Film

Film: Fred&Nick tell us a little about their Channel 4 debut, PAYDAY

Posted by Liv Siddall,

We’ve taken the opportunity to sing the praises of Pulse Film’s best filmmaking duo Fred&Nick before when they made the astounding promo for Laura Marling’s recent album. Now they’re back with something much less whimsical yet no less haunting, a documentary set to be aired on Channel 4 entitled PAYDAY. The Croydon-based program “delves into the finances and wallets of four 20-somethings that came of age in the financial crisis, a generation blighted by debt as well as overwhelmed by consumerism.” Fred&Nick were kind enough to answer a few questions about the making of such a timely and important piece of film.

  • 1

    Fred&Nick: PAYDAY

What made you feel the need to make this film?

We wanted to find a voice in the mainstream public arena as much as possible and felt excited about putting something unusual or surprising on the television. The lines in TV documentary are blurring, audiences are more intelligent and we were looking for an opportunity to have a go. We tried our best and PAYDAY was the result.

In terms of the topic when developing a film around finances in the contemporary world, we felt there was plenty of discussion about the causes of the recent economic climate but not much that uncritically looked at the generation that have come of age during it. Our focus was always on personal worth and hope for the future; the principles we live by and the decisions we make at an age when you start to deal with the cards you are dealt by childhood, upbringing, education, poor choices as a teenager etc.

  • 2

    Fred&Nick: PAYDAY

How did you go about finding the subjects?

There was a decent wedge of pre-prod time on this project as we knew we needed to properly infiltrate Croydon to discover a cross-section of individuals. We had a great team researching at the early stages (Max Gogarty and Fatima Shafiq) and then we went through a month or so of meeting as many people as we could. Croydon’s one of these places where significant connections open up pretty quickly. 

We felt after a while there were lots of stereotypes and character traps that we could fall into so we wanted to find people who were as interesting, surprising and unexpected as possible, even if their stories were in some way familiar on face value. The subjects had to express themselves in a physical manner as we didn’t want them to perform all in the same way. We wanted their moments of performance to be them at their most vital, so in the end that led us to a singer, a dancer, a boxer and a machine operator.

Tell us a little about the process of making this documentary

We knew from the start that we wanted to self-shoot, marking a clear return to the kind of intimate filmmaking that we started our documentary careers on. We only had budget for 20 days shooting at three hours per-day, for a period of roughly six or seven weeks. We initially thought we would just do one month between traditional “paydays” but then we realised that approach was irrelevant to our eventual cast as they all get paid in different time scales.

It was really a case of little and often – trying to catch up with them at interesting times and filming them observationally as they went about their lives. We decided early on that instead of writing pre-prescribed interview questions we would try and take a more psychotherapy approach to it all and start a conversation about a topic relevant to what was happening and see where it went from there.

  • 3

    Fred&Nick: PAYDAY

What did you learn from the making of this film?

We learnt more than ever that you need to tread carefully on people’s lives, their homes, and their dreams and ideals, and that holding a camera up and not judging was the best way to go about it. We also learnt that the great majority of people always find a way and have an entrepreneurial spirit that manifests in odd ways and helps them survive.

What do you hope others will take away from watching it?

We hope it’s received well enough for us to have the opportunity to make another film for TV. We hope that people understand we’ve tried to tell a tale, not an essay. And we hope that we have found a balance between style and content which people feel is fresh and exciting in the format.

  • 4

    Fred&Nick: PAYDAY

  • 5

    Fred&Nick: PAYDAY

Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Film View Archive

  1. List

    Some writers create page-turners; masters of narrative and plot that compel you to keep on reading. In some ways Joan Didion is the opposite, although her writing is no less compelling. When reading her work, its brilliance stops me dead over and over again, such is her ability to analyse a person, a place or a concept and then articulate her thoughts.

  2. List-2

    Peter Brookes is a demigod among political cartoonists. The septuagenarian is now in his 22nd year at The Times where he still produces a cartoon every day, distilling the frustrations, jibes and political unrest of the nation into one biting image to a looming and unmoveable deadline. This short film The Art of Satire examines Peter’s work in the contexts both of political cartooning and of The Times, who recognise Peter’s exceptional skill by allowing him to contradict the editorial direction of the paper in favour of following his own line.

