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  • Writer's pictureCraig Thatcher

Nic Cornwall discusses the three stages of creating great films with Craig Thatcher


Film Director Nic Cornwall and Creative Director Craig Thatcher discuss the process of creating Day in the Life films for Rapport. The focus is on capturing authenticity and showcasing the diverse personalities of the people at Rapport. The three stages of creating great films are highlighted: pre-production, production, and post-production.

The importance of detailed planning, finding the right locations, and allowing enough time for each stage is emphasised. The conversation also touches on the role of the client in providing feedback and the need to balance personal preferences with the overall effectiveness of the film.


  • Capturing authenticity is crucial in Day in the Life films to showcase the real people and situations.

  • The three stages of creating great films are pre-production, production, and post-production.

  • Detailed planning, finding the right locations, and allowing enough time for each stage are essential for successful filmmaking.

  • Client feedback should be considered, but it's important to balance personal preferences with the overall effectiveness of the film.

“It’s extremely rewarding working with both Rapport and Strawberry Finch. We are given clear briefs but also the creative freedom to bring ideas that we are trusted to bring to fruition. On top of that they are an exceptional bunch of people to work with - truly reflecting their ethos of putting people first.” Nic Cornwall, Award Winning Film Director

Sound Bites

  • "There's something about the Rapport people that feels more authentic."

  • "It's absolutely critical to go with what's happening."

  • "Editing is sometimes remaking the story."

A compilation of the Day in the Life of six Rapport ambassadors.


00:00 Introduction

00:51 Capturing Authenticity in Day in the Life Films

10:13 The Importance of Detailed Planning and Finding the Right Locations

13:18 Balancing Client Feedback and Personal Preferences in Filmmaking

21:51 The Value of Explaining the Journey to Clients

25:03 Conclusion

Learn more?

Contact Craig today to learn more about how we can help you or discover how our digital marketing team developed the new website for Rapport.



Craig Thatcher  (00:23.069)

Okay, let's go. Now you've worked on a lot of projects in the past. We've done lots and lots of films over the years. But what's special about the Day in the Life films that we worked on together for Rapport this time around?

Nic Cornwall  (00:50.962)

I think for me, especially with a film like Day in the Life, which you're talking about, which was to as much as possible actually represent real people, whether they're actually in real situations or not, what we're trying to do is show authenticity. And with Rapport, I think there's this, honestly, it's just about the people. There's something about the people that feels more authentic.

They're relaxed in front of camera. When we're doing interviews, often what we try hardest at is to absolutely try and get authenticity. And we do that in all sorts of ways from how we relax them through the way we ask questions. For example, I really don't like asking standard questions when I'm doing an interview. I like it to be a conversation. It absolutely has to be a conversation down to...

If I think that somebody said something that I can't use in the edit just because they may not have included part of the question or whatever, I'll ask them in a different way or I'll ask them again, but I won't say, there's nothing I find more awkward when you have an interviewer who's got a set of questions in front of them. They kind of look down and they say, hmm, thank you. Or they go, they say, okay, can we just do that again? And they ask it again because you never do that in conversations.

And the whole purpose of an interview for me is to engage someone in an authentic conversation where they start to forget that there's a camera there and they're just talking to you. And the reason I mention all that is because that's made easy by the people at Rapport. And I think one of the reasons of that is because they're people. They're people who are used to talking to other people.

Craig Thatcher  (02:38.173)

Yeah, I think you make a very good point. I must say that the whole reason for doing The Day and the Life of Films, and there were six of them that we created, was because we wanted to get across that there are far more roles within Rapport than simply what people think of as the main receptionist role. And I thought there was nothing better than getting real people in the real jobs to talk about themselves. And I thought the work that...

Nic Cornwall  (03:03.986)

Well, and you make an excellent point.

Sorry, I interrupt you. You make an excellent point. And one thing, again, you're absolutely right. Not only have I made a lot of films, I've been asked to make a lot of day in the life films or a lot of films that kind of represent people at work or in their situation or whatever. And so often when we're given candidates for that, they try and get the people that are really outgoing, the people that do the more glamorous jobs.

