TERRITORY UK
WORK
DIRECTORS
NEWS
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
NEWS
UK
USA
ASIA
IN
CZ
DE
JP
May 24, 2017

2017 is shaping up to be fantastic year for Great Guns thanks so a glittering start to the awards season.

Great Guns’ music videos Kolshik and False Alarm (both directed by Ilya Naishuller) have been awarded an astonishing 12 awards so far including:

4 D&AD Pencils

2 One Show

2 A-List Awards

Gold & Silver Creative Circle

Grand Prix Berlin Music Video Awards

watch Leningrad ‘Kolshik’ & The Weeknd ‘False Alarm’ here

 Not to mention Jonty Toosey’s Belvita spot getting nominated for the British Arrows…

watch Belvita ‘Start with Belvita’ here

 …and Omar Hilal’s Royal Jordanian Airlines spot was named Pick of The Day by AdWeek! 

watch Royal Jordanian Airlines ‘Fear of Flying’ here

 We are very proud of our directors achievements this year, more to come…


May 23, 2017

The hilarious new digital campaign for belVita out of Gravity Road, directed by Great Guns director Jonty Toosey

Filmed on Monday January 16th,or “Blue Monday” as its known, the latest ad for BelVita Breakfast, directed by Jonty Toosey, is based around the most notoriously depressing day of the year, wittily subverting expectations with this uplifting, relatable film.

The ad, set during morning rush-hour, follows a trainload of commuter’s who are about to receive a cheerful surprise as a charismatic train guard entertaining the passengers with his witty banter over the tannoy. The experience of these lucky few, brought together by the infectiousness of laughter, perfectly reflects the uplifting effect of BelVita breakfast biscuits in the morning routine.

Jonty’s unique style and ability to capture naturalistic and authentic reactions with his characteristic use of fixed hidden cameras perfectly enhances the core concept of the film. Multiple angles creates a dynamic journey around the train, allows the viewer to experience the stunt as one of the passengers. Keeping the sound focused on the natural noises within the train and the banter of the train guard himself, further adds to the realism and relatability of the film.

“Technically, filming in a working station like Waterloo during rush hour was a challenge,” states Jonty. “With approximately 450,000 people using the station every day we were very restricted to where and how we were permitted to shoot. The train itself posed a whole new set of challenges.  Restricted space, hidden cameras and a train that had to stick to the timed schedule meant that we were literally racing against the clock to get all the shots we needed. With their dedication attention to detail, South Western trains worked tirelessly to help make everything possible. Our production team had been briefed with military precision and the symbiotic collaboration between production, agency and client found us collectively and efficiently realising our goal. The fact that everyone was so professional and friendly made it a fabulous environment to work in too.”

“Casting our main character was hilarious,” he continues. “We sourced several great performers from the stand-up comedy world ,  giving us so many different options with their individual, inimitable styles. Our ultimate choice, the fabulous Inel Tomlinson, stood out from the crowd with his naturally cheeky banter and brought a certain authenticity to the role. The man is very, very funny”.

You can watch the film here

 


May 5, 2017

 

Great Guns Omar Hilal shoots the thought provoking spot for Royal Jordanian Airlines through Ogilvy Memac and DejaVu

Royal Jordanian Airlines have been working hard in the past few years to build awareness for people’s rights. In this latest campaign, they approach the message from an angle that all of us can relate to, to promote serious discussion.  The film highlights cultural prejudice and human fears.

The film opens on a camera gliding through a plane’s cabin as people are boarding. As we journey further down the cabin, the concerned faces of multiple passengers suggest that something isn’t quite right. As the tension builds to a crescendo, it is revealed that the source of this concern is nothing more than an Arab passenger taking a seat on the flight.

“The film was only possible because of the passion of the director, Omar Hilal, and his production team at DejaVu. – Says Paul Shearer, Group COO at Memac Ogilvy –  It was important to make a positive statement about something that is happening all around us and for Royal Jordanian to speak up was twice as powerful. Being afraid isn’t healthy for anyone”.

“It was important for me to make this film,” says Omar Hilal. “Going into this project, I was focused and determined to make a hard-hitting film. I had not felt this thrill or tension on a film set for a long time. We had 12 hours to make the film and we worked every second of it. The hero was a delightful man. He had that perfect mix I was looking for, between looking incredibly kind and friendly and being a cliché of what the media depicts as a threatening Arab.  I hope this spot helps to change that biased vision.”

You can watch the film here

 


March 20, 2017

Great Guns introduces Sam Faulkner with the launch of his JD Williams new collection films out of Y&R

Online fashion store JD Williams “Spring into Summer” new campaign created by Y&R creative duo Pip Bishop and Chris Hodgkiss is directed by Great Gun’s newly signed Sam Faulkner.

The campaign is delivered in two parts: Spring and Summer. The first film to be released presents the JD Williams spring 2017 collection. The second film will be released later in the year.

