Music meets Film with Director and Producer Lucy Werrett
What attracts you to music film as a medium?
I've always loved music videos and the creative freedom it gives you as a filmmaker. I find that sometimes music videos can move me in a way that maybe a short film would not; You are able to tell a compelling story which interacts with the music to create a new layer or dimension to the song, and the song to the image.
I love music, specifically electronic. I’m constantly being inspired by the live music and festival scenes - They're made up of so many creative audio and visual elements. I'm really interested in immersive experiences and audio-visuals. Festivals and shows have played a big part on inspiring some of my ideas; I am currently pitching for a documentary, which focuses on the resurgence in audio visuals and how it is often overlooked.
I am also really interested in documentary and feel like my style is telling authentic stories but in a very visual and stylised way. For example my last documentary, Nan’s Army, told stories of war survivors using a variety of animation styles.
Echoes is very high concept – simple and abstract – What was your inspiration?
I’ve always been fascinated by dancing and I even used to dance myself. Contemporary dance is such a beautiful and expressive form. I love the energy and emotion it can convey. I’ve watched a load of dance films that have captivated me from start to finish and I like that you can be very experimental with dance. There's room for a certain spontaneity in the performance which can be missing from other mediums.
When I first heard the song Echoes with vocals from the amazing Tenisha Edwards I just knew that contemporary dance would work perfectly. Echoes represents the many troubles found in our world, specifically those that are frequently reported through news and social media. It’s about our inability to ignore the ‘echoes’ and reverberations of which we are all exposed to, at any given moment, and at any time. Co-director Johnny Lennox and myself felt that this conflict would be really effectively shown through dance.
This project was definitely fashion driven, I love fashion editorial photography and this played a huge part in inspiring the aesthetic of the film, we wanted our cast to look minimal but slightly futuristic, the styling was influenced by director Kevin Calero’s Foxtrott – Shaky Hands music video. We wanted the dancers to represent the conflict caused by global and political issues and as a result to appear uniformed and I felt the washed out beige worked well against the cold setting of the warehouse.
I think simplicity works well with dance as the focus is on the movements so providing a big airy space really allowed them to be centre of the stage and added to the atmosphere.
How big was your crew?
There was an about 10 of us. A very small crew and we could have done with a few more hands but we had a very professional crew. It was a long two days in really cold conditions but spirits were always kept high and it was all hands on deck.
We were all there out of passion and because we wanted to make something fun and creative, many crew members wanted a change from working on drama or corporate films. It was really inspiring that everyone their had a real love for their craft, filmmaking and being on set.
I really liked the intimacy of having a smaller crew, it me feel at ease but also I think the dancers did as well. It meant that everyone had a responsibility and everyone tried there hardest and it also made forming relationships with everyone easier and then people were a lot more relaxed and very motivated.
What difficulties were there in making the film?
Good question. Money is always a difficulty in independent filmmaking. I had to pull in a lot of favours with kit houses and the artist had to supply money for the kit and crew insurance. Johnny and I put in a lot of our own money, we had to buy food, costumes and hard drives and more, but we knew it would be worth it and were willing to make contributions to ensure the film would be the best it could be.
What advice would you give to someone making an indie music video?
If you don't ask you don't get. Take advantage of any connections you have, if you know somebody that works in a hire facility with access to the kit you need - ask them!
I am surrounded by likeminded creatives who also want to build their portfolio. If your idea is good then people will work for free, even those that you feel are a lot more established than you may want to help, so don’t be afraid to pitch your idea to them.
I think the second problem for me was taking on too much. I juggled three roles; producer, director and stylist whilst working full time and it did get stressful. There were times I wanted to really think about the story and the directing side but I had loads to sort out on the producing side.
Johnny and I were optimistic about Echoes just slotting right on a platform for example a music magazine but that really isn’t the case. We should have done a lot more research into the platforms that are out there and maybe shaped our idea to suit a platform, I feel Echoes is a very stand alone film that is probably best suited to particular film festivals.
Before I make anything now I pitch the idea first to a potential commissioner or a platform and know where it would fit in the market before I make the film. You want to know that were will be audience for your film and sometimes a well established platform is what can stop your film from going unnoticed and can create the exposure deserved. This is the main reason I started up Ontra Collective (a platform that showcases the best in video and photographic content from artists all over the world) which you should definitely check out by the way.
What’s next for you?
It’s a very quiet time in the Film and TV industries at the moment, I recently finished a contract so I’m currently looking for work and really trying to break into the music video and independent film scene.I am working on getting a commission for a new dance inspired music video. I'm collaborating on a few other short film and music videos too. This year I plan on making a lot more content both video and photography. I want to improve my skills with shooting on film and do some more fashion photography really playing with art direction. I want to really find my niche but it is hard. It's all about perseverance.
Can you recommend a music video or Director?
I love Oscar Hudson’s work and admire the fact he’s not afraid to have big complex ideas with lots of sets and lots of art direction. I also find Alasdair Mclellan’s The XX’s music videos are irresistibly dreamy. My favourite is probably this one, Gosh by Romain Gavras for Jamie XX:
Behind the Scenes on Echoes by Jack Powley
Lucy Werrett on set. Photograph by Jack Powley
February 13, 2018
Lucy has turned her talents to the world of Nan's Army, Today we meet Bristol based and multi-talented Director and Producer Lucy Werrett. After the success of her animated documentary music film. Lucy has directed and produced the abstract and conceptual Echoes for Future Dub Orchestra. Today we talk the challenges and rewards of independent film-making and the unique opportunity for creativity that music film offers.