David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

NOAH HARRIS'S AGILE MOVE.
15 October 2018

As Noah Harris had been on a panel at one of DAVID's CraftWorks events, we were already acquainted with his refreshing down-to-earthness, but as we spoke about his career and his move to Agile Films, it was striking how much this likeable straightforwardness encapsulates him. So much so, in fact, that during the pre-interview chat, we were trading stories about the awfulness of 'ad industry people' without regard for the fact that he is, ostensibly at least, one of them.

Looking and sounding like a cross between a villain in The Sweeney and the lead singer of a Madchester band, Noah Harris's demeanour doesn't offer so much as a nod to his West Country origins. Though it becomes easier to picture when you learn that he spent some of his teenage years taking moody black and white photographs of Dartmoor (and developing them himself), and this helps to dispel any notions of an idyllic Famous Five upbringing.

He had considered himself a photographer because that's what his mother did and it was only when he began studying it in Bristol that he realised it was the wrong channel for his creativity. This revelation came from his teachers: "They quickly realised I wasn't really much of a photographer because I didn't really have any ideas and I had never really thought about photography needing ideas." Ouch.


The emergence of the rave scene in the early 1990s provided Noah Harris with a motive to quit college and get a job - as a student, he couldn't earn enough to go raving every weekend! But after a couple of years of hedonism, he decided to search for a new outlet for his creative energy.

He signed up for a course at Falmouth studying Graphic Design which led, in due course, to a start-up in London called Static: "There was two guys in a knackered old warehouse in Old Street, and they had big plans to do interactive TV, which - back in 1997 - was going to be a thing. it never became a thing, but they did very well out of it."


It was quite an organic, gradual process from being a graphic designer, hand rendering typography to directing.

 ”

Harris did well out of it too, as a key member of Static's TV branding department, he worked on the E4 logo when the channel was launched in 2001. It was the first of a number of projects for TV stations which won him enough favourable attention to be able to set up his own graphic design company.



A number of years later, Noah Harris's ongoing relationship with E4 proved to a real catalyst as he looked to become a director, and not only because of the work he did for them when they launched. As an independent creative, he also worked on their relaunch and the new films he created for them gave his showreel the oomph it needed to attract the attention of Blinkink.

He spent ten happy years at the Wardour Street company and it was mainly restlessness that provoked the move. The only other factor was the delineation of the roster at Blink... over the last five years, Harris has worked on more and more live action projects and he is keen to send a clear signal to the industry that he has more strings to his bow than animation.


Once word got out that he was looking to move, a number of companies were in touch. Harris says they were all interesting offers and it took him quite a while to decide what he should do next, but he sensed that Myles Payne at Agile was exactly the right person to help him steer him towards the kind of projects he wants to do next: "Myles is very interested in film... that's where he came from, and Agile have a thriving music video department."

Harris describes how he spoke to Payne about creative areas outside of filmmaking which he's keen to explore, and how impressed he was that "Miles sees that as a bonus rather than a hindrance on the advertising side of the industry."

Reflecting on the idea that Agile seem to be a company which are 'of this world but slightly not of this world', Harris nods vigorously: "That nails it. That's what appeals to me about them."

For more on Noah Harris, give Fliss Hutcheson a call on 020 7000 2882 or via email on fliss@agilefilms.com.

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David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.