Under the Influence: Chris Goulder

February 14, 2017 /

By Alex Reeves

This ex-pro-snowboarder lays his directing inspirations Bare.

One of six kids in a rowdy Catholic family, Chris Goulder’s influences were different from day one. While most of his friends were watching Star Wars he was watching things like Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon and directing his siblings in plays he’d written.

After the hugely successful branded content spot Deliveries Before Dawn Chris Goulder and the Bare Films team travelled across the country making 24 films over 8 weeks with Fallon. These films made up the 2016 Christmas campaign for Cadbury’s #Cadvent - an online advent calendar with the concept involving bringing children’s Christmas wishes to life, with one film being released each day in the run up to Christmas.

At the end of last year Chris was named best new director at the British Arrows Craft Awards. With that in mind, we asked the Bare Films director to talk us through five of his biggest influences.

The Robot Food Trilogy

I always knew I wanted to work in the creative industries, but at 13 I discovered snowboarding and became completely obsessed with it. At the end of my first year at Central St. Martins - when I felt like I was running out of time to do the snowboarding thing - I deferred and went to live in France for four years to snowboard.

The Robot Food films came out during my first season in France. It’s a trilogy by a group of snowboarders, headed up by a guy called David Benedek. They revolutionised what snowboarding films could be. They just stopped taking themselves so seriously and showed that snowboarding was about having fun with your friends. Before that snowboarding films had just been about showing the ‘gnarliest’ clips of people snowboarding to a backdrop of thrash metal. There wasn’t much stylisation or tone of voice, they all followed a pretty similar formula. Robot Food’s irreverence to a pretty generic formula felt so new at the time and it really struck a chord with me.

By the third film in the trilogy they had a playful, ironic take on the whole scene. And they managed to capture what it was really to live that snowboarding life, rather than just showing the best tricks of the season.

At the same time we started making our own British snowboard films. I was involved in this film called Hungerpain. I had a video camera at the time so we’d go out and film ourselves building jumps and riding kickers.

With snowboarding there are so many down days that you don’t see. When the lifts were shut I would be back in my tiny little apartment with time to mess around with footage. I was also stating to experiment with stop-frame animation and making lots of little shorts, usually about some inanimate object coming to life and taking over the world.


Jan Svankmajer

After I’d done everything I could with snowboarding, and taken as much time as possible from St Martins, I went back to finish my degree. By this point I’d formed in my mind the idea that there was an opportunity for me to be in this industry that I loved – filmmaking. I hadn’t worked out exactly what it was, but I already had advertising in my sights having done work experience at AMV and having studied design.

I went back to CSM and was introduced to a load of filmmakers. Two that stand out are Jacques Tati, in particular Playtime and his surreal physical comedy, which also tied in with films I’d loved as a kid by Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin etc.

But the director that I was most interested in was Jan Svankmajer and particularly his film Food. It was something I hadn’t seen before – black comedy, the grotesque, surrealism and stop-frame animation combined.

Having already started playing with stop-frame his work showed me the huge possibilities that animation gives you. Like his mix of animating inanimate objects and humans. It was his work that showed me the importance of sound design to bring meaning to an action, and that re-recording sounds using alternative objects can add another layer of humour or depth to a scene.


My First Job

I graduated from CSM and got my first job as a runner at Partizan. I’d seen Michel Gondry’s work and was aware of a few other directors, so getting a job in 2007 felt like an incredible time to be there.

The energy was phenomenal. The directors, the work they were doing. Michel Gondry, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Traktor, Michael Gracey, Chris Cairns, Saam Farahmand, Nima Nourizadeh and a whole load more. It was an amazing place to be for your first job and I learnt tonnes from everyone there.

One video that encapsulates this was Gondry’s video for Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers. When I saw it, I remember just thinking how? How much planning must have gone into creating those intricate transitions?` It just showed me how technical filmmaking could be.

Antoine Bardou-Jacquet did a load of ads that I found super inspiring; Visa - Life Flows, which I loved for the editing. There’s this other really lovely ad for Orange - Open, which was so simple and poetic. And of course there Honda - Cog.

There were a whole host of us runners, who are still some of my best friends. We were a really tight group who worked incredibly hard but did anything that was required. I loved it. No request was too outrageous. And it was in a period where directors would make some pretty unexpected requests. (People could be slightly more diva-ish than they are today.)


Dark British Comedy

On the down days – if I wasn’t making stop-frame films – I would watch hours of The League of Gentlemen. Their use of simple prosthetics to give their characters an identity and create visual gags is something I’ve drawn on, especially in my film Deliveries Before Dawn. The subtlety of a few prosthetic teeth in someone’s mouth can have a huge effect when you place them in the real world.

I’m also a massive fan of Nighty Night by Julia Davis. The comedy is less visual but the characters that she manages to write are brilliantly sick. Whereas The League of Gentlemen is absurd and the characters are much bigger, in Nighty Night the performances are much more naturalistic, which I love. Julia Davis and the cast would often improvise allowing foibles and unscripted moments that occur to remain in the final edit. When I work with actors I’m often trying to get that from them. It gives that subtlety in a performance that makes you wonder, “Fuck, should I be laughing at this?”


A lot of my favourite directors had been creative directors first so after spending a few years in production companies I went and did the Watford Ad course. While I was there I got turned onto podcasts. A podcast lives or dies by the strength of its narrative, so listening to them is a wonderful way of understanding what makes a really good story. And since they are so cheap to make, they have opened the door to a whole raft of storytellers to bring more unusual stories to a wider audience.  

