After taking courses first in photography and then in film and TV production at the London College of Communication I moved to Venezuela where I helped set up the Instituto de Formación Audiovisual in Porlamar, Margarita – giving training in photography and film production to the general public and to students of the Universidad del Oriente. I also worked as a freelance photographer and wrote a weekly column on media matters for El Sol de Margarita. I went on to work at the Universidad de los Trabajadores de America Latina in San Antonio de los Altos in the foothills of the Andes outside Caracas. The University hosted conferences and workshops for Trade Unionists from all over the continent, and the audio-visual department facilitated these as well as producing short films and audiovisual aids.
After moving to Norfolk in the early '80s, I ran the theatre space at the Wells' Centre - a touring venue in north Norfolk which hosted shows by the likes of Alan Bennett, Fascinating Aída, Theatre de Complicité, Hull Truck & Theatre Machine. I went on to work at the Audiovisual Department of the University of East Anglia and at Anglia TV News & Current Affairs and also with Renaissance Vision, producing corporate communication programmes for the likes of CIBA, Volvo and Norwich Union. With fellow producer/director Paul Fitzgerald we set up Tapecraft Productions and produced current affairs programmes for BBC2 in Norwich as well as 3 series of the regional travel programme Out and About.
It was at this point that I dropped the 'Smith' from Brettingham Smith as at that time televisions were not even widescreen, so the whole name didn't fit on one line of text without using a different font size to all the other credits. I have used 'Brettingham' for work ever since.
From around 2000 I have worked mostly in London on a wide range of broadcast programming from Secret Eaters for C4 to the BBC2 Grierson Award nominated Double Agent: The Eddie Chapman Story with Ben MacIntyre. From James May's Toy Stories (BBC2) to Capriol Films' contemporary take on Verdi's Falstaff for Sky Arts. With Capriol and Pier Productions I also worked (2nd camera & editor) on the feature film In Love with Alma Cogan with Roger Lloyd Pack, Niamh Cussack & John Hurt.
I am also currently working with Rescue Wooden Boats on documenting both the oral history of the north Norfolk fishing communities and the techniques & skills involved in the disappearing craft of wooden boat construction