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Into the Library with Tiny Bullet


Tiny Bullet speaks to LBB’s Zoe Antonov about making Britain’s rudest advert to air before 9 pm, still being a visual director, and embracing freedom on set

Into the Library with Tiny Bullet

'The Creative Library' is LBB’s exciting new launch. It’s been months - years, probably - in the making and we reckon our re-tooled archive will change the way you work, whether you’re a company looking to store and share your work, or a marketer or creative looking for new partners or inspiration for your latest project.
This isn’t a dusty old archive. It’s an easy-to-search, paywall-free library where all our members can store and share all of their reels and creative work.

To coincide, we’re also launching a new regular feature called ‘Into the Library’ where we catch up with the industry’s most influential directors to talk about their directorial highlights past and present. Think of it as a director’s reel showcase with a big dollop of personality. We interview directors about their favourite commercials and music videos from their reel to find out about how these works shaped them as a director.

Today, we’re excited to continue the journey into the creative worlds of the best directors out there, with Tiny Bullet.

Starting from the beginning, I directed my first professional shoot when I was 21 and had just finished art school. It was for a title sequence for Antiques Roadshow. Prior to that, I had only worked on animation projects and had never been on a film shoot. I was completely thrown in at the deep end. We had around 30 cast members and I didn't even know that I had to say "Action" and "Cut". Once I relaxed into it, I immediately felt at home; having all these people help you realise something that only exists in your head is pretty addictive, and since then, I just wanted more.

Lenovo - Sumo

My first ever commercial was for Lenovo. The post is a bit dated, but it's still on the reel as the idea is great and it's not every day you get to film 100 sumo wrestlers taking over a city. 

At the time, I didn't realise how lucky I was. I was spoiled with a decent budget and a top cinematographer called Simon Duggan, who shot ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’. It was shot during the Pope's visit to Australia and we closed off a block in Sydney's central business district, with lots of sumo wrestlers hanging off cranes. I remember walking along a line of these larger-than-life spray-tanned semi-naked men and choosing one of their feet for a close-up. It was then that I realised what an odd job I had. 

GoCart - It’s Time to Pay Easy

My most recent spot was in the States for a company called GoCart. This one also has that tongue-in-cheek humour. In my directing style, I used to be a bit of a control freak and follow my storyboards meticulously, but now I am much more confident on set and follow my instincts. This sometimes means going with the flow, trusting the actors, as well as straying from my boards to embrace ‘happy accidents’ when they do occur. I have found the best moments are when you don't overly direct a scene, but read the room and let it evolve naturally. This was especially key on the GoCart project, as I knew we had a fabulous cast, and I let them have a fair amount of freedom with the dialogue to adlib. 

I am still very much a visual director who loves to craft a vision with production design and VFX. I have recently focused on getting to the humanity and heart of a script and being brave with the casting and performances, as I think this is what really resonates with the audience.

McDonald’s - Trust

This is a project I think might have drastically changed the course of my career. I had been working in the UK for about a year at that point, and trying to get work on the reel. I only had three decent spots and was looking for any opportunity to show what I was capable of. I had treated on a small 15" script for McDonald’s. I didn't win the job, but I guess the creatives liked the treatment because they then sent through the ‘Trust’ scripts (for ‘Trust Eggs’ and ‘Trust Beef’), which were much more interesting. 

I knew they would be looking at more established directors with bigger reels, so I decided to think completely out of the box and push the hyper-real weirdness adding loads of additional ideas. The creatives were 100% on board, and I won the job. Having a big campaign like this on the reel meant I stepped up to the next level, and better scripts started to flow in from then onwards.

International Women’s Day 2018 - #Adpology

‘Adpology’ is the project I am most proud of and it changed my approach to directing entirely. It was shot with no budget and a crazy turnaround to meet the International Women’s Day deadline. We just booked a studio and had our cast turn up with their own clothes and props. I didn't have any storyboards and hadn't assigned roles to the women until they actually were on set. 

It was the most freeing directing experience I've ever had; I completely let my guard down and allowed the day to unfold organically. Without sounding too strange, I am a little bit spiritual, and I sense other people's energy. These were real women, not actors, and some of them were really nervous about being in front of the camera, but wholeheartedly believed in the message and were comfortable with opening up. It resulted in some lovely, honest performances.

We cut it in a few days and put it on YouTube, thinking that maybe a few hundred people would see it. It immediately hit the press and went viral. We lost count after it reached 6.5M views. 

Tesco Mobile - Mobile Supermarket

A couple of recent jobs taught me a lot but in different ways. Tesco Mobile was a big brand job which brought many more challenges with many client opinions. Finding ways to navigate comments whilst keeping true to the original idea and what the creatives have written is extremely important to me. 

I love collaborating with creatives and working with them to deliver the treatment that won me the job. But keeping a client happy is sometimes a challenge. It was especially so on Tesco Mobile because it was shot during the first lockdown where we had around 30 clients with opinions, expressing them on Zoom. I guess I learned how to pick which battles to fight. 

Premier Inn - Rest Easy

Premier Inn also taught me a lot. I won the job on the idea that the camera was always on the move and circling a hotel room where different guests appeared. It had to be carefully crafted and look effortless. The client wanted to show many guests and I was conscious that it could quickly become repetitive and make the audience dizzy. We shot on the techno dolly and added match cuts and other transitions to smoothly get from one scene to the other. The timings were tricky, and it was my most technically challenging shoot. It takes a huge amount of work and preparation to end up with something looking effortless, but it’s great when it all comes together.

Lovehoney - Turn Up the Turn On 

My project with Lovehoney was easily the most fun one in my reel, for obvious reasons. Plus, I can claim that the press called it Britain's rudest advert to air before 9 pm.

view more - Into the Library
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FLIPT, Mon, 23 Jan 2023 15:11:27 GMT