The art of storytelling is rooted in imagination and perspective. The ability of someone to present original ideas comes from understanding the importance of each voice, this also applies to individual perspectives in the process of relating these tales. Liam Hooper has taken it upon himself to explore the contributions and effects of different roles in the process; as a director, an editor, a script supervisor, and other positions; Liam has sought insight to make his own unique style even more powerful and insightful. Since the creation of his first independent film at the age of sixteen, which included Oscar Winning Actor Steve Coogan in its cast, Liam has been recognized as one of the most tenacious and talented filmmakers of his generation. Exploring the possibilities through films, music videos, documentaries, and television series, this UK artist has garnered global admiration within the industry and while he may not be a marquee name (few in his vocation are), his constant stream of international collaborators and employers stand as proof that his talent is exceedingly appreciated within the community.
Being a teenage filmmaker with vision but lacking funding is a great way to get started in your professional career; at least it was for Liam Hooper. Asking friends to work for free, utilizing Kickstarter to raise funds, and an enormous amount of problem solving with a “can do” attitude empowered Liam to begin creating full length films in his teens. His first two horror features Darkwood Manor and Strangers Within garnered instant attention in festival runs throughout the UK and United States. Looking back on the early challenges of his first offerings, being a student who was juggling his exams while producing and directing these productions, Liam communicates, “Seeing my first film completed and then observing the outstanding audience reaction while watching the film on the premiere night was the game changer moment for me as a film maker.” The combination of winning the British Horror Film Festival Award and the fact that his script had convinced a luminary like Steve Coogan to be involved in this teenager’s film made the film community stand and take note. Stranger Within boasted a higher production level and continued to attract fans to Hooper’s style of filmmaking. Insight as to what is so captivating about his films comes from the director himself who professes, “My work is often presented as a love-letter to the genre the work represents. I often study the tropes and trends of the genre and attempt to pay homage whilst showcasing them in a unique way for the audience, in order to feel both familiar and fresh simultaneously. With every production I will eat, sleep, live and breathe that film until long after it’s been completed. I obsess over every film I direct, intending to create something that I myself would continue to watch and enjoy in the future.”
That same sense of obsessive attention makes Liam a powerful asset for producers and directors who hope to utilize his talent. Serving as script supervisor for acclaimed and successful productions such as Masterpiece PBS’s Sanditon, Netflix’s Cursed, HBO’s His Dark Materials (winner of multiple BAFTA Awards, Wales), and the ITV dramatic series MotherFatherSon has provided Hooper with numerous opportunities to use his laser focused attention to the benefits of settings which range from the Regency Period of Jane Austen to the fantasy/science fiction/religion world of Sir Philip Pullman. The main focus of a script supervisor is that of contributing an oversight and continuity which ensures the final edits will not reach a point of impasse. The opportunity to work with such internationally recognized actors as the iconic Richard Gere (on MotherFatherSon) or Golden Globe Nominated Actress Katherine Langford (on Cursed) is seen by Liam as providing further insight into the director/actor relationship. Describing this interaction, Liam imparts, “I think a superbly, often underrated aspect of a good script supervisor is being the director’s right arm. My job in this position is to help them achieve their vision and, if the director wants to do something that will contradict something already in a shot or break a cinematography rule, I need to help them figure out a way to do it that will work for the whole shoot. The director will rely on the script supervisor to bring up issues like these and too many script supervisors treat them as personal battles and attempt, often unsuccessfully, to command a director’s decisions as they ‘can’t do that’ instead of raising an issue, with a suggested solution already worked out.” Perceiving the director’s goals for the productions upon which he has served as script supervisor and assisting them to a successful conclusion is a direct result of the professional empathy that Liam possesses.
A reality series about automobiles seems like a complete deviation from the dramas previously mentioned but serving as editor on the decades long running television institution that is Wheeler Dealers made complete sense in Liam’s mind when he accepted the position. Along with the director of any production, the editor is perhaps the most powerful person in telling the story that is delivered to the audience. It may even be a more difficult role because it involves perceiving the story in the way that the director intends rather than as one sees it personally. Discovery Channels Wheeler Dealers features two car enthusiast hosts Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead scouring the country for cars that can be brought back to life and glory. Though his editing for the series was done remotely as a result of production during the pandemic, Liam’s contributions were so impressive to the director and stars of the show that he was asked to direct, showrun, and edit the pilot for Ant Anstead’s new series titled Dream 2 Drive and the upcoming Ant – Radford Returns.
With a 360-degree vantage, exploring the revelations that come from so many different perspectives within the industry, Liam Hooper fuses this knowledge to continue to create his own unique works such as his most recent endeavor The Passion Protocol. Eerily similar to the Covid cognizant climate of today, The Passion Protocol delves into the need for human contact and interaction as well as the wide reaching arm of a powerful government. Conveying the same enthusiasm for which he is so well known, Liam states, “The Passion Protocol, is something I’ve believed in for five years now. I’ve been rewriting and perfecting it over this period and, to finally shoot the teaser for it in 2021 was incredible. At last, seeing the lines we’d written and the characters we’d created (with co-writers Vicky Wheeler and Milly Wild) felt like such a true achievement. I always experience a euphoric, insular moment on set when I just take a step back to observe an idea I came up with being brought to life but The Passion Protocol was particularly special, given the journey I’ve been on to get it made.”
Writer: Mike Winston