Cardiff Character: James Clarke

Creative director prioritises work-life balance during the remodel of his video production business three years after its inception

Image credit: GreenNova Productions. James is working to remodel his video production company, solely focusing on security and defence clients – a unique selling point and a first for a Welsh video production business


It takes a lot of courage and ambition to build your own business, especially in the final year of an undergraduate degree. James Clarke, 23, creative director at GreenNova Productions, understands the pressures all too well when he started the company with fellow University of South Wales graduate, Christopher Deakin, three years ago.

That said, a diverse portfolio of clients from Rolls Royce to One Gym, has strengthened the young company’s reputation and proves that starting a business straight from the classroom is a viable option.

“Everything with starting a business from fresh, having no experience, it’s all a learning curve,” said James while sipping coffee in his living room in Thornhill.

His passion for photography and filmmaking stems from childhood, when he received his first camera as a Christmas present. Watching his dad, uncle and grandad take pictures at annual airshows was also an inspiration.

“Everything with starting a business from fresh, having no experience, it’s all a learning curve” 

Before taking the plunge last November to work in the business full-time, Bridgend-born James worked part-time in a camera shop to help pay the rent. Meanwhile, he spent every spare moment working on GreenNova’s rapid progression creating content such as music and promotional videos.

“I was working part-time in a camera shop to help pay the bills,” said James, moving to his home studio bursting with video equipment and awards celebrating company achievements. His 18-month-old miniature dachshund, Frank, also made an appearance. “Spending four days a week in my part-time job and all my free time doing this,” says James. “I was working seven days a week, four weeks a month, 52 weeks a year – I did that for a few years.”

What resources are available to Welsh startups? James shares his knowledge and gives advice on the best resources to kickstart your business. 


Now, intertwining business and a personal passion, James is working to remodel the business, catering mainly to security and defence clients – a unique selling point as he claims GreenNova will be the first Welsh video production company to do this – and has already developed some high profile contacts including the Department of International Trade. 

“Working with these huge brands, creating content that’s going all over the world to these military personnel – it’s a dream,” he says.

Behind the scenes

As well as Frank at his side and drinking lots of tea to get through the working day, James also turns to airsoft (a softer version of paintballing) at the weekends to relieve work stress. A variety of social activities is also something he likes to introduce around the working week. 

“Christopher and I do try and keep everything balanced,” says James. “We’ll go to the pub, go karting, watch the rugby, things like that.”

“Working with these huge brands, creating content that’s going all over the world to these military personnel – it’s a dream” 

The next act

Although repositioning the business and the commissioning of a new website is a big project, a career in producing feature films is also on the horizon for James as he looks at a few scripts to develop. Within the next 12 months, producing short films will also be on the agenda; feature films to follow soon after.

James explains. “It’s good to work with clients, but it’s also good to do films that are not for clients because it makes you realise why you entered the business in the first place.” 

Originally published here on Alt.Cardiff

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