The people that, and actually what you really want. If I'm watching a day in the life film, especially when it's something like this, which was a recruitment film, and I'm watching it, I might be a real open people person. I might be an extrovert, but I also might be the introvert who actually prefers to sit back, let other people do that, and I might be more about data analysis or something. And I always try and encourage clients when we're doing a spectrum of people in the business to really focus on that.

But again, that's something that was really done with Rapport. I felt we met lots of very, very different people, even though they all have something in common, which is the beauty of it, when you find that. And I know we worked very hard on talking in advance about, okay, we've got all these diverse characters, and I mean diversity in the sense of, in every sense, but also particularly diversity of personality.

And we work very hard thinking about, OK, but what is the common thread? What makes these people work together well? And which is actually the irony of that is, and again, we spoke about this, but that is exactly Rapport in this instance.

Craig Thatcher  (04:43.933)

Yeah, I know they have they employ some fantastic people and you do very well to draw out their personalities because the trick that I found that you do particularly or do particularly well is is making people feel comfortable in front of the camera. People are used to taking photos a lot of themselves, but actually it's a lot more difficult to feel yourself and be yourself when somebody's

got a camera in your face. And I think that that is an art that you've obviously developed over many years. And we we got the best out of those those people. And I think for me, and I know you'll cover this a little bit later on the three stages of creating great films. But the first stage is obviously making sure we ask the right questions. It's the pre -planning stage, working out what it is we want to get across. And making sure that we ask the right question.

Nic Cornwall  (05:44.466)

Absolutely, and couldn't be truer, but something, and actually this goes from everything I do, whether it's a high -end drama, right through to exactly this scenario we're interviewing people. For me, I'm absolutely passionate about having a plan, having a blueprint. So for example, if it was a drama, I would know every single shot I want, and I've storyboarded it in my head, if not on paper.

or with an interview, we've got all our questions. But then it's absolutely critical to go with what's happening. So for example, if I'm doing a drama and I'm rehearsing the actors, I know exactly how I want to shoot it, but I'll say to them, okay, ultimately, when people are watching a drama, what they're gonna react to is the actors and their authenticity and whether they believe their performance. So I'll tell the actors, go where you want, do what you want.

And we'll see and I'll watch it with the director of photography and we'll say, okay, oh, actually we wanted to go here, but that act just went over there and that feels so authentic. So we're going to go over here now. And it's exactly the same in the interview process. I've got my questions and you'll have seen me do this. I'll read all my questions in my head and I'll have them literally before it. They can be the same questions for 10 interviews, literally before every single interview. I'll read all the questions. I'll have them in my head.

But then when someone answers it, they might say something interesting or different. And if I don't explore that avenue, if I don't go where they're going with it, as you would in a conversation, then it's not authentic and you're not getting the best out of people. All you're doing is getting a prescribed opinion of what you think they should say. And I think that's absolutely critical.

Craig Thatcher  (07:27.709)


Yeah, I must admit there's several things that I've learned from you over the years and the way that we work together has been fantastic. And the most important for me is the detailed planning. I mean, that's that's where I think we really connect because I'm like you. You can't expect to get the result you want unless you've thought about the result you want and plan the result you want. Developing the interview questions.

again is absolutely key. That's something that you you do so well. And I've also enjoyed the joint meetings that we have with our client as well, because as much as I can talk about filming, I'm not doing it every day of the week. And it's lovely to have you on board when we're talking, you know, details and specifically about their potential films and the storyboarding aspect. Sorry. Yeah.

Nic Cornwall  (08:18.802)

But if I could interject, but if I could interject then so, but the point being is, and you're absolutely right, what I was talking about can only happen when you have that really solid foundation about, you know, where it could go or what it's been. It's not a completely random process. And you, you go, you go off with the tangents that they're based in a foundation. It's not a random conversation because of all that research and that time that you've spent. And what you do.

when you brief me, if you have such a good and unique understanding of the client and everything around it, that by the time I get to that interview, I genuinely feel embroiled and invested in the client. So it's not that I say I know what they want, but I'm likely, purely by osmosis, I'm going to ask a question that feels relevant to that foundation.

And that's absolutely critical as well.