“Spring” sees various models, including current brand ambassador Lorraine Kelly, jumping into shot in slow motion. Set against three variations of flower wall backdrops, the film brings beauty, style and energy to the brand, setting up for the seasonal change that’s just around the corner.

“JD Williams wanted their new campaign to be a departure from what they have been doing. – Says Sam Faulkner – Lorraine Kelly has been the face of JD Williams for several seasons. I was slightly nervous about how she would take to the idea of jumping on the trampoline. But she was a joy to work with. She literally leaped into it with both feet.

We wanted to create a fun, energetic film that captures the JD Williams spirit.

Shooting everything on the Phantom created beautiful slow motion. Slow motion adds an elegance and lightness to the jumping and flying. But it can also be unforgiven for every slight imperfection in a performance, that might be missed in real time, seems to linger for an eternity. So, we had to work hard with the models to make sure that their movement and expressions were spot on. For the models, the trampoline threw in an extra variable, they had a lot more to think about than just striking a pose or smiling to camera.

We built 6 huge stunning flower walls for the models to jump in front of. The Spring walls are made of beautiful English garden flowers whereas the summer film ones are more exotic and tropical. There was a team of 6 specialists working on the walls.

With the help of an Olympic trampoline athlete and a choreographer, we worked with the models to create believable but bold moves while seemingly floating in the air from their bounces. During our casting, we had a trampoline to put the models through their paces. It quickly became clear that not everyone could perform while bouncing. Some models who were on our short list had to be dropped because I realized that I wouldn’t be able to get a comfortable aerial performance from them. None of our models had much trampoline experience, fortunately we didn’t have any mishaps.

This was a fantastic first job with Great Guns.

Joining Great Guns has been a steep learning curve. While photography and film have a lot in common, working with a production company with the experience of Great Guns takes my film making to a new level.”

“We are always on the hunt for exceptional talent and Sam’s body of work is exceptional. – Says Great Guns founder Laura Gregory – His passion projects, ‘Cocaine Wars,’ his book, ‘Unseen Waterloo,’ combined with his photo journalist background result in a fearless approach to fashion and the people he shoots.”

Sam starts his career as a photographer before moving into moving images and has worked for an extensive list of major fashion brands, such as: Estee Lauder, Armani, Dolce&Gabbana, Accessorize, Versace, Burberry, Nestle, Michael Kors and Dior. He has worked with high profile names including: Katie Perry, Nichole Kidman, Kate Moss, Tilda Swinton, Rosie Huntington Whitley and Alessandra Ambrosio. This extensive experience in fashion photography translates beautifully on screen for his debut motion picture commercial.

His various journalistic passion projects have earned him: The Observer Hodge award, The Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship, The British Journal of Photography Project Assistance Grant and The Getty Grant for two projects.

You can download the film here: JD Williams


February 17, 2017

Following the success of POV masterclasses ‘Hardcore Henry’ and The Weeknd’s ‘False Alarm’ music video, Great Guns director Ilya Naishuller switches to third person perspective with equally stunning results in the insane music video for massively popular Russian artist Leningrad’s latest track ‘Kolshik’.

The music video shows a chain of events that escalate to bloody mayhem in a circus, switching between multiple storylines all taking place within the big top’s enclosure. The twist being that the whole film is told in reverse, so the initial action that sparks all this craziness is not revealed until the film’s final moment.

Customary for Naishuller, the director also responsible for the viral sensation and multiple award-winning ‘Bad Motherfucker’ (128 million views and counting), are the film’s arresting visuals – a tiger gnawing on a dismembered, high-heel adorned leg, a couple being electrified whilst ‘making love’ – that manage to keep the film hurtling along at a breathless intensity, despite being told entirely in slow motion.

I wanted to create a film that you could appreciate in one viewing but needed to watch again to fully pick up on everything that’s going on,” states Naishuller. “Playing the multiple storylines out simultaneously, with each one affecting the other, and in reverse, was definitely a tricky balancing act. There’s a lot going on so hopefully there’s a lot to pick up on on repeat viewings that will be rewarding for the viewer.”

Whilst it might switch out his trademark POV perspective exhiibited in ‘Bad Motherfucker’, ‘Hardcore Henry’ and ‘False Alarm’, to a more traditional third person perspective, the film is still laced with the unmistakable core DNA of a Naishuller film, none more so than in its grand scale balletic violence.

“The script is definitely pretty violent but I was clear with my team from the outset that we were aiming for something more overtly comedic in tone, albeit darkly so,” adds Naishuller. “I really wanted this to be an enjoyable, fun, chaotic ride with so much to see and link together that, once it was over, you wanted to hop straight back on for another go round. It’s so easy to slip into a harsh, real world aesthetic when you’re depicting violence on screen, so you have to work doubly hard to make sure it remains outlandish enough to stay humorous in tone. In my mind I was shooting for low grade, violent and fun Fellini. Hopefully the final film reflects that and people have a great time watching it.”

