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Quarantine Q&A: Nicolas Jack Davies, Sweetshop
Nicolas Jack Davies got into directing video remotely by Zoom almost before everyone else, with Marcus Mumford. And he thinks that staying home has had a beneficial effect on his working habits. He also gets to watch lots of telly with his kids - even if that sometimes leaves him in tears...
What were you working on before the lockdown?
Commercials in the UK and the States - both postponed. Both picking up when we’re out the other side of lockdown apparently… fingers crossed.
What are you working on now?
Just shot a lockdown video for Marcus Mumford, which was a challenge, but fun to pull off. Seems like ages ago now as so much of this style has found its way to our screen so quickly, but it felt genuinely exciting (if that’s a suitable word for these times) to try and pull something like that off without leaving the house!
I’ve been working on a feature doc about the bands At The Drive In and The Mars Volta, and the two central figures of those bands Omar and Cedric. Fortunately, a huge part of it is editing pre-existing footage from the last 25-30 years, so it can be managed at a social distance. So far at least!
What's the most surprising, or least predictable thing, that's happened to you during quarantine?
Most surprising is how much having a (unavoidably) strict routine has had a positive effect on my work. I’m the most disorganised person and spend my workdays rambling from production offices to edit houses, so to have a routine and a consistent place of work has really benefitted me. The least predictable thing is trying to handle my kids at the same time as working - a total minefield.
What's the favourite part of your daily routine?
Having lunch with everybody in the house.
I’m definitely in that camp of people who’ve started to have genuinely weird vivid dreams.
Are things getting harder/better/staying the same?
The first four weeks felt okay I suppose - as long as we stayed healthy - but there’s no doubt it has started to get harder. The anxiety around what’s happening out in the world and the constant information and updates and news is draining for everybody, I’m sure.
That said It’s interesting seeing many people adapt to this new normal. And it does feel weirdly normal now. Although I’m definitely in that camp of people who’ve started to have genuinely weird vivid dreams. Last night I entered drug rehabilitation with the 80s/90s professional wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage after being arrested repeatedly for driving down a one-way street the wrong way.
What have you learned about yourself during quarantine?
That in normal daily life, I don’t talk to my friends and family nearly enough about their lives.
Best meal you have eaten/are regularly cooking (send photo, if poss!)
I went through a phase of making soups because we fucked up the veg order twice in a row! But I’ve developed a pretty mean bean chilli, and my BBQ skills have improved tenfold.
Best thing you’ve watched, or heard, while on lockdown, and why? And the worst...?
The best? The first two episodes of The Last Dance on Netflix got me hooked in. I watched Big Hero Six with my youngest son and cried my eyes out twice.
The worst? Sorry to say, but Paul McCartney on that Together At Home live mega-cast doing Lady Madonna - just didn’t do him any justice at all.
How's your Work/Life balance at the moment?
Not bad. The thing that probably makes me feel unbalanced the most is how much I love having time alone on a commute. Not because I’m away from everybody, but because it’s a transition between work/home and back again that’s kind of special. I’m totally freelance and I might think differently if I was 9 to 5 to same place every day - but my best thinking happens in that time.
• Nicolas Jack Davies is represented for music videos and commercials at Sweetshop. Watch his reel here.
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