Kasra Farahani Interview
Final Fantasy XV Live-Action TV Spot
What was one of the most challenging parts of working on this TV Spot for Final Fantasy XV?
Without a doubt the most challenging thing about this spot was it's epic scope. There was a hugely ambitious objective right out of the gate to make a terrific, emotional, and spectacular live action spot that would complement the game. This shoot was very technical and involved many challenges from a very remote put picturesque location in the elements, to child actors, practical effects, stunts, and of course a huge number of very high-end visual effects. Organizing, planning, and executing all of this into a two-day shooting schedule was a challenge for sure, but was also tremendously exhilarating and resulted in a very high energy atmosphere on set. Fortunately we had an incredibly collaborative group of people working on this spot, and I really can't say enough how critical that was to getting everything we needed in the can.
What was one of the most rewarding moments?
There were so many, but I definitely remember the relief at finding this amazing forest location. We'd seen several that weren't going to work and then we came to the Padina forest which has a great scale and historic presence about it, sort of primordial, it was the first practical piece of the puzzle. Then on the tech-scout when we saw the fog machine test start to pump out this spooky low fog through the trees, you could just feel the tension of the story collection around you. that was very rewarding to see in the physical world something that had just been in our heads to that point.
What was it like working in Romania's Padina Forest?
It was great. It's about three hours from Bucharest, so it was definitely a hike, But it was absolutely worth it for the feeling and then motion that it infused into the story. Their are some corners that you cannot cut without seriously losing quality. Being in this actual location was worth all the trouble, and the richness of the environment, and the impact it had on the actors performances completely shows up in the final film.
Could you tell me about your experience working on one of your first commercial productions?
Honestly I could not have asked for a better experience for one of my first large-scale commercial production. There are a huge number of people involved in the making of a commercial like this. People live with the creative kernels of these stories for months or longer, the client and the agency painstakingly nurture fledgling ideas into fleshed out concepts. Then you the director and your producers show up and you have your own take on things. It's only through true collaboration and Mutual respect that you can have communication you need to execute a spot like this. So the team was a pretty terrific. From a technical standpoint honestly it was pretty straightforward once we figured out a solid plan. My DP Ross Emory was totally unflappable, and I myself come from a long background in technical studio feature films. So practical and visual effects are something I am very familiar with. I don't want to be misleading, we had our share of challenges but we had a great tema of smart, collaborative people, so really it couldn't have gone much smoother. And that goes for Post too. We had an amazing team on that end as well, that worked tirelessly to give a totally uncompromised product.
How did the opportunity come up to work on this project?
My producers Sandy and Ted at Chromista brought the job to me.
In what ways did your previous work prepare you for this project?
Coming from the studio feature film world, there was a lot in the way Visual storytelling that I was able to bring with me to this spot. From building out a powerful image with scope, to working with in camera effects and postproduction visual effects, I owe a lot to my past experience art directing studio pictures.
Could you tell us about one of the Easter eggs hidden in "Stand by Me" that we may not have noticed?
Without giving away too much, I would just say pay close attention to the rear view mirror of the foreground vehicle in the shot of the kids in emerging from the forest.
What advice would you give people looking to get into the film industry?
I don't know if I am in any position to be giving much advice, but what I can say has worked for me is to be tireless in working towards my goals, to try to work on projects that I can believe in, and to try to surround myself with good and talented people. And most of all stay Open and be willing to learn from anyone.
Could you tell us what you think of Final Fantasy XV (the game) so far?
I just started playing, and all I can say is that it was worth the wait. It's a visual feast, and I can't believe how much content there is!