How would you describe what you do?
I am a director and to me a director has to listen to lots of different points of view and then be that creative filter. I become obsessive about strange things.
How did you get into this job?
I always wanted to be a Forensic Scientist, then I actually gave it some serious thought and ended up doing a sound production course at my local college followed by art college where I studied ‘Time-Based Art’. I had no grand plan and had not given the idea of a ‘Director’ any thought until I was on that course. After a lot of inner struggle of what to focus on for my degree show I made a series of short films. These were then seen a while later by some commercial producers in Scotland who got me to direct some work for them. I then stuck at it.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Getting exactly what is in my head and how I see a film taking shape, which develops as I write, being communicated clearly and simply on paper within a relatively short period of time. It’s also amazing because you go on this journey inside your head.
What is most rewarding?
There are so many. Meeting lots of different people who are equally as passionate about ideas and films, getting to work with lots of amazingly talented people who bring their own perspective on the world, getting to explore ideas and dissect other people’s worlds, being allowed to observe and watch, getting to go to the cinema…
What’s a typical work week like?
I don’t think I have one – it depends what I’m working on and where a job or a project is at. If I am pitching on a job I will either stay up really late or get up really early – usually a mixture of the two, and for a few days be writing while watching lots of clips, bits of films, reading bits of books and articles, looking at images everywhere, listening to music until the deadline. I’ll also plan some escape activities or “treats” like going to the cinema or meeting up with friends, or taking the recycling out to the bin. There is always something I am doing, or should be doing, whether it’s starting or finishing a project, which I am long overdue in realising at the moment that a project doesn’t just finish after the grade or sound mix. So there is always film festivals and online platforms to submit to, people to pester or films to write.
What needs to happen the most in order for a shoot to run smoothly?
I think people need to know what they are doing, whether that’s knowledge of their own individual job to be able to react to what is thrown at them or whether it’s a more in depth knowledge about the bigger context and world of the shoot. Not everyone needs to know the same information on a shoot, I think the phrase “need to know basis” is a good one and everyone’s needs are different. I don’t think smoothly means easy though and everyone needs to feel equipped and in a safe environment to be able to problem solve.
Whats your best job/worst job?
The hardest and most challenging aspects often are the most rewarding. It’s great when you get to work with others who share the same goal and you all make something that works. It’s frustrating when you don’t get to go deeper into a subject or not at all when you don’t get the job that inspired you.
What advice would you offer someone considering a career as a Director?
Just going out and doing it is definitely easier said than done. I think you have to have something inside of you which you can’t help but make a project happen. Finding a way to create work in your own way. Not everyone has access to professional people or equipment which might help you but you have to have that mindset to be resourceful and make stuff you want to make as well as be drawn to the right people to be able to make the work, to support what you want to do. Read about the people who are behind the films that you love, be a creep, read and think about how they do it. Make mistakes and think about why they happened. Get people to watch your work and give you their opinion. Know yourself.
If you had one project that you could post on AdForum to represent your work, what would it be?
It would be my short film Bubblegum because it’s a really personal project that I learnt a lot from just going and doing. It’s something that I can actually watch and get lost in it again without too much squirming because of what everyone who I worked with brought to the film. It was such a tiny project but I took my time with it, explored and got there in the end. I just love the music, the sounds, the pictures and I could watch Haruka (the girl in the film) all day.
Finally tell us something that most people don’t know about being a Director?
I think the biggest thing I have realised recently is that you become a bit of a psychoanalyst / a student of behaviour and emotions. This is amazing because I have always been quite nosey and a bit creepy so I get to indulge that.