Portrait photo of Tom Canning

Spotlight: Tom Canning

Who is Tom Canning?

I’m a creator of stories and a storyteller. These overlap and rely on each other. I try to bring that combination to whichever part of the filmmaking process I’m working on. A film has to be aware of its audience, otherwise, it fails its basic function. I focus greatly on who the audience is and what they need to see in order to feel addressed. From there I try to take them to the place the project wants them to go.

How did your career path develop?

I began as a runner, then junior cameraman, sound man and editor. I tried to learn everything I could about every aspect of filmmaking in order to better connect with the audience and tell the story – not to mention being able to cover roles when people were unavailable.

I then went freelance and edited for many years. This combined all the elements of filmmaking and allowed me to discuss details with directors and producers – to see how far the result had changed from their intention and why.

That’s when I began writing scripts. I then moved into producing and directing as I felt more comfortable with what I needed to achieve. Now I’m using all those skills to keep projects moving, from commercials and corporate films to short dramas and feature scripts.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

Not giving up and the one or two awards I’ve received.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

I’m used to working hard to create the best work I can, yet I often feel like I could have another go at certain elements after projects have gone out into the world. There are a few things that I’m proud of, like for instance a short drama that won awards and got into festivals or a short script that received an award. Scripts, however, are easy to be proud of as they are the most controllable – lone pieces of work that can be infinitely adjusted, not compromised by the headaches of production.

I’ve seen it all: project-saving edits, transformative re-edits, planned shots that worked, lucky shots I’ve stolen and inspiring moments of clarity at all stages. I did a job in Abu Dhabi that was long, complicated and had the largest crew I’d worked with. A job in Argentina that had a tiny crew but we got content worthy of 3 crews.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Try to understand others. It’s the key to communication and interaction.

View Tom’s Portfolio