Dominic is a freelance director based in London. Working with the likes of Canon, Miller Beer, Sony, Mercedes, Ann Summers, River Island, ASOS and various music acts like the band Kodaline, Dom has established himself as an accomplished director, recently winning Best Video for his work on The Beach’s ‘From Above’ at the 2015 IVMA’s. Dom is able to turn his camera-wielding hand to cross genre, ranging from music videos to TV commercials and fashion promos.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with Dom on a couple of projects over the years and caught up with him recently to chat about his past, present and future plans.
How did it all start for you?
I started out as a runner on commercials and music videos making 100’s of cups of tea and holding the door open for people (I make a really good cup of tea now). I was really lucky to be on set with some very talented directors and whenever I wasn’t making tea or stood holding a door open I tried to learn all I could from them. Then in my spare time I used to shoot low budget UK hip hop music videos and borrow gear from the companies I used to work with and it kind of went from there really.
How would you describe your style?
My Dad was a director and my Mum was a graphic designer so I’ve always been taught how to make things look nice.
My house as a kid was always carefully art directed so I would say I’ve picked up quite a visual style from them. I’m very particular over how a shot looks and I love attention to detail, even if it’s only probably me (and my Dad- the wise old silver fox never misses anything!) that notices it.
Which project are you most proud of?
I guess the project I’m most proud of is the video I made for ‘The Beach’ last year. I developed a VFX technique of mixing animated stills and moving image with a really talented animator and good friend of mine Tom Tennant to get the floating scenes at the end of the film. We had to do it out of necessity, as I couldn’t afford to shoot on the high speed Phantom camera so it was quite satisfying to see something we made up work really well. The shoot also involved me getting actors to jump in the air for stills and pretend to be floating up to space at about 3am after a full days filming! I’m glad it turned out ok in the end as everyone was giving me some pretty strange looks at the time, as the concept was only really in my head!
What are you working on now?
This week I’m finishing off the edit of some films I shot for River Island in Malta recently, and I’m just about to start a series of documentaries for Channel 4 for the Paralympics which I’m very excited about.
Best experience as a result of your work?
Two spring to mind, one was filming on stage during the Robbie Williams tour at Wembley stadium. In my head I pretended the 90 thousand crowd were screaming for me :-) The other was having two trucks with my own armed guards carrying AK47's when I was filming in Nigeria. They had the sirens going the whole time and they went straight though all the red lights. I felt like Obama.
A lot of your work has roots in the music industry but is there an area you have yet to work in that you’re hoping to?
I really enjoy shooting fashion and over the last 18 months I’ve been shooting a lot more of that so I’m hoping to continue to get more established in that world. I'm also desperate to direct feature films so I'm working on a few scripts to help get into that world too.
What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
I love cooking Italian food so I guess that feeds into my work most days!
Tell us something unexpected being a director has allowed you to achieve?
Once I got to drive a London underground train for about 5 minutes.
Try to appreciate special moments on set and unique locations
What’s your personal motto?
I don’t really have one but I guess sometimes it’s easy to loose sight of where you are and what your doing, so I try to appreciate special moments on set and unique locations more. I also try to remember that what I do isn’t life or death, even though I might think it is at the time. There’s loads of really talented directors that don’t work very much so I also try and keep that in my head to keep perspective when I’m complaining about a budget to a producer. I read somewhere that there are about 5,000 directors in London alone!
3 top tips for any aspiring young directors?
1 - Be nice to everyone
2 - Be open to collaboration, it’s not always about having the best idea yourself but about being able to recognise the best one in the room
3 - Keep shooting and don’t be afraid to make mistakes
What equipment and techniques do you like use?
I normally shoot on the Alexa and I love using anamorphic lenses when I can afford them and they suit what I’m doing. I’ve never shot on 35mm film but I’d love to.