Splitting his time between a house in the woods and a surf shack by the ocean, Ruckus Films director Francois Lallier looks to appreciate the importance of getting away from the desk.

With trinkets including a quiver of surfboards and a handy escape to the country via his backyard, the French-Canadian's passion for time on set (which has gleaned him Cannes Lions, One Show, and Toronto Marketing Awards) is complemented with time away with his young family.

Here we hear of tunes to put on when a job's been well done and a particularly shiny treat of which his 4-year-old son is a fan.

The Lamp Shade Dog

My dog John John is always my best partner when I approach a new brief. 

There’s nothing like a dog to remind you how futile your worries are. 

John John is always at least mildly hurt but also always smiling. 

In the harsh world of pitching ideas and hoping for the best, I often look at John John to keep me grounded. 

An important life lesson I guess - keep smiling. 

The Forest Path

Alright, it’s not technically a thing but to me it’s THE thing. 

Whenever I hop on a new project and I’m trying to find where the joke comes from, what’s the best blocking for a specific scene, or what’s the right tone,I go on a long walk and the answers always present themselves. 

Being alone, just thinking and talking out loud to myself is the key to great visualization. 

It’s a good thing no one ever sees me, I would probably look like a weird lunatic lost in the woods talking about things like eggs for dinner or getting milked on car insurance. 

The Software

Being a film director who specializes in funny stuff, timing is at the heart of everything I do. 

And when it comes to timing, there’s nothing like trying it out to know if it’s the right one. 

Adobe Premiere is a crucial ally in testing things out. 

I spend countless hours fiddling with animatics and animated storyboards until I go, "that’s exactly it". 

The LEGO Cowboy Frame 

The next one is a bit of a funky one but so close to my heart. 

Very good friends/collaborators gave me this great framed image of a LEGO cowboy as a thank you gift a couple of years back. 

It now sits in our Quebec office and serves as a reminder of how nice it is to get to work with people you love and respect. 

Making great work is nice but making great work with great friends is the absolute best. 

The Record

When you know, you know. 

Khruangbin is a personal favorite, with its ambiances and beats so perfectly imperfect. 

Whenever you finish a project, there’s a sense of floating, almost freedom, that gets a hold of you. 

You’re in between two things, everything is possible. You get to just be in the moment. 

After a great day of shoot, you put on a nice record, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the time and conversations you share with the agency and the clients involved. 

That’s what I call making memories.  

The Boards

Last but not least, the quiver. 

Whatever the glide is, boards are a huge part of our family’s dynamic.

Whether it’s at the mountain or down by the coast, whenever I have the chance I put the phone on airplane mode and go for a ride. 

That’s where I recharge and regroup with friends and family. 

And ultimately, that’s the best way to be prepared for the next gig. 

The Bonus: Diamonds From Space

According to my 4-year-old son, these are diamonds from space and are worth a fortune. 

I could retire, but you can’t turn off a passion so I’ll keep doing what I love best no matter what.