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Patrick Clair | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Patrick Clair

True Detective Main Title

Patrick Clair

1) How did you get into directing?
I’ve always been focused on directing, I came up through design and animation with a passion for using imagery to tell stories and move audiences. Initially, I combined motion graphics with documentaries to tell stories about how the world around us is changing—technology, warfare, politics, the Internet and digital culture…they are powerful forces changing society rapidly and constantly. In recent years, my focus has shifted to narrative storytelling—using the same combination of design imagery to tell stories that are emotive, character-driven and dramatically compelling.

2) What is your most recent project?
I created the titles for HBO’s True Detective. Visually, we were inspired by photographic double exposures. Fragmented portraits, created by using human figures as windows into partial landscapes, served as a great way to show characters that are marginalized or internally divided. It made sense for the titles to feature portraits of the lead characters built out the place they lived. This became a graphic way of doing what the show does in the drama: reveal character through location.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
Working with talent, and tapping the potential people have to create great work. Nothing is more exciting than seeing a team come together to create a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. A director’s job is to usher the idea through production to ensure that it’s as powerful as possible. The key to success is creating an environment where each member of the team can practice their craft at the highest level, and then ensuring the broad strokes are on point. Collaborating with the ideas people—showrunners, writers, creatives, agency—taking their ideas and making them an engaging piece of film is thrilling.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
I really like my job.

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.?
Increasingly, my work is focused on combining design and live-action in interesting and engaging ways. We built a strong body of work across many entertainment products, but I’d like to move into a variety of genres that moves across a broader field. Car and technology brands are places where the mechanical meets the personal, where new products change our lives in interesting and surprising ways. Spots that combine striking imagery with authentic drama, that’s the kind of projects that I love to be working on.

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 most with you?
No one specific.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
David Fincher has proven an ability to move between genres and platforms, and create both beautiful and striking content across them all. His films reveal dysfunctional male relationships, but do so with visual audacity and discipline. He also has a knack for identifying interesting collaborators and making the most of their contributions. From The Social Network to Fight Club to House of Cards, from Aaron Sorkin to Trent Reznor to typographer Neil Kellerhouse—his choices are interesting, daring and successful.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
There’s so many to choose from, how could I pick a single favorite?

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I’m from Sydney, Australia where I hold an MA in filmmaking and digital media. My work spans live-action, motion graphics and documentary to build brands and tell stories—my focus is on combining design with storytelling. Now I live in Los Angeles, and work with Elastic.