Robert Craghead is the founder of Ten Stories, a motion branding creative house located in San Diego, California. Ten Stories works with multiple Fortune 500 companies as well as a wide range of film and broadcast television clients creating commercials, product demonstrations, film and television main title sequences, and all other motion related content for broadcast or web.
How did you first get into the film/video world?
In college I took a video production class. Up to that point I was unsure of what I wanted to use my degree towards. In the class, we were assigned a project to create a 1-2 minute video. Most students created carbon copies of popular music videos of the day or badly-done narrative Pulp Fiction rip-offs. I created a 6 minute horror film with sets, props, and a plenty of gore. Although I went way above the allotted 1-2 minute limit, I got an A on the project. That’s when I found out in film there really are no rules, just results. I liked that.
What do you see in the future for filmmaking and integrated new media?
I have seen firsthand the difficulty in distributing a modest-sized budget film. It seems that the film industry is being affected by the Internet in many of the same ways the music industry is. Big budget films are still making money, but small to mid sized films are being squeezed out. The studios and distribution companies are shying away from purchasing many films because of the high price in marketing them, and the high risk that they won’t get even a break-even return. This makes it difficult for the independent filmmaker to even think about creating and distributing a film in the traditional way. For every Paranormal Activity there are 500 films that didn’t make it…and a large percentage that were much better, just couldn’t get an audience.
That said, there are many advantages to being a filmmaker these days. Specifically, having more eyeballs on your film. The free distribution outlets to show off your talent (or product) is abundant (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). A filmmaker can use these outlets to their advantage in showing the film or marketing it (so brilliantly executed for Paranormal Activity). This ideology should also be embraced by companies who want to get their message out. Why buy commercial time when you can get it for free?…and have a direct link to your site. We have already seen massive ad campaigns built on web video (Toyota, BMW, etc.). It will only become more prevalent in the future.
How has design had an impact on your life?
Design is a huge component to what I do at Ten Stories, as well as just enjoying the world. I have always been a huge fan of architecture. Simple line structures definitely has an impact on our everyday design work at Ten Stories.
What would you do if you were not a filmmaker?
Tough question. I would like to think I would be an architect…probably a stay at home dad.
Where do you find inspiration?
Simple things inspire me. The things we see everyday, but don’t really notice. Simple shapes and textures…things my young son notices…such as connected blocks. It really amazes him. So simple, yet perfect.
If I was on a desert island and had to pick one artist to listen to, it wouldn’t be hard. Sigur Ros. Beautiful and timeless.
Print or web?
Wherever good design is. I guess I prefer print, just so I can touch and feel it. But in the end, good design is good design.
Favorite Spot when you get out?
Every Friday afternoon I pick up my kid and go to the Zoo. I could look at the Gorillas for hours. They don’t do all that much, but when they move…Wow, you can just see all the strength they have, yet they seem so gentle.
Top 3 movies of all time
1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Perfect movie. Made me think as a kid movies can be as emotional and tense…without a ton of dialogue.
2. Reservoir Dogs
Stark contrast to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Great, great dialogue. Seems like such a big movie, but what did they have?…4 sets?
3. To Kill a Mockingbird
Gregory Peck or Jimmy Stewart? It was either this or Vertigo. Timeless. I think people will still be watching these 100 years from now. A good book too.
When not working you are…
Hanging out with my wife and kid. Thinking of the next project.