Three Questions For... Tim Bullock

Tim Bullock, Director at Scoundrel

What inspires you?

One thing is for sure, I’m rarely inspired when I’m sitting down trying to think of ideas. I always tend to be inspired when I’m in showers, loos and baths. So I guess I’m inspired by tiles.  Or perhaps water. Perhaps both.

I’m a firm believer in feeding the mind with all manner of weird random crap to get good things out of it. I try to force feed mine. Maybe one day it might even work. I try to watch each one of my top 20 movies at least once each year.  “An American Werewolf in London” is my favourite film of all time.  That never fails to inspire me, usually to write a werewolf comedy. I’m inspired by Emily Bronte at the moment. I’m reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ and it’s sheer joy. Part of the joy is having to look up at least one word every 5 pages. She was 29 when she wrote that. That inspires me to work harder. I’m also watching 1970s Tom Baker Dr Who episodes trying to recapture the wonderment I felt watching those when I was a kid. I’m also forcing myself to listen to 80s new wave music. When I was younger I was so blinkered to rock.  Now I realise what a treasure trove it is. Seriously, how good were “Flock of Seagulls” ?!? Can’t get in to Depeche Mode though. Sounds like kids playing on Casios.

I do believe that the dots get joined somewhere along the line. Perhaps I’ll write a Victorian era science fiction TV series with very bad special effects and an eighties soundtrack. That could be cool.

What do you look for in a script?

I always love a strong core idea – Nothing Soft Gets In. You can extend a great idea like that infinitely. The Woman Whisperer. So very wrong but I couldn’t say no.  Soy Aftertaste Face is another. I had to pull out of a pitch quite late in the piece to work on that one but I’m glad I did. It led to an ongoing campaign of more award winning scripts.

I also gravitate towards scripts that have a human truth in them. A recent script I would love to have seen is McDonalds “Anything for love”. It was a brilliant insight and brilliantly executed with lots of splendid detail and a lot of heart. That kind of spot really resonates.

I don’t get my kicks from techniques and execution per se but generally I like to be challenged. For instance a recent script I got for 8 Bar had a woman flying around like an eagle.  That was fun to figure out – VFX, flying rigs, aerial photography – all while maintaining the comedy.  It was comfortably outside of my comfort zone if that makes sense.

What does ‘creativity’ mean to you?

Creativity is figuring out how to answer that question in less than a few thousand words (that’s only 15 words so far).  As a director specifically, creativity can mean anything from the flourish in the milk foam at the top of your coffee to a suggestion by the colourist. One thing I do know, having once been a suit and in a secret life – a corporate recovery consultant at KPMG - is that everyone is creative and that everyone from ‘creatives’ to accountants can have a great idea and that it pays to listen and not dismiss ideas from anyone.  Well, unless the idea is total shit in which case it should be dismissed. But anyone can have shit ideas too – even ‘Creative directors’. But a shit idea has been created. So it’s still creativity I guess. (137 words so far…)