Meet Corin Hardy, a multi-award winning filmmaker and director with an unmistakably dark, eccentric and cinematic style. Hardy has created music videos for global mainstream artists including Biffy Clyro, The Prodigy, Keane, Palo Nutini and Ed Sheeran. His music videos have accrued well in excess of 200 million views. Hardy has been nominated for the Empire Film Awards in the Horror category alongside serious US heavyweights. Corin is currently directing the remake of the classic film, The Crow. He was recently in an interview with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller where he was described as being ‘the next big thing on the Hollywood scene’. Here’s everything you need to know about his journey into the film industry…
Getting to Know Corin
What values were instilled in you as a child?
A lot of my values came from my parents. They’ve always been very supportive of creativity. They encouraged me to be honest, determined and work towards doing something I loved, even if it did start out with creating monsters! Both of my parents actually come from creative backgrounds themselves. My Dad was a TV Director working within the education sector where he would often adapt Shakespeare plays. My Mum wrote her own music for children and taught a group of kids to play instruments. My grandparents on both sides were also artists. We’re not very business minded as a family, but our strengths lie in the creative fields. I’ve always appreciated their encouragement, although they did try to ban me from horror movies and one point – which, needless to say, didn’t really work!
“My parents encouraged me to be honest, determined and work towards doing something I loved, even if it did start out with creating monsters!”
How did you get into film?
Ultimately, it was all about the network of people and decisions. I made sure that everyone I met along the way saw my willingness and determination to succeed. One of the most significant moments was when my Dad got in touch with Bob Keane, a leading British Visual Effects company, which did animation at Pinewood Studios. He asked if his son could meet him and Bob Keane was kind enough to offer me experience at Pinewood Studios. To me, this was like meeting a rock star; he’d worked on some of my favourite films. I asked him for a job at the age of 14 and he told me to study sculpture or art at college first and then come back. Over the years I created storyboards and designs for my portfolio to showcase what I wanted to achieve.
“I asked him for a job at the age of 14 and he told me to study sculpture or art at college first and then come back.”
What was one of the biggest moments that defined your career?
I’d spent 5 years creating my first film, ‘Butterfly’, which lasted 30 minutes. I decided to submit it to Edinburgh Film Festival in 2004 and it actually got in! That was the start of it all; when my work was truly exposed to an audience. There were bands, managers and commissioners attending the festival. Keane’s Manager was there, which is exactly how I ended up directing their music video for ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. He saw my film, loved it and later got in touch. At that point I thought ‘this is it, I’ve made it.’ A commissioner who had commissioned Radiohead videos had also asked the festival organiser who she should be looking at this year and they all recommended me. She later got in touch and asked me to write a video for Radiohead. The budget was massive so I wrote an incredibly wild idea. Unfortunately I didn’t get commissioned, but it put me in an incredible light for future opportunities.
“I decided to submit it to Edinburgh Film Festival in 2004 and it actually got in. That was the start of it all.”
What was your main focus for breaking into the industry?
Networking. A lot of the time in the industry it comes down to personality and who you gel well with. Liz Kessler, who commissioned the Keane video I wrote, repeatedly championed me and my work. She moved on to head up the music video department at Academy Films, one of the leading companies for music videos and commercials. She ended up signing me to Academy. It accelerated the big name projects I worked on including videos for The Prodigy. If you grow your network you put yourself on the right foot to pursue a self driven trajectory of opportunities. I do hate the word ‘networking’ so it’s better to think of it as a spider web. Everything you do and the decisions you make spread out like a spider web. You either let people down, piss them off, act like an idiot and maybe you can get by if you’re phenomenally talented, or you work to inspire people and build relationships with the result that one job leads to the next.
“If you grow your network you put yourself on the right foot to pursue a self driven trajectory of opportunities.”
Did you set aside time for anything else whilst working on music videos?
It’s a very tough job doing music videos alone; I wrote hundreds of scripts for around 4 videos. As a rule of thumb for every 20 that you write you’ll probably go ahead with just 1. Some months pass and you find yourself completely drained. However, if you ever see someone get excited about your idea, that excitement is a powerful driving force propelling you to pursue the vision. It’s important to be self motivated but working alongside others speaks volumes when you’re being creative.
“I wrote hundreds of scripts for around 4 videos. As a rule of thumb for every 20 that you write you’ll probably go ahead with just 1.”
How do you fund a music video?
Funding was something that became possible once I got an agent. Funnily enough, getting an agent came off the back of my first film, Butterfly, which I produced for 5 years without really having funding, I’d just pulled in favours from friends. Once I had an agent I then got lots of meetings where I could pitch my own video ideas. I was meeting lots of label commissioners where I showed them visuals. When I won the commission from a pitch, the label then gave me a budget and a timeframe to produce within. I learnt a lot about the financing of films through my first couple of videos from inception to execution.
How do you handle pressure?
It’s very easy to get caught up in the stress of hard work, but if you take a step back and think ‘wow, this is incredible, it’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing’, then it becomes a lot easier. You have to embrace the marriage between the artistic flair of the role and the commercial business side. There’s a constant momentum of decision making that you have to keep up with. Even the look of one thing can give the whole video a completely different feel, so I’d say it’s imperative to have people working with you who you know you can trust. It’s an incredibly rewarding process once you reach the end and can sit down to watch it.
“It’s very easy to get caught up in the stress of hard work, but if you take a step back and think ‘wow, this is incredible, it’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing’, then it becomes a lot easier.”
What mindset have you adapted?
I’ve evolved based on the experiences I’ve had. I set a vision of what I what to achieve and pursue it the best that I can. At first you do it, then you learn from it. The second time is therefore always easier. I constantly feel anxious that I haven’t even begun what I want to achieve; there’s a drive within me to move onto the next thing. You become aware of time and the years passing by. I’m very proud of what I’ve done to date, but I’m not satisfied. I was once told ‘you have to be resilient’ by Ray Harryhausen, one of the most inspiring film producers I know. I bear those words in mind every day. It was a major moment for me.
“I constantly feel anxious that I haven’t even begun what I want to achieve; there’s a drive within me to move onto the next thing. You become aware of time and the years passing by. I’m very proud of what I’ve done to date, but I’m not satisfied.”
Rebel Wrap Up
What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?
Anyone who is thinking outside the box, inventing something or striving to put a stamp on their passion. An entrepreneur is someone who goes out on a limb to create something that’s financially beneficial and is creating their own destiny.
What advice would you give to anyone listening to this?
What do you want to do? What do you love doing? Work fucking hard. Communicate with people about what you love doing. Find other people who want to do it. Find good people. Cling onto them. Don’t work with bad people and make sure you’re always resilient.
If you could change one law what would it be?
The law of physics; so we can time travel and achieve more in one day.