Damiano Vukotic at Ridley Scott Associates
James Bryce is a freelance Director based in London. He is a strong visual storyteller and has extensive experience with action and car work; but above all he loves working with writers and actors to bring a story to life with clarity, imagination and emotional power.
James is good at working with high profile talent and is as happy commanding a large unit on a commercial as he is working with a skeleton crew and street-cast actors. James used to be a commercial and feature film editor and still intermittently cuts his own work. He's a very versatile director and has mastered a wide variety of shooting and editing techniques; but first and foremost, James knows that style must above all serve the story. He has a particular passion for working with actors and making intelligent, character-led drama.
James has recently directed 2 episodes of Holby City and 5 episodes of Casualty.
'This was great! So absorbing and well shot...James did a beautiful job.'
Simon Harper, Executive Producer, Casualty
James was also the Second Unit Director responsible for the car chase and shoot-out at the end of The Sweeney feature film, starring Ray Winstone.
“The car chase is epic…the dramatic finale through a caravan park is one of the best I’ve seen.”
Gordon Smart, The Sun
In the commercials world, James joined Ridley Scott Associates 13 years ago and has worked with clients such as Audi, Ford, Nissan, The Gates Foundation, COI, Castrol, Mobil1, Mini, Chevrolet and Jaguar.
James has also written and directed high-end drama-documentaries, getting powerful performances from actors and staging big action sequences, such as gun battles in the Philippine jungle (Kidnapped Abroad – Fatal Mission), car chases and shoot-outs in the Bronx (The Fugitive Chronicles) or intense firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan (No Man Left Behind).
Reviews of No Man Left Behind:
"utterly engrossing...the reconstructions achieved unusually high levels of tension, atmosphere and emotional involvement...incredibly effective television.”
Gerard O’Donovan, The Daily Telegraph
“the recreations felt convincing and essential, adding a palpable sense of stress.”
James Jackson, The Times
James first started making films at college. After a degree in English Literature at Oxford University, James went on to complete the Postgraduate MA/Diploma in Film & TV at Bristol University, then started his professional career as an offline editor at MTV. He quickly moved on to become a freelance music video and commercials editor.
Editing is the best training for directing and James’s directing break came from the BBC, who employed him on a variety of shows leading up to Top Gear. This despite the fact James knew very little about cars and couldn’t technically drive.
James intermittently worked on Top Gear from Series 2 and is credited on over 70 episodes of the show. As such he has been instrumental in creating the style and success of a TV programme that held the Guinness World Record for the most watched show in the world. Top Gear won every major TV award and James found himself wearing a tuxedo in New York to receive the 2005 International Emmy for Best Non-Scripted Entertainment, awarded to an episode containing his work.
James also has the dubious honour of being the director of the very first and last (Clarkson era) Top Gear Christmas Specials, both of which involved angry locals throwing rocks at him.
This is probably why James doesn’t direct Top Gear any more.