Mill Direction | Alfie Johnson | Director’s Assistant

Alfie is a multifaceted director – able to lend his talents to stunning cinematography, quietly beautiful live-action pieces and brain-bending artistic installations. His experience within the innovative realms of Creative Technology has placed him in the unique category of director-cum-inventor. With a keen interest in in-camera effects and self-shooting, he is always working on various personal projects to expand his skill set.
Work May 11, 2020

Tell us about your role as a Director’s Assistant at The Mill

As a director’s assistant I work closely with the great selection of directors on roster at The Mill. My role is extremely versatile. One day I’ll be pulling image references and building decks, the next I’ll be shooting second unit in Poland for a commercial. I also have experience with creative technology, editing and writing so I’ve also built programmable alarm clocks, custom ice sculptures and try to be on hand for anything that can make a project run smoother.


Below: UKMVA Idents Ice Sculptures

The UN recently did a call out for creative submissions related to COVID-19. Talk us through your submission.

This film was born out of an underwater lighting study I was doing in my home studio. I was testing some really simple single light setups and got a bit carried away. I then built an abstract narrative around the footage and enrolled my house mate to help fill in the acting gaps. I think it now speaks to the current crisis and the responsibility we all have at these times to do our part and save lives. I’ve always loved poetry and have been writing for a while, so I decided to write a piece that could be read as a VO, commenting on the COVID-19 crisis.

The Mill teamed up with Voxi to produce and shoot a TV advert entirely in isolation, what role did you play in this project?

For the VOXI Isolation Advert I developed the methodology which allowed us to shoot entirely from the comfort of our own homes. This involved a lot of ZOOM calls and late nights working on a way that Joss (Director) could direct the actor remotely and view exactly what was captured, as it was captured, live on her computer. I also wrangled the cameras and footage on the day, making sure the client was able to view the rushes with no delay to the shooting process.

Below: Voxi ‘I am Endless, Even in Isolation’ BTS

You directed a piece for youth homelessness charity EYH, tell us how this project was managed?

This was one of my favourite pieces to direct. The brief from EYH was very open which really allowed me to explore different concepts and ideas. Since everything was shot on location in Norwich, a city I or the team were not overly familiar with, most of the time was spent exploring different areas and finding the best locations. This also meant that we used natural lighting throughout and Tom (DOP) really managed to make this work to our favour.

Below: End Youth Homelessness | Jess

What are you working on during lockdown?

I’m currently working with director Carl Addy on a really interesting project. Carl’s a really inspiring and graphic director so it’s great to work so closely with him. I’m also trying to shoot as much as I can in my studio as well as work on some creative tech projects I’ve been developing.

Below: Alfie’s Ink Tests

Below: Phone & Hand tests

You can find out more about Alfie’s work on his Vimeo page or his Instagram @itsalfiejohnson.

Mill Director’s Assistant, Alfie Johnson