Craig Thatcher  (09:17.693)

Yeah. Yes, and I think that's that's what's meant. That's enabled us to create some great films over the years. My understanding of the client and my ability to communicate that to you so you get the best out of the and I'm going to call them actors, whether it's Rapport ambassadors or or actors, because we have used them in the in the past, haven't we? Yeah, that's sort of that way of getting the best out of them for me is the critical part.

And the stunning cinematography, certainly in these day in the life of films. I was just blown away by what you achieved with Alex on those films. I think it's been fantastic. So earlier we talked about, or I mentioned that actually there are three stages to achieving a brilliant film. There are three of them. And do you want to tell us what they are? Because I don't think clients necessarily understand them.

Nic Cornwall  (10:12.85)

Yeah, no. And again, yeah, and this is what I think is so crucial. So there's what we call pre -production, production and post -production. Pre -production is basically what we've just been talking about, which is all the planning, everything. If it's a corporate film for questions, if it's a drama from script, right through to storyboarding and basically planning the entire project. Then the production is the actual filming of it. And we've kind of touched on this already.

Yes, you have a fantastic foundation, but sometimes you find gold as you're doing it. One of my favourite questions at the end of an interview, I'll always say to someone, what did you think we were gonna talk about? What did you think I was gonna ask you? And I promise you, eight times out of 10, they'll say something that I just didn't expect. And it's usually, it's nearly always ended up in the film because it's just something different and it's unique.

Craig Thatcher  (11:07.645)

Really? Yeah.

Nic Cornwall  (11:08.786)

and I didn't guide it. Whilst we've gone through all our tangents, I didn't guide that. So that's really important and I think it's absolutely vital, even with a drama, don't be so prescriptive that you lose those magic spontaneous moments. And then after the shoot, you get back to the edit suite and it doesn't matter how many films you've done, how accomplished you are, there are moments where you think, oh, actually,

that works so much better that way. And that can be as simple as two shots one after the other, or it can be as simple as, and honestly, I've done thousands, literally thousands of interviews. And still today, sometimes I'll get to the edit suite and I'll think either that interview was absolutely brilliant. And then you go and think, oh, actually it wasn't as brilliant as I thought, or even better and actually much more common is you think, I know I've got what I want in that interview.

but it's gonna be a bit more of a struggle to edit it. And then actually when you're sitting in front of it in your edit suite, you go, no, that's amazing. That's beautiful. It might be slightly different, but that's amazing. They've said something crazy or something brilliant. The same with performances in drama or shots that you use. The shot that you thought was absolutely amazing. It's a common thing in film for editors to say directors need to kill their babies.

And it's true, you might have designed this fantastic plot that you've had in your head that you think's wonderful. And then the editor goes to you, yeah, but it's better in the close up. And you look at it and you go, yeah, it is. It just feels more human, it feels better. And so there's such three important stages. And editing is like, it's a cliche to say, but I passionately believe it's fundamentally true, that editing is sometimes remaking the story.

You've got all the elements and what you planned upfront, you think actually, no, that just doesn't quite work how I thought it would or that or usually an even nicer is actually that works so much better if I just do it this way around.

Craig Thatcher  (13:18.045)

Yeah, yeah, I agree with that. So although I've been going on about what I like is the pre planning and the detailed nature that what you're saying also helps is the spontaneity and going off in different directions because that can reveal really magic moments.

Nic Cornwall  (13:36.178)

But it comes from the background, it comes from the research, it comes from the confidence to understand that then you can go. I often think when people are so prescriptive in either the shooting or the post -production, it's because they're not confident. Because actually they don't really know what it was that they wanted because they don't recognise the magic, they don't recognise the difference, they can't incorporate it. And while we're talking about editing,

Craig Thatcher  (14:02.109)

Yeah, okay.

Nic Cornwall  (14:05.522)

Um, and I find this particularly the clients and I don't want this to sound detrimental, but, but something that happens an awful lot with the edit stage, especially is that clients will come back to me sometimes and they'll give me not too many, hopefully, because we usually smashed it, but they'll come back with a list of changes and very often the changes that they're asking for, they're trying what's happened is they've watched the film.

