What did you specialise in at Central St Martins?
Nick Goldsmith - Graphic design.Garth Jennings - Yeah, the BA graphic design course had a little film and animation department.
How good were the facilities?
G. - The college wasn't so great and it was always going to be a let down when you first turn up. There were a few good teachers as I suppose there would be at ant art school but the first thing you realise is that there isn't this special thing that you thought there would be. After a while you realise that you can do one of 2 things. We could either, go and sit in the coffee bar for three years or we could use the facilities and make short films and little pieces of animation.N. - I never thought they were that good but that turned into a good thing because you had to think for yourself a bit more. We had a Hi-8 video edit suite, why? Since we left we've never, ever seen one being used.G. - And there was such competition between the students. I remember people that I'd got on with on one level but who I was fighting with to get hold of this crap equipment. They would stay in the college overnight, they knew where the sensors were so they wouldn't set off the alarms, and it was the only way to get work done. You'd go in these rooms in the morning and it smelt rotten, after some awful student had lived in there all night! On reflection and its a bit corny to say so but it made us more resourceful.N. - And the three of us met there. Being in Covent Garden was good for access and we made our first two music videos there, edited on a really posh machine through a friend who was a runner at a post production house. So our first two, which were shot for nothing, were edited on high-end machines but they weren't offline machines but they were all we could get my hands on. It was a combination of all those things that made it a good place to study.
Where are you based now?
N. - We're in Chinatown.
Have you stayed in touch with anyone on the course?
G. - Yeah, quite a few have gone on to do music videos, Tom Napper, Ben and Joe Dempsey.N. - And there's a very good commercials director called Rupert Saunders and Mark Adcock.G. - He's just finished a Dogma film
N. - Well, It's not a Dogma film its a fuck me film! (laughter) I suppose everyone's doing well from the course but there isn't much contact.G. - We are really bad at that in general. Its really tricky because there were 120 people in the year and you bump into them every now and then, you have those chats in the street when you are both trying to get away really fast. "Yeah, things are going really well, listen, I'm in a bit of a rush
" that sort of conversation! (laughter)N. - We haven't had our big St Martins pop star yet, yet to come perhaps.
What sort of budgets did you have when you started out and what are they now?
N. - The first video was £500, which is quite big really. The second video was £400 and the third was £30.G. - Recently we did a video for a band called The Wannadies, who we are really big fans of, and the song was called Big Fan too. We'd worked with them before and they were in the position where they were about to leave their record company, no one was interested in making their video. We just went out into a park and it was one of the best things we've done I reckon, the £30 went on ice cream, it was a very sunny day!N. - That's a lot of ice cream! (laughter)G. - 2 or 3 months on it's still getting a lot of air play.
What's it about?
G. - It's a one shot of a man running along happily in a park and he's waving at the world but when you pull back you see that he's mimicking the runner in front, it turns into a bit of a cat and mouse affair. I was hanging off the back of a bicycle with a video camera and it worked out really well, its the closest we'll ever get to Dogma but there you go.
What's the largest budget you've had?
G. - It was Blur's 'Coffee and TV', probably, the happy milk carton one. I don't know how much that was, Nick does the production stuff.N. - It was between £90,000 and £100,000 over about 4 days.G. - That was the most time we've spent shooting a video, just because of the effects involved.N. - That was really tough, One of the days we couldn't afford to hire the whole crew so it was just Garth, my self and the DP.G. - It's terrible because with a large budget your idea expands and, it sounds corny, but we try to put as much of the budget on the screen. Also, because we are a company we don't take a freelance cut from the actual budget. We are paid by the company itself, which means that we aren't dependent on that job. As much as possible goes into making the video, that isn't always the best way to run a business but there is a knock on effect that gets you further work that makes up for the previous loss.