Part 1: A Conversation with David Naylor, Director/Producer, Giant’s Creative Content Group

Director/Producer David Naylor

We at Giant Interactive have known David for some time and so it’s no surprise that we’re familiar with his many talents. Director, producer, father, gentleman – David is the recipient of twenty-three Telly Awards and a Science Fiction Academy Award for his work creating ‘value-added material’ (VAM), aka ‘DVD bonus’, for titles ranging from Lost to Hawaii Five-O, from James Bond to The X-Files. Visitors to this blog and those not intimately connected with the home entertainment world may be unfamiliar with his name, but it’s doubtful that you’ve missed his work due to the scores of titles he’s worked on over the years. One of the most lauded talents in creative content for special bonus and marketing videos, David previously founded the DVD Group before segueing to head up Giant Interactive’s Creative Content Group. We caught up with David as he was prepared to embark on a busy production calendar stretching from March through May producing an eclectic series of projects which will take him through multiple time zones and several states. Question: How did you get started in ‘Value-added Material’ production? Answer: It began because I knew someone working on this big James Bond TV special with Elizabeth Hurley. We were asked to produce a number of interviews which ultimately would end up in the original Bond DVD box set. It was a big production, with about 300 interviews planned with nearly everyone who had ever been involved with the Bond franchise, from Dr. No all the way up to Goldeneye. When that project came to an end, I showed that work to Mike Stratford at Sony. He became a fan and that lead to work on material for On the Waterfront, Dr. Strangelove, The People vs. Larry Flint, Gattaca and many more, producing bonus for all of them. The cachet of doing those titles allowed me to expand into more and more. I’ve been very fortunate to have some very loyal supporters. Q: With so many demands on the time of star talent, particularly during a shoot, how do you keep it fresh for your behind-the-scenes featurettes? A: Every interviewer has their own approach, but I think it’s important to keep an interview focused on what the character is doing in the series because that’s what any actor is focused on, particularly on set. They’re not thinking, necessarily, about delivering a performance or a sound bite for DVD bonus, but doing the series. If you can frame your approach with this in mind, I’ve found you’ll be able to get focus, energy and interest from talent and your best results. They’re more relaxed and it feels more like a conversation than an interview. Q: You’ve won 23 Tellys and a Science Fiction Academy Award over the course of your career for your ‘value-added’ productions, including your latest for “Creating Characters” for CBS’s Blue Bloods. What’s your secret? A: There’s no secret, really. The good stuff, the great productions, comes from collaboration with a great team of people who work with you. It’s really having had the fortune to work with people who are equally passionate about what they do and who have high standards and take great care with what they’re working on. Even if you’ve got the creative inspiration, you can’t do anything with it if you don’t have the support. Q: Your medium of choice is ‘bonus’ featurettes. Have you ever felt the call of TV or film producing/directing? A: I’ve directed some web shorts for one of the TV shows I worked on, Harper Island. And, yes, I would like to, but I think I’ve ended up working where my main skills are…working with talent in interview situations. I guess I do that because it’s what I excel at. But I would like to do more things, such as develop shows. I’m pretty busy, though, so it’s hard to switch gears. Q: Shooting ‘behind-the-scenes’ must put you in some interesting locations. What’s your favorite production story? A: I’ve been lucky enough to go to some incredible places and meet interesting people. The most unexpected was when Tom Cruise asked me if I would ride with him in the limo to the premiere of Mission Impossible: III. That whole publicity tour with him in New York was just out of this world.   Part 2 of our interview with director/producer David Naylor, coming soon. Check back or add the RSS feed.