Laura Gregory on Film Craft: ‘There Are Some Gems!’
Great Guns founder Laura Gregory lives and breathes production and craft, and with her keen eye for detail and straight talking candour, she was the perfect choice for this year’s Cannes Lions Film Craft jury president. Film Craft is a category that rewards the hard work, insightful choices and moments of sheer creative flair that turns good ideas into great pieces of work. It’s also a category that’s been evolving and growing – thanks to the growing plethora of new channels, film is no longer simply about TV commercials… indeed with the advent of virtual reality some of these ‘films’ don’t even need to live on a screen. LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with Laura Gregory to find out how the pre-judging has been going.
LBB> What are you hoping to see from the entries this year? How has the pre-judging been going so far?
LG> Pre-judging has been long. We’re now prejudging the long form, from 15-54 minutes. There’s a long list of that this year. Pre-judging is a good barometer of the quality of entries overall and I’m happy to say there are some gems in the work I’ve seen so far.
LBB> What are the trickiest elements of film craft to judge?
LG> Exceptional VFX because the great work is seamless…it’s the great VFX dilemma. I believe all entries for VFX should come with a short work kit so we can see what miracles the artists actually did perform to get to the final result. Sometimes we are lucky to have a member of a jury who knows a job inside out and explains the complexity of the post, which has helped a jury make a choice. This can be the difference between an award, or not. I also believe when the winner is screened, a short making-of should be shown for the audience, who may be wondering why the hell it won for VFX .
LBB> Obviously the production community will be watching the results from the Film Craft category keenly, but with more and more brand clients coming to Cannes, who may be less well versed in the complexities of craft – why should they pay attention to the category? What can they learn from it?
LG> Brand clients are highly sophisticated. They are well versed in all forms of production, post and VFX and understand the process. Movies and games have done a fine job of showing the world how the VFX on their product was achieved. What are harder for brands to understand are the quality choices a great director, editor, SFX specialist, music supervisor, VFX artist or casting agent has contributed to make the work we finally choose an outstanding example in its category.
LBB> You’re a bit of a seasoned professional when it comes to judging! What advice have you got for first timers at Cannes?
LG> Pace yourself. We are scheduled to sit in a dark cold room from 8am to 8pm for five days. Ask questions. Don’t be intimidated if you have something to say or some information to share. Keep your sense of humour. Break for lunch... it’s vital to walk away from the screen for a moment. Be bold, that’s why you are there.
LBB> We’re seeing more and more film created for new/emerging platforms and channels – Instagram, Vine, Facebook 360, even live events for Periscope. How are these new platforms changing the way we think of film craft?
LG> Craft is simply that. Craft. It is applied to any format we decide to use to entertain and engage the consumer. Nothing changes the word, craft is just that, craft. In any area of a project – planning, ideation, script, interpretation, direction, photographer, technologist, VFX/SFX artist, composer, editor – craft lives and dies by the hands and eyes that are applied to it and the choices they make.
LBB> Where does virtual reality / 360 video sit within Film Craft? Is there a place for it in the category?
LG> Craft is craft… VR / 360 doesn’t have a separate category – YET – but is eligible in all categories.
LBB> One of the big topics we reckon will be all over the Croisette this year is the rise of adblockers. In many ways. What role do you think great craft plays in combatting this?
LG> The ultimate role. Good ideas and good craft will ensure shareability. That’s the only goal a brand needs.