Ones to Watch 2017: director Raine Allen-Miller
It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch is our chance to showcase 12 creatives who we think will be making an impact in 2017. The people featured have been whittled down from a global pool of creative talent and have been chosen for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work. Each one practices across a diverse range of disciplines and continually pushes the boundaries of their creative output. Ones to Watch 2017 is supported by Uniqlo.
We caught up with each of our Ones to Watch, to talk about their work so far and their hopes for the year to come.
27-year-old film director and advertising art director Raine Allen-Miller started her creative life at Brit school, where she studied art and design. From there, she went into an illustration degree at Camberwell, but Raine’s university experience wasn’t exactly a success. “I hated it, hated it so much!” she tells It’s Nice That. “I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone on my course. There was one other black guy, and everyone was posh, or from the countryside, or both.” So she left university to work, at first as an agent for photographers and illustrators, then in art buying and creative production at ad-land giants Havas, Exposure and Wieden+Kennedy. After realising that creative production didn’t quite live up to its name, Raine quit her stable “decently paid” job to team up with school friend Lisa Turner-Wray. With Lisa as copywriter and Raine as art director, the pair delivered their portfolio from agency to agency, securing creative placements at Anomaly, Saatchi & Saatchi and finally Mother, where they found full time jobs as a creative team.
At Mother, Raine works on boundary-pushing accounts including Money Supermarket, which took her to Canada “to shoot a builder doing a pole dance”. But despite the lustre of working at one of the world’s most well-respected creative agencies, “I started thinking maybe I wanted to get a bit more involved in the directing side of things, I loved working with directors and being on shoots and thought, I want to be doing that bit!”
Raine continues to freelance at the creative agency. Bob Saville and Mark Waites – who founded Mother back in December 1996 along with Stef Calcraft and Libby Brockhoff – are “so hardcore”, she laughs. The duo encouraged Raine and Lisa to push their ideas to “scare them”, beyond pre-conceived ideas of what could or couldn’t be done in the name of advertising. “Mother just want to make great work” she says. “[Mother’s executive creative director husband-and-wife team] Ana and Hermeti Balarin always remind us that no one actually wants to watch ads, so they have to be really fucking entertaining.”
“I learnt a lot at Mother. I learnt how to present, how to work with clients, how to write treatments and to work around the constraints in any brief,” Raine says. “Mother were always very supportive of me directing on the side: they want their creatives to be creative. It makes sense to be good at something you are so heavily involved in any way.”
Raine’s nascent directing career has been spring-boarded by production company Somesuch. After pitching on a string of low budget music videos, Raine directed the video for Salute’s Storm. “I was so happy that got made. We were pre-Brexit, and to be honest I thought we were going to stay. I thought this would make a really celebratory film about what is great about Britain: through immigration people bring culture into this country. And then we voted to leave and I still felt that we needed something positive. At one point I wondered, ‘Do people want to see the Union Jack now? Do they want to see a woman dancing around happily in it?’ and I thought, ‘Yeah!’”
Storm was the film that caught the world’s attention. A video for Riposte and Nike swiftly followed. With Somesuch paving the way, Raine is now currently working on a music video featuring a battalion of female drummers, due out in January, as well as a host of other projects which are half hidden up her sleeve, half tripping off her tongue. A self-confessed “baby director”, it’s still too early to pick out a theme which defines Raine’s work to date, but she tells us that “I like simplifying an idea into something visually symbolic, simple and most importantly, be really bloody entertaining”. For now though, it’s enough to hear that her mantra is “Why not?”
“I’ve never thought ‘I can’t do that’, about anything,” she says. “I feel that directing is where I belong. I want to make beautiful content that feels true and relevant.”
About the Author
Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.