You can watch the music video here.


December 19, 2016

The concept of these spots were conceived from the amazing videos of Lila Kalis (https://www.facebook.com/lilakalis/ ). Lila is a 5-year-old young Californian girl who sparked phenomena with her incredible driving skills!

Olivier says: “We reached out to them and they were very happy to get involved. We built a Mini Electrical Twingo which Lila could drive. Her father Josh did all the race car technical “pimping” so that Lila could do all of her amazing trick.

Everything you see is real, no faking; she is really that amazing. For the music I had my friends at Apollo compose a great track; my brief was a hybrid between “Plastic Bertrand” and “The Sex Pistols”.

The rest is on the screen and there for you to enjoy.”

There are three different versions of the spot you can view here

 


December 15, 2016

Ciaran Foy has joined the International Film Production Company Great Guns roster and kicks things off by directing a commercial for Samsung through Cheil Amsterdam.

The new Samsung Live 360 campaign created by Cheil Amsterdam, and directed by L.A based features director Ciaran Foy, showcases the range of 360 products, including the Gear VR, the Samsing 360 camera and the S7 handest, that all work together to bring 360 VR to the consumer.

The 60 second film made for Cinema, TV and Internet, gives the viewer a glimpse into the many possibilities of VR via a barnstorming POV journey through both real and computer generated worlds, where we encounter a real life grizzly bear, police shoot-outs, experience a precarious helicopter stunt and have a close encounter with a great white shark in VR.

Director Ciaran Foy explains “From the moment I read Peter Hamelinck and Thijs de Boer’s script for this campaign, I just loved the cinematic approach that they, along with agency producer Pirke Bergsman, wanted to take with the brief.  I love action and heart pulsing pieces, like my Playstation spot, and this idea had a great kinetic flow to it – going from world to world – that I immediately responded to and knew I could bring it to life in an exciting and engaging way.

I wanted to give the viewer an experience of what it’s like being thrust into different 360 words, and it being an all-encompassing trip.  I wanted no obvious cuts, so that through the POV technique, we see and experience the journey through our hero’s eyes, as he seamlessly travels from one world to the next, like a non-stop and overwhelming ride of visual and audio engagement. Then when that ride is suddenly stopped – he gets the call from his Mum – it’s like he comes out of an amazing dream.

In storyboarding the spot, I was careful to consider how one’s head moves wearing the Gear VR, and what might grab your attention in each world.  VR is a fascinating medium and we are still learning the tools related to it;  like how do you “direct” the viewer’s eye when they are free to look wherever they want? So the rules are still being worked out which is exciting.  I feel we have barely scratched the surface in terms of what we can do and what new ways we can engage the viewer.

Creating the videogame scene to fit the storyboard was a very interesting process. In many ways, you are directing, blocking and staging all the same elements as you would if it were live action – the cops, the bank robbers, the police cars, the chopper.  Literally, I found the only difference between directing a segment like that and a fully photo-real CG scene is rendering time and level of detail.”

The music was composed specifically for the film, and recorded by the grammy award winning Metropole Orchestra, to give the piece a grand and cinematic feel.

Watch the film here: http://www.greatguns.com/reel.php?rid=154058587772&site=uk

Great Guns director Josh Trigg was also on hand to shoot a charming 360 behind the scenes in 360 using the Samsung Gear 360 camera product itself, focusing on the experience of one of the cast, who was especially flown in from the states for the film:

Watch the BTS here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUDzKOCZdbg&feature=youtu.be


November 16, 2016

Great Guns director Kit Lynch-Robinson discusses moving from car commercials to car shows.

Director Kit Lynch-Robinson is well known for his work on a multitude of car commercials and has worked for brands including Ford, Hyundai and Skoda. He has also helmed series 20 and 21 of the Jeremy Clarkson-era Top Gear show.

Now, Lynch-Robinson is back with Clarkson, May and Hammond as he directs episodes of their new Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour which starts this week. Here the Great Guns director discusses the differences (and similarities) between shooting car commercials and car shows and what pressures there are to make The Grand Tour as successful as Top Gear.

You’re known for your car commercials; how different (or similar) is working on a TV show about cars compared to working on a car spot?

They are both the same and different… You have more time and more meetings in commercials – you spend more time getting a specific shot, a detail, a nuance whereas on The Grand Tour I just get on with making the films [the segments of the show]. I enjoy and miss both ways of doing it if that makes sense.

The skill set is the same; prep and image creation; interpreting a script; solving problems; management of talent/agency/client. There is no client or agency on the show but we have the presenters and the exec producer to keep happy and also the audience at home. I have more responsibility to make it work for them. I have to be my own client – analyzing the idea and making sure it works for the script.

I am fastidious about prep on both commercials and the show. Prep allows you to have freedom to try stuff – it’s a bit like music videos in that you experiment and try new things then suddenly you have something magical that you can develop and use as a technique.

