Toby is an award-winning director, screenwriter and producer with a profoundly English sense of humour, and a tendency not to take himself too seriously.
He does take words seriously though. He became a novelist, editor and publisher through a deep curiosity about all the ways that words can work on a page.
He then turned to writing screenplays and became a Director, Producer and Executive Producer at three London-based film companies because, obviously, the next logical step was to see how words can work on a screen.
He is also a father of three. Not words. Children.
He doesn’t sleep. And rarely do they.
But he still finds time for creative reflection.
Toby is, fundamentally, a collaborator and creator. He thrives on the collegial creative process, and never met an edit he didn’t like. He finds it enormous fun to invent characters and their quirks, hammer out arcs and plots and episodes, and adapt concepts for the screen.
But there is also a quiet part of his mind that has been occupied by his magnum opus for almost twenty years. It is an epic, a sweeping novel set in the 1930s and 40s, and is very much a personal project.
And beneath all this are the ideas for novels and screenplays that keep him awake, that haunt him; that keep him writing.
Toby is a polymath; he is equally happy working on historical dramas and dramatising true stories, futuristic sci-fi, satire, comedy, and international and epic dramas.
Mainly he is fascinated by human stories: stories that bring people together; stories that educate; stories of hope. He loves being involved in projects that advance mankind in some way, small or big.
History holds a particular allure for Toby. Especially the World Wars. But he is often thinking about writing a Roman epic… or a medieval drama… or something set in the Old West… or a Dickens adaptation…
Overlaying these themes is his deft comedic hand. He likes to laugh, usually at himself.
His route to becoming a wordsmith was not entirely straightforward, but it did enable him to pick up some unique experiences. After a brief stint as a palaeontologist (his first published work was a scientific paper on evolution in the Proceedings of the Royal Society), he took a deft detour and became a lawyer. This surprised everyone, because his great-grandfather, grandfather and father were lawyers. But he was young… and broke… and not especially wise. He claims not to regret what he learned…
Partly because it enabled him to found his own publishing company.
He writes with a quill on vellum by candlelight in a garret.
Of course he does.
Actually, after the low of photocopying an iPad in desperation to edit on paper, he took a deep breath and went paperless in 2020. He’s never looked back.
He uses Final Draft for screenplays and Scrivener for prose. He writes on an iMac and edits on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil.
But he still reads paper books.
And has an irresistible yen to collect them.
Toby likes climbing mountains, and has done so in some very wild places (Greenland and Antarctica among them). He tends to ski back down if possible, and is quite good at managing to do so with broken limbs.
He can also use a camera, play the guitar, and (thanks to his sons) tell you almost anything about steam locomotives.
But above all, travel and exploring remain close to his heart, because they inspire stories…