“To me, excellent production is when your needs are met before you even know you have that need.” Meet our Senior Producer Ellen De Faux.
‘Impossible’ is not a word in Ellen's vocabulary. She’s lived in four different countries, worked at the heart of Glasgow’s booming music scene, produced award-winning TV commercials, recently directed her first music video, and now she’s learning the drums so she can join a band. Ellen is living proof that anything is achievable when you put your mind to it, so it’s no surprise she’s joined the ranks within our extraordinary production team.
We sat down with Ellen to chat making things happen, embracing change, and to find out what it’s like to drive Prince around on a golf cart.
So Ellen, life began in Jamaica?
“That’s right, I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and then my family moved over to Scotland. It must have given me the travel bug because at 17 I packed my bags for Malawi, and I’ve travelled lots ever since. I lived in Melbourne for a few years, and most recently I moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh.”
Wow. How do you think your experience of living in so many different places has impacted on your approach to production?
I think the crux of it is to do with that word often feared in production; “CHANGE”. It is not something I am intimidated by, in fact I embrace it. I think a plan is there until you want to do something different.
"Once you start to embrace change and in fact be thankful for it, I think it makes you a better producer.”
Have you always wanted to be involved in production?
“In hindsight I wanted to be a producer before I even knew what it was. It was music that pulled me in initially. I remember going to a gig when I was 14 years old and was intrigued by the people side of stage. I left that show wondering how that could be me, and what they all did. When the time came for Uni, I made sure I studied in the home of music – which was my passion at the time - Glasgow. This put me on a path to gig and live event production, and I did become that person side of stage! In turn, that lead me to the world of film and tv.
Tell us more about your time in music.
“It was an amazing time in Glasgow, the music scene was vibrant. It was a time where there were new and old, amazing musicians, bands, and people coming together to be passionate about gig production, which included the going on’s off stage that make music, the music business and the gigs, shows and festivals happen.
It changed the direction of my life completely.
During that period of my life, I managed a band, worked in a recording studio, as a gig rep, a stage manager and in the marketing and booking departments at DF Concerts. I was part of the core team involved in T In The Park at Balado, Connect Music Festival, and many of their large scale shows, and over 650 gigs a year across Scotland. It was an amazing time in my life, which grounded my production skills and started me on this journey of producing.
How did you make the jump into Film and TV production?
“I had just returned from Australia and received a call from a producer in the industry to support on a TV commercial. A few weeks became a few months, which turned into five years and here I am.”
You’ve just directed your first music video ‘Making Waves’ for Fatherson, how did that happen?
“Originally I was asked to produce four films to accompany the release of their third album. The first track to be released was ‘Making Waves’. We pursued treatments by various directors, and during that process they suggested I direct them. They took a chance and so far the reaction has been amazing. This week the second of the films has been released too. Check it out.
How do you think production has influenced your ability to direct?
“I wouldn’t have been able to direct without my experience working as a producer. I have been fortunate to work with fantastic directors, DoP’s, producers, editors, and colorists in my time in this industry which has given me an insight and amazing experience over the years. Scotland and the rest of the UK has a wealth of talent across the process for creating commercials, short films, content, music videos, and large scale productions. It’s all about creative collaboration, there are many people involved, and the work is always the output of many, and not the few.
What do you love about working at LS?
“LS has ambition. There’s nothing we can’t take on. We’re much more than service production - we’re a production company that happens to do service. We’re here to produce with you, and to achieve what you want to achieve. Extraordinary production is what LS strives for in everything we do.”
What makes people want to work with you?
“I’m not okay with just being okay. I don’t see the point in production if it’s going to be average. I’m all about striving for the best, whatever your budget. To me, excellent production is when your needs are met before you even know you have that need.
Right, now for a few quick-fire questions…what do you get up to outside work?
“I’ve just taken up the drums. So give me couple of years… and watch this space ;)
Biggest celebrity you’ve ever met?
"In 2008, I was working at Coachella Music Festival - zipping around on a golf cart - and got flagged down to give someone a lift. It turned out to be Prince and some of his band. He asked me who my favourite band was, and I said Radiohead. He went on to perform ‘Creep’ during his live show.”
How would your friends describe you?
“I’ll have to ask them…” Ellen fires off a text and comes back with a very fitting: “I have no idea where to start.”
Looks like you’ll have to come work with Ellen to find out!
Check out 'Making Waves', the first of the Fatherson videos directed by Ellen.