UK director Martyn Pick is well-known for merging live-action with painterly animation, whether it’s a feature film, commercial or short film. He studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and has been working as a director and animator ever since. Martyn explains what interests him in doing certain projects, which part of the filmmaking process he enjoys the most and what the best and worst aspects of this creative, yet demanding job are.
“As a working director I get offered projects that are different from what I have made before,” Martyn says. “But when I get offered a job, I decide if it’s something I feel comfortable with… Will my tone, my voice, bring something to it? Will the project help develop my style further? When it comes to CGI, 2D animation or live-action, I ask myself if the composition, acting, storytelling, content and aesthetic will work with what I bring to it.”
From Warhammer 40.000 to Blue Moon
“I took on the ‘Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie’ (a fantasy science fiction film in which live-action is translated into CGI) because I was approached for a test that included facial capture, and knew I could take my style and move it into a new, modern context. So I moved from a pure art style into more mainstream areas, while keeping my distinctive cinematic style, including flowing camera movements and a dramatic play-of-light. On top of that, it was great to work with an impressive and iconic cast including actors John Hurt, Terence Stamp and Sean Pertwee. After the Warhammer 40K movie I went on to direct another feature: the supernatural live-action thriller ‘Evil Never Dies‘. My career evolves this way because by directing the Warhammer feature I had become a genre feature director. This year I will be directing a horror-comedy: ‘Blue Moon‘, a full length feature film, which will include some animated elements.”
Filming in challenging environments
“I’m really looking forward to working on Blue Moon. The filming itself is one of my favourite parts of a filmmaking project,” he admits. “I have worked many years as an animation director, which often means you are either working alone or in a single room with a strong team for a long time. It’s a very controlled environment and because of that you can really realise your vision. That is great, but it’s also rewarding to work outside and film in different environments. You’re at the mercy of the elements, the weather and all kinds of challenging variables, but overall it’s a fun experience. Another thing that adds to the joy and the spontaneous aspects of filming is the crew. For instance, sometimes the director of photography will say “let’s try this…” and come up with something really fresh for a certain shot or scene, which takes the storyboarded plan a lot further. The same goes for the input and ideas from actors or other crew members that surprise you. Your work evolves further because of this.”
“Another aspect of filming that I enjoy is storyboarding. Because I come from the visual side of things, this is the part where I come into my own. I draw my own storyboards, which is really been my way in as a director, whether it’s 2D, hand animation, live-action or CGI. I love the flow that it creates and you don’t have to be precious but just capture the shot. I enjoy the speed of visualizing something quickly.”
Stress of post-production and the joys of directing
“After the filming is done, you go into post-production, and that is often the most challenging part. This is where the editing takes place and you share the end result with the producers/investors!” Martyn explains. “It’s also the part where the budget or schedule gets tight. But it is also the most rewarding, creative part because it is where the film comes together. Despite the intense work, there are many things that make up for it. I get a chance to create something in an area that I’ve admired all my life. There are so many films I’m inspired by. And now I’m working in the same medium as people who I respect, such as directors like Sam Peckinpah or Billy Friedkin. It’s great.”
Read more about Martyn Pick on his official website: www.martynpick.com and follow him on Twitter: @martynpick and Instagram: www.instagram.com/martynpick/
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