I really love this one called Heavyweight. It’s hysterical. The host Jonathan Goldstein goes back into the lives of people that he’s connected to and tries to right certain wrongs of the past. It’s a brilliant premise for a series and it’s delivered with such dry wit. He’s got a really wry sense of humour and sometimes you can doubt whether the whole series is set-up or not. It’s brilliant.

Signed: Rodrigo Garcia Saiz

February 14, 2017 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

MindsEye's newest signing is a disciple of Alejandro Iñárritu who's been making films since he was tiny.

Rodrigo had an early start in filmmaking. Thanks to his father’s career in photography, he had a camera in his hands from an early age. He studied film at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in the University Center for Film Studies CUEC; later, he studied at the New York University NYU, and San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, so he’s got a solid education.

He began his film career working at Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s production company as a commercial AD, before forming his own Mexico City production company, Central Films.

His ability to seamlessly switch from comedy to emotional storytelling is testament to the perfect, nuanced performances he gets from his cast. And this has been recognised with him picking up Cannes Lions for five consecutive years. Most recently, in 2016, his spot for Tecate beer - Domestic Violence won Rodrigo a silver Lion.

Joining MindsEye marks Rodrigo’s first representation in the UK.

Watch some of his work here:

High Five: February

February 13, 2017 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Big budgets and small budgets, put to work in the best way.

It’s been a good month for advertising. The Super Bowl is a huge deal, of course, and even though we’re based in the UK, the big budgets often end up having their impact on this side of the pond, too. Not all of the good ads this month were big blockbusters, though. Some of them were just great ideas using modest resources cleverly.

Brand: Audi
Title: Daughter
Production Company: Somesuch + Anonymous Content
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production Company Producer: Grace Bodie
Ad Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
Creative Director: Justin Moore
Associate Creative Director: Allison Hayes
Creatives: Mike Mcguire, Kathy Hepinstall
Agency Producer: Matt Flaker
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Stewart Reeves
Music Company: Human
Sound Company: Lime Studios
Sound Designer: Matt Miller
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Audi – Daughter

There were a number of Super Bowl commercials this year that directly challenged the worrying values of Trump’s America. You know something’s wrong when big business is espousing more progressive views than the “leader of the free world.” Audi’s contribution was particularly remarkable, bluntly condemning the gender wage gap that persists to this day. The film’s up to Aoife McArdle’s usual standards – dynamic, beautiful and empowering. And if you look at the comment section, it really wound up the misogynists, which is always satisfying.


Brand: Great Ormond Street Hospital
Title: Welcome to Ordinary World
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Andy McLeod
Production Company Producer: Stuart Bentham
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Director: Tim Riley
Creatives: Charlotte Adorjan, Michael Jones
Agency Producer: Verity Elvin
Editing Company: Assembly Rooms
Editor: Eve Ashwell
Music Company: SIREN
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Parv Thind
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Great Ormond Street Hospital – Welcome to Ordinary World

This is a very smart and unique idea. It manages to convey exactly how miserable it can be for a child to be stuck in hospital and just how appealing normality is to a sick kid. It’s not the most fun-filled of messages, but AndyMcLeod has managed to put it across in a remarkably upbeat. It’s undeniably British. It’s not a glossy, high-budget production, but a great example of how a powerful idea and talented craftspeople is all you need.


Brand: Ikea
Title: Win at Sleeping
Production Company: Stink
Directors: Jones & Tino
Production Company Producer: Simon Eakhurst
Director of Photography: Tom Townend
Ad Agency: Mother London
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor: Leo King
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Ikea – Win at Sleeping

The combination of Ikea and Mother rarely fails to deliver. The tone of their advertising just always seems spot on. This is no exception. Great casting, funny performances, poetic writing and general slickness combine to make an ad for beds feel epic. Furniture shouldn’t be this exciting, but when you’re firing on all cylinders you can make the most mundane products feel exhilarating.


Brand: Nike
Title: Do You Believe In More?
Production Company: Academy / A+
Director: FKA twigs
Production Company Producer: Dominic Thomas
Director of Photography: Rina Yang
Editing Company: RPS LA
Editor: Jamie Foord
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Nike - Do You Believe In More?

“I need you to trust in me,” repeats FKA twigs in the song accompanying this film, and it’s clearly advice that Nike have taken. Nothing about this multi-sensory experience suggests the client interfered with the artist’s vision. She and the cast are wearing Nike, but otherwise it is a totally twigs’ film. And it’s attention grabbing. As a singer, songwriter, artist, designer, creative director and filmmaker, the title “polymath” doesn’t seem unjustified. She’s totally weird and incredibly cool. The sportswear giants were wise to put their marketing budget in her hands.


Brand: Sainsbury’s
Title: Food Dancing
Production Company: Knucklehead
Director: Siri Bunford
Production Company Producer: Matthew Brown
Director of Photography: Jim Joliffe
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Scott Dungate, Sophie Bodoh
Creatives: Philippa Beaumont, Andrew Bevan, Freddy Taylor
Agency Producer: Michelle Brough
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Adam Rudd
Music Company: Wake the Town
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: Time Based Arts

Sainsbury’s – Food Dancing

We’ve been curious to see what Wieden + Kennedy would do with the Sainsbury’s account ever since they won it, ending AMV BBDO’s nearly 40-year-long relationship back in the summer. This approach is everything we’d hoped for. It’s mainstream and family-friendly enough for the supermarket’s broad audience, but feels relevant to the Britain of 2017. A music video for a rap about dancing while cooking does sound crap on paper, but in practice it’s loads of fun. The song is great and Siri Bunford’s casting is spot on. Orange supermarket takes the lead early in 2017. How will its rivals react?