Games, Film and the Space Between

December 16, 2015 / Features

By Alex Reeves

A pair of VR directors trying to understand what this new medium could become.

Video games and Film don’t always get along. As two of the world’s biggest industries, they have much in common. But while film is almost universally respected, it often looks down sneeringly on the younger, more commercially successful medium. The games industry built itself on many of the storytelling principles developed in film. And now it’s matured into one of the world’s biggest entertainment industries, the language of games has its own lessons to teach.

Horton de Rakoff may sound like an aristocratic vampire hunter from a Hollywood action romp, but it’s actually a duo of British directors on the UNIT9 roster – Alex Horton and Alex de Rakoff. With experience spanning the worlds’ biggest video games, VMA award-winning music videos, Hollywood feature films and commercials, they’re a unique partnership, keen to draw from these different areas in their work. There’s a lot of talk about virtual reality in advertising at the moment, so with their combination of film and game experience they’re naturally poised to get involved.

De Rakoff began as a music video director over 20 years ago, when it was still glamorous and lucrative, before moving to the even more glamorous Hollywood, to be a writer in the studio system. He even directed a couple of feature movies, starring talent including Orlando Bloom and 50 Cent.

Horton approached directing from a completely different angle, working for many years at Rockstar Games, the infamous developers of the Grand Theft Auto series. His job was animating the cutscenes in between the main action of the game. “I was obsessed about giving it legitimacy in terms of its presentation, the way it was costumed and the way it was shot,” he says. Essentially, he was directing the bits of film that moved the games along, fleshed out the characters and created context for the action that was the main meat and potatoes of these experiences.

The pair had been friends for years before they first worked together, when de Rakoff got involved with the games industry. “Games started tapping up Hollywood writers to bring narrative, context and characters,” he says, “because they felt like a lot of the people they’d brought up internally didn’t want to create those kinds of narratives.” EA hired him to help with this stuff and write scripts for a racing title, Need For Speed: The Run.

EA decided to shoot a test and asked de Rakoff to direct it. It involved a lot of motion capture though – something he’d never worked on before. He knew his friend Horton had shot more mocap than most in the game industry, so got him involved.

They soon realised they had a productive partnership together, but Horton had a change of heart about the games industry. “I lost patience,” he said, “and went into a corporate job [Chief Creative Officer at Jagex, who make the popular game RuneScape]. I moved from Brooklyn to Cambridge, thinking I’m growing up, I’ve got children; I should behave myself and settle down in a proper job.”

Jagex were working on a new game called Transformers Universe, a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) based on the hugely popular Transformers franchise. Horton got de Rakoff involved to work up the story and characters of the game and together they worked on all the film media around the title. When they were done de Rakoff went off to do his own thing, directing and writing.

Trying to get back into directing commercials, de Rakoff went round the big production companies. “It felt quite stale to me,” he says. He started looking into the more innovation-focused companies, discovered UNIT9 and realised it was a good place for his experience in film and games to converge.

Meanwhile, Horton was still working in Cambridge. “It was really cool,” he says, “but being an exec didn’t suit me. I bring vibe, like Al does. I got tired of all the nonsense and a bit disillusioned with where games have gone.” They decided to get the band back together as a duo on UNIT9’s roster.

VR became the natural focus for their work there. But they realised they had to specialise if they were going to make it work. “As a director you’ve got to invest the time and energy if you want to work in VR,” says de Rakoff.

They’d picked the right company to support them in this. “UNIT9 got into VR from the jump when the VR work wasn’t there,” explains de Rakoff. “Now it’s coming through the door like the Dambusters and they’re positioned with the infrastructure and experience to deliver.”

The pair are thoughtful about the interplay between games and film and where VR sits in between. Much of it is about simply bringing the discipline and language of filmmaking to another medium, like Horton’s cutscenes in Grand Theft Auto, which granted the game legitimacy. “The execution was slave to film techniques,” he says. “Games are very cinematic. The games industry has embraced that aesthetic.”

There are ways in which VR can use film language too, but there are ways in which it differs vastly. VR is immersive and interactive, and the challenges of a 360-degree, real-time experience can’t be solved with filmmaking techniques.

