An actor and writer has told how he helped a group of Ukrainian children living in Ayrshire to unlock their acting chops.

Daniel Kerr is an actor and director from Bearsden, who has had roles in some of the nation's biggest TV shows.

Having played a young Paul Ferris in The Wee Man, he's gone on to appear in three episodes of Outlander, had a recurring role in the BAFTA-winning children's show The 4 O'clock Club and played Ban in the Doctor Who episode 'The Eaters of Light'.

The Herald: Daniel Kerr in the Doctor Who episode 'The Eaters of Light'Daniel Kerr in the Doctor Who episode 'The Eaters of Light' (Image: BBC Wales)

At the invitation of director Max McGregor, he's been working in North Ayrshire with a group of largely Ukrainian children who have written and created their own short film.

Titled Different Ways, it tells the story of a group of youngsters who get stranded in the Scottish countryside and come to bond with each other.

Mr Kerr tells the Herald: "I’ve worked with Max previously and what he needed was an acting coach, because most of the kids had never done anything like that.

“He reached out to me to see if that was something I wanted to get involved in and it sounded really good, so I just went for it.

“It was filmed and created in Ardrossan, it’s basically teaching these kids how to make a short film – they wrote it, came up with the characters and are working on different background roles and things like that.

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“Primarily the young people are Ukrainian but it’s meant to involve young people from different backgrounds, and they all live in the North Ayrshire area.

"It’s been really good to see how enthusiastic they are about the whole project.

“There’s a group chat we’re all in, and there are days and days of editing after we’ve filmed and most, if not all, are really keen to edit as well as film and act.

“Seeing a lot of passion for it is really good to see, especially with young people.”

As well as acting Mr Kerr is a director in his own right, having made short film Norm during the pandemic.

It told the story of a man who is cut off from his only friend and goes on a crash diet, exploring themes of male body image, mental health and loneliness.

His second short film, Your Move, focuses on two players battling wits at a chess tournament, with the board game acting as a backdrop for the characters to explore their backgrounds and personal traumas.

The Herald: A still from Your MoveA still from Your Move (Image: Danny Kerr)

Mr Kerr says: "The first film was during Covid so the whole premise was it was just me filming it, and I had a voice actor and a composer doing music.

“With this it was much bigger in scale, there was a crew of about 16 people working on it in this little church hall.

“We had to get food, breaks scheduled in, make sure there were no medical issues – you need to think of everything and make sure that everyone is catered for.

"With acting you don’t have as much freedom – but you don’t have as much responsibility either.

“With directing you’re in charge of everything, which is good if you like to be in charge of everything but you also have to do everything as well, which can be quite daunting – especially if you’re a first time filmmaker.

“The buck stops with you in regard to production, editing, getting people where they need to go, everything.”

Mr Kerr is currently looking to find a venue to premiere the film, which he is planning to release next year.

The Herald: A still from Your Move by Daniel KerrA still from Your Move by Daniel Kerr (Image: Daniel Kerr)

There are numerous examples of directors starting out on low-budget projects, with the financial constraints forcing them to adapt.

James Cameron has spoken of the difficulty of making his first feature film, Piranha II: The Spawning on a sound stage in Rome with Italian actors who couldn't even speak English.

Was it any good? Well, the director says it's "the best flying piranha film ever made".

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It's something Mr Kerr can understand, having experienced big productions like Outlander and Doctor Who.

He says: "Obviously you want as much of a budget as possible if you want to make interesting, out there stories but if you can do that with a smaller budget and crew you find you almost have more freedom.

“With big productions like Outlander there are so many interested parties who want to do it their way, so many chefs at the cooking pot.

“If you’ve got a small, dedicated team who believe in what you want to do then you can do it. You might not have as much money but you work around it.

“It was really interesting trying to work your head around it. ‘We don’t really have the budget to suspend you from the ceiling, so what else can we do?’.”