Richard bought his first super 8mm camera aged 10 before becoming a director, Heslop operated a live multi-projection for 23 Skidoo on their travels through Europe in 1979 and took part in The Final Academy multi-projection performance with 23 Skidoo, William Burroughs and friends
In 1981 he documented the Brixton riots and began a foundation course at the London College of Printing. There, he released his 7 Songs video (1983) with the music of 23 skidoo. . He graduated in 1984 from St. Martins school of art and design film dept with a BA honours in film/fine art. He released his graduation film " The child and the saw" as a boxed VHS tape ( made in collaboration with Daniel Landin) . In the film, a nine year old girl receives a giant bandsaw for her birthday and plays innocently and gleefully as it twists around her bedroom, it leads her on a dark and surreal journey of discovery. The film won first prize at the Huesca short film festival in Spain and was shown at Edinburgh Film Festival and ICA "Synchronization of the Senses Festival."
Heslop became known for his manipulation of film speeds that gave his images an alternative edge and unique feel and an alternate perspective of reality.
In 1984, he was camera operator for Derek Jarman's experimental film Imagining October, filmed on super 8 mm. Two years later he directed his first music video The Queen is Dead by The Smiths and modelled in a Paris fashion show for Yohji Yamamoto and travelled to India to make documentary about the "Kumba Mela."
In 1986 he made the film Procar (16 mm, black and white, 19 mins.) in collaboration with Daniel Landin and Herbert Verhey with his Car Ensemble of the Netherlands ("Nederlands Auto Ensemble") for live performances in Amsterdam during the Romantic Aesthetics Festival. For this project, a two-day drive-in cinema was built in the centre of the city. The film was shown later that year at the Berlin Film Festival and released as part of a compilation of British short films 1984-1987 called FAT OF THE LAND which also included an early Tilda Swinton short "The Sluggard" by Joy Perino and work by Cerith Wyn Evens.
That year (also with Daniel Landin) he filmed the performance of Laibach and Michael Clark in London: No Fire Escape In Hell (1986) and shot the music video for Laibach's 'Life is Life' (16 mm, released in 1987) on location in Slovenia.
In the late nineteen-eighties he started to create photo-montages that were exhibited in The London Gallery. He also continued his career as director of music videos, including clips for New Order, Happy Mondays ("wrote for luck" "24 hour party people" and "Hallelujah"), Pop Will Eat Itself and The Mighty Lemon Drops(A certain ratio)(sugar cubes). During the same period he started Trigger Happy Films (that would produce many videos including Unbelievable by EMF) and apart from beginning to document the rave scene in England he became cameraman on Derek Jarman's arthouse feature film The Garden (1990) and " The last of England". For Channel 4, he directed in 1991 Floating, a 39 min. movie about a Docklands bus driver on the verge of a nervous breakdown, starting to have visions of a second "Great Flood", who finally destroys his house in order to build an ark in his living room. This film was awarded 'Best Short Film' in the Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992.
The same year, Richard Heslop joined Oil Factory - a prolific London-based production company for music videos and commercials. Amongst the many legendary Heslop videos are The Shamen 'Ebenezer Goode', 'Boss Drum', 'Phorever People', The Cure 'Mint Car', Leila K 'Ca Plane Pour Moi', Cooper Temple Clause 'Lets Kill Music' and Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Cast, Oui 3, Erasure, Electronic, Ace of Base, Paul McCartney, Curve, East 17, Sinead O'Connor, Die Krupps, Suede, Londonbeat, The Sirenes, and many more.
In 1996 he was commissioned by Queen to direct an original film for the track "I Was Born to Love You" on the 'Queen-Made In Heaven' compilation which was co-produced by the British Film Institute and Janine Marmot at Hot Property Films. Nine short films accompany tracks from Queen's uplifting final album, "Made in Heaven" which was completed shortly after the passing of Freddie Mercury. All the films were originally screened at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival and then released on DVD.
After having directed dozens of music videos, he left Oil Factory Films and began to direct commercials for including the ubiquitous rebranding campaign of Fox's Biscuit's for St Lukes in 1997 and HSBC, Kodak, Kodak, and X-AM jeans. Richard also directed films for the BBC and Channel 4, including the TV series 'Residents' in 2000, an 8 x 30min black comedy and began shooting a 35mm feature film 'State of the Party', a contemporary drama adapted from Irvine Welsh's 'Disco Biscuits' and set in and about the dance culture scene. This project sadly did not complete.
Richard has since been writing and developing feature film scripts as well as progressing his work in photography, illustration, video installation work and his collection of unique conceptual art pieces.
2010: Richard made a music video for DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP "Get better"
In 2010 Richard set up I Like Films, Me Ltd with producers Ciska Faulkner and Philip Shotton to produce the feature film 'FRANK'. The film was shot in the north of England and was completed in March 2012.