The Interview Series // 12 (Part Two)

tobyselena

OK, so yesterday we posted Part One of this interview. If you haven’t read it already do it now. For those that have already read it, just quietly, this half is wayyyy better. Well, not that the last half sucked, but this is sexier. If the last half was Carrie Bradshaw, this half is Samantha Jones. Apply any analogy you like. You’ll see what we mean. P.S. If you’ve ever wanted a list of blogs and magazines the successful and beautiful people are browsing, then this is where you’ll find it. Just a couple of scrolls down. But don’t be a fucker and skip straight there. Jeez. Read it from the start.

Jr: Tell us a little bit about the work that you did here in Australia. We’ve been a big fan of the Victoria Tourism ‘Red Thread’ (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WaZbnWpm5aU) and Nike ‘Reincarnate’ (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=1sElYG7LmUU) campaigns. Was that good work for you guys? Do you feel like you could do better?

S: We always feel we could do better.
T: Our book has always felt like a catalogue of errors and missed opportunities. Those two jobs included.

Jr: What are briefs like that you get at Fallon (http://fallon NULL.co NULL.uk)?

T: They’re more open compared to Australia. When we were here there was a lot of pressure to write to a line or come up with a line, then to come up with an execution for that line. But over there the briefs are more open and this can lead to less ad-y stuff. The solution could be a film, could be an event, could be a documentary, could be an online thing, could be a new technology, it could be anything and everything.

Jr: So is that what a lot of the work coming out of Fallon is now? Not ads?

S: Yeah. A Swedish team for Cadbury had this thought of just planting purple flowers everywhere in disused parts of land, traffic islands and stuff like that, to give people a moment of joy. And that’s what the brief was. Bring people moments of joy.

Jr: So does that mean Fallon’s not a place for people in advertising?

T: People who want to execute traditional ads would probably be disappointed at Fallon.

Jr: What’s it like going from writing traditional ads in your first portfolio now to doing everything but. Are you doing what you’d imagine you’d be doing in advertising?

S: Very early on we wrote a manifesto of what we liked in advertising. It was almost to work out whether Toby and I got along and to see if we saw things the same way. We wrote a manifesto of what we would never do and tried to stick by it.

Jr: Did you put that in your folio?

S: No, we didn’t. It was just something we did for ourselves. We did revise it a few times though.
T: We did four manifestos. I think two still survive somewhere. But that was really good for us to do.
S: Just to remind yourself that you shouldn’t compromise.

Jr: So if that was to work out whether or not you guys could work together, how did you meet?

T: We met at a really small little agency in St Kilda.
S: But then our Creative Director committed suicide and Toby and I were made Creative Directors as juniors at this shotgun of an agency.
T: No we weren’t made Creative Directors. We just called ourselves Creative Directors cause we were the only creatives there.
S: We just knew after a while that as juniors we had so much to learn and we weren’t going to learn it there. So we hauled ourselves off to London.

Jr: We spoke to Todd Lamb the other week, and one of his ideas was ripped off by some guy here in Melbourne. What do you think of that?

S: See that shit pisses us off. It’s like seeing commercials on TV directly ripped off YouTube – “How can you fucking live with yourself?”

Jr: Yesssss!

S: I fucking hate it! Did you hear the inflection in my voice? I fucking hate it, stop fucking looking at YouTube for fuck’s sake! I find it disgusting, lazy and appalling.

Jr: It happens all the time though. I suppose we can try to help educate the kids. Anyway, what’s your relationship with the photographers and directors that you work with?

S: There are creatives out there that will see something in a photographer’s book and come up with an idea using that style. Toby and I always work on the strategy first, work on the idea, find the references to bring it to life and then execute it. That’s the way it should be done.
T: Well that’s not quite right is it? We try and involve the director as soon as we can. And that’s really encouraged. If he finds references or has ideas then that’s really great. Recently we’ve had some dialogue heavy spots we’ve had to do and we tried to involve the director as much as we could in coming up with scripts. We said, ‘here’s our scripts, here’s what we’ve done and look at it as a first draft. If you want to change the whole fucking thing go for it. And then we can look at it and work on this together.’ No director wants to be told, ‘this is what we’re shooting – this is what you have to shoot’.
S: So we always try and involve the director. They’ll make your shit better, because they do it better than you, ultimately.

