Heineken Party was a hard act to follow but you’ve done it brilliantly with The Switch. Can you tell us please about the original brief and how you developed the idea with your treatment?
The original brief was really just as simple as the idea is – three friends come to the bar and once they order the beers the transformation happens. Originally it was supposed to echo the pouring ritual. I thought it would be fun to do it as real as possible as if it is really happening and concentrate on the authentic approach rather then just to illustrate the product side of the film. Luckily the client liked this approach and was very generous as this obviously meant a slightly bigger budget than originally planned – which on the other hand put much more pressure on us – to prove that this was the right approach…
How do you go about working out your ideas – with notes or drawings? Do you sit down and apply yourself with notebook and pen or are you thinking about the scripts continuously and the ideas just take shape?
I know it would sound cool to say that I have some method to this but the sad truth is that actually I don’t. Each project needs something different. But in general I can say that I am very lazy person so I def don’t overdo the prep. Usually the pressure helps. When I know I have passed the deadline – it’s right time to start writing and then ideas just come as act of self preservation instinct.
As with a lot of your work, the Heineken spot is filled with magical tricks – were these done in camera or in post?
That was probably the main reason I liked this project – as mentioned above the idea was to do everything in camera and build it for real. In a way I think that the “making of” could be more interesting then the final film as everything you see has really happened and there were up to 60 people at some points puppetering mechanisms…
How were the mechanisms for the set /bar changes designed and were there any major challenges filming these – presumably in situ?
That was my favourite part of the project. I think I can say I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted and then I just passed it on to Max Gotlieb who is the art director I really like to work with because he is not only a great professional but also a very nice person who is experienced enough to filter some of my craziness… sometimes….
In fact what were the major challenges of the production?
From my point of view – the major challenge was the timing – we knew we only had a certain amount of time within shots to show the transformation and we had very accurate previz., which was passed on to the crew so they had to learn the choreography as fast as it went on previz. Sometimes the gravitation force was against us… No major injuries though.
I would also mention the communication factor as our main cast (three friends) consisted of one French guy who didn’t speak English, one Czech guy who didn’t speak French and one English guy who didn’t speak French or Czech! So as you can imagine it was quite a lengthy process and by the end of each day it really felt like proper Babylon…
Was the music already decided upon before the shoot and did this impact considerably on how you shot the film?
Yes it was all decided on before the shoot and Clairy Brown actually took part in the shoot, which was quite brave of her as you can see in the revealing scene.
Are you pleased with the final result? Is there anything you’d have liked to change?
I can say I really enjoyed working with such great actors, a great crew and on top of that the agency was really nice and very supportive so it made me more responsible to give them something they wouldn’t regret to support me with. Also Sandrine and Hans, the main client were very brave in giving us creative freedom so it was good fun.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the script for a short film, which I am hoping to shoot in September.