Jack A. Bowden is probably the most grounded space cadet we know. His polished look at reality means he’s in high demand. His work has been lauded by internationally acclaimed clients such as Missguided and Trivago, and we’re stoked to now rep him exclusively outside of M25. In this Director 101 interview, we discover Jack’s vision and aspirations as well as his disdain for tripods. Buckle up, peeps – this is Jack.
Director 101 – Jack A. Bowden.
TGF: What do you enjoy most about shooting for fashion brands?
Jack: What appeals to me about shooting for fashion brands is the balance of creative freedom with delivering something specific for a big client. Often the brief is fluid and I am granted freedom to deliver my vision, while creating premium content for some very influential brands. You don’t get that with many other genres of commercial.
TGF: Which project has been your most informative to date?
Jack: The LonDunn x Missguided collaboration was a turning point in my career. I made it a priority to over deliver and to stylise the piece with an aesthetic that I felt really made it POP.
TGF: Do you enjoy collaborating with other directors?
Jack: Collaborating with other Directors is always an eye-opening process. It’s a rare opportunity to see how others work and is always refreshing to see that everybody is different and there are no rules. I don’t like them.
TGF: How do you push a script to exceed client expectations?
Jack: Many clients come to me with a brief that simply shows the mood they’d like to create. From here, I like to get involved in all aspects of execution. This can be casting, creative, sound design and aesthetic. It’s always about recommending to them which creative aspects we can introduce to bring their idea to life.
TGF: Which clients have been a dream to work with?
Jack: Trivago was a fantastic client to work with. They literally gave me all the creative freedom I could ask for to execute a youthful commercial, shot on 35mm, in Paris. Missguided are also a company I work with frequently. Our creative styles and processes are beginning to work in unison nicely, and we’ve just shot a TV commercial out in California. I mean… it was totally rad, dude.
TGF: Have you had to work in any challenging locations? How did you handle it?
Jack: Every location is a challenge if you don’t have loads of time and money, which is usually the case. I like to make the most of every location possible, so try to play on its attributes, such as natural light and colour. I recently shot a summer campaign in LA and it rained for three days straight, but we came away with some really beautiful content.
TGF: What can film do for fashion that other media forms can’t?
Jack: Film can bring fashion to life in a more overarching way than any other format I can think of. Whether shooting huge lighting setups with stunts and dancers, or simply some interesting looking cast in a minimal location, moving image can evoke a “feel” and a “mood”, a way of life.
TGF: Who is the most important and or influential person for you in the world of film right now?
Jack: No one person inspires me more than others. My ideas come from an amalgamation of everything I see, hear and do. Whether it’s from another director, a song, a photograph or walking him in the middle of night listening to music, creativity just pops up when and where it pleases.
TGF: What concept, idea or technique do you think is most underused? Which is overhyped?
Jack: Slow shutter cinematography is most underused, especially when using a strobe to light your subject(s). Tripods are overused.
TGF: What recent technological innovation has had the biggest impact on your work?
Jack: LED lighting is getting crazy. On a shoot where you’re trying to shoot 24 looks in 10 hours, it’s been a godsend, especially now that you can dial-in any colour temperature you want.
TGF: Do you think filmmakers have a responsibility to make challenging, socially conscious work?
Jack: I wouldn’t say the responsibility is in the filmmaker, but rather the brand to hire filmmakers who want to challenge the audience and break the norm. I am one of these filmmakers, nonetheless.
TGF: When inspiration is waning when creativity is sapped, how do you stay inspired?
Jack: I couldn’t tell you how I stay inspired. Inspiration comes at any moment and that part of the brain never really has a nap.
TGF: What non-film medium inspires your work?
Jack: Photography. No doubt about it.
TGF: Is the evolution of your style a conscious or subconscious process?
Jack: Subconscious. Style is something which comes naturally, influenced by the brief, “trends” and what you think will set the piece apart from other work at the time. However, a conscious part of this job is forever wanting to try new techniques and processes, which I guess is a considered aspect always front-of-mind.
TGF: How do you balance meeting commercial objectives without sacrificing your art?
Jack: Pleasing the client is paramount. If they want to let me do exactly what I want then that’s great, but it’s a rare phenomenon. That’s why my aim is to deliver exactly what’s required in a way which is also creatively satisfying. Everybody’s happy.
TGF: What’s going on in your world when you’re not looking through a lens?
Jack: If I ever go missing, a good place to start looking would be a pub, a gallery, on a skateboard or 30,000 feet in the air (or at home watching Drag Race)
TGF: What’s your advice for emerging filmmakers wanting to make their stamp in the industry?
Jack: Do not stop. And make what you want to make.
TGF: What are you most looking forward to with your adventure with The Gate?
Jack: I’m looking forward to being able to pitch on jobs with all the support necessary. There’s nothing more enthusing than being surrounded by people who want to make good work and put the effort in. Plus, they’re Northern.