What is the role of a director?
I feel like a director is almost like a shepherd ( do we still have shepherds ?) in some ways that has to gather all the talented people together and lead them towards a single vision. I feel like my collaborators and my relationships with my production team are my best asset towards achieving a vision for each project.
Tell us about your background and what led you to where you are today?
I started off acting in theatre and went on to study fine arts at university which lead me into directing film. I feel like with every project I am always going back to paintings I like and try and recreate the feeling of that painting onto the screen.
What are the challenges/satisfactions of the job?
I think the challenges are that although there is a lot of satisfaction in getting recognition as a director for a project, there is equal dissatisfaction when a project goes awry, you’re the guy still standing there. This is frustrating. The immense satisfaction of climbing the mountain of creativity of a project and getting to the top to watch the view is the best part. It feels just so good when a project fulfils your initial vision or extends it. Unbeatable.
Do you have on-set rules for the crew, if any?
Weirdly, I do. I am obsessed with the energetics of my set and go to great lengths to find and work with a crew that appreciates this. I also like to create a safe space for actors to be able to feel relaxed enough to explore their performance. This is everything to me.
What is the most common phrase you use on set?
Ha ! Quiet on Set! and probably to everyone – How did that feel for you ?
Tell us about your best-ever day on set.
Oh so many – but I do love shooting in all the wonderful places in the world. One of my favorite days on set was shooting a TVC in the flower market in Mumbai in India. Absolute chaos and beauty all in one. The crew made me throw a coconut on the ground and threw flowers over my head for good luck and then I had a camera and easy rig travelling through the tiny aisles of mountains of flowers.Heaven
I also love it when I am working on a project with deep humanity and the crew and cast become one and you all share a united experience. The best.
What is the most useful advice you received from a fellow director?
I think the best advice I have ever had was always only surround yourself with the most talented people you know. Also, a lovely friend said once that all those directors before you that you admire , they knew when and where to say no and you know how to do that so off you go.
When looking at a new project’s script, what usually draws your attention?
I always like working with something real – something to connect with. Also strong visual language.
Is there anything you have coming up we should keep our eyes open for?
I have a feature starting next year which will be exciting and I have just completed two fun projects with Bonds and a music video for Sofi Tukker and Haiku Hands.
How has the pandemic affected your work? Are there any Covid work policies that will possibly be adopted permanently?
Yes of course.. I didn’t work during lockdown but took the time to make some personal projects – Together alone. After this I have had some projects that I have directed remotely. It's tricky but not impossible, I was surprised that we ended up with a similar end result. I like doing lots of meetings remotely as I felt we spent a lot of time just coming and going to meetings all the time. It also helps that I live in the bush by the beach so I don’t commute as much.
Jasmin's latest work, Together Alone