Manila based Adrian Calumpang is a director at Directors Think Tank, a leading production company in Asia with offices around the region including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Campaign Brief Asia put 15 questions to Calumpang to find out more about him and his approach to directing.
1. What’s your favorite part of the job?
Being in a room with like-minded and talented practitioners is always a buzz. Connecting and getting the job done. It’s a rush.
Editing is still very much a magical episode in the process for me.
2. What is your most productive time of day and why?
Without a doubt I’m nocturnal. My mind starts to switch on as the sun goes down. I like grinding while everyone’s asleep.
3. If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead?
I often joke that I’m only a director because I’m a failed musician. I reckon if I had gone down a different path, it would definitely be music related.
4. How early did you know this would be your path?
That would be the moment I realised the hard truth that I wouldn’t make it as a rockstar.
5. Can you name some recent jobs?
Just wrapped up a couple unconventional spots for The Dole Sunshine Company. And recently finished a music video with an artist named Similar Objects.
6. Do you put on a different hat when shooting for a specific genre?
I wear all sorts of hats. I try to get into the mood of each project. They’re all different.
7. Have you been continuing to shoot during the COVID crisis? Can you describe that experience?
I’ve been fortunate to have shot all throughout the crisis. Even though it’s been difficult, especially reading a room, it’s pushed me to improvise and improve aspects of myself and my craft that I otherwise would have been neglecting. I had to learn how to rely on myself a little bit more than usual. I started to focus in ways that I very much appreciate now.
I’m very proud of the work I’ve been a part of in these trying times.
8. Do you have a favorite piece of kit?
My laser pointer is a high up there. I’ve really been into using the Zeiss Supreme Radiance Primes lately. And I’ve been playing a lot with a spindle rig.
9. Are you often asked to do more than direct? If so, what are you asked to do?
I’m extremely hands on and often find myself tinkering with props and production design.
There are few costume requirements that don’t have my hand in them. I very much enjoy the many design aspects of film-craft.
10. What are three pieces of technology you can’t live without?
Google. Spotify. YouTube.
11. This is a high-stress job. What do you do to de-stress from it all?
Playing my electric guitar chills me out. A long run also seems to sort out the clutter in my head pretty well.
12. How do you manage producers’ expectations with the reality of what can really be done?
I try not to beat around the bush too much. Being unnecessarily polite can often be a tremendous waste of other people’s time and energy.
13. How do you manage your time? Do you manage expectations or try everything they all ask of you?
Streamlining the process has been critical these days more than ever. I certainly consider all suggestions and try to draw a strong recommendation from there.
14. When someone who is starting out asks what they should learn, what do you recommend?
Consume a culture. Discover and learn what turns you on. If you can’t know that, you can’t expect anyone else to understand or feel it.
15. How do you take criticism? Do you find yourself defensive or accepting of others’ ideas (good and bad)?
I’m juggling criticism all the time and try to be as accepting as much as I can.
It depends on the situation and who’s giving the criticism and how they’re doing it. But I definitely do try to be as open at all times. It’s just part of the gig.