Weird Ad of the Month

August 27, 2013 / Humour

By The Beak Street Bugle

Oh, what it must be like to work in a Japanese ad agency.

Japan, how we love you. The people who wrote this script weren't thinking anywhere near the box, or anything cubic in shape for that matter. And it's actually quite a good idea for getting across a very simple point. Sheer joy.

Ben Johnson: 25 Years of Infamy

August 23, 2013 / Features

By Alex Reeves

We speak to the man at the heart of one of history’s biggest doping scandals, and the director who retold his story.

“I have a very healthy scepticism about all sport now,” says Daniel Gordon, director of 9.79*, a film for which he had to become an expert in performance-enhancing drugs. He’s in front of an audience made up of figures from London’s advertising industry. They’ve just watched his documentary – an even-handed recounting of the men’s 100 metre final in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, in which Ben Johnson smashed the world record and won himself and Canada a gold medal. That medal only lasted 48 hours. After failing a drug test, the sprinter was stripped of his win and ever since has been referred to as a “disgraced Olympian.”

Ben is standing next to Daniel, a far less imposing figure than the speed machine he is remembered as. He’s happy with the way the film turned out. “It told my story the way it should be and the way it has been for 25 years,” he says. ”I’m glad the public will see what’s behind [the story], so to speak. There’s a lot of politics at play in this and it’s not fair. It’s a dirty sport. I’m glad I’m out of it now.”

It must be strange to be Ben – a man who has spent a quarter of a century defined by one regret-filled moment.  He admits it hasn’t been easy. “I went to hell and back for 25 years and I took the whole world on my shoulders,” he says.

“I don’t advise any parents to have their kids go through what I went through, but you can tell that I’m a very strong human being and I made some mistakes in my life. What I did was wrong. I was a young boy – 25 years old at the time. I trusted the wrong people, but it was my problem to say yes. I don’t blame my coach. I still love Charlie Francis.”

It’s hard to blame Ben either. After watching Daniel’s film, the moral question of doping seems blurred. The director interviewed a multitude of experts to put this film together and came out with the opinion that it’s all very complicated. “It’s not take drugs and you win,” he says. “There’s training drugs, there’s recovery drugs, there’s endurance drugs. It depends entirely on what you’re doing, why and when.”

Having learnt what he now knows, Daniel doesn’t quite buy the argument that doping is straight-up wrong. “We as lay people want our people to perform at the highest level,” he says. “I watch the Olympics and I’m not that interested in watching a 12-second 100 metres. I’d really quite like a 9.5, which is what we get. So, how that’s achieved, I think, ultimately, we’re not that bothered. [But] we’ll come out and damn people when they get caught and some will go through the mill.”

That’s exactly what happened to Ben in one of the earliest high-profile scandals in sporting history. “I’m really surprised Ben’s still here, to be honest,” says Daniel.

It is quite amazing that Ben is here, apparently sane and willing to talk honestly about it all. He thinks about how he survived such an extraordinary time. “I would say Jesus Christ gave me strength,” he says. “He built me strong for these tribulations. And I take it in my stride. I never ask God ‘why me?’ That’s just the way my life happened.

“In Seoul with the chaos and everything. I didn’t care about myself. I just wanted my sister and mother to be safe. I can take the heat. And I’m still here after 25 years. As long as I have life and health, I’m happy.”

Of course, anyone who’s had to live with a big mistake wonders what life would have been like if they could relive that fateful moment. Ben isn’t entirely immune to these human instincts. “I can’t live 25 years ago,” he laments. “I can live today and tomorrow. But if my true destiny is like that then that’s it. So I don’t challenge it. I just get on with it and do the best that I can for people and for my family as I get older. But, no, [given another chance] I would probably just go to school, get an education and forget about sports,” he chuckles at the thought of this odd parallel history.

“Who needs a gold medal? Really,” Daniel chimes in.

Whether it’s a fond memory or not, the era of Ben’s fame (and the dawn of his infamy) was a fascinating time for athletics. Daniel found this when interviewing Ben and his seven competitors from that race. “I found that every one of them had a personality and some were more reticent to talk, mainly because of how they felt they’d been treated over the years by the media,” he says. “It was once they actually sat down and talked, you’d see their eyes light up. And this period in their life was immense. You could see the camaraderie that they all had and that they still feel for each other, even though some of them haven’t seen each other since they stopped racing.”

