Mark Herman was educated at Woodleigh School, North Yorkshire. He was late entering the film industry. Aged 27 he was drawing cartoons at art college before becoming involved in drama when he began studying film at Leeds Polytechnic, now the Metropolitan University of Leeds. He then trained as an animator at the National Film School in London.
He moved away from animation and continued to study directing. He also wrote lyrics for The Christians.
In Little Voice (1998), adapted by Herman from Jim Cartwright's play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Jane Horrocks reprises the title role of a harried young woman whose only escape lies in the memory of her father and in imitating the singers he admired. This film gave Michael Caine the opportunity for his best performance to date.
Purely Belter (2000), adapted by Herman from Jonathan Tulloch's novel The Season Ticket, is the story of two teenage boys trying to get together enough money for a couple of Newcastle United F.C. season tickets.
Hope Springs (2003), is an adaptation of New Cardiff.
His most recent work is the adaptation of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It was produced by David Heyman and stars David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Sheila Hancock and Rupert Friend. Herman directed and adapted the work.