On My Radar: Amr Singh
Amr Singh, director and co-founder of The Fort, Cape Town, tells us what gets his creative juices flowing.
What’s the best ad campaign you’ve seen recently?
It’s been out for a while, but I really liked The Tale of Thomas Burberry. The film has a really beautiful cinematic tonality, and it’s such a great example of this convergence of brand and entertainment. Evan, a PSA by Sandy Hook Promise is also a great film that’s gotten a lot of deserved attention online. It’s such a great play on the typically warm and character-centric pieces in advertising that’s so common these days, with a really well disguised twist at the end.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
I use a lot of great websites as go-to’s for inspiration and references. The most recent one that I discovered is film-grab.com – it’s basically a series of cinematography mood boards from a large catalogue of films.
There are a couple of websites that I check into for current affairs or sports, like Al Jazeera, Cricinfo or The Guardian. Highsnobiety and HYPEBEAST are great portals to stay abreast of street culture, fashion, music etc. Finally, I like to check into Nofilmschool. There’s not as much original content as there was in the early days, but it’s still a useful aggregator of relevant filmic things from around the web.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
I’m been pretty low-fi of late, but I’m looking at buying a GPS watch or heart rate monitor for running.
Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?
Instagram. I feel like the Instagram community and the creative industries were made for one another. The mode of messaging is so simple, and it really encourages people to explore ways of becoming visual storytellers.
What’s your favourite app on your phone and why?
Probably Apple Music in iTunes. With regards to work related apps, I thought that I’d used Artemis a lot, but once I bought the app I’ve never used it. I use SunSeeker a lot.
What’s your favourite TV show and why?
I don’t watch a lot of television, other than sport, but I really enjoyed Stranger Things. The pacing of the storyline made for a really engrossing narrative arc, coupled with the moody setting and amazing performances by the young cast. The series somehow manages to be equal parts sweet and scary, so it's no surprise how popular it's been. A friend recently recommended Peaky Blinders, and I really trust his judgment so I’ll check that out next.
What film do you think everyone should have seen?
City of God. It’s not necessarily my favourite movie, but I feel like it should be prescribed viewing.
Where were you when inspiration last struck?
My son’s second birthday party. I spent the whole day running between a wardrobe fitting for a shoot, and getting decorations for the party with my wife. When things calmed down and we were finally all at the party, my son stood off on the side, looking very unimpressed with everything. I snapped a picture of him that really captured how lonely being two is and I’ve been drawing on it ever since.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
Disruption and uncertainty. When myself and Shukri Toefy started Fort in 2006, the industry seemed quite set in its ways. We were fresh out of university, and ready to take on the impenetrable barrier that was entry into advertising. Things are more open now, and change has become the only certainty. I enjoy that.
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
Diversity. On a global scale, advertising is not a shining beacon of equality. I’d like to see more independent African agencies and production houses telling stories that really connect to their audiences in an authentic way.
What or who has most influenced your career and why?
I’ve try to draw on as many places as possible throughout my career. Very early on, I read a book called the 30-second Storyteller by Thomas Richter, and that influenced how I began designing my treatments. Other than that, I’ve been lucky enough to interact with some really talented people along the way that have all shaped my path and my career.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…
I watch YouTube videos on physics and quantum mechanics in the evening to reset my mind after long day of meetings, pitches, treatments and emails.
- Production The Fort
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