How would you describe what you do?
I direct commercials and feature films. At the moment, the feature films have been documentaries, but that may change in the future. For my own projects, I’ll develop the idea and take it through a long process until it’s a finished film and beyond. That goes from daydreaming an idea, to getting people involved, raising money, shooting it, editing it, the post-production and then releasing it and doing press. It’s an ever-evolving and intense process. For commercials, I’ll come on when an advertising agency has an idea that they want brought to life. I’ll give them my interpretation as a pitch and then make it real if that’s the approach they life.
What does a typical working day look like?
That varies wildly, and it’s sometimes hard to keep a routine. If I’m on a shoot, I’ll be awake very early and the day will be intense both physically and mentally. It’s a thousand moving parts combining to get things on screen. During an edit or post-production, I’m in a dark room and it’s more cerebral or discursive. Days when I’m not in production, I try to spend writing and developing ideas. But that often spills into having meetings, getting boring admin done and avoiding work altogether to sit in a cinema. I try and save days for just thinking and reading. Sometimes too much production means you don’t get a chance to check in with what you think and want to do.
Where does the majority of your work take place?
All over the place is the only honest answer. I spend about six months of the year travelling. Some is for writing and research (a vital process), some might be shooting and finally editing and post-production, which tends to be done in London or New York. In between these projects, I’ll work from home, in my production company’s office, or in a cafe. I spend too much time absent-mindedly on a computer and try and block time every day to read, walk and think.
How do projects usually come about?
I’m represented for commercials in the UK and US by Moxie Pictures and in a few other countries by other production companies. All my commercial work goes through one of them. But I’m not employed by them as such. It’s more of a mutually beneficial agreement. For long films, each one is different. There may be multiple production companies and I’ll be under contract for that film only.