The Sandpit

Sam O' Hare

How did you get into directing?
In the UK I studied architecture, and taught myself computer graphics as I did that. I moved into architectural visualization and animation, and soon started shooting very visual effects heavy films for architects and developers, especially while at Uniform, in Liverpool. After moving to New York, I worked in visual effects for commercials, and started to direct them shortly afterwards.

What is your most recent project?
“Smooth”, a spot for Jose Cuervo Silver through Colangelo, shot with Harris Savides and Martin Ahlgren, which was over half computer graphics, completed with Method Studios, New York. We explore a bottle sitting in a block of ice, which shatters revealing glasses, ready for drinking by four friends.
My last personal project was The Sandpit, a timelapse tilt-shift short film shot in Manhattan and Brooklyn, about a day in the life of the city.

What is the best part of being a director?
I love having the time to think about and craft stories visually. I enjoy the creative process and coming up with novel solutions for achieving effects, both in camera and in CG. I also get to work with some amazingly talented people.

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?

Not really, having side-stepped my way into the industry, I’ve never had a mentor to follow.

Who is your favorite director and why?
I like a quite a few directors, but will go with David Fincher—very intelligent use of the camera and visual effects to achieve complex storytelling moments, and allow you inside the characters’ heads. The linked up camera moves in Fight Club, or Panic Room show this well.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
Amelie, because it is so beautifully crafted, and visually stunning—the colours are fantastic and the subtle but intelligent use of visual effects involves you in her world. I’m also a huge fan of Children of Men, it’s visually stunning. Honda’s “Cog,” a great deconstructed explanation of the idea, and an impressive physical feat which keeps you your interest and is very memorable.

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Same answer as number one.