For our latest Director 101 Interview we learn more about award winning director and food extraordinaire Markus Meedt. He's a new signing to Team Gate and we're thrilled to have him on board. His mouth watering pieces are right up our street. Here he talks us through his journey, his inspirations and passion for film.
What do you enjoy most about shooting for brands?
There is something quite exciting in the challenge of creating a new idea that allows to re-imagine a product within the confines of the brand guidelines. It is the creative balance of ‘reach for the stars’ and ‘work with what you got.’
Which project has been your most informative to date?
My St John Ambulance with Rufus Hound online campaign allowed me to tell informative but humorous madness to a large audience.
Do you enjoy collaborating with other directors?
I do. I often work on collaborative projects or episodic segments to a larger narrative that is part of a shared vision. As I started off as an Assistant Director, I have a good sense on supporting creative partners and to compliment their skill set with mine (and vice versa).
How do you push a script to exceed client expectations?
I don’t think I ever went into a job to surprise the client with a quality product beyond their expectation. My goal is always to create something as best as I can with the tools available. I like to belief that I can communicate the end result before the shoot.
Which clients have been a dream to work with?
While the projects themselves usually are quite limiting, working with Camelot and the National Lottery has always been a fun process. Their campaigns are heartfelt, the talents they partner with are often insanely talented professionals in their field and their presence on set has always been a dream.
Have you had to work in any challenging locations? How did you handle it?
The most challenging location I ever worked in was shooting in the heart of Soho on a Saturday night. No shoot abroad, no skeleton crew project and no weather condition has ever been as challenging as crowds of drunks trying to pick a fight with our lead actor in drag, half way through a scene. Fortunately I was surrounded with a fantastic crew that all helped on set and a lead actor who was able to channel his anger into the character, resulting in a powerful scene.
What can film do that other media forms can’t?
Film can combine information and art in one conclusive narrative. It can show you one thing and tell you something else. It can give objects a meaning, translate a held shot into an intimate gaze and draw in an audience with a single frame. Also… it can be loud and silly and self-indulgent. Like a cake.
Who is the most important and or influential person for you in the world of film right now?
When I started my career as a runner, I happened to work with Ron Howard. Beyond his skills as a film maker, his general attitude towards the crew and eagerness to make everyone feel proud of their work has influenced every project I work on.
What concept, idea or technique do you think is most underused? Which is overhyped?
I feel like the ‘Spielberg-ian’ Dolly shots and blocking has not been very present in film making lately. Often the blocking is simplified and generic editing pull us through a scene. However, the masterfully blocked and choreographed dolly shots of the 70s and 80s are a rare find.
I love a good ‘uncut’ steadycam sequence but it has become somewhat of a gimmick as an aftermath of Birdman’s success.
I am also a bit tired of seeing 8mm/projection effects on every third music video I see. I love the analogue look but it has come back with a digitized vengeance this year.
What recent technological innovation has had the biggest impact on your work?
I have started implementing Multicolour Astera lights more and for subtle lighting shape or practical lights. They allow to really create stylish, colourful and energetic lighting effects.
How do immersive forms of filmmaking set to influence your work?
While I haven’t had much chance to work with it myself, I am quite interested in VR recording and technology. I am not sure if it will fizzle out like 3D television. I would love to do more work with it in mind.
I have also done some OOH digital poster work which I love. Going up the escalator and being surrounded by a cleverly timed add that shoots past you is such an immersive way of marketing.
Do you think filmmakers have a responsibility to make challenging, socially conscious work?
Yes! Especially now that there is a way to reach an audience, it is important to make the content truth and meaningful.
When inspiration is waning, when creativity is sapped, how do you stay inspired?
I watch kids cartoons. It works every time.
How do you know when your story is finished and it’s time to walk away?
This differs from project to project. Usually when I realise that the more I tinker the more stagnant it gets.
What non-film medium inspires your work?
How do you balance meeting commercial objectives without sacrificing your art?
I think when working with bigger brands it is important to understand that you are hired as a craftsman, not necessarily an artist. I think everyone will leave their own art on their projects, if they try or not. But there is always a sense of compromise on branded content. If you want to pursue your art it is important that this is created from an undiluted place. Which is why I like to write and work on my own projects on the side.
What’s going on in your world when you’re not looking through a lens?
I try to learn how to cook without setting the whole kitchen ablaze…. I have gone through a number of kitchens.
What’s your advice for emerging filmmakers wanting to make their stamp in the industry?
Do a bit of everything to learn, but once you are ready make sure you focus on the things you want to make.
What are you most looking forward to with your adventure with The Gate?
To work with new brands, new talents, new content and all new new stuff.
Do you have a brief that would be perfect for Markus? Get in touch here.