They also differ in terms of motivations. A film is a defined length, usually topping out at around three hours if you’re Martin Scorsese or Peter Jackson, TV series are bite-sized but can be binged on. “Games want to keep you up all night,” says Horton. “A lot of games are based around compulsion. Between boredom and frustration there’s a cash channel and they’re trying to keep you within that.” Where VR sits between these is yet to be defined. “If Blade Runner is an Arthur C. Clarke novel that’s 200 pages long, how short is that one page that’s the ideal VR experience, that gives you something you’ve never done before? I don’t want to sit with a headset on for an hour yet. No bloody way! It’s got to find its new form.”

The pair’s dual background makes them well suited to this. “Look at film people who write in games,” says Horton. “A lot of them fundamentally don’t understand how or why a game works.” And it goes the other way too. “Everyone who works in games watches films more than I ever could. They’re encyclopaedic on films, but they don’t have any common sense on set. Knowing and understanding is different.”

“There are a lot of ‘experts’ in the VR world now and it’s such an undefined medium,” says de Rakoff. “People are looking at it and figuring out the new language of it and we are a couple of guys working in that industry.”

Part of this process is learning when something won’t work in VR, though. “There’s an argument,” says Horton, “that if you can do it in a 16:9 frame, why do you want to do it in VR? Because so many more people can see a film. VR is harder to consume. It’s more demanding.”

Finding the right approach is simple. As de Rakoff puts it. “The technology should support the creative, not lead it. Some people are looking at VR and leading with the tech because it’s new and exciting, but the creative doesn’t fit.”

They’ve noticed the superficial experiences this mentality has led to. It’s notable that the genres of porn and horror, with their animal directness, have done well in the medium. “There’s a moment in some things that is interesting,” says de Rakoff, “when you go into one and look around for 15, 20 seconds. But then what?”

To find experiences that are right for this new medium, directors like Horton de Rakoff need to be very careful with how they treat an agency’s idea. “We feel a big responsibility to do something that won’t make you sick,” Horton says.” It’s their job to tell people what they think will or will not work in VR.

Fortunately, the pair’s backgrounds allow them to experiment with the new medium easily. Horton’s computer animation background means he’s got the abilities and tools to test ideas. “If someone has an idea we can quite quickly jam on that, build it up and see if there’s a way of doing it,” he says. “You can come to us with something batshit fucking crazy and we could probably find a way of doing it.” Horton has a studio in Cambridge where the pair is playing with this new medium, working on experiences that can tell stories in unique new ways.

They encourage agencies and their clients to be experimental too, because nobody has sussed this new platform out yet and if a brand manages to crack it, that will be a powerful coup. “Anyone who tells you they’ve figured it out is a liar,” says de Rakoff. “We’re trying to be honest about where the industry’s at and where we’re at with it. But we’re pushing to get a handle on it because it’s a really exciting medium and as filmmakers there’s great stuff to do. We’re defining it as we’re making it, which is really challenging. But it’s really exciting.”

Fame, Music and Advertising

December 15, 2015 / Features

By Jack Carrington

How Adland is affecting the charts.

In advertising we talk a lot about fame. We talk about making brands famous. We praise ‘famous work’ – and planners especially talk about ‘fame’ as a vital component of effectiveness. An outsider listening in on all this patter would be forgiven for thinking we’re in showbusiness.

And perhaps that’s not too far off the mark. One look at the music charts recently, and you might mistake advertisers for hitmakers. Currently riding high in the top 10 are Fleur East’s ‘Sax’ and ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Grace (feat. G-Eazy), both of which owe a large chunk of sales to their respective support from Asda and House of Fraser’s recent Christmas campaigns.

But how did this happen? Once upon a time, having a hit record was all about having the full resources of a record company behind you to get that vital radio support. Nowadays, the digital disruption of the past decade and a half has reduced record company marketing budgets to a fraction of their CD-era peak. And the bulk of music marketing practice is social, digital and subcultural (read: low spend, low risk).

