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7th March 2023
Blaze of Glory
Title of film: Thom Draft, Tense
Director: Thierry Albert
Production Company: Iconoclast
Creative director Thierry Albert aka director Albert Albert shoots a cautionary tale for living life through social media for Thom Draft’s track Tense. Shot entirely on smartphone the video follows L and her fiery superpower after a miserable live-streamed bullying incident. Best watched on smartphone of course!


The title Tense is a bit of an understatement, taking the escalating drama of a bullying incident live-streamed on a smartphone to another level. It may be a metaphor but there is so much truth behind the story. 

 Thierry: It’s a modern tale for a generation that lives, breathes and dies on social media through their phone. A story of bullying, rage, rebellious mindset, online fame, and ultimately hope, that comes crushing by a flaming dick crashing the party as they so often do. It feels like a good recollection of the world we live in. A pretty tense one.

The video has all the absurd and wonderful hallmarks of your imagination – what was behind your thinking when you were writing the narrative?

I’ve wanted to write a story being told entirely through the POV of a phone for a while. Using the built-in cameras of course, but also all the social media platforms. I was wondering if it was possible to tell a story only using these tools. So, the funniest part was to think where the phones were, who was shooting, what for, and where the clips were uploaded. Suddenly anything is possible and it’s quite a task to start knitting the storyline carefully and carefree. That’s the miracle of this piece. It’s fast and intense but you easily follow everything that’s happening to L and feel what she feels. It feels very natural.

 Had you been sitting on this concept or did you write it specifically for this track?

The first time I heard Tense, I fell in love with the grittiness of the track and immediately thought of the story of L , a teenager whose life is all about tension, pain and misery because she’s being bullied. Till one day, when her sadness and fury can’t be contained anymore and her middle finger bursts into a permanent flame, live on Social Media, a red-hot-F-you to the world.  This bizarre superpower makes L. a celebrity. But online fame never lasts long and soon L is replaced by the next big thing, back to a life of being bullied. Only this time it’s not just girls at school doing the bullying, it’s anyone with access to social media. 

Telling L’s story in sketches

Undoubtedly shot on smartphones – what were the challenges of that compared to a normal shoot? 

Well, you’d be surprised to hear how many times people told me to shoot with an Alexa and turn it 90 degrees. Or to shoot some scenes from an external POV. But I stood my ground. Everything had to be shot on phone to be as real as possible. When we started shooting in Martigues, south of France, I already had the whole edit in my head. I’ve spent many days and night carefully drawing every frame and by the time we hit the shooting week, I knew exactly what shots I needed to tell L’s story.

The unusual part was to explain to the cast what the action was and then leave the room to let them shoot on their phone as if it was real life. Only to come back on set later and check if I had the shot.

Of course, we still had a HUGE amount of work to do in the edit room, but thankfully, my editor, Jon Echeveste is one of the best in the world. We had to impersonate L and her best friend Zoran, and screen record a lot of the whatsapp conversations between them.

He’s still registered as Zoran on my phone.

Any desire to leave your life as a creative director and become a full-time director?

I don’t think the two jobs are exclusive. I’ve been saying for a while but seeing how fast the world goes with everybody stuck on their smartphones, we need more hybrid creatives. Brilliant minds who are able to come up with strong simple ideas and craft them the best way possible. I definitely want to write and shoot more ideas bespoke for social media. And work for big brands who want to make breakthrough work on mobile.


Anything else you’d like to add? Drum roll…

I want to thank all my super talented friends, the ones who agreed to be in the music video. Cecilia Pignocchi aka The Oogman, photographer extraordinaire Yann Stofer, Frank Annesse and Society, Konbini, Le Sacré club in Paris, Saray Grill in Marseille, Le Grand Rex in Paris, my niece Anita, and of course, my son Jules who’s always so close to my work as a director.

I also want to thank Yasmine and Mayo from Yasmay Casting in Paris. They are the best casting director I’ve worked with and found Maïra, the young actress who impersonates L. on Instagram. She is awesome, so gifted, her future is bright.  




Thom Draft, Tense

Directed by Albert Albert

Featuring Maïra Villena

Produced by Iconoclast

Executive producer: Horace de Gunzbourg

Line producer: Zelie Deletrain

Production coordinator: Marius Crehange

Director of photography: Carlos Ritter

Camera assistant: Arthur Bartoli

Gaffer: Tarek Daccache

Costumes: Maud Dupuy

Set designer: Penelope Hemon

Hair & make up: Lena Steimetz

1st assistant director: Oscar le Pollotec

2nd assistant director: Diane Courteille

3rd assistant director: Ludovic Colomb

Location manager Simon Besse & Bastien Coen

Casting: YasMay

SFX: Antoine Robert

Post production: Poster

Post producer : Cyril Bordesoulle

Editor: Jon Echeveste

VFX artists: Lucas Latil, Cédric Morellon, Albin Martinetti

Grading: Thomas Canu

Post production assistant : Giovanni Bufali