Maybe it was that camaraderie that led Ben to hold his tongue, despite his suspicions about his fellow athletes. “I took the bullet for everybody,” he says. “Other people did what they were doing [and] yes, it was wrong [but there were] a lot of politics at play in this era.”

Ben’s not bitter looking back at that time. He hasn’t forgotten the good times either. “I lived it and enjoyed it,” he says. “I trained very hard for 12 years, becoming the best in the world. I wanted to be the best 100-metre sprinter ever. And I did it.”

Whether he was on drugs or not, there is one fact that Ben holds on to: for a while he had run 100 metres faster than any human on the planet. “In my world,” he says, “I’m still the best sprinter ever in the 100 metre dash, even to this day.”


The quotations in this article were taken from a Q&A session at The Big Screen – a monthly screening series from The Beak Street Bugle and MPC that showcases the long-form work of commercial directors. Daniel Gordon is represented for commercials by 2AM Films.

Signed: Kijek / Adamski

August 23, 2013 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

This clever pair make properly innovative films.

This Polish duo must be masochists. When you look at the body of work Strange Beast’s newest directors Katarzyna Kijek and Przemyslaw Adamski have produced, one thing stands out - the painstaking work that has gone into creating these films.

Whether it’s hand-drawn, traditional animation or contemporary art directed live action, there’s always a high level of craftsmanship on display. The extreme of this is their critically-acclaimed music video for Shugo Tokumaru’s Katachi – a phenomenal stop-motion film that required them to glue 2,000 custom-cut bits of PVC together, taking a photograph each time. The final structure was ten metres long.

Watch some of their work here:

“It Just Has to be Good”

August 9, 2013 / Features

By Alex Reeves

Thinking branded content in a jargon-free interview with Caspar Delaney.

Caspar Delaney knows branded content pretty well, even if has a problem with the phrase (unfortunately nobody’s found a better one yet). As Executive Producer at RSA Films, he’s worked on some of the most high-profile online film projects for brands.

In 2010 he produced the innovative Parallel Lines films for Philips, which asked several successful directors to interpret the same six-line script. They were a YouTube sensation and met all the commercial criteria that Philips had set, and picked up a Grand Prix at Cannes.

Two years later he worked on a series of online promotional films for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi blockbuster, Prometheus. Unlike trailers, these gave fans anticipating the film a chance to view exclusive content and get to know a bit about the characters in advance of the film’s release.  Two D&AD pencils and a Cannes Gold Lion followed.

Most recently, Caspar produced a short film called Desire, starring Damian Lewis, made to promote the new Jaguar F-Type. Of course it features the car driving fast through the desert, but it’s certainly not a commercial. It’s 13 minutes long for a start.

We caught up with him to ask where he thinks branded content is heading, now it’s no longer in its infancy.

The Beak Street Bugle: Why should brands make online branded content?

Caspar Delaney: Gate crashing a party is never as good as being invited. What advertising has done is gate crash people’s living rooms. And brands continue to see the value of it: despite the huge changes brought about by new technology and proliferating media, it still makes business sense. It still works. But it’s a lot more difficult to get it right than it was in the good old days when one spot in the middle of Coronation Street would get you eighteen million hits. Most ad money is spent on brand advertising, which is not designed to get you leaping out of your armchair and rushing off to the late night shop. It’s designed to make you feel well disposed to the brand; to establish and build a relationship. When consumers are invited to seek out a film and they accept the invitation, a two-way relationship is created which is stronger and more durable than the gate crashing model could ever hope to achieve.

Now I’m obviously not suggesting that branded content is about to replace TV commercials. But there is a whole generation out there that is already spending more time on Facebook and YouTube than watching TV. That can only mean that branded content is set to take a bigger slice of the marketing cake.

BSB: You’ve got some impressive numbers on the branded content you’ve worked on. What are the important factors in getting the hits?

CD: The objective is for the content to go viral. People tell their friends to check it out and the word spreads. This is clearly not going to happen if the content doesn’t have something special: creativity, originality, topicality or combinations of these and other qualities. That’s rule one. If you don’t get that right, nothing else matters.

But no matter how good it is you can’t just put it out there and hope for the best. You need some finely crafted PR to get the ball rolling. Of course it helps massively to have celebrities. Damian Lewis was in our Jaguar film. He’d just won a Golden Globe, was on the front page of most lifestyle magazines, if not most newspapers, around the world at the time, which of course was an incredible advantage. It created an amazing buzz and he delivered an audience.

