Real and unreal animals – walruses, a staple-gun crazy dog, octopuses, a really evil twin cat and even grosser rat – have all featured in your work. Are you the go-to director for shooting crazy animal antics? Or is this simply by chance?
I wouldn’t call myself the go-to-guy, but I do definitely get offered a lot of this kind of thing! Once you’ve done it once and people have liked it it’s natural that other offers for similar jobs will come in. It’s definitely an interesting and ongoing adventure!
Because you use post and effects so much in your work, do you pre-plan everything down to the minutest detail?
It’s interesting that you should say that, I don’t think of myself as using a lot of post- or if I do, I try to do so with a lightness of touch. Rather than relying on it for primary content, I see it as a tool for hiding the gaps in what I shoot…In camera is always best for me. Of course, every shoot requires a lot of planning but it’s important to me to try and keep spontaneity and unknown in all of my work.
Thinking of pre-production, it must have been difficult to know what body language and behaviour you were going to get from the dogs in Crufts. How did you plan this ad? Did the script come after the shoot? Can you tell us please about the production and what the main challenges were?
As usual, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to plan this shoot! The first thing we did was to browse a huge selection of dogs. We knew how we wanted this shoot to look, the trickery was in marrying this with a performance which we knew would change due to the nature of the actors as dogs!
In itself, the shoot was fairly straightforward, we had tested the dogs extensively and knew what they were capable of. Once we had enough material, the ad was in the hands of the editors, there was lots of footage to handle.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’ve got some exciting jobs in the pipeline which will hopefully have me doing some more travel which I love. I’m always looking to explore and work with the most interesting people all around the world.
ECD: Chris Northam & Eric Jannon
Creatives: Katie Facada & Thibault Gerard
TV Producer: Lyra Rider
Production Company: Station Film / Outsider
Director: Henry Littlechild
Executive Producers: Michael Di Girolamo & Caroline Gibney
Producer: Angela Jones
DOP: Richard Henkels
Edit: Hutch Co Technologies
Editor: Jim Hutchins, Joaquin Machado