And it might be that they thought it was going to be more narrative or they thought it was going to be slightly too emotional, more emotional, or maybe they thought it's a little bit too emotional. So what they then try and do is they try and solve the problem for me by saying, take this shot out, do this, don't have that line. And I was at the Austin Film Festival once and obviously they were talking about drama then.

and I was watching some of the Disney executives talk about script writing and they made exactly the same point. They were talking about feedback to writers and what they were saying is so often the problem is upstream. So for example, a classic in a drama film, you might feel at the end that actually you don't really have any empathy for the character who's in trouble. And so when people give feedback, they'll say, no, we need to take that scene out because I didn't feel any empathy for them.

That's not the problem. The problem was that when you set it up half an hour ago, you didn't create a sense of familiarity or you didn't make the audience like that character enough. And it's exactly the same even in corporate film. Music is another one, they'll say change the music because we don't like the music. And then you change the music and all of a sudden the film loses all its emotion.

or it might be they want to change a particular shot and you think that's honestly, that wasn't your problem. The problem was here. And now you've told me that it's not emotional enough. I know exactly what you mean. And sometimes I might've even done it deliberately. I might've thought, oh, hang on. I'm not trying to make this too emotional. So I didn't do that. And if their feedback was it's not, then I can, okay, well, of course that's what I did. But if they start saying,

Craig Thatcher  (16:06.237)


Nic Cornwall  (16:29.746)

Can I change this shot? Can we take that out? I don't like that line. That's not as productive. And it doesn't even mean that they're wrong. It just means that we can have that conversation if they identify what their actual problem with it was.

Craig Thatcher  (16:44.093)

Yeah, that's fascinating to hear that. The filmmaking has similar issues, whether it's making Disney films or corporate films. I've been giving some thought to how to help clients get a better result from their filmmaking. And I've made some notes on some of the things that I think are important. And I'm sure you've got some of your own as well. But for me, there's some key ones. And that is allow plenty of time for planning.

And a lot of clients don't appreciate quite what goes into it. But at the bit of time, upfront really does help. Find the right locations for shooting is absolutely key because that sets the backdrop. Allow plenty of time to get people, models, actors, colleagues or whoever it is into the right place. A lot of clients don't allow for their colleagues diaries to make the filming work.

And also understand that it takes time to set up shots when on location and break down for each shot. You know, it doesn't happen in a snap. But also for me, and this is a critical one, is attend the shoots because the client's input can be valuable and there's nothing like seeing it actually there. And then finally, the one for me, and it's a legal one, it's about getting model release form sign so there aren't any legal comebacks from the image rights of the people taking part. I mean that's my list. Would you have others to add?

Nic Cornwall  (18:25.65)

Yeah, I think they're a great list. Yeah. I mean, I probably couldn't add to that in terms of, I think you're right, time upfront, especially. I mean, time across the whole board. We can do it and we often do it very successfully in ridiculously tight deadlines. But there's nothing like a bit of time and even for the client, because that then takes pressure off them. They don't have to immediately feedback.

Craig Thatcher  (18:37.149)


Nic Cornwall  (18:55.57)

Um, I think as well, and this, this one could, could sound, um, wrong, but I, I find, and this can be every stage of the process. Sometimes I wish clients would understand that just because they have an opinion about something and I'm probably talking about more about post -production here, but sometimes just because they have a personal opinion about something doesn't mean that it has to be changed.

And I'm going to qualify that. I've had many, many times, I'm very proud of this, but I've had many, many, many times where we've made a film for a client and they come back and they say, oh my God, that film was absolutely perfect. We absolutely loved it. You completely nailed all the messages and the team were in tears. Can we change this? We want to change the music. We want to take that out and do it.

And I always think, okay, maybe you personally didn't like the music. I get that. But you've just told me, I nailed all your messages. Everybody came across brilliantly and the team cried. So why are you trying to change that thing you don't personally like? And I guarantee you that as we sit here, if we started talking about films or music or art or anything created, I guarantee you that we will find...

some things, let's take films as an example, we will find a film that you absolutely hate and I love. I guarantee it. There'll be actors that you will absolutely hate and I love. I don't like Tom Hanks. I think he's an awful actor. He's an Oscar winner. He's clearly incredibly successful. Lots of people love him. So neither of us are right. We just have a difference of opinion. And that is something that I do wish clients would understand is to have the...

