Good God. I'm nearly 50! How did that happen? I have been professionally very happy for the past 25 years as a physiotherapist. A caring professional. And it always seemed to fulfil my needs. I help people and in turn, they are very grateful. So far, so very rewarding.
But I've always been hankering for more. As a physiotherapist, it is half science and half art, and I do love both. But at school, I was always an artist first, and science took second place. My teenage hobby was making super-8 films. In a funny way, I still feel like an artist and somehow I went down the wrong path.
This past year, I decided to start exploring that other path. What might have been. I enrolled as a student film director at Brighton Film School. Blagged my way on, somehow. The first lesson arrived and in trooped a bunch of wonderful people. All cool and well dressed. The beautiful people. And all about 25. I'm sure no-one was judging me, but blimey, I did feel like grandpa.
As the weeks passed and we found our footing it dawned on me. I have a huge advantage!
Yes, thats it! I have experience!! I have been grafting for years. I can easily work a 12 hour day and not feel tired. I can organise a bunch of people coherently and efficiently. And I know how people tick.
In my years as a physiotherapist I have seen the full spectrum of humanity. I have taught baby massage classes. I have helped a man walk for the first time in his life - aged 27. I help people through pain and difficulty, from Olympians to torture victims. I even help people when they die.
Could it be that I am lucky person with something to say? Is film-making the medium to say it?
Two months into the course and I decided to make my first film. I put together a team of two actors and six crew, wrote a script, drew a storyboard and made a schedule. We filmed for a day and edited it over a couple of weeks and bingo. I had a film. A proper seven minute short film. And it wasn't half bad. People liked it.
Now the other thing I should mention is that I am a little eccentric. When I started as a physio, I tried to to be straight laced. But again, with experience, I came to realise people liked me for the little foibles and eccentricities. It would put people at ease and they would enjoy their time spent with me, even if I was doing something that caused them pain.
Maybe I should apply those same principles to my film-making. Rather than show people what I feel they might like, perhaps I should show people what I like and let the audience find me. Over the next six months I made six films, each one getting more eccentric. And each one seemed to get better.
A few weeks ago, I plucked up courage and entered one in a competition. The "Remake Film Fest".
They have just announced I am in the final 10 and will be shown on the night. I have a mixture of being thrilled and a sense of validation. Perhaps I'm not too old to become a creative professional. Wish me luck for the 29th. But I won't give up the day job just yet!