Oliver N Elliott (TopSoilProject)
Films by Oliver N Elliott
Born on the 26th of July 1977 sharing my birthday with two of my heroes Stanley Kubrick and Mick Jagger I crashed into the world a sick and exhausted infant.
As soon as I could ask for money to rent films I was bothering both my parents for cash to rent the latest action or comedy. Through my father and his love of a good story, even better a great storyteller I soon developed a taste in cinema and began my ongoing search for greatentertainment.
With a love of film and photography soon came my first connection with cameras, technology, writing and acting. My father got me my first camera which was an 8mm cine that was just too expensive to use as much as I wanted to. Soon video tape became the obvious answer to my problem, after rebuilding several VCR’s making me familiar with their design and creating animation on my Spectrum 48k and afterwards an Amiga I got my first VHS camera. It was like a whole new world had opened up to me, still into my animation I decided to base my GCSE art exam on 2D computer animation and put my all into completing my final project on time. What I didn’t know was at the time animation was not covered by the curriculum and even though I was one of the stronger artists in my class/year I received an F as 99% of my work was animation.
Not put off I sat a year long art foundation course to get my grade and moved on to graphic design fearing my dreams of being a film maker from a small English town to be impossible and now was the time to get a trade.
After passing this course but feeling uninspired as it never really challenged me I dived back into animation after moving to Scotland. Studying with in my opinion a great man named Mike Campbell who had worked in the industry on such films as Bladerunner and Alien. Eger to move on I finished before anyone else and was chosen to edit the years show reel. Sat in front of that editing sweet was the start of editing for me a skill and love I am thankful I have found.
Once I moved to Edinburgh and studied animation at the EAC I soon built my first real PC and began shooting and editing digital video. This was an expensive hobby and I was desperate to find a way to pay for food, school and video kit doing something the progressed my love of the moving image instead of a job that got in the way of it. With the growing development of visual software I began creating a library of media and started TopSoilProject triggering live visuals for club nights and events. With limited competition things soon snowballed and I had more work than I could deal with. Even with so much work I felt the ideal situation was to have one or two select residencies to ensure a steady stream of work in the future. Soon enough along came Access and soon after Xplicit, while guaranteed work at these clubs my art college course ended and I found myself once again on the look for a job to advance my situation.
Through my time as a VJ I have worked with some of the biggest names in dance music, I was always surprised to see my name on a flyer with some of the acts. During this time I was approached by lots of people with moving image needs. Being busy I picked the rare few that truly interested me and began building on my musical timing, cutting and live/studio editing/triggering.
After building a custom nitro RC car I became friends with an employee of Rockstar North Games. He provided me an opportunity to focus test the up and coming Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, soon after I had my focus testing contract upgraded to a temporary staff contract which was extended several times before being made a permanent member of staff at Rockstar North. My experience with Rockstar North was a dream come true and I left with a clear image of how the industry functions, although it left me with very little time for film work.
With a keen interest in skateboarding since I was 11 and with my love of filming I soon ended up with a decade of footage which I began editing down with the original plan of producing a DVD to give to my friends as a Christmas gift. Soon after TIME’s completion it became clear that there were many others interested in this project as well as my close friends. After gaining a glowing review in Europe’s biggest skateboard magazine Sidewalk Surfer and premiering at Edinburgh’s Film & Funk night this project has continuously surprised me year after year.
With all my UK projects wrapped up my wife and I have made a dream come true and moved out to the US. We have made a great place for ourselves here in San Francisco and the future looks bright. I plan to concentrate on my true loves film making, writing and directing.