The subtle art of being creative

Director Nathan Price, the man behind the iconic State Insurance ad “Break my Stride” and the film “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” sits down with us to talk everything from his experience working with brands like Hulu to the first thing he did when he woke up.

Having worked all over the world, is there a difference between New Zealand’s creative industry and the global creative industry?

We punch above our weight. We’re quite good at being collaborative whereas in Australia, it’s a bit more adversarial at an executive level, and that’s true in the States sometimes, as well.

I really enjoy working with clients, and understanding their story, and bringing them on the process of understanding how to tell an emotional story. So, you feel like you can do that more here, because there’s a bit more smallness, and we can reach across.

What is your favourite aspect of working with New Zealand brands?

I have a deep cultural connection to this place, so I really enjoy that. And sometimes when you’re working in foreign markets, there’s also a specificity when you get there. If you’re doing stuff in Europe, often you’re sort of pan-European, and that just adds a layer of complexity. It’s a Marvelization of things where it has to be quite broad, the ideas and the emotions, and it just gets squeezed.

Here, because it’s a single market, because I understand the cultural nuance to the place, I get a lot of joy out of that and being able to dig deeper.

For me, to be able to dig into a culture in that way, I think that creates emotional power, and when you have that connection, it is easier.

There’s still a universality of the human experience. We still feel the same basic emotional needs. We love things, we get scared, we get excited, those emotions are pretty universal. I guess the difference here is I feel like sometimes I could tap into a bit of a deeper cultural thing.

How do you stay creative and also innovative, all at the same time?

It’s beginner’s mind. I’m constantly studying and researching and looking for new things. The other day I did three or four hours just researching TikTok transformation videos. And that can be everything from TikTok to a 20-year-old feature film that has an amazing craft aspect. I think with craft, there’s no limit to how good you can get. There is endless opportunities to stay creative.

Quick fire five:

Favourite movie?

I don’t know what my favourite movie is now, but an old favourite was Andrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky.

A brand you really want to work with?

Not really, I just like people who are creative.

Favourite social media?

I’m not big on social media.

First thing you did this morning?

Got on a call with some Germans.

Favourite place in the world?

I kind of like it here (Ponsonby).

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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