From jazz hands to just getting on with it, Abi Tarrant was a bit of a performer as a child. Despite that, she soon found herself behind the scenes and is now a producer at DLKW Lowe. Abi tells LBB’s Addison Capper why variety and quesadillas are the spice of life.
LBB> As a child you were known for impromptu dance performances and always wanted to be in front of the camera - now that your work involves being behind it, is performance something you still enjoy exploring?
AT> I guess there’s a bit of a performer buried in me! I still like to dance (and quite regularly don some leg-warmers and head to Pineapple Studios for their Thursday night Jazz classes). Certainly beats going to the gym. It can also be hard to wrestle the microphone out of my hand when it comes to a karaoke evening.
LBB> You began writing and producing whilst at university - what drew you to the technique and behind the camera? Why did you enjoy it so much?
AT> Partly I think it was experimentation – everyone mucks in at university and changes their role depending on the project and who’s available. However, I soon realised that I really enjoyed being able to mould a production from scratch. Unlike a performer who concentrates on their individual part, a writer/producer has the ability to influence every element of the piece from cast to set-design, music and marketing. It’s also so thrilling to sit at the back of a theatre on opening night and watch what you’ve created come to life… and eavesdrop on what the audience are saying about it.
LBB> Your father was a creative director at an agency and your mother a producer at a production company - quite some advertising pedigree! - but you say they were quite surprised you ended up in the industry. Why so? Surely you followed in their footsteps naturally...
AT> Well, they had both moved on to other things before I was born and had truly left the advertising world behind them. I do remember, though, that they talked about some fairly epic-sounding luncheons. I don’t think either of them ever did an afternoon’s work!
LBB> What pieces of work that you've been involved with recently have you particularly enjoyed and why?
AT> I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the rejuvenation at DLKW Lowe and the enthusiasm there is now for producing high quality creative work, whatever the size or scale of the project.
It was fantastic to bring together the ‘Set Free’ Persil film. From a production perspective it was a lot of work - we had to shoot and finish it up in a month. But it ended up winning a Silver Lion in Cannes.
On a completely different scale, being able to work on the Morrisons Christmas campaign was a real challenge. I think it’s the one time of the year when the general public really looks forward to seeing what brands put on TV. Also for the agency, it was probably the most high profile spot of our year, so there was a lot of pressure. The good news is that all the hard work paid off and the campaign was recently awarded two Golds at the British Arrows.
LBB> What's the most unusual project that you've ever worked on?
AT> There’s always something different and unusual about every project – whether it’s a new talent, where the film is shot, a particular technique that’s never been used before. That’s the main reason I enjoy this job so much. No two days are the same. There are a couple of really interesting projects in the pipeline too – you’ll have to watch this space!
LBB> Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
AT> I’m a massive foodie and can usually be found at any number of small (and not so small) London markets grabbing tasters. One day I want to set up my own stall selling Mexican street food (my quesadillas are particularly more-ish, if I do say so myself). But for the time being I’m happy to just keep sampling what the other folk have on offer… and dancing off the calories!