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The Directors: Victoria Watson

The Directors 225 Add to collection

The multitalented director-producer on her love of animation, defying pigeonholes and making work that has a real emotional impact

The Directors: Victoria Watson
Victoria Watson graduated as an animator in 2006 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee.
 
Victoria has a strong eye for detail as well as enhanced visual and technical skills. She is also very good at organising herself and others which has led her to have a dual career in both directing and producing.
 
Her passion is stop frame animation. She has directed many successful TV and Online commercials for Clients such as Jura Whisky, Henry Weston's Cider, Ardbeg, Innis & Gunn, The Scottish Government, Scottish Mortgage, Creative Scotland and Baillie Gifford.
 
Victoria also co-directed a short film 'Ladder To You' alongside Chris Watson, as part of the BFI's Animation 2018 Programme which aired on BBC Four and has since seen much global festival success.
 
Victoria loves new challenges and is very open to experimental styles, she is currently developing another short film idea as well as focussing on her commercial work.


  • Name: Victoria Watson
  • Location: Edinburgh / Scotland
  • Repped by/in: Eyebolls
  • Awards:  Ladder to You - Best Animated Short (Atlanta’s shortfest), Best Animated Short (Edinburgh Independent Film Awards)
 

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

 
Victoria> For me, animation is my bag, particularly stop motion so anything that has an element of that within the brief I love. As well as being Creative I have a very technical brain so I like knowing how things are made, I like to create textural work  - almost as if the viewer would want to touch it.
 
 

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

 
Victoria> I start with looking for references that relate to the brief, so work that either I have made or others have, so whether that be still images or moving images and then build on the idea from there.
 
 

Q> 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?

 
Victoria> Yes it’s important, I look at their branding, find out their ethos, look at their website / social media platforms. We normally deal with creative agencies so I try and get as much information at the brief stage as possible. It’s about tying everything together – the client, the brief, the idea and the outcome.
 
 

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

 
Victoria> Well you do need to have a good relationship with the agency and the creative team, from there on in your producer, DOP and post house are very important -  it’s a real team effort and I like to collaborate with everyone. To deliver on the vision for the script it is really important to have a good bunch of people around you, it’s great to have a team you trust but it is also equally as exciting to work with new talent, it keeps us all fresh!
 
 

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


Victoria> Stop motion is the style I work in but I would love to do more live action. I’ve directed a lot of drinks ads now, I feel like I need a gin or a wee rum to finish the suite! I’m passionate about charity work and good causes too so anything that is going to help people is also important to me. I feel animation is a great tool for communicating tough or sensitive issues.  My aim is for people to feel something when they watch my work.


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

 
Victoria> Oh I don’t know, I guess I work mainly as a creative producer and not many people realise I have other talents and they are always pleasantly surprised. I find that people then listen more to my opinion about a technical or creative question that may arise.
 
 

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

 
Victoria> No, I haven’t, but I know my colleague has in the past and it’s a fine tuned balance between the creative and how it is made cost effectively.
 
 

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

 
Victoria> Maybe not the craziest but definitely felt odd - I was animating Barbie for a toy commercial and I think she was dressed as a mermaid sliding into a pool but her feet didn’t fit the tail properly so I had to cut her feet off! 
 
 

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

 
Victoria> At the end of the day, they are the customer, they are paying for the product but I do always try to compromise and strike a balance. There’s no need to be so precious. For example, recently I had a composer make a track for a job and the creative at the agency didn’t like it and suggested putting a library track on it instead - which I didn’t love. So I went back to my composer with a new brief and it worked, we both got a track we were happy with and it’s unique now to the brand and that piece of work. And there is always the director’s cut! 
 
 

Q> 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?

 
Victoria> Yes definitely, this is something I am very passionate about, although I feel I am still learning myself. I think it’s important to meet young / new talent coming through the industry, it helps us evolve and keeps us excited about the future.
 
 

Q> 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? 

 
Victoria> I think it’s made me so much more appreciative of what I do and why I love it. Working from home never seemed an option but I actually like it. I’m also thinking of ways to make more personal stuff from home so I don’t go insane!
 
 

Q> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

 
Victoria> Yes, more and more we are being asked for the 1:1, 9:16 and 16:9, it’s always good to know this ahead of shooting as it becomes difficult if it’s an afterthought. Also not every idea will work out in these formats so having to come up with new and different ways to make it work for every option is a constant in today’s climate. So good planning and making sure everyone is aware of it as we go through the process helps!
 
 

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


Victoria> I’m not totally down with the kids but it’s something I’d like to learn more about and definitely incorporate into my work. I’d love to work on a VR project.


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


Innis & Gunn 

Victoria> This was a slightly different direction for me, but I loved it. The film encompasses so many things I adore; photography, architecture, textures and design. It was a challenge as we didn’t have a lot of time, but it was a very rewarding, collaborative and fun project to direct.


Every Step 

Victoria> Animating shoes with no feet, how could you not? Also, a good cause!


Cello 

Victoria> I loved having to animate a hand and interact with the characters!


Jura Whisky 

Victoria> This was my very first advert that I directed and still love it!



Victoria> My first short film since art school and co-directed with the talented Chris Watson of The Leith agency.



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EYEBOLLS, Mon, 14 Dec 2020 16:22:24 GMT