Hires, Wins & Business in association withLBB Pro

Sequoia Content Welcomes Craig Rasmus

Production Company
Toronto, Canada
Sequoia sits down with Craig to talk about his career prior to his move

Sequoia Content welcomes director Craig Rasmus to its roster. On welcoming Craig, Sequoia sat down with him to chat about his life and work. 

Why did you decide to make the move to a new company?

I was based back in my native Australia and was starting to feel like the time was right to start reaching out into overseas markets. Canada was definitely somewhere I was keen to work - its humour sits somewhere between the American and English sensibilities which is where I feel my own style also sits.

When I came across Sequoia I was impressed by the roster and reached out to Suzanne (Sequoia EP) starting a great dialogue. The final star to align was when I moved to the US last month, making the ability to travel and work within Canada that much easier.

What is it about the team there that clicks for you?

Suzanne (Sequoia’s EP) was the first to make me think it could be a good fit. We first started talking just before COVID kicked off so it was pretty bad timing, but I liked how she kept checking in now and then as the months passed, seeing how the Australian industry was faring and what I was up to even though we knew there was little chance to collaborate on the immediate horizon. 

I’m only just starting to get to know the rest of the team now, but so far I have been finding everyone else in the company also really great to work with.

How did you first get in the industry? What was your very first job in the industry?

I used to act in TVCs as a young kid. I enjoyed it a lot but as I got older and moved into my teens I started to became more interested in behind the camera. The amount of gear and the focus of the crew was a buzz to be around, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I would be a terrible actor if I tried to do anything now, but it’s given me a healthy respect for their craft and makes me consider the best way to relate to them on set in order to get the best results.

Where did you learn your craft (film school? Mentored as a runner? Self taught?)

I have spent time in a few departments of the industry, but I would say I learnt most researching and designing treatments as a Directors Assistant.

Being mentored by a director on set is always good, but I think you can learn much more sitting side by side with them before the job as they formulate their approach, breaking down every element from cinematography to casting for you, then asking you to portray it for them.

Every image you then source and layup is heavily scrutinised to ensure it is on point with their vision - its good training for the type of scrutiny that comes on a commercial production. 

Before doing what you do now, did you work in any other field/ have any different career path?

I think because of the acting I did as a kid, I always knew I wanted to be in Film or TV, but wasn’t really sure where in it.

After leaving school I was steering more toward Broadcast Production, working on TV Drama, variety shows and in newsrooms in different roles. It was fun but I never felt the same level of intensity and buzz that I did when on a film set.

Once I decided to move back to film production, I went through a bunch of junior roles in the industry, building up enough contacts, knowledge and favours before getting a small crew together to film my first spec ad.

And which creative talents in your field have inspired you in your own career?

The directors that I most admire are really versatile; no matter the genre they always elevate the idea and ensure you walk away feeling something, be it a belly laugh or a gut punch. Steve Rogers, Ringan Ledwidge, Steve Ayson, Kim Gehrig, Christopher Riggert, …

What was your first creative milestone in the industry – the project you worked on that you were super proud of?

It was an online film for UNICEF/Qantas called ‘5Fund’. Even now years later I can’t recall a campaign where I was able to have so much creative input. There was no script to begin with; just a starting idea shared over a coffee with ECD Mike Spirkovski (now CCO of Saatchi and Saatchi Australia).  

It was a passion project for all involved and we were all proud of it, particularly since it was for a good cause. 

It also ended up getting a few awards including winning me the a Young Director Award in Cannes.

And what recent projects are you proudest of and why?

I’m quite pleased with the last couple of campaigns I worked on, but I think the Pine O Clean campaign a couple back is one that I strangely take more pride in. They are not big spots, in fact they are borderline retail, but it was for a notoriously conservative client whose natural tendencies was to go bland and super straight. The fact that that we were able to make something so disturbingly gross felt like a big win. 

They got a few complaints over that campaign - and I was proud of each and everyone of them. 

Do you have any personal or side projects on the go? What is it, what inspired it and why is it important to you?

My family and I moved to the US from Sydney Australia just last month, so no side projects at the moment other than getting settled in and exploring our new home. I am definitely looking forward to starting work in an entirely new territory.

What really drives you creatively?

I love having the ability to make someone feel something through my films, be it the joy of a hearty chuckle or a knot in the stomach as they watch something emotive.. ambivalence to the work is probably what I worry about most. 

What are the aspects of your work that you really obsess over?

I usually obsess over all of it…! On set it is the usual; composition, performance, art direction…etc, but even in pre-pro I often obsess over the paperwork, taking over the layouts of storyboards and location pics to ensure it looks the way I think it should. I might be borderline OCD now that you have drawn my attention to it…

How would you describe your approach to your work?

I‘m passionate about what I think will make a better film and will definitely push hard at times to get that result, but in the lead up to that moment I am 100% collaborative. If I hear an interesting idea from from someone in the creative team or crew, I’ll never hesitate to pivot the approach in order to include it if I believe it will elevate the idea. All that matters is the end result.

When it comes to enjoying the creativity of others, what sort of thing excites and inspires you?

Obsession for craft. It obviously happens all over the world, but when I spent time in Japan recently for example, I was constantly in awe of people that were absolute masters of a singular craft, be it serving sushi, shaving ice cubes or decorating cakes. 

Outside of work, what are you passionate about?

Good food, good times and good friends. Luckily you can come across all three in our industry fairly often.

Find more of Craig's work here.

Work from Sequoia Content
Just Because We Can
Rick Hansen Foundation
Dear Dad