Tom Gould’s Top Three VideosPhotographer and filmmaker picks out his top three self-directed music videos and documentaries, and tells The Red Bulletin why they’re top of the pile
New York based, New Zealand born photographer and filmmaker Tom Gould was 16 when he first picked up a camera to capture Auckland’s vibrant graffiti and street art scene. He’s gone on to document subjects as varied as skateboarding, local gang life and even New Zealand’s oldest strip club, the Las Vegas on Auckland’s K Road. But his biggest assignment so far has been trailing rapper Action Bronson’s every move for the past year, a gig that saw him join Eminem’s Rapture tour down under and travel through Australasia, Europe and across the United States. He’s also a talented music video director, principally for Action Bronson, but also for local heroes like Aaradhna, @Peace and David Dallas.
1. Action Bronson - Easy Rider
This music video was special because it was my first music video being back with Action since I came back to the States last year. It was the first single for his debut album, so it was great that he asked me to direct the video. We came up with the treatment together – we sit in a room and bounce ideas off each other, going back and forth till we have something that we want.
The Easy Rider shoot was great because it was a lot of fun, a narrative-driven music video loosely based on the classic film, Easy Rider. We were blessed with a decent budget to work with so we could do all the things we wanted to do. It was a really intense shoot out in California, but we had a blast.
2. Tom Gould - Skin
Skin was a short documentary film that I released last year. I always wanted to jump into more narrative-driven documentary – and this was the first one I released. I found this gang member called Skin – Martyka Brandt. I didn’t know a lot about him but I just took a chance. We started speaking on the film a bit and he was keen to do it.
For me, it was a powerful piece because it really opened my eyes to a man and a topic in New Zealand that is very common in the media but is never really shown in a personal light. Skin’s is a real story and there are other stories like his, but a lot of what we see in the media as far as gangs in New Zealand goes is very negative and one-sided.
I didn’t know how the film would be received because of people’s misconceptions about gang life, so it was great that people were able to open their eyes and minds and see that even if someone is wrapped up in something that is deemed negative, there can be love and compassion there. We were able to pick up an award [Best Self-Funded Short Film] at the 2014 New Zealand Film Awards for it, and it’s a piece that’s really close to my heart.
3. David Dallas - Runnin’
It’s always great to document New Zealand – particularly within a music video. The Runnin’ video was shot in Hokianga in the far north, a place I have a close connection to. I wanted to show the beauty of that part of the country but also the beauty of the people who live there.
Dave’s a great New Zealand artist and the song was really powerful, so the video was an awesome visual to work on – the fact that we captured a lot of New Zealand, the people, the landscape, and also the history of where we shot it.
It was one of those shoots that visually I’m very happy with, but also, in terms of how it went down on set, the whole experience was really great. My favourite shoots are the ones I have good memories of and the people that were a part of it, and Runnin’ is right up there with the best of them.