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The Directors: Lewis Andrews

The Directors 60 Add to collection

NERD Productions director on becoming an expert in the subject, the importance of communication and the mundane of 'happy' work

The Directors: Lewis Andrews

Lewis sees the world as if it was a movie. At night he dreams up immense film sequences and applies a cinematic visual language to all of his work. Lewis believes there can be an element of mystery or darkness in everything and uses this thinking to enrich the storytelling in his films.

He is fascinated by human behaviour and his perception of day-to-day experiences are often narrated in his head as a surreal, and sometimes intrusive version of reality. With this frame of mind, he is an all-encompassing, creative being. His imaginative senses are constantly alive, and he is always about to reveal the next big idea. Lewis has the foresight to see the big picture before filming, envisioning the right combination of colour and visual composition in the planning stages.

Lewis has brought to life films for brands such as Nike, Puma, and Vogue. He has also directed music videos for Sony Music and independent artists. Most recently, Lewis has worked on Hollywood blockbusters’ Fast and Furious, James Bond, Mission Impossible and Cinderella in the aerial camera department at XM2 Pursuit.

Name: Lewis Andrews

Location: London

Repped by/in: NERD Productions

LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Lewis> Scripts which are written for the director and not just the cast. Spine tingling one-liners, picture perfect sentences, subliminal messages, all things psychological.

LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Lewis> I do a lot of research and collate reference imagery around the subject, brand or person in the film. I try to become an expert in the subject matter and figure out what the audience wants to see. For instant visual references, I usually head to Google, browse and save imagery which I think is relevant. If an image doesn’t demonstrate exactly what I want, I’ll modify it on Photoshop and add it to the treatment deck. I’ll add anything which builds a picture like textures or colour pallets. I’ll find comparative visual examples of existing film work to demonstrate my idea.


LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Lewis> There isn’t a subject which I can’t find some kind of affinity with. I believe every brand and person is their own unique entity with something to offer. Ideas don’t have to be factually accurate either so, if my knowledge of the brand is limited, I can still represent it abstractly. If I’m really struggling, I reach out to people who do know about the brand or market and ask them to educate me.


LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Lewis> It depends which person you are referring to. If it’s someone you’re involved with creatively on the project, then the most important thing for me is that you constantly feed off of each other’s energy. If it’s someone you’re working for, you’ve got to be able to do business with that person because filmmaking is expensive. You also have to be able to accept criticism and give it constructively too. Communication skills are very important in a person. You must be able to constantly find a happy medium and have a balanced relationship.


LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Lewis> I like to represent all feelings in my work. I am drawn to darker, horror themed work for some reason. Sometimes I find ‘happy’ too mundane and easy!

LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

Lewis> People perceive that I only did one thing on my Wonderfilm Pictures projects such as Red Bull, Nike, Puma, Sony Music, etc. Each project was different but, oftentimes, I handled a variety of roles on each including producing, writing creative treatments, scouting locations, directing, shooting, editing, designing costumes, building sets, making props, composing visual effects and even doing the actors’ make up!


LBB> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so, how have your experiences been?

Lewis> No, but I would like to!

LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Lewis> I’ve had British Airways lose all of my equipment and hard drives with all my data on a flight over to Portugal. Luckily my client Jessica Patterson helped me to recover it all at the airport.


LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Lewis> I strike a balance by accepting that the client has a greater understanding of their brand and giving the client confidence that I have a better understanding of the film.


LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Lewis> I am fully on board with opening up the world to a more diverse pool of talent, it’s the way it should be. I would love to mentor and have apprentices on set,  there is no better way to learn. I am still learning!


LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

Lewis> Zoom, like everyone else I guess :D


LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working? 

Lewis> I love the 2:39:1 wide ratio as I’ve always been a fan of the letterbox style. Whatever the brief or requirement is for the project, I will adapt the filming and editing techniques accordingly. This includes appropriate use of the right lenses and adapting shots in production to suit the ratio in the brief. 


LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

Lewis> I already work with a computer graphics genius morn1415 who composed DeepDream AI driven visuals for my latest music video project. DeepDream was one of the first results of Google AI where they created a convolutional neural network that they trained to recognize things on Images.

This AI tech is ready and exploding with potential, but I think it’s going to take a while to become mainstream. It is still finding its feet and people still feel intimidated by the possibilities. I’m fascinated by movie concepts like Ready Player One and strongly believe this could be our reality one day. I’m ready to embrace it, whether it takes over the world or if it’s simply viewing a set design in AR.

LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?

Lewis> My work on Fast & Furious 9 in the aerial camera department XM2 Pursuit.

Drink Music Video – Coming soon. I’m super proud of the final result because I created every single element of the video from the script, treatment, room set design, sourcing the E-type Jaguar, directing, shooting, editing and visual effects.

My spot for Nike x Jo Gomez. I love to show this off because Nike is such a cool brand and I love how it comes together in the edit with the sound design I added.

My music video for X Factor contestant Ebru Ellis – Blocks Music Video. I was happy with this video because conceptually it pitches the artist and the subject matter of ambition and drive well. I wrote the whole storyline.

My music video for Sony Music Vibbar – Sweden. I love the quality of the footage from the RED Helium 8K and how it came together in the edit with sound design I added.

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NERD Productions, Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:44:26 GMT