What BAFTA-award-winning director Julian Farino can teach e-learning

What BAFTA-award-winning director Julian Farino can teach e-learning

Posted on Oct 19, 2015

What BAFTA-award-winning director Julian Farino can teach e-learning

Here at flick, we’re passionate about making our e-learning enjoyable and effective, so we decided to get some inspiration from Julian Farino.


Who is Julian Farino?

Julian Farino is a film and TV producer and director, married to Serbian actress Branka Katić and father of two sons Louis and Joe. Born and raised in London, Julian graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in History.

We decided to ask him some questions about his work achievements, including where he gets his inspiration from, what his favourite projects have been and what it feels like to win a BAFTA.

Julian Farino

Image Source: http://awards.bafta.org/

Before we get into the interview, here's a bit of background on Julian Farino

Julian started out as a sports editor for The Guinness Book of Records which led to a co-presenter spot of Record Breakers alongside Roy Castle and Fiona Kennedy in the late 1980’s.

He began directing film documentaries with Granada Television including; one of the girls, The Gift, They call us nutters and Savage Skies, then later, in 2000 Julian directed 7 Up 2000 which was a continuation of a multi-award winning documentary series, featuring 7-year-olds from all over Britain. Julian continued the series, 7 years later with 14 Up 2007 and, once again in 2014, with 21 Up New Generation 2014.

In 1997, he began directing film dramas such as Our Mutual friend, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ book which won 4 BAFTAs, and Flesh and Blood which starred Doctor Who’s Christopher Eccleston and was awarded the Prix Europa for Best Film.

It wasn’t until 2004 that Julian moved over to America to work for HBO. There he directed 2 episodes of Sex and the City and the majority of the 3 seasons of Entourage.


Image Source: http://deadline.com

Subsequently, he has directed or produced other well-known American TV Series such as How to make it in America, The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and has most recently been directing Ballers starring Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock).

Not only has Julian directed documentaries, TV series and dramas, in 1999 he directed The Last Yellow starring Mark Addy, Samantha Morton and Charlie Creed-Miles. Later in 2011 he directed another star studded film The Oranges starring, amongst others, Houses' Hugh Laurie, Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester and The OC’s Adam Brody.

The Oranges

Image Source: www.celebrityteenscoop.com


It was on the set of The Oranges where Leighton and Adam met. They are now married and have just had a child together. Perhaps we should add ‘matchmaker’ to Julian’s endless list of talents?

Following this Julian came back to England where he most frequently lives with his family, to direct Marvellous a TV movie depicting the life of Neil Baldwin, which collected a massive 10 awards including a BAFTA TV Award and a Golden FIPA and 1 nomination.


Image Source: www.fsf.org.uk


So, with such a giant list of achievements, we had a lot of questions to ask. So we started at the beginning.

Interviewing Director Julian Farino

So, Julian, when did your passion for film/TV start?

I always loved films and going to the cinema. I used to go with friends to arthouse venues in London and watch European films that we didn't understand but we thought made us cool. As for getting into the industry, I had a hunch I wanted to make documentaries. Fiction came later.

Story-telling is one of flick’s #GoldenFour rules, so what is it do you think that makes a killer story?

For me, it's usually great characters and an emotional dimension that makes you care. I've never been drawn just to great plots, but of course the best films have both. I read a lot of scripts and in truth there are not many that want to make you keep reading – that's how hard it is.


What tools/techniques do you use to keep viewers engaged?

There are no real techniques, just good storytelling. You have to be the judge of where the audience is with the story, to try to ensure that they will want to know more. Also, I believe that humour helps any story, no matter how dark.


Is there a secret to creating an engaging and flowing narrative?

Not really. Just try and make sure to keep sight of the humanity of the story – people will always be interested then, I believe.


How do you go about creating a compelling storyline?

With pain and difficulty. It's really hard. I've been involved in generating storylines in America where you work with up to 10 writers in a writers' room and it's still not easy. You just have to keep chiselling away and look for improvements. As in everything, it's usually the graft that gets you there.


Julian talking about the script for 'The Oranges'




Any recommendations for your go to places for inspiration? Sites, blogs, apps?

I don't really have any hidden gems I'm afraid. I mostly explore all corners of The Guardian online. I like reading the comments too. And I follow my industry through Deadline Hollywood and Indiewire. And, if I have any time, I play chess and chess.com is superb, to play or analyse. 


When producing our courses, we’ve found that different voices and themes can make a big difference to the delivery of a learning topic. In what ways does a change in voice impact on how a storyline is perceived/understood for your audience?

Every film-maker has their own voice. Give the same story to ten different directors and you'll get ten different films – we are all a reflection of our own sensibilities.


As massive fans of technology, can you offer any examples of exciting tech/innovation that’s creating some cool new things in your work?

Technology has had a massive impact on all aspects of film-making. I love the fact that anyone can now go out there and make a film – with a digital camera, with an iPhone, whatever. Somewhere now, because of technology, there'll be a Mozart of film-making on the way.

Is there anything in particular that you like to learn new things about? Certain topics, like animals or countries for example?

I read anything and everything because I am always looking for stories. I like book reviews because I can learn about subjects quickly. I like news and news digests. And I can't get enough football because it's the only thing that makes me relax.


You’ve already done such a lot, but, do you have any other aspirations that you’re yet to achieve?

Plenty. You are always looking for the next project. I have favourite books that I'd love to get on to the screen. Like Barnaby Rudge. And most of all I'd like to do a feature film with my wife the actress Branka Katić and I'd like us to be feted on the red carpet at Cannes together. And I wish I had time to make a documentary about Crystal Palace's Academy.

Branka Katić

Image Source: www.zimbio.com


You mentioned there that you would like to see Barnaby Rudge on screen, do you have any other books in mind that you would like to bring to life?

For many years I've loved 'The Siege of Krishapur' by JG Farrell – a great story and a real sense of Englishness.

So, from everything you’ve directed and produced so far, what’s been your favourite thing you’ve worked on?

That's like asking which of your children do you love most! Seriously, different things for different reasons. Our Mutual Friend because looking back I was young and had that invincibility of youth. Marvellous because I love its message of positivity. And the 7 Up films because I have watched real people growing up and that's amazing.


You have been nominated and won so many incredible awards, how does it feel to walk on stage and collect a BAFTA?

It's a bit unreal to be honest. You try and avoid thinking about 'what if we win?' beforehand. Then there's a moment when the nominations are read out. And then it's, 'oh my God, I have to get up in front of all these people'. For me I only start to enjoy it once I am backstage.

Julian Farino - BAFTA

Image Source: http://awards.bafta.org

Your most recent BAFTA was for Marvellous, which has been such a massive hit – what does that feel like?

Pretty great, obviously, but mostly because of the subject matter. I love that people responded to a film about kindness and optimism which, in our dark times, is reassuring. There's a desire out there for things to be better.

Marvellous - Julian Farino

 Image Source: www.bbc.co.uk



What are you about to work on next?

I am about to go to Miami to do an HBO comedy called Ballers. We made the first season last winter (it's just on in UK now) and I can confide that Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is a really great human being with no movie star diva qualities.


Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson with Julian Farino

Source: www.wrestlinginc.com


You can check out the trailer for Ballers here:




Have you got any words of wisdom to pass on to any aspiring directors out there?

I think you have to be prepared to hustle to get your break. Be passionate. And make things wherever possible – there's no substitute for actually doing it.

And there you have it.

Some inspiring thoughts there from Julian about storytelling, technology and passion, and although, we’re not creating BAFTA-winning films here at flick, we like to use all of these things when producing our courses.

Our e-learning includes; stunning imagery, interactive games, animation and video, with each course having its own theme and style. This not only makes our courses more effective, it also makes them more enjoyable.

So, if you fancy learning something new today, why not sign up with flick today? 


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