Similarly with Prometheus. If you can say “this is about Ridley Scott’s upcoming movie” Ridley fans around the world will seek you out. If they then find that one of these short films stars Guy Pearce and another one Michael Fassbender and yet others Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba, then the whole thing begins to take on a life of its own. Long before Prometheus was premiered untold numbers of people felt an engagement with the movie and were frequently acting as unpaid cheerleaders for it.

Of course, once the dust has settled and everything has gone to plan it would be easy to conclude that Damian Lewis or Ridley Scott’s name more or less guaranteed success. After all, TV commercials have always used celebrities to grab attention. And even the most awful, irritating commercials (which sometimes feature celebrities) can achieve a modicum of success simply by gate crashing the audience and hammering the brand name into the viewer’s brain by sheer repetition. But with branded content a celebrity can only be a jumping off point. If the film doesn’t have enormous appeal in its own right then it’s dead in the water - it won’t go beyond its initial audience. And if you get it badly wrong a volatile and capricious internet audience may ensure that it does more harm than good.

BSB: Why isn’t everyone creating online branded content?

CD: Well, it’s still evolving and many brands are holding back, trying to work out how it might work for them. But for others (Philips, Prometheus and Jaguar are all good examples) the benefits are a lot more obvious because of their target markets.

Philips is a cutting edge tech company. Many if not most of the people it needs to reach are moderately heavy internet users: the type of people who would be aware that these films were coming up and were waiting to see them.

Likewise Prometheus. The Alien franchise has a substantial fan base and again they were the type of people who were tech-savvy, online a lot, and would appreciate being given little back stories to this sci-fi world that Ridley and the writers had created. So we were confident that it was going to hit the people it was looking to hit.

And lastly, Jaguar – the target market was young, predominantly blokes, and the kind of people who were internet users, media-savvy, could be targeted by PR and so could be expected to see the films.

BSB: Other than audience, what factors make a difference?

CD: Traditionally, we’d call it brand advertising, almost lifestyle advertising. It certainly isn’t retail advertising where you’re talking to specific consumers about specific products, shouting a price at them. It is creating a kind of general cool about the product, which requires less precise targeting. You can be fairly sure that if it’s hitting tens of millions of people, it’s doing its job.

The kind of brands who are investing in it at the moment can see its value. But if you’re a slightly timid or less than brave client in charge of your marketing budget and your media or production spend, having to rely on quality and whether it stands on its own feet can seem too much of a gamble. This, incidentally, is also why the budgets for online films are probably, pro rata, smaller than even the squeezed budgets on commercials.

At the moment it’s still the brave advertiser with an obviously appropriate product who is doing it. But in the future, there’s no reason why a soap powder can’t make it pay.

It just needs to find its feet in a business model, which it will as it evolves and we get more examples and clients and brands see the value of it – see that it’s working for products and brands outside of those we’ve been talking about, which it will.

BSB: As a filmmaker, what benefits does this kind of work offer?

CD: What this new opportunity does is give the brand a longer time length to play with narratives – just to do something more sophisticated, really, and free them up from the restrictions of 30 seconds 40 seconds 60 seconds.

Supposedly wise words are spoken about the optimum time length for online video.  But I am unconvinced. It is widely believed, for example, it shouldn’t really be much more than ten minutes. Two reasons are usually given. The first is based on technology and [the speed of] streaming, which is simply not true anymore. But the one I really disagree with is “you won’t keep people’s attention online for more than...” And people say this with such authority as if it’s a scientific fact. Maybe I’m naïve, but I’d like to come to a position where they’ll be disappointed that it’s only ten minutes long.

Of course if a good story can be told well and efficiently in only ten minutes, only make it ten minutes; if a story requires it to be told efficiently and creatively in 20 minutes, do it in 20 minutes. And if you’re doing it well you’re going to keep your audience.

Obviously TV always had its restrictions because of scheduling and people’s lifestyle habits. Films have also had objective reasons for being a certain length. And it wasn’t to do with whether people get bored or not; it was to do with people going out of an evening and when they were going to eat and when they were going to get home to go to bed. Nowadays people have boxed sets and the internet, iPads and smart phones. They decide for themselves when and where and for how long they watch. The old criteria no longer apply.

