Does making a new video present specific challenges?
The former video is very 90s, very of its time. We were looking to make something that referenced the 90s, but without being obvious, to give the film a more timeless feel. A dog running across a desolate beach isn’t time-stamped, nor is a group of friends having a kickabout.
One of the ways that I tried to reference the song’s era was to make a nod to one of my filmmaking heroes, Jonathan Glazer, and the rich monochrome feel he leant to much of his work during the same time. For me that time of great dance music and incredible music videos goes hand in hand — trying to emulate that feel became a creative touchstone.
What’s it like working when the elements are against you like that?
It was a nightmare at the time, but in some ways we were quite lucky to have seriously heavy rain. The football scene for example looks as if we’ve shot in a studio with a rain machine, Olly (DP) was able to backlight the rain drops which really adds to the atmosphere. The sort of look that a much bigger budget would’ve struggled to achieve. A good lesson — the things which make you despair at the time might actually be little blessings.
Also while we’re on the topic of the weather I should mention the beach shoot — we rigged a special buggy with a high-speed camera to be able to run alongside the dog at speed; my intention being to get different angles and shot sizes of the dog at close to 1000fps but because of the torrential rain, we had to protect the buggy’s engine with cling film. Big mistake. The whole thing caught fire, no more buggy shots. It could also be a world first: a full-on-fire during a full-on-monsoon. It was an absolute disaster, but after a big panic, we were able to rely on the kindness of the beach staff, who helped us out with a loan of their jeep for an hour, or the whole thing would have been off. Best twenty quid plus VAT I ever spent!
Do you think the ‘video remix’ is the start of a trend?
I think it could be. I’m sure there’re loads of songs that have outlived their video — and loads of great songs that never even had a video that could benefit from getting a bit more attention. Youtube’s only been around since 2005 and it has made music more visible, so if a song didn’t get a video the first time round for whatever reason, or perhaps one not quite befitting of the song which it has since become — it shows. I think if labels have a song with huge download and streaming potential like Born Slippy just sitting in their back-catalogue getting dusty, why not commission someone to make a dedicated contemporary video for it?
It could be a win-win situation — young directors like myself trying to break in to the industry get a great opportunity to prove themselves with an iconic piece of music, and record labels get a good video, which boosts sales and introduces new audiences to their artists.
I’m really grateful that Universal liked my work enough to give the project to someone like myself who is trying to move from assisting established directors to becoming a director in my own right. I hope it’s the start of a new trend.