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Staying Creative with Edward Zorab

This week we catch up with Writer and Director Edward Zorab on his creative process and recent projects. We first worked with Ed on our seasonal video lookbook for AW19, which you can find here. The lookbook was shot on location at our now old, Brixton studio. Check out our full interview below.

Thanks for catching up with us Ed! Do you mind telling us a bit about your creative background? 

I’m a British Writer & Director. I trained at the Arts University Bournemouth, before going through film school in London and continuing on to build a career writing & directing both short and long form content. My work in narrative, fashion and music promos has allowed me to collaborate with all sorts of amazing disciplines and clients (including you guys) and I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve recognition by BAFTA for my short film ‘Youth In Bed’. Since signing with my literary agency, I’ve been working on lots of feature film scripts and concepts, which is an exciting, albeit lengthy new territory to be exploring. 

You describe yourself as both a writer, director and producer, can you tell us more about those roles?

Writing and directing are very symbiotic roles, but discipline and refinement of practice are essential in both. I think there’s a romantic notion of the ‘maestro’ with the ‘vision’ that struggles to articulate themselves, but most of the time that’s just a muppet from film school who can’t find the edges of their idea because they’ve confused abstraction with individualism. In doing multiple roles, I have found directing can suffer when it becomes wrapped up in producing bureaucracy. People don’t want to have an argument about shoot dates with you one second and then listen to you walking them through an emotional breakdown scene the next. You need distance between the admin and the art, otherwise they can poison each other (it works both ways, too).

The compositions on your showreel seem very meticulous and thought out, is there anything that’s inspired this aesthetic approach?

I think it stems from the same part of me that finds stories interesting or not; an innate fascination of things that are other to myself; be they human beings, environments, items etc. My tendency with a frame is to hyperbolise it’s function - I’d like to think this is something that will relax over the years and I’ll be more candid in my approach, but for now at least, things get put on pedestals in my mind and they come out that way on screen. Perhaps this is a millennial defect or maybe the font on my iPhone is just too big and I assign false importance to things.  

Directing seems to involve a lot of creative collaboration, any tips for working with people?

On the creative side: Respect people’s expertise, always allow them the room to articulate and work with people that move you from your comfort zone in healthy ways. On the client side: Humour the idea that you never know best, even when you do - otherwise you’d be paying yourself. 

Any advice for staying creative?

Travel, eat, taste new minds. 

All time favourite director?

Gaspar Noé.

And all time favourite film?

Garden State (2001). But I’ve said this so many times I don’t know if it’s true anymore, it’s just part of the script. 

Finally, any artists/designers/filmmakers we should know about?

My best mate Cameron West continues to inspire me with his illustration output. I’m fortunate enough to have one of Talia Maidenberg’s paintings hanging on my wall - she finds her subjects on google street view. Becci Honey is an exciting designer with an awesome style and I’ve been vibing to the dulcet tones of Lila Yin’s music recently.

Cheers Ed!