The Work That Made Me in association withCreate This
The Work That Made Me: Ale Dordoni
Post Production
London, UK
The OkayStudio editor on personal films, great soundtracks, and terrible Italian accents

Ale is an editor at OkayStudio. His blend of bold visuals and intricate sound design results in films that are both innovative and memorable. Ale has worked with global brands Google, Calvin Klein, ESPN, Ford and Asics. He is a true collaborator and his attention to detail and eye for craft is impeccable.

My career journey...

I come from a small city in the north of Italy called Piacenza and as a kid, all I wanted was to become a professional footballer. Clearly, I didn't make it, and ended up studying architecture at university in Milan. My full attention was drawn to the only assignment in my first year that I actually enjoyed doing; making a video about the individual space in urban design. Whilst in Milan, I started DJing quite regularly and editing after-party videos to post on Facebook. After graduating, I studied a film editing course at the New York Film Academy whilst working as a waiter in a Pizza restaurant in the East Village, the Italian-American Dream! After taking a short internship, I realised London was going to be the best place for me to try my luck as an editor. I quickly got my first gig as a DJ at London Fashion Week where I made my first connections with some videographers. I guess everything snowballed from there.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

I remember being obsessed with the Nike ad ‘Good vs Evil’ from 1996. I couldn’t wait for it to be played on the television, I was around seven or eight years old, but watching all of my favourite football players in such a cinematic, apocalyptic piece was just incredible. It goes without saying that Cantona’s iconic last shot on goal is something that still gives me goosebumps to this day: “Au revoir”.

My first professional project…

A trailer for ‘A View From The Bridge’ at the Young Vic back in 2014. There was no brief whatsoever, just the full footage of the play itself with no sound, and some musical elements from the original score. The Young Vic loved it, and I got to cut many more theatrical trailers after that, before moving into commercials. I will always be grateful to my filmmaker friends Hektor and Lukasz for passing that very first gig my way.

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

I’m balancing both commercial and narrative led projects as I really enjoy working in both worlds. Most recently, collaborating with Jade Ang Jackman, Laura Sicouri at Division and Tom Dream on a fun project for Mango. Ultimately, films are what really strike me emotionally, and are what I want to do more of. ‘Nearly Never’ is a 15 minute film directed by a close collaborator, Peter Franklyn Banks, that I edited earlier this year and is now ready to start its festival run. It is inspired by a personal event that happened to Pete himself at the beginning of last year, and I'm so excited to see the response. It’s a really strong piece of cinematic work that aims to drive conversation around how incredibly devastating 12 years of austerity has been for the NHS, presenting a glimpse of what could become a more commonplace and terrifying future. It’s a piece I am extremely proud of and grateful for the opportunity from Pete.

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

The year I was born was the same year ‘Nuovo Cinema Paradiso’ by Giuseppe Tornatore was released. I remember watching it for the first time years later, projected on the facade of the small church in the village where I would spend most summers as a kid - as it happens in the movie itself. Ennio Morricone's devastatingly beautiful soundtrack in the final scene definitely triggered something in me and I realised the power of music alongside moving images. I was just blown away.

The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting…

I'm obsessed with collecting music and watching movies, so it’s hard to pick something in particular, but what I tend to revisit on a daily basis for my creative development is Vimeo. It's such a constant source of inspiration for anyone who works in this industry or just enjoys watching amazing films from creatives around the world. I often navigate through my long list of ‘Likes’ as it inspires general thoughts on how to best approach my next project.

Volvo 'Moments’ by Gustav Johansson is definitely top of the list for a strong and moving narrative. It gets me every single time I watch it! Emotionally it still resonates with me, despite having watched it hundreds of times! 

Above: Volvo 'Moments'

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

The fake Italian accent they asked the actors to put on in ‘House of Gucci’. No Italian speaks English like that and I’m sure everyone who’s got at least one Italian friend will agree. I’ve read many people saying that Jared Leto was the worst, in my opinion he was actually the best! 

A close second is The Galbani Advert from 2021. No offence to the creatives who came up with this idea, as it mostly made me giggle, but the word ‘Gal-bani’ is not that difficult to pronounce!

Above: Galbani 'Dolcelatte'

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous…

If you work in London as an editor, it's pretty easy to get jealous about the enormous amount of talent there is in the business. I do see work every day I wish I'd edited but all I can do is watch and re-watch and take inspiration from it. Adidas ‘All In’ by Romain Gavras is definitely one I often refer back to in my work for how to build an insane amount of energy through music, video and sound design. 

Above: Adidas 'All In'

The creative project that changed my career…

My work up until 2016 was solid, but far from the commercial briefs I’ve experienced over the last few years. As stupid as it sounds, the showreel I put together for myself in 2016 was the real game changer for me. It went viral on Vimeo for some reason and I got some very unexpected exposure from it. But mainly, every production company I had sent it to suddenly started getting back to me even just to say how much they enjoyed watching it. 

The work that I’m proudest of…

Before moving to London 10 years ago, my grandma passed me a copy of my grandfather's memoirs on fighting the oppressors during WWII. Over the years, I spent my free time adapting those diaries into a script, and finally, in 2020, I got to make an incredible project supported by so many talented people around the world. ‘Fischia Il Vento’ (The Wind Whistles) is a 15 minute hand-drawn animated short film I wrote, directed and edited, that was animated by the young talented Natasza Center. Over the last year and a half, it has travelled the world through the festival circuit and won best screenplay in Spain. Despite being very much out of my comfort zone as an editor, this is without a doubt the work that I am most proud of.

Above: Trailer for ‘Fischia Il Vento’ (The Wind Whistles) 

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

In early 2021 I cut a big car commercial and a few weeks after the film was released, a YouTube filmmaker decided to download the rushes that were available for press on the client's website, and re-edited the commercial himself. The video hit almost 500k views within a few hours and received many comments about how that re-edit was better than the original. At the time, it really annoyed me and I wrote the guy an email listing my feedback about his edit, expressing my frustration about the whole situation. Looking back, it makes me cringe how much my pride was hurt by it all. Fortunately, I never got a reply. And I refuse to give him any more publicity by sharing the link ;) 

What’s your dream project to work on or who would you like to collaborate with most?

I spend my days hoping that Paolo Sorrentino would pick up his phone to tell me he wants me to cut his next film, advert, tv show, showreel, etc. That day has not arrived… yet. But seriously, I just hope to find the right balance between my commercial and narrative projects with all of the amazing people I've been lucky enough to meet and work with so far in my career. Now that I’m with OkayStudio, it feels like the right place at the right time for me and I’ve already made some amazing connections and work that I’m very proud of. 

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