Q & A: Crowns & Owls

Earlier this month, Ted launched his fully shoppable Autumn/Winter film, which sees T.E.D.’s top agents in hot pursuit of one twisted villain, The Needle. Following the excitement of the film’s launch on 7th September, Ted found some time to sit down with the film directors, CROWNS & OWLS, to take a look behind the seams of MISSION IMPECCABLE.

Give us a little history about Crowns & Owls – how did you get started?

Two of us grew up together. We're all skateboarders and we met number three at a skate park, randomly. We started out making music videos, usually with narratives driving them and then we progressed into fashion..

Crowns & Owls have collaborated with Ted on previous campaign films, such as Curiosities (AW15), Pinch Me (SS15), and Get in on the Act (SS14) among a few others. What makes Mission Impeccable stand out from the rest?

The most obvious difference for us regarding Mission Impeccable was that the film informed the creative of the season, rather than the previous seasons where it's been the opposite. Everything came from the story and therefore everything aligned with it, from the cast to the locations.

What makes Ted’s films different from other fashion films?

Ted are very bold in the way they embrace the cinematic and use that to convey both a narrative and an aspirational world for the product to live in, rather than just one or the other. It has to live and breathe and feel like it's part of something bigger.

What were some of the challenges that you faced on set, and how did you manage to balance the aesthetic of the film with its shoppable functionality?

The biggest challenge was logistics. The film is ambitious and moves at a fast pace, and to do that you need a lot of shots, a lot of locations and a lot of action. Balancing the aesthetic with the shoppable function was an interesting challenge, it's about referencing the lighting of the films that inspired Mission Impeccable but adding a fashion edge to them, along withmaking sure shot lengths are short enough to maintain the tension but long enough for someone to see a look and consider purchasing it.

What do you think are the challenges that come with making short films, as opposed to full-length features?

One of the biggest challenges is trying to preserve a narrative arc that doesn't get sacrificed by the running time of the film. A technique we've found is to adopt clichés and tropes to allow the audience to feel comfortable and recognise the nature of the story before building on that.

What were the highlights of making Mission Impeccable?

The whole experience was both surreal and very exciting. The highlights are often just seeing a frame and knowing that's exactly how we envisioned it.

The film takes place in unique locations such as Eltham Palace and Edition Hotel – how were the locations chosen and what do you think they added to the film?

ELTHAM PALACE was put on our radar by Ted's historian Peter. We went to look at it and thought it would serve as an amazing location for a soirée of sorts, with its rich tones and impressive circular hall. THE EDITION HOTEL has that amazing walnut decor that felt right in the world of the film - the 60's textures and the modernist angles are really interesting.

Tell us a bit about the music in Ted’s films in general, and in Mission Impeccable particularly.

For us the music is as important as the visual and our composers, SMALL PRESS MUSIC, are just incredible to work with - we've been good friends for years and we have very similar music tastes. For this film we pulled elements from David Bowie's "Blackstar", Radiohead and Portico Quartet. We wanted a cross between 60's spy films and modern day thrillers.

Who is your favourite character from Mission Impeccable and why?

The cast are so good so it's too hard to pick a favourite. The looks of MANNY QUINN and DR. ESSMAKER always resonate with people. The Suits arriving at the end puts a strong case forward for them as favourites too.

What was it like to work with a director like Guy Ritchie?

Working with Guy was very enjoyable. He mainly worked with us during the writing of the film and treated us like equals which was both flattering and motivating. He's very straight talking and will tell you with cutting honesty what he thinks will work and what won't. We were lucky to have him.

What are your favourite films and why?

Our film taste is pretty widely embracing as we're a trio. We like directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Terry Gilliam, David Fincher, Jonathan Glazer, Guy Ritchie and The Coen Brothers, to name a few.

Shop the Mission Impeccable film HERE.

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