Viral Careers: Hugh Garry
13 March 2019
In this series of interviews we’re talking to people about how they got to where they are. Find out about the key moments, and people, in the lives and careers of some of the creative people we most admire.
Name: Hugh Garry
Job/occupation: Company Director at Storythings
Tell us about the work you do.
Along with Matt Locke and Anjali Ramachandran I run Storythings. We help all kinds of organisations tell stories. That might involve us making a film, a podcast, producing long-form journalism, hosting an event. I’m very lucky in that no two projects are ever the same so I’m never bored.
What did you want to do when you were 16?
At 16 I wanted to direct movies. I was obsessed with Francis Ford Coppola and thought that Rumblefish was the greatest movie ever made at the time. But I was really naive and made bad choices at school and college. I really needed someone to sit me down at the time and say “If that’s what you want to do here’s what you need to know and here’s what you need to do next’. I could never have imagined that what I do now was a career option. I never studied audio production, never studied film, and never studied journalism, but somehow spend my days immersed in all of them.
Was there a moment that opened up new possibilities and brought you to where you are today?
There were a series of moments – the kind of moments people might look back on and call ‘luck’ or ‘being in the right place at the right time’. But the reality is that each of those moments happened because I chose to do something that connected me to a network or put me in a place where those moments could happen. Writing stories, teaching myself to DJ, putting on my own events, all put me in a place where I could bump into opportunities that would change the direction of my life.
Who has influenced your career?
Storythings founder Matt Locke has been a huge influence on my career. From working together at the BBC, to accepting my many requests to ‘go for a brew’ when he was at Channel 4 and I needed to pick his brains, Matt was always available. I’ve never been afraid fire off an email to someone, whether I know them or not, and ask them if they fancy a quick brew. What’s the worse that can happen? I get those emails often and try to make myself available as much as I can.
What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Get a mentor, become part of a network, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what you do next defines what you do for the rest of your life. Get into a habit of asking people about the journey they took. I’ve had many careers and at 52 I’m still excited by the twists and turns the future holds for me.
Opportunities in the creative industries can be difficult to identify and aren’t always accessible, or visible, to young people from all backgrounds – something that our Viral project aims to change.
Viral is a collaborative learning programme that provides production training, business development, mentoring, showcasing opportunities and peer-to-peer support for a diverse group of 16-25 year olds from Brighton and the surrounding areas.
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