It's great when you get a script that says ":60" or ":90" and then just a couple of lines to say what it's about."Tag" was like that, as well as "Twist" [Levi's] and "Shade Running." The key to " Tag" is I don't tend to work to a rigid timescale - you know, 2.5 seconds for that shot, etc. I don't use a lot of equipment. It's about going out and collecting as many ingredients in the allotted shooting time. People accuse me of not being specific enough upfront, but I think when you do, sometimes you lose out. There are hundreds of variables that can happen. Like I reshot the bit where they all line up behind the bins. Toronto is quite film-friendly, but they're very red-tape there. You can do what you want as long as they know exactly in advance. But you can't turn your camera round to shoot the other end of the street.
NIKE "SHADE RUNNING"
I wanted to shoot in L.A. for the sun, but they didn't have the money. So we went to Toronto, but it was often cloudy, so we were really up against it. We would start off in the morning trying to shoot "Shade Running" but it was raining or whatever, so halfway through the day we would switch to "Tag" and we had to get our heads round that. Nike will hate me for saying this, but the runner, she couldn't, like, run after two days. If you look closely she's limping a little. There's a lot of post on "Shade Running," but there wouldn't have had to be if the sun was stronger. We spent days looking for a corner where she could run in the shadow of a truck. We almost moved cities. We shot in May/June, but a lot of the shadows were strengthened.
I remember saying to Vince Squibb [Lowe/London's star creative, and creator of "Sofa"], "Why don't you do it yourself, Vince? You know, it's a nice, simple idea." He said, "No, no, it's too complicated." And I said, "Oh, you'll be kicking yourself on the shoot when you see how easy it is." I should never have said that. I still make the mistake of thinking everything will be easier than it is. This was different for me. Everything had to be worked out in detail. We had two sofas; one that was hollowed out so animators could get inside - although we didn't want to make it too human. The other sofa was polystyrene so that he could lift it. The staircase was built with one inch to spare on either side. After the first day we were really late, and on day two we slashed a quarter of the storyboard. We knew we'd have to do serious overtime on a three-day shoot to get there.
I nearly passed on this one. But I went back to it after a couple of weeks, having talked to Paul [Rothwell, his producer and partner in Gorgeous]. It was new to me, mixing in animation - and you know, the way that filmmaking is going with so much CGI . . . In a way, you have more control of animation. You're there for every aspect: the wireframe, the gray stage . . . We always had a toy or something for the actor. The hardest thing was the eyelines. The script became more powerful with the actor we cast, and because it was a charity job there were fewer restrictions; he could smoke, swear. He wasn't a complete monster like all the other actors who auditioned. There was a slight feeling of vulnerability there.