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19th March 2014
Doom’s day
Title of film: Clarks Originals x MF Doom
Director: Charlie Robins and Joe Alexander
Production Company: Forever Pictures
Forever Pictures' Joe Alexander and Charlie Robins talk about their Clarks and Doom project

Mixing music videos with a commercial client sounds a great way of funding films but so often the client wants way too many pack shots and control for it to really work. What was your experience in this case? Be honest !

J: There were discussions about how much product and logo we saw – There’s always going to be a bit of that, but it never interfered with what we were shooting. The whole Clarks & Doom project is ultimately designed to sell shoes, but I think the way they’ve approached it is pretty unusual. It’s a great collaboration, hopefully the video is an interesting accompaniment.

What was the initial brief? And how did you develop it? Was there any specific criteria that you had to keep to?

C: The initial brief was to find a way to connect the Clarks heritage and factory sounds to Doom and his track ‘Bookheads’. He designed his own pair of Wallabys so this whole project was a tool to push them. Doom was asked to remix his track using the sounds of the factory. There was a multitude of drills, sewing machines, testing machines and many more to choose from. We decided we wanted to shoot the machines in extreme close ups giving them a kind of ‘Metropolis’ feel.

We shot in black and white, using dramatic light to transform the machines into much more interesting shapes with a more foreboding, abstract feel. Doom is also hugely interested in cosmic mysticism which linked perfectly with the location (Glastonbury). The Tor is the symbol of Clarks and also a well known spiritual mecca so it seemed only right we shoot some of the film there..

We like the animated flicks through the film. Was this always intended or an additional idea to give the film an extra element?

J: It was always a part of it. There’s an association between Doom and comic books and graphic artists – All the Victor Vauhgn/Dr Doom artwork, and the different superhero personas – so an animated element makes sense, plus it seemed like a good way to inject some colour.

What were the main challenges of the production and how did you resolve them?

C: There were many challenges along the way, not least working with Doom who (put nicely) wasn’t the most punctual of talent. Time was not on our side either, nor was there a lot of money. There was also the added bonus of shooting in a working factory so we had to time our shots around lunch breaks for the staff. All in all it was pretty tough to get through but with a dedicated crew and production team at Forever we think we got there in the end.