Jack Whiteley

Night Light

Jack Whiteley

1) How did you get into directing?
After deciding not to pursue a career in more traditional art forms I enrolled on a practical filmmaking course at university where I initially took an interest in editing and sound design. However, I soon realized I had my own stories and ideas that I wanted to tell so when I finished studying I bought a 7D camera and started shooting and directing my own stuff. This eventually led me to getting signed to Rattling Stick where I now focus solely on directing which is very liberating.

2) What is your most recent project?
My last completed project was a little charity film for the RMHC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) called Night Light. It presented a challenge in that we had to make the audience feel for an inanimate object, i.e. a plastic night light dog called Wilbur. The only thing we could control was his expression, which we could change between shots. It was great practice in trying to create emotion that wasn’t reliant on an actor’s performance.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
Turning your dreams into reality (without sounding too cheesy!). Also working as part of a team and the amazing people you get to collaborate with. It’s an incredible feeling when everybody is passionate and working together to achieve the same thing. Also the buzz of being on set and being in the zone—it’s one of the few times when I feel like I truly exist in the moment and I’m not distracted by unnecessary thoughts – it’s quite a Zen-like state!

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
Knowing what you want! You have to make so many creative decisions and each decision is so important in steering the ship in the right direction, get one wrong and it can have a knock on effect down the line. It’s hard because there’s never one correct way to do things it’s just figuring out which way is best for the story or idea you’re trying to communicate.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I’m currently in production on my first TV commercial for Weetabix, which is incredibly exciting, so right now commercials are my focus but I also love making music videos so it’s about dividing my time between the two. I love unusual stories and oddball characters so narrative fiction is where I feel most at home. I recently dabbled in comedy for a music video I made for The Staves. I really enjoyed the process so I’d like to infuse more of my work with humour in the future.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
I feel like the other directors at my company are my mentors in some way. They’re all older and more experienced than me so being able to ask them questions and advice is invaluable. I’ve learned the importance of preparation and getting the casting right. There’s that famous quote: “rid yourself of the burden of directing by casting correctly”—it’s so true!

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
It’s always changing. Right now I’m really enjoying discovering Xavier Dolan’s work as I thought Mommy was a revelation. Also Damien Chazelle’s work on Whiplash was inspiring. In the music video and commercial world I’m consistently impressed by the work of AG Rojas, David Wilson, Martin de Thurah, Hiro Murai and Emily Kai Bock.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
It’s way too hard to choose one. There’s so much amazing work out there. But on this occasion I’ll say Night On Earth by Jim Jarmusch and Magnolia by Paul Thomas Anderson. Oh and Blade Runner.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I come from the rolling hills of Shropshire in the west midlands of England so I’m a simple country boy at heart. I studied in Manchester, then spent some time in Liverpool, before finally moving to London last year. I used to paint and decorate with my dad when I was younger so I’ve always got that to fall back on if all else fails!


Josie Atkins
Head of Sales

Rattling Stick US
Joe Biggins