Clive Collier is a multi award-winning motion graphics and content creator based in England. He currently works as a head of graphics department for an American TV network where he has won multiple ProMax and Clio awards. His past experience has included making a solo feature length documentary on the singer and Hollywood composer Lisa Gerrard, director of TV commercials and music promos, long and short form editor and 2D/3D visual effects artist. Trained in audio engineering, Clive is also an active musician and composer. He is passionate about storytelling and using his wealth of experience, wants to push artistic digital cinematography in new directions as a filmmaker/Director.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way =cket to?
How could I be a fan of sci-fi and not answer by saying simply that it’s all...rela%ve. In the wider decaying world of Black Sun in the fuller story, humankind is plagued by mass madness meaning logic, reason, knowledge and purpose are all non-existent. Seeds of such, on a societal level, were seen during the covid pandemic which was unseGling in itself so to magnify that to every living human is frightening if using a zoom lens from our vantage point of current day. But the irony is that if our everyday ‘normal’ is that future world, we wouldn’t know any beGer which in many ways, is a bleaker thought, if by todays standards. It’s the embodiment of the Ghost of Christmas future. The Star Trek world. Simply because there is no money in that ‘world’ so I would be spared the astronomical cost of such a one-way %cket.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
I haven’t encountered either yet. Perhaps that’s a good thing. To do either in your ques%on immediately diminishes me to a level set by another crea%ve mind which I’m not sure I can do. So maybe the answer is... ask me in a few years when I’ve conjured the character or spirit alien myself.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced ar=ficial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
Neither, because neither is important. Black Sun moves into that discussion but ul%mately the answer could be simple. Should a machine be able to acquire all of humanity’s knowledge in less than two weeks and con%nue way beyond, what need would it have of us or of having any form of opinion or aGachment to us? Hollywood has perpetuated this idea that AI will immediately kill all humans, but why? If you no%ce some ants in your kitchen and would rather they weren’t there, you can deal with them and stem the access point. What you don’t do is go and napalm your garden to incinerate every ant around you. I believe they would be indifferent to us and only our own narcissis%c need for aGen%on would cause problems. If the robots could make sci-fi content like a spreading virus and crowd out all the meaningless rubbish on social media, I will gladly oil them regularly.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-=me, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
Isaac Asimov, Denis Villeneuve, Neal deGrasse Tyson, Edgar Allan Poe (read ‘Eureka’) (Asimov to dream it, Tyson to explain it, Villeneuve to visualise it and Poe to boast about it)
You’ve goOa go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
Bad idea... see the Lightning round below. I get past them as quickly as possible. If you don’t have the inbuilt capacity to be judge, jury and execu%oner then you’re going to suffer and stuGer in this business. Inves%ng %me and effort into something you haven’t checked to see if already done (oZen beGer and with more budget) is akin to walking the path to a new career outside the crea%ve industry. However, some%mes analy%cal post mortems help me siZ through the wreckage of a doomed idea and salvage the core that I might have really cared about and build upon that. Stepping stones, but oZen all within my mind before actually ac%ng upon something which clears all the checks and balances.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isola=ng?
As a crea%ve, I would like to be a regular visitor to the sci-fi community and not have a permanent residency. It’s a rich and vibrant space but to restrain myself is counter produc%ve. So much of storytelling is based on voyages within our own minds that there are %mes when the outlet to manifest into a crea%ve art form must have the freedom to go anywhere in any genre. But like a good sci-fi premise, going on regular journeys to distant places can oZen result in riches to bring back and nourishingly expand the sci-fi community. It’s mo%va%ng because it’s a form of eternal op%mism. As depressing or as wondrous as our imagined futures might be, the fact that we’re envisaging a future at all shows a level of op%mism that we collec%vely have something that will keep us going. Self fulfilling prophecies or not, asking those around us, especially children, to think of things which might shape that very future, is fascina%ng. To think that a child might have been inspired by a thought or ques%on in your film to then become the scien%st who unlocks an%-maGer propulsion is humbling.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I’m an analogue brain with digital thoughts and dreams. I can’t be anything other than a sum total of societal and biological condi%oning but where my crea%vity can exist gives me a voice that can be truly unique, way beyond my earthly bounds.
When you’re crea=ng the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspira=on? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Everywhere and anywhere. Anything can have in visually intrinsic value, no maGer how large or small. Always having your eyes open and always paying aGen%on at all %mes, with your phone camera always at hand, is essen%al. It’s the difference between those who live and breath this work and those who just do the nine to five. This depends. In Black Sun, I wanted to create a deep space explora%on vessel (called Pioneer) which was clearly from the future but based on relatable looking technologies. I spent hours looking through real research and visualisa%ons from NASA and other sources, watching lectures and learning the direc%ons scien%sts and engineers were theorising about. But also, considering the backdrop of my own story, I needed it to feel cobbled together and only barely made rather than a craZ of infinite resources. It struggles, it breaks, it raGles and groans yet manages to withstand unbelievable pressures; a true microcosm of human endeavour under strenuous circumstances of a decaying world.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Prac=cal or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Trek. Dick. CGI. Utopia. Post Apocalypse. The animated tale of a travelling well-endowed porn star seeking his perfect roll and co-star in a world with no internet access.