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Ben Thornley's Manifesto for Filmmaking

Updated: May 26

Ben Thornley has emerged as a maestro, crafting visual tales that resonate globally in the boundless realm of filmmaking, where creativity is the currency. Thornley's films have captivated the hearts of over a billion viewers, from Madagascar's lush rainforests to the bustling streets of Mumbai. His journey, seeded in the magic of Hollywood and nurtured on the streets of Manchester, unveils a manifesto—a guiding light for filmmakers navigating the delicate balance of art and science.

Ben envisioning the art of the possible, Manchester.

1 Imagination

Immersing oneself in the world of Ben Thornley begins with a plunge into the vast ocean of imagination. The visionary filmmaker advocates for the power of childlike creativity, urging creators to dream beyond the horizon of the known. Thornley's creative process, akin to a magician conjuring spells, involves rapid ideation and experimentation. "Get as many ideas on the board as possible," he emphasizes, reflecting on the alchemy that transforms imagination into visual stories that resonate globally.

2 Do-It-Yourself

Thornley's ethos rejects conventions and champions the spirit of originality. With a nod to the DIY approach, he advocates for filmmakers to carve their own path, embracing challenges and setbacks as stepping stones to mastery. "Pull up your sleeves and just do it," he asserts, revealing the backbone of his prolific output—250 projects a year worldwide, each a testament to the triumph of the DIY ethos.

3 Mentorship

In the tapestry of Thornley's success lies the thread of mentorship. The filmmaker encourages aspiring creatives to seek guidance from industry experts, a practice that has fueled his own journey. "Try and meet someone like I did, who can be a mentor to you," he advises, underscoring the importance of hands-on advice and the transformative power of collaboration.

"Restless Natives" - the core of Sitcom Soldiers, from left to right: Ben Thornley, Chris Jones, Paul Burrows, Malcolm Smith, and James Broadfoot.

4 Craftsmanship

At the intersection of art and science, Thornley emphasizes the significance of craftsmanship. Continuous learning and improvement are the cornerstones of his approach, urging filmmakers to push beyond comfort zones and pay meticulous attention to detail. "We grow our craft through experimentation," he notes, echoing the ethos of Sitcom Soldiers, the core of which comprises Thornley and his visionary collaborators.

5 Create unforgettable experiences

For Thornley, filmmaking transcends mere storytelling; it's about crafting unforgettable experiences. The alchemy happens when a connection is forged, emotionally tying the audience to the narrative. "That shoot was the best day of my life!" exclaims Thornley, underscoring the transformative power of creating moments that linger in the hearts of the audience.


In the grand tapestry of filmmaking, Ben Thornley's manifesto stands as a beacon, guiding storytellers through the intricate dance of imagination, action, mentorship, craftsmanship, and the creation of indelible experiences. As the curtains rise on Thornley's cinematic journey, the world watches in awe, inspired to embark on their own odyssey in the captivating universe of filmmaking.

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"Unknown Origins" soundtrack composed and performed by Iain Mutch

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Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins Creative Studios, is in the fight against unoriginality by unleashing creative bravery. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Photo credit: Brian Smale

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

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