In the early noughties, Simon Cowell realised the correlation between fame-making and TV formats and has dominated the charts ever since. But even Cowell’s talent show formats have gone stale and the biggest mass media support behind a record release can come from something as strange and old-fashioned as TV brand advertising. And the payback to brands having a hit record is huge.

The TV-Shazam correlation is a giant advertising platform in itself – and a win-win for artists seeking sales, and for brands seeking attribution from their TV spend. Perhaps the resurgent role of advertising in showbiz should come as no surprise. If we look back at the history of our business there’s a rich legacy of fame-making from which to draw inspiration.

Ever since Barnum brought the circus into town, there’s been a strand of unashamedly populist thinking which tells us that creating spectacle and buzz is the best way bring in the punters. And even today we have a lot in common with the most successful fame-makers in the music business. With more shared interests than ever before, both industries have had to deal with dwindling profits and find clever ways to do more with less. We also have a lot to learn from each other.

Agencies often talk about real time sales data (and dream of getting their hands on it). It’s a daily reality in the corridors of a record company. The music biz has a level of reactivity that agencies can scarcely fathom. But what does this mean for advertising?

Too often we leave the burden of the fame part entirely to the creative department – ‘we need to make this brand famous’, goes the brief. Or worse (and often) to the PR agency after the event.

The fact that music is an incredibly important part of making effective work isn’t news. From Phil Collins and a drumming gorilla to Tom Odell’s John Lennon cover, some of the most talked-about work has had music at its heart. The music choice needs to be more up-front in the campaign planning process. Not as something that has fallen to the bottom of the list as a creative afterthought.

Back to Fleur East and Grace who are happily sitting well inside the Top 10 who show that when the music choice is properly planned in advance, it really works. What does that involve for agencies? It might involve (gasp) giving up a little creative control. It will also involve talking to the rights-holders – i.e. the record companies – up front. Cutting out the middle man (don’t use a music search agency where you can go direct). Developing closer relationships with the record companies, ones that let you look at the year together. That way, we could map the record release schedules against the big advertising seasons and see where the money is going (and where it’s not). If you get on really well with them, you could allow the record company to advise you on which artists might fit the brands you work with.

Most labels now have planning/strategy functions and can tell us a lot about which cultures and subcultures a particular artist has access to – and which brands they might work best with. But what’s really helpful is that they have unrivalled access to the artists themselves. And that means that if you can get everyone onside, brand partnerships can be about shared values and long-term premium, rather than short-term transactions.

I’m not suggesting that we all need to be like Droga5 and partner up financially with a talent business, but there’s a lot of value to be won by simply talking to our fellow fame-makers.

Give up a small degree of creative control, and fame could be yours.
That’s the perennial offer of showbusiness after all.

Jack Carrington is a Strategist at 18 Feet & Rising.

High Ten: 2015’s Best Christmas Ads

December 9, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

We’re so full of festive cheer we're handing out twice the love this month.

Endless millions are splurged every year on British ads in the attempt to ‘win Christmas’ and it’s becoming more of an advertising extravaganza – the British equivalent of the Super Bowl – with every festive season. In fact, so much care and talent has been lavished upon brands this year that we’ve decided to get into the spirit of seasonal generosity and use both hands to congratulate the best ads of the month. Here’s our first Christmas High Ten, in alphabetical order.

Brand: Aldi
Title: Over The Moon
Production Company: Another Film Company
Director: Mark Denton
Production Company Producer: Sara Cummins
Director of Photography: Miguel Ragageles
Ad Agency: McCann Manchester
Creative Director: Neil Lancaster
Agency Producer: Melissa Bennett
Music Company: Polydor Records
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Parv Thind
Post Production Company: Jam Films

Aldi – Over the Moon

The beauty of a simple idea like the one at the heart Aldi’s advertising is its flexibility. John Lewis’s Christmas ads have become such a rich vein for parodies in recent years and the people at McCann almost certainly knew they were going to spoof it before The Man on the Moon had aired. That said, it’s still impressive that they managed to get their witty retort made, signed off and aired in just a couple of weeks.