BSB: But you’re not going to stop making commercials, we presume?

CD: I think branded content will sit happily alongside traditional advertising. I certainly don’t think this signals the death of traditional advertising and TV commercials, which of course still turn out innovative, creative, clever, smart, funny work. And there’s no sign of that stopping soon. But opportunities abound now for promoting online and making films for online, rather than the traditional paid-for media.

It’s a great opportunity for companies like RSA and the directors and producers that are here because the smart clients, the smart agencies and the smart brands realise that to invest their trust in the best filmmakers and creative people can give them a real edge in today’s ever more competitive markets.

High Five: August

August 8, 2013 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Some tasty chops of summer advertising.

All five brands in this month’s pick of the best video advertising are household names. So how do they keep reminding people of what they do without boring audiences to death? Somehow the creative people of Adland manage to make it work, as these examples demonstrate.

Brand: Honda
Title: Hands
Production Company: Nexus
Director: Smith & Foulkes
Production Company Producer: Tracey Cooper
Director of Photography: Clive Norman
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Creative Directors: Chris O’Reilly, Tony Davidson, Kim Papworth
Creatives: Chris Lapham, Aaron McGurk
Agency Producer: James Guy
Editing Company: Trim
Editors: Paul Hardcastle, David Slade
Sound Company: Siren
VFX Companies: Nexus, Analog Studio

Honda – Hands

Some brands just get it right again and again. Honda have set the bar pretty highly with their record of advertising, but this more than continues their winning streak. If the tone wasn’t so impeccably right for Honda then its cleverness could have ended up slightly pompous, but with the right direction it’s ended up a slick, elegant piece of advertising, the craft of which anyone can appreciate.

 

Brand: Ikea
Title: One Room Paradise
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: Megaforce
Production Company Producer: Matt Fone
Director of Photography: Ben Smithard
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: 750mph
VFX Company: Finish

Ikea – One Room Paradise

Another brand that pretty much nails it every time, Ikea continue their run of shareable music videos from the best directors in that field with this sweet little number from French it-boys Megaforce. It’s a neat idea and an intriguing script. Gone are the days when Ikea flaunted yuppie couples with spacious kitchen-diners. This is a single mother making the most of her (fictional) pokey little flat, and it’s charming.

 

Brand: NSPCC
Title: The Underwear Rule
Production Company: Bare
Director: Joanna Bailey
Production Company Producer: Helen Hadfield
Director of Photography: Ben Smithard
Ad Agency: Inferno
Creative Directors: Al Young, Tim Palmer
Creatives: Ray Chan, Simon Cenamor
Agency Producer: Sam Dowling
Editing Company: Speade
Editor: Sam Sneade
Sound Company: Jungle
VFX Company: The Mill

NSPCC – The Underwear Rule

Take a second to think about the challenges this idea presented to the people making the ad. It’s children talking about their genitals, alluding to themes of sexual abuse, and it has to strike a tone that’s cute and sensible rather than grisly and shocking. That is quite a balancing act. Thankfully, Joanna Bailey has handled it very well, delivering the delicate message clearly and appropriately.

 

Brand: 02
Title: Be More Dog
Production Company: Caviar
Director: Keith Schofield
Production Company Producer: Shirley O’Connor
Director of Photography: Damian Acevedo
Ad Agency: VCCP
Creative Director: Darren Bailes
Art Directors: Ben Daly, Elias Torres
Copywriters: Nathaniel White, Daniel Glover-James
Agency Producer: Catherine Long
Editing Company: Marshall Street Editors
Editor: Patric Ryan
VFX Company: MPC

O2 – Be More Dog

This is one of those ads that people will love. As soon as our unorthodox feline hero appears on screen, smiles will cross their faces, they will turn to whoever they’re watching TV with and say “I love this one.” And they will chuckle along to the visual gags they’ve seen twenty times. Infectious fun.

 

Brand: Persil
Title: Whatever Life Throws
Production Company: Academy
Director: Niall O’Brien
Production Company Producer: Dom Thomas
Director of Photography: Alex Barber
Ad Agency: DLKW Lowe
Creative Directors: Dave Henderson, Richard Denney
Creatives: Frances Leach, Christopher Bowsher
Agency Producer: Jeremy Muthana
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Edward Line
VFX Company: The Mill

Persil – Whatever Life Throws

As far as ideas go, this one isn’t difficult to get a grasp on. It’s a literal interpretation of the line “whatever life throws at them.” Fine. But the cinematic flair Niall O’Brien brings to the film, as well as the expert choice of music, transforms it into something rather special, especially for a soap brand.

