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This may not exactly be the most interesting of pages on my website, but it is necessary and if you really want to know more about me, it is a great place to start.

My name is Peter Potts. I was born in Ndola, Zambia and grew up in various places around the United Kingdom. As a baby I spent time in Scotland, near Glasgow, before my parents moved the family to the south of England. Originally living near Portsmouth, we finally ended up in Crowborough, East Sussex, after my airline pilot father had spent a couple of years as one of Colonel Ghaddafi's personal pilots in Tripoli, Libya.

After finishing sixth form at Crowborough Beacon School, since renamed, I went to Ravensbourne College in Bromley, Kent, where I studied on the BTEC-HND Design & Communications – Programme Operations course. During my time at college I learnt all about the finer points of camera work, sound recording and studio production. Although not the top of my class, I was one of those who managed to find work almost straight out of college.

My first job was with TV3 Broadcasting, now called ‘The Modern Times Group’, and I spent five years at their state of the art facility in West Drayton, Middlesex, cutting promos, sports title sequences and highlight packages. Right from the very beginning I was working as an online editor. Within a few years I was even involved in the recruiting process for new freelancers to come into the company.

Once I felt I had learnt as much as I could from that job, I moved to Crow Film & Television in Shepherds Bush, London. I worked as an online editor with them on various projects, ranging from your basic Corporate video (although they are sometimes far more complex to make than broadcast programmes) to prime time shows for companies like the BBC and Discovery Channel. It was a wonderful experience that would eventually come to an end after two years when cutbacks meant I had to go and fend for myself in the freelance market.

After a year or so of working various bit jobs like night time compiling of cartoons for the Cartoon Network and cutting news stories for WTN, I eventually managed to get a freelance gig working on the BBC Watchdog programme. With this new job came a new experience, namely Avid.

At first the Avid was a very different experience to Online editing, in that the changes that could be made were infinite, and my input to the final product was far more challenging. But I managed to learn the machine and stretch it as best I could, at the time Avid was still on Macs and only at version 7, and as Watchdog required a lot of visual effects, colour and speed ramping to make the films appealing to the 19.30 brand slot, the render times were horrendous. Many a late evening was caused waiting for the effects to be ready.

Around this time I was able to spend a very small amount of time playing with the Lightworks NLE platform, which really intrigued me when it came to working in an offline environment. But the industry was to go with Avid for the next few years and so Avid is what I concentrated on.

After 5 years working on Watchdog I knew it was time to move on and began to look for more challenging work. Making 3-7 minute films all the time can become a bit dull after a few years. But thanks to the hard work I had put in over the last few years I was invited to work for BBC Current Affairs in the White City complex.

During my time in Current Affairs I worked my way from the basic half hour series like “Kenyon Confronts” and “Lifting the Bonnet” to another one of the BBC’s flagships, Panorama.

Working with Panorama had to be one of the most challenging times in my career so far. I had to work longer harder hours than ever before, often on shows that had to be on air within weeks of the commissioning of the show. But I never missed a deadline nor had a show pulled from air. It was on one of my first Panorama's that I actually ended up working a 36 hour straight shift to finish a show. While working with the BBC, I was also lucky enough to be cleared as a technical review editor so that I could review shows and pass them fit for air.

Although the BBC took up a lot of my time I was still able to find time to work for other clients, including Channel 4, five and ITV. Making challenging programmes for strands like “Dispatches” (Ch4) and the series “Murder Squad” (ITV), along with more light hearted shows like "Brand New You" and "From Gawker to Stalker" (both for five). Although I did also do more work for the BBC, my main work at this time became some hard hitting documentaries about Pakistan and the effects of the 'War on Terror' there.

One of the most powerful was the film “Inside the Red Mosque” (AJE). The fim was originally to have been about Rageh Omaar meeting with the senior people at the Red Mosque in Islamabad but after numerous public demonstrations the powers that be felt the Imams there were getting too big and decided to try to shut the masjid and madrassa down. This lead to a number of deaths and reactions right across Pakistan. The final film was nominated for an International News Emmy and was also the first film where an interviewee I had edited was not around for the final product.

I went on to make 4 films with Rageh in Pakistan, all for MidWinter Productions and Al Jazeera English. They went down very well with the audience as there was no spinning the stories, just telling them as they are and allowing the viewers to choose what they wanted to believe and take away from the films.

It was around this time that an old colleague from Watchdog invited me to work on the Money Programme, which at the time was switching over from Avid to Final Cut Pro. I only had time to make two films with them but it allowed me the freedom to experience and learn the new edit system that was beginning to take over from Avid.

But eventually my time in London was coming to a close, and with new horizons definitely in my view I set off to find more challenges. Moving to Bangkok, Thailand, and teaming up with Infocus Asia films would probably count as being a bigger step than having to make my own way in the freelance market. But with IFA I have now worked on even more projects that have really excited me, and led to films that I think are some of the best work I have ever done.

Here in Bangkok, I have made films that reveal the fish that live in our rivers and seas, the future direction of cummincations and design, along with another film with Rageh Omaar. I have also cut a commercial for the Taiwan Tourist board that was partly funded by BBC Worldwide. This commercial was shot with the Red camera and allowed me to experience working with very high resolution material.

Through contacts made since I arrived in Bagnkok I have also been able to challenge myself even more by Post Supervising a feature film through the final stages of Audio, VFX and Delivery. 'Clockwise' is the first fully funded theatrical Qatari film that has been made and it was a fantastic experience to step out of the comfort of the edit suite and begin to see the process from a broader perspective.

Today, I am still living in Bangkok, with my wife and daughter and enjoying the freedom that living here gives. I still love to edit but more and more I am continuing to try and stretch myself by directing and learning new skills such as web design. Maybe one day I will become tired of it all and throw in the towel, but after more than 20 years as a film editor, I am not sure what else I could do with my life.

Written by Peter Potts
© PJP 2011 Email me