Jr: So what happened, for example, during the Red Thread campaign? How did you involve the director Glendyn Ivin (http://exitfilms NULL.com/directors/default NULL.htm?DirectorId=24)? Was the final TVC (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WaZbnWpm5aU)what you had in your head?

S: Toby and I did so much research for the ad. Yeah I guess we had already shot the commercial in our head, because at the time we lived on Little Collins St. When we pitched it to Glendyn we gave him the broader idea of what it was and asked him what he would change or how he would do it.

Jr: But you’d never been on top of the Town Hall or other secret spots like that?

S: No that’s right. And that was one of the things that Glendyn found.
T: He found lots of places.
S: Yeah, and that was one of the reasons why we went to him because he showed us something that we hadn’t. So that sort of gives you an idea that this person is going to bring something to the table.
T: Just like Steve Rogers (http://revolverfilm NULL.com/) on the Nike ‘Reincarnate’ (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=1sElYG7LmUU) campaign. It was his idea to do the two-camera thing. Two cameras – same take. And when we saw the test shot we thought, ‘yes, this is really, really good.’
S: And then the typography for Red Thread, we have always loved Niels Oeltjen (http://www NULL.nails NULL.net NULL.au/). He’s a great typographer and artist and he lives in Melbourne. We wanted to keep it Melbourne. Everything from Melbourne.

Jr: You used Josh Petherick (http://www NULL.joshpetherick NULL.com/) as well.

S: Yeah for the illustration style. We really love Josh’s stuff.

Jr: So how do you get inspiration for these things?

S: We are sponges. We look at anything and everything.

Jr: So then what are you guys reading and listening to? What are your influences? How far do you cast your net?

S: At the moment Toby’s listening to 70’s horror rock.

Jr: Like who?

T: Goblin. (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Goblin_(band))
S: Late at night, at 12 o’clock, he’s listening to Goblin. Tapping away at his keyboard.

Jr: Are you looking at blogs?

S: Here’s a short list and it changes often. Boing Boing (http://boingboing NULL.net/), swissmiss (http://www NULL.swiss-miss NULL.com/), anp quarterly (http://www NULL.rvcaanpq NULL.com/), vvork (http://www NULL.vvork NULL.com/), It’s Nice That (http://www NULL.itsnicethat NULL.com/), reference library (http://referencelibrary NULL.blogspot NULL.com/), SuperTouchart (http://www NULL.supertouchart NULL.com/), Wooster Collective (http://www NULL.woostercollective NULL.com/), CR Blog (http://www NULL.creativereview NULL.co NULL.uk/crblog/), things magazine (http://www NULL.thingsmagazine NULL.net/), The Moment (http://themoment NULL.blogs NULL.nytimes NULL.com/), aNYthing glob (http://glob NULL.anewyorkthing NULL.com/), the art collectors (http://blog NULL.theartcollectors NULL.com/), Universal Everything (http://universaleverything NULL.com/), Everyone Forever (http://everyoneforever NULL.com/), ?? blah blah jinx ?? (http://jahjahsphinx NULL.blogspot NULL.com/), teenageteardrops (http://teenageteardrops NULL.com/), Design*Sponge (http://www NULL.designspongeonline NULL.com/), Duffed Out Industries (http://duffedout NULL.wordpress NULL.com/), the wormholes (http://www NULL.thewormholes NULL.org/), Kitsune Noir (http://kitsunenoir NULL.com/blog/), We Made This (http://wemadethis NULL.typepad NULL.com/), UUIUU! (http://uuiuu NULL.tumblr NULL.com/), Dezeen (http://www NULL.dezeen NULL.com/), broke ya neckkkk (http://brokeyaneck NULL.blogspot NULL.com/), Wooooo (http://www NULL.wooooomag NULL.com/), Sneaker Freaker (http://www NULL.sneakerfreaker NULL.com/), Irakny (http://www NULL.irakny NULL.com/), 12ozprophet (http://www NULL.12ozprophet NULL.com/), art crimes (http://www NULL.artcrimes NULL.net/), hurtyoubad (http://www NULL.hurtyoubad NULL.com/), this American life (http://www NULL.thisamericanlife NULL.org/), izrock (http://www NULL.izrock NULL.com/), reas international (http://www NULL.reasinternational NULL.com/blog/), Colette (http://arkitipintel NULL.com/reporters/sarah/), Busy P (http://arkitipintel NULL.com/reporters/pedro/), Hypem (http://hypem NULL.com/), mafia hunt (http://skelemitz NULL.wordpress NULL.com/), The Selby (http://www NULL.theselby NULL.com/), Art decade (http://artdecade NULL.blogspot NULL.com/), Bibliodyssey (http://bibliodyssey NULL.blogspot NULL.com/).

