YGT INTERVIEWS Look & Yes Creators of Made You Look

Look & Yes are a production company with big ideas and high hopes. They are also the creators of a brand new documentary geared towards acknowledging a talented movement of creatives who extol their talents by working in collaboration with and in some cases entirely separately from digital tools and media. Made You Look is a film about creativity in the digital age. It follows and focuses not only on a small group of notable individuals currently making their mark on the creative, especially graphic arts and illustration, industries but on the effects of external forces upon creative trades, goals and achievements.

The realms of publishing and advertising are filled with illustrators, makers, designers, and artists whose names are instantly recognisable within creative circles, however, these industry ‘rockstars’ aren’t generally known and appreciated by the general public. Do we have the anonymity of social media to thank for this? Or perhaps, conversely, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have helped to bridge the gap between creatives and their audiences. After all, we now live in an age where work needn’t be produced just because it’s been commissioned by a client. It can be created simply in order to join a host of amazing projects in a digital portfolio or to be retweeted and reblogged by an online creative community. Made You Look investigates these ideas, and shines a light on what seems to be the reality of a relationship between creativity and digital.

Hugely excited by what we may come to learn from this project and by a wonderful teaser trailer packed with scintillating shots, we caught up with Look & Yes’ Anthony Peters to find out more about the film, the company’s goals, the expert team of creatives featured in the film, and the importance of the Made You Look documentary’s intriguing subject matter.

To begin with, tell us little about Look & Yes, what you do, and who you are.

Look and Yes is a collaborative collective with three people at its core, David Waterson, Paul O’Connor and Anthony Peters. The three of us have worked on a few projects spanning the last 15 years and we finally decided to actually ‘put a ring on it’ and do something more official. We were all feeling a bit disenchanted with the work we were doing in our own chosen professions, so decided to start something in which we could choose to do only projects which excited us and gave us back a zest for life. Projects that allowed us time to play and create things we are proud of. The company name is derived from a piece of music by an electronic act called ISAN. The name resonated with us as we only wanted to do projects that we immediately felt moved to work on, so you literally look and agree to participate immediately. Look & Yes.

Brecht Vandenbroucke print for Nobrow

How and why did you come up with the idea to create a documentary about creativity in the digital age?

The idea for Made You Look came about after Anthony was interviewed for a mini film for Print Club London about their Film 4 Summer Screen print show at Somerset house. It became apparent that nobody was telling the tale of UK creativity in the digital age, there was an important DIY movement happening that was about more than ink and graphite. It was about people having digital fatigue and a desire to have some time away from the multitude of screens that rule our lives. After an eerie July 2013 pre production chat in the fog on Brighton beach the three of us agreed the idea was worth pursuing and a month later we filmed our first interview.

Tell us a bit about the film, the creatives featured in it, and the information and advice that it provides.

We don’t want to give too much away but the film explores the value of digital and analogue means of creativity. We have already started a dialogue over social media regarding the issue, and it seems many people feel passionately about both! The obvious truth is that digital and analogue means are both incredibly valid, and combining the two can be a real recipe for success! One thing we will say is that the film gives a real insight into the working process of some of the UK’s top creatives, publishers and studios, Both verbally and visually. We made sure to choose a range of different artists that spanned different disciplines, some digital and some analogue, this way we had a balanced argument and all the ingredients for a beautiful film.

The Team at Okido Hard At Work

Who has been involved with the film’s production; how did you put Made You Look together, and what has the process been like?

The film was produced over the course of fourteen months (so far) and involved fifteen days of interviews, three days of filming events, one day on the title, made with Adrian Johnson, and a month and a half of planning the edit and cutting our rough cut. Besides the core three L&Y crew we used a talented DOP named Stuart Smith on 80% of the filming, two other camera operators and an editor for the trailer. All other editing has been done by Paul O’ Connor.

The reason for the long timespan of filming is that the three of us had to fit the filming in around our dayjobs, we were putting in our time and expertise for free, and begging and borrowing (but never stealing) equipment. Our main benefactor was company called Mechanical Mouse who were incredibly generous both with production funding and equipment. Everyone else who worked on the film did so on a wage, so we never took advantage of people’s skills. We trusted our gut instincts all the way through, and because of this the whole experience has been really straightforward, with plenty of laughs and many moments in which we experienced the pure joy of creativity!

What does the film set out to achieve? 

Our hope with the film is that it inspires people to rediscover the childhood joy of making something for its own sake. It’s not a childish thing to do and it keeps us sane. If people do this it as a result of seeing Made You Look we hope they take the time to tweet about it and let us know.

The old Its Nice That office in Shoreditch

What in Look & Yes’ opinion are some of the positives and drawbacks of being a creative in the digital age?

We don’t want to give too much of the core film narrative away, however we do think with so many people online it’s sometimes hard for artists to be seen or heard. That should just make people work harder though. The truth is that if you make something for the right reasons, and you are proud of it, it shouldn’t matter what medium you use.

Film is a great collaborative medium and viral videos can have a huge impact on a wide audience. After experiencing such a great response to the Made You Look trailer, are you keen to create more short films and documentaries to impart knowledge and inspire creatives?

We live in an incredible age for film, companies such as Black Magic Design allow filmmakers to make beautiful films on a shoestring budget, and editing software and equipment is more readily available. More and more film is featuring online in short and long form. Sadly great institutions like Public Information Films ceased to exist in 2006 as changes in technology meant that everyone could record things themselves (often badly on mobile devices). We think there is an obligation for documentary and media companies to properly record and curate the stories of modern life for posterity, and not just shaky little iphone videos of the seaside or the funfair. So we have a few ideas up our sleeves, and are keen to continue recording the little pockets of culture that wouldn’t normally be committed to film.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to at this stage?

A big thanks to every artist that believed enough in our project that they agreed to take part! Plus, we would like to give a pre-emptive shout out to all those people who might pledge some funds in our forthcoming Kickstarter campaign!

After endless hours of collaboration, ideas-sharing, planning, making and shooting for the whole team, we can’t wait to see the feature-length documentary in all its glory. Look & Yes have poured a great deal of dedication into sharing the story of digital’s impact on the UK’s creative industries and have worked tirelessly to discover how today’s talented illustrators, makers, and designers work best. If you’re searching for inspiration, Made You Look is sure to provide an edifying boost. Learn more about the film, the Look & Yes Kickstarter campaign, and how you can support the entire project here.

Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth