Your work constantly surprises. Especially with your videos for Die Antwoord, (when you work with Ninja) you think ‘oh no you’re not going to do that are you’ and you don’t, you do something waaaaaay more outrageous. We love your brakes-off imagination. Is it a collaborative process that gets you firing on all cylinders or do you bury yourself away until something clicks into place?
I’m naturally introspective, so I usually think and think about a job for as long as I can before I put any ideas down. Collaborating with other directors is completely different; I like it because it forces me to be more active. It’s good once in a while to work in a way you are not used to. I learn different ways of doing things when I collaborate. It’s not necessarily something I want to do all the time, but once in a while I think it’s beneficial.
Could you describe your process for creating your treatments please? Do you develop your scripts by writing or do you sketch out ideas? And where is your best place for working on concepts?
There’s usually a point in every treatment when you feel like something clicks into place. Sometimes it comes immediately, but often it takes going through all types of research and thinking and discussing with whoever will listen. I don’t think I have one best place for working, but my best ideas come precisely between 2 and 4 in the morning.
Is it a completely different process working on commercials from music videos?
Commercials are far more structured; a blueprint usually exists to work between. Music videos start out as completely open creatively. I tend to work out videos by giving them some sort of narrative structure. I’m only comfortable once some sort of story is in place.
What was the original brief for Chicken Licken? The grading is genius, was that always planned?
The brief from the agency was the idea – the child not wanting to leave the orphanage so she wouldn’t miss out on Slyders night. They left the treatment completely open. My imagination immediately set the story in a place that was reminiscent of films I remember from growing up, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Annie. The orphanage had to be the worst place in the world, a place any child would want to get out of. The idea was for the parents to completely oppose this, and that’s where the idea for the grade came from.
Did you storyboard in detail?
Yes, we spend a lot of time on location before the shoot, usually with the DOP too. By the time we shoot we usually have a good idea of how we are going to achieve it.
Wonderful casting, how was it working with children?
I like to think I’m good with children, but the truth is if they don’t want to work they won’t, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. We were really lucky with the lead: she is honestly one of the best performers I’ve ever worked with. The direction I give often confuses even me, but she just naturally understood.
See Terence’s shotslist in Related Content