When starting production of our ‘Behind the Film’ series premiere, we knew exactly where to start. Acclaimed director—and Filmsupply filmmaker—Salomon Ligthelm took us behind the scenes of his music video for “Easy”, by aYia, affording us the chance to watch his creative process unfold in real-time.
Throughout his career, Salomon’s work has garnered recognition across the world, with inclusion in both the Saatchi & Saatchi and 1.4 New Directors Showcases, two Gold and three Silver YDA’s to his name, and directing for brands like Audi, Adidas, Tesla, Jordan, and recently, the Ford Bronco relaunch. Oh, and a music video for Prince. You don’t get to a resume like that without undeniably original ideas—that deeply resonate with people.
Talking to Salomon gave us an opportunity to hear his thoughts on persistence, passion for the idea, and how to bring visually-abstract concepts to life. Check out Salomon’s Behind the Film, or, in the meantime, read the highlights and takeaways from our conversation below.
How did you get attached to this project with Ayia?
I first approached the band and I said, look I’d love to do the music video, and they said they already had someone else on it. So that was in September, and then some time passed. I’d written a treatment for [the video] already, because I wanted to give it to them and say I really want to do this for you guys.
I just kept on checking in with them to see how the video was going, and they said actually the guy couldn’t do it because his schedule was busy. So I told them I’d still love to try and make this happen—and they were like “we love it.”
It sounds like that persistence really sold the band on the concept you brought to the table.
A lot of people wait for opportunity. I try to never become the guy that just waits for someone to give me an opportunity, because it’s just never gonna happen. It’s just so rare for that to happen. So you have to make your own.
And obviously the film is a little abstract. The first setup we’re doing is basically a character that’s interacted with this monolithic being, and as he interacts with it, he’s kind of lost his mind.
What are you looking for within those abstract ideas to keep it grounded and relatable?
When it’s abstract you have to kind of keep the core of it really simple: it’s the relationship between man and this inanimate, alien object which represents technology. That’s essentially it.
I think as soon as I made the connection with how the monolith is representative of technology, that’s when I was like, okay, now I know how I can play with this. Now I know how the dynamic of the relationship could evolve.
Is there ever a sense of pressure to deliver on projects like this?
Every job like this, I’m nervous. It’s a massive risk. It’s like massive financial risk. Especially when it’s my own money, it’s other people’s money on the line. And they’re behind me because they trust me. That’s nerve-wracking. So yes, [the project] could be a failure, of course. But, also…maybe not.
We’d like to give a massive thanks to Salomon and his crew for letting us be part of their process. Filmmakers of his caliber are invaluable resources to learn from, and our hope is that his insights will help you improve your work—regardless of where you’re currently at in your career.
To hear more from Salomon, check out this conversation we had with him on the currency of ideas.