grown to enjoy the boring bits more and more as Pocket Creatives has grown! That’s a sign I’m getting old, maybe?
Although I don’t shoot quite as much any more, I do enjoy seeing those around me flourish, and work towards supporting them with the experience I have having been so hands-on for so long, but i’m sure that it’ll be a long time before I fully put down a camera.
What do you actually do?
I find that most of the time I’m locked to my emails and drinking coffee! I like to think that I manage our business relationships well, which means that I have to stay in regular contact with both current and prospective active clients. It might look like I’m playing Football Manager on my phone in between times. I’m really not (unless you catch me!).
Otherwise, most of my waking hours are spent thinking about how to make Pocket Creatives better, more efficient and more successful, in between researching new styles and techniques that might benefit the next project on the horizon.
What do your team think you do?
Hmm – I’m convinced they think I spend all day writing lists, crossing things off my lists, adding more things, forgetting that I’ve already done something… and that the coffee may or may not help me to achieve this 🙂
Oh, and they think I include too many emoji’s too.
It’s true. I do 🙂 😉
Most embarrassing story?
There are far too many of these. Probably the most memorable was in the early part of my career when I added subtitles to a video and insisted it was so that blind people could now understand what was going on. It’s the pinnacle of stupid when you think about it, but I was so smug and convinced that I was doing good…
…until a blind man asked me to explain what was going on. Then it sank in.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Always being able to learn something new. The landscape of the creative industries changes so frequently, particularly in ours when technology has such an impact on what we do. I’ve never stopped learning in almost 20 years of doing what I do, and I hope that never changes!
What keeps you motivated?
With Pocket Creatives being a young and growing company, knowing the potential of how much we can develop is wonderful. The headroom to expand is enormous, but at the same time wanting to stay true to the small and friendly approach that works so well for us. That element helps us to stay grounded and not get too far ahead of ourselves!
I also like the responsibility of being in control of our own destiny, as well as the fact that I have to work hard every day to make sure that we all get paid.
What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?
Travelling, although I’m also happy when I’m working and travelling, so maybe that’s a cheat of an answer 🙂 COVID has recently put paid to doing much of that, but it has provided a great excuse to see more of the UK.
Maybe a fairer one is that I’m happiest spending lazy Sundays with my wife, eating, drinking coffee, watching films and exploring. I’m definitely an adventurer at heart!
Your proudest moments?
As someone who’s owned a business more than once, it’s really satisfying to look back and think about your highlights. I have a few to choose from: jetting out to Amsterdam and impressing a team at Philips to win a coveted new project; not showing myself up pitching to the intimidating management team at Arcadia to achieve a huge internal comms video series for the group; just about directing Olly Murs (when he allowed me to!) in a Pringles promo; creating one of our best single videos ever before getting thrown-off the Cunard QM2 before leaving for New York!
I don’t think think back on these so much as personal achievements, all of these things involved having a great team and the right people, personalities, skills and attitudes. Without fail, in each of these scenarios, i’ve had to out-impress larger competition, so being the underdog suits me well 🙂
Now, I suppose, having assembled a lovely team of talented people at Pocket Creatives who are happy and motivated in what they do, in our own cool studio, supported by some great clients gives me more pride than anything.
Ask me again in another 5 years….