Meet Harry Lindley, the self-taught VFX Film Director
GUAP got the chance to sit down with self-taught VFX film director – Harry Lindley – who recently released his newest project “Taxi” with British rock duo Nova Twins. Lindley creates every matrix lover’s dream as we watch the Nova Twins in fast car city chases and in pursuit of a un-named “bad guy”. Find out more about what Harry Lindley as a London-based film and music video director, and what he has planned for the future!
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
I grew up and still live in South London – I’ve filmed all over the area since I was a kid. Before filmmaking, I really wanted to be a magician. When I was 11 or 12 I shot a David Blaine style street magic video with some mates. We weren’t very good, but it was a laugh. I studied physics at university but came back to filmmaking after I graduated.
How has your background shaped who you are as a director?
My dad, retired now, was a film editor in television, and that must’ve rubbed off on me. I loved visiting his edit suite and seeing the clips run backward and forward across all three monitors. One way or another most of my family work in media, but for some reason, they were still surprised when I started making films.
Do you remember the first time you discovered you wanted to be a director?
No, I can’t remember. It was a long time ago.
Why are you a director?
I think part of the reason art, in general, is so powerful for both the artists and the audience is the concentration of intent. A painting may take hundreds of hours to finish, or a novel several years to write. Filmmaking is at the extreme of this spectrum – a big-budget feature film requires the expertise and time of thousands of craftspeople, from the actors and camera operators to editors and sound mixers down to the caterers and runners. And miraculously the sum of these efforts is distilled into 2 hours of screen time. Even at the smaller scale of music videos, the input to output ratio makes it a deeply rewarding activity.
How did you get into VFX was it something you learned or did it come naturally?
Regrettably, I’m a “let’s fix it in post” filmmaker. While not the best approach, knowing your way around After Effects has been a lifesaver on occasion. I once discovered in the edit that the performer’s zipper on his trousers had been down for most of the day. I had to spend a few hours digitally zipping-it-up for him. Many of the VFX skills I’ve learned were not out of choice, but a painstaking, face-palming necessity.
Tell us a bit about your creative process?
Different projects have different demands, so I try to be flexible. Sometimes it’s best to arrive with a loose idea and figure it out in the moment, other times I’ll write an extensive shot list with lens choices, lighting setups, camera movement… I spend a lot of time studying feature films for inspiration. We live in a blessed time that we have this archive at our fingertips.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I try not to think about it consciously, and instead concentrate on making the project I’m working on as good as it can be on its own terms. I get excited by working in genres or styles I haven’t done before. With that being said, I’m drawn to sci-fi and fantasy imagery, particularly those with a darker, creepier edge.
What drew you to creating this type of project with the NOVA Twins?
I’ve worked with Amy and Georgia on their previous two videos. They’re great to work with because they bring so many ideas to the table and have a unique look and style all of their own. They’re determined to make each video bigger and better than the previous – it’s a joy to collaborate with artists with their level of ambition and enthusiasm.
What would be your dream project to work on?
I’d love to collaborate with FKA Twigs. Everything she does is bold and surprising. Her music videos, which she directs or co-directs, are so imaginative and well-executed. I could talk about her for hours.
Who are your current favourite movie/music video directors?
I really enjoyed Queen and Slim, so I’m interested to see what Melina Matsoukas does next. It’s inspiring seeing her make the leap from music videos to feature films. I also liked Melanie Martinez’s K-12 music video full-length film which she wrote and directed herself. Paul Thomas Anderson is my favourite working feature filmmaker.
Check out Harry Lindley’s New Video “Taxi” Out now!
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