Steven A. Johnson
Steven Anthony Johnson (born 2 September 1968) is a British screenwriter and director for TV, Film and Theatre, as well as an author. His most recent project is The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream, written and directed by Johnson.
"I have been lucky enough to have met and become friends with some of the most amazing people in the World. Still meeting more of them, and always surprised at where new ones next appear."
Heartbroken, grieving, and tormented by visions of his hero's death, Mickey Sharpe finds himself stuck in the middle of two opposing gangs as he tries desperately to finish the exposing documentary his best friend died trying to finish.
Steven has explained how: "I wanted to show the struggle that's in front of young people, particularly if they've gone through university and they've kind of done everything they're meant to have done. The struggle still sits there in front of young people who are going out into the world and hoping that everything they've been told will come to pass. The reality, of course, is that it is not quite as it seems. It's a lot harder to actually move your life forward now in many ways."
Johnson was born in Hertfordshire, England to parents Anthony and Margaret. He attended Mill Mead Primary School in Hertford. Johnson's parents divorced when he was 11 years old - late one night, Johnson rode his bike to live with his grandparents, Winifred and Arthur Johnson.
"I grew up with two very different gardens – one belonged to my parents, the other belonged to my grandparents. Actually, that's not strictly true. Both properties belonged to the local council. I was lucky enough to grow up on a council estate."
Johnson's father took a job as a long-distance lorry driver as the pay was higher than when he was a tyre fitter. During his primary school years, Johnson travelled a lot with his father and by age 9 he had visited Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden. Johnson says his "best memories are of the many weeks I spent with my father travelling through the rugged landscapes of Norway with its mountains, fjords, and wild rivers."
"I remember the cold winter mornings when we would wake up in the lorry sometimes in temperatures of -20°, my father with frost in his beard, and nothing but deep snow everywhere!
Johnson has said how his trips to Norway with his father inspired him by providing views of 'gardens' of outstanding structure and beauty on a grand scale, fuelling his imagination and sharpening his eye for dramatic landscapes.
By the age of 13, Johnson had two paper rounds and worked every Saturday and Sunday at a growing nursery owned by a school friend's father. Here, he earned money doing piecework, being paid a penny a pot for potting bedding plants and putting them out on to the benches.
"It was the mid 1980s and I was 17 years old. I'd left school, had no money, no job and no great exam results. As usual, it was raining. The only place to go was my father's house for a cup of tea and a chat."
At age 13, Johnson had two paper rounds and worked every weekend at a growing nursery where he was paid a penny a pot for potting bedding plants. His rate was quickly dropped to £17 per every 2000 he did.
After a conversation with his father, Johnson decided to put an ad in the local newspaper that read 'The Garden Barber' followed by a list gardening services he would offer.
In 1985, at the age of 17, Johnson started his garden maintenance company, Garden Barber Ltd.
In 2006, Johnson created children's characters 'Snip and Clip' and wrote 4 children's books using the characters. The books followed narratives that would introduce children to different plants and tress, whilst promoting being friendly to the environment. Johnson then began writing and recording music and live action children's shows for his characters Snip and Clip. He did this with the aid of John Softly, who sponsored Johnson, allowing him to use his studios free of charge. In 2007 Johnson wrote and recorded the Christmas single 'Santa's Beard'. The song was played on various radio stations, including Capital Radio where is was reviewed live by Danii Minogue, KT Tunstall and Lucio Buffone. In 2008, Snip and Clip performed Santa's Beard with Peter Osborne ('The Big Chef').
Over the next few years, Johnson wrote music with Julian and formed a friendship with Julian and Berny Stringle. Johnson and Stringle would write under the name 'Stringle & Johnson'.
In 2012, Stringle & Johnson released 'England's Dream (Oh What A Day!) as an anthem for the 2012 Euros. Johnson directed a music video starring his daughter Tilia.
Johnson then began writing and directing dramatised videos for media-led marketing campaigns for companies such as Romex World, Barron Mccann and Phoenix.
Such videos include:
Snip and Clip
To help market his gardening business, Johnson created children's characters Snip and Clip (the garden barbers). Johnson had costumes of the characters made so that children could dress up as the characters during school visits where he educated children on the environment.
"As we had the costumes, it seemed a shame not to make more use of them and so we put together some 15 minute children's shows."
