TS: My brother, Damian, and I had been imagining a music video in weightlessness ever since we got the opportunity to fly in the US plane that simulates zero-g down in Florida. It seemed like it would never be feasible to actually accomplish our dreams because it would require so much time in an airplane, flying the special manoeuvres and creating a space where we could experiment adequately to make something truly new and different, something that didn't feel random but could be rehearsed and replicated, over and over. It wasn't until S7 (the Russian airline) came to OK Go asking for pitches that we realized maybe it could become a reality after all. And sure enough, S7 was willing to take the leap of faith and make this crazy thing that no one could exactly picture until we were practically finished.NFF: Dance is clearly an important part of your life; and films such as Step Up All In showcased incredible dance routines and I was wondering what are the biggest challenges when filming large choreographed song and dance numbers? TS: Filming dance is so much fun. I'd say the biggest challenge is simply creating material that works on camera-- most moves tend to looks smaller, slower, easier, and way less dramatic on camera than they do in real life. It's depressing! As a dancer or a choreographer (or even someone watching a rehearsal in a room), you know the movement is spectacular and magical. Then you watch it on a screen and it falls flat. Or just looks..... MEH. So again, you have to leave time to play. To experiment. To let the camera tell you what it likes to see. And then you have to find the angles the maximize the impact you want to achieve-- low to the ground? High overhead? Seeing details or taking in the big picture? And of course, does the camera get involved in the choreography, moving and changing, or is it more of a fly on the wall? It's all a series of decisions and choices. I find it's just important to keep a very open mind and not assume I know the answer until I see it through a lens.
Above: Step Up All In. Image source: IMDBNFF: Here at the Norwich Film Festival we are proud of our increasing submissions from female filmmakers but there's still a long way to go- any advice for women starting out in the industry? TS: Keep making stuff. Don't look for perfection, look for opportunities. Stay calm, stay focused, but stay passionate. Don't let people tell you that you can't do something. But also, try not to get mad. There are so many reasons to be angry-- and sometimes, those reasons are EXCELLENT-- but anger is rarely a good place for your energy. Move away from it and make something instead. Be a badass, but not necessarily the same way you see dudes be badasses. Be a female badass- let that mean whatever you want, just know it doesn't mean you have to be "one of the guys" to get it done like a boss. NFF: At what point in your life did you start thinking about becoming a filmmaker? And what films inspired you growing up? TS: As a kid (AND NOW!) I always loved dance movies and dark comedies and James Bond movies. And sci-fi! I've always loved sci-fi. It wasn't until I started being noticed for shooting dance that it occurred to me I could make a living behind a camera. A camera was always a tool for recording information for my own future reference, rarely as a method of communicating ideas or stories to OTHERS. So, when the OK Go videos started taking off, I realized I liked putting things on film for people to see. NFF: How did you get your big break into the industry? Looking back what had been your biggest opportunities and challenges? TS: My biggest break was probably landing my agents-- both commercial and theatrical. They brought me chances to try new things, meet inspiring or influential people, grow as a director, make money... from commercials to experimental art projects to short films to branded content to movies. NFF: And finally, what is next for you? TS: I don't know yet! Been pretty deep in Pitch Perfect as we polish up the edit. Then onto something new! I'm just starting to read scripts again and imagine where I want to go. I'm really only now pulling my head out of my Pitch Perfect butt... I'm like a hibernating animal, waking up again and blinking in the sun. Interview by Craig Higgins, Kellen Playford & Matt Ecclestone