Brand: Currys PC World
Title: Jigsaw
Production Company: O Positive
Director: David Shane
Production Company Producer: Nell Jordan
Director of Photography: Tim Maurice-Jones
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi
Creatives: Mike Sutherland, Antony Nelson
Agency Producer: Anita Sasdy
Editing Company: The Quarry
Editor: Paul Watts
Music Company: Finger Music
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: The Mill

Currys PC World - Jigsaw

This is the standout film from a very well executed campaign. Jeff Goldblum’s performance is spot on, the script is funny and the idea is built around an insight that’s obvious to everyone. Several campaigns have tapped into the idea of feigned delight when faced with uninspiring presents, but this one is so well done, and with a famous face to boot, that it’s sure to be the one to stick in people’s minds.


Brand: House of Fraser
Title: Your Rules
Production Company: Prettybird
Director: Ace Norton
Production Company Producers: Tom Knight, Jess Wylie
Ad Agency: 18 Feet & Rising
Creatives: Anna Carpen, Oli O’Neill
Agency Producer: Claire Ramasamy
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: James Rose
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: Nice Biscuits

House of Fraser – Your Rules

We all know what a big department store’s Christmas ad looks like (see below), and it most certainly isn’t this. Essentially a dance video, it’s shot in a studio with no attempts to recreate an authentic, cosy family setting and no tearjerker story to hit you in the feels, it works simply because it’s different, marking House of Fraser out as unlikely rebels of the department store category.


Brand: John Lewis
Title: Man on the Moon
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Kim Gehrig
Production Company Producer: Lee Groombridge
Director of Photography: Andre Chemetoff
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Richard Brim, Ben Tollett
Creatives: Miles Carter, Sophie Knox
Agency Producer: Lucie Georgeson
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Music Company: Leland Music
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: The Mill

John Lewis – Man on the Moon

The pressure of making the John Lewis Christmas ad must be unbearable for everyone involved. We’ve hyped it up so much that we have to applaud the people who made it just for managing to get something on air. Amazingly, they’ve also managed to live up to expectations this year, with a touching work of magical realism, bringing together some of the best talents from all disciplines of advertising to make fragile, shopping-exhausted parents weep into their mulled wine.


Brand: McDonald’s
Title: Journey to Christmas
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benji Howell
Ad Agency: Leo Burnett
Creative Directors: Matt Lee, Pete Heyes
Creatives: Phillip Meyler, Darren Keff
Agency Producer: Lou Pegg
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Art Jones
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

McDonald’s – Journey to Christmas

This is a pretty typical Christmas ad, featuring an adorable family singing a festive hit we’ve heard so many times that we’ve gone through cycle of hating and then ironically loving and then hating again several times over. It’s nicely put together and with all of James Rouse’s trademark warmth, it’s sure to get people feeling festive, which is pretty impressive for a brand as un-Christmassy as McDonald’s.


Brand: Mulberry
Title: Miracle
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benji Howell
Director of Photography: Alex Melman
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Director: Richard Brim
Creatives: Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Agency Producer: Panos Louca
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Bill Smedley
Music Company: Focus Music
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson
Post Production Company: Finish

Mulberry - Miracle

James Rouse strikes again in this wonderfully dry and absurd bit of comedy. Replacing the messiah with a £700 handbag was an interesting move, but ultimately makes for quite an appropriate parable for these consumerist times. It’s exactly the tone we now expect from the brand, whose low-budget offering last year was an unexpected and welcome gift.


Brand: Sainsbury’s
Title: Mog’s Christmas Calamity
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producers: Benji Howell, Heather Kinal
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Michael Durban, Tony Strong
Agency Producers: Rebecca Scharf, Nikki Holbrow
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson
Post Production Company: Framestore

Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity

Completing James Rouse’s hat trick is this formidable festive romp from the defending champions of the supermarket Christmas ad competition. And, despite the ludicrously high bar set by last year’s emotional commemoration of the 1914 Christmas Day truce, we’re fairly confident Sainsbury’s will keep that title for another year. It’s cute, warm and jolly – all the good stuff we look for at this time of year.


