Director: Natasha Pincus (Aust)
Natasha Pincus graduated in 2002 with first class honours degrees in Law and Science. She practiced entertainment law at a top-tier Melbourne law firm until 2004, before hanging up her suit to focus on her writing and directing career.
Natasha had been working as a writer since her teens, having written the acclaimed plays I’m Your Mother, Remember Me and Risk. In 2004 however, Natasha moved into the film industry and has since written a number of short and feature film scripts. EMMA AND THE BARISTA screened at a number of international film festivals - winning the Platinum Remi (Short Drama) at the Worldfest International Film Festival – and has been broadcasted on ABC (Australia), SKY, HBO, and HBO Latin. Natasha wrote, directed and co-produced the Australian Film Commission-funded short, LOVE’S LABOUR, which was honoured with a Dendy Award nomination for Best Short Drama at the 2007 Sydney Film Festival, and screened at more than fifty film festivals worldwide including Interfilm Berlin and the Sao Paulo International Film Festival.
Natasha started writing and directing music videos in 2007. She directed a controversial video for Paul Kelly’s GOD TOLD ME TO which won the 2007 Inside Film award for Best Music Video. She has since directed music clips for a number of Australia’s favourite musicians, including Powderfinger, Gotye, Kasey Chambers, Pete Murray, Lior and Sarah Blasko.
Natasha has been selected to be a part of Who’s Who every year since 2007, and was invited to participate in the feature film project “140” as one of 140 international directors chosen to make a short film simultaneously worldwide (inspired by the Twitter concept). She has recently completed work directing an experimental short film ARIETTA which will soon be launched online.
Natasha has completed several original feature screenplays, and has been commissioned to create concepts, bible documents and write pilot episodes for TV drama series for various producers. Natasha recently completed UCLA’s esteemed post-graduate Professional Screenwriting program, including an advanced rewriting course with Paul Chitlik. Her script, MUST HAVE SEX, was awarded a place in the college’s Top 10 UCLA Screenplays for 2011.
Natasha taught Law at Monash University between 2004 and 2009 as a means to fund her creative aspirations. She is now, finally, a full-time writer and director.
Video: GotyeSomebody That I Used To Know
Q. What inspired you or your idea for the video?
The song itself has always been the primary source of inspiration for any music video I’ve ever created. In a sense, music video is a process of ‘adapting for the screen’ so it holds all the answers, all the truth.
At a song’s core – and that might be revealed in a specific lyric, or its overall thematic - is generally where its best visual metaphor lies. How a particular concept develops from there is then informed by the song’s music, its melodic progression, tempo, dynamic, and the emotions it evokes.
Q. How were you approached for the job?
I was approached directly by Wally De Backer (the man behind Gotye) via his Manager at Eleven Music. Eleven were a wonderful label/management to work with, leaving me to my own devices and trusting me with the project.
Wally is an absolute marvel, so the very idea of working with him was an exciting prospect in itself. Then I heard the song and just fell over.
Q. What were the limitations you faced with in the production?
There weren’t so many limitations so much as practical challenges thrown up by the extremely ambitious concept itself. The project brought together various professionals across several different media.
I had to facilitate the collaboration of various 2D artists – a graphic artist’s work painted as a mural by a different scenic artist whose own work was to blend with a body painter’s paintings across two performers.
The artists all had their own methods and needs to achieve their work so negotiating those, while also subjecting them to the tedious, stop-start nature of stop motion photography, was tricky. We were also integrating stop motion and live action photography, which provided technical and creative challenges. And the video had to be shot entirely out of order because of the timings of the various paintings/reveals, which was difficult both logistically and hard on the singers in terms of performance.
They were also exhausted - the body painting took 7 hours per person, so we could only start some parts of the performance work 14 hours into the a day’s shoot...so human fatigue was a limitation! A 26 hour day is grueling, no matter how much you prepare and train for it.
Q. Was there much experimentation/tests done before the shoot?
Plenty, particularly focused on ensuring that the split screen would work. The concept involved stop motion proceeding on the RHS of screen, with live action continuing on the LHS. We had to make sure it would look perfectly seamless.
Q. Who were your key collaborators?
The video’s DOP was the amazing Warwick Field, who I have worked with on almost all my music videos. Music videos are a great medium for a DOP to have the opportunity to play in their art. In my view, they are the most crucial collaborator in your team and so it is well worth spending the time and energy and bucks to ensure you are working with the best.
Emma Hack is a world-renowned body artist and she did both the body art and hair and makeup for Kimbra. Howard Clark is a genius scenic artist who painted our background mural. As is always the case with music videos, the clip was made by a tiny team, very carefully selected.
Q. Had you worked with anyone else previously?
Warwick is my constant collaborator. Howard Clark had also worked as a scenic artist on our clip for Sarah Blasko’s “We Won’t Run” where he painted a 30ft mural across both a wall and floor in such a way that when the camera moved out the surfaces ‘flattened’ to create the optical illusion of a single, straight image.
The small production team on this video was mostly made up of usual collaborators – we even brought a musician from another band we did a video for to help out as a camera assistant! Music video is always a ‘family’ production. It’s incredibly hard work and you have to be surrounded by people you completely trust and enjoy being around. You all end up putting everything you’ve got into pushing the project over the line.
Q. What was the turnaround?
The video took a few months of preparation. That’s a key benefit of a musician-driven clip - you are working towards the common goal of making the best video you can, rather than being forced to make decisions driven by an imaginary deadline made up by a business person you never even meet in the flesh. I edited the video myself over a couple of weeks.
There were a lot of different ways to tell this story and it was important that the two ‘characters’ came across certain ways at certain times, and the right way on balance. We shot many different performance versions for each mini scene and because Wally and Kimbra gave such wonderful performances, I was spoiled for choice.
Q. Do you feel that the client understands the production process?
Very rarely. That was one of the nicest elements about working with Eleven Music. They really get it – what you need as a filmmaker, what it takes to make good work. Most of the time a record label will get you to liaise with random marketing people who have no idea what is actually involved in the filmmaking process, and how much it all costs.
Q. What did you shoot on?
Canon 5D. It’s great low budget camera for many kinds of video projects, but certainly not the right camera for others. It was the perfect choice for the video because we had the rare need of using both its video and stills capacities (the latter for the stop motion sequences). The camera position and lighting design was crucial in order to achieve the visual effect of the blend/camouflage in camera.
Q. Where did you shoot it?
Lot4 studio in Richmond.
Q. Is this video a part of the Gotye video performance that featured at the Graphic festival?
No. I provided some footage of Kimbra to Brendan Cook, the talented animator working with Wally on the video elements of the show. I believe he is adapting some of the clip’s images into silhouettes and animating them.