 

Baby Steps: FRIEND

August 6, 2013 / Features

By Alex Reeves

We explore the first steps of a lean, keen, creative machine.

Image from Georgi Banks-Davies' recent American Garden commercial, Let's Savour Life.

 

Commercial budgets are never big enough. That’s a fundamental law of physics, and you’ll never hear a Producer say otherwise. That said, it’s pretty obvious that the advertising production industry is not in a financial golden age right now.

Luke Jacobs is no creaky old fart, but he’s been in the industry just long enough to remember a period of comparatively halcyon days. “I cut my teeth back in the days where you’d shoot £300,000 commercials in London with a top director and then maybe some stuff on the side,” he remembers. “It seemed very glamorous – everyone buying expensive cars and houses.”

That was when he started as a Runner in the mid to late 90s. Now Managing Director of FRIEND, he also has the time he spent producing at Rokkit and Stink in between to thank for letting him work on some truly lavish jobs that ran into the millions.

It was also during those pre-recession days that he learned the potential that those kinds of numbers hold and he still yearns to work on those really huge jobs. “What happened to the event ads?” he asks, puzzled. “In this age of social, if you spend like £1 million on some amazing project like the old Guinness commercials it’ll get shared.”

But Luke’s not living in a fantasy world. Budgets have shrunk significantly in recent years and he’s is all too aware. In the autumn of 2011 he started FRIEND – a production company that he would have to build from the ground up. And he built it to fit this new landscape.

He’s quick to point out that big budgets aren’t dead. There’s still a lot of money being pumped into some top-level projects, he observes, but new companies like FRIEND don’t usually get to go anywhere near those jobs. The top companies with the star directors hoover those scripts up. The problem is that the mid-level productions are where the financial bite has been felt, and this is where a FRIEND-sized company wants to work.

Another main consideration when Luke was setting up was the distribution of power in the industry. “I think someone put the clients in control over the past three years,” he says. “They’re not making decisions on more ambitious scripts or even, at the lower end, signing off something a bit risky that could be interesting. Recently things have been very focus-grouped and client-led, rather than agencies doing what they do best and saying ‘this is what’s going to work.’”

Owing to these factors, mid-level production companies have had to make compromises on what’s important to them. The exciting, creative scripts weren’t coming in as often, but established companies had bills to pay and employees to support, so they were forced to work with what they were given.

This wasn’t a solution Luke was prepared to try when starting his new venture. As a producer who loves great filmmaking, you can see why he didn’t want to be grinding away on scripts that would end up as, at best, polished turds.

Keeping it lean

FRIEND’s set up is designed to create financial breathing space so that they can stay creative while times are tough. “Everything we did was to keep costs as low as possible,” says Luke. To achieve this, he built a tight, flexible team of only five full-time staff, made their home in relatively cheap space and made use of freelancers to pick up any slack.  “You don’t have to do that many projects and that means you can concentrate on things that are a bit more creative,” he says. “Although you’ve got smaller margins you’ve still got a business that works.”

And with technology simplifying so many jobs, it’s possible to run a production company on a skeleton crew. The way we work now, Luke explains, we live in a world where accounts are outsourced and freelance producers are available. You don’t even need so many runners. “When I was a runner I had to drop tapes off at agencies, then when I came back I made everyone tea and answered phones,” he says. “You don’t need that shit anymore. The phone doesn’t ring that much because people are emailing, texting or ringing someone’s mobile. You don’t need to drop showreels off – you just send them as links. You can make your own tea.”

Running a thrifty production company fits Luke’s ideology. He’s not in it for the money, which is lucky because getting filthy rich off production is no longer a thing. “I think when people started production companies ten years ago it was because they thought if they got it right they could coin it in,” he suggests, “whereas now I think if you love the industry you set up a production company and the money’s secondary.”

