A man of many talents, Mister Tom Bird is a film and creative director. He's been served tea by Tina Turner, has worked with the likes of Elton John, U2 and Kanye West, yet his own mother is convinced he sells records for a living. Intrigued? So were we! To find out more about Seventh Man Magazine's "Man of the Moment" and to get some advice for newcomers, we sat down for a quick coffee with Mister Tom Bird.
You've been pretty busy lately, tell us a bit about what you're working on?
I actually just got back from LA, where I was shooting Black Sabbath and working on the set of the upcoming film: 50 Shades of Grey. I've also just completed Cheryl Cole's latest calendar on location in California. The calendar was shot in a cinematic style with the lovely Cheryl Cole at the dramatic centre. We approached this shoot like stills from a film - like moments captured from scenes of a beautifully evocative road movie.
Alive or dead —who would you most like to work with and why?
I would have to say Lana Del Ray; she is such an interesting artist in terms of lyrical content and visual influences. Lana reminds me of an actress from the late 50's - early 60's, like Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion.
You've worked with some pretty big names - have you ever asked a client for their autograph?
Only once, I asked Tina Turner for one on behalf of my Mum! Tina is really lovely to work with too! While on a shoot at her home in the South of France, Tina served our entire crew an English afternoon tea, as she knew that it is regarded as somewhat of a tradition in the UK. Sipping on English Breakfast with a superstar like Tina was a very nice touch.
Speaking of your mum, is it true she thinks you work in a record shop?
It is! The confusion started when I began my career working at Universal Records and Mum interpreted this to mean that I was selling records... out of a shop. One time, I was traveling to Mexico to work with Swing Out Sister and Mum couldn't understand why, she'd say things like, "Well that's great dear, did you win a competition?" When I tried to explain, she almost had me convinced that I had in fact won a competition while working at this "record shop!"
What are your influences?
The short answer is anything and everything. I have studied a range of creative mediums including fine art, film and photography. My background makes me open to all artistic avenues and I take different inspirations from each one. Theatre is also a great inspiration for me in terms of the sets and characterisation.
Sum up your style in three words...
Eclectic, cinematic, intriguing.
How has the evolution of digital technology shaped your work?
Digital technology has shaped the creative industries in such a major way. While digital technologies may have removed a little mystery’ from our industry, it has given us greater control over the work we produce.
What’s next for you in 2014, any exciting projects you can share with us?
I am currently working with Th2ng to develop 3 spots with a supernatural approach - keeping it all dark, beautiful and rather twisted… Watch this space.
Finally, what advice do you have for those who are trying to break into the industry?
I would advise them to always be open and avoid being defensive. Always, always remember people’s names - that makes a difference! Don’t be afraid to offer your ideas and ask for advice, most people want to help each other so embrace it. Finally, always try to be five minutes early - it saves you from rushing and stops the rivulets of sweat running down your face when you want to be cool and creative at the meeting!