Dec 18, 2013

Director: Christopher Toumazou


Director: Christopher Toumazou
Artist: Tropics
Video: 'Home & Consonance'

You can view some of Christopher's other work here: www.compulsoryviewing.co.uk





How were you approached for the job?

Chris Ward (the artist behind Tropics) approached me after seeing a video I had directed, ‘Opening Brace’ by My Panda Shall Fly & Adventure Elephant. He liked my approach and specifically wanted me to work on the video for his forthcoming EP. Naturally I was like OK, as he’s an incredible artist. He sent me some music, and we’re now good friends.


What inspired you on your idea for the video?

I’ve always loved exploring ideas that feel removed from reality, yet at the same time present fully real emotions. It’s something abstract in conception that I kind of broke down and grounded within a world I felt matched the tone of the song. I would go through asking Chris a lot about the tack, in terms of where it stood for him. One of the key things I asked was “If you could attribute one emotion to the song, what would it be” and from there we came up with the idea of having a really slow pace.


What was the budget?

Hmm... It was pretty low.


Tell us about the production process?

The production process was pretty similar to any promo, once the treatment was greenlit, it was the case of location scouting, sourcing a crew and then kit etc.


What were the limitations you faced with the production?

The budget was tough, we really had to make things work especially as we had time and money against us. Casting is sometimes the worst process, especially in promos, as you never really get the time to have proper casting sessions. We were blessed when we found the actors we did.
Amy (the Madame) was a wildcard, a last minute miracle. Also Richard, who is the man in the brothel with the Hawaiian shirt, I found him in a pub, sad, upset and crying. He looked amazing, kind of like a British Ron Jeremy... I thought I’d give it a go and ask him if he wanted to be in a video, even though he seemed pretty emotionally upset. It turned out it kind of made his day, and so off we went. You don’t ask, you don’t get.


Tell us about the location?

The location was another happy accident. We were looking for something removed from modern design and fashions. I've always tried to build an aesthetic from the ground up, in a way shaping the video around locations that seem only real within the world of the piece. After some further searching, to my surprise the location is a street away from where I live. It was perfect, an untouched and dated suburban house that represented a darker time in British home decor...


What was the turnaround?

The turnaround was pretty quick, say two weeks. The shoot itself was one day. It needed to be out too premiere on Majestic Casual by the end of June, and I was supposed to be out  of London and in L.A. by mid June. We managed to get Chris (Tropics) to shoot at an earlier date, so that made things a little easier.


Who were your key collaborators?

We have always tried to use the same people that make each production special for us. I am indebted to my DOP, Rob White, or should I say in debt. He has always been able to take what I have in my head, and make it translate to an accurate inch of what I imagined onscreen. It’s quite an innate process, and he’s bloody good. Amongst him, we have an incredible team at COMPULSORY and they always go the extra mile to realize any project that comes through the door.


What did you shoot on? What lenses did you use?

We shot Alexa with Cooke Xtal Anamorphics. Again, this would not have been possible without a little help. Huge thanks go to TAKE2 for believing in the project!


Do you feel that the client understands the production process? How involved were the band and label?

Yes and yes. This is probably the most involved, which is ironic as the label is smaller, but very much refined. Tom Lilley at Five Easy Pieces really helped to push the vision Chris and I had, so we just went all out.


If you had a chance to approach it again, what would you do differently?


I can’t believe I’m saying this, as I’m a massive fan of self-criticism but nothing. Life seems to slot into place sometimes, and this was one of those instances. We’re all pretty pleased with it.





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