World: My Portfolio - Joseph Kahn

It is three in the morning and the director Joseph Kahn is at home in LA, slap-bang in the middle of editing a promo he shot in Sydney for the punk-pop band Blink 182. "I've tried to demolish any sort of style I have," Kahn says. "With each project I try to do something radically different. I'm trying to understand different aspects of film-making, to experiment in a way that's marketable." Kahn is a man who refuses to be pigeonholed. With every project, it seems, he is determined to outdo himself. Having graduated from Jersey Village High School in 1990, Kahn began his directorial career shooting videos for local hip-hop acts. In a few years he had accumulated more than 200 music videos. In 1999, Kahn formed his production company, SuperMega.

Kahn is a successful director by any standard. With a Grammy and armfuls of MTV and MVPA music video awards to his name, his CV includes work for a diverse catalogue of artists: Eminem, U2, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, George Michael ... the list goes on. He also directed the "Xbox-era biker movie" Torque, starring the rapper Ice Cube. He is now venturing into commercials; his next project is in Portugal for PlayStation.

A lot of Kahn's recent work has featured computer-generated effects. In the video for the Chemical Brothers' Get Yourself High, Kahn used animators from Kroma studios to add computer-generated microphones, boomboxes and records. In addition, Kroma used facial capture technology to make the actors appear to be reciting the lyrics.

Computer graphics were also at the centre of his recent ad for BT. Kahn explains: "The hardest part is coming up with the idea and trying to capture what was in my head. The old-time directors would say things like, 'you never get exactly what's in your head on screen'. But with computers that's not actually true any more. With computers it's not a case of getting approximately, but exactly, what you want."

The majority of Kahn's clients have been from the US and he has some curious thoughts on working for the British. "You want me to be honest?" Kahn asks. "The British accent is very impressive, it makes everyone seem automatically smarter, it's intimidating."

And what was the difference between working in America and in the UK?

"Europeans have a reputation for respecting their directors a lot more than people do in the US," he says. "As a client, BT was surprisingly supportive, it was very careful not to cross the line. Here in America, that line is much shorter at the fuse."

- Joseph Kahn was talking to Kate Nicholson.