What does a typical working day look like?
There isn’t a typical day as such but commercials generally take a week. You’ll travel to wherever in the world – Argentina, Uruguay, Tokyo – land, have a day off, scout for maybe one or two days, have a day off, and then shoot for two days, and then you’re back home.
On a tech scout, you go to each location that you’re shooting in with the grip, gaffer, the director and the first AD and you’ll talk through each shots. You work out where the actors are going to be sat and where the sun will be at its best, and from that you start to work out a schedule. You’re essentially putting a jigsaw together, figuring out when to shoot, where to put the lights, where the Steadicam is moving and so on.
On a shoot I operate the camera, deciding on frames and the style of the lighting, and rally the crew. On commercials you’re usually working 11 or 12 hour days. If you go over it's to great expense because everything is unionised. If you’re doing something that isn’t unionised, you can do 20-hour days. It's exhausting.
Commercials tend to pay well but for passion projects sometimes I'll spend thousands of pounds to work on a job. For example, I worked on a piece for director James Vincent McMorrow recently where I bought my own flights, but it was because I really believed in him. I can only do that because of the commercial work; it's a strange dichotomy of commerce and art that you have to keep constantly balancing.