Work Beyond the Glitz
"Growing up on the edge of the Lake District, I have always been drawn to both city and country, human nature and loneliness. I moved to London to study at art college and then proceeded to work predominantly as a music video director, before gradually moving towards telling stories through drama and documentary. I have now moved back to the North West of the country, where my work has taken on this blend of city and country, human stories and isolation."
We spoke to Daniel about his work, what inspires him and his next steps:
"I am infinitely curious in people and human nature, and am drawn to all sorts of characters, people with weird hobbies, ordinary people, what it is to be normal, and then the characters that stand out in certain ways, like musicians. I think I am drawn to musicians as its something I do not have a grasp of, how they make music. I think it is the way they come from a different direction than me that is fascinating, and ultimately pulls me in that different direction."
Fabrik: You state that your work 'has taken on this blend of city and country'. Is something that you look for in a treatment, or think about when you’re creating your own films, or is that something you like to suggest to the crew you’re working with?
Daniel Brereton: "I think its something that has come naturally from spending 15 years in London and then moving away from the city to somewhere more quiet, and near the place where I am from. I am very proud of the place I grew up, and so am happy to show it off to people through my work. Having this sense of place is very inspiring from me and helps me create new ideas."
Fabrik: What do you look for in a script or treatment? And do you prefer to work to take on most of the roles yourself, or work with certain DoP’s, editors etc. that have a specific vision?
Daniel Brereton: "I am often looking for something to grab onto, be that music, an idea, a sentence. And from there i can start to develop an idea. I like working with people who have their own ideas, I like collaborating. That's why I work with musicians, as they have wonderful ideas that often can't be realised due to budget/travel/logistics, but sometimes they can be made, and I've been fortunate to work with great people. Its the same for crew, I try and get people who are creative and come with their own ideas, its always hard to get every single person into it. I'm also conscious of trying to get more female representation in the crew, and different ethnicities, its something that is often hard to do, which says a lot."
"I am often looking for something to grab onto, be that music, an idea, a sentence. And from there I can start to develop an idea."
Fabrik: You have worked extensively in music videos having experimented with various techniques. Are you always on the lookout for innovative approaches and is the industry open to such forays?
Daniel Brereton: "Yes because as a creative person I am always looking for whats around the corner, how I can do something better or different to what I've done before. I think my various approaches have become less diverse recently, as I have become focused on a certain aesthetic, and the experimentation comes within the best way to achieve that aesthetic."
Fabrik: Any interesting or fun anecdotes from your time on location, or from the reception of your work?
Daniel Brereton: "Way too many, the sad ones stick with me most. Like having videos canned, and having diva artists that treat you like shit, obviously I can't say who!"
Fabrik: Any advice you’d like to impart on your craft to directors going into the field?
Daniel Brereton: "Yes lots, but I think that my advice is different for each individual. I came across someone recently who thought that you had to go through 'the chain' to work your way up to what you want to be. I told them that's bullshit and that they should just start making the work they want to make, just go for it."
"I came across someone recently who thought that you had to go through 'the chain' to work your way up to what you want to be. I told them that's bullshit."
Fabrik: Anything you’re working on at the moment that you can share, or any sort of personal directions you’re embarking on that serve your career?
Daniel Brereton: "My short film, which I'm excited about, shot in the north west of England, and very much grounded in that area. It was a really tough film to make, but I'm proud of how it's turned out."
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