Team Talk – John Ford
Team Talk with John Ford
Each month we chat to one of our team about what they’re working on, what they’re working towards and what gets them out of bed in the morning. This month we chat to John Ford, Head of Film at Contra about his role and vision for 2019.
I’m the Head of Film, in house Director of Photography and one of the founding partners of Contra Agency. Oh and a father of two boys under five!
I’ve been running the film arm at Contra for nearly two decades now and so much has changed. When we started, folk would only get to see our films on CD-ROM or VHS. Fast forward to 2019 and the majority of us have some interaction with video content every day if not multiple times per day. Our films are published and viewed on numerous platforms worldwide, we have the chance to make great films and choose exactly who we want to see them, where and when. This is the most powerful time of communication I’ve seen in my career and long may it continue.
The year ahead –
As a Director of Photography I care about craft and quality. Each film needs to be captured in the right way to enhance the story; whether that’s a punchy studio promo for a makeup brand or a heartfelt, emotive story for a charity. It’s important to me that our work is recognised for its sincerity and cuts through the noise because creatively, it’s second to none. As a Head of Film I care about collaborating with our clients; working with their creative teams, brand vision and of course budget. I also care about empowering my team to do their best work and encourage them to be bold and ambitious in their ideas. We’ve worked hard to recruit amazing in house talent with a broad scope of experience across the creative industries. I can’t wait to see what they do in 2019.
Highlights from last year –
For me, it was seeing our team work on challenging briefs which resulted in real world change. We’ve just finished a series of short documentaries about the people of the Maasai Mara, we’re helping raise funds for a guidance counselor in the heart of Trenchtown, we’ve helped a homeless charity further their mission, we’ve helped launch a sustainable sports clothing brand – the list goes on. I’ve also loved continuing to work with our friends over at The British Lung Foundation and The Royal Society.
My personal highlight was the Red Bull Soundscapes project which took us around the world with talented musicians recording sounds at extreme sports events in order to create a series of new tunes. The music they’ve created is incredible and the experience has genuinely opened up my mind.
The elephant in the room –
It’s going to be a volatile year for the British economy. It’s going to be fascinating to look back on the coming few months to see how Brexit will have affected the creative climate in the UK. In the meantime, we’re going to continue with business as usual but with an awareness and increased flexibility for our clients. The most important thing is that we don’t sit back and wait for Brexit to resolve. We must keep pressing on with our projects and plans using the plethora of avenues at our disposal to keep our brand message and businesses alive. It is possible that Brexit will shift the media landscape entirely and from it new ways of working, collaborating and thinking will grow. Whatever happens we’ll be ready.
Final thoughts –
I am more excited going into 2019 than I think I have ever been. We’ve hit the ground running and have some superb campaigns coming out over the next few weeks. We’re renovating our office and building a dedicated shoot space and have welcomed three new team members to the family. Although right now the UK may be standing still, we’re very much looking forwards.