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Bastille 'No Bad Days' by The Trash Factory & Dan Smith

Rob Ulitski - 22nd Oct 2021

The Trash Factory (James Arden) and Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille, co-direct the promo for No Bad Days - a story of love, loss and the intersection of humanity and technology. 

As well as co-directing a Bastille video for the first time, Dan Smith plays a scientist who is trying to bring back the essence of his deceased love into the form of a robot - both played by Amber Jean Rowan. She gives a multi-layered performance, cycling through different characters and emotions with ease, while Smith matches this energy with his own seamless performance. 

Xander Mitchell's art direction elevates the piece to a new level, peppering the space with high-tech screens and gadgets, whilst ensuring the environment is still anchored in some sort of reality.

The story, heaped with some familiar sci-fi movie references, also plays powerfully with the theme of the song No Bad Days, as Smith's audacious, ground-breaking experiment promises the end of misery - indeed the end of Death itself...


In the end, it’s a simple story about grief and wanting to bring somebody back... 

"Co-directing, it was a pleasure to guide Dan through his first experience in the hot seat - we both had a lot of ideas at the start, and spent hours together distilling down the concept and working out what we wanted the video to communicate amongst all the twisted beauty and technology.

"There’s a lot going on in there - cramming in sci-fi references to Ghost In The Shell, The Matrix, Ex Machina, Alien, Devs, 2001, etc. But we focused on not losing sight of the soul of the piece. In the end, it’s a simple story about grief and wanting to bring somebody back, and how that could play out in a futuristic setting. We allude to the Futurescape technology from previous videos, showing Dan hacking it, but I wanted to make sure No Bad Days would look and feel unique as a promo.

"One of the ways we did that was to limit ourselves to track and dolly for the most part - thanks to DoP David Wright arguing his case for that! - holding on moments to focus on emotion and really using the scale of the space around us. I think it looks especially mad on the circular track around the android. Hopefully, people agree.

"On a technical note, we shot this promo on Xtal anamorphic lenses - the same used for Ex Machina, which is obviously pretty cool given the android theme! Stylistically, they worked so well to emphasise the dramatic, cinematic feel we wanted.

"Our production designer, Xander Mitchell, and costume designer, Minna Attala, both did an incredible job bringing the vision of the world we had to life - building Dan’s lab and android workstation, whilst the wider story of the woman’s past was created entirely through VFX which was a first for me… waiting until post to tell half the story and pray it comes across - I think we got it right though!"

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Rob Ulitski - 22nd Oct 2021


  • Director's notes
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The Trash Factory
Dan Smith
Vanessa Mc Donnell
Production Company
Executive Producer
Vanessa Mc Donnell
1st AD
Kerry Green


Director of Photography
Focus Puller
Benjamin Smith
2nd AC
Kristiana Zhekova


Milo Cosemans


Art Director
Xander Mitchell


Minna Attala


Amber Jean Rowan


Amy Dang


Jonny Tully
Colour grade company
Tag Collective Arts


Johan Barrios
Post Producer
Katie Gillard


Director's Representation
OB Management


James Hackett

Other credits


Amarjeet Singh, Kqcper Jaszcz

Art Assistants

Sammy Cullis, Charlie Adams, Simms George, Izzy Nakhla


Bobby Brown


Sam Cashman, Francis Cutler, David Mullins

Hmua (Artist)

Tom Gilling

Stylist Assistant

Natasha Luz Del Cielo


Louise Bennett

Photographer Bts

Oliver Middleton

Videographer Bts


VFX House


VFX Producer

Elis Tanyeri

Lead VFX

Salvatore Lo Cascio

VFX Artist

Ronnie Humphrey

Covid Supervisor

Les Spiteri


Grace O’Connor, Sonny Greaney

Rob Ulitski - 22nd Oct 2021

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