Brand: Temptations
Title: Say Sorry
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Austen Humphries
Production Company Producer: Kelly Spacey
Director of Photography: Jim Joilliffe
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Steph Ellis, Rory Hall
Agency Producer: Catherine Cullen
Editing Company: Speade
Editor: Gareth McEwen
Music Company: Sound Lounge
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Phil Bolland
Post Production Company: The Mill

Temptations – Say Sorry

Speaking of cute... Cat treat brand Temptations have burst out of obscurity in the past couple of years thanks to the work of adam&eveDDB and, as that agency are the tried-and-tested masters of Christmas, it would be poor form not to do something festive. Naturally they’ve nailed it (with more than a little help from Elton John), encouraging us to spare a thought for the cats who’ve fallen victim to their own cuteness this yuletide.


Brand: Vodafone
Title: Terry the Turkey
Production Company: Thomas Thomas Films
Director:  Kevin Thomas
Production Company Producer: Trent Simpson
Director of Photography: Bob Pendar-Hughes
Ad Agency: Grey London
Creative Director: Matt Doman
Creative: Howard Green
Agency Producers: Marcus Eley, Sophie Paton
Editing Company: The Quarry
Editor: Scot Crane
Sound Company: 750mph
Post Production Company: Gramercy Park Studios

Vodafone – Terry the Turkey

This is exactly the kind of uplifting parable we’re looking for at this time of year. Cuddly and funny, thanks to the deft touch of director Kevin Thomas. The pro-vegetarian overtones are surprising for such a mass-market brand, but it’s a compelling message, sure to warm the cockles, especially with the mighty Westlife backing it up.


Brand: Warburtons
Title: The Giant Crumpet Show
Production Company: Another Film Company
Director: Declan Lowney
Production Company Producer: Simon Monhemius
Ad Agency: WCRS
Creative Director: Billy Faithful
Creatives: Andy Lee, Johnny Porthouse
Agency Producer: Helen Powlette
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor:  Leo King
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Ben Leeves
Post Production Company:  Finish

Warburtons – The Giant Crumpet Show

This ad’s status as part of the Christmas commercial extravaganza is debatable. Some have argued its lack of even a single sleigh bell should disqualify it from the competition, but seeing as Millward Brown have now crowned it the most effective campaign of the season those arguments can be safely laid to rest. The Muppets bring exactly the pantomime kind of vibe we love at this time of year. Brought together with a witty musical number written by the songsmiths at WCRS and expert comic direction from Declan Lowney, it’s easy to see why people are enjoying it so much.

Marketing Ready for 2016

December 3, 2015 / Features

By Alex Reeves

How can APA members best promote their talents in today's ad industry landscape?

For those concerned with helping brands get their marketing messages across as effectively as possible, it’s surprising how rarely companies in the advertising industry think about how they market themselves. But APA members are keen to improve on this front, which is why the screening room at the Soho Hotel was packed out earlier this week for the trade association’s latest seminar – Marketing Ready for 2016.

The panel included Justin Tindall, ECD at Leo Burnett, Emma Bewley, Dept. Head of TV at the same agency, Jemima Monies, Head of New Business & PR at adam&eveDDB, Anna Allgrove, PR Consultant and Jason Stone, Editor of David Reviews. The discussion was a unique chance for those responsible for marketing production, post production, editing, music and sound companies to get a candid insight into what works best from the perspective of the agencies and publications whose attention they are competing for.

The traditional model of directors’ reps was the first point of discussion. Knocking on agencies doors with directors’ reels is the tried-and-tested strategy, but Justin admitted that it’s often fruitless because of the harassment agency staff often feel it becomes. Some even joke about being “date repped”, he revealed.

So should directors’ reps stop presenting work at agencies? No. Emma maintained that meetings are still much better than emails. Reps just need to make sure they approach them in the right way.

It seems blindingly obvious, but Emma warned production companies: don’t show bad work! Amazingly, she admitted that some reps even seem apologetic for the work they’re showing. This is more than just wasting agencies’ time. It puts them off.

Secondly, it is vital that reps know the detail about the work their directors have shot. The more knowledgeable about locations, equipment and crew on a given job, the better you will come across. Not knowing these fundamentals looks terrible.

However, the Leo Burnett pair agreed that talking over work is even worse. Let the film speak for itself and save your wealth of information for any questions the agency might have afterwards.