Jr: What about books and magazines?

S: I’m reading a bunch of different magazines Wooooo (http://www NULL.wooooomag NULL.com/), Apartmento, The Drawbridge, The Believer, Art Forum, Art Review, ANP Quarterly, Won (http://nownow NULL.com NULL.au/), Zoetrope All-story. Looking at Kramers Ergot, Anything Dave Eggers makes like McSweeneys, Chris Johanson, Todd James, Oz Magazine, old Graphis Annuals, Stephen Shore, Taryn Simons, Tiny Vices, TV Books, Serps zines (http://theserps NULL.com NULL.au/). And listening to mixtapes from friends.

Jr: So do you try and keep your influences to film and music and writing?

S: And comics and newspapers and yeah.
T: And it tends to be reflected by the work that you’re doing. If you’re doing comedy dialogue scripts you probably tend to start watching a lot of dialogue heavy comedy.

Jr: So what comedy do you watch if you’re doing dialogue heavy comedy work?

T: ‘The Thick of It’.

Jr: What’s ‘The Thick of It’?

T: It’s a BBC comedy written by Armando Iannucci (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=h_7pyktzpY8) – It’s fucking brilliant. It’s like – this is fucking terrible – you know the whole TV show ‘Yes Minister’? It’s a bit like that but there’s a lot of abuse and swearing. It’s really, really funny. And the process that they use to do it is really good too. It’s all pretty much adlib.

Jr: So how do you use that influence and study it so you can write something along those lines?

T: Well I was really more interested in the method they use. Because you watch it and it feels really fresh. Basically they shoot a scene about three times – once to the script and another couple of times totally adlib, then they cut it all together – they don’t even care about jump cuts or anything – so they just use whatever makes it funny.

Jr: There’s this stupid advertising humour that goes around a lot. A lot of people just keep trying to do it and it’s so unfunny.

S: But then there are the effortless ones like the Skittles ads – they are fucking hilarious. They’re not overly intellectualised. Pinada man is amazing. (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=3yPaLq1EpQw) We showed Toby’s younger brothers who aren’t in the advertising world – they’re 16 or 17 – and they just sat there and laughed. It’s just effortless and simple.

Jr: Yes, like the great ‘Berries and Cream’ (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=wYX_zhlTDr8) TVCs.

S: Yeah. Pinada man is better though. And the guy that turns everything he touches into skittles. (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sxItH0I6xmQ)

Jr: We don’t really see you as ‘advertising’ people. You’ve made films and been exhibited in art shows.

S: Oh, we’re advertising people alright. We spend too much of our time working on the stuff to call ourselves anything different. But we hate it. We’re subjected to so much of it.

Jr: Do you tell people when you’re at a BBQ, ‘I’m in advertising’?

T: Yeah. Because part of me loves it.

Jr: Any final advice? If someone came in to show you their folio at Fallon…

S: Which we’re always happy to do. As long as we don’t just see ads.

Jr: Do you do it often?

S: Uh, not often enough. Not as often as we’d like. But we’re always happy to see anything, especially Australian folios, but don’t just show us ads because that would be a waste of time.
T: We don’t care if there are no print or TV ads, just show us some really interesting ideas that aren’t advertising based. We’ll pay attention. Like if there’s good ideas and there’s no advertising there then great, fantastic. And then we’ll take it from there I suppose.

Jr: Is there an opening for a junior team at Fallon at the moment?

S: Well Fallon just retrenched 14 people so, I don’t know.
T: Who knows?

Jr: What if a junior team came in and worked for free?

S: Sure. We’ve got a few placement teams at the moment working really hard on live briefs. It’s an awesome start.
T: If a great book reaches the Creative Director then he’ll do anything to get them in.
S: You can’t stop good work.

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 16/04/2009