Saturday, 20 December 2008

How to Be a HAPPY New Music Video Director

There's no right way to be a music video director. But in my first year and a half of doing this crazy thing I've learned to be a happy one. Like this....

Despite the gaps between jobs and the incredible perk of being master of your own time, you work extremely hard when a job is on. You pour your heart, soul, and often your fee, into every job you do. You've managed to carve out your little corner in a dog-eat-dog industry. Give yourself a high five and a little sweetie for being fabulous.

I know what I just aren't saving lives. And nobody wants to hear about the famous person you met the other day or your agent in LA. When someone asks what you've been up to, don't say "Hangin with Dizzee in Shoreditch House” or "Living it up Groucho-side with Robbie", just say "Oh you know, writing, thinking, shooting, the usual."

One of the hardest things about your job will be deciding who to take criticism from, who to ignore, and who to mentally note as weirdo. As a general rule stick to what you know to be good about your work. Listen to advice from those you respect or people who've got a lot of experience. But remember, it's up to you what you do with that advice; you don't have to actually TAKE it. Learn to be a diplomat.

Trust the artist/ band/ comissioner, and earn their trust back. They probably know who they are and what they want. They may need a bit of guidance and some spandex to really shine though.

For every 100 people who like a video you've made, a handful will hate it, with a passion, and they will be the most vocal. If someone makes a negative comment on Youtube about your work DO NOT PANIC! Especially if it looks something like this "Bruv dis vid is lame. wot da fuk is dat abot man?" or "Fail'. Under no circumstances should you ever post your own work on the website Antville. This is where the has-beens and never-weres of the promo fringe spend their hours i-winging and e-moaning. Emo at best, misanthropic at worst, these squawkers use jargon like "nice defoc shot but generally weak cut and concept" or "I would have dispensed with the slow mo and...bla bla". Don’t go there. I used to look at it and get wound up but I've seen the light. There are WAY better places to look at vids or upload your stuff, minus Cyber Meldrew.

Some ace sites, with a less poisonous rantings are:
NOT FAT CLIPS- Which is great for animation, music videos and shorts.

YOUTUBE- Obviously as long as you ignore 'wot da fuk " man.

PROMO NEWS- Some Antville gumpsters do go on here, but generally it's a nicer feel.
I particularly like Sarah Chatfield's (or Chatters) x-mas video Mixtape. Sarah ( at Colonel Blimp)is one of the many directors who manages to be lovely and very good at what she does. Big up her.

Keep looking on people’s blogs where a lot of fun stuff turns up. Company websites are good for up to date video news: Colonel Blimp, Bikini, Academy, Partizan, Factory Films, Blink, and Independent. Mr and Mrs Smith, Studio AKA and Annex Films for animation. Get Googling.

This could be in the form of a Sugar-Daddy (Not really) , work in commercials, a job in the pub, a double life as a ship's doctor (I know people with most of the above, even the doctor), or a contract as a spy (I made this one up). In any case, it will raise your bank balance, feed your self esteem and enable you to have more time off, getting inspired, doing vanity projects for your mate's band and hanging out with Dizzee in Shoreditch House.

But don't be gutted if you don't win. If you are really gutted do it in STYLE. Storm out shouting "I've been robbed!!"

Don't be too upset when you don't win a pitch. It's so competitive that there's probably 10 other directors pitching too. Also don't sit around waiting for an answer. It's better to get on with something else. Often commissioners and producers get so busy once a job is confirmed that they simply don't have the time to ring up all people who didn't get the job. Having said that, there's a little handful of lovely commissioners who DO call up. May their bottoms be gilded in gold and their cockles be warmed in perpetuity.

And cherish them. Sounds cheesy but I wouldn't be able to do what I do without the lovely people I work with. DOP's like Stuart Bentley and Ben Moulden have been great. Trim Editing and Academy films make a lot of things possible for me.

...In the words of Bobby Mcferrin form the 80s.

I leave you with this strange thing...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


Sadly this video wasn't shot by me. It was made by Mr Dan's daughter Sadie. Very funny and cute.

If that didn't make you smile then bah humbug.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


I'm forever banging on about how good this shop below my studio on Great Eastern Street is, and here I go now on my blog. A Child of The Jago is the brainchild of Joe Corre of Agent Provocateur and Barnzley Armitage of..a lot of fashion moments. It's a modern take on Turn of The Century mens clothing, inspired by, and centered around Hogarth's "Gin Lane", which glares out at you in neon colours from the back wall.

(To the lady who took the photo above, I took the liberty of using it. As I'm IN it talking to Dave.)

The reason I like this shop has nothing to do with who came up with the idea or how supposedly cool it all is. What I love about this place is the fact that it invites you into a world. It's an open invitation to another time, a parallel dimension where punks, pirates, gin hags and teddy boys coexist in a post apocalyptic dream world. Nowt wrong with that. What I also like about this shop, apart from the great decor, which I had a little bit of a hand in by the way, is the fact that the staff are so bloody brilliant. Forget about that snotty fashionista attitude crap you get in some places were you can't touch anything, let alone afford it. These guys are sitting in London's craziest dressing up box and they WANT you to get involved. They don't really give a shit if you aren't buying it, they are passionate about clobber. There's an inspired mix of vintage stuff and new designs ranging from hoodies to frock coats and original "Let It Rock" ties from Vivienne Westwood's original pre- Sex shop. And what's more I have to say that most of this stuff looks just as great on women as it does on men. When my website launches soon ( you'll be able to see some of their hats and ties on my models in my "director's lookbook". I certainly intend to use some of this stuff in a music video or two.

Here's a drawing inspired by the hats.

They are having a late night shopping and gin party on Thursday 11th Dec. So I suggest you get in there, get involved and dress the hell up. The new magazine "The Daily Terror" is also being launched.

WEBSITE: The website has a great jukebox thing on it.

Monday, 8 December 2008


Check out Sam Arthur' s Prints. They'd make good Christmas presents.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Heard it All Before- Emiliana Torrini - CLIP

This is for you Emiliana. Thank you for the music. Have fun in Iceland. When you get back you can have a proper DVD. xx Ali

Director - Ali Taylor
Editor and 1st AD - Julia Knight
Producer and Head of Weird Girls: Kitty Von Sometime
Cameraman - Kristjan Zaklynsky
Actress taking off makeup- Sophie Woolley
Makeup - Helga Sjöfn Kjartansdóttir
Lighting - Asgrimur Gudbjartsson
Head Runner - Fríða Einarsdóttir
Catering - Sigríður Elva Vilhjálmsdóttir

The track "Heard it All Before' comes from Emiliana Torrini's new album "Me and Armini" and was written by Emiliana and Dan Carey. The film was made in Iceland using ordinary girls from Kitty Von- Sometime's Weird Girls Project as the mermaids. None of them knew what they would be doing on the day. Actress Sophie Woolley features on the left, shot in the UK. It's been a lot of fun for me as I've worked with Emiliana's music before on the Sunnyroad video. This time it was a totally different process, more of an art film and involving a lot more people.
(Anyone who hasn't seen Sunnyroad can view it here: )

If you'd like to see the Weird Girls web page and another version of the movie, AND their amazing photos, follow this link to Kitty Von-Sometime's brilliant page :

Nevio Pellicci- clip

A short clip of a much loved man at work. I was always amazed at how humble Mr Pellicci was about the cafe considering it's history and success.