Creatives’ and agency producers’ time is under huge pressures today. Emma stressed that three directors’ reels of carefully selected, good, recent work beats a bombardment from every director on a roster. Armed with knowledge of what clients that agency has and the sort of scripts they are likely to get, it’s possible to make the most of that limited time.

A warning also came out of Emma and Justin’s confession: avoid director’s cuts when possible. If a piece of work didn’t come out how the director hoped, the agency will likely see the official cut anyway, so why hide it? It rings alarm bells that either that director is a prima donna, or that he / she is shooting two films – one for the director’s cut and one for the client.

Encouragingly, the agency contingent of the panel were keen to say TVCs aren’t the only valuable thing on a reel. Even if a director has only made one short film, that might be enough to convince an agency to put him / her to the client. The hard part, Justin admitted, was convincing a client to put their trust in someone who’s never made an ad.

All of these tips go towards building up a trusting relationship between production company and agency. Honesty is invaluable in this. Emma suggested that occasionally saying “sorry, we don’t really have someone for that” once in a while is a powerful gesture for earning trust. Jason took that one step further and suggested recommending a competitor’s director when you don’t have the right one on your roster. The agency are probably considering that director anyway, so what do you have to lose?

The panel agreed that networking in places like Cannes still has its role in “putting faces to names”, but people shouldn’t expect to get any work directly off the back of a rosé-drenched conversation on the Croisette.

Social media also got a mention, but the panel agreed that Tweets etc. don’t hold much sway unless it’s personal friends or people you trust recommending stuff. Their number of Twitter followers won’t affect Emma’s opinion of a production company, she confirmed. What a revelation!

It’s also worth noting that agencies are unlikely to be checking production companies’ social media or newsletters. Justin said people at agencies are much more likely to look to aggregators such as industry publications (David Reviews, The Beak Street Bugle, Shots etc.), who have a less partial, more trustworthy position and apply a critical filter.

To that end, Jason, Anna and Jemima discussed the ins and outs of how companies should communicate with the industry press. Press releases need to be tailored for publication, they agreed. Some want the facts to give them a chance to work out if there’s an interesting story here, some just want the work so they can make up their own minds, others want text they can easily copy and paste onto their site (not the Bugle though, thanks).

Jemima suggested that specialist information is welcome in an agency press release as long as it’s relevant, interesting and the production or post production company get this to the agency far enough in advance of a launch.

Anna stressed that whenever you contact the press it’s good to have a goal in mind. What do you want to get out of this? How would your company best be presented in the context of this publication? There’s more to the industry press than simply uploading videos to their websites.

The seminar was a particularly transparent and frank discussion of how APA members can best market themselves. Armed with these insights, maybe knocking on doors and email inboxes will be a more fruitful experience.

Unsigned: Jon E Price

December 2, 2015 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

A promising self-taught director with a relevant ad agency background.

Jon E Price is a self-taught director who grew up in Southampton on a diet of VHS film and 90s rap before moving to Birmingham to study, where he developed skills in concept writing and art direction.

After graduating he schooled himself in filmmaking in the day and worked at a comedy club by night before moving to London to work at a 3D design studio. He quickly showed interest in producing and directing content and did so for many sports, lifestyle and car brands, before working in advertising.  

Jon left Havas Worldwide last year to focus solely on directing. His latest film, Underneath the Noise is a short doc about the funding cuts in British Basketball challenging the 2012 London Olympics legacy. Starring players from North & East London and featuring poet James Massiah, the film celebrates London’s raw talent. It premiered on Dazed Magazine’s Doc X channel and the film received a Vimeo Staff Picks, Jon’s second. 

Whether it’s a factual piece or a narrative film, authenticity is important in his work and he likes to explore character led pieces, unearthing personal nuances.

Jon’s debut short film ‘Wander With Me’ is a coming of age tale about two mods, shot on location in North Wales. The film was scored by Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton of Alt J, giving the film mass appeall helping it receive great online success.

He continues to develop his portfolio, creating branded content, pitching on music promos and has a couple of short films in development.

Watch some of his work here: