Thomas English has been a successful Steadicam operator for more than a decade, and now he's also an increasingly in-demand DoP. Even in this tumultuous year he has continued to progress in this new …
The Questionnaire: Zak Razvi
Zak Razvi joined Pulse Films from ad agency BBH two years ago to head the music video department, and has since executive-produced videos for London Grammar, Benjamin Clementine, Jon Hopkins, Kasabian, Damon Albarn, Fatboy Slim, Glass Animals, Tinie Tempah, Peace, Jessie J, and more besides.
Zak, who is 28 and from South London, also directed his own short film last year, a doc about Jordanne Whiley, the British Paralympic tennis athlete, which won Homespun's first short film award and is now doing the festival rounds. So we dragged him in for some routine questioning...
Education: Media Studies at Sussex University
Previous occupations: Tennis coach, barman, designated box lifter in an electrical distribution warehouse, running two club nights in Brighton, production assistant & producer at BBH London.
Favourite music video of the past 12 months? Emile Sornin’s Couple of Stacks Halloween video for Dizzee Rascal was great…I watched that three times in a row when it dropped.
Favourite video(s) of all time? Spike Jonze’s Drop video for The Pharcyde; Mark Romanek’s 99 Problems video for Jay-Z
Favourite publications/websites: Soundcloud, Ted.com, The Fader, Indiewire, Guardian, fubiz, booooooom, Creators Project, Promo News, hot-dinners, Twitter, Motionographer, NTS, hypetrak, fantasy.premierleague.com, pulsefilms.com (brand new site now live!)
Favourite food/restaurant: I’m really into this cookbook, Persiana, by Sabrina Ghayour at the moment…and I’ve always had a bit of a problem with ice cream, so I’ll go with that for favourite food; favourite restaurant is either Zen in Belfast (order the angry crab), or Meza in Tooting Broadway (order everything)
Favourite drink/drug: Dark N Stormy; Raspberry Yop; And I’ve tried all the major supermarkets peppermint tea variations… Sainsburys Taste The Difference wins hands down.
Last movie you saw (and was it any good)? Whiplash. I hope it wins everything.
Favourite directors: I heard these guys are pretty talented... pulsefilms.com
Last gig you went to (and was it any good)? Run The Jewels, in store at Rough Trade East. They performed three tracks and did a Q&A… for some reason there were only about 25 people there, but it was great.
Favourite bands/artists: David “Ram Jam” Rodigan is my hero; Prince / OutKast / Beck / Lynden David Hall / Q-Tip / DJ Luck & MC Neat / Curtis Mayfield / The Four Tops / Robert Glasper / Kendrick Lamar / The Fugees / Dizzee’s first album / Nas / The Notorious B.I.G. / The Roots / The Maccabees… it goes on.
Currently reading/favourite book: I’ve finally got around to reading Zadie Smith’s book, NW, and really enjoying it.
What was the first music video you worked on - and what were you doing on that job? Producing a short doc for Jessie Ware’s first ever London show at The Nave church in Hackney, directed by my bearded and talented friends Dan & Ben Tubby.
Favourite job of the past 12 months: *SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT* Directing my first little film JORDANNE, which then won Homespun’s short film competition was a pretty special moment for me… to everyone that worked on it, THANK YOU. I owe you big time.
What’s the next Big Thing you’re working on? #patscolashair – I’m urging everyone to post pictures using the hash tag when working with Mr Pat Scola
What would most improve your life? Seeing #patscolashair trend
Best moment, or fondest memory, of your career thus far? Getting that magic little “Staff Pick” badge appear on my doc and being accepted into a few film festivals was a nice moment; Shooting at the Champions League final was another…and shooting a wild jaguar on a sugarcane farm in Brazil was pretty special.
Worst moment? Hearing the wild jaguar before seeing it. Petrified.
Biggest frustration? 50 people crowding around one monitor.
What’s the big issue or issues facing music video makers right now? Everything’s fine…We’ve got all the time and money in the world when making videos… so all’s good…!
Person you most admire? These lovely people – pulsefilms.com
What advice would you give to someone starting out in music video production? Watch as many videos as possible, work out which Directors you admire the most. A good place to start is the Director Series DVDs (Glazer, Gondry, Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, Mark Romanek etc).
Any hot tips on who will be the future stars in music video in the next couple of years – directors or otherwise? I like to keep my cards close… but did I mention these guys yet? I'm not sure I did…Pulsefilms.com
Featured in this interview
Kareem Adeshina's start in film production arrived earlier than most. He was a child actor, featuring on several TV shows, including East Enders.
Price James has landed in Hollywood. The British director, who at 6ft 6in considers himself “officially the second tallest director in the UK” after a certain Dougal Wilson, has been marooned …
Tom Ringsby and Rhory Danniells have known each other since university days, and having travelled the world in pursuit of their filmmaking careers, they started working together a couple …
It's all a matter of perspective in Hannah Berry George's latest promo for Baby Queen.
Shojon is depicted as a modern-day Cupid figure in London, adding feelgood vibes to several …
Vixen Noir self-directs a lockdown visual for track I Love U.
Aisultan Seitov returns to music videos with this stunning work for the Kazakh rapper Maslo …
Sammy King pays homage to the limitless capacities of female empowerment, in the vibrant …
The threat of conflict hangs over a young girl's head, in Paola Kudacki's affecting promo for …