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The Work That Made Me: Justine Catterall

Justine Catterall, freelance creative exec producer and content creator talks about her inspirations and proudest creative moments

The Work That Made Me: Justine Catterall

Justine Catterall has 32 years of experience working across multiple industries, and is currently working with live marketing agency Lively. Justine was head of AV and broadcast for Danny Boyle's London 2012 Olympics, toured with Oasis and Coldplay, and is now leading the global content and broadcast sector. 

 

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me… 

The short film that Julien Temple made for David Bowie’s single Blue Jean in 1984 totally blew me away! I was 14 years old, had just discovered Bowie, and adored both the fact that there was a story created around the song but also Bowie’s amazing make-up, costume and performance. I guess it was very much a ‘moment in time’ but it totally captured my attention and imagination. It had a huge impact on my life and informed my future career.


The creative work that I keep revisiting…

I love playing with grading so I reference films that have pushed those boundaries in the past. I adore the juxtaposition of the glorious grainy technicolour with the black and white of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s ‘A Matter of Life and Death’; Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino’s amazing grades in ‘Sin City’ and the fish scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Rumble Fish’.

 

My first professional project…

The first I remember was ‘The Big Red Mug Show’ for Nescafe coffee. I was amazed and excited to be involved with what I considered to be a massive project. We started the build in an enormous warehouse, into which we had to put the entire infrastructure for the event. I was fascinated by the synchronicity of the huge teams which each had their unique jobs to do and worked simultaneously to build this semi-permanent world incredibly quickly. My job was to produce a multi-sensory experience of the journey of a coffee bean; something we did via the creation of a beautiful multi-projector wide screen film and various special effects, such as the injection into the room of the coffee aroma; huge fans to simulate the freeze process; and the sprinkling of fx snow. I adored the theatrical element of making a film which then took on a whole new life with the addition of the physical effect elements.


The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*

…. I don’t think I have one. I am not a very angry person!


The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

Fortunately, I don’t tend to feel jealous, either! I see work which I love but happily, I have never felt jealous of anyone or anything. I remember being really blown away by Blackskull’s work on the Ellie Goulding performance at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance. It was so beautiful in its simplicity and so perfect for her rendition of that particular song. Fortunately, I work regularly with the Blackskull team so get to enjoy their creativity quite frequently!


The creative project that changed my career… 

I guess my work in the music touring industry was pretty key to my career. I was lucky enough to work with two great ladies, Liz Berry and Hattie Spice, set designer as the design team for Robbie Williams for a few years. What this gave me was free rein to be creative in video but also an understanding as to how essential it is to have physical structure, lighting and video all work together to create the end effect. It was also amazing being part of an all-female team in an industry which was very much a man’s world at the time. That led to my being able to work with some amazing artists and their stunning creatives such as the teams on Oasis, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus and Paul Weller. It is always fun creating work which is part of a performance that manages to take people away from their daily lives for a short while.

 

The work that I’m proudest of…

I have to say my role as Head of AV for the London 2012 Olympics. It was, of course, a very different project for me in its longevity and the fact that a huge part of my job was dealing with the politics and bureaucracy rather than the creative. However, I was able to get very involved in the audience seating pixel content and films for the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. To my mind, it was really exciting in what we did with content, choreography and staging.

 

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Luckily, I don’t think I can think of anything that I have produced that makes me cringe - although I happen to know that somewhere in the archives there is a video clip of me pretending to be an adoring fan of Pat Sharp in one of the first video shoots I worked on; both of us looking extremely 80s. I live in fear of seeing that again! 

 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

When the pandemic hit last year, for a few weeks all I could do was sit and watch as all my carefully curated projects for the next 18 months disappeared from my diary. Life was a little scary for a while. But I then got a call from Mike White at Lively, and was asked to help them work on some virtual events for their client, Ericsson. Because the industry had hit a dead-stop I was lucky enough to be able to call upon the A-team and we swiftly went to work putting together what turned out to be award-winning virtual events. We had just a few weeks to pull it all together and I am extremely proud of how fast and hard we worked to produce some amazing events at a superbly high standard when the rest of the world was still picking themselves up from the dust and working out how to switch on filters in Zoom!


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