Interviewee: Martin Gooch
Job Title: Director
Credits Include: Death (aka After Death), Spooks
Interactive, Doctors, Hollyoaks, Arthur's Amazing Things
Interview Date: March 2014
Q. Hi Martin,
give us a run down of the highlights of your film career thus
A. I am the only person in the world to
have been a winner with BBC talent 'Best New Director' two years
running. I am a BBC-trained director and directed the 2008 BAFTA-winning,
and Emmy-nominated, Spooks Interactive. I have Directed Doctors
(BBC1) Hollyoaks (C4), as well as more than 20 short films, pop
promos and also commercials and virals. My debut feature Death
(aka After Death) won eight awards, including Best of the Fest
at Raindance, Best Director and The Audience award at the Bram
Stoker Film Festival in 2012. My follow-up movie, The Search for
Simon won The Independent Spirit Award at the Monte Carlo film
Festival, and Best Movie at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. I
have a Masters degree in screenwriting, and I have worked on many
feature films during almost two decades in the camera department
from Harry Potter to Judge Dredd, even The Muppets.
Q. How did
you come up with the concept for your latest feature Death (aka
A. The concept for the film was really - what
story can I afford to film! So the concept came together as a
whole load of elements I knew I could get so the film would have
high production values, excellent actors and a really interesting
story. The main element was the house - I knew I could get the
location we filmed the film in, so I wrote the story to fit the
location. I wanted to have one main place where we would film
for a week, and the cast and crew could all stay there and have
a place to eat! The story came from my own experiences, I really
wanted to make a ghost story - as I felt it was a bit of a lost
genre - so many zombie, slasher and gangster films that I wanted
to do something that wasn't being over explored - so mysterious
ghost story it was!
a director and producer of all your features - how does this impact
your work, does it make it easier or harder? And would you recommend
it for struggling directors?
A. It certainly doesn't make it easier! But when
you are working independently it does mean you know exactly whether
something has been done or not! It takes some of the worry out
knowing that you checked the thing and it was booked. On a larger
budget project there would be specific people who are working
on the whole project from beginning to end, rather than just there
for Production - so you can 'relax' a little and rely on the production
team to take the heat off. But if your production team is only
there for the shoot, then you have to keep you eye on the production
ball, and especially the post production supervision. Which on
a big film would be a single persons job! I would reccommend it
and I wouldn't reccomend it. It has to be done - the producing,
and if you can find someone who wants to do it and do it well
then that is a wonderful thing - but if you want to make a movie
and can't find a producer then if you really want to be the director
you will become the producer as well! And if you don't you won't
and it won't happen.
Q. What do
you look for in a film?
A. Almost always story. An interesting
film is interesting! I do prefer a genre pic to a drama, and I
am totally over east end gangster movies. I'll watch any fantasy
film that comes out - and anything about ghosts. Also very much
like a good sci-fi film. Not interested in slasher movies - or
any film that is full of unpleasant characters doing dreadful
things. I want to walk out of the cinema fulfilled, happy and
or amazed at what I just saw. I don't want to leave depressed.
I can do that at home.
Q. What do
all your films have in common?
A. They are all unique - that's what they
have in common! Whether people like my movies or not - they are
individuals and no-one is making movies like the movie I make.
For good or bad.
a real creative person, who not only writes, directs, and produces
but also comes up with the concept art. Tell us about your artistic
background and how these skills help you in your work or influence
A. I was always good at art at school,
and had an excellent art teacher (Mr. Beard!). I've always found
drawing incredibly relaxing, but it takes a lot of time, so I
never get to do it anymore. I did my degree in Fine Art with Film,
and spent a huge amount of time painting. I'll go back to it one
day. Communicating what is in your head as a director to the rest
of the cast and crew and particularly the Director of Photography
is a real skill and being able to draw (a bit) can really help.
Photoshop has been a gift in being able to create interesting
images quickly and (semi) professionally.
Q. What is
the most important job of the director? What do you feel makes
a great director?
A. A director has many jobs but the main
one is converting the script on paper to noises and images that
make sense and tell the best story in the most interesting way.
That's what I think. There are many other jobs - captain of the
ship, morale booster of the crew, motivator of actors, understander
of technology, schedules, budget and time. All of these things
are important (especially if you want to work in TV) but telling
the story in the best way and actually having a 'vision' is vitally
important. A good director always has a vision, and a good director
is never on set doing nothing. there is always something to do.
Q. What are
your top ten films?
A. This changes all the time - the films
that influenced me hugely as a child I might think were rubbish
if I saw them now… I can't just do ten... but My top ten
of films that had a profound effect on me would be (in no particular
the wackiest idea you've ever had?
A. Wackiest idea I've ever had? Hmmm.
Maybe Leslie Phillips ghostly floating head in the bell jar in
Death. That's probably the wackiest that has actually been filmed.
you could direct something totally crazy, what would it be?
A. I'd like to direct Halo Jones the Movie.
A really good sci-fi - or Deathtrap Dungeon - the fighting fantasy
book as a movie… The world neaads more fantasy and escapeism
and I've been put on this planet for that exact reason.
Thank you Martin, we look
forward to seeing more of your excellent work on the big screen
very soon :)
Death is available to buy on Amazon
and to rent on Love
Martin's Contact Details:
Contact: Martin Gooch