Craig Thatcher  (20:31.165)


Nic Cornwall  (20:54.386)

I say the bravery, but yeah, and the confidence to know that if it works for you on an emotional level, on a practical level and delivered everything for you, don't worry about your personal preferences. And the reason, obviously, as I say, that's much more post -production, but that can come into the entire process.

Um, what else do I? So, yeah, no, no, no.

Craig Thatcher  (21:15.261)

I think I'd like to, sorry, sorry, go on.

I think I was going to say I'd like to end on one around giving clients giving themselves enough time. And that is to, if you like, to look at the film, get feedback, just give themselves some breathing space because sometimes they put themselves under a lot of pressure because they've got lots of other things on and they rush. And sometimes you just need to think about things a little bit. So for me, that's a critical one.

Nic Cornwall  (21:50.994)

No, and you know what? I think that's an excellent point because I think as well, time to watch a film. If I'm gonna read a script, I never, a feature film script, for example, a drama script, I always make sure I've got two hours completely free, because I would never watch a feature film and pause it and then come back a couple of days later and then sit on the train and watch a bit more of it. I watch a film, in total

Craig Thatcher  (22:18.077)


Nic Cornwall  (22:19.826)

And I think, and I completely understand it. I totally get it. Even when you're talking about a two or three minute film, clients are under so much pressure and they've got so much else on that sometimes they watch it and there's loads going on. And I just wish sometimes, I don't know if they don't, but I think it's really important to give yourself the time and space to allow yourself to watch it.

Craig Thatcher  (22:37.245)

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I think that's a good point. Okay, unless there's anything else you wanted to cover, I think we can draw our conversation to a close.

Nic Cornwall  (22:49.266)

Yeah, I know there is, there is one thing and, and, and this is a compliment to you. Um, I know something I learned from you and I wish I'd done a lot more, but I think is really valuable in this. I think this dovetails with what you're talking about with clients is that when I'm pitching for a project or when I'm talking to clients about project so often in the past, I'll just go, this is my idea. Here it is. And.

you know, 90 % of the time they go, great, that's fantastic. Or maybe not 90%, but sometimes they'll come back and they'll say, oh, and I'm not sure. But I think it's so important for clients to understand and not, not because I want to make an issue of it, but I think it's important for them. And this is what you do is you explain the journey. You've done so much research and as I've talked to you about so much understanding of the client and whatever creative we have or whatever messaging we have.

We've arrived at it through a process and a real process and we've ditched lots of stuff and we've thought about the stuff and I always, always when I'm thinking of a creative for something, my first thought is what is it I want to represent and therefore how can I do that? And so often with clients I get, they will say, can you give me an example? And I think, no, because I didn't go on Vimeo, which lots of production companies do by the way.

I didn't go on Vimeo and watch a logo stuff and go, oh yeah, that kind of fits. I'll put it in that hole. I just thought how, what, what story am I going to tell? How am I going to represent this? I don't know. I don't, it's probably been done, but I don't know that. I don't know how to find an example of it, but to go back to the journey, just explaining to clients or even other creatives actually is how you arrived at that and why you've arrived at that is just such a wonderful exercise.

And it's not only a wonderful exercise for the mind, it's a wonderful exercise for you because then it properly gels in your mind. Sometimes you change it because you're going through that and you know you're doing it, but it also makes you, it develops your understanding of it, as it does in not yours, but mine, for my own creatives.

Craig Thatcher  (25:03.741)

That's very kind of you to mention that. I will end now in a second on the fact that actually on the Rapport new website, there are 20 films. You and I are responsible for 12 of those, which is pretty amazing. Yeah. So.

Nic Cornwall  (25:22.194)

And I don't say this often, but I am proud of those films, all of them. I think we've made some really lovely films on that. So, yeah.

Craig Thatcher  (25:28.893)

I. Yeah, I absolutely agree. OK, right, that's it. I'll say good day.

Nic Cornwall  (25:36.466)

Lovely. Alright, good day. Thanks, Craig. Bye.


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