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New Talent: Directing Duo Us



Meet Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor who Together are Us

New Talent: Directing Duo Us


Us is a new directing duo signed to Academy Films. Based in London, Us is made up of Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor
LBB > Tell us a little more about yourselves, where did you meet and how long have you been working together?
Us > We are both 26 years old and work from our studio in East London. We met at Kingston University where we studied graphic design. We set up Us straight out of uni in 2008. 
LBB > You describe yourselves as a multi-disciplinary studio that believes the ‘outcome of a project should stem from a good idea, no matter how big or small’. Can you elaborate? 
Us > This is something that we were taught whilst at uni. I guess it's just a way of thinking that we find the best way to approach a brief. The thing that excites us the most is a timeless idea that makes you say "I wish I had thought of that", or at least it's what we strive for. 
LBB > Your music promo for Thom Yorke won you a D&AD award and last year you won Best New Directors at UK MVAs and Best Urban video for Wiley’s “Numbers in Action”.  Have you found these have benefitted you and how important is winning awards to you? 
Us > Well... We don't go after awards, by any means. We tend to think of them as healthy goals to have. It’s hard to say if they have been of any benefit. I think they do open doors for you that were perhaps closed before. For us, they feel like a reward for a lot of hard work that, in most cases, you don't get paid a penny for. 
LBB > Your work is clear, sharp and deeply responsive. Be it in woodlands, stark backdrops or dark gloomy spaces, your style seems to capture and create very strong imagery. When handed a brief or track, where do you begin? Do you focus on a final vision or do you find that organically, through thoughts, brainstorming, that you are naturally led to the final article? 
Us > We always begin by breaking down a brief, if there is one. Or if it's a music promo then we break the song down. We try to focus on a core idea and from there it normally involves us both talking about ideas or things that relate to the brief/song. We keep tearing apart the ideas until we are really excited by what is at the core. Sometimes when people oversee our creative process they think we are arguing, but we are just trying to get to an idea that we are both really into. Once we have a core idea we normally run with it, see if we can develop it and, ideally, push it even more. 
LBB > What’s happening in the future for you guys?
Us > The future... Well we have a number of projects in pre-production that cross the divide between music promo and advertising. They are really exciting for us as they bridge that gap between the two. Plus they are with some exciting brands and musicians. I think we want to just keep doing what we are doing but progress into new exciting projects.
LBB > In January, your promo “Boom Blast” for Wiley was ‘Staff picked’ at Vimeo. Can you talk us through this work and what this accolade means to you? 
Us > That was a really nice surprise, we think Vimeo is one of the best services out there on the web so for them to acknowledge our work was fantastic. We had been wanting to do the “Boom Blast” concept for quite a long time and after calling in a number of favours, we managed to get it nailed. It was all down to the post FX, and the team at Finish worked relentlessly to such a high level to finish it in time for the New Year.
LBB > Vulpine, the bespoke cycling brand: You’re branding for them? How did that come about and how do you find your graphics background supports your directing work, does it? 
Us > Vulpine has been a project we have been working on for well over a year now. It came about through a friend of a friend. Nick Hussey, the creator of Vulpine, used to work with a friend and fellow director, Christopher Hewitt. Chris knew we loved cycling and did branding of sorts, so we met up. We instantly hit it off with Nick and understood his vision for the brand.  We spent the first half of the year researching and developing a bespoke logo and typeface that would fit into a market that is getting bigger and bigger. The first collection of clothes launches in a few weeks and we are really excited. We approach branding in a very similar way to promos – find out what it is you want to say, create a core idea and apply that in as simple a way as possible. We are really big believers in simple design. If it doesn't need to be there then it shouldn't. I guess we apply this concept to our promos as well. 
LBB > You still regularly tutor at Kingston University. Can you tell us what you get up to when you’re there, if you find it rewarding and why you believe it is important? 
Us > We go in every couple of months or so and we honestly, hand on heart, find it one of the most satisfying things to do. It’s a great source of inspiration. I think that you can get trapped in a creative bubble sometimes when you’re pitching relentlessly. Going to Kingston and speaking to students removes you from that. All the students there are so keen and excited that it re-energises you and makes you realise how far you have come since your days studying there. We always have to remind ourselves how we were, when we were in that position. It's also strange teaching with people who taught us. It’s like travelling back 5 years.
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