  3. List

    New York-based artist Daniel Arsham is a figure with fingers in a lot of different conceptual pies, from installation works to short films. While architecture plays an important part in his work, so too do the paradoxes and oddities of human nature, and that’s what’s under the microscope here.

  4. List

    CANADA are the epitome of supercool; everything our favourite Barcelona-based filmmakers and producers touch turns to chic, so it’s time the rest of us just put down our on-trend moccasins, blacked-out sunglasses and tiny man-buns and just let them get on with it. What better way to retire our cool-hunting ways than to watch the collective’s latest short, Laberinto (Labyrinth), directed by Marc Oller, which sees the classic love story of a boy chasing an aloof girl played out sublimely.

  5. List

    In the design world, the brief plays many different roles – ubiquitous, all-important, loathed, misunderstood; it can be a starting point, a back-up and a battleground. And yet we don’t often hear that much about the brief and its place in the creative industry – enter design strategy firm Bassett & Partners. Posing the question “if every project starts with a brief, why aren’t there more projects that end up with exceptional results?” the San Francisco-based company have tried to rectify this imbalance with their interesting short film Briefly.

  6. List

    Guillermo Del Toro usually associates himself with the darker side of filmmaking, but the Mexican director and producer has just finished work on an altogether more upbeat and life-affirming movie. The Book Of Life follows the story of Manolo, a young man caught in the middle of a wager between two deities who must embark on an epic adventure in order to see the woman he loves again.

  7. List

    Gothenburg’s Goat are probably one of the most interesting bands out there at the moment. Their infectious fusion of world music, psych and heavy rock has captured the imagination of a now massive fan base, and their live performances are notoriously theatrical; the whole band costumed and gyrating like some kind of ancient Dionysian cult. Their music videos are pretty nuts too.

  8. Jw2list

    It actually takes a lot of hard work to make something seem effortlessly cool, but it helps if the raw ingredient you’re working with is, well, Jude Law. And your backdrop is the tranquil waters of the British Virgin Islands. This great new short for Johnnie Walker Blue Label opens with two men entering into a wager: if one wants to win the other’s vintage yacht, he’ll have to dance for it.

  9. Main

    We’ve been talking a lot recently about the gradual shift of the internet: websites becoming more advanced, successful blogs being abandoned left right and centre, artists adopting new ways of uploading and sharing music. What I’ve been curious about is the gradual change we’re going to witness in music videos. Gone are the hi-octane, fleshy, music videos that were rife a few years back, and it seems that increasingly bands are not as keen to peacock themselves around and taking a back seat is the cool thing to do. Maybe it’s also to do with the attention span thing that everyone goes on about, why would you want to watch a four-minute music video with a narrative that you won’t understand until you see the end when you can just watch a beautiful piece of ambient animation?

  10. List

    Matthew Frost’s Fashion Film featuring Lizzy Caplan remains one of the finest spoofs I have ever posted on the site, and it’s interesting that it was that parody that led Kirsten Dunst to this short. Commissioned by Vs. Magazine for their latest cover shoot with the Spiderman star, it’s an excruciating look at celebrity culture through the prism of a very individual encounter.

  11. Main

    Spectacular promo film here from Reebok, inviting you to “give me your classics and I’ll show you the future.” As well as taking you swerving around northern A-roads in a BMW E28 M5 (dream car) stopping briefly on the way to pick up a blonde girl in the leafy suburbs (dream babe) this short film perfectly promotes the nostalgia associated with the Reebok Classics.

  12. List

    Paul Gale is a comedy filmmaker whose various online offerings have racked up millions of YouTube hits, but his most recent parody is rocketing him onto a whole new level. Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong takes the simple premise of the misspelling of customers’ names on their coffee cups – and the moaning Tweets and Instagrams of “hilariously” egregious examples – and offers a very simple explanation. The staff, it appears, “are f***ing with you.”

  13. Main

    Creativity can come in all shapes and sizes, and yeah we’ve posted a lot of great stuff this week. A project or painting someone has been working on for years can change your life entirely, as can one photograph or spectacular piece of design. Sometimes, though, it can just be the opening credits of an old cartoon remade with real animals. Thank you then to Disney and their blog Oh My Disney for creating and sharing something so intricate and bonkers it’s blown all art ever made out of the water. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the DuckTales Theme Song With Real Ducks.