Jim began acting as a kid - like most of us. During school he became more and more interested in the phenomenon of theatre, and staged his own productions from aged 17 onwards. His formal training began at Central School of Speech and Drama, in partnership with the University of London, where together with kindred spirits they staged independently Berkoff's Lunch and Free Beer, a play written by Jim's then flatmate Ian Wilding. Searching for a school that focused on the craft of creating characters, Jim came across the only one that, at that time, offered a concrete syllabus devoted entirely to that end, and so enrolled at the School of the Science of Acting in 1993. After a year or so he switched onto the directing course. The School was a steep learning curve - not only in terms of the craft of acting, but also in terms of the role of the director. Coming as it did from a Russian cultural background, the social and professional responsibility of the director was considered inseparable from his ability to analyse and stage a production. The possible influence of the director's vision on the audience was a key element in Jim's development, as was the third leg of his training - teaching actors. Even here the stress was on clarity and integrity, in addition to a thorough understanding of the material and the competence to help others increase theirs.
Jim did very well at the School. After Graduation he was invited back to direct acting students in their end-of-year productions, to teach on workshops the school offered to non-students, and from 1997 to 2004 was probably the graduate who clocked up the most teaching hours - not only in acting and directing, but also even Yoga. He was integral to the school's implementation and maintenance of a Quality Management System, serving as a qualified internal auditor after a stint working in the office to see how the business side of things worked. He later became a member of the School's board.
In 1999, Jim and Maria set up an entertainment company offering tailor-made shows to corporate and private clients. This soon changed focus to the Edinburgh Festival, where they began to build up a venue that aimed to provide a very supportive environment for performers from around the world.
From 1997 onwards Jim set up and ran his own acting classes in London, as well as teaching part-time for over a year at a private acting school in Hampshire. He also provided one-to-one consultations in play analysis for directors, character analysis for actors, and counseling services for individuals who had heard about the benefits to the quality of life that understanding of the principles behind the Science of Acting could offer. He did a short course for inmates in Her Majesty's Prison Coldingley, and then took a job teaching Drama and English in a private secondary school in a rural setting just outside London.
From there he moved behind the scenes and began supporting directors as the General Manager at the Directors Guild of Great Britain. After 6 months he was promoted to Chief Executive Officer, and led the Guild during a difficult period of change. He worked hard to increase the profile of the Guild, both publically and professionally, and to maximise the efforts of its various different arms. It was a very intense and exhausting job in many ways, but also very rewarding – the chance to meet with creative and often highly successful and driven people, to share ideas, build bridges and strive towards increasing the value of the unique job that directors do.
In 2005 a change of direction was on the cards, and Jim moved with his family to the countryside in Sweden. The pace and focus of life shifted dramatically, and there were new priorities. One of these was responding to the myriad issues connected with his son's late diagnosis of profound hearing loss. This provided an opportunity to see the world very differently, and search for answers from a much wider slew of sources than would have been likely otherwise, and continues to offer a rich and refreshing counterpoint to many of the established norms our society is so used to. He has come some way on the road towards acquiring Swedish, and Swedish sign language, and has increasingly turned his attention to the issue of schooling.
During this time he was commissioned to write a film script based on an English novel, soon to be completed in its final draft. He has worked for a short stint at an animation company in Sweden's "Trollywood", and opened communications with the Swedish Department of Education regarding establishing a school based on Sudbury Valley in MA, USA.