I cross pollenate skills – things I know from my years in commercials and things I know from TV help each other. I have shot hundreds of hours of cars and hundreds of hours of comedy on The Grand Tour and Top Gear – just turning over that much is great. Always shooting, always working things out and making sure we get it in the can.

You’d directed episodes of Top Gear before; what do you enjoy most about shooting car shows?

I spend my days directing drivers to go sideways through a corner at lunatic speeds in the most amazing cars in exotic locations and with an incredibly talented team on a high profile show whilst locking creative horns with Clarkson and co.

I shot a comedy segment last week that felt like a cartoon and two weeks before was shooting an action movie [segment] with black hawk helicopters, machine guns and a full-on car chase with multiple explosions.

Then I directed the special, which is a 1,200-mile road trip through some of the most amazing landscape I have ever seen. I love it, every day is different and challenging and I am doing something bonkers. It’s a great gig and I do my best to never forget that.

And what’s the most challenging thing about shooting a TV show, specifically a car-based one?

Time. Never enough time. We are making 12 hours of TV per season and that has a concertina effect – going from one shoot to the next without much thinking time and trying to jump into the edit in between.

I have to have a few films in my head at once and keep abreast of everything. Not having hundreds of meetings is great in one respect, you aren’t weighed down by PPM booklet creation, but then it is nice on an ad when things are signed off in the PPM!

 

There’s a lot of coverage of and expectation on this new show after the Top Gear/Clarkson fallout from last year; did that add to the pressure at all?

Not so much pressure from the expectation, more a self-imposed pressure for the new show to be as good/ better than the old one. The last series of Top Gear [with Clarkson, May and Hammond] had some great films in it, the presenters were on top form and we were all on top of our game; the comedy was flowing, the visuals where stunning and we had 350 million viewers worldwide.

We want that crown again. We want the comedy to be funnier, the visuals to be more exceptional and the crazy builds to be more ludicrous. However, if you look at it, maybe the old show was getting a little tired; did it need a shake up?

The whole team is driven by being the best in the world at making a car show, we have had to analyze what was good and what needed changing. It’s incredibly exciting to be on Amazon – the internet broadcasters are making shows based on great content – they know that viewers will come if it’s great and they are trusting the creators to do what they do. It is the same for commercials – you make great ads, people will seek them out and want to watch them.

Did you ever get to do a lap on the Top Gear track?

I shot at the track a lot – I never got to do a timed lap in the reasonably priced car but I have had a few laps in various cars; the most fun being in the Mercedes SLS, Lamborghini Huracan and BMW M135. And I did power slide a Mercedes S Class limo round Hammerhead [part of the Top Gear track]. It’s surprisingly comfortable in a drift.

 

Of the cars you’ve filmed, which would you choose to own?

I get to drive the top spec of every car we get, so even a SsangYong 4×4 starts to become appealing. I love the BMW i3 and my dream machines are any of the following: a Porsche Mecan Turbo S; a Bentley continental; a Range Rover Sport; a BMW M6 Grand Coupe or an Audi S8.

Can you tell us some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to shooting cars?

If you want it to look fast it has to be driven fast. Get a precision driver and a tracking vehicle team that know each other and can work with a short hand. I always use ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ for left and right, so it’s the same for the cameraman facing backwards and the drivers facing forwards…

Oh and make sure everyone in the tracking vehicle speaks the same language…if you’re in a Tower of Babel situation in a Russian arm doing 100mph round a track and you don’t understand each other, that’s not ideal!


October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween people! If you have a Netflix subscription and you want to watch something terrifying tonight, we can recommend the second episode of season 3 of “Black Mirror – Playtest” directed by our Dan Trachtenberg. Its is excellent and truly spooky!!! Enjoy!!!

You can watch a teaser here


October 14, 2016

 

The Weeknd’s latest music video ‘False Alarm’ is an epic action packed return to POV for Great Guns director Ilya Naishuller, coinciding with the release of The Weeknd’s latest album “Starboy”.

The music video tells the story of a bank heist gone wrong, all shot from first person POV in seemingly one continuous shot. The hero desperately trying to save a hostage amidst the total carnage that ensues.

The film’s visuals perfectly match the atypical intensity of The Weeknd’s latest track, hurtling along at the breakneck speed you’d expect from Naishuller, the director behind the viral sensation Bad Motherfucker (128 million views and counting) and this year’s ‘Hardcore Henry’, billed as the world’s first POV action movie, an insane 90 minute edge-of-your-seat piece of POV madness that follows a newly recostructed cyborg on a relentless mission to save his wife, The former winning countless awards globally, the latter winning the Midnight Madness award at last year’s Toronto film festival before opening on 3,000 screens in the US earlier this year.

Whilst undeniably violent – False Alarm boasts masked men, car chases, explosions, insane stunts and lots and lots of blood – there’s also a softer thread that runs through the film in the protector/protectee relationship between the hero and their hostage.