The Snip and Clip characters appeared at many events including The Green Roadshow, Lee Valley Country Fair, RHS Wisley, The Frost Fair, Ealing Book Fair and Bob The Builder's 10 year anniversary. In 2007, Snip and Clip and Johnson performed outside of HMV on London's Oxford Street. Johnson then released the Christmas song Santa's Beard. He was invited to and gave interviews on London's Capital Radio as well as other radio stations.
In 2017, Johnson wrote and published the final book in the Snip & Clip series: Snip and Clip In: And Then I Met The King Of England. He directed a children's animation of the book also. The book received praise from Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt of Buckingham Palace.
Johnson was asked by Phil Stock, Prince's Trust Team Leader for Broxbourne, if he would provide a 3-week course in gardening and landscaping for 19 young people who were engaged with the Trust.
With some funding from the local Housing Associations, Johnson and his team of Garden Barbers worked with the young people on different projects. The progress made by the attendees, who were from a variety of backgrounds, was filmed. Johnson wanted to provide something for them to aim for and so made contact with Great Ormond Street Hospital and the resident radio station: Radio Lollipop. Johnson took the young people from the Prince's Trust to Great Ormond Street to hand out Snip and Clip books to the children there.
The Moment Trap
In 2017, Johnson began writing a screenplay called 'The Moment Trap'.
After over a year in pre-production, with the support of close friends Berny Stringle (award-winning commercial director), Paul McKay (experienced actor) and Greg Stewart (first-time producer), the date was set for shooting to begin in the summer of 2019.
On 15 July 2019, Johnson started principle photography of his first feature film, The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream. Throughout the pre-production, shooting and post-production of the film Johnson took valuable advice from his friend Berny Stringle. Rob Clydesdale, a friend of Johnson, wrote the complete score for the film. His daughter, Cedar Rose Johnson, wrote 4 songs for the film.
After 15 days, there were crucial scenes that had not been shot - scenes that set up the story, location, and characters (including the opening scene) - and so three pick-up dates had to be added.
The pick up dates were completed in September 2019.
Johnson sat in throughout the whole editing process, editing down to the frame.
The post-production took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colouring, SFX, score and graphics were all done from the homes of those on board with zoom calls and emails to and from Johnson and the rest of the people involved.
The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream was released on VOD to Amazon Prime on 2 September 2021.
Johnson is currently working on another film under 'The Moment Trap' title called The Moment Trap - The Martin Luther King Dream.
While exploring the idea that a camera is a device that ‘taps moments in time’ (‘The Moment Trap’), Steven began exploring moments in recent history that were never captured on video.
One of these moments was the shooting of John Lennon. If this happened today, there would be at least one mobile phone recording of the event and the aftermath, but in 1980, there was none. This moment will only be trapped in the minds of those who were there and, even then, only the moment as they remember it exists.
Millions of people all around the world were devastated by the news of John Lennon’s death. The most frequent question being: “why?”. This is the same feeling we get at the end of The Moment Trap – The Lennon Dream, we are caught out and left with these questions and emotion.
There are parallels between John Lennon and Mickey Sharpe, the protagonist in The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream, with the end scene being a final nod to Mickey’s hero in the modern tale of a moment lost in time. Silence fills the auditorium as the emotional rollercoaster suddenly jolts to a stop and audiences prepare to leave, with the memory of that moment trapped in their mind.
Johnson uses car numberplates to introduce characters. This device was initially a financial decision as the budget could not afford to pay for DVLA numberplates specifically for filming. Johnson took this device further by using the numberplates to introduce characters to the audience.
Johnson lives in Hertfordshire. In 1988, Johnson and his then partner Elizabeth had a daughter together, Laura. The two split up in 1990. In 1995, Johnson met Julia Mary Price. In 1998, Johnson and Julia had a son, Reed Price Johnson. Johnson's daughter Cedar was born in 2000. In 2003, Johnson married Julia Mary Price. In 2010, Johnson's wife, Julia, died of breast cancer leaving behind their two children Reed Price Johnson and Cedar Rose Johnson. Johnson has two more children, with Stacey Holmes, Tilia and Jet, who were born in 2009 and 2011.
Three of Johnson's children appear in his film The Moment Trap - The Lennon Dream. Cedar, Tilia and Jet took on cameo roles in the feature.