The Directors: Craig Bingham
Craig grew up drawing inspiration from his surroundings in Yorkshire. His career started as a portrait photographer, which through character study then led him into the world of documentaries where he found his feet as a filmmaker. His visual approach to storytelling has led him into the world of commercials and branded content for brands such as HP and the RAF.
Name: Craig Bingham
Repped by/in: DadBod films
What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?
I do find myself getting quite excited about every script that falls on to my lap if I’m being honest. I think people in the industry can fall into a trap of pigeon holing themselves into a certain field and not being open to approaching a certain type of script. For me its all about the approach no matter what the script, finding a way to make it your own. But I generally find I connect to scripts with a human story, subtleties and an emotional pull.
How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?
Go for a run. I get home, spit all my thoughts and ideas out in pages. I write down everything I’m thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing in my head. It’s usually an overall tone which comes first and then I can break things apart and find my approach.
For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?
For me the two most important relationships is with the producer and DP. I always work extremely closely with my producer, my relationship with him/her is as close as any friend. It’s important to be open, vulnerable and share the same passion and excitement for the project. Coming from a photography background it’s been a journey in itself finding DP’s who can connect with me visually. Again, the relationships I have with DP’s go further than just on set. I have a close social relationship with them so that on set we understand one another visually and emotionally.
What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?
Im always drawn to stories which are built upon characters I can relate to. Stories which can be approached through an authentic vignette, stories which are built upon subtitles when conveying emotion.
What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?
A lot of my work is connected to the RAF. This can sometimes put me in a certain category and people look at the work as more of a high action piece…but actually the projects are built upon real performances and personality. I think this is why it's important to know your tone of voice, understand what it is you are bringing to the table as a director.
What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?
The craziest problem I have come across is probably trying to orchestrate 6 quad bikers and 7 regiment gunners to fall back and load into a grounded Chinook helicopter, especially when you’re burning £8500 worth of fuel in an hour. You have to plan and work efficiently.
How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?
I approach all my jobs in an open and collaborative way, its by far the best way to embark on any project. That being said its important to not forget why you have been brought in on the project, to have a strong voice, to trust yourself, support your vision and back up your approach with a solid reasoning.
How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time?
I feel that the pandemic has definitely opened the doors to new ways of thinking and approaching scripts. I haven’t picked up new habits, I think if anything its allowed me to step out of the commercial world and focus on my own shorts. I think and stand by the importance of making your own passion projects. It gives a true reflection of you as an artist. Pandemic or no pandemic…make new work.
What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?
New technology scares the hell out of me. But what is exciting is seeing new talent come through expressing their visions through different mediums. I personally like to keep things simple with in my own work through in camera performances, but by running my own production company it’s allowed me to work with new artists in bringing their visions to life.
Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?
RAF - Regiment
Running through Life
Panavision - The Dance
I feel like these four pieces of work show a wide range of different approaches but all hold my tone of voice. I always try to bring a heightened sense of awareness to every project I do, sound has a big part to play in everything I write. Im aware that people will probably only watch each piece once so creating something that bleeds a sense of intrigue is something I try to carry in all my work.