How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?
Although he always had an interest in photography and made a few videos at university, Joe never planned a career in the creative industries. After doing a Politics with Economics degree at the University of Bath, he went into a management consulting job. But after a few months, he says, “I knew that I wanted to get more creative.”
He was lucky enough to get a role with Shine TV as a location runner on Hunted, a Channel 4 reality show. For the next couple of years he worked on a range of roles and shows as a location assistant and researcher.
“Everything I’ve learned in terms of editing was self-taught,” he says. “But TV was a good background. I was observing and learning and seeing what the people around me were doing. That was the advantage of working in factual entertainment because shows are often crewed by very small teams. So, I ended up being up on location with three or four people, or one person who’d be the director and shooter.”
After following his partner to Cornwall, he became less satisfied with the amount of time he had to spend away from home. So in 2018 he founded his own production company, originally focused on drone filming but now with a focus on social media content.
“It was a weird segue,” he says, but these indirect career paths seem to be typical of the creative industries.
Why did you want to join the leadership programme?
Not only does Joe want to build Bull & Wolf into one of the leading video agencies in the South West, he is also passionate about making it into a better company. So he sees developing his leadership skills as a way of delivering on his wider goals.
“I want to tap into local talent to try and be a force for good in Cornwall,” he adds. “To disprove the myth that you have to take a salary hit if you want to work here. I don’t think that needs to be the case, especially in the creative industries. And this is a fantastic place to have creative people.”
What is your action research project?
“Me and my co-founder are both the stereotypical ‘pale stale males’ in the screen industry,” says Joe wryly, despite his youth. “We may have a certain bias, conscious or unconscious, that may stop us recruiting the best people.” And, he says, he believes in action not words.
So his project looks at how Bull and Wolf can be an inclusive employer. He’s been speaking to other growing businesses to understand best practice in recruitment. He’s reviewed his job adverts to make sure that they’re not using gendered or otherwise biased language and he and his co-founder are experimenting with a ‘blinded’ CV review process.
What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?
A creative economy that can bring money into the region – that’s what Joe wants to see developing in Cornwall.
“A significant economy needs to generate income for itself,” he says. “And it can’t just be for a few people. It’s no good having individual artisans who are alone and just getting by. We need creative hubs for people who are doing really fantastic projects while ensuring that they’re actually earning a decent living wage.”
Where would you like to be in three to five years?
Within five years, Joe aims to have developed Bull and Wolf into a widely recognized production company – and to have it serve as an incubator for new creative filmmakers and producers.
Currently, he’s working to get Bull and Wolf certified as a B Corporation, demonstrating that it’s a business that cares about people and planet as well as profit. As he points out, Cornwall is neck-and-neck with Bristol to have the most B Corps of any region in the UK outside London – “not per capita, just the most.”
“From a personal perspective,” he concludes, “it’d be great to run a business like that, but I also want to get more involved in environmental work, and then trying to shout out about Cornwall, beyond just an interest in politics. I want use the platform that success might bring to push on the causes I’m passionate about.”