“It was critical to get the right girl for the lead as she not only had to carry the romantic aspect of the story but be a tough actress able to work in not the most pleasant of conditions,” states Naishuller. “We auditioned over 250 girls but Kristine Froseth (who has just been cast as one of the lead actors in TNT Vampire drama Let the right one in) caught my eye right away. She possesses the unique mix of seriously impressive acting chops, a very fragile beauty and tops it off with a superbly tough yet easy going character. I think she enjoyed being around explosions and cars flipping as much as the guys on set did.”

Shooting in LA rather than his native Moscow was a departure for the director, as was his choice of camera for the project.

He had first experimented with POV filming when he invested in a GoPro for a snowboarding trip, shortly before discovering that he actually sucked at snowboarding.  Needing to find another use for his newly acquired GoPro, he decided to shoot a music video for his band Biting Elbows. The resulting video, The Stampede, garnered over 6 million views on YouTube and the attention of Great Guns, who have represented him since. He subsequently shot Bad Motherfucker and Hardcore Henry on GoPro too.

For False Alarm, however, Naishuller wanted to give the film a more cinematic look, ultimately settling on using the Codex Action Cam, a relatively new device that, until now, has largely been used to shoot elements for action scenes in big Hollywood movies.

“After Hardcore Henry, I was pretty much set on not doing anything POV related, at least in the near future. But when this track from The Weeknd came in and I listened to it, I couldn’t help but get excited for the possibilities,” says Naishuller. The key, in my mind, was to make sure that whatever I shot in POV had to be a step up from all that came before, which I believe my team and I have accomplished in the video for False Alarm. Apart from the faux continuous-one-shot feel of the video, the visual aspect of telling this simple yet elegant ‘crime doesn’t pay’ story was greatly improved by using the Codex Action Cam which was introduced to me by Starr Whitesides, our DP on the project. It made the film feel much more cinematic than is expected and took the visuals to the next level.“

Shooting a music video for an artist that wasn’t his own band was another novelty for Naishuller, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience at that.

“I think Abel’s approach to this project was very smart. He picked a director whose work he enjoys and let him go wild. His notes were minimal and very constructive, with each and every one of them, bar none, making the video better. Our mutual appreciation of each other’s work made this a true collaboration and I am ecstatic that he is as happy as he is with the video.”

“With ‘False Alarm’, the second single released off The Weeknd’s upcoming album Starboy, we’re getting a whole new take on R&B prophet Abel Tesfaye’s range” states The Times. “Tesfaye usually restricts himself to smoother tunes, letting his falsetto do the work. But ‘False Alarm’ is an uncharacteristically frantic, up-tempo ode to unrequited love, his signature delivery interrupted and heated up with raw, unrestrained shrieks. The song has a distorted 80s vibe—and an underlying energy with eerie edge.” A furious energy matched by Naishuller’s impressive visuals.

You can watch “False Alarm” music video here


October 10, 2016

From Donkey Punch and ITV series Victoria to Pampers’ ‘Pooface’, the Great Guns director discusses history, acting, genres and a whole host more.

‘Study the past if you would define the future’. Olly Blackburn has a thing for an apropos quote, and this nugget from Confucius could have been written just for him. A keen student of history, Olly was all geared up to pursue a career as History professor, but a Fulbright scholarship to study film at New York University sent him in a different direction. The ‘muddy fields and tepid coffee’ of filmmaking was too much to resist. But he didn’t leave his love of history in the past – it informs everything he does. And while that historical influence might be more obvious in his recent ITV series Victoria – a dramatization of the life of young Queen Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman – it also seeps into the psychological dynamics and interpersonal politics of terse 21st century thrillers like Donkey Punch.
 
Donkey Punch, a hedonistic sexual thriller set on a yacht during the heady days before the 2008 global recession, brought Olly to the attention of global film fans – but his commercials reel reveals an eye for composition and the subtleties of human behaviour. His Cannes Lions-winning Pampers spot Pooface (produced by Great Guns, who also represent him) is a slo-mo meditation on the experience of taking one’s first shit.
 
LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with Olly.
 
