James Anderson and Nick Ward, creators of The Food Truck, Two Heads TV Production talk to Gill South about taking the plunge, ditching the day jobs and setting up business.
What were your day jobs and how did you manage to set up your business in your spare time?
We were both working as freelance TV makers. James directing, shooting and editing and Nick writing and producing. We started the business to make a half-hour special for Sky 1 (now The Box) called Santarchy. It was all shot and edited within a week during the Christmas break. After that we went back to our day jobs.
Over the next two years our jobs changed significantly - I was writing for a magazine in between TV freelancing and James was directing and editing over in the UK. We did a couple more one-off projects in our holidays but never let the Two Heads work interfere with our freelancing work.
Being a freelancer Nick had time to develop and pitch ideas and really that's all we needed to get going.
At what point did you think you had enough income to support you from the new business and it was time to leave the safe day job behind?
We didn't have any money, but when we got our first series commission we knew it was at least six months full time work. That was enough for us. We both left our jobs, James returned from the UK and we were off.
How did the leap feel?
It was exciting. We had visions of being millionaires and that gave us a tremendous amount of energy. We were our own bosses and had an enormous amount of confidence. Youth, I suppose.
What were the early days like when that monthly cheque was no longer appearing?
We always had enough to pay rent, eat and drink. It was like being a student again - we were broke but free. I think it was harder for James because he had been earning a good pay packet for a long time and had to put his savings on hold. It took five years until our salaries started to get back to what they were in our previous day jobs.
What successes have you had where you thought all the risk was all worth it?
It's been a lot of hard work, but we have had some wonderful achievements, including The Food Truck. You so often hear of people complaining how bad television is so when someone says they like your show it means a hell of a lot. At the end of the day all we are trying to do is entertain people so that's all that really matters.
We love to work on projects that feel fresh and slightly left of centre but still have broad prime time appeal. In the end we just want people to watch our shows and be entertained. The new second series of our comedy show "A Night at The Classic" is coming soon to TV1. It's bloody funny.
Would you do it again?
Yes, without a doubt.
What would your advice be to people looking at taking the leap to their own businesses?
The time is never right so just do it, now.By Gill South Email Gill