You entered the industry after graduating from university with a law degree – not a typical route for a director. Would you say you grew up in a creative environment? What eventually led you into the world of filmmaking, and to working at Rattling Stick?
My parents are doctors, and I studied law. I have no family ties to the industry, just an instinctive connection to it. Once I’d finished my degree I decided to change direction completely and pursue my real dream of becoming a film director. My education and extremely liberal and supportive family have equipped me with valuable skills like critical thinking and problem-solving. I entered the film industry running at MPC, absorbing as much knowledge as I possibly could about the business, then joined Rattling Stick, gaining invaluable experience, and learning production skills from the best group of people. I am well aware that in a profession where ‘who you know’ definitely helps, I am in a really blessed position. Not only am I learning from the best, but I am nurtured and supported by them too.
Despite being a newcomer, you’ve already got over 30 music videos under your belt. Tell us a bit about what drew you to the music video format, and how you ended up directing your first music video project.
Music videos provide the perfect canvas for my creative expression. My first directing opportunities came during my A-Levels through a few friends, musicians; Max Mantra, Molly Payton and El Londo. Once I got that initial break, the determination to express my vision was ignited and quickly led to more work.
You’ve collaborated with the artist JXMESC on multiple music videos. What does your process look like when approaching a music video project, and what’s special about this creative relationship in particular? How did you two first start working together?
Working with JXMESC has been an amazing journey built on shared artistic interests. We started working together last year when he approached me online, and we just clicked. The key to our successful working relationship is always enjoying the process, open communication, and a commitment to quality despite extremely limited budgets.
It must be amazing to be building your own portfolio of work while also working alongside more established directors in your day-to-day work at Rattling Stick. Tell us about some of what you’ve learned as part of the production team for larger projects, and how this has informed your own creative endeavours.
At Rattling Stick, I’ve had the privilege of learning from established directors like Daniel Kleinman and Andy McLeod, just by watching their incredible expertise, and not just on set as a ‘Director,’ but also how much they respect and trust themselves and their crews. It’s wicked to see that, like me, when they are invested in an idea, they are truly devoted to honouring their vision and also all the people who help create it. It’s also been so inspiring to be involved with Rattling Stuff and getting to know the new directors on the rosters, like Harry Cauty and Cristine Berglund, who I can relate to more on a personal level and look up to professionally. It’s exciting!
Despite often facing time constraints and budget limitations, your work is polished and aesthetically intentional, whether in the framing of your shots or your choice of colour palette. Do you prefer to have a precise plan when approaching a shoot, or do you find that you make aesthetic choices once you’re on set, and then in the edit suite? Have you found that the constraints of low-budget filmmaking can, in fact, aid creativity?
Thank you so much! I believe the best approach to filmmaking is a healthy balance of meticulous planning with high expectations while also expecting and allowing room for improvisation. I love a challenge and so see it all as a matter of perspective. Low-budget filmmaking can restrain logistical and technical opportunities, but it can also foster the need for imagination, pushing me to find innovative solutions and embrace unconventional approaches, especially when using 16mm film.
From Siah, A.Y.N
The music video “scars” for JXMESC draws heavily from Matthieu Kassovitz’s La Haine, the gritty French thriller with its three protagonists each from a different oppressed Parisian minority. Tell us about how this concept came about, and how the source material was extracted and developed into the final music video.
It’s a cult classic film that visually had such an impact on my style that I’ve always been looking for an opportunity to pay homage to. When I heard the track, it immediately resonated with the powerful message and cultural relevance of the film, and so I jumped at the chance to create a mini version with a contemporary reimagining. I’m really happy with the outcome and hope I’ve done the original the justice it deserves.
As a young creator, are you optimistic about the way the industry is changing, both for those in front of and behind the camera?
Diversity on and off the screen is something very important to me, not only because I am mixed-race and a woman, but because diversity enriches storytelling and leads to a more dynamic and reflective industry. The industry is gradually becoming more inclusive, and I’m optimistic about the changes happening both on and off-camera. It’s crucial to continue pushing for representation and giving opportunities to voices that have been underrepresented.
What are you most looking forward to in the next few years of your career?
I’m excited to tell compelling stories, push creative boundaries and most of all push myself!
Do you have any projects currently in the works?
I have a few projects, including some music videos for artists I’ve previously worked with, like Siah and Merunisa, alongside talent I’ve only just met. I am also being mentored by super-producer Stuart Bentham and co-directing a big-budget commercial with Owen Trevor Black for Adam&EveDDB in December.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Just that I’m always looking for new collaborators and am open to every chance I get to help develop interesting projects. I’m incredibly grateful to all the amazing people who have helped me along the way and granted me so many favours! I promise I’ll pay you all back if I make it!
Director: Tansy Taylor @tansytaylor
Co-Director: Jade Marie Mason @jademarie_m
1AD: Tiger Brewer
Production Company: House on Fire Productions
Exec Producer: Kate Shelley
Producer: Nessie Appleton
Assist Producer: Sarah Dines
DOP: Cassius Kane
Gaffer: Adam TRZ
Creative Directors: Tansy Taylor & JXMESC
Director: Jade Marie Mason
1AD: Luke Wright
Exec Producer: Kate Shelley
Producer: Nessie Appleton
Producer: Tansy Taylor
DOP: Harvey Davies
1AC: Arron Aires
2AC: Akira-Kai Kitazono
Grip: Tiger Brewer
Gaffer: Ben Alder
Spark: Henry Young
Editor: Tansy Taylor
Editor: Jade Marie Mason
Colourist: Santino Napolitano @ Company3
Stylist: Ollie Dunn
Editor: Ivo Bright
Colourist: Harvey Davies