In Luke’s opinion, as long as overheads are covered and everyone gets paid their dues, FRIEND’s focus is doing the best creative work. Georgi Banks-Davies, a director who’s been on their roster since the start, can vouch for that. “It definitely feels like it’s about filmmakers and not so much about making money,” she says. “When I’m on an ad with them it’s not about bringing it in and making X amount on the budget. It’s about bringing it in right. And as long as everyone’s getting paid, that’s what matters. The vibe is: as long as it’s a viable business, let’s put the creativity first.”

With so many existing companies struggling to make ends meet, it’s natural that many have been forced into to doing less interesting work in order to pay the bills, so FRIEND’s uncompromising focus on creativity over money is either brave or stupid. Georgi doesn’t see any other way they could have done it. “In the climate right now, the only way you stick out is to be creative,” she says.

Directors are people too

This philosophy translates into how FRIEND see their directors, i.e. as people – not commodities. Luke insists there was no shopping list when they were building the roster. Rather than working out what sort of commercials were covered by the collection of directors he had, Luke went for something a little more touchy-feely and signed them on the basis of their creative vision.

If Luke and Georgi are to be believed, the directors are of a similar mindset. They’re not about making stacks of cash, so they’d rather work on creatively fulfilling projects than racking up shoot days on uninspiring stuff. Georgi recalls working on a big kids spot once. “The agency were happy. Everything was great,” she says. “But it was interesting because we sat down afterwards and said ‘that’s cool. Now do we want to make loads of money or do I do what I want to do as a filmmaker?’” They decided not to put a perfectly good spot on her reel because Georgi didn’t want to be typecast as a kids director. “They figure out exactly what you want to do, how you want to be, and they help you to make that work,” she says.

And when you see ratio of music videos to commercials on their reel it shows. Refreshingly, FRIEND believe in and support promo work. “We don’t make any money on videos,” admits Luke, but for him that’s no reason to avoid them. “It’s a great playground for trying out ideas, and they’re also director-led in an industry where nowadays so much is circumscribed by what the client wants or the agency are trying to dumb down.”

Growing up

As they approach their second birthday, FRIEND have made an impressive impact on the industry. It was hard at first, Luke remembers, as the trust he’d gained over years working at Rokkit didn’t transfer quite as well as he’d hoped. “It was a real start from scratch,” he says. But they’ve got to the stage now where the repeat business is coming in and they have a reputation of their own.

That reputation comes from their dogged dedication to creativity, Georgi is sure. In fact, one thing she’s noticed it manifesting itself as is an aura of cool. “I think it’s getting this vibe as maybe being a little bit hip,” she ponders. “I exclude myself from this wholeheartedly, but they’ve got some directors who are clearly incredible, out there and when they approach something it’s really different.”

Of course, you can’t try to be cool, and the minute you use the c-word to refer to yourself the illusion is broken, so Luke admits to no such thing, but their output speaks for itself. After just over a year in existence they picked up two Music Video Awards and they’ve followed that with gongs from D&AD and even a Cannes Lion.

They’re on their way, but they haven’t arrived yet, as Luke’s willing to admit. “We’re still waiting for that commercial that we really think is a fantastic project that’s gone global and everyone’s looking at,” he says. He’s ambitious about FRIEND growing over the coming years, but would rather that growth is in status than in size. As much as he respects the big players, he doesn’t want his boutique company to become a behemoth.

Luke’s proud that, as a young company FRIEND has got that start-up edge. “It’s exciting to feel like you’re in a new company,” he says. “I don’t want to lose that vibe because it keeps you on your toes. That’s what we’re trying to bottle and work off the back of.” FRIEND want to stay forever young while their reel grows. And if they manage that, they’re destined to be quite a force.

Unsigned: HannesJohannes

August 6, 2013 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

A couple of good friends who make the music videos they want to see.

This Swedish duo of director-animators, comprised of Hannes Elltorp and Johannes Helgelin, grew up a little bored of reality. After finishing high school they tried to escape by experimenting with art, film and photography.

They made their decision to start directing music videos while watching The Knife play live in a 2006 concert and soon educated themselves in animation software and the techniques they’d need to achieve this. They eventually worked on their first promo for American electronic indie outfit Passion Pit in 2010 - a pretty big name for a debut.

Having flown the nest, the pair lived in Tokyo for seven months and have now lived in London for a year.

This summer they spent one month in the middle of the Swedish forest, in total solitude, planning upcoming projects. They’ve got an art show coming up, a bunch of new music videos and also a fan-made live action music video for Ty Segall, so watch out for them.

Watch some of their work here: