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Directors + Directors of Photography

Interview Director "FRANK NESEMANN" by BUBBLES
31 March, 2020

Interview Director "FRANK NESEMANN" by BUBBLES

read the whole interview here: 

Dear Frank. We are talking in the mid of the corona crisis. I hope you do well today. 

Thank you, Bubbles. These are very special times. For the world as whole, but also for our industry.  I have already experienced several crisis in our industry, but this is the one where everything has been brought to a halt. We cannot shot, we cannot travel - we are all bound at home. This hits especially an industry that is built almost solely by freelancers, from lighting crew, dops to editors. Nobody was prepared for that and hardly any people have built up reserves. I can only hope that the state is able to help in that situation and that we will pass that crisis soon. #stayhome #flattenthecurve

You are one of the Bubbles directors of the first hour. Do you remember the first job we did together?

Yes, I can remember that very well. In 2011 we went to Chile to shoot two commercials for BlackBerry. 5 shooting days with beach kites and a high heel race on a cobblestone street. Everything went well, we had strong wind for the kites and found great locations in Santiago. But on the day of the high heel race I had a food poisoning from the dinner the night before. We had 5 cameras and about 120 extras scheduled for that day and I felt like a wet marshmallow. As I became very quiet that, I had a wonderful 1st AD that coordinated the crowds in the meantime.  

You write about yourself that you worked with the „hottest ad agencies“. Tell us more about that time and your hot life. 

I started very young as a copy writer for Springer & Jacoby in Hamburg, went with Jean-Remy and Holger three years when they founded JungvonMatt. There I won with my creative team a huge account for the agency. JvM awarded me with a film course at the NewYork Film Academy, that unexpectedly became the end of my career in advertising and my beginning as a director. I never planned to become a director, but it was just the next step to execute the ideas that you create. And I fell in love with it from the first moment, because film directing is so all-embracing and fulfilling. 

But to get back to your question: it was "hot“  in the agencies because we worked 12 hour days and 7 days a week and we loved it. We hadn’t  heard about work-life-balance those days. And we were rewarded with great working conditions and unforgettable parties. 

What’s your favorite part when directing?

When I started I was just looking for the result. What is the coolest look for a music video, how far can you push the limits. Nowadays I love the whole process. I love the completeness. You start with a drawing on a sheet and end up with an emotion from a viewer in front of the screen. 

I love pitching ideas, casting (I always try to attend the castings personally), I love shooting, working with the actors. 

The part that was a nightmare in the first years - because you were so excited that you couldn't sleep and that you didn’t forget anything - now turned into the part that I really enjoy. Because with the experience that I gained over the years I became relaxed on the set. That takes a lot of pressure from the actors and creates an atmosphere of trust so everybody can open up. 

I was always interested in acting - as my mother was a trained actress - and I worked a lot on my skills as a director how to work and talk with actors. I took classes with a different teachers like Keith Johnston or Susan Batson for example, but it was Judith Weston, an acting/directing teacher from Los Angeles (she also claims Alejandro Iñárritu, Steve McQueen, Andrew Stanton or Taika Waititi as her students) really opened my eyes. Her tools and methods that I still use and prepare with today really turned working with actors into my favourite part of directing. 

Whats the dream job you’d desire to do one day?

I am really into creating emotions and relationships between characters on the screen and for that I love longer formats. 30 seconds is already a long format nowadays. But on the festivals in Cannes and New York you can watch commercials that run 1:30 to 2:45. You need a great story to keep the audience that long watching a commercial, but if you can - it is a very rewarding experience as a director. 

Who’d you cast for this job and why?

It always depends on the script. I love to work with trained actors. I just saw the play „In my room“ by Falk Richter at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin. And I watched the incredible performance from Jonas Dassler. For more than 30 minutes he was alone on stage and delivered a monologue that made you stop breathíng.  So if anyones knows him or his agent, give him a sign please - I would really love to meet - I have a script. 

Ok, let’s get into the most interesting part. What does Mr. Nesemann do if he’s not working or involved into commerical business?

As I am travelling a lot for my job, I really love to spend time home and with my two kids. We live near a lake in Berlin that you can swim in and I run a lot in the woods. 

I am still one of the few people that you can regularly find in the cinema, because I enjoy watching movies on a big screen and with an audience to see and feel how they react. 

If there’s is still time left, I kill it with Apps on my iPhone. Or watch the clouds. 

If you weren’t a successful director for commercial, you would be: 

A cook. A writer.  A coach. A healer. A squirrel. Maybe all together. 

One last question. What music are you just listening to right now? 

As I am stuck at home with my kids during the corona crisis, my daughter is trying to play „Faded“ by Alan Walker on the piano and so I have to listen to it a lot these days. 

But beside that, I'm into singer songwriter music like Damien Jurado or Bon Hiver. And piano like Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter.