Inside Digital Mission NYC: Casual Films


Digital Mission went to New York from 1st - 5th November, along with 19 leading, UK-based digital companies.

casual films logo

As part of the 'Inside Digital Mission NYC' series, each company was asked if they would like to go into a bit more detail and share their individual stories.

The first of these mini-interviews is with Barnaby Cook from Casual Films, based in London.

What's your role within Casual Films?

Head of Production / Co-owner

What led to setting up Casual Films?

Doing the Mongol Rally in 2006 with a friend from Uni.  It's a 9000 mile dash across 18 countries in a car with an engine size of under 1 litre.  We chose 1987 Mini and raised sponsorship from in return from producing 15 video diaries, filmed, edited and uploaded on the road.  We realised that we had been producing high quality content for a big client with only a camcorder and laptop.  This gave us the idea to set up a company using a stripped down production model.  We now have a team of 15 producing 40 films and animations primarily for online use for a wide range of clients. 

Tell us a story about the mission...

Barnaby Headshot

Through an agency we met who saw our work we were given a lead – TMP Government in Washington, the advertising and communications agency that handles all US Government needs.  I'd heard of the US Government, so thought this would be a good one to go after.

So we gave them a call and they were very polite but made it clear that it was a non-starter, their needs were already catered for and we weren’t US citizens, so thanks, but no thanks. Unwilling to take no for an answer we called back and asked for just 10 minutes of their time.  I had a hunch that if they saw our films they would want to work with us.

It worked, they caved, we were in.

When you bear in mind that we’d already been told that we were barking up the wrong tree, some would consider it a foolhardy move to blow $400 on a train journey Washington DC on a hunch, but faint heart ne’er won fair maid so we splashed the cash and three hours later we were in a cab to the TMP offices. The meeting itself was a whirlwind.  We showed them two films, gave them an idea of our business model and budgets.  

Only twenty minutes after we had arrived we were being ushered towards the door now on their preferred suppliers list and with a brief for 15 videos and the promise of more to come.  Result.  

What is the best thing to come out of the Digital Mission for you?

It has to have been that meeting.  

Who was your Digital Mission superstar and why?

The one and only Lauren Cotton - super-organised, wonderfully helpful and an absolute delight.  

What's in the future for Casual Films?

Innovation and expansion.  A New York office by Summer 2011 and from there a firm foothold in the US market, and after that... who knows?

As far as our films go we will continue to push and prod at the creative and technical boundaries. We try and make everything we create special, but we’d love to make something truly unique that gets people talking right around the world.

Barnaby's Linkedin

Casual Films website // Twitter // Linkedin

Photo (c) Andrew Fawcett-Wolf