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  • Writer's pictureDavid Gidali

Ep-14: John Robson, from funky viral CG shorts to commercial directing.

John Robson directs and designs ads, music videos and short films. His clients include Microsoft, Apple, Nike, Coldplay and more, but it's his off-beat after-hour CG explorations that established his unique creative brand, Late Lunch.

We who consider ourselves lucky to "get to play for a living", often find ourselves bored and uninspired when our "hobby" becomes a "job". Especially in big VFX houses, even work of the highest caliber can become repetitive and uninspiring - which is the opposite of what attracts most artists into this field in the first place.

Many VFX artists accept this trade off and opt for job security, finding stimulation in different aspects of their professional and personal life.

Judging by his projects, John Robson avoided stagnation by turning his playful inquisitiveness into a creative signature - branding himself as a "digital explorer" of sorts and attracting projects that offer inspiring and exciting creative challenges - how did he do that?

That's what I set to find out as we sat and talked about his professional and creative journey from working at BLIND to founding his own business LATE LUNCH, to now being represented as a commercial director by THE ARSENAL, and working on a slate of commercial pitches.

“A lot of places want to hire you for the things you already did, not the things you want to do. So the short term strategy I'm working at right now is just coming up with more work, and gearing it more towards a client approach instead of just an experimental project..."

In this episode we talked about how big of a role the tools and craft itself play in inspiring artistic ideas, and what we both feel has gotten lost with the disappearance of tools like film as a shooting medium.

We also discussed his maneuvering in the ever changing industry of motion graphics, and how he constantly had to adapt to new realities, learn new tools and keep himself on top of his game.

We talked about forcing one's self to create personal work by adopting external deadlines, and even using peer pressure in the form of a "film club" organized by his former boss.

Finally we talked about his current goal of directing more commercials, and what he does to position himself properly to achieve that goal.

Relevant links:

Quality Time:

X-Box One X launch trailer:

Epoch - short film:

Nike Golf - Vapor Flex Driver:

Supper Time!

Show notes:

Opening and closing song: "14 Days" by Akın Sevgör.

Stay tuned for episode 15, featuring Tyson Ibele, a hyper productive VFX legend, who blew the entire CG community away with his work as a wunderkind in the early 2000s, and is about to release his highly anticipated "latest invention" to the wild. Hope to see you next time!

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