Paul Archard, an eloquent young director, learned his craft as a
production designer. ‘I was around sets from the age of 21,’ he says. ‘I
learned by example and mistake.’
Archard was born in London 30 years ago. Armed with a BA in sculpture
from the Chelsea School of Art, he started out as a sculptor. At
the same time he dabbled in ‘performance art’ for the early warehouse
parties - ‘We’d buy an old Mercedes and saw it in half on stage’ he
says. Such demolition derbies generated commissions as an art director;
an early project was the UK launch of Vanity Fair.
Over the next few years, working as a production designer in Los Angeles
and the UK, Archard partnered big-name directors including Jake Scott
and Willie Patterson. Itching to get behind the camera, he put up half
the money for his first directing assignment, which was through Foote
Cone and Belding for a retail chain in LA called Musicians Warehouse.
With an acclaimed promotional video for Mila Janovic on his reel,
Archard moved back to London in late 1994 to direct through And Howe
Films. His reel includes the classic Chiat Day ‘I’ve got no dough’ spot
for Midland Bank, and punchy, memorable ads for Dr Martens, Bikini
magazine and Hugo Boss.
Archard’s varied background has given him a rare understanding of all
aspects of directing. He champions ‘underestimated’ skills including
production design and sound design and says his next task is to
investigate the casting process by taking an acting course.