LBB> Well before becoming a director you had a role in the Oscar-winning short film, ‘A Shocking Accident’ as a child! How did that opportunity come about? And what are your memories of the shoot? Do you think that it had any bearing on you pursuing directing as a career?
OB> It was – like life – completely random. Some producers came to my school looking for a boy who could look like a 10 year old Rupert Everett. For some bizarre reason they decided it was me.  I learnt that filmmaking is desperately boring if you’re not up to something behind the camera and that my knobbly knees do not look good in a close up. I also learned that acting’s really difficult and you should leave it to the professionals.
LBB> And you studied History at Oxford – something that must have been handy for your work on Victoria! – Why did you decide to focus on history? Is it something that influences your approach to directing?
OB> I adore history. For me, history is psychology, society, economics and random fate writ large. It’s philosophy given human form. And it’s the raw material of every story ever told. To study history is to study humankind in action, in all its glory and worst savagery and everything in-between … that informs how I tell a story and work with actors every day I’m on set.
LBB> And what led you to switch up your ambition from becoming a history professor to pursuing film?
OB> I was going to do a PHD till I had the great honour to win a Fulbright award – which took me to NYU film school and the glittering lights (because they’re on the wrong transformer), muddy fields and tepid coffee of filmmaking instead.
LBB> Donkey Punch was your breakout feature film – and, given that you co-wrote it, you didn’t give yourself an easy time as a director (violence, sex, the technical challenges of shooting at sea, the very raw and vulnerable performances from the cast). What was it that convinced you that this was the story you wanted to tell?
OB> I wanted to make a film, and I wanted to make a film that could find an audience, and I wanted to make a film that would be remembered. The vagaries of filmmaking are so intense every movie could be your last –  so this struck the three points.
At that moment in time, right before the 2008 crash, it felt like everyone was living in a bubble of instant gratification; take every day as it comes, don’t think too hard about the future. I had this instinct to tell a story that showed how that mentality – combined with fear, shame and naked self-interest – could create its own chaotic dynamic and bring everything crashing down.
I also wanted to make a film that reflected the world I knew, which is much more fluid and loose than what we normally see. Often in British film you have posh films about posh people and gritty films about gritty people; I wanted to bring both these worlds together.
Then there was the genre: genre is an incredible tool for prising open big ideas, things like horror (what we fear), sci-fi (what we want or don’t want to become), crime (what kind of society we live in) can make for some of the most acute dissections of who we are. For me, the original ‘Robocop’ is one of the most accurate films ever made about the society we’ve shaped and ‘Don’t Look Now’ is one of the most profound films ever made about grief and loss…
There’s something about the visceral extremities possible in genre that allows you to peel open elements of humanity that remain closed otherwise and explore deeper. It’s not comfortable and it’s not always fun, but you get to go to places other stories cannot reach. And there was also the psychological thriller side – quite simply the question of what you would do in such a situation? Each character responds to events quite differently, they rely on their own agendas to get the best result from this shitty chain of events and, funnily enough, everything they do to make things better for themselves only makes things worse for everyone (that’s the history degree kicking in, right there) when they’d have been much better off trusting each other. That really interested me, and makes for classic Hitchcockian thriller dynamics… so it was all of those things – and a few more besides – that made me incredibly excited to tell this story. And once I’d made that decision… fucking well get stuck in!
LBB> And how did you work with the actors to get the performances you did? I know that much of the film was, unusually, shot in sequence – why was that important?
 
OB> It’s 90% in the casting. Des Hamilton was my casting director, he does all my commercials too (including #pooface which won a Cannes Lion for casting). Together we spent nine months casting Donkey Punch in his flat in Camden (as I’m a very clumsy person, I almost trashed it several times by mistake). Meanwhile my co-writer David Bloom and I were writing the script and I was preparing the shoot, so the casting process helped inform the story and character motivations all the way.
By the end of that process, I was confident we had exactly the right cast of actors ready to give their all for this story, which is really important given how intense it gets and how believable it had to be.  As for shooting in sequence – it’s always the best way for an actor to harness the thorough line of emotions. But particularly when you’re telling a story like this where so much is emotional cause and effect.
LBB> I love the fact that the story – as extreme as it is – is rooted in real life observations.  I read one interview where you say that the ‘donkey punch’ concept came from a conversation at a stag do, where one of the guys present seemed to have an unnerving interest in the topic… I really liked that observation, that it’s something so small you might have just ignored or forgotten it. As a director and writer, do you find it hard to switch off from ‘observation’ and ‘material gathering mode’?
OB> I’m always observing. And always encouraging actors to root their performances in real human behaviour. Which can mean pretty much anything – we humans are incredibly unpredictable and counterintuitive at times.
LBB> The ITV miniseries Victoria, which sees you swap the action thrillers of Donkey Punch and Kristy and Glue for something very different. What was it about the project that appealed to you?
OB> Daisy’s [Goodwin] writing was so good and so was the cast. The amazing, amazing cast was led by Jenna Coleman, who I’m convinced has an Oscar win in her future.
I’d never really studied 19th century history so it was really interesting to learn about the background, what drove people – Victoria came from a completely dysfunctional family. So much of her early life was about not repeating her mother’s mistakes. And though I’m known in my features for the crazy dark stuff, I love a good melodrama: Sirk, Ophüls, Visconti!
 
LBB> What was the most interesting challenge for you as a director working on Victoria?
OB> Achieving the very most with the resources at hand. We were making what everyone wanted to be a lush cinematic drama series that would look like the very best feature film – but on a fraction of that kind of budget. It’s the great reason to work in British TV – you have to learn how to do these things and it makes you a better filmmaker. A supportive producer and channel really helps.
LBB> When it comes to commercials, what do you look for in a script?
 
OB> Powerful idea. Strong humanity.
LBB> Looking back at your commercial reel, which project are you proudest of and why?
 
