Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Roberto Serrini and I do perhaps too many things. Mainly I am a director, usually for commercials or branded narratives. I work with brands like Lincoln, Guinness, Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, big fun global brands. I’m a partner at a creative production company called No-Frames, where we conceptualize and execute film and commercial production.
I also am an avid drone pilot. I’ve been lucky to fly my camera in several countries around the world, capturing some beautiful footage. Besides that I do a bit of travel writing and photography for various magazines and blogs, allowing me to see the world, and experience the best of foreign cultures. Strangely I think all these passions feed into one another and make them independently stronger.
What forms of media have influenced you the most?
In the beginning, movies, hands down. I studied Film Theory which meant a lot of reading and watching of films and not a lot of making them. It was torture at first, especially for someone who only wanted to make something, but I can see now that being forced to really study the medium before attempting it made a huge impact on how I work now. We used to watch entire films with our ears, meaning, no visuals. It was like being trained as a Navy Seal for film. Once you start looking at your art in a different way, deconstructing it, I think it gives you the ability to truly control it.
Now though, I have to say that the net, and digital media influences me a lot. There was a time that independent film was taking chances and doing things that were far and beyond the norm, pushing boundaries, breaking conventions, etc. Now you find that online, and it happens daily. There is always something new and fantastic happening, and the ability to share it immediately with an audience to get feedback is a dream come true.
What hardware / software do you use?
Cameras, lots of cameras. I own 5D’s, FS700s’s, Arri’s, old Bolex’s. Lights and sound gear. Sliders and tripods. More glass then I will ever need. If you make films you end up collecting gear along the way, like scars from a war. Anything I don’t personally have we rent. As for software I stick mainly with Adobe these days; I used to be a FCP jockey but ever since they dumped it for X I went over to Premiere full time. It’s a solid piece of software, and works well with AE and PS which I use often too. I started as an editor with a lust for motion graphics, so as a Director I still love to edit my own work, and clients like it too because it keeps the projects streamlined and fluid.
What would be your dream creative setup?
It depends on what I’m doing. If its writing or editing, I have to be alone and usually with an internet connection. The internet has become a piece of my memory where I’ll say, “What was that video I saw with the guy in the green screen suit?” Then I can Google it and see it and incorporate that idea into mine. It’s invaluable. And being alone while working is a necessity because you have to dig a bit of a hole to dive into so you can juggle all these puzzle pieces and make something. As soon as you’re interrupted you have to drop all the pieces and then pick them up again.
Otherwise, if we’re being creative, or directing on set, I like lots and lots of animation. I like an active set, where people are working their best. Where ideas are coming and we’re dealing with them in real time. Where problems are arising and we’re solving them as they come. Sure, quiet sets are fine too, and the work gets done, but personally, at the end of the day we’ve made something brilliant and it was chaos to do so, it’s extremely rewarding.