In the next instalment of Everyone But The Band, we get insight into the creative minds of some little beasts. Compiling everything from music videos to adverts for Bose, Little Beast production company are everywhere at the moment and for good reason. Chatting with some of the crew, Luke, Jenny, Esme & Kate, in their new office in The Chocolate Factory, Tara finds out what makes them tick.
How did Little Beast come into being?
L: In a nutshell, we all made things together. Different configurations of our group worked over the years on each other’s projects, and we made good stuff. Film is an incredibly collaborative process that requires by its nature close working relationships, and we had the kind of shorthand that develops only after working together over years.
What’s the inspiration behind the name?
L: Our group often said “beast” - to mean something particularly cool or unreal. So when we were coming up with ideas for different names, someone said how about beast and then someone else said how about little beast, because I guess we are a tenacious little crew of beasts! Smaller than some but more hungry and more committed than most!
J: I studied film in Institute of and Art, Design and Technology with some of the other beasts. Soon after I graduated, I started working in the production office for The Vikings and that led to working on some great jobs from Love/Hate to Crimecall. I have also been quite lucky in that I get to work on large projects but also create and develop some of my own work.
K: I did a BA in Sculpture and Combined Media in Limerick School of Art and Design. After college I was involved in theatre through my aunt who is a producer, I started out as an assistant stage manager and prop buyer then worked my way up to designing sets and costumes for small shows. I won a scholarship to do a Masters in theatre design at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. From that then I got involved in film through my sister as she was studying it at the time and she needed a designer for projects. Through working on these projects for her and her then classmates, I was recommended and things kicked off from there.
E: Well, I took a year out I after school and did an art portfolio course where I was putting together a portfolio to do model making or graphic design. It was there I started making little music videos with my sister. I had so much fun making these videos that I said “feck it” I’ll try get into film school. A few years later I graduated from The National Film School with a Degree in Cinematography and have been working in the industry ever since.
L: Our core group went to college together at I.A.D.T., the National Film School, but at this point, some of our core group, and many of our collaborators are people we made connection with after college. To be honest we relish finding or being found by new people; it’s a crazy thing when a new mind adds their talents to our mind soap! Some of our best ideas have been born this way.
L: As I mentioned, film is all about working with others. Find people who you can work well with, that’ll push you to do better work. Work with people that you can trust to tell your idea is shit, when it is, and fantastic when that is the truth. Work hard, no one cares if you think you're great and have nothing to back it up with. Remember to enjoy your life! Filmmaking is an all-encompassing lifestyle, do not let it eliminate other parts of your life, as everything that you enjoy and find interesting will help you make better films.
E: Filmmaking is an exciting industry to be part of. Working with different people from all walks of life on interesting projects can be very rewarding. My only advice would be to shoot as much as you can and stick at it, whatever your area of expertise is. Like a circus, filmmaking is a bit crazy and it definitely has its ups and downs so you really have to be patient with it.
J: Never look a gift horse in the mouth! Seriously, I think it’s a lifestyle choice not just a job so make sure it’s something you really want because it can really consume you.
L: We like them all to be honest! It varies a lot from project to project and within each project you go through stages. It’s a mind-blowing experience. You have ideas singing through your mind then you hammer them out so you can show the rest of the team, client, agency or “what have you”. New thoughts and notions get incorporated into the concept, then you make it, and that feeling of forming those original thoughts and concepts into tangible seeable thing is a fantastic bloody feeling! It’s about creating things, be they something sad, amazing, entertaining or simply crazy or a combination of them all. Making other people feel powerful emotions with what we create is what it is about.
J: I think promos are probably the easiest to produce but music videos are more fun and I get to have more creative input plus you get to work with great bands like The Hot Sprockets! When you work with bands so devoted the product is always great.
K: I am lucky in the fact I get to work on such a wide variety. I could work in any medium in one year. Last year I worked on documentaries, commercials, theatre, opera, short films, television series and music videos. I think the pure fact that I get to work on so many disciplines is what makes my job special.
K: Production companies like Little Beast come to me with a track and a loose concept and I do research and come back to them with a folder of different ideas and things that would inspire me on the project. We then work together to lock down a concept that best represents the band and their music.
L: It varies a lot, sometimes people come with concepts that they have and we work developing it with them or other times we might approach someone we’d love to work with and try sell them on something we think would be cool. Working with musicians is fun, they're at about equal weirdness levels as filmmakers. Collaborating with them and the people who surround them can be maddening at times but it’s always a hell of a lot of fun! Ultimately musicians and the music industry is made up of some passionate fuckers and it is always preferable to work with people that give a shit.
E: It really depends on the project but usually a band will either come to us with a concept or they will ask us to develop one for them. We will try to get as much info from the band about their thoughts for the song, look, feel etc. and then we’ll sit down and put together a visual production pack for the band. If they’re happy with it we use it as our drawing board. Working with musicians is a lot of fun. They are as wacky and creative as us, which can make for an interesting shoot.
J: We start with the bones of a story and then we have a production meeting where everyone from the different departments bounces ideas off each other to create a whole concept. Then a production pack is made for the client or band to see and sign off on.
What projects you are working on at the moment & what’s coming up for Little Beast in the future?
J: We’re developing an alternative documentary on Ireland at the moment. It’s early days but I can’t wait to get filming.
L: We are working on concept for feature length documentary at the minute, and a couple of adverts for some pretty nifty brands. Also chewing through a new music video concept at the minute that should be a lot of fun. Also we did some travelling last summer, we went to Mongolia to the film the eagle hunters, this will hopefully lead to a lot more travelling this year. Seeing the world and getting to shoot the crap out of it at the same time is a spine tingling experience.
E: At the moment I’m working on a spec ad for Bose speakers. We are currently in pre- production so I can’t wait to get shooting.
K: I have just finished shooting a couple of commercials. Currently I’m costume designing the production of “The Field” which will be in The Gaiety this April.
J: Little Green Cars are just incredible! Jack Steadman from Bombay Bicycle did a remix of Hozier’s “From Eden” that’s pretty sweet.
E: There’s so much talent at the moment in Irish music. You can’t beat of bit of James Vincent and Cast of Cheers, oh, and Hozier can’t forget about him.
K: I’m listening to Jape and God Knows vs +mynameisjOhn+Graeme S
L: That would be telling wouldn’t it? There is a ton of fantastic Irish music going round at the moment. You can see with success stories like Hozier there's a chunk of the world ready to be metaphorically grabbed by the ears, all it takes is talent, luck, perseverance - and of course a video by Little Beast! We are all went to see Jungle last month in the Olympia, funky as hell.
What’s been your best/worst/ strange festival experience?
L: Filming on stage with Rudimental as they blew the crowd at Longitude up into the stratosphere, lightly kissed them on the lips, then gently brought back down to continue their dancing was solid fun! Sometimes you get this weird moment when all of your pre- production, planning and thinking that has lead you up to a particular moment gels. You are standing at the precipice of this new experience and might be about shout action or shoot a shot that you just know is going to look sublime, there is an undeniable feeling of pleasure and achievement. When you’re filming you are seeking those moments, where everyone’s hard work allows you to leap off the drop with no fear of falling whatsoever.
K: Best experience was dancing my ass off to Rudimental at Longitude.
J: I was such a fan girl for Sam Smith, I delivered a battery behind stage before his set last year. I tried to play it so cool so I leaned against an equipment box, not thinking it was on wheels, I flattened myself.
E: I don’t really have a worst festival experience but generally filming drunk people isn’t much fun. One of my favourite experiences was filming Chic on stage. They were amazing to watch and to get to film their performance was even better. They really have the moves.