Fast 10: Scoundrel’s Tim Bullock Explains What Shane Warne & Salt-N-Pepa Have In Common

Fast 10: Scoundrel’s Tim Bullock Explains What Shane Warne & Salt-N-Pepa Have In Common

In this latest instalment of the Fast 10 series, Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham chats with Tim Bullock, director and founder of production house Scoundrel.

You know Bullock’s work, even if you don’t know his name, having directed huge spots for the likes of VB and Toyota, working with creative agencies such as The Monkeys and Saatchi & Saatchi. In fact, Bullock was named B&T’s Best of the Best Directors in July.

1. Scoundrel is a collective of talented directors and creators, how did it come together?

Scoundrel was founded in 2014 when Adrian Shapiro and I felt it was time to venture out on our own. We wanted to build a company around the word “Integrity” and carry that thought through to the type of work we do, how we treat people and how we carry out the work. Fortunately, this was an attractive proposal to a couple of other directors we had hoped to work with such as Michael Spiccia and Tom Noakes and the company just grew and grew from there. Great work tends to attract great people.

2. Your name is potentially negative, why Scoundrel and any backstory?

I always liked the word “scoundrel.” My mum called me and my sister scoundrels, my favourite comedy is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and, lastly, Han Solo — definitely the coolest guy in Star Wars — is a scoundrel. We did for a microsecond question whether it was a good name for a company trying to build itself around an underpinning of integrity but everyone loved it, and besides only a company that aims to do good would be brave enough to call themselves that.

3. I love the line in your creds where you talk about specialising in the unexpected, challenging conventions and inspiring emotion. How do you strive to deliver this day in and day out?

One of the key reasons we all got into advertising and production was that we enjoyed the thought that through communication we could shape perceptions and behaviour. The savvier and more cynical the audience gets, the more we need to up our game to keep them surprised, entertained and above all, moved. All the film and experiential directors we represent strive to create work that is visually stunning but also connects on an emotional level. We all continue to strive for that because we feel passionate about the work and the effect it may have.

4. What sets the Scoundrels apart or does your name say it all?

We are definitely passionate about the work and take that very seriously but we don’t take ourselves very seriously.

5. Your talent is highly awarded at Cannes, D&AD, One Show, CLIO, etc. Do clients value these awards?

Many clients understand that these awards are a measure of creative success and that there is a correlation between great creative and consumer engagement. However, I’m sure the awards are meaningless to them if there is no corresponding increase in sales or brand awareness.

6. Your team are seasoned professionals, what’s the advantage of senior experienced talent?

Our EPs Adrian and Kate both had agency backgrounds before coming over to the production side. It is really important to understand the way things work inside an agency — the dynamics between clients, suits and creatives. It helps ensure we can meet their needs better. Experience also means they can see trouble coming from a mile away — something essential in production. Most importantly, experience builds trust with crews and clients. Production is tricky. You need trust.

7. You have worked with some of the biggest names in the business, any particular highlights?

One of the joys of commercial directing is you get to work with extraordinary crew and extraordinary actors and talent. I’d say some of the highlights were working with John Cleese for Specsavers in London, the late great Shane Warne for VB, Salt-N-Pepa and Grand Master Melle Melle for Kia and John Cena for Experian in the US. All of them were a pleasure to work with. And importantly, they’re so good at what they do, they were easy to work with.

8. What’s your favourite location to shoot and why?

As a director, you’re often spoiled with regard to travel. I’ve shot everywhere from Cape Town to Ljubljana but I always love Thailand. It’s just such an amazing collision of East and West. The crews are amazing, particularly the art department and wardrobe departments. There is such a ‘can do’ attitude there and the people, food and culture are amazing. The traffic, not so much.

9. Can you share with us something that’s not on your LinkedIn profile?

I absolutely love horror movies. Unfortunately, there seems to be no place for horror in advertising or on LinkedIn. That has to change.

10. Do your parents know what you actually do?

My dad has to know what we do because he is our accounts payable department. He is way overqualified for the role but we dragged him out of retirement and he seems to like keeping busy.

Check out the rest of the Fast 10 series here:

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