How does the idea develop when you’ve heard you’ve won the pitch?
Practical things affect idea development, such as how much prep time you’ve ended up getting, who out of your key crew is still available for the job, and also what elements have you had to cut from the script in order to get the project in on budget.
After that, it’s delving into all the nooks and crannies of every shot where the piece becomes richer and more developed. Location scouting, wardrobe briefs, art department, the price of stunts, casting… the creative development of a project is being affected on an hourly basis. It becomes a real skill to remain mindful of whether production developments are enhancing or damaging your piece, and management of that is the toughest part when you’re still developing the details of the script itself.
The storyboarding is something I obsess over. I’m a trained draftsman, so am able to draw fast, and this helps me plow through a shot list quickly. However, ever change in camera angle can sometimes make you question whether your kit list is correct, the amount of cast members, and whether you need more or less from your art department.
It’s an intricate web, and storyboarding really helps me process my decision making as well as allowing me to communicate my ideas in the clearest way.
What was the team that worked on the project?
There were a lot of new team members on this job. It was my first time working the cinematographer Michael Berlucchi, and production designer Greg Allen Lang. However, having Ben Gilovitz as my line producer was a true blessing. I had already put him through the ringer on my Metronomy ‘Boy Racer’ video, and he has firmly informed me how this Royal Blood video physically has turned his hair grey.
What was really beautiful was getting friends and heroes involved in this project. Having Christy Karacas create the animation was incredible. Having my mates come and act in the piece was SO fun. Everyone from my US music video EP and her dog, to my drinking buddies, to other music video directors, to an agency creative from a commercial I shot a few years back feature as extras in this film!
The casting of the gas station attendant was quite special. Due to the hurried pre-production schedule I wasn’t able to audition him in person (only via tapes). When he turned up to set he hadn’t seen the script at all! I made sure he was shown it whilst he was put through makeup. After he’d read it I asked if he liked it. His response was ‘Not really, but I’m here now!’. WOW!
What are the biggest challenges during the production?
In short: ambition vs finance. We shot all of the live action parts of Royal Blood in 10 hours. This was heavily influenced by the insane stories from the sets of my good friends DANIELS. I figured: if they can work that fast, so can I!
Doing a script that involves stunts such as car crashes, guns being fired, and multiple people in mascots costumes (who can’t see or hear anything) was a beyond stupid thing to even conceive of. Lord knows how we got through it. But we did!