OB> Pampers Pooface. I had a really collaborative relationship with Matt Butterfield and Ben Mills at Saatchi’s, shepherded very wisely by Kate Stanners. We managed to create a piece of work that reflected what we all wanted to achieve: basically the awesome, mind-blowing experience of what it’s like to take a shit for the first time. I wish Sigmund Freud could have seen it.
I’m also very fond of the two TV license comedy spots I did for Tim Riley and AMV – we made them six years ago and they still get played today. There’s something very timeless about Tim’s warmth and human touch.
 
LBB> Comparing your commercial work with your TV and film projects I thought it was interesting to see that, compared with your high octane, narratively-driven, pretty psychological films, the commercials allow you to play a lot more with composition and aesthetics. Was that an intentional thing?
 
OB> Nope, just the way things panned out. I’d love nothing more than do a high octane Nike ad – my features show that I can.
LBB> And how do you feel the different sides to your work feed into one another?
 
OB> Two sides of the coin. Without darkness there’s no light. Without hate there’s no love…
LBB> Since January, you’ve been posting ‘Words of the Day’ to your blog, interesting quotes from writers, rulers, philosophers, the odd Norse God… Why did you start doing that? How do you choose which words to post – and what quote has been your favourite so far? 
 
OB> Wow – someone’s actually reading them!!! I love a good quote. A really good one can completely flip how you see things, like: “The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.” (Dostoyevsky)
Dunno about favourites, but I’m always partial to a bit of Johnny Rotten: “I’m not here for your amusement. You’re here for mine.”
LBB> What’s on the cards for you for the rest of the year?
 
OB> Good commercials!!! Finding the right next TV project. I’ve got a couple of films that I’m working on too.
 
LBB> You say your spirit animal is an octopus – why so?
 
OB> Because they’re AWESOME. Read this: ‘THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS’ BY SY MONTGOMERY.

September 2, 2016

The new campaign out of independent agency Don’t Panic is directed by Great Guns’ Josh Trigg.

Today marks the launch of the new digital campaign of Save the Children, created by Don’t Panic and directed by Great GunsJosh Trigg.

The new campaign is in line with save the Children core vision: “Our Vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation”.

A child’s future starts with their very first day of school.

Wherever they are closer to our homes or in a different continent, children are brimming with potential on that first day.

School is important for children, that’s why education is a core part of what Save the Children does: helping children who are missing out on school – because of war, conflict or disease – to get an education and help children fulfill their potential.

Save the Children also gives children medicine, food and water, they stand up for their rights, protect from harm and help the families of children in the poorest parts of the world to earn a living.

This is what is behind this project: the future of children starts with their first day at school. With this in mind, Save the Children invites people to share photos of their child’s first day back at school launching the hashtag #classof16 on their digital platforms.

You can watch the campaign here.


August 24, 2016

Director Kim Majkut collaborates with Decca Records for immersive new promo.

Twice BAFTA-nominated Kim Majkut has collaborated with Decca Records and DJ Starkey to create a totally immersive 360 Music Video. The track ‘Gnoissiennes No. 1’, originally by French composer and pianist Erik Satie is from Decca Record’s new release ‘Re:Works’, an album from today’s leading electronic producers remixing classical compositions.

Created specifically for Google Cardboard and Samsung VR, the film’s opening shot places you in a remote location under a starlit sky. From here you can begin to look around, exploring your new surroundings.

Kim comments; “For me music instils memory, a moment in time, it can surround you, pumps through you, overrides your senses. The beat. The rhythm. The musician’s story. It’s insanely powerful. That’s how I approached the making of the DJ Starkey’s Satie music video. Virtual Reality captured the pure essence of how I saw this track play out in my mind. It gave me the opportunity to transport an audience into my visual interpretation of the track. I wanted to bring the audience into an environment that is already spectacular and let it slowly build into a surreal experience. As the beat heightens so does the visuals that surround them. Allowing them to get lost in the music.”

Visuals with deep gradients swirl and pulse around you, and carry you into the opening beats of the track. Kim used graphics and visuals to create a type of light show, and used the beats within the track to influence the lights movements within the 360 VR environment.

At the forefront of Virtual Reality work, Kim’s background as an illustrator and designer allow her to stamp each project with a strong aesthetic identity. She has worked with clients including BBC, MTV, Nickelodeon, Lego and Nissan.

Experience it here.


May 18, 2016

Congratulations to Olly Blackburn who took home a Silver One Show award in the category Craft – Direction! 

The film, through Saatchi & Saatchi London is the first commercial created for the new ‘Don’t Fear The Mess!’ campaign for Pampers.

The film is shot in high definition and in super slow motion, 400fps, and captures ten babies pulling funny, weird, lovable faces while they are doing their business. The beautifully captured moments are accompanied by the classic tune of Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Strauss.

 


April 24, 2016

Heartwarming new spot for Volkswagen comes out of Memac Ogilvy in Dubai.

