Wed, 04 Aug 2021 09:26:14 GMT
Sequoia Content welcomes director Craig Rasmus to its roster. On welcoming Craig, Sequoia sat down with him to chat about his life and work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
view more - Hires, Wins & BusinessSequoia Content, Wed, 04 Aug 2021 09:26:14 GMT