UK born director Tom Shankland has just joined the Great Guns roster and takes no time storming back into commercials with a comical and heartwarming new spot for Volkswagen out of Memac Ogilvy in Dubai.
Playing on their ‘buy smart to look smart’ slogan, the film opens on little Tommy who is wistfully gazing out the window at his neighbor Sami’s smarter, cooler dad as he cleans and polishes his new VW. He’s clearly the envy of both Tommy and his dad.
Tom, who is gifted with the ability to capture great performance, certainly doesn’t fall short here, with humor and lightheartedness running through the entire film. The audience should always be able to recognise the comedy in the film, and even when Tommy is expressing disappointment with his dad, his face should still make the audience smile.
Tom comments: “The obvious challenge was finding a cast and location that would work for two versions – Arabic and English/American. And also a strong young boy at the center of it all. I had a hunch that LA might offer strong options. I worked with casting directors Debbie Manwiller and Russel Boast who found Anthony, (the hero boy), who was a complete star. Because it was LA there were a fair share of classic Hollywood stories. Like the five-year-old who came in to audition and, after we’d all tried to be very sensitive and ‘sesame street-ish’ to put him at ease, just sighed and said ‘come let’s just do this, I’m here for the money.’”
Aside from commercials, Tom has been busy directing Emmy nominated ‘The Missing’ and BAFTA nominated ‘Ripper Street’, ‘House of Cards’ series 4 and the Marvel/Netflix follow-up to ‘Jessica Jones’ , ‘Luke Cage’.
You can view the spot here.

April 4, 2016

Great Guns’ Josh Trigg delivers a powerful film for The National Autistic Society to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week.

Director Josh Trigg’s first shoot for Great Guns is a powerful film for The National Autistic Society through London based agency Don’t Panic.  The film titled “Can you make it to the end?”  will  launch NAS new campaign “Too Much Information”.

In ‘Can you make it to the end?’ Josh has delivered a film that puts the viewer into the shoes of a small boy living with autism and lets them experience the world through his eyes during a simple trip to a seemingly ordinary shopping center. Developed in collaboration with the autistic community and designed to give viewers a greater understanding of what autism looks and feels like, the film aims to bridge the gap between the number of people who’ve heard of autism and the number of people who really understand what it is and what it can feel like for some people.

To achieve this, the film focuses on a key issue for many autistic people, sensory sensitivity.
“Most ‘neurotypical’ people have a filter between themselves and the world, one that allows them to choose which sounds to listen to or which visual stimuli to focus on,” explains Richard Beer, Creative Director of Don’t Panic. “It’s how you can have a coherent conversation with someone in a room full of loud music, clinking glasses and people talking over each other. Many autistic people lack this filter: their senses can be overwhelmed by the number, volume and intensity of the tactile, visual and auditory stimuli around them. Even a seemingly innocuous situation can contain Too Much Information. We wanted to challenge viewers to experience 90 seconds in a familiar location like they’d never experienced before. And, perhaps, understand a little better what it’s like to have this sensory sensitivity next time they see someone struggling to cope.”

The film stars autistic actor Alex Marshall.

Josh comments: ‘the challenge with this film was bridging the gap between people with autism and people without autism, and making sure that it came across as relatable and true. Casting played a very important role in the film and being able to cast Alex, who is on the spectrum, and could relate to everything we were trying to convey really took the film up a notch.’

World Autism Awareness Week: ‘Can you make it to the end?’ and the TMI campaign launch on the eve of World Autism Awareness week and will be featured on BBC Breakfast on the 1st April and in The Guardian (both in print and online) as exclusive content. From the 2nd- 9th April a 30” version of the film will also be shown at Empire cinemas across the country.
Josh Trigg is represented by Great Guns.

You can download the video here: http://bit.ly/1RzQvDx
Youtube page: http://bit.ly/1RQSNNg
Facebook page: http://bit.ly/1UxkTAG
Hashtag: #autismTMI

For more information, contact:
Elise Jeanrenaud | elise@greatguns.com
Attilio Gianfrancesco | attilio@greatguns.com

Credits:
Client:  The National Autistic Society
Title:  Can you make it to the end?
Agency: Don’t Panic
MD: Joe Wade
Creative Director: Richard Beer
Project lead: Helen Jackson & Ellie Moore
Creative: Alistair Griggs
Creative: George McCullum
Creative: Eva Steiner
Child Actor: Alexander Marshall
Production Company: Great Guns
Director: Joshua Trigg
Producer: Tim Francis
Exec Producers: Laura Gregory and Sheridan Thomas
Director of Photography: Martin Kobylarz
Production Design: Kajsa Soderlund
Sound Design: Culum Simpson @ Jungle
Post Production: Happy Finish
Grade: Toby Tomkins @ Cheat
The National Autistic Society:
Chrystyna Chymera
Tom Madders


43/45 Camden Road, London NW1 9LR